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Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are Kindle Edition
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|Length: 273 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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"A compelling blend of cultural anthropology and business journalism."—Time
"Few observers have plumbed the subterranean poetry of marketing as thoroughly as Walker."—New York Times Book Review
"Superbly readable . . . a thoughtful and unhurried investigation into consumerism . . . marked by meticulous research and careful conclusions."—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Witty . . . Walker unravels what he calls the Desire Code, that tension between wanting to fit in and wanting to stand out, wanting to be unique and yet somehow attached to something greater than ourselves."—Times-Picayune
"Provocative . . . richly reported."—USA Today
From the Trade Paperback edition.
From School Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- Publication Date : June 3, 2008
- File Size : 2075 KB
- Print Length : 273 pages
- Publisher : Random House (June 3, 2008)
- Language: : English
- Word Wise : Enabled
- ASIN : B0015DWKWW
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #847,119 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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"Buying In" is a thought-provoking look at America's consumer culture.
Rob Walker tells us there is a strong disconnect between theories about contemporary immunity to advertising and the consumer culture he has actually observed.
His conclusion is that in a world of many "pretty good choices," modern Americans and others do not buy things based on price and quality issues as much as they buy into ideas about the products, the manufacturers, and themselves.
Psychologists recognize that familiarity with a brand helps people make sense of the world; that people will instinctively buy more expensive goods if they are first asked to contribute to a good cause, that many are willing to help market new products and create a buzz about things they like (--hmmm--doesn't mention that is exactly what reviewers do on Amazon), and that dopamine, a chemical in the brain associated with pleasure, is released when we buy something.
Walker believes that the interconnection between any product and the consumer is more subtle than simply figuring out a need and filling that need. Brands and logos and products of all kinds are symbolic tools used in telling personal stories.
Walkers' final chapter focuses on purchases as visible statement to ourselves and others about who we are. Problems arise, he says, "when people use material goods and experiences not to reflect who they are but to construct who they are."
"Buying In" is a fascinating look at consumer culture.
What this book does provide, however, is an exhaustively-researched, well-illustrated compilation of consumer trends, chiefly over the last 5-10 years, but in many instances, showing the historical roots of current-day market phenomena. What's refreshing about Walker's book--especially for those of us who often get our news and analysis from sites and blogs--is the number of fascinating, oft-obscure academic studies, psychological journal articles, and vintage treatises that he cites in context of making his observations. The "source notes" section at the end of the book is 8.5 pages single-spaced, and reading all of the works he mentions that caught my eye would take months. In that sense, one of the chief merits of Buying In is being such an excellent bibliography for finding the guy who did the definitive study on X or who wrote that influential book on Y.
Perhaps because of being built on such a meticulously-assembled ziggurat of research, Walker doesn't advance any radical theses; if you've been involved in the "commercial persuasion industry" for any length of time many of the thoughts will be familiar. In summary, however, I would not disagree with any of his substantive conclusions, and am convinced that this is a guy who gets it. Buying In convinced me that anything he writes is worth reading--a statement you can't make about many of these johnny-come-lately so-called gurus.
Probably the most interesting part of the book however is the amount of time that Walker spends on the concept of authenticity. Authenticity partly comes from the attributes of the business, rather than just the marketing of the business and part of it comes from the way that the consumer interacts with the brand: what values and attributes that they put on it. It is this complex brew that gives a brand authenticity and engenders trust.
We may be blinded by murky efforts to persuade us, but books like this aid in shining the light to something that for many is untold. Sometimes the examples in each chapter felt repetitive and I would grow tireless with the details, though I found the overall themes to be invaluable in understanding our roles in the ever-looming, ever-changing, (optimistically) increasingly innovative marketplace.
Top reviews from other countries
Walker's concept of `magical thinking' describes that transformative power of brands that can be quite intangible and yet enormously powerful.
He leads us through countless engaging case studies of businesses and brands (fashion retail and otherwise) who have harnessed the knowledge of their market and how they create their own identities through purchasing power.
It's fascinating. Think you're immune to marketing and brand loyalty? Prepare to think again.