Years ago, Waaay back when I was a young whipper snapper, 😊
well it was a long time ago now, but not that long, I think in the mid to late 70’s
I read a book by Vance Packard called the ‘Hidden persuaders, This came to be one of 3 main seminal books in my life. There are many more but these three stick with me always.
This book was originally published in 1957, a darn good year. And was a book that was adopted by Advertisers everywhere from that time on.
Although I cannot vouch that it is still popular, but by doing a google search it is still very much available.
This was one of the best books around at the time for delving into the mysterious world of advertising and how people react and think dependent on what they are presented with.
Reminds me of my Honours Thesis which was about how Representation determines interpretation.
This book reveals the gullibility in humankind and how we can be very much influenced by the way things are presented to us. The book explains the multi-National corporations approaches to researching the Psychological effects that things have on people and how to use that Psychology to maximise selling power.
It is probably not the most popular book of today because time moves on and the appropriation of ideas has progressed and re writing and re jigging the concepts have been done by Many, and even simplified in some cases, such as ‘The Purple Cow’ by Seth Godin as @jongolsen mentioned in one of his posts.
What is beautiful about ‘The Hidden Persuaders” is that this was written when Advertising was becoming aligned with Propaganda, and when we look today at Advertising, and not just advertising, the Psychology is still very much relevant and enhanced as a tool of the Market.
Another seminal book that I read was called” Ways of Seeing” by John Berger , Published in 1973 – Previous to this it was a BBC TV documentary series in 1972 – this is also a fantastic book that describes how context can allow us to see outside the box. This book looks at how objects are portrayed in advertising and artwork and how that influences the viewpoint of the audience and how the producers of the works use the psychology to deliberately predict a response. This is still very much a book that all visual Arts students are encouraged to read and I believe all Marketing and Advertising students should also put on their shelves, It may have been written in the 70’s but is still very relevant today.
Now the Third and final seminal book for me, and it was actually the first, was a book that my mother read to me as a young child, pre 5 , called the ‘Ragged Trousered Philanthropist’ by Robert Noonan – Published in 1914 – This was a book that came about as a result of the Industrial Revolution when Workers on the land were moving to the cities and getting jobs in factories, and how the major corporations (Factory Owners) were exploiting the labour force. The focus of the book is the coming together of the workers and what essentially was the formation of Trade Unions. Now the influence it had on me was the notion that you can always achieve what you want if you work together to get the job done and that nothing is insurmountable if you keep at it. I don’t recall the exact content of the book as I have not read it since, but the fact it is a book title I remember, when I really don’t remember anything else (Another story) demonstrates to me the influence it has had on me.
Knowing where I am today also confirms in me that it was a great influence in how I treat others.
So that’s just a brief insight into some more of my influences.
What influenced you ????