Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

  • List Price: $16.00
  • Save: $2.31 (14%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 16 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Coercion: Why We Listen t... has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Good
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

Coercion: Why We Listen to What "They" Say Paperback – October 1, 2000

4.4 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
$0.97 $0.01
$13.69 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 16 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • Coercion: Why We Listen to What "They" Say
  • +
  • How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships
Total price: $22.93
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In 1994's Cyberia: Life in the Trenches of Hyperspace, Douglas Rushkoff extolled the democratic promise of the then-emergent Internet, but the once optimistic author has grown a bit disillusioned with what the Net--and the rest of the world--has become. His exuberantly written, disturbing Coercion may induce paranoia in readers as it illuminates the countless ways marketing has insinuated itself not just into every aspect of Western culture but into our individual lives. Rushkoff opens with a series of pronouncements: "They say human beings use only ten percent of their brains.... They say Prozac alleviates depression." But "who, exactly, are 'they,'" he asks, and "why do we listen to them?"

Marketing continues to grow more aggressive, and Rushkoff tracks the increasingly coercive techniques it employs to ingrain its message in the minds of consumers, as well as the results: toddlers can recognize the golden arches of McDonald's, young rebels get tattooed with the Nike swoosh, and news stories are increasingly taken verbatim from company press releases. "Corporations and consumers are in a coercive arms race," argues Rushkoff. "Every effort we make to regain authority over our actions is met by an even greater effort to usurp it." As he surveys the visual, aural, and scented shopping environment and interviews salesmen, public relations men, telemarketers, admen, and consumers, Rushkoff--who admits to being one of "them" in his occasional capacity as paid corporate consultant--concludes that "they" are just "us" and that the only way the process of coercion can be reversed is to refuse to comply. "Without us," he assures, "they don't exist." --Kera Bolonik --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Until recently a cyber-optimist who, in popular books like Cyberia and Media Virus, augured a digital revolution, Rushkoff now warns that the promise of the Net as an open-ended civic forum is fading as relentless corporate marketers peddle their wares and capitalize on shortened attention spans. In a scathing critique that extends far beyond cyberspace in scope, Rushkoff identifies the subtle forms of coercion used by advertisers, public relations experts, politicians, religious leaders and customer service reps, among others. Retreading territory covered by critic Neil Postman and others, Rushkoff provides additional examples of how the ordinary person is often unsuspectingly manipulated, whether in the shopping mall, at a sports event or in a Muzak-drenched store or office. This analysis is particularly strong when deconstructing the "postmodern" techniques of persuasion that advertisers use to reach increasingly cynical target audiences, including commercials that self-consciously mock the marketing process. Rushkoff also argues that mass spectacles (e.g., rock festivals, Louis Farrakhan's Million Man March, Promise Keepers rallies) foster "tribal loyalty" but are often contrived, commercial or downright destructive. He devotes a chapter to pyramid schemes used by cults, infomercials, Internet con artists and get-rich-quick marketers. His freewheeling survey underscores the social cost of these coercive strategies, which, he says, tend to make us see one another as marks. Despite his up-to-the-minute examples, however, his overall analysis is not fresh or original enough to take the place of Vance Packard's The Hidden Persuaders. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Books; 1 edition (October 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157322829X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573228299
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Douglas Rushkoff is the author of Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now as well as a dozen other bestselling books on media, technology, and culture, including Program or Be Programmed, Media Virus, Life Inc and the novel Ecstasy Club. His latest book, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity, will be published by Penguin/Portfolio in March 2016. He is Professor of Media Theory and Digital Economics at CUNY/Queens. He wrote the graphic novels Testament and A.D.D., and made the television documentaries Generation Like, Merchants of Cool, The Persuaders, and Digital Nation. He lives in New York, and lectures about media, society, and economics around the world.

Rushkoff's first book about digital culture, Cyberia, was canceled by Bantam in 1992 because they thought the Internet would be "over" by the time the book came out in 1993. It came out the next year with HarperCollins. When he told his publicist there about listing the book on Amazon, she replied "that sounds great! Is Amazon for the Mac or the PC?"

