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Hidden Persuaders, The Paperback – 10 Oct 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Ig Publishing; Reissue Ed edition (10 Oct. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097884310X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0978843106
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.3 x 21.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Peter Buckley VINE VOICE on 19 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback
Vance Packard was a ground-breaking social critic best known for `The Hidden Persuaders', which detailed how behavioural scientists recruited by the American advertising industry were increasingly using psychological techniques to increase sales. Motivational Research aimed to discover the reasons people bought one brand over another, fuelled purchasing `crazes', and generally spent in a seemingly non-logical or irrational way, revealing much about themselves to the observant analyst. Our subconscious attitudes, they discovered, are far from being the entire explanation of our buying behaviour, but manipulating them went a long way to help companies overcome hostility to their products.
Since this information has increasingly been traded, in order to persuade us to buy any number of goods, often in a manner cynically eroding individuality, Packard believed consumers should develop a `recognition reflex', to protect against the merchandising manipulators, or persuaders, because ultimately assuming that Commerce is merely supplying what we, the consumer, demands, is outmoded and simplistic.
Packard believes we are far more cautious about religion and politics, even though both can use alarmingly similar techniques to manipulate. Interestingly, many see the world as comprising these three elements; namely Religion, Politics and Commerce.
Most of us would like to think of ourselves as shrewd, careful, hard-headed consumers, highly individual, informed and enlightened. Ironically, this very image, by appealing to our vanities, is the one most favoured by the agencies persuading us to buy their products, from cars, insurance, foodstuffs, tobacco, clothing and cosmetics (specific products focused on in this book).
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Jun. 2002
Format: Hardcover
Anyone dubious about consumerism should read this and anyone who supports it cannot morally justify it in light of this staggering book. Packard wrote a meticulously researched, highly readable and shocking account of how the subconcious minds of the American public have been manipulated by the use of psychological testing to sell them mass produced good from the 50s onwards. This book needed to be written and is an unsettling and often sickening account of the lengths to which advertisers have gone to pursuade consumers to buy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By GBAL VINE VOICE on 21 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback
I can't remember where I got the recommendation to buy this book but I know it had something to do with Mad Men, and I was interested to read more about the advertising industry and the history of same. It is a really good book, so grab it if you are at all interested in this subject, because it often goes out of stock, but always seems to remain in print so that speaks volumes about the quality of the book itself even after all this time. Very enjoyable and suprising read about how people can be manipulated into buying just about anything.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jay on 12 April 2007
Format: Hardcover
A popular phrase entitled 'We have ways to make you think' is fully exemplified in this book written half a century ago. Fast forward to today and we discover that these theories form the crux of Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning (STP) the 3 most important words in Marketing. With a more Politically Correct (PC) society, many of these perceptions have been dispelled but have given rise to others with the rise of the Web and E Marketing. A groundbreaking book on marketing and consumerism.
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By Bob Barr on 9 Sept. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is staggering that a book published in 1957 should remain so relevant, vibrant and important over 5 decades later. This is the story of how the consumer society was created by motivating the public to desire, consume and replace what they probably don't need and didn't know that they wanted. All the techniques described continue to be used to manipulate the public and drive an economy based on consumption, built in obsolescence and fad.

This should be essential reading for all young people in secondary school. However, unfortunately, the power of the persuaders is so great and our will, mine included, so weak that even knowing we are being manipulated for other's profit we continue to fall for it over and over again.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Vance Packard's book changed the way I thought about marketing, I first read it in the early sixties and it was a revelation.I as a younger man harboured the delusion that business was a profit motivated but benign undertaking that provided us with the goods and services we needed.We have been drawn into consumerism by many influences but marketing has been the chief offender.This book lays the foundations of understanding the processes which have drawn us into the "must have" society
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By FionaH Taylor on 24 April 2011
Format: Paperback
A thought provoking book---very well worth reading----I first read it many many years ago when the author's views were relevant and accurate but perhaps a little before his time and we were all less aware then of how we were being manipulated. I had lent it to someone and never got it back so bought it again as I wanted to refresh my memory.
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Format: Paperback
i read this book in 1976..you know that glorious summer...just before i went to college in Leeds ..a fascinating book .....so much to think about so thrilled to see i can still get it ...how american consumers, ln fact all of us are led by the nose and buy the soap powder they want us to buy ..etc because of the colour of the packaging etc
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