Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy

 
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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 groundbreaking, three-year, seven-million-dollar neuromarketing study, a cutting-edge experiment that peered inside the brains of 2,000 volunteers from all around the world as they encountered various ads, logos, commercials, brands, and products. His startling results shatter much of what we have long believed about what seduces our interest and drives us to buy. Among his finding:

Gruesome health warnings on cigarette packages not only fail to discourage smoking, they actually make smokers want to light up.


Despite government bans, subliminal advertising still surrounds us – from bars to highway billboards to supermarket shelves.

"Cool” brands, like iPods trigger our mating instincts.

Other senses – smell, touch, and sound - are so powerful, they physically arouse us when we see a product.

Sex doesn't sell. In many cases, people in skimpy clothing and suggestive poses not only fail to persuade us to buy products - they often turn us away .

Companies routinetly copy from the world of religion and create rituals – like drinking a Corona with a lime – to capture our hard-earned dollars.

Filled with entertaining inside stories about how we respond to such well-known brands as Marlboro, Nokia, Calvin Klein, Ford, and American Idol, BUYOLOGY is a fascinating and shocking journey into the mind of today’s consumer that will captivate anyone who’s been seduced – or turned off – by marketers’ relentless attempts to win our loyalty, our money, and our minds. Includes a foreword by Paco Underhill.

Customer Reviews:

  • Intellectually challenging and enjoyable
    Buyology is not only intellectually challenging, factual and interesting it's humorous. The style of writing is easy to understand and very enjoyable. Buyology presents fresh insights and explanations to several styles of advertising, product placement, branding, logo etc, and why we as a society are drawn to certain products. This book is not only a must read for anyone interested in successful marketing but for everyone as part of a society which is so reliant on advertisement....more info
  • Finally...
    Well someone has finally done it! I've been waiting so long for a clear and easy helper in my shopping trolley. The thing about Buy-ology is it doesn't matter what you want to know, it's all there. Whether you read it to help yourself or just out of interest, Buy-ology aims to please!

    Valerie...more info
  • Good content but author's ego is a bit much
    It's an interesting book - the science of marketing (and a fair amount of psychology by extension). The author is a bit too proud of himself and his accomplishments, which is a bit of a beating for the reader. However, if you can get past that (or skip over sections that get long winded), it's a quick read that has some valuable concepts that can be applied to your business....more info
  • Knows how to deliver the message.
    I particularly enjoyed the wide range of research that Lindstrom gives his audience, it's as if he knows all the questions that consumers like ourselves want to ask (and want answers to!) I seriously recommend it, it's great on the train to work and even at lunch!...more info
  • Complex theroies in easy to understand form
    Lindstrom's newest book Buyology will make you completely re-think about your actions then next time you view a commercial. He asks the right questions and provides the right information to completely change the way you would normally view advertising. Lindstrom explains complex theories in easy-to-understand language as he questions the ways in which large corporations drill their advertisement campaigns into the viewer's mind. ...more info
  • Good introduction to Neuromarketing, but can be better organized and 1/3 shorter
    Perhaps the author had been so keen to make it scientific and scholarly to fit with the book title, many passages had been devoted to the background and methodology of the experiement that many readers find the book overstretched despite the interesting and somehow eye-opening findings. No matter what, the author did give a knowledgeable but not well organized elaboration on fMRI, SST, mirror neurons, somatic markers, product placement (most effective with stories and emotions), unconcscious emotion (positive effect of smiling faces), Senosry Branding (smell + color) and so on. Definitely a must for marketing and advertising professionals, though the cost of doing neuromarketing may be limited to gigantic corps at the moment. ...more info
  • I finally found out what all the fuss is about.
    After listening to my friend rant on about Buyology I decided i would finally go and buy the book and read it myself. I was pleasantly surprised that she in fact was correct. I found the book to be a compelling eye opener which intrigued me deeply as we are all consumers and found the different reasons to why we desire a certain products over others captivating. Martin Lindstrom controversial ideas and theory's which are based on scientific studies are easy to understand and written in a humorous style. ...more info
  • Help in a recession
    Buyology has helped me and my company overcome the current economic crisis by showing us how to act when consumer confidence is low, and recession is present. Lindstrom helped me turn around my business, I owe him a very big thank you. ...more info
  • The best book on marketing ever written
    Buyology is a masterpiece. The most informative and important book on marketing ever written. A scientific powerhouse that brings clarity to the reasons we buy....more info
  • GREAT BOOK
    If you are in sales, in any way, this is a "must read" for you. It explains very well why people but what they do, when they do, and exactly how they do. Someone spent alot of time figuring out how the brain works when making any buying decision....more info
  • Ever been curious about advertisings power?
    Have you ever wondered how and why we are persuaded to buy products which we never initially needed after viewing a commercial or seeing a billboard? Martin Lindstrom's new book has all the answers and more about the brain's receptions to different forms of advertising. Buyology has documented evidence from some of the world's most respected neuroscientists about why consumerism is more relevant than ever. A dazzling and insightful read....more info
  • WOW what a read!
    I have read many books on the subject matter of marketing and been very interested in the real reason we buy a certain product over another product. I found Buy ology to be a witty, controversial captivating novel that I could not stop reading. The many hours of research that author Martin Lindstrom conducted has become a fantastic observation on modern life. He provides an insight into the humans desires for materialistic objects and has proven this though research. A great read!...more info
  • Top marketing book.
    Martin Lindstrom latest installment is controversial and intriguing. Lindstrom uses short stories, anecdotes and facts based of his own research on 2000 people from both America and Europe. He raised some interesting facts about how consumers are effected by modern advertising techniques. These include...

