February 23, 2009
After reading Advertising Age’s article
from Friday on the best books on marketing and media, I was inspired to share my own favorites, and hopefully get some recommendations from you, our readers.
Here are 3 books I can’t live without as a copywriter and marketer, books I consult on a fairly regular basis for inspiration, ideas, advice, and in some cases, a good, old-fashioned laugh.
1. Getting Everything You Can Out of All You Got – Jay Abraham
Penned by quintessential marketing genius Jay Abraham, consultant to global brands like AT&T, Boeing, HBO, and Toyota, this book
reads like a ‘how-to manual’ on success, not only in business, but also in life. The information Abraham shares is useful to anyone who works with clients and customers; sales executives, marketing directors, copy writers, customer service managers, and CEO’s can all benefit from the concrete suggestions and practical insight found in this book. The best part is Abraham never gets too complicated or fancy. His writing is simple, his language is direct, and you can execute his suggestions as you learn them. I’ve consulted Abraham’s book while working on several big projects and can say with confidence that Abraham’s strategies translate into dollars.
2. The Copywriter’s Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Copy That Sells – Robert W. Bly
Recommended by advertising legend David Ogilvy, and written by top copywriter and marketing consultant Bob Bly, this reference book for writers first hit shelves in 1985 and since has become a classic. Easy-to-read and straightforward, this book is considered by many to be the ‘bible’ on copywriting, and serves as a comprehensive guide to writing sales copy and working as a professional copywriter. While Bly’s original book neglects to cover the now-lucrative Internet niche, the 3rd edition
published in 2006 contains new chapters on writing for the web. Likewise, although Bly’s book doesn’t contain much I don’t already ‘know,’ I still consider it a go-to resource and a handy way to help get the creative/entrepreneurial juices flowing before starting a new project or when I find myself experiencing a dreaded case of ‘writer’s block.’ For copywriters at any stage in their careers, Bly’s book serves as a great reminder to cut the fluff, get back to (advertising) basics, and remember why you’re here: to sell.
3. Ogilvy on Advertising – David Ogilvy
This book was left on my desk by the creative director at a former gig. I had noticed it in his office one day, expressed interest, and the next morning it was there, sitting on my desk, waiting for me to devour. I read the entire 224-page book in 2 days, on lunch hours, smoke breaks, early in the morning, and before bed at night. A provocative peek into the ad business, the book by the Father of Advertising is both funny and serious. Full of anecdotes on the Golden Age of Advertising and first-hand accounts of Madison Avenue in the 50’s and 60’s, Ogilvy on Advertising is as practical as it is entertaining — a wealth of information for ad professionals and an inspirational resource for entrepreneurs looking to realign themselves with what matters: discipline, research, creativity, and results.
What are your favorite books on marketing? Any life-changers? Any titles you consult whenever you have a tough problem? I’d love to hear some of your recommendations!