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Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take It Back Hardcover – 2 Jun 2009


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (NY) (2 Jun. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400066891
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400066896
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 2.7 x 24.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 791,650 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) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

A timely, provocative and urgent look at how our world has become slowly but surely corporatised. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By N. Wistreich on 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 By Stephen Higgins on 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 By Ben Ruddle on 30 Sept. 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 By Sofus Midtgård Hansen on 19 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
Douglas Rushkoff delivers a great analysis and perspectives on how we all have embodyied and become slaves of the corporate mindset. A provocative and inspiring book - though you could say it's stronger in it's critique of the existing US model than in concrete bids on alternatives to the existing system and thinking. Must read...
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By Holland1 on 20 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love the idea, unfortunately it's full of 'big & fancy' words, which I found a pity - if you really are aiming for change - it helps if you understand what you are reading and don't have to stop and look up words every other page. I read a lot and have a reasonably decent vocabulary - this was work. Books (unless I'm studying) are for enjoyment/relaxation/enrichment and should not cost too much effort. I will still try to finish it one day....
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