    - Anti-smoking ads don't work as they increase the likely hood of stressing the smoker into smoking more cigarettes.

    - Visual advertising isn't the only advertising that works. Many large corporations rely on smell and sound to make their product more attractive.

    - Successful branding is like a religion, this is shown by Apple and the marketing of their products, particularly the iPod.

    A great book for small and large business interested in increasing their revenue by simply changing direction in terms of what they use for advertising....more info
  • A Marketing Book that Markets Marketing
    The whole book is an advertisement for Lindstrom's new technique for measuring consumer responses to new products and advertisements. While this method is intriguing, the book is somewhat scant in reporting results and is overall a superficial summary of marketing techniques with a much larger focus on promoting his research.

    Oddly enough, the book fails to touch on the rise of internet and social network marketing at all. ...more info
  • Cleary Lindstrom is the marketing guru
    Martin Lindstrom, the marketing guru, has outdone himself in his latest book buy¡Áology. The book provides a deep insight into why society acts in such a consumerist manner. His research has uncovered some surprising results about why people buy the things they do and this has revolutionized traditional marketing research....more info
  • Emotions Often Trump Rationality for Purchases of Consumer Products
    Martin Lindstrom discusses using Neuromarketing (MRI scans of brain activity) to study how emotions influence decisions by trumping cognition / rationality. For many consumers, buying decisions are not made at a fully conscious level.

    Initial ironic finding: cigarette pack warning labels actually made smokers crave tobacco.
    Premise: Use MRIs to research and discuss following points:

    *Brands are an integral component of mass media programs' and films' storylines (Product Placement)
    *Subliminal Advertising -- especially using images
    *Rituals and Superstitions influence buying
    *Faith, Religion, Mission --> yields emotional engagement with a brand. Can involve: tribalism / a sense of belonging (us vs. them), sensory appeal, storytelling, symbols, sense of mystery
    * Somatic Markers = brain "bookmarks" or "shortcuts" which connect experience or emotion with specific reaction (e.g. choosing a brand)
    Can use Humor, Fear
    * Sensory Branding - esp. olfactory / scents, sounds (jingles), colors. also Combined: sound + image / image + scent = yield better recall and favorable impressions
    * Sex in Advertising
    * Branding Power - e.g. Virgin's Richard Branson = living brand

    LOTS of personal anecdotes which can be entertaining, or easily skimmed. Although the author touches only tangentially on politics, I found it interesting to apply these elements beyond selling consumer products. How about selling ideas? Looking at campaigns such as Global Warming, elements include: Mission, Faith, Fear, Storytelling, Us vs. the evil Them, Symbols, Mystery...

