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Compassion, Inc.: How Corporate America Blurs the Line between What We Buy, Who We Are, and Those We Help Hardcover – April 26, 2012

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Compassion, Inc.: How Corporate America Blurs the Line between What We Buy, Who We Are, and Those We Help + Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor (California Series in Public Anthropology)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (April 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520266528
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520266520
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #382,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“”Einstein has the unenviable task of reminding us that shopping is not philanthropy. The consumer marketplace is increasingly becoming the mechanism for funding organizations that do charitable work, thus tying the fates of charities to the whims of the market, Einstein warns. It is also enabling governments to further abdicate problem-solving, with the result that the causes we care so much about are not genuinely helped.”
(Laura Orlando Ms Magazine 2012-04-01)

“Einstein’s book is a powerful call to be more attentive to whether we’re letting ourselves try to be philanthropic on the cheap by “giving” to others when we’re really just getting something for ourselves.”
(Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill Philanthropy Daily 2012-05-15)

“A highly worthwhile read with prescriptive examples for authentic sustainability and social justice initiatives at companies—not all about the brand, the celebrity or corporate self-interest.”
(Rebecca Aguilar Book Kvetch Blog 2012-04-27)

“On our must-read list.”
(Humane Connection 2012-06-06)

“Marketing campaigns associated with philanthropy . . . may sound magnanimous, but when Einstein shines a lens on the practice, she finds considerable cracks in the veneer.”
(Laura Orlando Ms Magazine 2012-01-15)

(Rance Crain Advertising Age 2013-06-04)

"Eminently readable. . . . Few have questioned whether [corporate charitable giving] strategies are good for anyone but corporations. Mara Einstein is one of the brave few."
(Billie Sandberg International Society for Third-Sector Research (ISTR) 2012-08-01)

From the Inside Flap

“Mara Einstein once again brings a clear head and discerning eye to one of our culture's most energetically promoted yet ambiguously motivated sectors. Whether you want to do real good for the world - or simply ridicule those who have been fooled into thinking they are - this book will show you the light.” -Douglas Rushkoff, author of Life Inc: How Corporatism Conquered the World and How We Can Take it Back

"Mara Einstein pulls back the curtain on some of the most important marketing developments of our day with a nuanced analysis that is both penetrating and fair minded." -Joseph Turow, author of The Daily You: How the New Advertising Industry is Defining Your Identity and Your World

Compassion, Inc challenges us as human beings to look at the true effects of our attempts to "purchase for positive social change." Einstein clearly articulates how we are too often creating the very same problems we are trying to solve. In this smart and well-researched look at the oxymoron of sustainable consumption, Einstein shows us that there is indeed another way, and how we can be more effective as consumers, but most importantly as citizens.” -Courtney Hull, Hull Family Foundation

More About the Author

Mara Einstein has been working in or writing about the media industry for the past 20 years. She has enjoyed stints as an executive at NBC, MTV Networks, and at major advertising agencies working on such accounts as Miller Lite, Uncle Ben's and Dole Foods.

In addition to her books, Dr. Einstein has written for Newsday, Broadcasting & Cable, Ad Age and a number of popular blogs as well as having her work appear in academic journals and edited texts. She is currently working on a book about stealth marketing. Dr. Einstein is a Professor at Queens College and an independent marketing consultant.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amy on May 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Have you ever noticed all the "green" products nowadays and been skeptical of whether the companies making those products really care about the environment or are just jumping on the "do good" bandwagon? Have you ever felt uncomfortable with the idea of purchasing products to make a donation, like Product(RED) items, or donations that get you a badge of honor to wear, such as the ubiquitous yellow LIVESTRONG and other rubber bracelets? If so, you will probably enjoy this book; if these questions haven't ever crossed your mind before now, you should definitely read this book.

Compassion, Inc. is a thoughtful analysis of the trends of cause-marketing that seem to be tied in to almost every major corporation today. Mara Einstein evaluates different corporations and the causes they support--and comes to some surprising conclusions for those of us looking to do good with our pocketbooks. Oftentimes, companies obfuscate how much money is actually being donated to a charity, or what has to be done to cause that donation (it's not always as simple as buying a product, sometimes codes need to be entered on websites, etc.), or caps are placed on the amount of donations that will be raised. Einstein looks at some of the larger campaigns and thoughtfully discerns which are primarily about helping charities and causes and which are really focused on the product, celebrity, or giver and therefore seem to ultimately be a marketing ploy. She also raises some of the deep underlying questions about these issues: Should corporations be seen as the public saviors (neo-liberalism)? Do we all too easily buy into consumerism as opposed to good citizenship? Are we more concerned with easy "quick-fixes" instead of the hard, long-term work that is really necessary to solve some of society's gravest ills?
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By CausesLA on August 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover
It is easy to take one view of a complicated subject and then ignore other sides. I wish Einstein, who clearly can think well and deeply about a topic, had chosen to think and write more broadly.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By eabseacliff on February 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I haven't finished reading it yet, but so far it is a very well-written, wonderful examples, thought-provoking, challenging the status-quo book. Thank you for undertaking this study!
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