“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.” – Groucho Marx
During my early childhood years, I was a minimalist devotee TV viewer. Back in the days, in communist Romania, you could access only two stations with an average of 2 hours of boring TV every day. So, despite my love for TV, I can say I’ve grown up without too many options, and books became a needed escape. This is a post about three books that changed how I think about marketing and advertising. I am sorry to disappoint you, but “How Brands Grow” from Byron Sharp or “Principles of Marketing” from Kotler are on another list, not this one.
“Ogilvy on Advertising” – by David Ogilvy himself
The first book needs no introduction for a creative – it’s a classic. I’ve received it as a gift from an Ogilvy friend when British American Tobacco used to work with this agency on communication in Romania. Written and published in the 80s, it doesn’t get old. It glorifies the magic of TV, Print, and Direct Marketing, with no mention of Digital. A recent Ogilvy CEO tried to replicate the book for the Digital age and failed miserably, so hold on to the original. It helps you understand how to get a job in advertising, run or choose an agency, approach TV commercials, or even write successful copy. It’s a goldmine.
“Everybody Lies” by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
The second book blew me away when I first picked it up. It tells the story and the immense opportunity of using search data to understand people’s deepest desires. We confess to the Google Search bar more often than we do to our partners or therapist. Google is our friend, our helper and our confidante. Written by an ex-Googler, this book opened my eyes to the endless possibilities of answering almost any qualitative research question using search queries. The book was published before its time, since even today, most of us still are not aware of this great source of insights. Please read it, go on Google Trends, start an experiment, and make better marketing decisions.
“Presentation Zen” by Garr Reynolds
Hands down the best book on business presentations I have ever read. It makes you ditch the templates, the text-heavy slides; it helps you rethink why you are in front of the audience and makes your slides ready for TED. I would make this book mandatory for anyone that opens Powerpoint. And one tip, get the paper version, not the e-book. The paper does more justice to the beauty of this book’s pages.
Reading one of these books will make you more marketing-wise, edgier, or more mindful about design. Reading them all will make you a marketing star tomorrow.