Corporate bulls**t is everywhere around us, like the atmosphere of capitalism. I don’t just mean advertisements for specific commodities, although that’s everywhere too, but propaganda for an entire worldview that encompasses obvious things, like climate denialism or opposition to universal health care, taxing the rich or enforcing regulations, and also deeper and sometimes surprising things. The scale of this can seem overwhelming, and making sense of it can seem impossible. That’s where the new book “Corporate Bullsh*t: Exposing the Lies and Half-Truths That Protect Profit, Power, and Wealth in America” comes in.

As co-author Nick Hanauer, host of the “Pitchfork Economics” podcast, writes in the preface, “while there is simply no bottom to this well of shamelessness” β€” meaning corporate bullshit, of course β€” “there is a pattern.” Not only is this pattern simple, the authors argue, it’s remarkably comprehensive. Once you learn it, you’ll see it everywhere. Better yet, you’ll learn how to see through it systematically, through six categories that begin with denial, and then a series of fallback strategies and retreats ending in plaintive cries of catastrophe. 

Two things make “Corporate Bullsh*t” particularly compelling. The first is the wealth of illustrative quotes that are both hilarious and insightful, showing how those who deploy this kind of propaganda will use almost identical arguments generations or even centuries apart. I wasn’t prepared for how much fun this would be, resulting in multiple LOL moments.