Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Coercion: Why We Listen to What "They" Say” as Want to Read:
Coercion: Why We Listen to What "They" Say
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Coercion: Why We Listen to What "They" Say

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  412 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Noted media pundit and author of Playing the FutureDouglas Rushkoff gives a devastating critique of the influence techniques behind our culture of rampant consumerism. With a skilled analysis of how experts in the fields of marketing, advertising, retail atmospherics, and hand-selling attempt to take away our ability to make rational decisions, Rushkoff delivers a bracing ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 1st 2000 by Riverhead Books (first published 1999)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Coercion, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Coercion

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 889)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Hard to read this book without getting angry. I've paged through it over the past few years, always trying to go through it in a straight line. However, I seem to end up, more often than not, just paging through it.

The book studies the art of manipulation. How it's plied and how it's used to keep us as a people from getting up or resisting. It goes as simple as your local shopping mall to as complex as your shopping mall (the micro and macro level of coercion in commerce is amazing).

One of the b
From pg. 270: "Coercion is much more debilitating than persuasion or even influence. Persuasion is simply an attempt to steer someone's thinking by logic. Influence is the act of applying readily discernible presssure: I want you to do this; I have power over you, so do it. Coercion seeks to stymie our rational processes in order to make us act against, or, at the very least, without, our better judgement. Once immersed in a coercive system, we act without conscious control. We act automatically ...more
Colleen Wainwright
The book is dated in many places; I skimmed, then skipped the entire section on virtual marketing. It's also overly long for how deep it dives, and I was annoyed by the author's seeming discomfort with his own complicity in feeding the beast.

But many of its truths remains evergreen: we're still a consumerist culture; we're still fear-based organisms; we're still handing over our freedom and the happiness that comes with it to people who promise us salvation in whatever form looks good right now.
John G.
I picked this book up at a massive clearance sale, glad I did. This book was written in 1999, right before the internet took hold and I'd love to read more of the author's books since then. I like his tone, he's clearly an insider I might even call him a bit of a whistle blower, but a reluctant one. This book is disturbing, the author still has personal integrity which I'm sure is what compelled him to share these trade secrets. Very eye-opening for sure, confirms my already low opinion of marke ...more
Wendy Palmer
While a fascinating read, being ten years old now, this book could use an update, especially the 'virtual marketing' chapter, which was written at a time when the internet was moving from its early niche community-based, interactive medium to a commercially-driven enterprise where what we can purchase and download online became more important than the ideas and interactions of the online community.

It would be especially interesting to hear what Rushkoff makes of the enormous popularity of social
I think I started reading this book back in 1999 (give or take a year or two). When I started reading it my view of the world was completely "based on reality" as I would have likely put it then. I studied people and (I thought) I understood how easily most people were herded like cattle by finding out what they wanted and then using whatever that was to direct them towards an end that was beneficial to me.

I still think there is a lot of truth to that; but now I think that the whole idea of livi
Finally someone more cynical than me! In Coercion, Rushkoff recounts his adventures in advertising and marketing after Media Virus made him a talking head for the mass media. Throughout the book he shows how marketing has co-opted fringe culture's weapons. The underlying premise of the book is that there really isn't one group or concept that controls the world/marketing/culture. Coercion isn't just happening from the top down; every culture and subculture is influencing others and together our ...more
One of Rushkoff's earliest books is perhaps his best and exposes how redundant his later works went on to become. I'm a bit queasy about how he demonizes "they," but the information this book presents is truly remarkable.
Andrew S  Taylor
Rushkoff is fun to read, but sometimes his work sacrificies substance for style. To be sure, I am generally on board with his anti-corporate agenda, and this book is a great introductory exploration of the coercive tools used by marketers and politicians to control the behavior of "the masses."

