Life Inc.

  • by Douglas Rushkoff
  • Narrated by Douglas Rushkoff
  • 11 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A captivating book that reveals how corporations have come to dominate all aspects of life - including our inner lives - and what to do about it.Something has gone terribly wrong. Unquestionably, but seemingly inexplicably, we now live in a world where the market has infiltrated every area of our lives.In Life Inc., brilliant and charismatic cultural theorist Douglas Rushkoff argues that we no longer know who we are, or what we want. Everything, especially authenticity, is branded. Real community and real intimacy have broken down, replaced by market-tested cures for everything from weight, to conception, to poverty, to food, to finding a mate. The market, and its operating system, Corporatism, is no longer something people build and control. Rather, it builds and controls us.Rushkoff, in tracing the roots of corporatism from the Renaissance to today, reveals the way it supplanted social interaction and local commerce and came to be regarded as a preexisting condition of our world, from the history of public relations to the relentless gentrification of America's urban neighborhoods. And he shows us how to fight back: how to de-corporatize ourselves, disengage from branded expectations, think locally, and return to the real world of human activity. As Rushkoff puts it, "Micro-decisions are what matter."

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What the Critics Say

"This is a provocative and controversial look at the dark side of corporatist effects on our economy. Douglas Rushkoff explores the various ways, some you may never have considered, that innovation and commerce can be stunted by corporations. Whether or not you agree, you will find this book challenges some of our basic assumptions about how our economy works." (Walter Isaacson, author of Einstein: His Life and Universe)
"There are few more important subjects in the West today than the corporatization of public and personal space and few writers as well-suited to the subject as the always insightful and provocative Doug Rushkoff. A terrific contribution to an urgent debate." (Naomi Wolf)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Accessible Indictment of the Lost American Dream

Other reviewers who accuse Rushkoff of whining and calling everything fascist/nazi are disingenuous or haven't read beyond the first chapter. The author acknowledges the perils of a fascist diagnosis of America, and only makes the connection once, and he's no whiner. In fact, he admirably proposes plausible positive action to take to change the situation, and the situation is dire, as the author outlines in a brief history of the development of the corporation from the colonial era to the present. I agree with other reviewers who find him too pessimistic about the internet. In this part of the book, Rushkoff seems to too strongly delineate between profit and human meaning/value, unable to see how the internet might be both. But in general, this book is excellent, critiquing the commodification of human values and the loss of community in ways similar to academic critical theorists, but in a much more accessible way. Loved it.
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- A. Yerkes

Challenging assumptions

Douglas Rushkoff has written a wonderfully challenging work about how our everyday lives are affected by the foundational reality of corporations and corporatism. Some will dismiss it as the ravings of a elitist liberal whatever. It is instead the considered reflections of a human being trying to understand the bizarre results of a very undemocratic economic theory.
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- David

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-25-2009
  • Publisher: Random House Audio