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on 19 July 2017
This book is fantastic. Naomi Klein's journalistic style is surgically sharp as she peels back the layers to expose how our world's most famous Logos (Brands) have evolved; taking our public spaces, our choices, our jobs, and how they have contributed/colluded to deepening the systems of poverty and injustice in the world.

Everyone should read this book. If only to see how entangled this mess is. You'll find it difficult to close your eyes to what it reveals.

--Tristan Sherwin, author of "Love: Expressed"
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on 17 January 2009
A shocking and lively book designed to stir both thought and emotion in the Western reader. It details all that is wrong with globalisation and corporate power, brings to life the tireless yet often unseen operations fighting back, and mercilessly sets out the dreadful treatment of workers being exploited by many of our most well-known brands.

In terms of these corporations and global companies, Klein unapologetically explores the very darkest depths of their capitalist mentality. She names and shames several huge brands, including Nike, Nestle, Disney, Microsoft, Wal-mart, McDonalds and Gap, and frequently refers back to these examples to illustrate her points in a recognisable context.

Another of her tactics, well-used to provoke reaction throughout the book, is to provide the reader with detailed case studies, and accompanying analysis, of some of the more heinous scandals linked to various companies over the years. From strikes by humiliated teenage workers at McDonalds to compulsory pregnancy testing and the sacking of pregnant workers in poor factories, this is really explicit and shocking material. One example that will never leave my mind is that of the death of many young female workers, mostly teenagers, in a poor foreign garment sweatshop. The girls were locked into the factory all day, with no comforts and no safety measures in place. When a bundle of flammable material caught fire, the whole factory went up. The workers had no escape route and died, some in the fire itself and some, tragically, by throwing themselves from the windows to avoid being slowly burned alive.

Alongside these horrors, Klein explores the anti-globalisation politics in the world, as well as the pitiful, hypocritical means used by the brands to try and claw back their popular image. She visits worker unions and help centres trying to liberate sweatshop workers. She looks at boycotts and consumer power in changing the way brands conduct business. Movements such as `Reclaim the Streets' - a disruptive street-blocking festival scene - and `Culture Jamming' - the art of reworking and altering adverts on the streets in order to change their political meaning drastically - are also described in detail.

Whilst it is terribly frustrating to read about the evasive tactics used by companies - moving factories, issuing `ethical' ad campaigns and avoiding monitoring - the final message is one of hope, empowerment and a need for education. A brilliant and eye-opening book that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to anyone who is feeling disillusioned with all-dominating brands and capitalist values in today's turbulent and morally questionable society.
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on 8 May 2017
No Logo complements my collection of works by Naomi Klein and Noam Chomsky and furthers my understanding of the complexities of this modern world. An excellent and essential part of my collection.
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on 18 July 2017
Amazing stuff
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on 11 May 2017
a***
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on 15 January 2016
it is a very good book
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Seminal in its impact in 1999, No Logo has not weathered well, and there is something a little wistful about Klein's new 10th anniversary edition introduction. This is an important book for the history of modern ideas, but most of the claims it makes now appear out dated.

In No Logo, Klein makes three claims about brands. First, she claims that brands are coming to dominate our culture, pushing out the local, the individual, the artisitic and the authentic. Second, she claims that the corporations behind brands achieve their success by a combination of brand censorship, appalling human resources behaviour, and intimidating their opponents. Finally, she celebrates the rise of an anti-logo movement which was (back in 1999) poised to turn culture around so that brands would no longer be the dominant forces they were.

Klein's style of arguing is to pound the reader with enormous quantities of anecdote, generally drawn from popularly reported press stories, supported with the occasional statistic. As a journalist she knows her craft well, and never fights shy of making the maximum use of pejorative language to weave a subtle air of disreputability around her targets, even when the anecdote does not really support the attack. Ultimately, I suspect most readers will lose patience with the book long before they reach the confident final third which outlines and predicts the rage against brands -- and which more or less fizzled out as a social force in the early 2000s.

I have three problems with this book.

First, it comes across as rather poorly researched. In the new introduction Klein repeats the common Thatcher misattribution 'there's no such thing as society'. We all know the phrase, but in fact Thatcher never said it (though she may well have thought it). As a journalist, Klein should have checked her sources.* A willingness to take the stories she likes at face value and ignore the rest flows through this book. Klein amasses evidence, she never weighs it. This is a book which is fundamentally uncritical of its own ideas. It's also interesting to note that Klein's research into the business of branding was conducted -- she now admits -- through reading Advertising Age, rather than the Journal of Brand Research or any of the more serious studies. This may be the reason that she never offers a particularly plausible definition of what a brand is and does, beyond quoting a dictionary.

Second, while bemoaning all the creative tools that brand managers and advertisers use, Klein makes maximum use of the journalist's tool-box of using the power of words to override shortfalls in the argument. Of course, this was written in the 1990s, when journalists were the guardians of our collective conscience. In these post-Leveson enquiry days, readers may be altogether less willing to believe in the holy cause of journalism and its right to point the finger at corporations and politicians. I felt much of the writing in this book was quite manipulative, and this links to the unquestioning, rather self-righteous, acceptance of its own presuppositions which are part of the poor research background.

Finally, with ten years retrospect, the changes in society that Klein confidently predicts simply never happened. Yes, there was a millennial rise in anti-brand anarchy. It was subsequently overtaken by anti-capitalist anarchy, and then anti-globalisation anarchy. There will always be protest -- which is a good thing, because society needs it -- but the particular target of protest has moved on. What is strange is that Klein -- given the opportunity to reflect with a ten-years-on introduction -- does not really acknowledge this. She references William Gibson's Pattern Recognition as an example of the strength of the meme, without perhaps realising that Pattern Recognition was a novelisation of the No Logo concept.

I'm afraid that one more thing put me off this book before I read very far. In the new introduction, Klein explains at great length why she deliberately never registered NoLogo as a trademark. And yet, there on the cover, being the first thing you see next to the logo, is the ubiquitous ® sign. This is not deliberate irony: I checked, and it is now, indeed, a registered trademark. Not deliberate, but it is very much ironic.

--
*And so should I. Dr Julie Smith has since pointed out to me that Margaret Thatcher did indeed write this, though Klein's use of it is out of context and, as such, a misattribution. Thatcher's actual quote, in Woman's Own Magazine, 1987 Sep 23 was: "But it went too far. If children have a problem, it is society that is at fault. There is no such thing as society. There is living tapestry of men and women and people and the beauty of that tapestry and the quality of our lives will depend upon how much each of us is prepared to take responsibility for ourselves and each of us prepared to turn round and help by our own efforts those who are unfortunate."
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on 7 November 2001
No Logo is packed with mind-blowing facts about a culture most of us accept as part of our daily life. This book made a real impression upon me - quite an achievement as I'm a dedicated consumer and had been greatly unimpressed with what I'd seen of the anti-globalisation movement.
This book encompasses many themes and for me it offers a modern take on issues of censorship and inequalities of sex, race and class. I was amazed at how many areas of our lives brand-building infiltrates and attempts to control. The strategies used by global companies are fascinating and it is unnerving to recognise yourself as the subject of sophisticated manipulation.
Klein's is not a balanced approach, but then she clearly sees no room for excuses in this moral manifesto. It makes for an engaging read as you can really sense her passion and anger. Stylistically the book owes more to quality journalism than dry academia. The No Logo website is worth a look too!
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on 4 March 2002
I have owned this book for some time, and have only just plucked up the courage to read it. This has taken a month to finish, largely because the issues raised required some thought and resulted in a bit of discussion at home, even briefly diverting attention away from sport on TV. The title makes it clear that the author is taking up a particular, predominantly negative, attitude towards branding and marketing in the context of globalisation. Naomi Klein has researched the impact of brands on local environments and people, and on the countries where products are manufactured, with reference to the power of multi-nationals to shape national and international politics and policies. I was impressed by the detail in the book, although I found parts of it heavy-going for the same reason.
The chapters dealing with the marketing of brands to young people within schools and universities were particularly interesting-things have changed since my day. I was fascinated by what makes a brand "cool" and how corporations have acquired and then exploited knowledge about us all to create demand for products. I discovered that my belief that I take no notice of advertising is almost certainly wrong-I see so many messages during a day that some of them are bound to stick and then pop up the next time I need to buy a pair of trainers.
The strongest chapters relate to the treatment of workers in sweatshops in various parts of the world. I knew that such operations existed but I had not appreciated the extent of their reach. This book proved to me that I have bought goods manufactured by someone who is living on payment well below minimum wage, working long hours, often in unsafe conditions. That has made me stop to think about what I will buy and from where in future.
Having awakened my awareness I was disappointed that the book did not tell me what to do with it. I would have welcomed some positive suggestions for making different choices when shopping, or details of how to lobby for change. I was also unclear as to Naomi Klein's view regarding violent direct action. I felt that she was uncritical of some actions taken by protestors, for example in the May Day riots, and it would have helped me to understand her perspective, and that of the protestors, if she had stuck her neck out a little more. I would also have appreciated a more historical context to the detail e.g. an explanation of how the textile industry has developed in the UK via sweatshops, unionisation etc. in such a way as to lead many clothing retailers to source products in, say, Macau (using the example that I am wearing at the moment), rather than Yorkshire. Does this mean that we haven't moved on from the portrayal of the textile industry in the sitcom "Brass" and still all that matters to us is the cheapest price and the highest profit? If so, why?
I have made the book sound like a worthy tome and in some respects it is. I am surprised by how many people I have seen reading it on the Tube. What I have learnt from "No Logo" is that we value individuality and want to do the right thing as long as we don't stand out from the crowd or have to pay too much! The big brands can capitalise on those conflicting desires to sell more products that are pretty much the same as each other using the flattery of advertising to convince us that only we are worthy of them. This book has taught me not to be quite so easily duped. Now all I need is another book to tell me how to shop ethically!
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on 21 May 2004
This is clearly a key text for many, and it is very thought provoking still now in 2004, I first read it in 2001 - the case studies and views of some appaling acts by the multi-nationals using export processing zones are delivered in a solid manner, with some thorough research and backing. However there is a "but"... the book is far too long and heavy, once you have read half, you really won't gain much more by reading it all, it is the same thing repeated over again with different cases, making it harder to read as time progresses. By 3/4s in it becomes a chore to read. However this is a text rather than a roll-along book, and I still believe everyone should read it once.
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