    A quick read, some interesting marketing concepts....more info
  • Definately worth while read!
    Buyology uncovers all of the mysteries about brain states in relation to advertising. Martin Lindstrom has performed a great deal of research and it really shows. He reveals such things as why people follow commercials and what triggers the brain's sensations. Buyology is definitely worth reading if you are interested in saving money and learning more about how the body works. A real fascinating read.

    George T....more info
  • The Power of Buy-Ology
    I think I expected more from the reviews and the buzz and the author's stature, but I rate it as buy. Some of the tests he conducted were eye openers and the cigarette warning words and their value is a lesson we must understand.It does light up the right sections of your brain ...more info
  • Did not maintain what he promised
    Lindstrom re-cooked well-known topics saying it is a new dish.

    His way of narrating anecdotes and stories is effective, as it is the whole scientific atmosphere that he sheds on the subject. However, the points he makes are not new, out of the proving results obtained with the fMRI brain scanning method.

    John Caples and Claude Hopkins wrote several decades ago about what works in advertising and what does not. Procter and Gamble built a fortune on understanding how to appeal to unconscious wishes and desires. Lindstrom is now saying that marketing research is crap and his way of measuring brain oxygenation to communication stimuli tells us the 'real' truth. I found inconsistent the fact that he keeps remarking the inefficiency of marketing research while suggesting lots of results obtained by traditional investigation methods based on questionnaire and interview. Moreover, he is not adding much to what was already known. His 'biggest in history' study on the human brain did not impress me much.

    Again, the book is worth reading, yet my impression is that he is trying to sell us an old, re-painted picture. All in all, Lindstrom sounds to me a little arrogant....more info
  • Well researched and presented.
    Not only does Buyology explain in depth about various states of mind and human behaviour, it tells us how and why we are attracted to consumerist products. Lindstrom has gathered a team of neuroscientists for this book and the evidence is in the writing. The information is intricate yet ease to understand. Buyology is determined to do well.

    5 stars!!
    Jim...more info
  • Brilliance
    I just couldn't put it down, it's a real page turner. Even if you're not as interested in marketing as much as I am, it flows like a fiction novel, it's addictive like Harry Potter! You can tell that Lindstrom's research has really payed off, everything he says just makes sense, I can't believe no one has done this before!...more info
  • I cant look at advertising the same.
    Wow! I never have learned so much in such a short amount of time. I literally could not put Buyology down. There is so much relevant information about brain states and the subconscious. From the very first chapter, Buyology engulfed me. I will never look at another commercial the same again. Martin Lindstrom has outdone himself. 5 stars!...more info
  • Im suprised!
    What surprised me the most was that Buy-ology was so easy to understand. It's not like any other marketing book aimed over the consumers' head. It's logical and just so simple! Lindstrom gets straight to the point, just what your average shopaholic wants. Definitely worth the read....more info
  • Science Made Easy
    I was familiar with Martin from his last book BrandSense. I had downloaded his first chapter from his website and thought I had learned everything I could from that chapter. As a result I bought other books in its place.

    After seeing him on the Today Show I decided I needed to get the book. He reinforced the message that many books are making which is 90% of our decisions come from the unconscious mind.

    He took what could have been a lot of scientific info and made it easily accessible to those of us without a science packground.

    I believe that fMRI will be the way marketing is designed in the future.

