Sunday, June 04, 2006

No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies - Naomi Klein

The Basics: No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies, Naomi Klein, 2000, 490 pages, hardcover

How I found it: Most people have heard of this book as it caused quite a stir when it first came out. Greg bought a copy of The Rebel Sell, a reply to No Logo, awhile ago and since that book criticized Klein's book, I thought I should read it.

What's it about?: It examines how brands rose to power, the tactics they use and how people are trying to break them down. It is about a lot more than that as well including the ins and outs of the out-sourced garment industry, the evils of Shell's business practices and the effect that brands had on Klein's young adulthood. Klein has tried to write an all-encompassing guide to critiquing brands but she has gone way off topic at times in her activist quests.

Did I like it?: Not really. It was an interesting read but she didn't seem to offer many solutions besides 'culture jamming' (but she harshly criticized Kalle Lasn's Adbusters so I don't know how she expects the phenomenon to become better known). The section on the realities of the garment industry and the explanation of why and how major companies out-source their production was really interesting, but quite off-topic and would have done better in a separate book devoted to that topic. No Logo was published in 2000 and it appears that most of the research was done prior to 1998. This means that the hip name-dropping and brand-dropping that Klein engages in is quite dated and makes Klein look like quite a poser instead of the cool-hunter she is trying to be. While I agree with the some of Klein's general sentiment, I still didn't really like the book. As well, there was so much going on in it that by the end of reading it I wasn't even sure if I remembered what I had read or what the general message was supposed to be.

Will you like it?: Probably not since even if you agree with Klein it will depress you. But, that said, you should still read it - it's good for you. There are a few sections that are quite eye-opening and informative. If you can ignore Klein's bratty know-it-all twenty-something tone you just might get something out of it. This book is not perfect but it is one that needed to be written and has hopefully informed some people's choices.

But don't take my word for it: Editorial reviews, real people reviews.

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