Corporate Bullsh*t

Exposing the Lies and Half-Truths That Protect Profit, Power, and Wealth in America

Greedy corporate interests have been lying to us for centuries. Here’s an illustrated, entertaining road map for navigating through their hypocrisy and deception

“The wealthy and powerful are willing to say anything—even the worst things imaginable—to retain their wealth and power. But while there is simply no bottom to this well of shamelessness, there is a pattern.” —from the preface by Nick Hanauer

From praising the health benefits of cigarettes to moralizing on the character-building qualities of child labor, rich corporate overlords have gone to astonishing, often morally indefensible lengths to defend their profits. Since the dawn of capitalism, they’ve told the same lies over and over to explain why their bottom line is always more important than the greater good: You say you want to raise the federal minimum wage? Why, you’ll only make things worse for the very people you want to help! Should we hold polluters accountable for the toxins they’re dumping in our air and water? No, the free market will save us! Can we raise taxes on the rich to pay for universal healthcare? Of course not—that will kill jobs! Affordable childcare? Socialism! It’s always the same tired threats and finger-pointing, in a concentrated campaign to keep wealth and power in the hands of the wealthy and powerful.

Corporate Bullsh*t will help you identify this pernicious propaganda for the wealthiest 1 percent, and teach you how to fight back. Structured around some of the most egregious statements ever made by the rich and powerful, the book identifies six categories of falsehoods that repeatedly thwart progress on issues including civil rights, wealth inequality, climate change, voting rights, gun responsibility, and more. With amazing illustrations and a sharp sense of humor, Corporate Bullsh*t teaches readers how to never get conned, bamboozled, or ripped off ever again.

Praise

“Most decent people intuitively know when they’re being lied to by corporate America. We get that their narratives are propaganda deployed to line their own pockets. But we don’t always understand how. Corporate Bullsh*t exposes the nuggets of lies at the core of their stories. It pulls back the asterisk to reveal the word we knew was there all along.”
—Elie Mystal, author of Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy’s Guide to the Constitution
“A welcome user’s guide to maneuvering the thicket of lies that constitutes so much discourse today.”
Kirkus Reviews
Corporate Bullsh*t opens a window to a secret history, an imagined gathering of lackeys and plutocrats who scheme to stifle progressive change through the constant slinging of garbage. After reading it, you’ll find yourself repeating to conservatives their bogus arguments before they even get a chance.”
—David Dayen, The American Prospect
“If you ever feel like you’re fighting the same bogus corporate arguments over and over, read this useful book. It will help you respond to every standard BS claim and teach everyone the truth.”
—Robert B. Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and author of Saving Capitalism
Corporate Bullsh*t fights the way the power elite has co-opted the so-called ‘American way,’ when so many of its priorities—unchecked corporate power, the suppression of equal rights for women and people of color, and the defunding of American institutions from labor protections to education equality—are really un-American. Read it, and fight.”
—Svante Myrick, president of People for the American Way
“This book is not only a crucial tool to combat more than a century of corporate disinformation—it’s a rollicking good read that will have you laughing out loud as you learn how to rout it and win. Get a copy into the hands of everyone you know, so we don’t get fooled again. Even your cranky uncle could change his mind.”
—Nancy MacLean, author of Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America
“Stories are powerful; they shape our thinking, limit or inspire our imagination, and speed up or slow down our response to challenges. In Corporate Bullsh*t Hanauer, Walsh, and Cohen expose six of the most powerful—and bogus—stories corporations have relied on to keep us from challenging their abuses. The first step in real progress is exposing and dismantling these stories and Corporate Bullsh*t does exactly that.”
—Ann Leonard, creator of The Story of Stuff and former director of Greenpeace USA
Corporate Bullsh*t by Nick Hanauer, Joan Walsh, and Donald Cohen performs a useful public service by amassing a wealth of quotations from across 150 years of American social policy to show how a certain set of talking points recurs over and over in the effort to stymie progressive social change.”
Current Affairs
“As an elected official, I hear these lies from corporate special interests all the time: Raising taxes on the rich will kill jobs, raising the minimum wage will hurt the very people it’s intended to help, and regulation will destroy business. None of them are true, but they’re carefully crafted to trick working people into prioritizing corporate interests over their own. Corporate Bullsh*t pulls back the curtain on their game plan and makes a compelling argument for reforms to grow America from the bottom up and the middle out.”
—Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal
“Whether it’s 1923 or 2023, the same trickle-down nonsense used in every boardroom in America hasn’t changed. This book pulls back the curtain on the whole racket in a way that leaves you unsure whether to laugh or cry, but sure of one thing: It’s not true. It’s never been true.”
—Ben Cohen, co-founder, Ben & Jerry’s
“It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so sad: Corporate Bullsh*t traces how the wealthy and powerful have used the same tired excuses for centuries, to defend outrages from slavery to coal-mining deaths to unequal pay for women, through the current deadly threat of fossil-fueled climate disaster. The examples will make you laugh, and make you angry—and then make you act!”
—Lizz Winstead, co-creator of The Daily Show

News and Reviews

The Nation

Read an excerpt from Corporate Bullsh*t in The Nation about how to stop corporate lies in their tracks and change the country.

Current Affairs

Read a review of Corporate Bullsh*t in Current Affairs.

Goodreads Reviews