The Hidden Persuaders

Psychology and its connecting disciplines has always fascinated me. One subject among them is the art of persuasion, which is more successful at conquering people and nations than even a physical war.

Recently, as part of class work I read the ‘Hidden Persuaders’ by Vance Packard. The book was published in 1957 and consists of 200 pages. The book is divided into 4 parts- The depth approach, persuading us as consumers, persuading us as citizens and In retrospect.

The depth approach discipline gained popularity during the time the book was written. It goes on to say that the approach is important as consumers are irrational people. They either don’t know what they want or, even if they do, they are unlikely to reveal the same. It thus, used various techniques to find out the same (different researchers used different techniques).

The book shows how using insights from the above, marketers are using emotions like self-images, guilt & indulgence, security & fear, sex, aversions, etc. It also dwells on concepts like advertising to kids, subliminal advertising and others.

The book is pretty interesting for those are interested in the unconscious mind. However, for those looking for a light and informative read, the book’s matter leans more on to the heavier side.

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