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Our top reads of 2020

Just before we all head off for a much-needed break, this week, we’ve put together a reading list of things that inspired us and bent our brains over the last twelve months.


Just before we all head off for a much-needed break, this week, we’ve put together a reading list of things that inspired us and bent our brains over the last twelve months.

 

Hopefully, you’ve been good this year and Santa pops one of these in your stocking. Enjoy.

 

Winners by Alastair Campbell


As well as being full of great interviews with winners such as Jose Mourinho, Nelson Mandela, Arianna Huffington and Hilary Clinton to name a few, Tony Blair’s strategist lays out a pretty solid description of what strategy is and isn’t. In an age of brand guff and the tactification of marketing, this is a great reminder of how simple strategy can be and how wrong we often get it.  

 

Words that Work by Frank Luntz

 

From another notorious political strategist, Frank Luntz highlights the importance of using the right words and how simply reframing language can shift culture enormously. Frank is the guy that advised governments to use the words “climate change” instead of “global warming”. He’s quite apologetic about it, I might add.

 

Mindfuck by Christopher Wylie

 

This book really is a mindfuck. It shows how Christopher Wylie, a bright young computer scientist, got involved with Cambridge Analytica to help manipulate elections around the world. Full of scary and exciting insights, Wylie shows how it’s possible to quantify and influence culture at scale.

 

How to Lie With Statistics by Darrell Huff

 

This is an oldie but a goodie. Given we spend so much time and money on numbers, this book helps you pick holes in silly charts. It could also help save you millions in poorly-spent marketing budgets. 


How Social Media Is Ruining Your Life by Katherine Ormerod

 

We’re massive fans of social media, but let’s not forget it’s still pretty new and we’re only just starting to understand its impact on us. This book provides a brilliant argument, suggesting social media is becoming far too pervasive in our lives.

 

The Master and His Emissary by Iain McGilchrist

 

Warning, this isn’t an easy read. It is however one of the most important things we’ve read this year. First of all Dr Iain McGilchrist debunks some myths about how the brain works. Using actual science. Not from an advertising research company. Turns out pretty much everything we think we know about the brain is wrong.

 

Even more interestingly, McGilchrist highlights the ramifications of how an increasingly dominant left hemisphere is having a negative impact on the western world and how attention, or where we choose to spend it, is one of the biggest issues we face today.

 

Lemon by Orlando Wood

 

If you prefer something easier to read, try this one from Orlando Wood. He’s a touch selective with Iain McGilchrist’s research, but it’s a good summary of its implications for advertising.

 

Business for Punks by James Watt

 

Finally, if you’re fed up with books or people telling you how to do marketing, this is a good antidote from BrewDog founder, James Watt. If this doesn’t get you inspired over the Christmas break, then I don’t know what will.


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Just before we all head off for a much-needed break, this week, we’ve put together a reading list of things that inspired us and bent our brains over the last twelve months.