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The Coke Machine

3.3  ·  Rating Details ·  472 Ratings  ·  84 Reviews

Perhaps it's not too much of a surprise to find the Coca-Cola Company on the stand for these injustices. In this era of cynicism, it's standard practice to believe corporations from Halliburton to ExxonMobil capable of every form of evil, trained by the profit drive of capitalism to turn a blind eye to the worst consequences of their actions. The Coca-Cola Company, however

ebook, 384 pages
Published September 16th 2010 by Penguin Group (USA) (first published 2010)
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Jun 04, 2011 Trevor rated it really liked it

This is quite a disturbing book and one that will convince you to stop drinking coke for so many reasons. Not least that it will make you healthier but also make you feel so much better about yourself.

There is a very amusing line by a judge that the name of the product was strange because the company denied there was cocaine in their product where there actually was and said that there was cola nut in it, when there wasn’t. The history of the world’s favourite drink is not
Jun 29, 2011 Grumpus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recently, I have found that I have been the contrarian to these Goodread reviews and have found that disconcerting. For years, I have been able to count on these reviews in helping me identify books I would not have normally read.

I’ve read the anti-Coke reviews of this book and went in with the sneaky suspicion that the author had an agenda and I began reading with that understanding. I believe anyone could pick any company and write a book about them in a similar style.

I have to say as a marke
Nov 23, 2012 Kinga rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wonder if Michael Blanding’s children drink coke in secret, making sure their father would never know. Just like other kids do when they are DOING coke.

I guess, I don’t like to read anything so obviously and openly biased, even if the author’s goal was good and true. I wouldn’t call it eye-opening either. If you somehow came to whatever age you are, and you still haven’t realised there literally aren’t any limits to what corporations might do in search for profit, then you just have to wake u
Kat A
Feb 12, 2012 Kat A rated it it was amazing
It's hard not to read this title and think that it is stating the obvious, but the details of just how badly this corporation are screwing everyone are still quite shocking. From killing workers who are fighting for a better wage in Columbia, to outright stealing water from poor farmers in India, to overt and relentless marketing to children in North America and Western Europe, this company this company is unbelievable in their dedication to the bottom line and to it's shareholders. Its efforts ...more
Jun 18, 2012 Satwika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Buku ini mengupas tuduhan-tuduhan yang pernah dilayangkan terhadap Coca-Cola Company, sebagai produsen minuman ringan terkenal di seluruh dunia. Pada masa sekarang, rasanya sulit ditemukan seseorang di muka bumi ini yang belum pernah sama sekali mengecap minuman Coca-Cola.

Racikan Coca-Cola merupakan salah satu rahasia terbesar yang pernah ada di muka bumi. Meski begitu, asal usul Coca-Cola masih bisa ditelusuri. Hasil penelusuran mengindikasikan bahwa Coca-Cola tercipta pertama kali sebagai ramu
Rob Warner
Feb 01, 2011 Rob Warner rated it liked it
Interesting look at unsavory parts of Coke, but the author seemed to have an agenda that his facts insufficiently backed, and leapt to outrage at the non-outrageous. News flash: junk food makes you fat. We know that. People have known that for years. I don't believe companies have any responsibility to make sure customers eat in a healthy manner. People buy and consume what they want.

Coke is a marketing machine and has great advertising. They pay mightily for pushing their brand. They're good at
Paul Pessolano
Feb 18, 2011 Paul Pessolano rated it liked it
Do not shy away from this book if you live in Atlanta, the home of Coca-Cola. Do not shy away from this book if you are a loyal supporter and drinker of Coca-Cola. There are things in this book that everyone should know.

The book starts out with a history of Coca-Cola that is both interesting and questionable. If you go to the "World of Coca-Cola" in Atlanta the tour guides will give you the Coca-Cola version of their history. According to Michael Blanding that version leaves out some important f
Mar 04, 2013 Add rated it really liked it
Picking up this book I knew that the Coca Cola corporation had done some shady things in the past, but i did not know what was in store for me. The details of what this corporation has done to families and the environment is excrusinatly annoying. From killing workers who are fighting for a better wage in Columbia, to outright stealing water from poor farmers in India. Also targeting children as young as infants for marketing in North America and Europe. I found a very good quote in a separate r ...more
Bcoghill Coghill
Jan 18, 2012 Bcoghill Coghill rated it it was ok
I guess I knew all of this, having read the newspapers and magazines for the past 50 years. But, I guess it is good to have in one place... I guess.
I drink diet-pepsi and it probably aggravates my acid reflux, but if I was an alcoholic or smoked tobacco that would probably be worse, eh?
Do I contribute to killing union members in third-world countries - probably thru my shoe and IT purchases. What is a body to do in the evil world?
Kelly Kilcrease
Nov 11, 2012 Kelly Kilcrease rated it liked it
The explanation and details about the Columbia murder gets a little long winded. I would have liked to have seen more emphasis toward the health risks associated with Coke.
Sarah Crawford
Jan 19, 2016 Sarah Crawford rated it really liked it
This is a book which is very strongly against the actions of the Coca Cola company. On page 4 he refers to the company as 'stands accused of drought, disease, exploitation and murder.' In effect, the author is coming out swinging.

