The best books on advertising and technology

Mark Bartholomew Author Of Adcreep: The Case Against Modern Marketing
By Mark Bartholomew

Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by advertising—its creativity, its persuasive force, its sometimes relentless nature. I’m a law professor and I’ve written numerous articles on the relationship between law, technology, and advertising. A lot of what I’m interested in is psychology. Only by understanding the capabilities of audiences for advertising can judges and legislatures determine what legal limits need to be placed on advertisers.   

I wrote...

Adcreep: The Case Against Modern Marketing

By Mark Bartholomew,

Book cover of Adcreep: The Case Against Modern Marketing

What is my book about?

Adcreep journeys through the curious and sometimes troubling world of modern advertising. The book takes the reader through an array of marketing techniques that recently seemed like the stuff of science fiction: neuromarketing, biometric scans, automated online spies, and facial recognition technology, all enlisted to study and stimulate consumer desire. What are the consequences of living in a world of non-stop selling? Is resistance possible? Adcreep mounts a damning critique of the modern American legal system's failure to stem the flow of invasive advertising into our homes, national parks, schools, and digital lives.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Voice Catchers: How Marketers Listen in to Exploit Your Feelings, Your Privacy, and Your Wallet

Why did I love this book?

Turow takes the reader on a fascinating dive into the evolution of the voice intelligence industry. He reveals what these devices do now, what they may do in the future, and where they come from. I loved the historical perspective in this book—today’s home smart speakers can trace their lineage back to department stores and debt collectors. With inside access to industry leaders, Turow shows how we got to the point where tens of millions now willingly admit commercial listening devices into their most private physical spaces.

By Joseph Turow,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Voice Catchers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Your voice provides biometric data. How are marketers using it to manipulate you?

"[Dr. Turow ] is encouraging policymakers and the public to do something I wish we did more often: Be careful and considerate about how we use a powerful technology before it might be used for consequential decisions."-Shira Ovide, New York Times

Only three decades ago, it was inconceivable that virtually entire populations would be carrying around wireless phones wherever they went, or that peoples' exact locations could be tracked by those devices. We now take both for granted. Even just a decade ago the idea that individuals'…

Book cover of Bored, Lonely, Angry, Stupid: Changing Feelings about Technology, from the Telegraph to Twitter

Why did I love this book?

This fascinating book combines in-depth present-day interviews with historical accounts to illuminate the similarities and differences in how current and previous generations view technology. The juxtaposition generates significant insights. The meaning of vanity, boredom, loneliness, and anger have all changed under the influence of smartphones and social media. Fernandez and Matt reveal how these innovations are not just changing our habits, but the very content of our emotional lives.

By Luke Fernandez, Susan J. Matt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bored, Lonely, Angry, Stupid as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An Entrepreneur Best Book of the Year

Facebook makes us lonely. Selfies breed narcissism. On Twitter, hostility reigns. Pundits and psychologists warn that digital technologies substantially alter our emotional states, but in this lively investigation of changing feelings about technology, we learn that the gadgets we use don't just affect how we feel-they can profoundly change our sense of self. When we say we're bored, we don't mean the same thing as a Victorian dandy. Could it be that political punditry has helped shape a new kind of anger? Luke Fernandez and Susan Matt take us back in time to…

Book cover of Your Ad Here: The Cool Sell of Guerrilla Marketing

Why did I love this book?

Much of the advertising we see is not something that we can recognize as advertising. Marketing campaigns are orchestrated behind the scenes, influencing us through subtle product placement in films and television, paid mouthpieces made to appear to us like everyday strangers, and social media influencers with less-than-transparent relationships to luxury brands. This kind of advertising is not only effective in the moment, but it also succeeds in normalizing a culture of continuous selling. Serazio, a former journalist, is a skilled investigator and writer and it shows on every page.

By Michael Serazio,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Your Ad Here as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

2015 Susanne K. Langer Award for Outstanding Scholarship, Media Ecology Association
2013 Book of the Year, Visual Communication Division, National Communication Association
Amidst the profound upheavals in technology, economics, and culture that mark the contemporary moment, marketing strategies have multiplied, as brand messages creep ever deeper into our private lives. In Your Ad Here, an engaging and timely new book, Michael Serazio investigates the rise of "guerrilla marketing" as a way of understanding increasingly covert and interactive flows of commercial persuasion. Digging through a decade of trade press coverage and interviewing dozens of agency CEOs, brand managers, and creative directors,…

The Circle

By Dave Eggers,

Book cover of The Circle

Why did I love this book?

Sometimes fiction can do a better job of illuminating the stakes of our current moment than even the most in-depth reporting and factual analysis. In this fun and fast-paced novel, Eggers describes the activities of the Circle—the world’s largest search engine, social media platform, and e-commerce site all rolled into one. The book is filled with a battery of hilarious yet simultaneously chilling proposals for new apps that carry forward current trends while stripping away any notion of privacy, competitive balance, or trust in each other. Eggers’ Orwellian vision is laugh-out-loud funny yet all too real.

By Dave Eggers,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Circle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE starring Tom Hanks, Emma Watson and John Boyega

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - a dark, thrilling and unputdownable novel about our obsession with the internet

'Prepare to be addicted' Daily Mail

'A gripping and highly unsettling read' Sunday Times

'The Circle is 'Brave New World' for our brave new world... Fast, witty and troubling' Washington Post

When Mae is hired to work for the Circle, the world's most powerful internet company, she feels she's been given the opportunity of a lifetime. Run out of a sprawling California campus, the Circle links users' personal emails,…

Book cover of Engines of Liberty: How Citizen Movements Succeed

Why did I love this book?

This book offers a blueprint for how to resist the intrusions of modern marketing. Cole, legal director of the ACLU and a former law professor, examines the successes of three modern movements for constitutional change. He adroitly traces the strategic choices made on the road to marriage equality, human rights in the war on terror, and a more capacious vision of the right to bear arms. Though dissimilar in their particular goals, these three social movements succeeded in producing sweeping changes in the law. Cole’s careful account is not only fascinating in its own right, but offers lessons for those who want to push back against the current landscape of ubiquitous advertising and commercial surveillance. 

By David Cole,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Engines of Liberty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Donald Trump's policies, from his travel ban to his approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline, have prompted an immediate response from concerned liberals. Yet what effect can protest truly have in the face of the awesome power of the executive branch? Do everyday citizens have a role in safeguarding our Constitution? Or must we rely on the federal courts, and the Supreme Court above all, to protect our dearly held rights?

In Engines of Liberty, the esteemed legal scholar David Cole argues that we all have a part to play in the grand civic dramas of our era. Examining the…

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