Vance Packard

Vance Packard

Vance Packard, born May 22, 1914, died death date and age|1996|12|12|1914|5|22, was an American journalist, social critic, and author.

Life and career

He was born in Granville Summit, Pennsylvania to parents Philip J. Packard and Mabel Case Packard. Between 1920-32 he attended local public schools in State College, Pennsylvania where his father managed a farm owned by Pennsylvania State University (Penn State). In 1932 he entered Penn State, majoring in English. He graduated in 1936, and worked briefly for the local newspaper, the "Centre Daily Times". He earned his master's degree at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 1937. That year, he joined the "Boston Daily Record" as a staff reporter and a year later, he married Virginia Matthews.

About 1940, he became a reporter for the Associated Press and in 1942, joined the staff of "American" magazine as a section editor, later becoming a staff writer. "American" closed in July, 1956, and Packard moved over to "Collier's" where he worked as a writer. "Collier's", too, closed by the end of 1956, and he is able to devote his full energies to books. In 1957, "The Hidden Persuaders" was published and received national attention. The book launched Packard's career as a social critic and full-time lecturer and book author. In 1961 he was named a Distinguished Alumnus of Penn State University. He died in 1996 at his summer house on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts.

"The Hidden Persuaders"

His million-selling book "The Hidden Persuaders", about media manipulation of the populace in the 1950s was a forerunner of pop sociology.

In "The Hidden Persuaders", first published in 1957, Packard explores the use of consumer motivational research and other psychological techniques, including depth psychology and subliminal tactics, by advertisers to manipulate expectations and induce desire for products, particularly in the American postwar era. It also explores the manipulative techniques of promoting politicians to the electorate. The book questions the morality of using these techniques.


*1946 "How to Pick a Mate" - a guide co-authored with the head of the Penn State marriage counseling service
*1950 "Animal IQ" - a popular paperback on animal intelligence
*1957 "The Hidden Persuaders" - on the advertising industry - the first of a popular series of books on sociology topics (ISBN 0-671-53149-2)
*1959 "The Status Seekers" - describing American social stratification and behavior
*1960 "The Waste Makers" - criticizes planned obsolescence describing the impact of American productivity, especially on the national character
*1962 "The Pyramid Climbers" - describes the changing impact of American enterprise on managers, the structured lives of corporate executives and the conformity they need to advance in the hierarchy
*1964 "The Naked Society" - on the threats to privacy posed by new technologies such as computerized filing, modern surveillance techniques and methods for influencing human behavior
*1968 "The Sexual Wilderness" - on the sexual revolution of the 1960s and changes in male-female relationships
*1972 "A Nation of Strangers" - about the attrition of communal structure through frequent geographical transfers of corporate executives
*1977 "The People Shapers" - on the use of psychological & biological testing and experimentation to manipulate human behavior
*1983 "Our Endangered Children" - discusses growing up in a changing world, warning that American preoccupation with money, power, status, and sex, ignored the needs of future generations
*1989 "Ultra Rich: How Much Is Too Much? " - examines the lives of thirty American multimillionaires and their extravagances.

External links

* [ article]
* [ Excerpts from "The Hidden Persuaders"]

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