Starting on page 13 he attacks the inventor of the Coca Cola formula, and charges that he 'regularly dipped into his pharmacy cabinet for hits of morphine.' He was said by three others in the pharmacist trade to be an addict.

This is how the book seems to be set up. A m
Alberto Lopez
Feb 22, 2017 Alberto Lopez rated it liked it
A bit on the yellow side, this book showcases the lengthy history of Coca Cola under a very dark light. The lesson I get from it is that along their way to growth and not just after they have arrived, companies must truly care about all stake holders or risk jeopardizing what they have built. I can't help but dislike Coke after this book. Finally, the book is not for the faint of heart.
Jay Budzilowski
Nov 22, 2016 Jay Budzilowski rated it liked it
3.5 stars
First half of the book (dealing with Coke history) was 4 stars. The second half was a trudge to get through.
I am horribly addicted to Coca Cola. I can easily down six or seven cans (or, their equivalent at a restaurant) without batting an eye, which obviously places me in the “heavy user” category by The Coca Cola Company.

I have tried many times over the past six years to kick the habit going cold turkey for ten weeks or ten months until I convince myself that my birthday or graduation or general stress or the fact that I do not smoke or drink means I should be able to have a can of Coke. Of course, o
Trey Hollen
Oct 29, 2015 Trey Hollen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I went in to this book hoping to get more detail regarding Coke's behavior in the world regarding third world water supplies. This is a topic covered toward the end of the book, but is by no means a dominating theme. Most of the book examines capitalism itself and uses Coca-Cola as the poster boy for the economic system. It usually does not shine a favorable light on the subject.

The first section is a summary of the companies first years and how exactly it came about. This part is very interesti
Bure Kabisa
Feb 28, 2017 Bure Kabisa rated it really liked it
Just when I was thinking that SHELL, that vile, evil Anglo-Dutch oil and gas company is the perfect personification of Satan... in slithers Coca~Cola.
Her evil rein (chronicled so eloquently in this book) is definitely machination inspired by the devil.
Jan 30, 2013 James rated it liked it
Finished. The first half of the book was mostly dedicated to Coke's history and how the company grew through the years. It covered Coke's leadership changes and challenges leading up to to today's Coke.

There were however a couple of items I didn't realize at the time mostly the transformation from sugar to high fructose corn syrup and the profitability growth and franchising that followed. When I look back, yes I was a coke classic fan and even in college would drink a 32 oz at the start of eve
Feb 27, 2016 Christina rated it it was ok
This book opened my eyes to the Coca Cola company. I like drinking soda, but I didn't know the great lengths that the company went to get make money, whether it was in the United States or in other countries. It also seems that they would rather make money than to make sure that the community surrounding the Coke plant is safe and healthy.

I am actually appalled at how Coke targeted children, school, colleges and other companies in order to make money. Many times schools, colleges, sports stadiu
Aug 14, 2015 Mjhancock rated it really liked it
It's really more of a 3.5, but I'll bump it to four to counter some of the negative reviews. Blanding outlines all the faults of Coca-Cola as a multinational corporation, and there's quite a bit to outline. The first half of the book focuses on Coca-Cola in America: the founding of Coca-Cola and its extreme investment in advertisement that links it to the American identity; its connection to health problems in the face of its attempts to be sold in schools to kids; and the outright (or close to ...more
May 20, 2013 Andrea rated it really liked it
Many people have criticized this book for stating the obvious, that big corporations are all about profit and "of course" they will do anything they can to maximize returns. While I don't entirely disagree with this, I do think Coke's actions esp. in the third world, are worth reading about. I grew up in a town with a pretty unsavory (pun) factory, Iowa Beef Packers, but murder of labor activists was a bit beyond the pale, even for them. This book details how Coke uses legal instruments, such as ...more
Христо Блажев
Oct 30, 2011 Христо Блажев rated it it was amazing
“Мръсната история” на “Кока-кола” шокира

Не прочетох тази книга. Поне не по начина, по който обичайно се чете едно заглавие. Вместо това няколко дни работих върху нея – нанасях корекции, редактирах тук-таме (почти заради принципа, преводачката Жана Ценова е свършила чудесна работа) и прочие неща, които обикновено остават скрити за читателя. Всъщност книгата я прочетох в оригинал още преди доста месеци, когато трябваше да се реши дали ще я превеждаме или не
Mar 04, 2012 Joni rated it really liked it
It's more than worth learning the reality behind the warm and fuzzy feelings we have when we think about Coca-Cola. The Coke Machine tells the fascinating story of this innocent drink's rise to the top, and a lot of it has to do with the battle for your mind. From early on the company's history they set out to market not so much a beverage as a feeling. Before anyone knew it this had worked so well that Coca-Cola came to represent the American Dream itself, and when that wasn't enough they moved ...more
Dec 20, 2012 Debbie rated it really liked it
This was a very interesting book, and - in my mind - got more interesting as it went along.

