Buyology, By Martin Lindstrom

"One of the world's most respected marketing gurus" explains "how everything we believe about what we buy is wrong." The pitch for this US bestseller is tempting, but Lindstrom's insights are dire in style and unremarkable: "Subliminal messages are out there – don't fall prey."

On this side of the Atlantic, it is odd to be told that Michelin tyres attract because Michelin guides purvey "European experience". Weirdly, Lindstrom sells himself: "38, 5ft 8ins... with an extremely young, boyish looking face".

Anyone interested in the self-regard of a marketing man should buy this book, but for real insights dust off Vance Packard's The Hidden Persuaders from 1957.

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