At one of those cheap remainder bookshops I picked up a copy of We Know What You Want: How They Change Your Mind by Martin Howard (NY Disinformation 2005) — for $3.95! Some of the content may be, to some readers, a touch paranoid, but the section “The Media Zone” is tailor-made for Elective 1. See the website How They Change Your Mind, which supplements the book.
This illustrated guide presents the full range of techniques that are being used in the battle for your mind–bringing together research from hundreds of different sources. Inspired by the popular book Coercion by Douglas Rushkoff, this book presents key ideas and case examples in a practical, easy-to-follow, illustrated format. We Know What You Want is a course in how to fight back against the advertising and public relations industries, offering powerful tools for individuals to assess their own media environment and to reclaim their free will.
The publishers also have the interesting and well-known site disinfo.com.
Most of these releases are aimed at adult readers, and while they contain ideas that may be useful in the classroom, they are more likely to end up as a library selection than a day-to-day classroom resource. We Know What You Want: How They Change Your Mind by Martin Howard would be one of the few surprising exceptions. Not only does it stand out from the others in the flood by proving to be enlightening for adults and students, it contains items that could be used alone or as part of a unit on media education.
Howard is a former marketing executive, with over 15 years experience in the marketing field. He became interested in emerging forms of communications and stumbled upon the works of Marshall McLuhan simultaneously. As a result, he targets his book to average consumers; it is especially pertinent to middle school and high school students. Howard states that he wants to encourage individuals to assess their own media environment…
Part of the beauty of We Know What You Want: How They Change Your Mind is that it will teach both leaders and learners in the classroom and serve parents and kids in the home. Students looking for an idea for a final project in communications courses, language or civics classes, or media studies lessons will revel in the breadth of the topics covered. Another appealing aspect of this book is the use of graphics that will help get the point across. Maybe the best part of the book, however, is its tone: it teaches us what to think about, without preaching to us about what to think. In that regard then, We Know What You Want: How They Change Your Mind is a stand out.