Edward Bernays Quotes

Who on Earth is Edward Bernays?

Edward Louis Bernays was an American pioneer in the field of public relations and propaganda, referred to in his obituary as the father of public relations.

Bernays was influenced by Gustave Le Bon and his uncle Sigmund Freud.

His best known books are 'Crystallizing Public Opinion', 'Propaganda' and 'Public Relations'.

Born November 22, 1891
Died March 09, 1995

Books by Edward Bernays


Best 67 Quotes by Edward Bernays

“For the same reason I read the National Geographic, I like to see places I will never visit.”

Edward Bernays

“It is sometimes possible to change the attitudes of millions but impossible to change the attitude of one man.”

Edward Bernays

“Look for a situation in which your work will give you as much happiness as your spare time.”

Edward Bernays

“People want to go where they wanted to be led.”

Edward Bernays

“The best defense against propaganda: more propaganda.”

Edward Bernays

“The best place to find things: the public library.”

Edward Bernays

“This is an age of mass production. In the mass production of materials a broad technique has been developed and applied to their distribution. In this age, too, there must be a technique for the mass distribution of ideas.”

Edward Bernays

“We govern what the public thinks about.”

Edward Bernays

“When I came back to the United States, I decided that if you could use propaganda for war, you could certainly use it for peace. And 'propaganda' got to be a bad word because of the Germans using it, so what I did was to try and find some other words so we found the word 'councelor of public relations'.”

Edward Bernays

Crystallizing Public Opinion Quotes

“It is axiomatic that men who know little are often intolerant of a point of view that is contrary to their own.”

Edward Bernays
Crystallizing Public Opinion

“Lovers have been parted by bitter quarrels on theories of pacificism or militarism; and when an argument upon an abstract question engages opponents they often desert the main line of arguments in order to abuse each other.”

Edward Bernays
Crystallizing Public Opinion

“People accept the facts which come to them through existing channels. They like to hear new things in accustomed ways. They have neither the time nor the inclination to search for facts that are not readily available to them.”

Edward Bernays
Crystallizing Public Opinion

“Progress seldom occurs through the abrupt expulsion by a group of its old ideas in favor of new ideas, but rather through the rearrangement of the thought of the individuals in these groups with respect to each other and with respect to the entire membership of society. It is precisely this interlapping of groups—the variety, the inconsistency of the average man’s mental, social and psychological commitments which makes possible the gradual change from one state of affairs or from one state of mind to another. Few people are life members of one group and of one group only. The ordinary person is a very temporary member of a great number of groups. This is one of the most powerful forces making for progress in society because it makes for receptivity and open-mindedness.”

Edward Bernays
Crystallizing Public Opinion

“Propaganda is a purposeful, directed effort to overcome censorship – the censorship of the group mind and the herd reaction.”

Edward Bernays
Crystallizing Public Opinion

“The average citizen is the world’s most efficient censor. His own mind is the greatest barrier between him and the facts. His own 'logic-proof compartments', his own absolutism are the obstacles which prevent him from seeing in terms of experience and thought rather than in terms of group reaction.”

Edward Bernays
Crystallizing Public Opinion

“The public relations counsel must deal with the fact that persons who have little knowledge of a subject almost invariably form definite and positive judgments upon that subject.”

Edward Bernays
Crystallizing Public Opinion

“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 everyone except himself.”

Edward Bernays
Crystallizing Public Opinion

“The truth is that while it appears to be forming the public opinion on fundamental matters, the press is often conforming to it.”

Edward Bernays
Crystallizing Public Opinion

“To a large degree the press, the schools, the churches, motion pictures, advertising, the lecture platform and radio all conform to the demands of the public. But to an equally large degree the public responds to the influence of these very same mediums of communication.”

Edward Bernays
Crystallizing Public Opinion

Propaganda Quotes

“A man sits in an office deciding what stocks to buy. He imagines, no doubt, that he is planning his purchases according to his own judgment. In actual fact his judgment is a melange of impressions stamped on his mind by outside influences which unconsciously control his thought. He buys a certain railroad stock because it was in the headlines yesterday and hence is the one which comes most prominently to his mind; because he has a pleasant recollection of a good dinner on one of its fast trains; because it has a liberal labor policy, a reputation for honesty; because he has been told that J. P. Morgan owns some of its shares.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“A single factory, potentially capable of supplying a whole continent with its particular product, cannot afford to wait until the public asks for its product; it must maintain constant touch, through advertising and propaganda, with the vast public in order to assure itself the continuous demand which alone will make its costly plant profitable.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

