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Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture Paperback – Bargain Price, October 4, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The kinds of marketing practices that Schor describes in this book are shocking and outrageous. Many parents have heard of Channel One, an organization that puts TVs in schools for free, but parents may not be aware that in exchange for use of the equipment, administrators agree to force students to watch Channel One program complete with commercials while sitting in their seats and with the volume turned on. But force-feeding commercials to a captive audience of school kids is nothing compared to other current practices, such as having children conduct and even surreptitiously videotape focus-group data from friends at slumber parties that marketers pay them to organize.Read more ›
By the way, I recommended the book to my book club -- all men, mostly with children. Me, a child psychiatrist, a lawyer and a bunch of engineer types. Not a group for "chick books." We thought it was one of the best we've read in a couple of years.
In her latest book, renowned economist, consumer/family studies expert, and founding New American Dream Board Member Juliet B. Schor argues that this impact is detrimental, and something we ought to be paying much more attention to.
Says Schor, "We have become a nation that places a lower priority on teaching its children how to thrive socially, intellectually, even spiritually, than it does on training them to consume."
Indeed, her documentation of commercialization within schools is truly disturbing. And the results of a survey which Schor administered to a sampling of "tween"-aged children strongly indicate that heavy involvement in consumer culture jeopardizes children's well-being.
Ultimately, Schor argues that we need to take steps to decommercialize childhood, and she lays out several intriguing ideas for how to do so. Highly captivating and packed with vivid examples, this book should be required reading not only for parents but for anyone who cares about the future of our society.
Reading "Born to Buy" will make you want to throw out the TV, disconnect from the Internet, run to the country and home-school your children. Simply put, there's no way to avoid marketing techniques, and your child will succumb to the corporate-commercially constructed childhood. With all the doom and gloom in this book, Schor offers little hope of avoidance...in the end, she does provide a few solutions.
All in all, "Born to Buy" was very informative and an easy, entertaining read. However, some of Schor's original research and statistics caused me to get bogged down. I wasn't looking for scholarly research and did not need to see these statistics. Additionally, Schor seemed to use this book as a chance to take shots at the Bush administration. Although I'm not a fan of this administration and some of the criticism is valid, I do not think Bush started this problem...he's just done nothing to fix it.
All in all, this is well worth the read, especially if you have small children...just skip over the stats near the end, and forgive Schor's attempts at making this political.
Born to Buy focuses in on those very issues. It's written by Juliet Schor, who also wrote The Overspent American, a book focusing on adults and consumerism that I reviewed a while back and quite enjoyed.
Much like Schor's earlier book, I found Born to Buy thoroughly well-researched and insightful, but did it really open my eyes to the relationship between consumer behavior and my children? Let's dig into the book and find out.
One quick general comment: this book is fact-packed and well researched. In fact, it's almost overwhelming and I found myself reading it in chunks and on occasion tracking down referenced source materials to find out more. To me, this is a good thing; to others, it may come off like drinking from a fire hose.
The book opens with a historical perspective of the history of marketing, going back to the nascent days when children weren't marketed to at all, forward to the period between World War I and World War II where marketing for child-targeted products were pitched at the parents, on to today where most advertising is targeted at children in some way or another.
The Changing World of Children's Consumption
To be honest, I found this chapter depressing.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Far and away one of the best discussions of the pervasiveness and consequences of consumerism in our culture. First rate.Published 17 months ago by Alan G. Nasser Sr.
As parents who were raised in the 80's "boom" of commercial culture, it was essential for us to read this book. Read morePublished on April 15, 2014 by Kendra Patocki
As a childhood studies student I give this book a great five star rating! Great material and references and stories within. Highly recommend thisPublished on September 27, 2013 by Sara J. Delp
This book was interesting in Marketing class to understand the psyche behind the art of getting people to buy products. Why some brands were successful and others were not.Published on July 30, 2013 by MGT
Although the material is meaningful and helpful.
Only a motivated parent with finish reading it. Read more
I had to read this for a class I was taking. It is thought provoking and makes you think about how twisted the U.S. consumer system behaves.Published on September 11, 2010 by Statik1221
First of all, this is a very good book. I feel like this review is going to come off as critical, but overall, the message is great.
This book was published in 2004. Read more