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Douglas Rushkoff used to be a lot more hopeful that the rise of the Internet would free us from the "arms race" of manipulation and counter-manipulation to which we're subjected through the major media. He's changed his mind, in part because he found that his earlier work (notably the famous _Media Virus!_) was being taught in marketing classes to people who wanted to _create_ media viruses.
But he hasn't turned into a pessimist; he still thinks we can break the cycle, and this book is supposed to help us do it. And given his subject, he writes with a refreshing lack of paranoia: he's well aware that all of these techniques are (a) based on common features of "human nature" that ordinarily serve us just fine, and (b) used all the time, to some degree, by all of us. "We are all coercers," he says," and we are all coerced."
As you read the book, it will help to be aware of something Rushkoff doesn't actually get around to explaining until his closing chapter: by "coercion" he means the sort of "persuasion" that is intended to make it difficult or impossible for us to exercise our better judgment -- as distinguished from genuine, no-scare-quotes persuasion, which engages our reason rather than trying to short-circuit it. Bear that in mind if you think -- as I initially did -- that he's confusing coercion and persuasion.
What he's actually talking about is what people of approximately my generation would at one time have called a "mind-cop." (That term, by the way, has very nearly the same literal meaning as "geneivat da'at," or "stealing the mind" -- a term used in Jewish law for certain sorts of deception.
Read more ›
Comment 55 of 59 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
If you've never read anything about the psychology and dynamics of persuasion or coercion, then this will book will open your eyes to this field. Rushkoff asserts that everything is coercive or persuasive in some manner. (Most people view the former as having a stronger connotation.) He deconstructs such areas as advertising, atmospherics (e.g., layout of a store), public relations, and the psychology of hand-to-hand coercion (e.g., mirror consumer's behavior = better rapport = more likely to buy).
Basically, Rushkoff provides numerous examples in each category of how individuals and organizations take advantage of the psychology of human beings. For example, we are more easily persuaded if we regress to when we were younger (and more susceptible to appeals to authority), transfer our feelings to an authority, or listen to certain music or smell certain smells (e.g., bake bread when trying to sell your home).
All told, this book will help the reader to better deconstruct the capitalistic environment that is built on persuasion or coercion of some sort. I also recommend the "Psychology of Persuasion" by Robert Cialdini. Read Neil Postman's "Amusing Ourselves to Death" for a trenchant analysis of the rise of television (and its iatrogenic effects).
Comment 26 of 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Rushkoff's most solid and well-written book to date, an excellent introductory overview of the coercive tactics and techniques used by Internet e-commerce merchants, multi-level marketing personnel, car dealers, and the U.S. military (the 'appeal to a general and broad readership audience' hot-button).
Rushkoff offers insights from his own consulting career, revealing that issues aren't as simplistic or ideologically pure as is sometimes portrayed (the 'response to critics' and 'juicy inside gossip' hot-buttons).
The index and bibliography are well worth pursuing, including Philip Kotler's seminal 'atmospherics in shopping malls/casinos' work, Noam Chomsky's de-construction of thought control in 'democratic' societies, Peter Watson and Christopher Simpson's review of psychological warfare techniques used on domestic populations (car salespeople using CIA interrogation manuals to increase sales), or Robert Dilt's study of the neurological basis of NLP (the 'appeal to authority', 'appeal to power', and 'appeal to specialist, esoteric areas' hot-buttons).
In an escalating arms race, it's no longer just persuasion (Vance Packard) or influence (Robert B. Cialdini), but coercion. Buy a copy for yourself and one for your friends! (the 'if all else fails, make the buyer feel fearful' hot-button).
Have I coerced you into pressing 'buy' yet?
Comment 27 of 29 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By A Customer on March 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is a valuable little inventory of coercive techniques and strategies used by the various traders, promoters, marketers to sell their products (whatever these may be..)in a turn of the century late free market capitalist society, namely the US.Ranging from hand-to-hand selling of products and nlp, shopping mall "atmospherics" and the mass "spectacles", to public relations brief basics, advertising cults (the most insightful section of the book with a well thought out and detailed analysis of how a cult operates in principle and how the different brand names aim for cult-dom), "pyramids" (systems of organization where the benefits remain in the top of the so called pyramid and the rest of the elements at the lower levels work for the sole benefit of those at the top) and an intro to virtual marketing. So far, so good.
My main qualm about the book though is the confusion that the author seems to be in (I cannot phrase any better). I will explain what i mean. With some good editing this book could have been cut down to 1/3, leaving out all the unimportant case histories (stories of friends and acquaintances of the author) that do not help illustrate the points the author is trying to make, the self-referential info and Rushkoff's "dear-diary" ponderings. It could then have been a near perfect overview of the techniques and going by the name of "coercive techniques" instead.
Read more ›
Comment 19 of 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Coercion: Why We Listen to What "They" Say
This item: Coercion: Why We Listen to What "They" Say
Price: $13.69
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com

Want to discover more products? Check out this page to see more: cultural studies