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Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole Hardcover – March 19, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
People defend popular culture such as Harry Potter or Shrek, but these are all pure escapism and have very little relevance to our daily lives. Reviewers of those films make tortured comparisons to try and prove relevance to daily life, but the sad fact is that many people have become conditioned to not expect more, and perhaps not even have the patience to view a more substantive work.
Other reviewers insist that they aren't manipulated and that they have free choice. To an extent that is true, but one can easily argue that many people are making poor choices because they have been so deeply conditioned by advertisers. How can you justify spending 50K$ on a car, and replacing it when it is 3 years old when an inexpensive well-made car will fulfill the basic needs of transportation and may last 5-8 years instead? How can you justify spending money on bottled water when tap water in most areas is just fine? And how can you justify accumulating tens of thousands in consumer debt just to acquire all of this stuff? There are countless such examples all over the place.
And finally, there is the paradigm that runs deeply through our society that having more money and having more material goods will somehow make you happier.Read more ›
There is nothing new about fulminating against the excesses of consumer capitalism. Critics from Thorstein Veblen, to John Kenneth Galbraith, to Daniel Bell have done as much. Barber extols the productivist capitalism of an earlier era, characterized by hard work, discipline, and deferred gratification. This type of capitalism met "the real needs of real people." Today in the era of consumer capitalism basic needs are met rather quickly, leaving the consumer with lots of disposable income and many options of spending it foolishly.
It has long been known by marketing executives that the purpose of advertising is to make people buy what they don't really need. One wonders about the long term consequences of a lifetime of this kind of brainwashing. Barber breaks the process down into two stages. The first is the "consumerization of the child." This is done by inculcating shopping-centered behavior in children, training them to become habitual shoppers and even developing brand consciousness. The second stage is not to have the child develop into an adult.Read more ›
Having worked for years in the advertising industry, I can tell you that the manufacturing of envy, desire and wantonness is in full swing. Our culture cannot withstand much more of it. But the answer that eludes Mr. Barber is not found in the writings of philosophers or economic engineers, but on the hearts of our citizens.
Why do the messages of the advertisers work so effectively? I can tell you as a former copywriter paid to write radio, print and tv, we were never thinking about the products alone, supply and demand, or economic theories when we designed ads. We were concentrating upon the human beings to whom we were speaking. What were their fears? What were their struggles? What makes them feel better? What do they think in their daily routine? We would often spend hours listening to them in focus groups. We would write stream of consciousness monologues trying to connect with them and their needs.
The truth is, Mr. Barver's measurement of our culture and its ills, is razor sharp and accurate to the micrometer. But as he begins to discuss solutions to the situation, the heart of "Andy Consumer" is lost and he begins to pontificate upon the ideas of society and particular reactions of larger movements. Like many intellectuals, he misses the point that change doesn't begin with philosophers or kings.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is simply a rant. It's an inventory of wild generalizations with no substance. I made it to page 102 (of 339) and threw it in the paper recycles. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Herb Caponi
Having been in the business field for over 40 years and seeing firsthand the rise of egregious consumption and the shameless advertising that fuels it, Benjamin Barber has very... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Philip Fennell
Perhaps, if you majored in the High Level Vocabulary department at English University, you'd have an easier time reading this book. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Nate
I can't get beyond the first 5 pages of the book. The author sounds so pretentious and ridiculous it pulls from the content. Example: "... Read morePublished 23 months ago by aelicia
Eye opening treatise that exposes consumer capitalism for what it is and offers solutions. Will never look at business the same.Published on June 15, 2014 by Steve Rose
This is a well-researched book with an ambitious scope, trying to cover how marketing shapes and replaces our identities and our cultures. Read morePublished on January 9, 2014 by bluemoose
Informative but repetitive and really if you've read one of Barber's books you've heard all of what's in this one before. If it's your first read then you may find it interesting. Read morePublished on November 15, 2013 by Miaa
My husband & I have read through this book together once already, and it was so good and insightful, we've decided to read through it again, just to remind ourselves of all the... Read morePublished on August 17, 2013 by Karen511