I think we’re living in a precarious age. Nothing in the modern media is what It appears to be. We’re surrounded by stories, personalities, and corporate entities that simply operate by the maxim that “the end justifies the means.” Especially if that means outright deception. Shiv Singh and Rohini Luthra, Ph.D. take a closer look at this phenomeon in Savvy: Navigating Fake Companies, Fake Leaders, and Fake News in the Post-Trust Era.
The authors methodically walk through why we tend to fall for falsehoods or “alternative facts.” And in this new era of pervasive, always-on technology, how that technology is being used to manipulate us in every aspect of our lives. Ultimately, Singh and Luthra outline several reasons why this happens and what it is in human nature that allows us to be manipulative and be manipulated.
What’s amusing for me is that advertising, in and of itself, barely registers a mention among the numerous societal examples used in the book.
Despite the fact that “advertising practitioners” always seem to end up at the bottom of those surveys ranking the trustworthiness of certain occupations, what we’ve done has always been clear. We grease the wheels of capitalism and use our skills to change minds and sell products. We subsidize other parts of the media — or at least we used to. It’s an exchange most citizens have gotten used to, even if they don’t necessarily welcome it. Compared to the nefarious corporate and political shenanigans all around us, the practice of advertising looks fairly benign.
“Savvy” has a lot to say about the darker side of human nature and, and in a world where we can’t trust what we see with our own eyes, it’s an instructive look at how we got here. Filled with good anecdotes and examples, Savvy may show you just exactly how we fell into this bizarre new world.
Special thanks to Smith Publicity for providing me with a review copy.