Propaganda By Edward L Bernays Essay

Propaganda By Edward L Bernays Essay

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In the book, Propaganda, author Edward L Bernays, who is nephew of Sigmund Freud, transcends the public relation industry. This short, 13-part instructional manual delves deep into the intricacies and usage of propaganda. Bernays claims that the public is in a constant state of manipulation. He argues that in order for a society to be highly functioning and stable, public opinion must be manipulated and swayed. While I find his claims disturbing, it was refreshing to read something so blunt. Bernays’ use of psychological techniques to work the mechanics of public opinion truly classifies him as the “father of public relations.”
Propaganda is intended for those who are seeking a greater understanding of what goes on in the minds of those who control great power. This could be in an economic or governmental sense. While this book is targeted for this intended audience, I would recommend it for students studying subjects such as U.S History, Marketing, Journalism, Economics and related fields. It is an incredibly insightful and quick read, that provides a straightforward approach to discussing such prominent aspects of life.
However, while this book was highly informative, there is only one drawback: Bernays remains a tad bit outdated for the newest generation of readers. This is understandable considering Propaganda was first published in 1928. In the perspective of a late millennial myself, many of the examples can be described as archaic. Nevertheless, a larger portion of Bernays’ statements are still highly adjustable for different mediums of content.
More so, Bernays’ ageless wisdom is most definitely seen in today’s current communication. He shows incredible foresight when he states, ““today, ideas can be ins...

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... “in a place of thoughts [...] it has impulses, habits and emotions. [...] Whatever of social importance is done today, whether in politics, finance, manufacture, agriculture, charity, education, or other fields, must be done with the help of propaganda.” (Bernays, 47)
Propaganda is a candid, classic compact read. Bernays’ points give readers in the business, government or public relations industry an in depth, psychological analysis of how to use propaganda to their advantage. If one has no interest in knowing the honest truth behind politics and marketing schemes, I would not recommend this read. If one already has some sort of insight or background in the public relations industry, I would not recommend this read for it could be a repeat of what is already known. However, I highly recommend this book to those who enjoys a refreshing cynicism to literature.

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