Non-pulp fiction: marketing book suggestions for Christmas

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It’s not long before the Christmas holidays and plenty of free time to devote to reading among other things. So, if you ask for some books to develop the horizons of marketers, PR specialists, and account managers, you will definitely get a list of PR, management, and marketing books. With copywriting, the story is different: experienced copywriters don’t read books about copywriting. If you’re already working in your field, you’re ready to take a header, you’ve long since mastered the entire “software” base, which includes Ogilvy and probably a few more books a la “The Art of Effective Texts: Hypno-Neuro-Business Something”. That’s why copywriters usually draw on other sources of inspiration: literary studies, fiction, non-fiction on neuroscience, psychology, history, etc.

But today I’m going to talk about books, both as a PR professional and as a copywriter.

Let’s start, of course, with marketing, or rather, about marketing for marketing’s sake. I have a secret list of books with universal advice for all times that will be at the service of every PR person, brand manager and anyone working with reputation in communications and marketing.

“Marketing Warfare” by Al Rice and Jack Trout. Aspects of successful marketing from the perspective of military affairs. The authors, as you probably realise, are well-known marketers who took as a basis the work of Carl von Clausewitz “On War” and adapted it for a very different, at first glance, sphere with examples of significant marketing confrontations of great companies: beer war, coke war, burger war, computer war, and so on. What strategy did Pepsi, Apple and Rolls-Royce adopt? What mistakes did Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Volkswagen make? The answers are on the pages of this book.

“Purple Cow” by Seth Godin. This marketing book will teach you how to create products that are worth talking about, as well as look at your strategy from a different angle. We live in a world where most products are invisible, and only unique things arouse emotions and interest. By the way, the author of the bestselling book is an American entrepreneur and marketer, founder of Yoyodyne, which was acquired by Yahoo!

“Cracking Creativity” by Michael Michalko. A great bestseller that will teach you how to find cool ideas in banal things. From linear to intuitive thinking, from building from old logs to building from scratch. This is a portable simulator of inventions, non-standard approaches and atypical solutions to typical issues, hundreds of tricks, tips, stories of geniuses, puzzles, exercises and brainstorming sessions. By the way, the author is a leading international expert in the field of creativity, who has been involved in the work of DuPont, Kodak, Microsoft, General Motors, Ford, Walmart, Gillette, and others.

The book ”Talking to “Crazy”. Rules for dealing with inadequate and intolerable people in your life” by Mark Goulston. If your counterpart is somewhat inadequate, but he is definitely not the leader of the country that went to war with you, then this book will be useful to you. From my own experience, I know that there are plenty of inadequate people who have no idea about ethical standards, morality and laws.

If we talk about copywriters, we must admit that they always keep their ears open and note how complex things are told simply, where the author loses your attention, and where, on the contrary, it is impossible to tear yourself away, although your eyes are already crawling out of your head. A copywriter cannot simply turn off their “copywriting”: you will always notice good moments, fan-facts, useful cases, and good jokes that can be used later.

So, from time to time I read books that are not typical for me. At least to make sure that I don’t really like this genre, or maybe I’ve just had bad luck with stories. And also, to notice what annoys me in the book and to dig into myself and the text: why exactly it annoys me, so that I can unexpectedly find something interesting, useful, or maybe even enjoy it.

How do you find the right book in this genre? Find a genre connoisseur and ask him/her what book he/she would like to forget and read again for the first time. For me, one such book is “The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair” by Joël Dicker. I’m in the negative range of love for detectives, but I took from this book a way to make a person read 700 pages, while the story can be told in 200.

Also on my top list is the cult novel “Flowers for Algernon” by the American writer Daniel Keyes. It can hardly be attributed to Christmas reading, but «Flowers…» is read in one breath. The book is written in the form of reports written by Charlie Gordon, a mentally disabled janitor. He participates in an experiment to improve his intelligence. His brain surgery is successful, and soon his IQ becomes higher than that of the professors who conducted the experiment. The first parts of the novel are written in an incoherent, illiterate language that will improve as Charlie’s intelligence grows. It takes a truly perfect copywriter to convey the process of transformation so skilfully.

Richard Feynman “Surely You’re Joking, Mr Feynman!” He was known for his fondness for jokes and pranks, painted marvellous portraits, and played exotic musical instruments. A superb orator, he turned each of his lectures into an exciting intellectual game. The autobiography of a great scientist is more gripping than an adventure novel. One of the few books that remain forever in the memory of everyone who has read them.

One final recommendation for my dear readers that love football is my colleague Ryan Conway’s incredible book, Pride Before the Fall, all about the rise and fall of Derby County football club in the Premier League.

The holidays are coming, so there will be plenty of time for books. Enjoy.

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