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Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy [Kindle Edition]

Martin Lindstrom , Paco Underhill
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (235 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $8.32
You Save: $6.68 (45%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

How much do we know about why we buy? What truly influences our decisions in today’s message-cluttered world? An eye-grabbing advertisement, a catchy slogan, an infectious jingle? Or do our buying decisions take place below the surface, so deep within our subconscious minds, we’re barely aware of them?

In BUYOLOGY, Lindstrom presents the astonishing findings from his groundbreaking, three-year, seven-million-dollar neuromarketing study, a cutting-edge experiment that peered inside the brains of 2,000 volunteers from all around the world as they encountered various ads, logos, commercials, brands, and products. His startling results shatter much of what we have long believed about what seduces our interest and drives us to buy. Among the questions he explores:

Does sex actually sell? To what extent do people in skimpy clothing and suggestive poses persuade us to buy products?
Despite government bans, does subliminal advertising still surround us – from bars to highway billboards to supermarket shelves?
Can “Cool” brands, like iPods, trigger our mating instincts?
Can other senses – smell, touch, and sound - be so powerful as to physically arouse us when we see a product?
Do companies copy from the world of religion and create rituals – like drinking a Corona with a lime – to capture our hard-earned dollars?

Filled with entertaining inside stories about how we respond to such well-known brands as Marlboro, Nokia, Calvin Klein, Ford, and American Idol, BUYOLOGY is a fascinating and shocking journey into the mind of today’s consumer that will captivate anyone who’s been seduced – or turned off – by marketers’ relentless attempts to win our loyalty, our money, and our minds.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Through extensive and expensive research, Lindstrom provides an adequate primer on what neuroscience studies can tell society—particularly marketers—about how selling (and more important, buying) works. Whether considering the roles of sex, religion, product placement or contradictions in consumer habits between what they say and what they do, Lindstrom explores how brain-scan studies reveal an avalanche of information about what works and what doesn't. Though the information is intriguing, Lindstrom's disregard for the potential abuses of such information (such as marketers purposely manipulating people to buy products that are harmful, of which there is a proven track record) makes his enthusiasm suspect. Don Leslie provides a good voice for nonfiction material, using a congenial tone with good emphasis to keep the listeners engaged. His gentle but deep voice creates the impression of an older person imparting knowledge upon the youth, which may also lend some authority to the text. A Doubleday hardcover. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"A page-turner"
-Newsweek

" Lindstrom dishes up results, alongside a buffet of past research, with clear writing and deft reasoning."
-Fast Company

“Lindstrom … has an encyclopedic knowledge of advertising history and an abundance of real-world business experience”
-The Washington Post

“Martin Lindstrom, the boy wonder of branding, tells that the future of shopping is all in the mind”
-The Sunday Times (UK)

“Shatters conventional wisdom”
- CNBC

"...brings together a great many strands of research to build a fascinating case. The writing is snappy and the book’s a page turner"
-BBC Focus Magazine

“Lindstrom's research should be of interest to any company launching a new product or brand”
-USA Today

"Lindstrom...has an original, inquisitive mind...His new book is a fascinating look at how consumers perceive logos, ads, commercials, brands, and products."
-Time

“When someone tells you that a book is a "page-turner," you probably think of the latest top-list best-seller. Now you'll think of Buyology….Pick up a copy of this book and get one of those highlighting thingamajiggies before you fix your ad budget for the new year. "Buyology" is definitely money well-spent.”
-The Eagle Tribune


“An entertaining and informative tome”
-The Seattle Examiner


“Why do rational people act irrationally? Written like a fast paced detective novel, "Buyology" unveils what neuromarketers know about our decision making so we can buy and sell more insightfully."
- Dr. Mehmet C Oz Professor of Surgery, Columbia University, and author of YOU -The Owner’s Manual

“Move over Tipping Point and Made to Stick bec...

Product Details

  • File Size: 329 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business (October 21, 2008)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001FA0VWG
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,325 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
278 of 298 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Infomercial? November 5, 2008
Format:Hardcover
This book has a very interesting premise - using MRI to examine, not cognition, memory, or emotion, but advertising. And some of the results are rather interesting. For example:

- Negative messages (anti-smoking ads, say) can activate desires just as easily as positive ones.
- Strong brands can activate the same brain centers as do religious topics.
- Indirect advertising (the coke glasses sitting in front of the American Idol judges) can be more effective than direct advertising.

