Has anyone read this book?
Is it any good?
Telll me moarrr
“Since people are concerned that ‘X’ will not be provided, ‘X’ will naturally be provided by those who are concerned by its absence.""The sweetest of minds can harbor the harshest of men.”
It's a fascinating look at the world of propoganda, from someone who was a true believer in it as a "science". With respect to the time period in which it was written, how he talks about propoganda is just as revealing as what he talks about, IMO.
It is pretty good. It is stuff you probably already know, but in case you don't it is written in a style so that a five year old can understand it. He talks about the different sources of people's opinions and how to link ideas to objects etc.
From my blog:
Edward Bernays, nephew of Sigmund Freud, helped popularize the use of propaganda after World War I as well as the term "public relations". He made the observation that the use of mass propaganda doesn't need to be restricted to war time. The function of wartime propaganda was to encourage secrecy, patriotism, work ethic, etc., and it could be used to help develop certain characteristics out of society during peace time as well. Bernays gives the example of influential leaders being a target of manipulation of public opinion. "'Leaders' assert their authority through community drives and amateur theatricals. Thousands of women may unconsciously belong to a sorority which follows the fashions set by a single society leader."(Propaganda p.17) Corporations realized immediately that it could be used to create and dominate markets. They figured out that they could exploit the class envy of the rich through peer pressure and several other methods.
Men are rarely aware of the real reasons which motivate their actions. A man may believe that he buys a motor car because, after careful study of the technical features of all makes on the market, he has concluded that this is the best. His almost certainly fooling himself. He bought it, perhaps because a friend whose financial acumen he respects bought one last week; or because his neighbors believed he was not able to afford a car of that class; or because its colors are those of his college fraternity. (p.51)
Bernays mentions that newspapers editors used to kill stories if they thought that the column was meant to benefit anyone, but the contrast, in 1928, was that that view had been abandoned and that it did not matter if the stories were of benefit to anyone as long as it was "news worthy." (p. 151) We can see how even that principle has shifted. Today, news stations refuse to report on events that damage an interest that could advertise with them.