100 books like Consuming Passions

By Judith Williamson,

Here are 100 books that Consuming Passions fans have personally recommended if you like Consuming Passions. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

Jean Kilbourne Author Of Can't Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel

From my list on books critiquing advertising and the popular culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

In 1968, I saw an ad that changed my life. It was typical—insulting to women, demeaning. Yet, at that moment, it somehow crystallized so many of my experiencesthe sexist slights, the terrible jobs, the sexual harassment, the catcalls, the objectification. I thought, “This is atrocious … and it is not trivial.” I started collecting ads and lecturing on the topic.  I made my first film, “Killing Us Softly: Advertising’s Image of Women” in 1979 (and have remade it three times since). Eventually I wrote and made films about alcohol and tobacco advertising. In 2015, I was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Jean's book list on books critiquing advertising and the popular culture

Jean Kilbourne Why did Jean love this book?

This is one of the most brilliant and important books I have ever read!

Way ahead of his time, Postman described the increasing and detrimental role of entertainment in every aspect of American life. His predictions have been realized beyond his wildest nightmares. 

Although not a book about advertising, it helped me understand that advertising has been a key player in the trivialization of American culture and the corruption of the way we think. I had the privilege of knowing Neil, which certainly added to my appreciation of his genius.

By Neil Postman,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Amusing Ourselves to Death as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What happens when media and politics become forms of entertainment? As our world begins to look more and more like Orwell's 1984, Neil's Postman's essential guide to the modern media is more relevant than ever.

"It's unlikely that Trump has ever read Amusing Ourselves to Death, but his ascent would not have surprised Postman.” -CNN

Originally published in 1985, Neil Postman’s groundbreaking polemic about the corrosive effects of television on our politics and public discourse has been hailed as a twenty-first-century book published in the twentieth century. Now, with television joined by more sophisticated electronic media—from the Internet to cell…


Book cover of Ways of Seeing

Tyler Fisher Author Of The Artist's Drawing Book: Learn How to Draw, Sketch, Shade, and More with Easy Lessons and Practice Pages

From my list on unleashing your creative potential.

Why am I passionate about this?

For me, art is a journey of relentless questioning, exploring, and introspection. As an artist, author, and educator, I have relied on each book in this collection to further my creative journey. The titles that I've selected offer unique perspectives on the transformative power of art and have had the biggest effect on my students, my peers, and my own artistic growth. I believe that art is a language that is and should be for everyone, providing a conduit for individual expression, problem-solving, and innovation. Each of these titles has offered pivotal "aha" moments while igniting my passion, and I hope they allow you to unlock your creative potential.

Tyler's book list on unleashing your creative potential

Tyler Fisher Why did Tyler love this book?

This book was introduced on the first day of art school. Then, it was reintroduced and repeated by each professor for the duration of my education. As such, it's fair to say that it's an enduring force within academic circles. 

The book touches on major points essential for any informed artist and the need for modern artists to subvert our viewers' hidden biases. It eloquently teaches artists to dive beneath the surface of a work to understand the unseen, the context, and the subtext. Ways of Seeing skillfully inspires a new lens through which to view the world and urges its readers to peel back the layers of meaning from even the most minimal artworks.

For me and so many other artists, this book was an awakening and is one that I turn back to often and am doomed to cite for eternity. It's a transformative journey that challenges and…

By John Berger,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Ways of Seeing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak.""But there is also another sense in which seeing comes before words. It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world; we explain that world with words, but word can never undo the fact that we are surrounded by it. The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled."John Berger's "Ways of Seeing" is one of the most stimulating and the most influential books on art in any language. First published in 1972, it was based on the BBC television series about…


Book cover of The Hidden Persuaders

Jean Kilbourne Author Of Can't Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel

From my list on books critiquing advertising and the popular culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

In 1968, I saw an ad that changed my life. It was typical—insulting to women, demeaning. Yet, at that moment, it somehow crystallized so many of my experiencesthe sexist slights, the terrible jobs, the sexual harassment, the catcalls, the objectification. I thought, “This is atrocious … and it is not trivial.” I started collecting ads and lecturing on the topic.  I made my first film, “Killing Us Softly: Advertising’s Image of Women” in 1979 (and have remade it three times since). Eventually I wrote and made films about alcohol and tobacco advertising. In 2015, I was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Jean's book list on books critiquing advertising and the popular culture

Jean Kilbourne Why did Jean love this book?

