“Brandwashed” by Martin Lindstrom

In our time when consumerism governs even the tiniest steps of our daily life, this book offers insight on the whole bubble controlling what we think are our independent acts. Nevertheless, I personally think it’s just an ‘insight’, but not a revolutionary or breath taking revelation. After all, these are facts and schemes we all know. The manipulations behind these companies and these brands are not really hard to catch, if only one could pay the slightest attention and think just a little bit. They are all based on how humans think and behave, and well, last time I checked, we WERE those humans. so we know how easily we can be manipulated and what makes us tick.

Those 3 for 2 schemes, we all know it’s ALWAYS more ECONOMIC to just buy one, as you had intended, than to buy 3 and pay the price of 2. Those drops of water on the ‘fresh’ fruits, of course we know they can’t be there the whole day on their own. And if Sarah Michelle Gellar advertises Maybelline, I will pay more attention to it than to other brands, fully knowing that the mascara won’t make me the slightest more alike to my favorite actress. I know, yet I still feel good putting that mascara on, out of devotion.

However, when it comes to putting our most intimate information for the companies to see, it’s hard to see where the actual problem lies. After all, people are aware their information is out there and they willingly volunteer to put it there. With the whole SNS revolution, it’s a wonder how people have managed to keep anything or thought for themselves, at all, during all these years. So when they say they were at some fancy restaurant in some fancy part of the town, it’s not really the company’s fault if they pick up that information and then toss you those oh-so-annoying suggestions on where to go next through emails.

I do think the author tends to exaggerate when it comes to privacy. People don’t want privacy. They think they do, but the moment they think they have it, well, they can’t wait to share it with everyone else. Unfortunately, they have to pay the price in a less than attractive way, but that’s what it means, ‘paying the price’. That’s never pleasant. Of course, there are a few who genuinely want to keep some things to themselves, and those people are fine without having a FB or Twitter account. Believe me, they still exist.

The point the author makes, I want to believe, is to inform us of what is out there, and how we are being manipulated. It’s more like something that had always been at the back of your head, somehow, but now you have it, in plain black on white, ink on paper. So it’s a ‘Oh, I see, now that explains things’ more of a book, not a ‘Oh My GOD!!!! I’ve been manipulated my whole life! How do these corporates have the nerve?’ kind of book. It’s information the author volunteers to share with us, and it’s up to us to figure out what to do with that information.

You can be as nonchalant as I am, and continue on living the way I did, letting the world know of my preference in books and my successes, but choosing to hide some things. I may be a little preoccupied by the fact that if companies can have access with such information, maybe other, more harmful entities can too. But well, I don’t think that will stop me from ranting on FB or getting special ‘discount’ membership cards from stores I go to, fully knowing it’s all BS and just a scheme to make me buy more stuff there.

Or you can be shocked and dumbfounded by all this, staring at that bag Angeline Jolie was seen carrying, at which point you moved hell and earth to get one too. But then, I don’t think you deserved to read this book in the first place. Just saying.

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