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Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy and the New Science of Desire
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Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy and the New Science of Desire

3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,004 Ratings  ·  557 Reviews
How much do we know about why we buy? What truly influences our decisions in today’s message-cluttered world? An eye-grabbing advertisement, a catchy slogan, an infectious jingle? Or do our buying decisions take place below the surface, so deep within our subconscious minds, we’re barely aware of them?

In BUYOLOGY, Lindstrom presents the astonishing findings from his ground
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 21st 2008 by Currency (first published January 1st 2008)
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May 03, 2012 Mark rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Summation: Lindstrom gets all excited about doing brain scans on consumers as they view advertisements and products.

Strike 1: Lindstrom seems to think that technology -- all technology -- is neutral. His example is that hammers can do nasty things but there is no need to outlaw, restrict or ban hammers. Fine, I agree. As long as we are talking about hammers, that is.

But when discussing companies doing fMRI scans on potential consumers to get at their instinctual, pre-rational impressions of adve
Scribble Orca
Mar 22, 2013 Scribble Orca rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Savvy consumers

What did I think (that teasing little prompt to write a review)? Lindstrom's book reads more like a piece of fiction!

If you can wade through the overblown prose (read author's sense of self-importance, borrowed deux ex machina and cliff-hanger endings to various chapters, all of which fizzle out along the way), Lindstrom actually has some sound advice for consumers!

If you value your purchasing sovereignty, read this book (and borrow it from the library, so as to avoid 'buying' into Lindstrom's h
Apr 29, 2011 notyourmonkey rated it did not like it
Likely interesting ideas completely subsumed by self-aggrandizement and shitty writing. This book is structured pretty much like an episode of America's Next Top Model: recap of previous episode! glamor shots of author! two minutes of "what you'll see next"! commercial break! recap of what we just told you you're about to see! sixty seconds of actual content! review of what you've just seen! more "coming up next"! wash! rinse! repeat! Tyra wears a jumpsuit, and Andre Leon Talley wears a muumuu w ...more
Jason Koivu
Jul 08, 2012 Jason Koivu rated it really liked it
Why oh why do we buy? Martin Lindstrom's Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy and the New Science of Desire goes a long way in answering that question.

Lindstrom explains the methods and mechanics used to judge our true buying tendencies. A brief history on past failed practices to elicit this information, as well as the current (and apparently successful) techniques, are discussed prior to the meat of the book, which is mainly about how our brains react to stimulus and how advertisers are
Feb 21, 2011 Dinah rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfiction, psych
Under normal circumstances I wouldn't even review this book because a) it was awful, and b) I wanted to throttle the smug little billionaire consultant of an author three times a chapter, and why would I revisit that in a review? But this is the first book I've legitimately read, start to finish, since starting my crazy new jobs, and I guess that merits some words.

Words like: "ugh." And: "That's not how foreshadowing works. This is nonfiction." Honestly this might have been a great 4 page articl
Oct 29, 2008 Marcus rated it liked it
There are some crazy techniques being used in marketing and they will only get crazier, more intrusive and more subtly manipulative thanks to guys like Martin Lindstrom. He seems a little conflicted about what he does - on one hand he tries to come off as a consumer advocate, exposing marketing tricks so we can be aware of them, on the other he actively employs the same techniques in the companies he works with. He had me going back and forth about whether he is the 'good guy' or the 'bad guy.'

Dec 18, 2008 Matt rated it did not like it
I normally love books about consumer psychology ... but I stopped reading before the end of the first chapter. From the first page, the author seems more interested in convincing you how important he is than in conveying any substantive information. By page 16, I didn't care enough about the subject to keep going.
May 02, 2012 AennA rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every now and then, I try to find a marketing-advertising book which I can use in my profession. Unfortunately, I always end up finding books in e-advertising and other online marketing activities which somehow gets outdated with every technological development. I must say, Buy-ology saved me from finding harder in business section at bookstores. After Martin Lindstrom's visit in the Philippines for his talk, I immediately bought my copy and finished reading it. I was not disappointed.

I basicall
Feb 13, 2012 M0rningstar rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Snuggie connoisseurs
Lindtrom's late-night infomercial prose and clownish self-promotion torpedoed any attempt to take this book seriously. The premise is intriging enough that, despite these shortcomings, I tried to skim through the megalomanic banter about his jet-set "global brand expert" lifestyle and his boyish good looks ("I’ve been told more times than I can count that my appearance is as nonconventional as what I do for a living [...]"), hoping to sieve out the salient points of his "amazing" study which bir ...more
Feb 10, 2009 Kristen rated it did not like it
This was absolutely the WORST book I've ever read. The guy has no idea what he is talking about and brags about his job and success throughout the book.

He claims that mirror neurons are responsible for our buying behaviour. There is no scientific evidence for this, and his scientific methods are sketchy, bordering illegal.

