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Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy Hardcover – Oct 21 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business (Oct. 21 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385523882
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385523882
  • Product Dimensions: 2.4 x 14.4 x 21.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 399 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #228,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Nov. 17 2008
Format: Hardcover
As Martin Lindstrom explains in the Introduction, he set out to understand "what's going on in our brains that makes us chose one brand over another - what information passes through our brain's filter and what information doesn't -- well that would be key to truly building brands of the future." After completing a three-year, multimillion-dollar "journey" with 2,081 volunteers he enlisted (from America, England, Germany, Japan, and the Republic of China), he shares what are best viewed as preliminary conclusions about neuromarketing.

In fact, as I read this book, I became convinced that whatever revelations (albeit preliminary) the research study might provide would have broader and deeper implications with regard to how most (if not all) people make decisions, not only about brands but also about questions to answer, problems to solve, opportunities to pursue, perils to avoid, etc. One of Lindstrom's several objectives was (and is) to gain a better understanding of "our own seemingly irrational behavior - whether it's why we buy a designer shirt or how we assess a job candidate"...or those who seek the presidency of the United States. Once we gain such an understanding, Lindstrom asserts, we actually gain [begin italics] more [end italics] control, not less, over the decision-making process.

Others have shared their reasons for holding this book in such high regard. Here are three of mine. First, Lindstrom immediately establishes and then sustains a personal rapport with his reader. He makes brilliant use of direct address but also of first-person plural pronouns that make the reader feel as if she or he was a companion during the "journey" to which Lindstrom refers. In fact, each reader completes her or his own journey also.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Andrea on July 28 2009
Format: Hardcover
(This review has also been posted to LibraryThing)

The entire time I was reading this, I found myself wishing that it had been written by Malcolm Gladwell instead. It was so full of Lindstrom's self-promotion and narcisistic asides that it got distracting.

Many of the ideas Lindstrom presents are interesting (e.g. "smashable" brands, mirror neurons, the role of product placement - the analysis of product placement on American Idol was particularly interesting), but he just lists example after example without really getting into the details of why or how things work the way they do.

Lindstrom does the same with the neuromarketing studies the book is supposed to be about; he goes on and on about how groundbreaking the results are but glosses over the methodology and doesn't really give us much more than the bare minimum for the results. I came away not really knowing why many of his studies were as revolutionary as he claims. Also, having a science background, I questioned some of his methods and results from what little explanation was provided.

Overall: a book with lots of potential that turned out to be tedious and unsatisfying.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER on Oct. 28 2008
Format: Audio CD
Do you buy something because you need it? Umm, perhaps. Did you really want the last item you bought? Maybe. Neuromarketing guru Martin Lindstrom has invested years of research into exploring the reasons why we buy, how we are affected even subconsciously to make a purchase. Of course, this is fascinating information for marketers but it was even more intriguing to me as a consumer (especially in today's economy). Just as biology is a study of living organisms, Buy-Ology is a study of living buyers and sellers.

Breathes there a woman alive who hasn't wondered why on earth she bought a blouse she has yet to wear? Or, at our house a husband who hasn't bought something for his workbench that remains shiny and unused?

Lindstrom brings to light precisely how marketers use science and religion to sell. For instance, just as in religion think of how top selling brands utilize symbols. I can spot my brand of detergent from across a store simply by the symbol on the front of the box, and that symbol elicits a good response from me.

One statement I found a bit intimidating was that we make 90% of our decisions subconsciously or due to a subconscious reaction. I'm still pondering that. I'd really like to think that my buying decisions are made quite consciously with an eye to our budget, but I know that's not so when I remember my tendency to overspend during holiday seasons.

Now, blue is and always been my favorite color. But, I didn't know that the sight of a robin's egg blue Tiffany box made women's hearts beat faster. And, a number of stores and product lines seem to believe that sex sells while Lindstrom says not so.

The data in Buy-Ology isn't at all dry as you may find yourself on quite a few pages. And, Don Leslie's reading makes the discoveries even more enjoyable.

- Gail Cooke
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Format: Hardcover
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
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