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Age of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  745 ratings  ·  55 reviews
Americans create 57% of the world's advertising while representing only 6% of its population; half of our waking hours are spent immersed in the mass media. Persuasion has always been integral to the democratic process, but increasingly, thoughtful discussion is being replaced with simplistic soundbites and manipulative messages.

Drawing on the history of propaganda as well
Paperback, 432 pages
Published March 14th 2001 by Holt Paperbacks (first published October 1st 1991)
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Apr 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
I bought this book after Ramit Sethi's recommendation on the Tim Ferris podcast. I didn’t know much going in, so it was a surprising read.
This book promises to help you identify all the forms of persuasion and also teach you tactics to respond or counteract various forms of persuasion. Is this promise realized? That is hard to say. The book does a great job of identifying the various forms and persuasion and the 4 persuasion phases: pre-persuasion, communicator credibility, message delivery and
Jan 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
My social psychology professor had us read this book, we were told to read 2 chapters and write a summary on the chapters we were assigned, my review is based on this experience. I have to say I am glad I did this assignment because, the information in this book [just from the 2 chapters I read] is something we should all have to read about. The information presented is clear, well-organized, and easily understandable. I intend to finish this book and my review should not deviate much from it, a ...more
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Vanessa Princessa
I read this book thanks to Blinkist.

The key message in this book:

Propaganda is all around us, convincing us to spend money on things we don’t want, vote for politicians who don’t care about us and convince our kids that they need toys that aren’t worth the plastic they’re made of. Fortunately, we can combat this deception by identifying propaganda’s central strategies and understanding how it works.  

Suggested further reading:

Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson
Anwen Garston
May 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Everyone should have to read this book. Fascinating
Fabrizio Stucchi
Dec 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This should be a mandatory ready for anybody at High School, it is simply a description of the world we are living, and how we are conditioned by media and advertisement. A MUST READ!
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Whatever your personal politics/culture, propaganda is all around us, in convincing us to buy things we don’t want, to vote against our interests, and to distract from the matter in life for which we’re responsible.

It starts from childhood with toys and entertainment, and it’s worth helping children in age appropriate ways to understand motives and strategies in how messages are tailored to them, rather than hoping to avoid the problem by not participating in mainstream culture.
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing

One of the best books I've ever read in regards to learning about influence, persuasion, and propaganda. If you've read things like Robert Cialdini's Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, (or taken a beginner's introduction to psychology course) then many of the points made in this book will be repeats to you; you should still read this book. Everyone should read this book.

One of the more prominent things I learned was that most of us do think we are immune to this stuff; that's why you
Jul 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is very dense. I found it was very thought-provoking and highly relevant. As someone experiencing my first US election while in the country, I can identify many of the techniques being used. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in critical thinking and free thought.
Jennifer Whiteside
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book was very well written and highly readable for a slightly dry subject. It's a must-read for anyone subjected to advertising or political campaigning. The book points out the ways that advertisers and campaigners use emotions, messengers, and information to sway our thinking. ...more
Oct 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an enlightening book. We all get trapped by the misuse and abuse of persuasion sometimes. This helps identify it and understand why we are so influenced by people.
Dec 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Ok, I only skimmed this because it was pretty dense, but it highlighted some very interesting points about propaganda-- I hope to give it a more thorough read someday.
Devra Doiron
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
One of the most useful books I've read. As other reviewers have pointed out, it's tediously long and could probably have been shortened considerably without losing substance, but I guess that's to be expected when the authors are academics. I'm giving it four stars anyway because it's lessons are needed even more today than when it was originally published in 1992. Anyone trying to sift through the avalanche of "fake news" will find useful advice in this book.

Unlike many sources which illuminate
John Locke
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I reread this book in preparation for a class I’m teaching this semester called “Propaganda: 1945 to the present.” The 3rd year college course focuses on political propaganda, but I selected this as the text because while it does discuss the political implications of propaganda, it also situates the subject within the world of advertising as well. I feel that my students may need that more familiar frame of reference to reinforce the concepts covered.