    I know that I will never look at the color red the same way again....more info
  • Good info relevant beyond marketing
    As other reviewers have observed, Buy-ology's theme is, "There's a gap between conscious reasoning and action." People make consumption decisions based on factors they can't identify. Perhaps the most striking example comes in the first chapter of the book, where Lindstrom reports findings that antismoking messages do more to encourage smoking than pro-smoking advertising campaigns.

    Other chapters tell us that brands have iconic states, evoking responses similar to religious symbols; product placement works only if the product seems directly relevant to the show; and people respond strongly to people who smile.

    We've known for a long time that there's a disconnect between rational thought and action, so Buy-Ology just extends and confirms this premise. I'd like to see these findings applied to other arenas of our society. For instance, juries are supposed to be making rational decisions yet in a sense they're responding to two competing sales pitches by the different attorneys. It's hard to see how anyone could claim lack of bias.

    These findings could also be applied to the medical field. How can we encourage more people to eat healthy food, especially if much of the unhealthy food has been associated with strong positive values?

    ...more info
  • Challenging concepts, in easy-to-read format
    Martin Lindstrom takes a complicated research project and gives his insights in plain, accessible language. I found his conversational style to be easy to read, and made the subject matter highly approachable.

    I was familiar with his work on smashing the brand before I read Buyology, and there are elements of that taken a step further - why is the image of a cowboy more effective than the same image with a Marlboro logo on it, for example, or how the Nokia ring tone went from an excellent neuro marker to offensive noise in just a couple of years.

    What I found most relevant was his thoughts on the death of the logo, and how brand identity will be irrelevant in a few years time.

    Overall, the book presents a number of excellent ideas but - more importantly - challenges us as marketeers. Since I read the book, I have carried out a couple of experiments by asking our customer what they want. And Martin is right: what they actually say is rarely relevant! The truth can only be found in studying their behaviour.

    Highly recommended....more info
  • Really dissappointing
    I was excited when I saw this book. It has a clever name, a cool cover and a very interesting premise - the application of Neuroscience to purchase behaviour.

    It is rather disappointing. If you are looking for anything definitive on the value of Neuroscience to research this does not provide it.

    The book promised "a historic meeting between science and marketing" and numerous references are made to the fact that a "three year seven-million dollar neuromarketing study" was conducted. But it doesn't look like they got a lot of value for money.

    Some of the insights are interesting. Peoples' brains respond similarly when they see logos of well known brands and religious icons. But...er...and? Is that really enough to justify a chapter drawing conclusions that brand consumption is like a religious activity because it involves similar traits such as ritual behaviour?

    There are some interesting things on subliminal messaging but as far as I can see you could get the same insights from survey research.

    Having said that, there is a neat piece on the discrepancy between survey responses in how likely people are to watch certain TV shows and how much their brain says they are engaged in the show. I think this is the kind of thing where neuroscience can ad value: Entertainment and communication. But its value is limited when looking at complex emotional attachments to brands etc. because it simply doesn't give us enough information on what is happening in the brain. Yet. May do in the future.

    Unless he's holding back on the findings, if Martin Lindstrom believes they are as groundbreaking as he says, he is easily impressed. He certainly seems impressed with himself. ...more info
  • You will really enjoy this one!
    This is the best book on marketing I have read this year. Lindstrom [...] is famous world over for assisting major firms about effective marketing. So take this expertise and marry it with science i.e fMRI and SST studies of brain activities to actually measure brain response to marketing messages (no more this what I think he wants to hear feedback) The outcomes are hilarious, upsetting and completely different than what you expect. Eg

    * The Surgeon Generals warnings on cigarettes actually stimulate smokers to smoke more!
    * Only Coca Cola is really getting true value from its American Idol ads (unlike Fords $27m) .
    * It just goes on and on. Oh and the logo you sweated over so much - no effect considering the other things going on in your targets life!