I read this classic, published in 1957 when I was in high school. It was perhaps the first critique of advertising, and I found it fascinating.

Packard identified eight “compelling needs” that advertisers promise products will fulfill. Years later, I recognized how some of these needs were used to sell addictive products.

Although he didn’t address the objectification of women, he opened my eyes to the manipulative power of advertisers and the subconscious meaning of ads.  

By Vance Packard,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Hidden Persuaders as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"One of the best books around for demystifying the deliberately mysterious arts of advertising."--Salon

"Fascinating, entertaining and thought-stimulating."--The New York Times Book Review

"A brisk, authoritative and frightening report on how manufacturers, fundraisers and politicians are attempting to turn the American mind into a kind of catatonic dough that will buy, give or vote at their command--The New Yorker

Originally published in 1957 and now back in print to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary, The Hidden Persuaders is Vance Packard’s pioneering and prescient work revealing how advertisers use psychological methods to tap into our unconscious desires in order to "persuade" us…


Book cover of The Ladykillers: Why Smoking is a Feminist Issue

Jean Kilbourne Author Of Can't Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel

From my list on books critiquing advertising and the popular culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

In 1968, I saw an ad that changed my life. It was typical—insulting to women, demeaning. Yet, at that moment, it somehow crystallized so many of my experiencesthe sexist slights, the terrible jobs, the sexual harassment, the catcalls, the objectification. I thought, “This is atrocious … and it is not trivial.” I started collecting ads and lecturing on the topic.  I made my first film, “Killing Us Softly: Advertising’s Image of Women” in 1979 (and have remade it three times since). Eventually I wrote and made films about alcohol and tobacco advertising. In 2015, I was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Jean's book list on books critiquing advertising and the popular culture

Jean Kilbourne Why did Jean love this book?

This was the first book to examine the tobacco industry’s role in exploiting women. Although this was important to me, even more interesting was Jacobson’s finding that women often use smoking to keep their emotions in check, especially to stifle anger. For this reason, women find it more difficult to quit smoking than men do.

As someone who had tried many times to quit smoking, I found this insight invaluable personally. Eventually, I incorporated this into my work. I also was finally able to quit!

By Bobbie Jacobson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Book by Jacobson, Bobbie


Book cover of Hit Makers: How to Succeed in an Age of Distraction

Paul Feldwick Author Of Why Does The Pedlar Sing? What Creativity Really Means in Advertising

From my list on making sense of the madness of advertising.

Why am I passionate about this?

I worked for thirty years in what was one of the world's finest ad agencies, producing campaigns that were popular, famous, and effective. I found it fun, fascinating but also frustrating, because I gradually realised that what we did that worked had little to do with the theories we were taught to believe. I can see now that our campaigns had much more in common with the worlds of entertainment, popular culture, PR, and showmanship than the dry ‘official’ concepts of propositions and persuasion that seemed to rule our lives. These five books helped open my eyes to this broader perspective, and I hope they will open yours too.

Paul's book list on making sense of the madness of advertising

Paul Feldwick Why did Paul love this book?

When I realised that brands and advertising campaigns are much more like hit records, blockbuster movies and celebrities than we usually admit, I wondered what makes some famous and others (mostly) not?

Thompson’s book is the best single answer I’ve found so far and shows that fame doesn’t automatically follow the best song, book, or advert – you have to work at being popular, distinctive, and talked about. Lessons all ad agencies should learn.

By Derek Thompson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Hit Makers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

A Book of the Year Selection for Inc. and Library Journal

"This book picks up where The Tipping Point left off." -- Adam Grant, Wharton professor and New York Times bestselling author of ORIGINALS and GIVE AND TAKE

Nothing "goes viral." If you think a popular movie, song, or app came out of nowhere to become a word-of-mouth success in today's crowded media environment, you're missing the real story. Each blockbuster has a secret history-of power, influence, dark broadcasters, and passionate cults that turn some new products into cultural phenomena. Even the most brilliant ideas wither in obscurity…


Book cover of Feed

Mal Warwick Author Of Hell on Earth: What we can learn from dystopian fiction

From my list on dystopian since “Brave New World” and “1984”.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was twelve years old, my picture appeared in my hometown newspaper. I was holding a huge stack of books from the library, a week’s reading. All science fiction. I’ve read voraciously for the past seventy years—though much more widely as an adult. I’ve also had a life founding several small companies and writing twenty books. But I’ve continued to read science fiction, and, increasingly, dystopian novels. Why? Because, as a history buff, I think about the big trends that shape our lives. I see clearly that climate change, breakthroughs in technology, and unstable politics threaten our children’s future. I want to understand how these trends might play out—for better or for worse.

Mal's book list on dystopian since “Brave New World” and “1984”

Mal Warwick Why did Mal love this book?

I’m troubled by the way young people today seem to live their lives glued to smartphone and computer screens.

M. T. Anderson gives us a hint of what this might lead to in Feed. It’s one of the scariest books I've read in many years. The six teenagers partying in this novel live in a world of constant distractions. Fashions may change by the hour.

A powerful future version of Virtual Reality allows them to experience novelty and excitement at any time without special equipment—and without pausing for reflection.

And that’s how they live, closed off from life in the real world. As I said, scary.

By M.T. Anderson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Feed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Identity crises, consumerism, and star-crossed teenage love in a futuristic society where people connect to the Internet via feeds implanted in their brains. Winner of the LA Times Book Prize.

For Titus and his friends, it started out like any ordinary trip to the moon - a chance to party during spring break and play around with some stupid low-grav at the Ricochet Lounge. But that was before the crazy hacker caused all their feeds to malfunction, sending them to the hospital to lie around with nothing inside their heads for days. And it was before Titus met Violet, a…


Book cover of Using Semiotics in Marketing: How to Achieve Consumer Insight for Brand Growth and Profits

Mark Beal Author Of ZEO: Introducing Gen Z – The New Generation Of Leaders

From my list on inspiring creativity, transformation, and innovation.

Why am I passionate about this?

For more than 30 years I have been immersed in creative public relations and marketing from campaign development and activation to effectively engaging the primary consumer audiences. Me and my teams developed campaigns around such major sports and entertainment properties as the Olympic Games, Super Bowl, and The Rolling Stones. No matter your industry, inspiration for creativity, transformation, and innovation can come from many sources including the compelling storytelling featured in the books that I recommend.  

Mark's book list on inspiring creativity, transformation, and innovation

Mark Beal Why did Mark love this book?

As the marketing landscape is more cluttered than ever and brand marketers are consistently transforming and innovating their marketing to reposition their brand and effectively engage their target consumers, Rachel Lawes immerses us in the powerful influence of visual images in branding, advertising, and marketing.

She highlights how visual imagery is interpreted differently by different genders, cultures, races, and other factors and shares case studies that will inspire future campaign ideation and activation.     

By Rachel Lawes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Using Semiotics in Marketing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Semiotics is a superpower for marketers. It's a proven, powerful method of uncovering consumer insight, tailoring brand strategies that work and generating profit for brands. Companies such as Unilever and P&G have attested to the success of Lawes semiotics in stimulating innovation and boosting sales. Now newly updated, this second edition is packed with even more revelations about brands, consumers and their emerging needs. Three new chapters reveal the unseen social forces that drive the Be Kind movement, public appetite for sincerity and the emotions of younger generations. Using Semiotics in Marketing is an acclaimed how-to guide that makes semiotics…


Book cover of The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy

Rupert Younger Author Of The Reputation Game: The Art of Changing How People See You

From my list on how to create the right impression.

Why am I passionate about this?

Rupert Younger is an author and entrepreneur. He is the co-author of The Reputation Game a bestselling book published in October 2017 (with David Waller) now published in six languages, and co-author of The Activist Manifesto (with Frank Partnoy), a reimagining of what Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels would have written had they been alive today. His work and views are regularly featured in major news outlets including the BBC, CNN, the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Times of London. Rupert is the founding director of Oxford University’s Centre for Corporate Reputation, a leading research centre focused on social evaluations, and co-founder of the global strategic consulting firm Finsbury Glover Hering.

Rupert's book list on how to create the right impression

Rupert Younger Why did Rupert love this book?

Reputations are formed in many ways, leveraging off demonstrated behaviours, network choices, and narrative strategies. This book has it all, capturing how hip hop became the defining cultural driver of its time through a brilliantly woven story of cross-cultural tension and appropriation in America. Stoute draws from his expertise and networks in the music and marketing industries to create an inspiring story of how hip-hop became the embodiment of cool, uniting people from across the entire spectrum of society. This is a book that will remain contemporary for many decades to come.  

By Steve Stoute,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The business marketing genius at the forefront of today’s entertainment marketing revolution helps corporate America get hip to today’s new consumer—the tan generation.

