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The Hidden Persuaders Paperback – July 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Ig Publishing; Reissue Ed edition (July 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097884310X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0978843106
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Vance Packard (1914 -1996) was an American journalist, social critic, and best-selling author. Among his books were the million-selling Hidden Persuaders, The Status Seekers, which described American social stratification and behavior, The Waste Makers, which criticizes planned obsolescence, and The Naked Society, about the threats to privacy posed by new technologies. Mark Crispin Miller is the author of the best-selling books Cruel and Unusual: Bush/Cheney's New World Order, The Bush Dyslexicon, and Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election & Why They'll Steal the Next One Too. An expert in propaganda and media, he teaches at New York University.

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Customer Reviews

Most of us realize that we are being influenced all the time.
Steven Chambers
This book is filled with lots of interesting examples detailing life and attitudes in the fifties when the book was written.
Shalom Freedman
I read this book when I was in high school, and it was an eye-opener.
Michael R Barnard

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

90 of 92 people found the following review helpful By Stanley Allen on December 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
Written at the cusp of the 'consumer revolution', this book is both a quaint historical piece and a prophesy of what was to come. The tangential thesis of the book is that by the mid-fifties, the standard problems in capitalism -- those of production and distribution of goods -- were solved, but that this introduced another problem: all of these goods must be consumed. So, it became necessary to step up the techniques used to market these goods.
Advertising was nothing new, but the psychological intricacy and sophistication in it was ratcheted up significantly. Using Freud, Jung, and whatever other foundation proved workable, social scientists and psychoanalysts honed their skills to develop an ever-growing repertoire of tricks that would induce us all to spend and consume at ever-higher levels.
Two things make the book relevant today: 1) nothing has changed either in the economic situation or in the techniques, except that both have become even more intense (two thirds of the 2002 U.S. GNP depends on consumer spending); and 2) no other book has yet come forward to do a better job at showing, in great anecdotal detail and for a broad audience, what depth marketing is all about.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 7, 1998
Format: Paperback
The Hidden Persuaders explores the dark world of advertising and the effects it has upon our minds. Even though it was written originally in 1957, most of its material is still relevant today. At first, one may be lead to the conclusion Vance Packard has gone off the far end with his accusations of subliminal mind control, but he provides so much factual data you finally come to realize this isn't any joking matter. Everyone should read this book, at least to become familiar with its theme, and to increase personal awareness of the underlying messages our minds are exposed to every day. Packard will help you understand virtually hundreds of ways corporations get you to give away your hard earned money readily. He explains not only how companies make you tick, but why they make you tick. After reading the book, you will never watch another commercial or listen to another advertisement the same.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Keidi Obi Awadu (consrast@ix.netcom.com) on July 31, 1999
Format: Paperback
THE HIDDEN PERSUADERS by Vance Packard stands as one of the more eye-opening accounts of the development of the motivational sciences in the 20th Century. What is being described by Packard is the evolution of a systematic relationship between merchandisers of America's then-booming manufacturing industries who teemed up with Madison Avenue-style advertising firms, who themselves were backed by a network of behavioral scientists. As described by Packard, this network not only developed novel and creative ways of reaching into the psyche of its intended target audiance to tap into hidden motivations; but in the process of turning us all into more compliant consumers, so shifted the values of the entire society that they changed American society for all time. Today many of us have virtually succumbed our natural "reality" to a phony existance based upon presenting an image of ourselves to our peers that is actually based upon media and market-generated values. Once we understand the process that created this vast consumer culture, with all it's attendant neuroses, we can then begin to fashion for ourselves a strategy for recovering our basic humanity. What is being described in THE HIDDEN PERSUADERS, is the origins of a system to manipulate us out of that humanity.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 3, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Vance Packard is a man ahead of his times. Although this book was published forty years ago, it is not dated at all. Packard shows us in a witty way how producers hire motivation researchers to determine why consumers buy the products they do. This is the first book I have read on this subject, and it is very interesting to read how people actually have a job in which they determine what motivates a person to buy a product. I knew that a product's appearance had some weight on its probability of selling, but I had no idea as to what extent this occurs in. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone. It is very easy to understand and straightforward.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Steven Chambers on April 19, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Most of us realize that we are being influenced all the time. What most of us don't realize is just how much we are controlled and influenced. The Hidden Persuaders will describe to you the early efforts made to understand, control and influence people in the name of consumerism and control. This book should scare you, especially when you stop and think about how much more refined the methods are today.

A key point made by the book is the primary difference between manipulation and persuasion is intent. Even the most cursory look at history will tell you that when the tools exist, someone will use them to dominate and control others. In fact, they are being used right now and everyday to control us. The Matrix is alive and well and real.

Read this book.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
It is hard to believe that one of the most perceptive and important books on the shaping of modern society is out of print. This book shows how the workings of our minds have been scientifically evaluated, and this knowledged used to manipulate them. Not in any 'X-Files' manner, just straight out appealing to our basic desires and needs. Read this book, and then as yourself what every ad and salesperson is doing to you when you see them. It's all there, so they aren't hard to work out.
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