As for the book itself, I’ve always consider
Omar Delawar
Sep 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book attempts to demystify propaganda and the persuasion process, and it does so in a fluid and engaging manner. The authors walk the reader through the social psychology academic literature, discussing pivotal studies, and how they apply to what we see in the world around us. I especially like the section provocatively titled, "How to become a cult leader." If you've ever wondered how media, advertisers, politicians, and religious charlatans manage to so effectively manipulate audiences, t ...more
Paige McLoughlin
Sales, media communications, advertising, public relations industries built on manipulating human psychology on behalf of a sponsor to achieve a certain result this in the broadest outline is propaganda in capitalist countries it is done on behalf of monied and powerful interests to protect or further power or profits which are both closely related. The book covers propaganda techniques to steer public thought this book was written in mass media days before the internet so many of the technique ...more
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A great book. Definately, not only for psychology students, I would rather say it is a must have for everyone living in these crazy times, times where it is so hard to navigate between various media and find facts, objective information that often has such an enormous influence on our life! On our daily routine, consumer choices and what important on political choices concerning the most important aspects pf oir life like safety or health. I highly recommend this book and will recommend it to al ...more
Erik Rostad
Dec 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017-books
This was the 3rd book about persuasion from this year's list of 52 Books of Titans books. These books used many of the same examples, so by the time I was on this book, I pretty much knew what was coming. This was still a valuable book, but was a little dated. I'm sure if I had only read this book as a book about persuasion (and propaganda), I would have enjoyed it much more. The other two books on persuasion were Mistakes Were Made (but not by me) and The Power of Persuasion. ...more
Mark Manderson
Aug 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Persuasion is built on rational thought and the weighing of different perspectives.

Propaganda confuses its message in order to disseminate information without people realizing it.

Propaganda uses the peripheral route, which relies on a distracted consumer not being able to concentrate on the real message he’s being fed. 

Propaganda is all about misleading people, and while it comes in many forms, it’s always based on the four stratagems of influence. 
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was written in 1991 but is relevant for today. Many of the persuasion techniques and studies I was familiar with, though I did learn some things and took notes. It is good for us to periodically stop and think about all the ways others are trying to manipulate us. Knowledge is power, in this case, and at the end of the book ways to counteract persuasion are given.

Highly recommended.
Tiago Soares
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book sharing tons of persuasion techniques that are used on a daily basis to make people do what we messenger wants.

It's similar to Influence by Robert Cialdini. A great pick and recommended to those who want to always know more about persuasion.
Dec 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
Didn't get much new out of it. That being said, if you are new to psychology this might be more interesting/useful ...more
Jul 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: leadership
Should probably be required reading in today's tribal media lockdown ...more
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Best book on propaganda. My bible basically
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I will re-read this and use for future study.
Ozgur Deniz
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wonderful review of propaganda its art and how to protest ourselves from it
Sep 01, 2019 rated it did not like it
"Everyone who disagrees with me is Hitler, additionally, [quote mining people]" ...more
Banning Leonard
Oct 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This is a fascinating look at the coercive techniques that individuals and the mass media use to persuade the public to think and act in certain ways. Psychologists Pratkanis and Aronson analyze the purposeful actions, language, and symbolism behind advertising, the promoting of the first Gulf war, cult leaders’ power over individuals, and political elections. This valuable book helps the reader to look at the world with a skeptical eye towards the manipulative print, television, and radio messa ...more
Muhammad Al-shrafi
Oct 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
The book is virtually balanced in terms of handling the propaganda concept and practices; it looks at propaganda not only as a cleaver deception played from the politicians but also played in every day social activities advertisers, preachers, organizations planners and so forth.

That's why I think it's balanced. However, I you want to dive into the political side of propaganda, Noam Chomsky and Edward Barneys are your guys.

Defiantly recommend the book to open your eyes for deceiving persuasion
Jun 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everybody specially those who live in the west.
This book is about everyday use and abuse of persuation. The goal of modern propaganda is not to inform and enlighten but rather to move the masses toward a desired position or point of view.The first step is take control of the situation and establish a favorable climate for the message that is called pre-persuation. ........
I think it is so intimitating to do whatever propagandists want us to do without let us to think about it.
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Chapter 2 Summary? 1 3 Mar 31, 2014 06:13PM  

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Anthony R. Pratkanis earned his Ph.D. in 1984 from the famed social psychology
program at the Ohio State University. His research program has investigated
such topics as the delayed effects of persuasion, attitudes and memory, groupthink,
affirmative action, subliminal persuasion, mass communications, source
credibility, persuasion and democracy, economic fraud, the use of influence in
international co

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