Silence Book Club: The Attention Merchants by Tim Wu
We have a book club here at Silence where we get together every now and again to discuss books about advertising.
We read books old and new – from Claude C Hopkin’s Scientific Advertising from 1926 to Byron Sharp’s How Brands Grow from 2010. We occasionally stage events around the books we’ve studied. We did this event earlier in the year around How Brands Grow. And last year, Danny Brooke-Taylor of Lucky Generals, did this talk for us about A Technique for Producing Ideas.
Our next book club book is Time Wu’s The Attention Merchants, a fascinating critique of the history of advertising. It starts in America at the beginning of the Nineteenth Century with newspaper advertising, takes us to Paris in the 1860’s to talk about posters by the artist Jules Chéret, and discusses the arrival of, and the reaction to, radio, TV and the internet.
Wu starts the book by reminding us that ‘there was once a time, whether by convention or technological limitation, many parts of life – home, school and social interaction among them – were sanctuaries, sheltered from advertising and commerce. Over the last century, however, we have come to accept a very different way of being, whereby every bit of our lives i commercially exploited to the extent it can be.’
We’ll be hosting at our office as usual from 7.30pm on Thursday 6th July, and drinks will be provided by our friends at The Five Points Brewing Company.
If you’d like to join us, get in touch. And remember the first rule of book club: you don’t need to read the book!