Magazine article Marketing

Catch Up on Your Reading to Stay Ahead of the Rest

Magazine article Marketing

Catch Up on Your Reading to Stay Ahead of the Rest

Article excerpt

I suppose a lot of you reading this work for big firms. Being nigh unemployable, I have mostly had to work for myself, but I did spend six years with Ogilvy & Mather, which, while not huge, is quite substantial.

Luckily, I got on well with those in charge, and they elected me (I don't know how or why) to their worldwide board. The experience was fascinating. There were 23 of us - as with most boards, too many to run anything. We spent hours going through the financial figures in detail. This seemed a bit pointless, since we were sent them all in advance and told to read them. Questions and answers would have made more sense.

During my brief tenure, two things surprised me. First, a two-day discussion on what 'great' advertising is. That seemed odd, because I naively thought you had to understand what we sold to get on the board; and anyhow David Ogilvy wrote very well about it. And second, that Ogilvy took the most notes; he knew more than anyone else, but he was still learning.

I am amazed how little people study in this business. It's hard to pick it up as you go along. So if you agree that a little learning is better than no learning at all, here are some books that taught me a lot.

A History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell. This convinced me you probably can't be sure of anything, but you can explain even the most complex thoughts clearly if you learn to write clearly. It also helped me to think logically - though not logically enough. …

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