“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 TV enthusiast. Back in the day, in communist Romania, you could only access two TV stations with an average of 3 hours of boring content daily. Despite my love for TV, I’ve grown up without too many options, and books became a much-needed escape.
This article is about three business books that changed how I think about marketing and advertising. I am sorry to disappoint you, but “How Brands Grow” by Byron Sharp or “Principles of Marketing” by Kotler are on another list, not this one.
“Ogilvy on Advertising” – by David Ogilvy himself
The first book needs no introduction for a marketer – it’s a classic. I received it as a gift from a friend when British American Tobacco used to work with Ogilvy Romania. Written and published in the 80s, it doesn’t seem to get old. It glorifies the magic of TV, Print, and Direct Marketing, with no mention of Digital.
A recent Ogilvy CEO tried to modernize the book in the Digital age, but in my view failed here. So hold on tight to the original.
It will help 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 of the immense opportunity to use 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 to answer any qualitative research question using search queries.
The book was published before its time, because 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, and 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 3 books on marketing will make you more marketing-wise, edgier, or more mindful about design. Reading them all will make you a marketing star tomorrow.