View Gallery


The Age of Persuasion

How Marketing Ate Our Culture

List Price: $16.95

May 10, 2011 | Paperback | 6 x 9, 352 Pages | ISBN 9781582437248
Order Now From Indiebound

The Age of Persuasion is a lively, anecdotal primer . . . filled with smart and breezy tales told from an insider’s perspective.” —Washington Post

Consider the culture of the twenty-first century: Each morning, you hear a half-dozen ads on the radio before your feet touch the floor. By the end of the day, hundreds—perhaps thousands—of marketing messages have targeted you. And yet little is understood about how marketing affects our lives and society.

Enter Terry O’Reilly and Mike Tennant, the ad men behind The Age of Persuasion, the popular radio show broadcast on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio and WBEZ Chicago. They have made it their mission to share the back-room story of modern marketing, entertaining asides and all:

“Think of advertisers as millions of ants in a colony, each working hard and each with its own objective. Except that in this colony, every single ant is competing against the others. That’s the ad business. Almost every ad you see, hear, and otherwise experience is competing for a piece of your imagination. And like any cross-section of humanity, the vast, worldwide advertising community is diverse: composed of geniuses and idiots, saints and buffoons, and everything in between.”

From the early players to the Mad Men of the 1960s and beyond, The Age of Persuasion provides an entertaining—and eye-opening—look at a world driven by marketing.

About Terry O'Reilly, Mike Tennant

TERRY O’REILLY is the award-winning cofounder of Pirate Radio and Television. With Mike Tennant he created the CBC’s radio series O’Reilly on Advertising and The Age of Persuasion. He lives in Toronto. For more information, visit

MIKE TENNANT is the cocreator and writer for the radio series The Age of Persuasion, and he regularly gives talks and workshops on creative communication. He lives in Kitchener, Ontario.


The Age of Persuasion is a lively, anecdotal primer . . . filled with smart and breezy tales told from an insider’s perspective.” —Washington Post

“A witty and insightful look at the perpetually evolving advertising industry.” —Publishers Weekly

The Age of Persuasion provides a wonderful romp through the history and inner workings of advertising. I am not sure what I enjoyed more, the insight and wisdom about the ad business or the wit and charm of the storytelling; either way it’s a great read for all of us living in the Age of Persuasion.” —Doug Checkeris, chief executive officer of MediaCom North America

The Age of Persuasion must be read by anyone in the business of marketing goods and services, creating or placing advertising, and those who aspire to such noble things. This book is a fun read and a wonderful combination of historical and contemporary context.” —John P. Hayes, Jr., CEO of Third Avenue Media

“Terry O’Reilly and Mike Tennant blend history, stories, wisdom, hundreds of facts, and just plain fun into an original, compelling, entertaining, and insightful perspective on the impact of creative communication on our culture and on our everyday lives. It is a terrific book!” —Bob Schmetterer, author of Leap: A Revolution in Creative Business Strategy

“As a public broadcaster, I’m contractually obligated to despise advertising, and by extension to despise those who created it. Somehow two ad men—Terry O’Reilly and Mike Tennant—slipped through my defenses. The Age of Persuasion will be enjoyed by those inside the ad world, but it’s more than an insider’s guide. It’s a funny and fascinating window into a part of our culture that’s too little considered by outsiders like me.” —Jesse Thorn, host and producer of PRI’s The Sound of Young America

“I loved this book. I thought I had a pretty good idea of everything that’s happening in the history of American advertising, but I didn’t. I do now. The book is thorough without being heavy-handed, fun without being flippant, full of fascinating facts that fill in some voids that needed to be filled in. The only thing that might make it better would have been to include a few more quotes from me. Keep it by your bed.” —Bob Levenson, chairman and international creative director of DDB International; vice chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi, New York and Scali, McCabe, Sloves, New York

“If there’s one brand that advertising has failed miserably at making people understand, it’s advertising itself. This book goes a long way in correcting that—now if they could only do the same for car dealers.” —Bob Kuperman, former president and chief executive, DDB New York

“Language is art. Advertising is art. Terry O’Reilly and Mike Tennant really deliver on that in this book. The Age of Persuasion made me stop, think, and realize that everything we do as marketers (day in and day out) can matter . . . and should be better. Because, in the end, advertising is not just about persuasion. It’s about the stories we tell and how they connect with real people and what those real people do with those stories. The Age of Persuasion is one of those great stories.” —Mitch Joel, president of Twist Image and author of Six Pixels of Separation

“A terrific look into how advertising, marketing, and culture are all inexorably intertwined. A great read for anyone interested in branding . . . a must-read for any student of advertising.” —Rick Boyko, director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter; former chief creative officer of Ogilvy North America

“Just when I thought I heard all of the cool stories about the grand old world of advertising, Terry and Mike have created an intriguing read that will fascinate both everyday people absorbed with the ad game as well as dyed in the wool ‘mad men’ and women.” —Ignacio Oreamuno, president of IHAVEANIDEA and Portfolio Night

“As an overworked copywriter for many years I was thrilled to be reminded of what it took for us to persuade.” —Joy Golden, founder of Joy Radio

Related Products