However, Rushkoff has a tendency - shared by many lefty media critics - to noodle off into pop-psychology. His arguments are often persuasive, but rarely feel complete. That being said, he does a much bet
Tomislav Škrljac
Nažalost premalo onoga što čovjek ne može sam dokučiti.
Aug 10, 2008 Susan rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: novice cynics
This book looked like it would be a lot more interesting than it was. This may be because Coercion is dated - written/published in 1999/2000. Had I realized that, I might not have bought it. Rushkoff's palpable disappointment that the Internet didn't save us from the "arms race" of consumers and advertisers trying outfox one another is so raw, it could only have been pre-bubble. Notably missing from a book of this vintage, of course, is a catalog of the ways our current administration has so sha ...more
This book is about the techniques that marketers use to make us want, nay need their stuff. It discusses the psychological, sociological, and behavioral research that goes on behind the scenes as marketers compete for our "wallet-share" and "mind-share". Best of all, it profiles the PR professionals that large companies call in when they have done very bad things. The information may be a bit outdated (published in 2000, I read it in '01), but it was an engrossing read at the time and changed th ...more
Taft Babbitt
I initially rated this 3 stars as I was nearing the end of the book. But what made me change this to 4 was the final chapter "Postscript" - this is where the author does a brilliant job of bring all the information together and helping us know what to do with it. Prior to the postscript, I was feeling heavy with distrust at the world around me. Laden with professionals trying to pull the almighty dollar from my hand. But the author picks you back up from this and allows the information to give i ...more
Mitchell Easter
Subliminal messages everywhere? Surely I am just being paranoid, right? LOL This book details many of the ways that companies employ atmospheres (not just targeted music, but smells, the light and ambiance, etc.) to subtly affect the way shoppers shop, and other psychological techniques that people such as car salesmen are taught to get YOU to do more of what they want you to do - in other words, buy their products or services!
I seriously don't even remember reading this, but on an old online profile of mine I recently rediscovered, I'd listed it as one of my favourite books. It certainly sounds exactly like the sort of thing I'd have loved at that age (about 16), but would probably find faintly ridiculous now. It's funny how some 'favourites' stay with you forever while others fade entirely from memory, which is what's happened here.
More of a Psych 201 weekend read. Rushkoff is a good writer who tells an informed story. Coercion reveals numerous ways in which the average consumer of nearly anything (cosmetics, religion, entertainment, etc) is persuaded into wanting, committing, and buying. An interesting read on human behavior and self examination.
Tippy Jackson
meh. A lot of obvious things, but there was a lot of cool psychology stuff in here. I did learn that stores use the "club cards" to gain information about you to target their advertisements. That's pretty brilliant actually, and of course after reading this it seems so obvious.
Mar 10, 2008 Michael rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone and everyone
Rushkoff successfully manages to cut through the static and doublespeak of contemporary marketing to show his readers the mechanisms by which corporations, government, and religions manipulate public opinion - not to mention the public themselves. Read this and have your eyes opened.
Great book. I have my college freshman read a couple of chapters for class and then I offer an essay topic about atmospherics as an option for their first paper. The majority of them choose to write on said topic. Oh, and he's a great speaker to boot. Glad he's now on Goodreads!
Enlightening look at Media, marketing, and influence.
Another study on the many facets of advertising, including architectural design (! a new one to me!) and aromatics (!huh!? yea. exactly). Get to know the headless enemy of autonomy and its' artillery.
Great eye-opener about how we make decisions on what we buy and who we listen to. Not your average marketing book - he gives real life scenarios and stories to convey his concepts.
Mar 17, 2008 Brad rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: psych
This book gives you the behind the scenes tactics of how people sell to you. I recommend this to anyone that is in the market to buy a car especially
Jan 17, 2008 Seth rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
this book changed by teenage mind about exactly how i was disgusted with everything, everywhere.

Rushkoff's know-it-all been-there-done-that attitude really irks me sometimes but Coercion is a good read. And an easy one.
Edward Fendley
Jul 17, 2007 Edward Fendley rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
its important to understand how marketing and marketers work...they do what ever it takes to sell you shit
It was alright; I'd recommend it to anyone who is not sure if t hey fall prey to commercials and the like.
Brilliant and concise. By the smart fellow who did the PBS "Merchants of Cool" Frontline episode.
Captaine Hoo-hoo
Required guide for post modern survival in a consumer culture saturated by information.
pretty neat read. Learn a lot about media and how "they" make us do things
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 29 30 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Mediated: How the Media Shapes Our World and the Way We Live in It
  • TechGnosis: Myth, Magic & Mysticism in the Age of Information
  • Ad Nauseam: A Survivor's Guide to American Consumer Culture
  • Abuse Your Illusions: The Disinformation Guide to Media Mirages and Establishment Lies
  • The Enemy Within: 2,000 Years of Witch-hunting in the Western World
  • Tomorrow Now: Envisioning the Next Fifty Years
  • Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers
  • The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium: American Culture on the Brink
  • Why We Love Sociopaths: A Guide to Late Capitalist Television
  • The Mechanical Bride: Folklore of Industrial Man
  • Nobrow: The Culture of Marketing + The Marketing of Culture
  • The Twilight of American Culture
  • Decoded: The Science Behind Why We Buy
  • No Sense of Place: The Electronic Media on Social Behavior
  • The Mind of the Market: Compassionate Apes, Competitive Humans, and Other Tales from Evolutionary Economics
  • The Lives of Sacco and Vanzetti
  • The Adding Machine: Selected Essays
  • OBD: Obsessive Branding Disorder: The Illusion of Business and the Business of Illusion
Douglas Rushkoff is a New York-based writer, columnist and lecturer on technology, media and popular culture.
More about Douglas Rushkoff...
Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take it Back Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age Ecstasy Club Media Virus!: Hidden Agendas in Popular Culture

Share This Book