Summary and book reviews of Coercion by Douglas Rushkoff

Coercion

Why We Listen to What 'They' Say

by Douglas Rushkoff

Coercion
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Aug 1999, 321 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2000, 304 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Rushkoff's message is a wake-up call for anyone who has the uncomfortable sense that our actions are being shaped by forces beyond our control.

They say that human beings use only ten percent of their brains. They say the corner office is a position of power. They say you haven't met your deductible.

Who, exactly, are "they"? More important, why do we listen to them?

In Coercion Douglas Rushkoff argues that we each have our own "theys"--bosses, experts, and authorities (both real and imaginary) who have taken over much of the decision-making power in our lives. Unfortunately, not everyone to whom we surrender this control has our best interests at heart. What's most troubling is that the more we try to resist their efforts at persuasion, the more effort they in turn put into finding increasingly sophisticated--and invisible--methods of coercion. Indeed, the last fifty years have been marked by a kind of arms race between these authorities and our selves.

Douglas Rushkoff is in a unique position to guide us through these hazardous societal influences. Having for years been the champion of the new media, the Internet, and the liberating forces of interactive technology, he now examines the process through which such innovations are being co-opted by the powers that be. Rushkoff's message is a wake-up call for anyone who has the uncomfortable sense that our actions are being shaped by forces beyond our control.

Introduction
They Say

They say human beings use only ten percent of their brains. They say polyunsaturated fat is better for you than saturated fat. They say that tiny squiggles in a rock prove there once was life on Mars. They say our children's test scores are declining. They say Jesus was a direct descendant of King David. They say you can earn $15,000 a week in your spare time. They say marijuana leads to LSD, and LSD can lead to suicide. They say the corner office is a position of power. They say the elderly should get flu shots this season. They say homosexuality is an environmentally learned trait. They say there's a gene for homosexuality. They say people can be hypnotized to do anything. They say people won't do anything under hypnosis that they wouldn't do when conscious. They say Prozac alleviates depression. They say mutual funds are the best long-term investment. They say computers can predict the weather. They say you haven't met your deductible...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

The Christian Science Monitor

...[L]abored phrasing, combined with the book''s dark theme, makes it a downer to read. But the effort is ultimately worthwhile. Vance Packard told this sad story more artfully 42 years ago in his classic The Hidden Persuaders, which Rushkoff cites. But Packard was writing before the widespread use of computers, before the advent of the online culture. Rushkoff''s update of Packard is a good warning about the coming century''s technological hucksters.

Library Journal

Lively and well researched, this is recommended for public and general libraries.

Library Journal

Lively and well researched, this is recommended for public and general libraries.

Kirkus Reviews

Some of what Rushkoff contends may be wildly speculative and overly alarmist, but on the whole he offers a convincing view of the constructed and controlled world in which we live.

Booklist

An essential book for anyone interested in the power of media and the mechanics of deception.

Kirkus Reviews

Some of what Rushkoff contends may be wildly speculative and overly alarmist, but on the whole he offers a convincing view of the constructed and controlled world in which we live.

Booklist

An essential book for anyone interested in the power of media and the mechanics of deception.

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Coercion, try these:

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes

Books with similar themes


Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    In the Country of Men
    by Hisham Matar
    Labeled by some as the "Libyan Kite Runner", In The Country of Men does share some ...
  • Book Jacket: Holding Up the Universe
    Holding Up the Universe
    by Jennifer Niven
    Jennifer Niven's spectacular Holding Up the Universe has everything that I love about Young ...
  • Book Jacket: Coffin Road
    Coffin Road
    by Peter May
    From its richly atmospheric opening to its dramatic conclusion, Peter May's Coffin Road is a ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win All the Gallant Men

All The Gallant Men

The first memoir by a USS Arizona survivor, 75 years after Pearl Harbor.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

K Y Eyes P

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.