Probably the biggest takeaway is that what people say and how they really feel are not the same. Actually, having written all this out, I'm not sure that these results really are all that unexpected and interesting after all. ;^)

My biggest beef with the book is how thin it is beyond the basic reporting of results. Yes, it actually is over 200 pages (just barely), but there is an awful lot of padding in there. Part of that is going over some very basic ideas (subliminal advertising, e.g.) ad infinitum, but also being extremely anecdotal. I like anecdotes, and feel they make for a great read, but the author really goes overboard - especially when it comes to anecdotes about himself.

In fact, the author's ego really gets in the way here. Here are some samples:

"But this study wasn't going to come cheap, and I knew that without corporate backing, it was dead in the water. But when I get an idea in my head that keeps me up at night, I'm persistent. Politely pushy, you might call it. Those twenty-seven messages on your answering machine. They're all from me (sorry)."

and

"By way of profession, I'm a global branding expert. That is, it's been a lifelong mission (and passion) to figure out how consumers think ...
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130 of 143 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Should have been a 3 page magazine article November 6, 2008
Format:Hardcover
This book was 50% review of other brands and ad campaigns, 30% bragging about how cool the "experiments" were, 10% new data that was only semi compelling, and 10% telling you what they just told you.

If they really stretched it, this should have been a 3 page article in a reader's digest. Maybe a 1,000 word article in the WSJ.

The most interesting thing I learned was about "mirror neurons" and how our brains imagine, e.g., eating an apple when only watching someone else do it. But that is not enough for a whole book. There were other tidbits but not worth the $ or effort to learn them.

I bought this book on tape along with "Tribes" by Godin. Audible is giving that one away for free. I would have paid $20 for Tribes and nothing for Buyology. It's almost as if the author of Buyology said "well since I have spent all this money for research I guess I should write a book."
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127 of 141 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
This is the first book in a long time I felt like taking back, and demanding a refund.

Filled with common-sense observations inflated with info-mercial style prose, it's a shadow of the scientific study it claims to be.

Each chapter pounds you with juvenile "imagine this!" scenarios, while providing little scientific backing for the author's conclusions. After each disappointing narrative, he promises the next chapter has "groundbreaking new science!" Clearly, he has mastered the art of hype, for that's mostly what this book is.

Those looking for information on motivation and thinking patterns will be best served to look elsewhere.
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73 of 81 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Buy ology is a well-crafted book organized around a series of fMRI studies of the brain. The premise is to explore the connection between marketing and neuroscience to understand why we buy. The premise is full of hype as Lindstrom explores connections between sight, sound, smell, sports, sex and religion and the brain.

Positioned in this way, the book should be a headline grabbing set of findings that change the way we think about brands, our purchasing decisions and the messages with which we are bombarded every day. Unfortunately, the conclusions of the brain studies are largely predictable and refine rather than revolutionize marketing and neuroscience. This makes the book a better magazine article rather than a 200+ page book.

Unless you are marketing professional or someone who has this as your hobby, your time would be better spent looking at other books that cover the same subject area with more detail and more science. I found Jeff Hawkins and Sandra Blakeslee's Book "ON intelligence" and Daniel Pink's "A whole new mind" to be better books on the connections between neuroscience and social interactions.

Each chapter in Buy ology follows a similar pattern. The start sets up the issue, for example are brands as strong in peoples minds as religion. Then the author spends 20 or so pages providing review and opinion on the subject area. This part often repeats materials, stories, and findings found in every marketing book. Yes the usual suspects are quoted here "Apple's 1984" ad and the like. Finally in about a half a page, Lindstrom give the example -often based on a very small sample size - of the experiment. Then there is a rationalization of the findings that in the end maintains the status quo in marketing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! It gives you a new understanding of ...
Great book! It gives you a new understanding of how the market works and awareness as to how we might get played in it. Read more
Published 4 days ago by sylvia do pico
5.0 out of 5 stars Good research. All retail and hotel owners should give ...
Good research. All retail and hotel owners should give it a read.
Published 16 days ago by Dove of Eden Valley
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great reading
Published 19 days ago by Patricia A Stubbert
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great insight
Published 1 month ago by Chris Schiefer
3.0 out of 5 stars ok, now we have some science......
Behind our "choices" , but as any scientist can tell you, it's how data is collected; it's how the data is ananlzed; it's seeing how behavior changes over time; and it's... Read more
Published 1 month ago by JoAnn Eisenberg
5.0 out of 5 stars Buyology Will Change the Way You Look at the World. Incredible author...
Whoever wrote a bad review on this book does NOT understand the concept of Marketing. I have read this book 3 times plus Brandwashed. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jenna Maloney
2.0 out of 5 stars Bother if you have lots of time to spare
The author seems to me to be full of himself. On and on he rattles about purchasing and economics. I just wish he were more economical with his words. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Richard Davison
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
just awful rehashed tripe.
Published 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Some great information. Quite wordy and a bit dry.
Published 1 month ago by Carla
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great read
Published 3 months ago by IL H. CHO
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More About the Author

When he was a kid growing up in Denmark, Martin Lindstrom had but one thought in his life: Lego. He was, to put it simply, obsessed with Lego. He hand-built and slept on a Lego bed. He dressed in Lego's colors. He even turned the family garden into his very own Legoland creation, a miniature village complete with bonsai trees, scooped out canals, and dozens of houses and ships constructed entirely out of LEGO.

Then one bright summer's day in 1982, ambitious 11-year-old Martin Lindstrom opened Legoland's doors, optimistically anticipating hoards of visitors from near and far. Not a single person showed up.

Aware that something more than mere brilliant design was needed to attract visitors, young Martin suddenly had a flash of inspiration: he would advertise! He promptly persuaded the local newspaper to run an ad, and sure enough, the following week 131 people streamed through the garden gate. Including two lawyers from LEGO, who very politely informed Martin that if he persisted in using the name 'LEGOLAND' he would be guilty of trademark infringement. That's when he first realized the seductive power of marketing and advertising.

So Martin decided to open his own advertising agency, which he succeeded in doing a couple of months later, at the ripe age of 12. And thus, a lifelong relationship with marketing and brands was born.

After selling his agency in 1988, Lindstrom attended the Academy of Advertising before joining international giant, BBDO. In 1994 he went on to form the groups first interactive agency; BBDO Interactive, and three years later he founded BBDO Interactive Asia Pacific, both agencies growing to become the largest Internet solution companies in their respective regions. By the age of 30, Lindstrom had become one of the most respected names in the industry.

He has since spent 300 days on the road annually sharing his brand of wisdom and pioneering methodologies through speaking engagements and his role as trusted advisor to countless high profile companies, celebrities and royal families.

In 2009, amidst the rubble of the economic meltdown, Lindstrom opened a new chapter. Disheartened by much that he had seen on the front lines of the branding wars for the last two decades, he decided to turn the spotlight inward, and reveal all he'd learned along his journey from 11-year old Lego enthusiast to one of the globe's foremost marketing experts. His goal? By exposing the best kept tricks and secrets of the marketing world, and opening our eyes to all the ways in which we, as consumers, are being manipulated and deceived, he would help each one learn to resist the siren song of advertising and make smarter, more informed decisions about how we spend our money. The goal is to prepare brands for a more transperent and honest appraoch where secrets no longer will be possible and thus transperancy is needed. Brandwashed is the culmination of this ambitious undertaking.

Lindstrom has been featured and continues to be featured in the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, The Economist, New York Times, BusinessWeek, The Washington Post, USAToday, Forbes and Harvard Business Review. He also frequently appears on NBC's TODAY show, ABC News, CNN Money, CBS, Bloomberg, FOX & Friends, Discovery Channel and the BBC. Lindstrom also pens a weekly column for Fast Company and TIME Magazine and appears regularly America's #1 ranking morning TV show, The TODAY Show, as an expert on consumer awareness and advocacy. In 2011 Lindstrom appeared in the Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me0 documentary: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.

His latest book, Brandwashed (Crown) is based on a 3-month long, $3 million guerilla marketing experiment, exploring the most powerful hidden persuader of them all. Us!

Buyology (paperback released February 2010 by Crown Publishing), was voted "pick of the year" by USA Today, and, between 2008 and 2009, reached ten of the top 10 bestseller lists in the U.S. and worldwide. His 6 books have been translated into more than 40 languages and published in more than 60 countries globally.

In 2009, TIME Magazine, named Lindstrom one of the World's 100 Most Influential People for his groundbreaking work on neuroscience and branding.

Visit MartinLindstrom.com to learn more.

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