    If you have any touch points with marketing you must buy read and reread this book. If you are a consumer - you will be a better informed one if you read this book. I can think of no one who would not benefit from reading this bok, unless you are the the unlikely ad exec who "sold" a big campaign that Lindstom just blew holes in. Clearly written , well organized (and thoroughly annotated) you will really enjoy this one!...more info
  • Real Tallent!
    Lindstrom has a real talent, he seems to just draw you in and you just can't put it down. It's almost scary how accurate everything in Buy-ology is, you just relate to everything, it all makes sense now! Buy it, no marketing tricks here, it's just a great read. ...more info
  • Eh. Wasn't impressed
    I agree with most who stated that this guy is a little too high on himself in the book, and it seems that there really isn't that much new in this book. While it's interesting, it's full of anecdotes and I would have appreciated a bit more scientific background.

    What I found rather irritating in the book were the factual mistakes and typos. Nando's is NOT Australian - it's a South African chain and is currently rather successful. There were tons of typos - years repeated wrong, misspellings in that same section. ...more info
  • More exciting than just some factual text book!
    Lindstrom presents interesting and factual information about marketing in a clear and concise form. He truly is the guru of advertising and marketing. His research has shown some interesting, remarkable results that most people would have never imagined. I mean who would of thought that people see the Apple symbol as some kind of religious symbol? That anti-smoking ads decrease the likelihood of a smoker to quit? and that all kinds of subliminal advertising is before our eyes such as coke bottle shaped furniture used on American idle makes us want to buy coke. It crazy! But its true.
    Lindstrom delivers his facts using anecdotes, stories and well worded, easy to understand lingo which makes this book far more exciting than just some scientific paper.

    Great book and i recommend it to everyone interested in advertising, marketing or just a plain old good read.

    Kent...more info
  • Explains why I buy some really stupid stuff!
    Lindstrom reveals some of the real truths about consumerism in todays society in his new book Buyology, these are:

    - Brands and religion make consumers think the same

    - Shopping is sensory, and pictures aren't enough.

    - Customers say no when they really mean yes.

    - Subliminal advertising is not only alive and well, it's marvelously effective

    If you really want to the truth as to why you buy some ridiculous things then read this book!

    ...more info
  • It was impossible for me to put down!!!!
    It just makes sense that Buy-ology would be impossible to put down, I don't know why everyone isn't reading it! Who could ask for anything more? It's not like one of those books you can tell is just a phoney, every piece of information comes with reasoning, and a smooth delivery, making it a great read. Pick one up, you won't regret it!

    Cassandra...more info
  • Live presentation is better than the book check out his website
    I was so fortunate to see Marin Speak at the Omniture Summit in Salt Lake City in February 2009. I got a copy of the book for free after the speech, but his audio visual presentation topped the book in many ways.

    I would say Martin's presentation based on the content in this book stood out as the biggest take away of the whole conference. Many of the books in this space are "me too" or just add ons to existing theories about marketing. Martin and his brain scanning go in a completely different direction. His neuromarketing science is ground breaking.