Products by Edward Bernays

“Being dependent, every day of the year and for year after year, upon certain politicians for news, the newspaper reporters are obliged to work in harmony with their news sources.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“Big business will still leave room for small business.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“I believe that competition in the future will not be only an advertising competition between individual products or between big associations, but that it will in addition be a competition of propaganda.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“If low price is the only basis of competition with rival products, similarly produced, there ensues a cut-throat competition which can end only by taking all the profit and incentive out of the industry. The logical way out of this dilemma is for the manufacturer to develop some sales appeal other than mere cheapness, to give the product, in the public mind, some other attraction, some idea that will modify the product slightly, some element of originality that will distinguish it from products in the same line.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without them knowing it.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“If you can influence the leaders, either with or without their conscious cooperation, you automatically influence the group which they sway.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“In some departments of our daily life, in which we imagine ourselves free agents, we are ruled by dictators exercising great power.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“In the ethical sense, propaganda bears the same relation to education as to business or politics. It may be abused. It may be used to over-advertise an institution and to create in the public mind artificial values. There can be no absolute guarantee against its misuse.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“In theory, everybody buys the best and cheapest commodities offered to him on the market. In practice, if every one went around pricing, and chemically testing before purchasing, the dozens of soaps or fabrics or brands of bread which are for sale, economic life would become hopelessly jammed.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“It is asked whether, in fact, the leader makes propaganda, or whether propaganda makes the leader. There is a widespread impression that a good press agent can puff up a nobody into a great man.
The answer is the same as that made to the old query as to whether the newspaper makes public opinion or whether public opinion makes the newspaper. There has to be fertile ground for the leader and the idea to fall on. But the leader also has to have some vital seed to sow. To use another figure, a mutual need has to exist before either can become positively effective. Propaganda is of no use to the politician unless he has something to say which the public, consciously or unconsciously, wants to hear.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“Just as women supplement men in private life, so they will supplement men in public life by concentrating their organized efforts on those objects which men are likely to ignore. There is a tremendous field for women as active protagonists of new ideas and new methods of political and social housekeeping. When organized and conscious of their power to influence their surroundings, women can use their newly acquired freedom in a great many ways to mold the world into a better place to live in.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“Mass production is only profitable if its rhythm can be maintained.. that is, if it can continue to sell its product in steady or increasing quantity. The result is that while, under the handicraft or small-unit system of production that was typical a century ago, demand created the supply, today supply must actively seek to create its corresponding demand.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“Men are rarely aware of the real reasons which motivate their actions.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“Modern business must have its finger continuously on the public pulse. It must understand the changes in the public mind and be prepared to interpret itself fairly and eloquently to changing opinion.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“No serious sociologist any longer believes that the voice of the people expresses any divine or specially wise and lofty idea. The voice of the people expresses the mind of the people, and that mind is made up for it by the group leaders in whom it believes and by those persons who understand the manipulation of public opinion. It is composed of inherited prejudices and symbols and cliches and verbal formulas supplied to them by the leaders.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“Now 'public opinion' stood out as a force that must be managed, and not through clever guesswork but by experts trained to do that all-important job.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“Our invisible governors are, in many cases, unaware of the identity of their fellow members in the inner cabinet.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“Propaganda becomes vicious and reprehensive only when its authors consciously and deliberately disseminate what they know to be lies, or when they aim at effects which they know to be prejudicial to the common good.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“Propaganda is the executive arm of the invisible government.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“Propaganda will never die out. Intelligent men must realize that propaganda is the modern instrument by which they can fight for productive ends and help to bring order out of chaos.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

