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Life Inc: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take it Back [Paperback]

Douglas Rushkoff
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

3 Jun 2010

Douglas Rushkoff was mugged outside his apartment on Christmas Eve, but when he posted a friendly warning on his community website, the responses castigated him for potentially harming the local real-estate market. When did these corporate values overtake civic responsibilites?

Rushkoff examines how corporatism has become an intrinsic part of our everyday lives, choices and opinions. He demonstrates how this system created a world where everything can be commodified, where communities have dissolved into consumer groups, where fiction and reality have become fundamentally blurred. And, with this system on the verge of collapse, Rushkoff shows how the simple pleasures that make us human can also point the way to freedom.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (3 Jun 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099516691
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099516699
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 475,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"There are few more important subjects in the West today than the corporaticization of public and personal space and few writers as well-suited to the subject as the always insightful and provocative Doug Rushkoff. A terrific contribution to an urgent debate" (Naomi Wolf)

"Read this book if you want to understand how the current economic meltdown started 400 years ago, how so much of what you consider to be a natural evolution of daily life was carefully designed to profit a few, and how corporatism has so colonised every part of life that most of us don't even recognise how our lives and fortunes are channeled and manipulated by it.... I love that Rushkoff isn't afraid to think big - very big" (Howard Rheingold author of Smart Mobs)

"Life Inc is a return to Rushkoff's best form. In it he takes swipes at advertising, pop psychology, public relations, suburban life, the dotcom boom, reality TV and many of the things we take for granted" (Guardian)

"Fluent and well-researched" (Independent)

Book Description

A timely, provocative and urgent look at how our world has become slowly but surely corporatised.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long overdue 13 July 2009
Format:Paperback
The first point to note is that Rushkoff isn't attacking money or trade in itself: "Commerce is good" he says, "Corporatism is something else entirely". Tracing corporations back to the monarchy, and showing them as an extension of the same power-hungry, oft-corrupt idealogoy, Rushkoff explores the same territory as Joel Bakan's The Corporation and the Yes Men's stunts and films. But it's a vital and urgent issue: how centuries of corporate influence have turned us into a world of "isolated, individualistic people pitted against each other" at a time when cooperation is more urgently needed than ever.

It seems a vital debate as the big three problems of the modern world - poverty (and related conflicts), global warming and lifestyle/mental health problems, are linked in a vicious circle supported by corporations so massive and far removed from their original purpose as to have forgotten making money is far less important than (and often inversely related to) wellbeing and survival. Lives of unfulfilling, unproductive work that we don't believe in making us miserable, forcing us to buy more stuff we don't need made by cheap, exploited foreign labour, in turn using up valuable resources and bringing the planet closer to enviro-catastrophe. It's a circle where no-one benefits other than a few large shareholders, and even they are endangering their own heirs - a non-Darwinian illogicality.

As is often the case, the problems seem to be spelled out here in far more detail than the solutions, but there is the general argument in favour of the group over the individual, interdependence, collective action as well as small scale thinking and personal life changes. There is, however, a strong warning against 'branded movements', the corporate/institutional solution and Bono-esque save-the-world "ego trips" that "are the artifacts of the strident individualism we were taught to embrace".

Essential reading, even if you don't agree with everything within it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book I've been looking for for a long time. 24 Aug 2010
Format:Paperback
I hardly recongnised the book I've just read from Peter Haydon's review. Haven't checked all the many references Rushkoff provides for his historical research, but he is certainly not 'ignorant' of financial history; nor is his style 'pseudo-academic', if anything it was a little too journalistic for my taste, but clear and very readable.

Anyway, my recommendation is to get down to your local bookshop and read the last two chapters. The penultimate chapter clarifies many of the reasons I've been dissatisfied with anti-corporate activism over the last few years, while the last is a good summary of grass roots initiatives to tackle the problems. It doesn't make for a rousing climax, but the sort of social and political diatribes that do, (left- or right-wing) tend to be the ones that end badly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great but scarry 30 Sep 2009
Format:Paperback
A very clear insight into why we live the way we do and how we are manipulated to ensure the march of the corporate monopolies. This book will defiantly make you think.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Depressing....ly true. 18 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback
The first part about history of corporations made me as wet as a bored housewife reading the "Fifty Shades of Grey".
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