I just skimmed most of it because it was SO bad.
Jan 08, 2009 Malissa rated it really liked it
As I got into the book, I kept envisioning a commerical that I have seen of late (one which I cannot remember the product being promoted - go figure!) It's the one where you initially see a smiling face of a young woman. As the camera pans around to the back of her head, you see what is making her smile, what perhaps she is thinking. I believe this commerical to sum up neuromarketing and where we can expect advertising to be in the not too distant future. Advertising gurus will ramp up their det ...more
Apr 07, 2009 James rated it liked it
Given my enthusiasm for Oliver Sacks and some of Malcolm Gladwell's writings, one might presume Buyology would be the perfect blend of the two worlds.

One would be mistaken.

This book, although a worthwhile read, suffers from an overinflated sense of self-importance. Consider how Gladwell can say obvious things in such a low-key way that you take time to consider his arguments fully. This careful subtlety is lost on Lindstrom, who continually injects the book with references to his own importance
Brianna da Silva
Apr 01, 2016 Brianna da Silva rated it it was amazing
This is such a fascinating book, both for marketers and consumers. It unveils the surprising, subconscious activity in our brains that prompts us to buy (or not to).

So many of our purchasing decisions are guided by emotions, and by subtle impulses we call "instinct," but are actually the work of "somatic markers" and "mirror neurons." These activities of our brain are carefully measured and prodded by marketers, usually without our knowing it, and often in SPITE of our self-assurance that we're
Tiny Pants
Jul 31, 2009 Tiny Pants rated it did not like it
I challenge you to read this book and not want to smack the author upside the head with it. A self-styled (read: non-degreed) marketing consultant, Lindstrom reveals himself to be an unapologetic biological determinist, attempting to convince his reader that with the advent of "neuro-marketing" a new age dawns where qualitative and quantitative methods (such as focus groups and surveys) are no longer of any use to marketers. Why? Because, as he asserts repeatedly, "the brain doesn't lie." That s ...more
May 13, 2011 Erwin rated it really liked it

The beginning 3 chapters of this book are a long disclaimer and sale job for EMRI based marketing research that can safely be skipped.

The correlation between branding and religion is quite interesting, and so is the idea of "creating rituals"...

Magic happens when people don't think.

Cult of Personality.

10 common pillars:
1. Sense of Belonging
2. A Clear Vision
3. Power Over Enemies (AAPL: Microsoft, RED:The Film Industry)
4. Sensory Appeal
5. Story Telling
6. Grandeur
7. Evangelism
8. Symbols
Shane Avery
May 28, 2009 Shane Avery rated it did not like it
Shelves: pop-culture
Some quick & dishevelled points:

Lindstrom's "research" consists of op-eds, blogs, and NYT articles. He hasn't even read any of the books he cites, rather, he consults others' reviews thereof.

I counted 39 occasions in which Lindstrom boasts of basically having invented a new science -- neuromarketing --, and how his book will usher in "an almost Aristotelian shift in thinking." !!! (195)

Not quite. His book is embarrasingly bad, -- poorly researched, poorly organized, poorly written, poorly
Mike Williams
Jun 26, 2010 Mike Williams rated it did not like it
Martin Lindstrom's Buy•ology is described as containing "findings from his ground-breaking three year multi-million-dollar neuromarketing study," and answers questions about "what truly influences our decisions" about what we buy.

Lindstrom sticks primarily (and rightly) to what he knows: branding and marketing. Those reading this book for insight into the world of neuromarketing will be disappointed.

The book's neuromarketing research backs up what is likely already obvious to most marketers. T
Oct 06, 2011 Nick rated it liked it
This was a nice and easy nonfiction read, seeming almost like a vacation after the intellectual beating offered by the likes of Steven Pinker and R. Douglas Fields. But that's faint praise, as this book excelled in ambition and authorial back-patting, but was pretty short on big ideas. The crux of the book is the emergence of neuromarketing, which involves using fMRI and other brain-scanning techniques as a means of truly understanding consumers' loves and hates, rather than just asking the cons ...more
Richard Mulholland
The only reason I gave this audio book 2 stars is that my sheer contempt for it kept me listening until the end. This is, without a doubt, the most useless book on marketing I have ever read.

It has no point.
The author contradicts himself all the time - sometimes just pages apart.
The conclusions drawn from the FMRI scans are often nonsensical. While the studies provide facts, the interpretation of those facts are easy to argue.

Seriously, I just wasted 4 odd hours of my time so you don't have to.
Cổ Nguyệt
May 12, 2016 Cổ Nguyệt is currently reading it
Vừa là do tác giả, vừa là do dịch giả mà quyển này mang đến cảm giác kể chuyện hơn là học thuật, nên đọc rất dễ chịu lại kích thích người ta muốn đọc nữa. Lần đầu tiên biết đến khái niệm "buy-ology", biết rằng rất nhiều lần câu trả lời của khách hàng trong bảng khảo sát không hẳn là cái mà não họ đã vô thức yêu thích, hiểu hơn về cách quảng cáo và marketing để đánh vào chất hóa học trong não chứ không chỉ dựa theo nghiên cứu thị trường bằng khảo sát thông thường. Đang đọc dở thì...