    Loved the stories about the Corona lime, Nokia ring tone, and cigarette smoking. The only problem is traditional marketers don't have the resources to use his findings. It was great however to see and read about the direction we are moving in the future of marketing....more info
  • Guy blows his own horn for entire book.
    Like listening to Joe Biden for three hours telling you how smart & cool he his and how his golf game has improved. This was a travel log & ego self stroker for this author only. What a waste of plastic to make a CD... booooooorrrriiinnnggggg and ZERO practical value. Wanna buy my used copy?...more info
  • Lindstrom makes it clear!
    Consumerism is a huge part of life but to be honest, society in general is not very aware or informed of how much large organisations suck you in to buying their products. Martin Lindstrom's latest book Buyology explains clearly the ways in which organisations fool you into buying their products which you don't even need. Overall, Buyology has to be one of the best books of the year so far....more info
  • Controversy with evidence
    Centering around a 7 million dollar study into the way consumers think and interact with brands allows buyology to make bold and controversial statements whilst backing them up. Great book....more info
  • OK Read
    Interesting insight into the world of marketing. Includes a lot of "science", specifically FMRI which makes for less than interesting read....more info
  • Best neuoadvertising book ive read.
    Buyology is based off information gathered from numerous studies into the effects of advertising on the human brain. One of these studies conducted was by Lindstrom's company on a sample of 2018 people from across USA and Europe. Lindstrom presents some interesting facts from his finding in an writing style that makes you want to keep reading it. Its a factual book which is made like a scientific paper to bore you, Lindstrom relates each topic to a real life example and stories.
    ...more info
  • Lindstrom has a strong delivery.
    Buyology by Martin Lindstrom is based of years of research on a sample of populations from both Europe and the USA. It analyzed brain stimuli using fMRI in response to certain advertising and marketing techniques used by reputable companies such as Apple and Microsoft. Lindstrom delivers these results and other factual information in easy to understand language and stories which makes this book a joy to read.

    Greg...more info
  • Never received
    I never received the book, however whe I tried to track it, the status was delivered....more info
  • Better than i expected
    This was way better than I expected, not just a typical advertising book as it is clear that the author Martin Lindstrom has thoroughly researched the ways in which marketers drill in subliminal messages through the media and the ways in which we as a society pick up on these messages. With detailed and insightful writing, buyology deserves to find an audience.

    I highly recommened anyone interested in the truth of advertising and finding out the best techniques to sell products to read this book!

    5 STARs!...more info
  • Good insight into what works and what doesn't
    Martin Lindstrom really seperated the good from the bad in terms of marketing techniques that work and those that don't. He gathered his research from a large survey of around 2000 people under functional MRI.

    You will not regret buying this book, it will certainly change the way you view your current marketing technqiues. Lindstrom knows how to explain these technqiues through stories and examples

    Peter Carr...more info
  • Can you say FILLER????
    There is a bit of reasonable information in this book, unfortunately it has been coated in an unbelievable amount of filler. Much of the filler is in the form of excessive adjectives, hackneyed phrases, and repetitive anecdotal examples. The audio version also suffers from a delivery by the reader that would put old time monotone golf announcers to sleep....more info
  • A window into the soul?
    This is a fantastic, intriguing little book. In it, Martin Lindstrom gives a readable, high-level description of the most comprehensive neuro-marketing study ever undertaken. Subjects all over the world submitted themselves to non-invasive brain scans to see how their brains respond to various marketing stimuli. The results are amazing. Turns out, some oft-used techniques of advertising don't really work. But others work so well that our brains react to them the same way they react to religious icons and concepts. That is frightening and, strangely, not at all surprising. This is a quick read -- I highly recommend it.

    Even though medicine and science have come a long way in recent years, the brain is still a mystery to us. We would all benefit from advances in treatments for brain cancer, Alzheimer's, etc. Imagine this -- driven by the goal of getting us to buy more stuff, marketing departments around the world start investing millions of dollars in neuro-studies. As a result, a lot more doctors would be looking at a lot more brain scans. With all of the new money flowing in from the marketing departments, new scanning technologies and methods could be developed. In the end, maybe we would buy more stuff, but we would also be a lot closer to understanding the brain and its various pathologies. Have you met my friend, Niccolo Machiavelli? ...more info
  • Correlation does not equal Causation
    Nice try, and interesting idea. But you put a smoker in an MRI, and their brain says, "Oooooh, I'd really like a cigarette," and you blame it on the fact that they were looking at warning labels on cigarette packages? This is not science. ...more info
  • Eye opening...
    It all makes sense now! I don't know how many times I've cleaned out the
    wardrobe, the living room, my bedroom cupboard and found the most eccentric collection of junk conceivable. I'll never look at an ad the same again, Buy-ology is a real eye opener....more info
  • Great helper
    Yeah I have to agree with that, it really is about us, as in, us
    consumers. Before Buy-ology, I was a headless chicken with money, my husband had a real problem with it. But now, things are just so easy, it's all about thinking. And not just what to think, but when to think and how to think about it. It's a great a helper.

