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Naked Consumer: How Our Private Lives Become Public Commodities Paperback – February 1, 1994

4.9 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Former Wall Street Journal reporter Larson investigates consumer espionage and invasive marketing practices in this alarming and compelling expose.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Larson, a business journalist, takes a somewhat paranoid look at how market researchers and giant databanks invade our privacy and compile vast amounts of information that could be used against individuals or groups. However, in spite of being studied like bugs, consumers still manage to confound the researchers. While Larson acknowledges that, if marketing campaigns were perfectly aimed, people would receive ads for products that they wanted, and that they might even welcome this attention, the effort to find these customers is viewed as sinister, because of the chance of the wrong people accessing the information. David Duke's candidacy is cited as an example of the danger. Larson also explores and deplores political pollsters' effects on elections. This title might interest both market researchers and the public because of its detailed accounts of ongoing research. It would have appeal in public libraries with business or consumer collections.
- Sue McKimm, Cuyahoga Cty. P.L., Cleveland
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition edition (February 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140233032
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140233032
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Erik Larson is a writer, journalist and novelist. Nominated for a Pulitzer prize for investigative journalism on The Wall Street Journal, he has taught non-fiction writing at San Francisco State and Johns Hopkins.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Even though written in the early nineties, amazingly timely today (2008). Certainly technology has evolved and made data gathering exponentially easier, but the principles remain the same. I am a marketeer, so I read it not as the criticism the author intends it but as a primer of all the opportunities and implications related to data collection and aggregation. Erik Larson considers an affront to his privacy getting a sample package from P&G at his house before he is even back from the hospital with his newborn baby, to me it is just excellent data collection and marketing.

I would love to read an updated edition taking into account all the new technology.
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Although the information presented is pretty well documented at this point, it's still an engaging read. I would LOVE to see a new version published that takes into account for the advances in technology since the early 1990s. Email was not nearly as widespread as it is now, and spammers, banner ads and popups are surely in a league of their own when it comes to this type of research. I hope someone comes out with a new edition soon!
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Format: Paperback
I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing. Let me just say that this book is the greatest. It even made me ashamed to be a marketing person! Enough said!
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..who invade and abuse the privacy rights of citizens around the world. Read this well written overview and realize that we can all be victimized by the excessive zeal of those who wish to profit from or control us...
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THE NAKED CONSUMER

Having just read “Dead Wake,” Erik Larson’s latest blockbuster, and having consumed each of his previous novels, I ran across his very first book, a nonfiction account of how companies spy on the consumer. I was curious as to how Larson would report on my least favorite social activity. He handled it with remarkable aplomb.

Published in 1992, when Larson was a free-lancer living in Baltimore, it’s a book he claims to love, although apparently no one else did. It is not the booming hit his later novels have become, but I liked it and believe that the consumer, even more put upon now by sleazy marketing than when Larson wrote the book, would find it mesmerizing and should read it.

Larson, in his clear and precise reporting, tells us how tax dollars have enabled marketers to find us, zero in on our secret wishes, and persuade us to buy things we don’t need. We are all on lists that help companies locate us, determine what we are patsies for, and how to make us empty our pocketbooks. The US Census, as have many other public agencies, although confidentiality is promised, has given immense amounts of information to companies that exist to sort through, quantify, and assemble data into lists that identify every person in our country by name, address, ethnicity, economic wealth, living condition, household makeup, religion, and any other characteristic that’s usable in determining vulnerability to marketing schemes...and to make a great deal of money doing so.

This book is complex and mindboggling. To me it is also infuriating. I’m not some naïve dolt who thinks I exist in a vacuum, safe and secure in my cocoon of privacy.
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good history of development of customer research and profiling. Would be good to update this to include the last 20 years...the age of the social media revolution
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