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Books You Can Bank On

By Jon | 16th Dec 2015 | Posted in Inspiration and Education

Greetings future book readers,

Please ignore the crappy title, it was just to get you hooked. To get you to go “This guy isn’t funny, but I have nothing better to do so I’ll click his link. He probably needs all the help he can get.” Or none of that happened and I’m just trying to build up word count like this is a thesis or some important academic publication that I’m finishing at the last minute.

I get asked roughly at least once-a-never-whatsoever what books people should read if they should read if they want a career in advertising, marketing or one of the other dark arts.

I have good news. I have a mere five suggestions. You can count that on one hand if you have a normal amount of fingers on both hands. If you have more than five fingers, then you’re shit out of luck, as I have no other suggestions, and I’m not about to sully the quality of this article just because you can likely play the piano better than me or beat me in a “Who has the most fingers?” contest. I have principles, and I’m lazy.

So onto the BOOKS you can BANK on…

1. How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie 

My favourite non-fiction book of all time. Dale Carnegie realised there were no books on how to interact with people. It’s a book on how to get on with people, and get the outcomes you want. That sounds manipulative and sinister, but it isn’t. It’s a pretty good guide for living your life with other people, which is most of the time.


Knowing how to communicate with people on a one to one basis is a skill you need in advertising and marketing and almost any job. Numerous people think this is a weird choice and doesn’t belong on such a list. I feel I should deal with this criticism head on, and I shall, in list format:

1. This is my list.
2. They are wrong.
3. I am right.


2. Creative Mischief  – Dave Trott

This book is brilliant. If you’re looking for a step by step guide to success, this isn’t for you. I call it a ‘mindset’ book. You still have to do the hard work, but it makes you think differently, a little like LSD but without the heightened sense of colour or seeing your friends turn into birds of prey for 8 hours.

It’s a great book for anyone who has to solve problems for a living. It’s superb and deserves the number two spot on this list that’s been compiled in no particular order.


3. Predatory Thinking – Dave Trott

Another Trott book. See above. Just get it. It’s also a great book to leave around the house when guests come around because the cover is all black with PREDATORY THINKING in huge white angry letters. Your literate friends will no doubt pick it up and start reading, saving you from having to be interesting or entertaining, as Mr Trott has that covered and you will look clever by proxy.



4. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion –  Robert B. Cialdini, PH.D

The best book on persuasion science. There are six principles. Learn all about them. “How to win friends” was anecdotal while this book references recent behavioural studies and goes into more detail.

This is a great book if you want more people to say “yes” to your reasonable requests.



5. Tested Advertising Methods – John Caples

Another book from the 30s that’s still relevant today. Learn how to craft good headlines that mean the difference between a bestseller and the discount bin. Useful for journalists, copywriters and anyone who wants to get their work seen by more people without spending any money. Judging by the title of this article, I could probably do with reading this again.


Once you’ve read these, you’ve learned everything about advertising and marketing and can immediately retire on a beach somewhere.*

Please enjoy irresponsibly.



*We make no claims as to the quality of the beach or the validity of this statement.

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