10 Bloody Good Books You Should Read

What you read is what you know. And what you know can help on the next great idea, your upcoming presentation or small talk with your clients, bosses or friends.

Outside of the daily grind, reading is a great way to keep learning.

Advertising reflects and participates within culture. That’s a fancy way of saying that everything you read can help you in your work. Fiction, non-fiction, sci-fi, bio, it can all do wonders to help you with your next campaign.

Here are our favourite reads. Some are about advertising. Some aren’t. All have helped us in our work.

Hopefully, they can help you too.

Title: ‘Everybody Lies: What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are’
Author: Seth Stephens Davidowtiz

We all lie every day. To friends, partners, doctors and to ourselves. To everyone except Google.

With Google, we have the largest collection of data on human psyche to ever exist. And this book dives in headfirst.

No topic is left untouched from politics, sex, identity, race, sports, and yes, of course, advertising. This book really helped in understanding how biases we all have dictates our behaviour and how we can use the information and big data for the better.

Title: ‘A Clockwork Orange’
Author: Anthony Burgess

It’s not just the fictional language that makes A Clockwork Orange a difficult read. The main character Alex is an arsehole. At 15 years old he loves to be violent to anyone and anything that his gang of ‘droogs’ come in contact with.

But as you read on the book hits you deeper, posing some bigger questions through Alex’s storyline - are you born good or bad? Or is there an element of free will involved? You almost grow to care for the young man.

Being hard to read isn’t a negative, it works with the book’s themes to make it a rewarding experience which is why I like to recommend this book so often.

Title: ‘American Psycho’
Author: Bret Easton Ellis

A thriller that has rich waspy dudes trying to outclass each other on every similar purchase they make. So much so they can’t even tell each other apart.

Some interesting comments about consumerism and trying to stand out but remain within your own box. It has parallels to what we do without being ad-y

Title: ‘The Alchemist’
Author: Paulo Coehlo

“It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

I was so taken with this book, the simplicity of it yet also the profound nature of all the wisdom it had to offer. The story is full of learnings of self-understanding and spiritual enlightenment.

It has a steady pace but carries you through the narrative on a compelling journey following Santiago, the young Sheperd boy. I was completely transfixed with this narrative, the layers upon layers of inspiring life lessons that prompted self-reflection of myself and my own dreams.

It was a story I read as a young 20 year old, that left its mark on me and allowed me to feel completely inspired to take on the world and not be fearful of my own ambitions. A must-read for anyone, for all ages.

Title: 'Everything I Know About Love'
Author: Dolly Alderton

‘Everything I Know About Love’ is the best book I’ve read this year. Obviously not because of the title. I’m on the same page with you there. But because Dolly is so bloody good at resonating with her audience. Seriously, she’s somehow filled her entire memoir with these little insights that make you go: “omg I did that!” Like logging off and logging back in to MSN 10 times in the hope that your crush see’s your name pop up. Or the fact that as you get older it isn’t “the hangovers that become crippling, but rather the acute paranoia and dread” that you wake up to on a Sunday morning. I also love how Dolly completely ignores normal writing conventions. I probably shouldn’t say that as a copywriter. But I’m also a copywriter who can’t spell. So screw it. Dolly weaves together regretful text messages, emails to imaginary groups of people, shopping lists and hangover recipes. The book’s all over the shop, just like a 20-something-year-old’s life growing up in the 90s. So give it read. Gain some funny insights into the life of a millennial and learn how to unlearn some writing conventions. I bet by the end of the book you’ll think that you and Dolly were destined to be best friends.

Or if you don’t want to give it a read, at least try her macaroni and cheese recipe. It’s probably better than the book.

Title: 'The Nickel Boys'
Author: Colston Whitehead

Like many people in Australia this year, I’ve been following America’s BLM movement with great interest and empathy. The impact it’s had on political and cultural conversations there, and thankfully here too, cannot be understated – it’s clear we’re living through history.

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead was an amazing lesson on the topic and its cultural roots. Released earlier this year, it tells the story of two black juvenile offenders in 1960’s Florida and their friendship through a justice system designed to crush their humanity.
By showing us the past, Colson helps us understand more about the present.

And it’s won like, every award ever this year, including a Pulitzer.

Title: 'Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE'
Author: Phil Knight

Sheer determination, pure will and optimism to pursue an opportunity - even when other people couldn’t see it. I was captivated from the first page on the story of how Nike was created, the setbacks, the self-belief to get through the challenges - and really get to understand the sentiment behind “Just do it”. Great ethos to live by, particularly in the creative industry - being bold, stick to your guns and the spirit of entrepreneurship. Highly recommend.

Title: 'The Choice Factory: 25 behavioural biases that influencer what we buy'
Author: Richard Shotton

I’m not going to put it lightly. It’s our job to convince people to buy our specific brand of Stuff. And while creativity has a huge part to play, a chunk of what makes people decide to pick your brand over the competitor is a thing called consumer behaviour. This book, nay, manual, teaches you the basics so you can manipulate, er encourage, people to choose your brand.

With hands-on tips written in layman’s terms, it makes you feel smart without being dry and boring. In fact, it kinda makes you feel like you can play God, with consumers being little puppets in your master game.

Title: TIME 100 Photographs: The Most Influential Images of All Time

I’m not much of a reader and with a picture speaking a thousand words, I’ve found coffee table photo books a pretty efficient way to get some inspo.

100 Photographs is one that’s always close by. Not only because you can flip through years with each page but when I look at it through an advertising lens, I’m reminded the power of a unique perspective. Beyond literal framing, I think it shows metaphorically how we can see things in a different and unfamiliar way.

It reminds me of my place in the world and that’s why I like it.

Title: 'The Land Before Avocado'
Author: Richard Glover

If a land free of avocados is unimaginable to you, there is a lot more that might intrigue (or frighten) you in Richard Glover’s reflections on growing up in 1960’s Australia.

As a 90’s kid, my own parent’s nostalgic recollection of the past made me feel somewhat cheated - they could play out in the street unsupervised for hours, they received free University educations, the lost goes on - but this book provides insight to the bizarre realities of a not so distant past that makes me relieved to be where I am.