    Judy...more info
  • Sure fire hit!
    I was very doubtful with this book, I thought it was just another average book with useless information about advertising techniques. However, it was to my surprise that the information was all very informative. The book is all based of research carried upon a few thousand people under fMRI scanning. The writing style is easy flowing and well structured. You can read the book from back to front in two nights and you will absorb it all. Fantastic book and I recommend it to any small business who wants to explore other avenues of advertising....more info
  • To Buy or Not To Buy?
    Curious about what ultimately determines your purchasing decisions? Then, you might want to take a peek into the "window into the human mind" created by neuromarketing: "an intriguing marriage of marketing and science." _Buyology_ offers a glimpse into the subterranean brain activity going on during the purchase-or-pass debate. Based on interesting--and often surprising--findings from Lindstrom's neuromarketing study which uses fMRI and SST (steady-state typography) to map and measure brain activty, _Buyology explores the intersection of marketing, psychology, and, neuroscience. Without being too science or marketing heavy, _Buyology_ provides intriguing insight into what really motivates us to buy. Mindful consumerism begins here. ...more info
  • Really cool to read, but be a bit skeptical of the explanations
    So, do you enjoy books with titles that have multiple levels of meaning? Buy-ology - is it merely the study of how people buy? Or is it also the marriage of marketing and psychology. Is it also a wordplay on biology since the book is, in part, about brain function. Good title, huh?

    If, like me, you are interested in what brain researchers are learning about brain function and our behavior you will enjoy this book. Martin Lindstrom combines this brain research with marketing to tease out what people actually do versus what they say they do. Even more, he looks at reasons for why thy do what they do and compares that the explanations people provide for their own behavior. Needless to say, the book is interesting because people behave quite differently than they think they do and for reasons different than the explanations they make to themselves and others.

    The author retells many well known marketing stories, but interprets them in terms of what brain activity seems to indicate. One thing you must keep in mind as you read this book is that the study of brain activity, while interesting, does not directly supply the answers and explanations Lindstrom provides. These are deductions, inferences, reasonable guesses, and wild crazy hopes. Being able to chart brain activity is fairly new and some things do seem quite clear. For example, when you face a choice or want to remember something, a great deal of brain activity goes on before you are consciously aware of the material you are recalling or choosing. Some say this means that consciousness is not much more than a figment our brain activity gives us and the choice is simply an illusion. While brain activity external to consciousness is clear, what it all means remains, I think, less well explained. For example, when I want to type these words a lot of brain activity has to be generated to choose the words, to spell them, to press the keys, to check my typing. Only some of this is conscious. Yet, it all resulted because I made a choice to type this review and how I wanted to fashion it. Beware of those who would explain away choice. The author talks about how anti-smoking commercials cause smokers to crave a cigarette. Fine. But the smoker who is properly motivated can still resist the craving to not smoke.

    You should also beware of a trap that befalls many new technologies. You spot something strange and ask why. Picking up your shiny new technological hammer, you fashion a likely or plausible, or just well sounding explanation. We all nod our head in agreement, but our agreeing to your notions in no way makes it true, right, or consistent with the facts. As these new miracle explanations get tried out and other questions arise, they seem to always become less miraculous, less shiny, and have less explanatory power than we first thought. Some of the things we were hammering we find our weren't even nails!

    Even with these cautions, the book is a terrific read and a very useful way to get up to date information about what marketers are trying to do to you. You should read this book to become better armed against the designs these unscrupulous types (not the author) have on you and your wallet. Forewarned is forearmed. Don't believe for a minute that companies who want you to buy their wares care much about how they get you to buy or whether or not their product actually benefits your life. They just want you to buy and will do pretty much anything to manipulate you to do what they want.

