It’s a new year and, if you’re like us, a richer literary diet is high up on the list of resolutions. Though marketing books are useful and certainly earn their spot on the bookshelf, it’s important to broaden your knowledge base and look for ideas and inspirations in other fields and industries. With this in mind, we thought we’d share some of the books we found outside of the 650 block of the Dewey Decimal System this past year that helped us gain a new perspective on modern marketing.
1. Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Want to get front-of-mind? Why not start with looking at what it is you’re getting in front of? From exploring why people turn down the radio when they’re looking for an address to why stocks with pronounceable symbols tend to trade better, this books sheds some light on how our brains function while making the various decisions that get us through the day.
2. Grid Systems in Graphic Design by Josef Müller-Brockmann
The internet is a grid, so why not take some time to learn more about them? Worst case scenario: your presentation decks will look a little less sloppy this year.
3. Air Guitar: Essays on Art & Democracy by Dave Hickey
Ever wonder what the deal with Warhol is or why senior citizens don’t believe Liberace was gay, or what it’d be like to play an NFL game on acid? Dave Hickey has a great way of getting to the heart of how things work by looking at how they don’t. This is a book about culture, which is a pretty significant influencer.
4. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
Imagine a textbook that’s fun to read and encompasses the universe and, more importantly, our place in it. Bill Bryson has a way of explaining the history of humanity's relationship with science that is conversational but not dumbed down- like an after-class tangent with the cool, blue-haired physics TA. If you're a science junkie and love learning, this is a must read.
5. An A5 Notebook
Thoughts tend to find better shape when they’re written down. They seem to go further too. An A5 notebook is the perfect size for lugging around and keeping track of your meandering mind. Right now, I’m enjoying the Rollbahn. The pages are thick, which means ink doesn’t bleed through as much, and it comes with a zippable pocket for all those scraps, business cards and coupons you think you’re going to reference again.
6. Working On My Novel by Cory Arcangel
Cory Arcangel made a twitter bot to retweet every tweet that contained the phrase “Working On My Novel.” He then compiled all these tweets into a book. Sadly, it may be the only book to come from these tweets. Resolutions are hard. Finishing things is hard. Don’t give up, though! Hang in there! Put this book on your desk as a reminder that there are those who get things done and those who talk about getting things done.
7. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Even in a world of teleconferences and remote employees, it’s important to remember that people still like hearing their name and creating smiles.
These are just a few of the books we found helpful this past year. Some are old, some are new and one’s blank, but they all helped us sharpen our game. We could go on with more recommendations, but we’ll save that for another blog post down the road. In the meantime, resolve to read outside of your comfort zone this year. After all, big breakthroughs are often inspired by something as random as an apple hitting somebody on the head.
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