The first part of the book is about Coke in the U.S., and deals with its history, its growth, its attempts to wriggle out of accusations that it is linked to obesity and environmental problems, and - especially - the scam that is bottle water.

But where I really sat up and took notice is the second part, dealing with Coke's union busting and association with paramilitaries in Latin America, and its effect
Jun 03, 2012 Katie rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
A lot of very interesting information. Three stars because I thought the book's organization could have been improved and some weak arguments modified or removed.

Organizationally, the first three chapters of the book move chronologically through Coke's history, and we are then unceremoniously dumped into a series of chapters on specific Coke-sanctioned evils--childhood obesity, bottled water, corporate irresponsibility in Mexico, India, Colombia, and Guatemala--which involve a lot of time-jumpi
Kim Pallister
Nov 07, 2013 Kim Pallister rated it liked it
An interesting history of one of America's most iconic brands and companies. Clearly written with an anti-Coke bias, but even if half of what it accuses is true, then it seriously gives pause. There's an awful lot of smoke for there NOT to be a fire.

The specifics about coke aside, it's an interesting study of how a corporation's immune system kicks into gear to stamp out PR and/or legal problems in the most efficient way possible (which usually isn't actually FIXING the problems they are accused
Aug 05, 2012 Jeanne rated it really liked it
It is appalling to hear about the lengths that Coca Cola will go to be the world's most popular drink for the power that money will bring. In Coke's world, everything is expendable (environment, people, and health to name a few) to improve the profit margin. Coke has bought its way into politics and schools, it has extorted vendors to sell only Coke, it has left workers in South America (who would be union members) to murdering paramilitary thugs. This book has also reopened me to an awareness o ...more
Oct 30, 2010 Nancy rated it it was amazing
From the cover: "finding the Coca-Cola company accused of murder is like finding out Santa Claus is accused of being a pedophile." It's true, and documented extensively in this revealing expose about the Coca Cola corporation. This is a must-read for anyone who has tasted that beverage in the red and white can. Coke is here accused of polluting the environment, usurping water supplies in third-world countries,and supporting paramilitaries in Colombia and Mexico who murder employees who get too c ...more
May 17, 2012 Truly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nyaris 100 halaman hanya untuk catatan!

Saat kuliah S2 lalu, salah satu tugas dari matakuliah Pemasaran Internasional adalah membuat ulasan mengenai produk ini. Terlepas dari urusan produk yang belakangan ini sering dibicarakan, pemasaran produk ini memang sungguh luar biasa sehingga bagi beberapa pihak sudahi dianggap merupakan bagian dari kebutuhan hidup.

Penyesuaian citra rasa dilakukan demi kelangsungan hidup produk namun tetap mengacu pada standarisasi mutu.Mau tak mau terpaksa mengakui strat
Jan 02, 2015 Carol rated it liked it
Any organization put under the microscope is going to have skeletons in its closet, and my gut tells me the bigger the organization the more skeletons will fall. That being said we do expect more of those that make us think of baseball and apple pie. The history of the organization is an opportunity to learn about history of large companies in general and marketing specifically. The drama associated with the growth of Coca-Cola, nationally and internationally, makes this an appealing and easy to ...more
Nov 02, 2015 Sambasivan rated it liked it
This is a book which crusades against Coke expostulating the various unethical and illegal practices that the company resorts to in order to protect the market share at the cost of customer's health and society's and employees' wellbeing.

Relentless in research, scathing in attack, impregnable in logic, vicious in accusation, unsparing in exposing the so called truth, this book is a delight to read for the anti capitalist.

Beyond a point, the book becomes monotonous and loses objectivity as ther
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Michael Blanding is the award-winning author of The Map Thief: The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-Map Dealer Who Made Millions Stealing Priceless Maps (Gotham, 2014) and The Coke Machine: The Dirty Truth Behind the World’s Favorite Soft Drink (Avery, 2010). A magazine writer with over 15 years of experience, he has written articles for The Nation, The New Republic, Consumers Digest, Forbes, Bo ...more
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“In his 1903 book 'Psychology of Advertising', [Walter Dill Scott] argued that 'the effect of modern advertising is not so much to convince as to suggest.' So-called reason-why advertising was a blunt instrument compared with 'atmosphere advertising', which would associate a product with the viewer's subconscious desired: to be well liked, to be healthy, to possess, to succeed.” 0 likes
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