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Buyology

Truth and Lies About Why We Buy
Narrated by: Don Leslie
Length: 7 hrs and 22 mins
Categories: Nonfiction, Economics
4 out of 5 stars (605 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Based on the single largest neuromarketing study ever conducted, Buyology reveals surprising truths about what attracts our attention and captures our dollars. Among the long-held assumptions and myths Buyology confronts:
  • Sex doesn't sell - people in skimpy clothing and provocative poses don't persuade us to buy products.
  • Despite government bans, subliminal advertising is ubiquitous - from bars to supermarkets to highway billboards.
  • Color can be so iconic that the sight of the robin's egg blue of a certain famous jewelry brand significantly raises women's heart rates.
  • Companies shamelessly borrow from religion and ritual - like the ritual, made up by a bored American bartender, of drinking a Corona with a lime - to seduce our interest.
  • "Cool" brands, like iPods, trigger our mating instincts.

    The fact is, so much of what we thought we knew about why we buy is wrong. Drawing on a three-year, 7 million dollar, cutting-edge brain scan study of over 2000 people from around the world, marketing guru Martin Lindstrom's revelations will captivate anyone who's been seduced - or turned off - by marketer's relentless efforts to win our loyalty, our money and our minds.

    Packed with entertaining stories about how we respond to such well-known products and companies as Marlboro, Calvin Klein, Ford, and American Idol, Buyology is a fascinating tour into the mind of today's consumer.

  • ©2008 Martin Lindstrom (P)2008 Random House Audio

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    • Overall
      5 out of 5 stars

    What we think we know versus how we act in buying.

    Why do we buy? This is a great book which gets into the differences of what people say / think, and actually do when it comes to purchase time. Think of how many people might say they think low of daytime television like Jerry Springer, but are fascinated and can't help themselves but watch.
    You will have to endure a bit of annoying "look at me" ego in areas by the author, but just ignore it and you'll find this captivating and informative.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful

    • Overall
      1 out of 5 stars
    • Pamela
    • Las Vegas, NV, USA
    • 04-08-09

    Very High Word to Idea Ratio

    I was eager to hear what Buyology had to say but after 2 hours, I still hadn't reached any of the main ideas. I am not a fan of abridged books, but I'd make an exception with this one. I kept thinking, "enough already, get to the point!" I think there is some good stuff here, but I couldn't take it; I need more intellectual engagement to make listening to a book rewarding. It's worth reading, but I'd recommend getting a version you can skim so you can focus on the main points and not invest too much time in the padding.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful

    • Overall
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Don
    • Panorama City,, CA, United States
    • 01-02-09

    New perspective!

    As a person involved in advertising and TV commercial production, I found the information to be quite trenchant and revealing, offering a new point of view on the research of consumer behaviors. I really liked the research results of the worldwide government cigarette warning labels and how they actually make people crave cigarettes subconsciously, evidenced by the continued increase of smokers around the world. If the information is correct, which needs to be debated and counter-researched, the whole advertising world will be turned on its head. At the very least, it is an interesting hypothesis on why we have the purchase decisions that we have. I recommend it as the beginning of a new kind of research.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

    • Overall
      1 out of 5 stars

    Good Premise, Terrible Author

    This book has a great idea, using fMRI imaging to see what parts of our brain are used when we make decisions. Sadly, the book is just a lotbad ideas/writing combined with the author stroking his own ego.

    This is a direct quote from the first page of introduction the describing the author:

    "anyone seeing Martin from twenty feet away... [will see like] a slight blond creature that has just stepped into the spotlight. You wait for the light to fade, but it doesn't. Like a pre-Raphaelite painting, there is a glow that emanates form Martin as if he was destined to be on stage. No, not as a matinee idol, but as some god-waif. The man exudes virtue. Close up, he is even more starting. I've never met anyone with wise eyes, set in such a youthful face... you might ask him for an autograph".

    Think of the type of person who would use that to introduce himself... seriously... and it just goes on and on...

    "But this study wasn't going to come cheap, and I knew that without corporate backing, it was dead in the water. But when I get an idea in my head that keeps me up at night, I'm persistent. Politely pushy, you might call it. Those twenty-seven messages on your answering machine. They're all from me (sorry)."

    "By way of profession, I'm a global branding expert. That is, it's been a lifelong mission (and passion) to figure out how consumers think ... If you look around, chances are you'll find my branding fingerprints all over your house or apartment ... As a branding expert and brand futurist (meaning that the sum of my globe-hopping experience gives me a helicopter view of probable future consumer and advertising trends) ..."

