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No Logo: No Space, No Choice, No Jobs [Paperback]

by Naomi Klein
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (187 customer reviews)


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Book Description

April 6, 2002 0312421435 978-0312421434 First Edition
With a new Afterword to the 2002 edition,  No Logo employs journalistic savvy and personal testament to detail the insidious practices and far-reaching effects of corporate marketing—and the powerful potential of a growing activist sect that will surely alter the course of the 21st century. First published before the World Trade Organization protests in Seattle, this is an infuriating, inspiring, and altogether pioneering work of cultural criticism that investigates money, marketing, and the anti-corporate movement.

As global corporations compete for the hearts and wallets of consumers who not only buy their products but willingly advertise them from head to toe—witness today’s schoolbooks, superstores, sporting arenas, and brand-name synergy—a new generation has begun to battle consumerism with its own best weapons. In this provocative, well-written study, a front-line report on that battle, we learn how the Nike swoosh has changed from an athletic status-symbol to a metaphor for sweatshop labor, how teenaged McDonald’s workers are risking their jobs to join the Teamsters, and how “culture jammers” utilize spray paint, computer-hacking acumen, and anti-propagandist wordplay to undercut the slogans and meanings of billboard ads (as in “Joe Chemo” for “Joe Camel”).

No Logo will challenge and enlighten students of sociology, economics, popular culture, international affairs, and marketing.

“This book is not another account of the power of the select group of corporate Goliaths that have gathered to form our de facto global government. Rather, it is an attempt to analyze and document the forces opposing corporate rule, and to lay out the particular set of cultural and economic conditions that made the emergence of that opposition inevitable.”—Naomi Klein, from her Introduction


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

We live in an era where image is nearly everything, where the proliferation of brand-name culture has created, to take one hyperbolic example from Naomi Klein's No Logo, "walking, talking, life-sized Tommy [Hilfiger] dolls, mummified in fully branded Tommy worlds." Brand identities are even flourishing online, she notes--and for some retailers, perhaps best of all online: "Liberated from the real-world burdens of stores and product manufacturing, these brands are free to soar, less as the disseminators of goods or services than as collective hallucinations."

In No Logo, Klein patiently demonstrates, step by step, how brands have become ubiquitous, not just in media and on the street but increasingly in the schools as well. (The controversy over advertiser-sponsored Channel One may be old hat, but many readers will be surprised to learn about ads in school lavatories and exclusive concessions in school cafeterias.) The global companies claim to support diversity, but their version of "corporate multiculturalism" is merely intended to create more buying options for consumers. When Klein talks about how easy it is for retailers like Wal-Mart and Blockbuster to "censor" the contents of videotapes and albums, she also considers the role corporate conglomeration plays in the process. How much would one expect Paramount Pictures, for example, to protest against Blockbuster's policies, given that they're both divisions of Viacom?

Klein also looks at the workers who keep these companies running, most of whom never share in any of the great rewards. The president of Borders, when asked whether the bookstore chain could pay its clerks a "living wage," wrote that "while the concept is romantically appealing, it ignores the practicalities and realities of our business environment." Those clerks should probably just be grateful they're not stuck in an Asian sweatshop, making pennies an hour to produce Nike sneakers or other must-have fashion items. Klein also discusses at some length the tactic of hiring "permatemps" who can do most of the work and receive few, if any, benefits like health care, paid vacations, or stock options. While many workers are glad to be part of the "Free Agent Nation," observers note that, particularly in the high-tech industry, such policies make it increasingly difficult to organize workers and advocate for change.

