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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very enlightening read
I would recommend this book to absolutely anyone and everyone.

Edward Bernays is known as ‘the father of public relations’ and is undoubtedly one of the most influential men of the 20th century. In this book he promotes the newly emerging field of propaganda and PR as a necessary and good thing, vital to the functioning of a modern democratic...
Published 21 months ago by Mr V

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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars inform yourself
It is a useful book to inform yourelsves of the subtle and at times subliminal techniques of persuasion used on us.
Inform yourself to innoculate yourself so that you will not be mislead.
Bernays and the people in power, are wrong to think that real democracy is a dangerous thing. Its only dangerous to them because it challenges their priviliges and greed...
Published on 17 Aug 2010 by Fin Hope


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very enlightening read, 28 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Propaganda (Paperback)
I would recommend this book to absolutely anyone and everyone.

Edward Bernays is known as ‘the father of public relations’ and is undoubtedly one of the most influential men of the 20th century. In this book he promotes the newly emerging field of propaganda and PR as a necessary and good thing, vital to the functioning of a modern democratic society. The target audience is clearly the businessmen and politicians that form his client-group. It is interesting to see the author plainly and matter-of-factly discuss things that would now get anyone labelled a conspiracy theorist – the need for hidden government and manipulation of the common herd so that they do not interfere with the needs of industry and the elite. Even if you are familiar with these kinds of topics already, it is eye-opening to see them presented not by aforementioned conspiracy theorists and activists, but by a passionate advocate and architect of the methods now applied globally to maintain control of society at large.

It should be studied in schools, both as a historical work and also to help arm young people against the assault of psychological warfare we are confronted with each time we walk down the high street, enter a supermarket, open a magazine or newspaper, turn on the TV or listen to the radio.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic PR Textbook, 3 Dec 2010
By 
William Cohen (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: Propaganda (Paperback)
Edward Bernays is certainly a man with self-assurance. He describes the machinery by which our perceptions are managed by our 'invisible governors'. And indeed our world has been created by the techniques he describes. But there is a certain amount of hubris in what he's written, and as Adam Curtis explains in 'The Century of the Self' he used his skills for dubious ends. It's certainly a ground-breaking book, but you wonder if Governments and businesses can control the messages in the way he describes in the era of social media and the internet. Also, as we saw in the Iraq war, the truth comes out in the end, and once you've deceived the people once, it's not so easy a second time. Still, it's good to know how the dark arts work, and Bernays is an excellent writer.
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sociology for the real world, 9 Aug 2005
By 
Mr. M. A. Speedy (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Propaganda (Paperback)
Bernays is considered as one of the originators of the modern Public Relations industry. If you work in PR, it is essential reading. But it also serves as a dramatic sociological text, full of hard truths about the reality of modern life. This is the reason why Noam Chomsky recommends this book so strongly.
Bernays, as one would expect from the most successful propagandist of the 20th century, has a thorough grasp of psychology and sociology. His psychological view is based on "Uncle Siggy" - his Uncle Sigmund Freud. The origin of his sociological views, however, are less clear, but he shares the views of many liberal thinkers that a real democracy is a danger to be avoided, and not an ideal to be sought.
Bernays likes to point out the fact that we like to think that we are "free", but we are often led by the "experts": in business, in politics, in science, philosophy, ethics. The PR agent serves the interests of the minority who control the interests and habits of the masses (what Bernays calls the "invisible Government"), by using the media industry itself, without its exclicit knowledge.
He describes an example from the fashion industry that is so obvious, that one feels very stupid in not noticing it.
Read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A crucial insight into how society functions, 22 Aug 2013
By 
Alan the Kaz (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Propaganda (Paperback)
This is one of those books that I've wanted to read for years, as a primary reference to understand how the world really operates. It's great to read books and to watch documentaries which talk about these things, but you can only truly appreciate what's going on around you when you go straight to the source. And Edward Bernays, the early 20th century propagandist who used the psychological insights of his uncle, Sigmund Freud, to transform the propaganda industry into what we now call "public relations", is one of the most crucial primary sources. Interest on his life and work have been reinvigorated within recent years, due to activists such as Noam Chomsky citing him as a pivotal spearhead of the Big Brother society, and an award winning BBC documentary by Adam Curtis, `Century of the Self'.

This short book, `Propaganda', is essentially propaganda for propaganda. By the 1920s, the once neutral word "propaganda" had been tainted with the same connotations it still has until now. Bernays, a professional propagandist, tasked himself with the mission of giving acceptability back to what he considered a legitimate advertising technique. This was back before he would realise that the word would never become fashionable again, replacing it with "public relations", or P.R.(opaganda). And, so, this short book acts essentially as an advertisement for "educated Americans", to teach them of the value of propaganda. The first half of the book is basically an apology for propaganda, and the wise men behind the scenes that we have "consented" to employ it for "our own good", to sway our opinions into the right direction and to prevent chaos from ensuing as a result of having no wise guidance in our lives. The second half is more of a practical manual of how propaganda can be successfully utilised in areas of business, politics, education, and others. While I found the first half more interesting, the second half is surprisingly relevant to today's seemingly far removed world from the 1920s, when this book was written.

