A Media Strategist's Favorite Reads

by Caitlin McCary

Building the industry bookshelf one recommended read at a time.

These books have inspired me to not only keep learning but to implement new ways of thinking in not only my work life, but my personal life too. 

Truth, Lies & Advertising: The Art of Account Planning, Jon Steel

This book is filled with insights for all things account planning, whether you’re on the account management side or creative side. Steel advocates to involve consumers from the very start of the development of the campaign and how this can continue to build a long brand relationship with them. He shares great case studies of extremely successful campaigns to drive the point home, such as the famous ‘Got Milk?’.  If you’re in the marketing/advertising industry, this is a must-read.

“A planner representing consumer opinions in the absence of an insightful client and talented creative people is unlikely to make any advertising any better.”

Daring Greatly, Brene Brown 

I admit that I was late to jump on the Brene Brown bandwagon but am now an official member. Shortly after joining redpepper, I heard multiple colleagues chatting about how much they loved Brene Brown and how inspiring her books are. I decided to find this out for myself and purchased a copy of Daring Greatly to see what Brown is all about. This book dives right into the topic of vulnerability and how it can keep us from living a wholehearted life. There were so many times in this book that I was overcome with the sense of ‘thank gosh – it’s not just me who feels like this!’. I’ve learned to look at vulnerability in a whole new light, and even have tried to change my mindset to embrace it.

“Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose; the level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnection.”

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, Simon Sinek

This book is based on the popular TED video where Sinek explains the importance of knowing why we do what we do. He explains how leaders and organizations should work in a series of circles, known as “The Golden Circle”, based on the why, the how and the what.  It’s easy to explain what we do, and even how we do it, but can you explain why? To prove his theory, Sinek shares powerful examples of leaders, such as Martin Luther King Jr. and the Wright Brothers, and the way they utilized this way of thinking to inspire us. 

The bottom line is we need to be able to communicate WHY we do something to get people to accept and believe in it, and therefore inspire action.

"People don’t do business with everyone who has what they need. They do business with people who believe in the same thing they believe in."

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