Products by Edward Bernays

“Propaganda will never die out. Intelligent men must realize that propaganda is the modern instrument by which they can fight for productive ends and help to bring order out of chaos.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“Small groups of persons can, and do, make the rest of us think what they please about a given subject. But there are usually proponents and opponents of every propaganda, both of whom are equally eager to convince the majority.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“The American motion picture is the greatest unconscious carrier of propaganda in the world today. It is a great distributor for ideas and opinions. The motion picture can standardize the ideas and habits of a nation. Because pictures are made to meet market demands, they reflect, emphasize and even exaggerate broad popular tendencies, rather than stimulate new ideas and opinions. The motion picture avails itself only of ideas and facts which are in vogue. As the newspaper seeks to purvey news, it seeks to purvey entertainment.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“The engineering of consent is the very essence of the democratic process, the freedom to persuade and suggest.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“The great enemy of any attempt to change men's habits is inertia. Civilization is limited by intertia.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“The great political problem in our modern democracy is how to induce our leaders to lead.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“The history of the industrial revolution shows how that power passed from the king and the aristocracy to the bourgeoisie. Universal suffrage and universal schooling reinforced this tendency, and at last even the bourgeoisie stood in fear of the common people. For the masses promised to become king.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“The invisible government tends to be concentrated in the hands of the few because of the expense of manipulating the social machinery which controls the opinions and habits of the masses. To advertise on a scale which will reach fifty million persons is expensive. To reach and persuade the group leaders who dictate the public's thoughts and actions is likewise expensive.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“The myth of the detached manipulator and compliant crowd has, since the Twenties, also been abundantly re-echoed by academic students of mass suasion.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“The normal school should provide for the training of the educator to make him realize that his is a twofold job: education as a teacher and education as a propagandist.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“The only propaganda which will ever tend to weaken itself as the world becomes more sophisticated and intelligent, is propaganda that is untrue or unsocial.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“The public is not an amorphous mass which can be molded at will, or dictated to. Both business and the public have their own personalities which must somehow be brought into friendly agreement.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“The public is not cognizant of the real value of education, and does not realize that education as a social force is not receiving the kind of attention it has the right to expect in a democracy.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“The public is not cognizant of the real value of education, and does not realize that education as a social force is not receiving the kind of attention it has the right to expect in a democracy.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“There are invisible rulers who control the destinies of millions. It is not generally realized to what extent the words and actions of our most influential public men are dictated by shrewd persons operating behind the scenes.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“Truth is mighty and must prevail, and if any body of men believe that they have discovered a valuable truth, it is not merely their privilege but their duty to disseminate that truth. If they realize, as they quickly must, that this spreading of truth can be done upon a large scale and effectively only by organized effort, they will make use of the press and the platform as the best means to give it wide circulation.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“Undoubtedly the public is becoming aware of the methods which are being used to mold its opinions and habits. If the public is better informed about the processes of its life, it will be so much the more receptive to reasonable appeals to its own interests. No matter how sophisticated, how cynical the public may become about publicity methods, it must respond to the basic appeals, because it will always need food, crave amusement, long for beauty, respond to leadership. If the public becomes more intelligent in its commercial demands, commercial firms will meet the new standards. If it becomes weary of the old methods used to persuade it to accept a given idea or commodity, its leaders will present their appeals more intelligently.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“Universal literacy was supposed to educate the common man to control his environment. Once he could read and write he would have a mind fit to rule. So ran the democratic doctrine. But instead of a mind, universal literacy has given him rubber stamps, rubber stamps inked with advertising slogans, with editorials, with published scientific data, with the trivialities of the tabloids and the platitudes of history, but quite innocent of original thought. Each man's rubber stamps are the duplicates of millions of others, so that when those millions are exposed to the same stimuli, all receive identical imprints. It may seem an exaggeration to say that the American public gets most of its ideas in this wholesale fashion. The mechanism by which ideas are disseminated on a large scale is propaganda, in the broad sense of an organized effort to spread a particular belief or doctrine.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“We have voluntarily agreed to let an invisible government sift the data and high-spot the outstanding issues so that our field of choice shall be narrowed to practical proportions. From our leaders and the media they use to reach the public, we accept the evidence and the demarcation of issues bearing upon public questions; from some ethical teacher, be it a minister, a favorite essayist, or merely prevailing opinion, we accept a standardized code of social conduct to which we conform most of the time.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

Products by Edward Bernays

“What are the true reasons why the purchaser is planning to spend his money on a new car instead of a piano? Because he has decided that he wants the commodity called locomotion more than he wants the commodity called music? Not altogether. He buys a car, because it is at the moment the group custom to buy cars.

The modern propagandist therefore sets to work to create circumstances which will modify that custom. He will endeavor to develop public acceptance of the idea of a music room in the home. This he may do, for example, by organizing an exhibition of period music rooms designed by well-known decorators who themselves exert an influence on the buying groups. Then, in order to create dramatic interest in the exhibit, he stages an event or ceremony. To this ceremony key people, persons known to influence the buying habits of the public, such as a famous violinist, a popular artist, and a society leader, are invited. These key persons affect other groups, lifting the idea of the music room to a place in the public consciousness which it did not have before. The juxtaposition of these leaders, and the idea which they are dramatizing, are then projected to the wider public through various publicity channels.

The music room will be accepted because it has been made the thing. And the man or woman who has a music room, or has arranged a corner of the parlor as a musical corner, will naturally think of buying a piano. It will come to him as his own idea.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

“Whatever of social importance is done today, whether in politics, finance, manufacture, agriculture, charity, education, or other fields, must be done with the help of propaganda.”

Edward Bernays
Propaganda

Public Relations Quotes

“Any person or organization depends ultimately on public approval, and is therefore faced with the problem of engineering the public's consent to a program or goal.”

Edward Bernays
Public Relations

“The three main elements of public relations are practically as old as society: informing people, persuading people, or integrating people with people. Of course, the means and methods of accomplishing these ends have changed as society has change.”

Edward Bernays
Public Relations