But resistance is growing, and the backlash against the brands has set in. Street-level education programs have taught kids in the inner cities, for example, not only about Nike's abusive labor practices but about the astronomical markup in their prices. Boycotts have commenced: as one urban teen put it, "Nike, we made you. We can break you." But there's more to the revolution, as Klein optimistically recounts: "Ethical shareholders, culture jammers, street reclaimers, McUnion organizers, human-rights hacktivists, school-logo fighters and Internet corporate watchdogs are at the early stages of demanding a citizen-centered alternative to the international rule of the brands ... as global, and as capable of coordinated action, as the multinational corporations it seeks to subvert." No Logo is a comprehensive account of what the global economy has wrought and the actions taking place to thwart it. --Ron Hogan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In the global economy, all the world's a marketing opportunity. From this elemental premise, freelance journalist and Toronto Star columnist Klein methodically builds an angry and funny case against branding in general and several large North American companies in particular, notably Gap, Microsoft and Starbucks. Looking around her, Klein finds that the breathless promise of the information ageAthat it would be a time of consumer choice and interactive communicationAhas not materialized. Instead, huge corporations that present themselves as lifestyle purveyors rather than mere product manufacturers dominate the airwaves, physical space and cyberspace. Worse, Klein argues, these companies have harmed not just the culture but also workersAand not just in the Third World but also in the U.S., where companies rely on temps because they'd rather invest in marketing than in labor. In the latter sections, Klein describes a growing backlash embodied by the guerrilla group Reclaim the Streets, which turns busy intersections into spaces for picnics and political protest. Her tour of the branded world is rife with many perverse examples of how corporate names penetrate all aspects of life (who knew there was a K-Mart Chair of Marketing at Wayne State University?). Mixing an activist's passion with sophisticated cultural commentary, Klein delivers some elegant formulations: "Free speech is meaningless if the commercial cacophony has risen to the point where no one can hear you." Charts and graphs not seen by PW. Agent, Westwood Creative Artists. (Jan.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Series: Bestselling Backlist
  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; First Edition edition (April 6, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312421435
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312421434
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.7 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (187 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #293,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist and author of the international bestsellers, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (2007) and No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies (2000). She writes a regular column for The Nation magazine and the Guardian newspaper and is a contributing editor at Harper's magazine. In 2004, she wrote and co-produced, with director Avi Lewis, The Take, an award-winning feature documentary about Argentina's cooperatively-run, occupied factories. She is at work on a new book and film about the (r)evolutionary power of climate change called This Changes Everything to be published in September 2014. Please visit her website at: naomiklein.org

