No Logo: 10th Anniversary Edition with a New Introduction by the Author 10th Anniversary Edition
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“No Logo has been a pedagogical godsend. I used it to illustrate contemporary applications of complex cultural theories in an introductory social science sequence. It worked so beautifully, word about the book spread across campus, and other students were begging to read it in their sections of the course.” ―Bruce Novak, Division of Social Sciences, The University of Chicago
“A complete, user-friendly handbook on the negative effects that 1990s überbrand marketing has had on culture, work, and consumer choice.” ―The Village Voice
“The Das Kapital of the growing anti-corporate movement.” ―The London Observer
“Klein is a sharp cultural critic and a flawless storyteller. Her analysis is thorough and thoroughly engaging.” ―Newsweek.com
“No Logo is an attractive sprawl of a book describing a vast confederacy of activist groups with a common interest in reining in the power of lawyering, marketing, and advertising to manipulate our desires.” ―The Boston Globe
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Aside from that, it does provide some interesting insights but at times the narrative feels too redundant.
No Logo is a significant work, deserving to be much better known than it is. American consumers -- that is, all of us -- need to reach a much better understanding of how brand management has evolved into culture management, how Starbucks and Nike and Gap and The Body Shop and so many other companies are infiltrating our subconscious and controlling our cultural dialogues. No Logo still serves as an eye-opener for those who have been spending so much time at the mall that they have not yet seen what is going on around them.
Sadly, No Logo is not the most approachable of books for the general populace. It is over-long and over-detailed, bogging down in topics that are probably exciting to radical activists (like billboard jamming) but are sleep-inducing to most readers. Like many people who are involved in activism, Klein sometimes loses the forest for the trees, giving us so much insider detail about causes and people we don't know that we lose interest in, and attention to, her real message. My rating of only four stars, while certainly positive, derives from Klein's tendency to preach too much to the converted and spend too little time educating the as-yet unconverted.
The book is divided into four sections: No Space, No Choice, No Jobs, and No Logo. The first two sections, encompassing the first eight chapters, are well worth the price of the book by themselves. Readers will come to a new understanding of how the public spaces around them are being manipulated by mega-corporate messaging, how those corporations hide behind a public face of social consciousness, and how violently they respond when anyone seeks to question their self-proclaimed high moral ground. I would recommend these eight chapters as required reading for every third- or fourth-year high school student in America. Chapter 16, "A Tale of Three Logos," is also a fascinating account of less than admirable behavior on the parts of Nike, Shell, and McDonald's, definitely worth reading.
I can only hope that Ms. Klein will someday revisit her subject matter again, perhaps to publish a more streamlined and updated version that will reach a wider audience. She deserves the audience, and the American public needs to hear her voice. Despite her understandable tendency toward one-sidedness (perhaps necessary in this case to avoid being drowned out by Nike and McDonald's commercials and Starbucks ads), Naomi Klein's No Logo is an important book that all consuming Americans should read.
Now my views are different, I catch the logos, I catch the subtle messages, I catch the hidden messages that drive me into the consumer that I am, and understand better why, how and who is behind all of it.
This book is well researched, and even if written almost ten years ago, not much has changed in the world of marketing and how we are tricked into buying the things we don't need from across the world.
A great read.
Top international reviews
Everyone should read this book. If only to see how entangled this mess is. You'll find it difficult to close your eyes to what it reveals.
--Tristan Sherwin, author of "Love: Expressed"
In terms of these corporations and global companies, Klein unapologetically explores the very darkest depths of their capitalist mentality. She names and shames several huge brands, including Nike, Nestle, Disney, Microsoft, Wal-mart, McDonalds and Gap, and frequently refers back to these examples to illustrate her points in a recognisable context.
Another of her tactics, well-used to provoke reaction throughout the book, is to provide the reader with detailed case studies, and accompanying analysis, of some of the more heinous scandals linked to various companies over the years. From strikes by humiliated teenage workers at McDonalds to compulsory pregnancy testing and the sacking of pregnant workers in poor factories, this is really explicit and shocking material. One example that will never leave my mind is that of the death of many young female workers, mostly teenagers, in a poor foreign garment sweatshop. The girls were locked into the factory all day, with no comforts and no safety measures in place. When a bundle of flammable material caught fire, the whole factory went up. The workers had no escape route and died, some in the fire itself and some, tragically, by throwing themselves from the windows to avoid being slowly burned alive.
Alongside these horrors, Klein explores the anti-globalisation politics in the world, as well as the pitiful, hypocritical means used by the brands to try and claw back their popular image. She visits worker unions and help centres trying to liberate sweatshop workers. She looks at boycotts and consumer power in changing the way brands conduct business. Movements such as `Reclaim the Streets' - a disruptive street-blocking festival scene - and `Culture Jamming' - the art of reworking and altering adverts on the streets in order to change their political meaning drastically - are also described in detail.
Whilst it is terribly frustrating to read about the evasive tactics used by companies - moving factories, issuing `ethical' ad campaigns and avoiding monitoring - the final message is one of hope, empowerment and a need for education. A brilliant and eye-opening book that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to anyone who is feeling disillusioned with all-dominating brands and capitalist values in today's turbulent and morally questionable society.
There was a certain element of redundancy in the book, but some of the observations made were astonishing. One is left with a feeling of horror at the human rights abuses which seem to underpin the entire clothing industry, amongst others. But sometimes her sniping at some chains seemed to be based solely on the fact that they had a brand. For instance, the Body Shop is lumped in with Nike but other than darkly citing that they'd been subject to "investigations" no real evidence was produced against them. Funnily enough, the same is also true of McDonald's supposed environmental abuses. In the case of Shell's complicity in the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa, no discussion of the actual events surrounding his arrest or trial takes place - he was tried for murder - so one is forced to take the notion that he was unjustly accused on faith. I'm sure he was unjustly accused, but nevertheless, this could have done with clarifying.
That said, even if you don't agree with its tenets, it's still an interesting book and has an ambitious theme. Worth four stars, in any case.