Part I—Scope and Functions[ edit ] Bernays describes how he solved various problems as a public relations counsel. Appealing to business men to hire soldiers in general. Thus: "He reflected to those communities whose crystallized opinion would be helpful in guiding other opinions, facts which gave them the basis for conclusions favorable to Lithuania. Especially interested in public opinion are those companies—the public utilities —which especially are supposed to serve the public. He invokes the concept of " stereotype " described by Walter Lippmann , noting that the stereotypes people already hold govern what new facts they will absorb. Educated people can display this mentality just as the ignorant can.
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Nov 10, Dan rated it liked it This book was hard to rate for me because it was both fascinating and surprising, but also kind of boring. Edward Bernays is known as "the father of public relations" so this book, written in , was really one of the earliest descriptions of the relatively new job of "public relations counsel. When I first heard about this book I thought it was going to be more about the dark side of PR, such as using propaganda and sneaky tactics to brainwash people into thinking what you want them to.
He describes two theories about how people think. The other theory is that people are malleable and can be made to think whatever you want them to. From the book and also the long introduction at the beginning it sounds like Bernays was very high and mighty as he essentially sorts people into the smart people and the stupid people. It is safer to hire a press agent who stands between the group and the newspapers. These judgments are the tools of his daily being and yet they are his judgments, not on a basis of research and logical deduction, but for the most part dogmatic expressions accepted on the authority of his parents, his teachers, his church, and of his social, his economic, and other leaders.
The rational method adequately used would have told him that on the great majority of these questions there could be for him but one attitude - that of suspended judgement. The reader will recall from his own experience an almost infinite number of instances in which the amateur has been fully prepared to deliver expert advice and to give final judgment in matters upon which his ignorance is patent to every one except himself.
On the contrary, his attitude toward them is almost always one of frank cynicism, with indifference as its mildest form and contempt as its commonest.
He knows that they are constantly falling into false reasoning about the things within his personal knowledge, - that is, within the narrow circle of his special education, - and so he assumes that they make the same, or even worse, errors about other things, whether intellectual or moral. This assumption, it may be said, is quite justified by the facts. Each one of us in his opinions and conduct, in matters of amusement, religion, and politics, is compelled to obtain the support of a class, of a herd within the herd.
This difficulty is further emphasized by the fact that often these crowds live in different traditional, moral and spiritual worlds. It is a domination based on the one hand upon accomplished unity, and on the other hand upon the fact that opposition is generally characterized by a high degree of disunity.
Crystallizing Public Opinion