Bart Breen
May 23, 2012 Bart Breen rated it liked it
Self-Promoting Marketing Piece But Has Some Value

Martin Lindstrom is a high energy marketing consultant who has a lot to say about himself, and while taking short rests from that activity provides some interesting information about the pruported subject of the book, neuromarketing.

The real purpose of the book appears to be the promotion of the author's own self-reported status as a marketing guru but truth be told, Lindstrom does have some interesting information to impart. Neuromarketing is an
Apr 04, 2009 Rebecca rated it really liked it
I have a confession. Back when I had a TV-- as vapid, cloying, repetitive and shallow as it was--I watched every episode of America's Next Top Model. I know! What is wrong with me!?
Well, according to Buyology-- it wasn't my fault. It was just my brain. Smart marketers and brands can now use nuerotechnology to watch our brains lusting, yearning, self-doubting, and coveting all of those things that our rational minds tell us are dumb or too expensive or self-destructive (Marlboro, anyone?)
Not onl
Mar 13, 2009 Jamie rated it did not like it
Well, here it is only March and we already have a strong contender for the worst book I'll read this year. Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy and the New Science of Desire is written by advertising mogul Martin Lindstrom and if you believe the dust jacket it aims to explore the emerging field of "neuromarketing," where advertisers and their consultants draw upon brain scanning technologies like fMRI to understand how brains react to advertising and how to to better market to them. The aut ...more
Feb 18, 2009 Vicki rated it really liked it
This was a really quick read, and very interesting. The author has done research using fMRI and SST -- two tests that show what's going on in the brain. It's called neuromarketing, and it's all about what we say as opposed to what we really think (and we usually don't know what we really think). Here is my favorite part of the book: "In ancient times, collecting was the exclusive province of the rich, but nowadays, people of all income levels acumulate everything from Barbie dolls and Happy Meal ...more
Mar 21, 2009 Trena rated it liked it
Recommended to Trena by: Kate
This book was not was I expecting/hoping for. I thought it would be a book about irrational consumerism that would help me train my brain not to be so consumerist for things I don't need. Not so much.

It is written by a branding guru wunderkind (though at 38 he will soon stop being a "kind" and I wonder if the "wunder" will stick) who got millions of dollars from corporations to sponsor sophisticated brain scans to determine how peoples' brains respond to different brands. The science is interest
Sep 29, 2013 Judith rated it really liked it
Lindstrom tells us the inside dope about what works and what doesn't in marketing. That is, he demonstrates the effectiveness of various methods of getting us to buy. He does so by looking into people's brains, literallly.

In the largest neuromarketing study ever conducted, Lindstrom worked with organizations around the world to test what people actually feel about certain advertising techniques and products. Using fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machines, researchers studied hundred
Two stars is a bit low for this book, I did like it, but there were some things that made the reading experience a bit unpleasant.

For one, the narrative seemed to suffer from what I call the Da Vinci Code syndrome: A whole lot of hinting at upcoming plot-twists and cliffhangers at the end of each chapter. Eh, I just don't like that type of writing, it irritates me more than it interests me, and it definitely didn't suit the narrative of this book.

Secondly, the author seems to be so excited abo
Loy Machedo
Dec 15, 2011 Loy Machedo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Tell me the answers to these questions.

Does sex or controversy push product sales?
Do we want to purchase products to stand out or copy people?
Do we like to purchase products to make us look younger or remind us of our childhood?
Does advice from professionals or superstition boost sales?
Do sexy models ads appeal more to same sex or to the opposite sex?

If you want to know the answers to these question, then having Martin Lindstromâs âBuy.ologyâ to your book collection would be a worth while addi
Feb 15, 2009 Peter rated it it was ok
Wow. What a self-centered piece of swill. I give it the second star just because it gives a couple of hints about the creepy brain science that advertisers are using against us. Lindstrom is an unapologetic neuromarketer himself, and he hides behind platitudes like "these techniques will help producers design better products to meet our needs." That is, when he's not tooting his own horn, and fluffing his feathers about some great ad campaign he came up with for toiletries. It's a quick read, mo ...more
Tami Bloor
Interesting read.

Interesting read. It was in easy layman's language, and they used several specific examples that were interesting. It seemed like it could have been more in-depth, but still enjoyed it.
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Martin Lindstrom (born 1970) is the author of the bestseller Buyology - Truth and Lies About Why We Buy (Doubleday Business, division of Random House). Lindstrom is also a public speaker and the founder of a number of organizations including Buyology Inc. Prior to founding his consultancy, Lindstrom was working as an advertising agency executive at BBDO. TIME magazine named Lindstrom as one of the ...more
More about Martin Lindstrom...

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“Sex doesn't sell anything other than itself” 9 likes
“When we brand things, our brains perceive them as more special and valuable than they actually are.” 5 likes
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