- Paperback: 544 pages
- Publisher: Picador; 3rd -10th Anniversary ed. edition (November 24, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780312429270
- ISBN-13: 978-0312429270
- ASIN: 0312429274
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 225 customer reviews
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No Logo: 10th Anniversary Edition with a New Introduction by the Author 3rd -10th Anniversary ed. Edition
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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.
Purely on content, however, as all books should be judged, No Logo quickly shows you this is no left-wing, hippie diatribe of over-generalization, with facts shunted to the wayside. Instead, it reads like a well-planned documentary, meticulously annotated and researched. Klein masterfully identifies the root problem of laissez-faire economics, market-oriented policies, and capitalism in general. For those of us who are a bit slow to comprehend the dramatic shift that has taken place in the free-market business world, Klein neatly diagrams the subtle and not-so-subtle shifts the private, for-profit sector of mainstream business has taken in its quest to orient away from developing products and focus on the development of brands. This paradigmatic shift has launched a new era of capitalism, changing it drastically from our predecessors' definition.
Klein maps out the expansion of advertising into all aspects of human life, the lack of "unbranded space", the Borg-like assimilation process that marketing initiates, devouring all niches, reactions, backlashes and resistance. With this process of lifestyle branding and perpetual advertising adaption, Klein shows the effects of this system of separation of brands and products. She details the flood of franchising, corporate mergers, private-sectors profit-maker's censorship, outsourcing, the exploitation of third-world labor, the creation of "McJobs" inside service economies and the growth of temporary labor and permanent "freelancing".
Klein derails, however, in her attempts to document the anti-corporate activist movement. What has been so far a masterful critique of globalization and corporatism focuses instead on grassroots activism and culture jammers. She spends almost one hundred pages describing (without unqualified praise, to her credit) underground rings of vandals and lone "anti-brand" guerrillas who deface corporate advertising by some irrational belief that their actions will persuade mainstream, moderate Westerners to change their consumption habits to ones approved by vigilantes drawing skulls and rewriting logos. If her discussion of them is to document an overall noble and worthy cause (that is, anti-corporate resistance), then addressing culture jammers in anything but a negative light only serves to tarnish an up until now, very polished presentation. Along with eliminating this episode, Klein would do her cause service by eschewing her description of RTS's absurdities in favor of a more detailed assessment of collectives and people's movements, such as the Zapatistas: uprisings that are rooted firmly in the reality of economics and egalitarian living-- rather than the short-term frivolity of dangerous quasi-riots, or the childish response of throwing pies at CEOs.
Klein also fails to precisely pinpoint what exactly her target is. She explains that it is more than attacking branding; it is about citizenship, not consumerism. Neither is it about attacking corporations via purchasing power. She explains much about activists' activities, but by the time she concludes her narrative, she has done little to address what exactly is the goal-- besides her vague wish for "unbranded spaces". The afterword (written in 2002) perhaps provides a better insight into what she was getting at when she talks about egalitarian movements and non-homogenization.
No Logo is an excellent book if one is interested in learning the largely ignored facts about branding, advertising, and labor politics; it is not a very convincing polemic for those skeptical of non-privatized solutions. With the debilitating portrayal of culture jamming and RTS as equals to the more mature approaches of student and political organizations described, No Logo undoes itself in short order; easily dismissed by those of the conservative persuasion. Although Klein does cover the anti-globalization movement with a broad, documentary-style brush, the pages of No Logo lack cynosure towards social cooperative, collective solutions, feeling reactionary more than inspirational.