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
295 of 318 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I may disagree, but this is a fun and valuable book October 25, 2001
Format:Paperback
WHile I worried that this was a simple ideological diatribe, I was very happily surprized at the intelligence and substance of Klein's book. It is a tough, well-reasoned manifesto for the anti-consumerism left of "Gen X." If you are wondering what was driving many of those protesters at the WTO and other summit meetings - most notoriously Seattle in late 1999 - then this book is the best place I know. It is part cultural critique, part economics and social policy, and partly a call to arms. Reading it has helped me to make sense of so much that I thought was simple, nihilistic anarchism. I was humbled to learn that there is far far more behind the movement than I had granted it.
In a nutshell, Klein argues that the "superbrands" - the huge corporations such as Disney and Nike - are progressively taking over virtually all "public spaces," including school curricula, neighborhoods, and all-encompassing infotainment malls like Virgin Megastores. THey are doing this in an attempt enter our minds as consumers in the most intimate ways, which Klein and others find unbearably intrusive. Moreover, she argues, as they subcontract overseas, the superbrands are leaving first-world workers behind while they exploit those in the developing world under horible conditions. It all adds up, she asserts, into a kind of emerging global worker solidarity that is developing new means (via internet exposes, protest campaigns, etc.) to push the superbrands to adopt more just policies and practices.
What was so amazing and useful for me, as a business writer looking at the same issues, is that Klein so often hones in on the underside of what I think are good and effective business practices: the development of brand values, globalisation of the production/value chain to lower prices, and the like.
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80 of 83 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly Disturbing October 19, 2003
By Publius
Format:Paperback
I found this book to be very interesting, and disturbing. Klein is certainly a Leftist, and generally as a conservative I would dispute much of her world-view but with the first half of her book she is on to something. I believe that the second half is less successful, and I do not share her idealization of graffiti artists and anti-global activists, but overall her book is a provacative and important one. Read and beware.
I would like to respond to an earlier reviewer's comments, which many of my friends have directed me to when I told them of the book. Tristan from Australia finds fault with a graph in her book (not indexed for inflation) and then sets to beaking her over the head with it. I think he misses much of the point of her book - even if her graph is off.
There is no question based on anecdotal evidence alone that advertising and the pervasiveness of "branded" space has increased. Look at modern sports stadiums, say the NFL - they're all named after corporations. The athletes at "FedEx Field" are all wearing brands that the team has negotiated (and been paid large sums to wear) - and they can be fined if they aren't wearing a "Starter brand" cap when they sit on the bench, etc. They then sit down and drink a Gatorade, while they watch the Coca-cola sponsored half-time show featuring Michael Jackson, Britney Spears or whoever the company believes they can best get to flog their product. The highlights from the first half will be then shown on the X-brand half-time show, and then recreated using graphics from EA Sports John Madden game. You could avoid all this and go to a movie, but first you'll have to sit through advertisements before the movie - and not just for upcoming movies anymore.
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86 of 96 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
With a 16 year old son in our house, I've not only been fighting the "brand name bullies" outside our home but the teenaged one INSIDE our home as well. So it was a no-brainer for me to buy and read this book. I won't say it was an easy read. But the information contained within it was worth the time spent. More importantly, I left the book lying in a spot where my son was sure to see it and was gratified when he picked it up and read parts of it. Now he has loosened his rigid stance on having only the "coolest" clothes with the "best" logos on them and started to realize that his individuality was being manipulated to some degree by advertisers. He's started talking to his friend about the book too. Having said that, I don't want ANYONE to think this book doesn't have its flaws. There is repetition of some subjects that have already been discussed ad nauseum in the media already - advertising in the public schools via educational channels and other subjects. But there is also plenty of new information and Klein makes her case with solid, clear arguments.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
..
SHORT STORY:
This is a very, very interesting book regardless of what the "ending" or the "higher purport" may be and irrespective of the pseudo-intellectual nitpicking by a number of other reviewers. So get it, read it and enjoy it. Even if it doesn't ruffle your fancies, it brims with real factual evidence about the dark side of big business so at the very least you'll leave with some very interesting information off a single, compact compilation.
THE LONG, WINDING RAMBLE:
The basic premise of the book is to highlight how advertising and general business practices have changed in the last twenty years. Essentially, companies decided that they were no longer in the business of selling products, because products are messy, duplicable, or even improvable. But if you are selling an idea, an experience, a set of associations, it is much harder for another company to compete with you. Think of Tommy Hilfiger for instance -- clothes manufactured in China and India for throw-away costs, but their designs are frantically devoured globally at horrendous price tags. This is why branding is big, and sometimes clandestine, business.
The book is divided into four sections: 'No Space,' 'No Choice,' 'No Jobs' and 'No Logo.' 'No Space' is about the cluttering of our public spaces with ads; 'No Choice' describes different tactics used by big-name brands to drive independent retailers out of business; 'No Jobs' takes aim at sweatshop labour but with the corporations' "Brand, not products!" mentality in mind (it also includes details of Klein's trip to an Export Processing Zone just south of Manila); finally, 'No Logo' documents the global movement against branding and many of the organizations and people behind the revolt.
POSITIVES:
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye opener
Naomi Klein is one of the greatest thinkers of our time. After reading her books, your life will never be the same again.
Published 2 months ago by Melanie Zuben
5.0 out of 5 stars Naomi hits another home run
explains the branding phenom . Solid research on the genesis from label to full body billboarding of our apparel. Cotton tattooing
Published 5 months ago by scotland
5.0 out of 5 stars A must Have Book
I liked every page of this book. It gives you all the information regarding brands. They ups and downs during diffrent times of the century.
Published 7 months ago by Korabii
5.0 out of 5 stars Exposes truth about a multi-billion industry
Naomi Klein is the female version of Michael Moore, but is nicer to look at! This is a great addition to the other books I have of hers.
Published 8 months ago by Barbara Renton
2.0 out of 5 stars Latest update: 1997
I read somewhere someone describing Naomi Klein's deconstruction of Roots, the Canadian branded clothing store, and realised only then that her book, No Logo, was written by a... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Surferofromantica
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning writer!
Klein has a brilliantly incisive mind and a writing style that sets the table for a yet-to-be-delivered meal that lives up to every promise. Read more
Published 11 months ago by howard
2.0 out of 5 stars Just another student rant
Except for the first part of the work, Naomi Klein's No Logo reads like a college paper rant and doesn't get much better. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Vincent Poirier
5.0 out of 5 stars Kindle time.
My son bought....gives it a 10! He said that although he prefers fiction, this was still an interesting read. Better then he had thought it was going to be.
Published 17 months ago by Natalie
5.0 out of 5 stars An important book for understanding late capitalism
Unlike some of the people who rated this book with 1 or 2 stars (and obviously hated it), I've actually read it, and I'm rating it 5 out of 5. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Samuel T. Miller
2.0 out of 5 stars Tedious and un-enlightening
This book has aged terribly, which helps highlight just how poor many of its arguments actually are. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Begurken
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