    Save yourself the pain that I went through... instead read Predictably Irrationality (smart author, good writing, good narrator) or Freakonomics (book that help start the genre).

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful

    • Overall
      2 out of 5 stars
    • ND
    • 06-05-09

    Some nuggets and some major flaws

    The flaws:

    1) His tone is often self-congratulatory and borderline boastful, which is hard to get past.

    2) He has far too much confidence in the results of his experiments, and presents his interpretations of the results as the only possible interpretation. I doubt his conclusions would stand up well to a thorough peer review.

    3) His defense against those who are concerned about the future use of neuromarketing for nefarious purposes is that it (neuromarketing) will enable marketers to design products that consumers will like more. This assumes that consumers only want things that are good for them (or at least things that will make them happier). In his ethical argument, he ignores people's desire to buy cigarettes, adjustable mortgages and other products that could be made more appealling by neuromarketing, then discusses these in detail later on.

    4) His attempts to add drama and storytelling to accounts of brain imaging experiments are clumsy and over the top. The chapters are drenched with words like "astonishing", "amazement", "shocking" and "unbelievable". Felt like a used car salesman trying to sell me his ideas with circus ringmaster-style hyperbole, instead of logic.

    The nuggets:

    1) Modern brain imaging provides a surprising amount of insight into some human behaviours. Just not as much insight as the author claims it does.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful

    • Overall
      3 out of 5 stars

    Why we buy stuff we don't need

    With Black Friday coming, I wanted to understand why it is that people go so crazy about buying things. This was an interesting book that deals with the mind of the buyer, and I found it to be an entertaining and informative read. I recommend it if you're interested in psychology, as it had a lot to do with the reasoning of the consumer mind. It was a very interesting listen, and I recommend it

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful

    • Overall
      3 out of 5 stars
    • Performance
      3 out of 5 stars
    • Story
      2 out of 5 stars

    For marketing, not sales

    I hoped to gain some sales insights but this is strictly for marketing, advertisers and big business owners.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

    • Overall
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Performance
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Story
      5 out of 5 stars

    I'm a Marketer, and this book is really good!

    I'm a 12 year marketing professional. I've referenced and recommended this book to young marketers and want to be marketers several times. If you are a young marketer, you should read this book early in your career and start adopting & adapting what you learn into what you sell.

    I thought this book was filled with good information, new explanations and insights into marketing that the average consumer would not be aware of, and great ideas for current marketers if they are listening to it through the lens of selling their products. I have pages of notes from this book on things I am not doing for my products that I will be soon.

    The negative reviews I read prompted me to leave a review of my own in defense of the book because they seem so silly, unmerited, and short sighted. Arguing the author seems boastful and stretched the information is pretty boastful in itself- leading me to believe some of the reviews weren't reading the book to learn, but to feel good about what they want to boast they already know. The book points out instant gratification techniques used by marketers, but not being able to listen to a book that uses real brand examples is just non-sense if you're looking to come away with practical applications from it.

    At this point in history I think we all know books are written to be lengthened to hit a certain page threshold so they can be more easily sold. The question isn't whether the book can be condensed, but the quality of examples used to highlight the major points. I think the examples were of quality.

    The book took me a long time to listen to, but all good books do because I pause for notes along the way. I encourage you, if you are considering listening to any book and you get bored easily- to speed up the time to 1.5x to 2x depending on how quickly you process information. I listen to all my books like this.

    Great listen- thank you! After listening to this book, I bought 2 more from the same author. I have 30 minutes left in Brand-Washed and it's also very good! Enjoy the read!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

    • Overall
      1 out of 5 stars
    • Tonny
    • Herlev, Denmark
    • 07-16-09

    How to stretch a 2 page pamphlet.

    it's a rip off, and a lot of going around In circles, you lose attention every 5 minutes or so, and the actual results of the <<7 million dollar, cutting-edge brain scan study of over 2000 people from around the world>> or at least the very VERY small parts of it that we get to hear about would fit nicely in to a 2 page pamphlet, I guess they only show the real results to big corporations for a big price.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful

    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars
    • Abong
    • Syracuse, UT, USA
    • 02-09-09

    Very Interesting and Intriguing

    I was a Marketing major in college and enjoyed the information in this book. It's definitely not a "text" book, but I loved all the tests and explanations of why we buy what we buy. If you have an interest in marketing, advertising, or the likes you will enjoy this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful