89 books like The Hidden Persuaders

By Vance Packard,

Here are 89 books that The Hidden Persuaders fans have personally recommended if you like The Hidden Persuaders. 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 Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Jonquil Lowe Author Of Be Your Own Financial Adviser

From my list on insights for managing your money wisely.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an economist who started out in stockbroking. But that felt like an exploitative industry and, looking for a more positive role, I moved to the consumer organisation Which? There, I cut my teeth helping people make the most of their money and then started my own freelance business. Along the way, I’ve worked with many clients (including financial regulators and the Open University where I now also teach), taken some of the exams financial advisers do and written 30 or so books on personal finance. The constant in my work is trying to empower individuals in the face of markets and systems that are often skewed against them.

Jonquil's book list on insights for managing your money wisely

Jonquil Lowe Why did Jonquil love this book?

Cialdini is a social psychologist who set out to explore what makes us comply with requests from strangers.

He did this from the inside by taking jobs where he was trained by various organisations to sell their wares. What makes this book so valuable is that Cialdini not only identifies six key methods of persuasion that are routinely deployed but also offers guidance on how to defend yourself against them. This has huge relevance for personal finance.

As banks and other financial institutions increase their fraud detection systems, criminals increasingly see you, the individual, as the weak link they can exploit to defraud you. Cialdini’s book is a great tool to help you detect and rebuff scammers intent on parting you from your money.

By Robert B. Cialdini,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The foundational and wildly popular go-to resource for influence and persuasion-a renowned international bestseller, with over 5 million copies sold-now revised adding: new research, new insights, new examples, and online applications.

In the new edition of this highly acclaimed bestseller, Robert Cialdini-New York Times bestselling author of Pre-Suasion and the seminal expert in the fields of influence and persuasion-explains the psychology of why people say yes and how to apply these insights ethically in business and everyday settings. Using memorable stories and relatable examples, Cialdini makes this crucially important subject surprisingly easy. With Cialdini as a guide, you don't have…


Book cover of Radical Uncertainty: Decision-Making Beyond the Numbers

Jonquil Lowe Author Of Be Your Own Financial Adviser

From my list on insights for managing your money wisely.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an economist who started out in stockbroking. But that felt like an exploitative industry and, looking for a more positive role, I moved to the consumer organisation Which? There, I cut my teeth helping people make the most of their money and then started my own freelance business. Along the way, I’ve worked with many clients (including financial regulators and the Open University where I now also teach), taken some of the exams financial advisers do and written 30 or so books on personal finance. The constant in my work is trying to empower individuals in the face of markets and systems that are often skewed against them.

Jonquil's book list on insights for managing your money wisely

Jonquil Lowe Why did Jonquil love this book?

US economist Frank Knight is credited with distinguishing uncertainty from risk back in 1921. Yet the two are often conflated.

Kay (an eminent economist) and King (a former Governor of the Bank of England) argue powerfully that the distinction does matter. They range widely across macroeconomics, politics, and consumer choices to show why reducing the future to a set of numbers (probabilities) creates a false – and often disastrous – illusion of power over future outcomes.

They argue that instead we should aim to make decisions that stand a reasonable chance of being robust against unknowable, as well as forecastable, paths that the future might take. That’s very much the ethos of my own books: building in resilience is a key part of successful personal financial planning.

By John Kay, Mervyn King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Some uncertainties are resolvable. The insurance industry's actuarial tables and the gambler's roulette wheel both yield to the tools of probability theory. Most situations in life, however, involve a deeper kind of uncertainty, a radical uncertainty for which historical data provide no useful guidance to future outcomes. Radical uncertainty concerns events whose determinants are insufficiently understood for probabilities to be known or forecasting possible. Before President Barack Obama made the fateful decision to send in the Navy Seals, his advisers offered him wildly divergent estimates of the odds that Osama bin Laden would be in the Abbottabad compound. In 2000,…


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 Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy

Manil Suri Author Of The Big Bang of Numbers: How to Build the Universe Using Only Math

From my list on to make you fall in love with mathematics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a mathematics professor who ended up writing the internationally bestselling novel The Death of Vishnu (along with two follow-ups) and became better known as an author. For the past decade and a half, I’ve been using my storytelling skills to make mathematics more accessible (and enjoyable!) to a broad audience. Being a novelist has helped me look at mathematics in a new light, and realize the subject is not so much about the calculations feared by so many, but rather, about ideas. We can all enjoy such ideas, and thereby learn to understand, appreciate, and even love math. 

Manil's book list on to make you fall in love with mathematics

Manil Suri Why did Manil love this book?

A primary reason to love math is because of its usefulness. This book shows two sides of math’s applicability, since it is so ubiquitously used in various algorithms.

On the one hand, such usage can be good, because statistical inferences can make our life easier and enrich it. On the other, when these are not properly designed or monitored, it can lead to catastrophic consequences. Mathematics is a powerful force, as powerful as wind or fire, and needs to be harnessed just as carefully.

Cathy O’Neil’s message in this book spoke deeply to me, reminding me that I need to be always vigilant about the subject I love not being deployed carelessly.  

By Cathy O’Neil,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Weapons of Math Destruction as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A manual for the 21st-century citizen... accessible, refreshingly critical, relevant and urgent' - Financial Times

'Fascinating and deeply disturbing' - Yuval Noah Harari, Guardian Books of the Year

In this New York Times bestseller, Cathy O'Neil, one of the first champions of algorithmic accountability, sounds an alarm on the mathematical models that pervade modern life -- and threaten to rip apart our social fabric.

We live in the age of the algorithm. Increasingly, the decisions that affect our lives - where we go to school, whether we get a loan, how much we pay for insurance - are being made…


Book cover of The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

Jerry Fishenden Author Of Fracture. The collision between technology and democracy-and how we fix it

From my list on technology and democracy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved technology. I like the constant change, the sense of creativity and invention, of how it can act as an incredible force for good and human progress and betterment in the world. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t tinkering with gadgets—taking radios apart to mend them or learn how they worked; designing electronic circuits for music synthesis; programming computers. But I’ve also always been interested in politics and the complex intersection of technology and public policy. So much so that most of my working life has been spent at this intersection, which is why I love these books—and hope you will too.

Jerry's book list on technology and democracy

Jerry Fishenden Why did Jerry love this book?

Carl Sagan was a huge influence when I was younger, helping to popularise science, and this book encourages us to be more questioning and critical in our thinking.

One of Sagan’s phrases has stayed with me ever since: “The methods of science—with all its imperfections—can be used to improve social, political, and economic systems.”

In an age when truth and objectivity are under assault, and opinions and prejudice are given as much weight as facts and evidence, we need a more rational, scientific, and objective approach to politics to help restore a much-needed sense of balance and sanity to our world.

By Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Demon-Haunted World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A prescient warning of a future we now inhabit, where fake news stories and Internet conspiracy theories play to a disaffected American populace

“A glorious book . . . A spirited defense of science . . . From the first page to the last, this book is a manifesto for clear thought.”—Los Angeles Times

How can we make intelligent decisions about our increasingly technology-driven lives if we don’t understand the difference between the myths of pseudoscience and the testable hypotheses of science? Pulitzer Prize-winning author and distinguished astronomer Carl Sagan argues that scientific thinking is critical not only to the…


Book cover of Future Shock

Jerry Fishenden Author Of Fracture. The collision between technology and democracy-and how we fix it

From my list on technology and democracy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved technology. I like the constant change, the sense of creativity and invention, of how it can act as an incredible force for good and human progress and betterment in the world. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t tinkering with gadgets—taking radios apart to mend them or learn how they worked; designing electronic circuits for music synthesis; programming computers. But I’ve also always been interested in politics and the complex intersection of technology and public policy. So much so that most of my working life has been spent at this intersection, which is why I love these books—and hope you will too.

Jerry's book list on technology and democracy

Jerry Fishenden Why did Jerry love this book?

I remember first reading Future Shock after buying a battered, orange-coloured paperback edition at a bargain price from one of the second-hand bookshops that once saturated London’s Charing Cross Road.

It hadn’t really occurred to me before how much the increasingly rapid technological changes around us might create a sense of shock—‘future shock’— for some people. It changed my thinking about the influence of technology on our world and the impact it has on people, society, economics, and politics.

Even after all these years, many of Alvin Toffler’s insights and ideas remain just as topical today.

By Alvin Toffler,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Future Shock as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The classic work that predicted the anxieties of a world upended by rapidly emerging technologies—and now provides a road map to solving many of our most pressing crises. 

“Explosive . . . brilliantly formulated.” —The Wall Street Journal 

Future Shock is the classic that changed our view of tomorrow. Its startling insights into accelerating change led a president to ask his advisers for a special report, inspired composers to write symphonies and rock music, gave a powerful new concept to social science, and added a phrase to our language. Published in over fifty countries, Future…


Book cover of Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor

Jerry Fishenden Author Of Fracture. The collision between technology and democracy-and how we fix it

From my list on technology and democracy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved technology. I like the constant change, the sense of creativity and invention, of how it can act as an incredible force for good and human progress and betterment in the world. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t tinkering with gadgets—taking radios apart to mend them or learn how they worked; designing electronic circuits for music synthesis; programming computers. But I’ve also always been interested in politics and the complex intersection of technology and public policy. So much so that most of my working life has been spent at this intersection, which is why I love these books—and hope you will too.

Jerry's book list on technology and democracy

Jerry Fishenden Why did Jerry love this book?

From the moment I picked this up, it gripped me.

Virginia Eubanks writes in an incredibly immersive and engaging style, making her book as compulsive as a work of fiction—and equally hard to put down. It exposes the deeply toxic consequences of the way automated decision-making increasingly dominates our public institutions, creating a sort of “twenty-first century digital poorhouse”.

This automated inequality denies citizens their humanity and any sense of agency, condemning them to the sort of negative moral judgments and cycle of decline and despair that would have been familiar to Charles Dickens in his day. 

By Virginia Eubanks,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In Indiana, one million people lose their healthcare, food stamps, and cash benefits in three years-because a new computer system interprets any application mistake as "failure to cooperate." In Los Angeles, an algorithm calculates the comparative vulnerability of tens of thousands of homeless people in order to prioritize them for a shrinking pool of housing resources. In Pittsburgh, a child welfare agency uses a statistical model to try to predict which children might be future victims of abuse or neglect.

Since the dawn of the digital age, decision-making in finance, employment, politics, health and human services has undergone revolutionary change.…


Book cover of Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon

Richard Holden Author Of Money in the Twenty-First Century: Cheap, Mobile, and Digital

From my list on books about the digital economy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an economics professor, but I also have a column in Australia’s leading financial newspaper so I really appreciate authors who can tackle complex topics in an accessible manner. I’m also both extremely interested in and do academic research on topics to do with technologies like two-sided platforms, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and artificial intelligence. All these books made me think harder about the big issues in these areas, and how to combine rigorous research with what is actually happening—often at breakneck speed—in the real-world digital economy.

Richard's book list on books about the digital economy

Richard Holden Why did Richard love this book?

First of all, I love everything Michael Lewis writes. But this might be his most engaging book yet. Told through the lens of Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), the founder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, this is an incredible story.

It’s a story that combines genius, brilliance, folly, technology, and crime that left me wondering whether SBF really did something terrible, or just got desperately unlucky. It guided me through Bankman-Fried’s criminal trial, its aftermath, and the bankruptcy of FTX with a part harsh judgment and part huge empathy.

By Michael Lewis,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Going Infinite as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Michael Lewis first met him, Sam Bankman-Fried was the world's youngest billionaire and crypto's Gatsby. CEOs, celebrities, and leaders of small countries all vied for his time and cash after he catapulted, practically overnight, onto the Forbes billionaire list. Who was this rumpled guy in cargo shorts and limp white socks, whose eyes twitched across Zoom meetings as he played video games on the side?

In Going Infinite Lewis sets out to answer this question, taking readers into the mind of Bankman-Fried, whose rise and fall offers an education in high-frequency trading, cryptocurrencies, philanthropy, bankruptcy, and the justice system.…


Book cover of Farewell to Growth

Jonquil Lowe Author Of Be Your Own Financial Adviser

From my list on insights for managing your money wisely.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an economist who started out in stockbroking. But that felt like an exploitative industry and, looking for a more positive role, I moved to the consumer organisation Which? There, I cut my teeth helping people make the most of their money and then started my own freelance business. Along the way, I’ve worked with many clients (including financial regulators and the Open University where I now also teach), taken some of the exams financial advisers do and written 30 or so books on personal finance. The constant in my work is trying to empower individuals in the face of markets and systems that are often skewed against them.

Jonquil's book list on insights for managing your money wisely

Jonquil Lowe Why did Jonquil love this book?

Much of personal finance relies on the premise that you will achieve your goals by investing in economic growth.

One narrative says we can play our part in tackling climate change by shifting our investments towards sustainable growth – for example, backing green technologies and carbon capture. However, Latouche questions whether economic growth is compatible at all with living within our planet’s resources.

He argues that we have to detach from the cycle of over-consuming and over-producing that is implicit in targeting economic growth and instead shift to a goal of maximising human wellbeing. His radical alternative is a world where we work less, share more, and respect nature.

It is arguably the only real solution to the climate crisis, but powerful vested interests stand in the way of its adoption.

By Serge Latouche,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Farewell to Growth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Most of us who live in the North and the West consume far too much - too much meat, too much fat, too much sugar, too much salt. We are more likely to put on too much weight than to go hungry. We live in a society that is heading for a crash. We are aware of what is happening and yet we refuse to take it fully into account. Above all we refuse to address the issue that lies at the heart of our problems - namely, the fact that our societies are based on an economy whose only…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in advertising, propaganda, and marketing?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about advertising, propaganda, and marketing.

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