When Fortune 500 companies need to reenergize or reinvent a lagging brand, they call Steve Stoute. In addition to marrying cultural icons with blue-chip marketers, Stoute has helped identify and activate a new generation of consumers. He traces how the “tanning” phenomenon raised a generation of black, Hispanic, white, and Asian consumers who have the same “mental complexion” based on shared experiences and values, rather than the increasingly irrelevant demographic boxes that have been used to a…


Book cover of Buying Power: A History of Consumer Activism in America

Allyson Brantley Author Of Brewing a Boycott: How a Grassroots Coalition Fought Coors and Remade American Consumer Activism

From my list on boycotts & consumer activism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Colorado-raised and California-based historian, professor, and writer. I recently published my first book, Brewing a Boycott: How a Grassroots Coalition Fought Coors and Remade American Consumer Activism, which explores the history of one of the longest-running consumer boycotts in American history – the boycott of Coors beer. In telling this particular history, I became fascinated with the boycott as a tool of protest and activism. The boycott is an iconic and regular feature of American politics and history, but it is often dismissed as ineffective or passive. The books on this list (as well as many others) have helped to convince me that the boycott and consumer activism can be powerful forms of solidarity-building and protest.

Allyson's book list on boycotts & consumer activism

Allyson Brantley Why did Allyson love this book?

My copy of Buying Power is extremely dog-eared and worn – this was an essential resource as I wrote Brewing a Boycott. Glickman offers a compelling and wide-ranging account of Americans’ efforts since the 18th century to raise consumer consciousness and boycott offending products. In this book, we see clearly that boycotting is an “American political tradition” that ties together many moments in American history, from colonists engaging in what they called “non-consumption” to abolitionists in the antebellum North and Ralph Nader’s fight for a Consumer Protection Agency in the 1970s. As a bonus, Glickman includes an informative appendix that breaks down consumer movements’ members, tactics, and significance.

By Lawrence B. Glickman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A definitive history of consumer activism, "Buying Power" traces the lineage of this political tradition back to our nation's founding, revealing that Americans used purchasing power to support causes and punish enemies long before the word boycott even entered our lexicon. Taking the Boston Tea Party as his starting point, Lawrence B. Glickman argues that the rejection of British imports by revolutionary patriots inaugurated a continuous series of consumer boycotts, campaigns for safe and ethical consumption, and efforts to make goods more broadly accessible. He explores abolitionist-led efforts to eschew slave-made goods, African American consumer campaigns against Jim Crow, a…


Book cover of The Science of Influence: How to Get Anyone to Say "yes" in 8 Minutes or Less!

Marty Boardman Author Of Foreclosure Secrets: How I Built a 7-Figure Business Flipping Houses Most Investors Are Too Afraid to Buy

From my list on to build great habits as a real estate investor.

Why am I passionate about this?

I built a 7-figure business buying foreclosures in multiple states and with my book you’ll discover how to duplicate my success and drastically reduce your learning curve.  I've flipped hundreds of houses buying directly from homeowners in foreclosure and at auctions in Arizona, Illinois, and Wisconsin. I was guest #1 on the popular BiggerPockets podcast as well as a featured contributor to the website. I've also been featured in numerous real estate articles for USA Today, Reuters, and the Arizona Republic. And I'm the founder of FixandFlipHub.com, a real estate education company that has helped hundreds of real estate entrepreneurs start and scale their businesses.

Marty's book list on to build great habits as a real estate investor

Marty Boardman Why did Marty love this book?

How do you feel about being a salesperson and influencer? Because if you’re going to be a real estate investor you must have basic sales and marketing skills. You’ll need them to raise capital, negotiate with buyers and sellers, and even to lease your properties if you’re a landlord. In Kevin Hogan’s book you’ll discover how people think and make their decisions. He writes, “once we know our prospects’ needs, wants, and desires are, we can use this information to prepare a message that firmly impresses on the mind how we can help them.”

By Kevin Hogan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Science of Influence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Get customers, clients, and co-workers to say "yes!" in 8 minutes or less This revised second edition by a leading expert of influence continues to teach a proven system of persuasion. Synthesizing the latest research in the field of influence with real-world tested experiences, it presents simple secrets that help readers turn a "no" into a "yes." Every secret in this book has been rigorously tested, validated, and found reliable. * Learn dozens of all-new techniques and strategies for influencing others including how to reduce resistance to rubble * Make people feel instantly comfortable in your presence * Decode body…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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