They include What's The Big Idea, by George Lois, Ogilvy on Advertising, The Book of Gossage – about the great Howard Gossage, and Ally & Gargano.
Not because they're textbooks or guide books on how to do advertising (is such a thing really viable anyway?). And yes, times have changed since then... etc.
But because they offer an insight into a way of thinking, acting and being that is essential to really do great things.
And that is more vital than any how-to guide, I think. Especially in Britain, where we’re all taught to be polite, toe-the-line, to not cause a fuss, to do what you're told.
People who want to become great ad creatives need to understand that they aren't just creative people – they need to be active, energetic, trouble-causing, status-quo-challenging, unrelenting, awkward and ballsy – and smart and streetwise as hell.
I always try to keep in mind the great George Bernard Shaw quote “All change depends on the unreasonable man”.
These books capture that spirit brilliantly. In reading them, you can see through the exploits and anecdotes of these greats, that none of their successes were ever handed to them on a plate – they fought, bit and scratched, as well as thought, their way to success.
Now I think there is another book that needs to be added to that list.
Predatory Thinking by Dave Trott is subtitled A Masterclass In Out-Thinking The Competition.
What it offers most of all, I think, is an approach to problems – and life – that is necessary to making things happen.
Entrepreneurialism crossed with creativity Dave calls it. I think he's right. It's about not accepting the obstacle placed in your way – not even accepting that the problem you're presented with is the real problem. Then finding the real issues, and addressing them, through creativity and street smarts.
For some people, this kind of thinking comes naturally. I've met and worked with a few. For others, me included, you have to work at it – constantly remind yourself not to accept what's put in front of you.
I re-read these books all the time. And I never fail to be inspired – and kicked up the arse – by them. And I think Dave's book will fall into that category of books that I will re-read many times.
I recommend you do too.
You can buy it here.
Read Dave Trott's My Favourite Writing Post on the Sell! Sell! Blog Here.