Books: Transcendence, Incorporated

KARMA COLA by Gita Mehta

Simon & Schuster; 201 pages; $9.95

The '60s introduced the medium as the message, and the '70s perfected the package as the product. Both points converge in Karma Cola: Marketing the Mystic East, where, from millenniums before Marshall McLuhan and Ernest Dichter, the pitch has been that the substance is the illusion. And vice versa: not long ago, an Indian airline promoted a package tour with the slogan NIRVANA FOR $100 A DAY.

Gita Mehta's witty documentary satire illustrates that the cost can be considerably higher. This is especially true...

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