    Fine read, just don't take every explanation as gospel and take the time to tease out what is actually demonstrated by the brain scans and what is added to them to make a snazzy story that sells.

    Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Ann Arbor, MI
    ...more info
  • 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 increasingly used tool in politics and product promotion. The traditional mediums of marketing are rapidly changing and the costs of marketing are demanding better targetting and assessment of the potential impact of the messages being purchased.

    That understood, the sections of the book that I found particularly interesting related to branding and religion as well as the recurring theme of cigarette advertising and how the campaigns aimed against tobacco may ironically still be promoting or at least reinforcing its use, at least among those already addicted and using it. There is indeed much to be learned about what takes place at a sub-conscious level and these tools in the hands of marketers looking for the "magic buy button" Lindstrom refers to several times are navigating increasingly differentiating audiences and overburdened, overexposed minds that are increasingly conditioned to filter out advertising noise.

    If you can tolerate the marketing with the book itself, there's enough here to make it a worthwhile read.

    3 Stars

    Bart Breen...more info
  • Flawed in several ways.
    1) The tone of the author is sometimes self-congratulatory, which I had trouble getting past. This guy obviously thinks a great deal of himself. He was also obviously trying to add a flair of drama to the narrative, but this was inappropriate and a bit over the top, given the content he was discussing.

    2) For several of his studies, I can think of several alternative interpretations of the results, and yet he presents his interpretations as inescapable conclusions. I got the feeling that his obsession with figuring out why people make purchase decisions was clouding his judgment, and causing him to be far more certain of what the brain scans his team performed actually meant.

    3) Most neuroscientists agree that we have only a primitive, probably flawed understanding of how the different regions and systems of the brain work together to create behavior, and yet the author interprets brain scans as if they were completely accurate, detailed, well-understood snapshots of what we are actually thinking.

    4) Several studies were hardly surprising. Subliminal advertising actually works? This has been proven many times, and is well known. We didn't need a brain scan study for confirmation...

    5) His primary defense of neuromarketing (from an ethical perspective) is that it will enable manufacturers to produce products that better meet our needs, so therefore consumers will benefit. This argument assumes that all of our competing needs and desires are geared towards doing (or buying) things that will improve our health and happiness which, psychologists have shown time and time again, is clearly not the case.

    Some nuggets in there, but buried in a lot of sensationalistic rubble....more info
  • Clear effort shown.
    Buyology will be one of the year's best sellers without a doubt. Martin Lindstrom has put in so much effort with this book and it clearly shows. With easy to understand language taking the reader through a step-by-step analysis of why the world at large has fallen to the might of large corporations. With well-researched information and references, Lindstrom's latest book is a sure to be seller....more info
  • Lindstrom explores out advertising driven minds
    It struck me as a novel for the easily impressed; I myself frowned at the concept of someone telling me what I am thinking. I decided that it couldn't be true. And it turns out I was wrong, I loved it. Lindstrom really explores the mind, it's fascinating how many marketing techniques just sneak right past us without us even knowing. Definitely a five star read....more info
  • Someting Special.
    Buyology is something special, it sets the benchmark in terms of decent marketing book as it reveals the truth about what consumers REALLY want. The author of this controversial hit is Martin Lindstrom, considered a marketing guru and I certainly agree. Lindstrom has based this book on a brain scan on two thousand people to study the reaction of brain stimulii to numerous advetising techniques. The results make this book a must read.
    So what are you waiting for?

    ...more info
  • Worth while?
    Half way through. Interesting and a worth while read. Not sure I sign up for all of the "ritual behavior" explanations. Some seem a bit long fetched to be of relevance for the topic, but overall the content makes you think and investigate, which is good, and defintely not true for all books....more info

 

 
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