In many ways, Edward Bernays' `Propaganda' is not as sinister as I had expected it to be. Bernays seems convinced that propaganda is a natural and unavoidable part of life, and he makes many convincing arguments to back up this assertion (though he is a master propagandist, so it's no surprise that his outlook seems convincing). Furthermore, he continually reminds his readers of their ethical duty to tell the truth and to not mislead the people whose thoughts they wish to sway to their cause. Nor did Bernays, like the propagandists who would come after him, seem to believe that the masses are brainless idiots (or, if he did believe this to be so, he didn't even so much as allude to that opinion within these pages). Bernays, it seems, dreamed of a world in which an unseen group of benevolent wise men would guide mankind, through propaganda, into making rational choices for the good of society. However, the role of today's advertising and P.R. world, which Bernays breathed into existence, is (as Noam Chomsky explains) to hurl the masses into making irrational decisions, the complete opposite of what Bernays seemed to have stood for.

Edward Bernays' `Propaganda' offers a valuable insight into how our collective minds function, and the mentality of those who are really pulling the strings in society (the advertisers, big business leaders, as well as prominent politicians) think of us. To fully appreciate this book, read it in conjunction with some of Noam Chomsky's numerous works on media manipulation, and watch Adam Curtis's `Century of the Self'.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars essential reading, 30 Jan 2011
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Though we all are subject to the phenomenon of propaganda on a daily basis, this book is still essential reading. You recognize all of what Bernays is writing. And now with the Wikileaks in the news currently, one is confronted all the more with propaganda. It is a very a very simple mechanism: you tell one thing, you do the other thing and you do not inform about the latter.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars inform yourself, 17 Aug 2010
This review is from: Propaganda (Paperback)
It is a useful book to inform yourelsves of the subtle and at times subliminal techniques of persuasion used on us.
Inform yourself to innoculate yourself so that you will not be mislead.
Bernays and the people in power, are wrong to think that real democracy is a dangerous thing. Its only dangerous to them because it challenges their priviliges and greed.
what we need desperately is a real deomcracy ie govt by for of the people not by for of the mulitnational corporations and their bought politicians which we have now.
This present day recession is a prime example of how we are persuaded to go along with their agenda of cuts to our public services, lower wages, worse work conditions, targetting the poor, etc. Dont believe the hype. The recession was made by the financial elites on purpose and there is absolutely no need for these cuts.
911 was an excuse to go to war and clamp down on civil libertie. The recession is an excuse to impoverish us whilst the rich get richer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good starting point for spotting propaganda masquerading as information, 11 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Propaganda (Paperback)
I first came across Edward Bernays in Adam Curtis's documentary "The Century of the Self". This book opened my eyes a little more to how it is possible for leaders to manipulate us. It's very readable, and a good starting point. If you want to investigate further, it's worth looking at "Public Opinion" by Walter Lippmann (which I found a hard read, but it was worth sticking with) and perhaps "Propaganda" by Jacques Ellul (even more difficult, and still only part-read).

These books certainly make you question your assumptions about the way that western societies are run. Having been extremely naive a few years back, now when I listen to the news I often find myself wondering, "why am I being told this?"
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important book, often misunderstood, 3 Dec 2012
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This is a fascinating book, which is often misunderstood. The book does not advocate propaganda, as it is currently understood, but argues for a return to the pre-WW1 definition of the term.
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2.0 out of 5 stars historically interesting, 23 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Propaganda (Kindle Edition)
Bernays is clearly using this book to further the aims of himself and the industry he represents. It is however an interesting historical document showing the genesis of modern US style propaganda-that which we now term 'marketing' 'image making' and 'public relations'. The book displays little of the authors own personality, but it's amusing to notice how he has been propagandised into believing that a scientific solution to everything. His world seems black and white and filled with the naivety of American idealism, but that may well be just part of the propaganda he wants to push. Perhaps he doesn't want to reveal too much which might distract from the message and therefore remains aligned with the general public mood of the time.

It's a way marker of its time-just as Bill Gates created an idea in the minds of the public about the potential of personal computing-so Bernays lays out the value of propaganda in the 20th century. Several times in the book he warns of the potential 'misuse' of propaganda, but he probably couldn't have imagined just how much the American ideal would be changed by the very propaganda he was promoting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The new Gods, 18 Dec 2014
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This review is from: Propaganda (Paperback)
I went to the X Factor final, we won tickets, and I had the opportunity to just look at the behaviour of the crowd. It was like a Hitler youth rally but with grown ups. Grown ladies are shouting 'SIMON', with their little kids by their side. The kids are the next generation of consumers. When Dermot, the presenter, walked past our seats, the people screamed and held their hands out to touch him!

There is a quote somewhere, Jan Irvin uses it, which has Edward Bernays talking about manufacturing the celebrity religion and, indeed, celebrities replacing the Gods.

If you study Indian religion, all those statues are for the masses who can't understand the real religion (I am putting it very crudely here). I always find modern people worshipping celebrities like Gods. They even use the first name of the celebrity, like it's their next door neighbour.

Anyway, reading this book, I sort of agree with Barnays. What I mean is, people today do act stupid and dumb. But is this because Bernays and his minions were successful? I always wondered why they never gave nobel prizes to psychologists but they do to other genius'?
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Propaganda
Propaganda by Edward L. Bernays (Paperback - 1 Sep 2004)
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