Edward L. Bernays was an American business consultant who is widely recognized as the father of public relations. Bernays was one of the men responsible for “selling” World War 1 to the American public by branding it as a war that was necessary to “make the world safe for democracy”. During the 1920s, Bernays consulted for a number of major corporations, helping to boost their business through expertly crafted marketing campaigns aimed at influencing public opinion.
In 1928, Edward Bernays published his famous book, Propaganda, in which he outlined the theories behind his successful “public relations” endeavours. The book provides insights into the phenomenon of crowd psychology and outlines effective methods for manipulating people’s habits and opinions.
For a book that’s almost 100 years old, Propaganda could not be more relevant today. In fact, its relevance is a testament to the unchanging nature of human psychology.
One of the key takeaways of the book is that mind control is an important aspect of any democratic society. Indeed, Bernays maintains that without the “conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses”, democracy simply would not “work”.