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10 Books That Every Ad Man Should Read

“Milton Glaser: Graphic Designer” – By: Milton Glaser 


The famed designer behind the iconic I Love New York logo,  “Graphic Design,” explores the extraordinary achievement of America’s pre-eminent graphic artist. Glaser undertakes not only a remarkably wide-ranging representation of his oeuvre but, in a personally revealing introduction, speaks of the influences on his work, the responsibilities of the artist, the hierarchies of the traditional art world, and the role of graphic design in the area of his creative growth. Whether you are a designer or not this book is a must read for those trying to understand the designed world we live in.

“Bill Bernbach’s Book” – by Bob Levenson


A deep look into the creative mind of one of the “Godfather’s” of advertising and co-founder of DDB, Bill Bernbach. Bob Levenson provides us with a detailed history of Bernback’s career and the iconic campaigns that he produced. An absolute must read for anyone at all interested in the world of advertising.

“Despite the fact that DDB was primarily a print agency and print is slowly dying, Bernbach’s brilliance and succinct observations about the power and importance of creative ideas remains incredibly relevant today. Even in light of our data driven world.  In fact, he said this, which continues to make perfect sense: “To keep your ads fresh, you’ve got to keep yourself fresh. Live in the current idiom and you will create in it.” Applies as much to the digital age as to the print age.” – Edward Boches, chief innovation officer, Mullen

Insanely Simple” – By Ken Segall


Simplicity isn’t just a design principle at Apple—it’s a value that permeates every level of the organization. It’s what helped Apple recover from near death in 1997 to become the most valuable company on earth in 2012.

As ad agency creative director, Ken Segall played a key role in Apple’s resurrection, helping to create such critical marketing campaigns as “Think Different” and naming the iMac.

This book makes you a fly on the wall inside a conference room with Steve Jobs, and on the receiving end of his midnight phone calls. You’ll understand how his obsession with simplicity helped Apple perform better and faster, sometimes saving millions in the process.

“The Confessions of an Advertising Man” – By David Ogilvy 


First published in 1963, Confessions of an Advertising Man defines advertising in the 1960s, yet continues to hold relevance today. All the basic principles of good advertising are laid out in plain, but definitely not dull, English, along with enough Ogilvyisms to keep you engrossed and entertained.

“We admire people who work hard, who are objective and thorough. We detest office politicians, toadies, bullies, and pompous asses. We abhor ruthlessness. The way up our ladder is open to everybody. In promoting people to top jobs, we are influenced as much by their character as anything else.” – David Ogilvy

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
– By Dan and Chip Heath

chio and dan

Since its release in 2007, Made to Stick has become popular with managers, marketers, teachers, ministers, advertisers, and others who want to make their ideas stick. It’s been translated into Arabic, Bulgarian, Croatian, Dutch, and 25 other languages. Made to Stick made the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists and was retired from the BusinessWeek list after a 24-month run. It was named to several “best of the year” lists and was selected as one of the best 100 business books of all time. If you have an idea you should read this book.

Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Ads” – By Luke Sullivan 


This is probably one of the books you will want to read the day before you walk into an agency. If you’re a creative, account person or even in HR – This book should be a must-read for anyone looking to work in the agency world. While some of the information in this book is a bit dated, you can most certainly transfer some of the fundamentals to modern day marketing. Specifically, if you’re developing a banner ad you will walk away from reading this book with the confidence that you’re one step closer to being a better marketer. The author is brilliant with his writing as he combines a perfect amount of wit and insight.

Why We Buy – By Paco Underhill

why we buy
Paco Underhill reveals key principles that he and his company, Envirosell, have learned about shopping. He discusses what different types of customers see, and how they respond. This is an exciting, original book. It is sharply written, with a dynamic style. Underhill provides generous examples of what he and his team of trackers have learned by observing shoppers. He includes interesting anecdotes and statistics showing how shoppers behave under different circumstances.

This is both a solid, carefully researched book and a joy to read. If you want to know about your target audience we suggest you pick this book up.

How Customers Think – By Gerald Zaltman


How to unlock the hidden 95 per cent of the customer’s mind that traditional marketing methods have never reached. This title provides practical synthesis of the cognitive sciences. Drawing heavily on psychology, neuroscience, sociology, and linguistics, Zaltman combines academic rigor with real-world results to offer highly accessible insights, based on his years of research and consulting work with large clients like Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble. An all-new tool kit: Zaltman provides research tools – metaphor elicitation, response latency, and implicit association techniques, to name a few – that will be all-new to marketers and demonstrates how innovators can use these tools to get clues from the subconscious when developing new products and finding new solutions, long before competitors do.

The Art of Choosing, By Sheena Iyengar

In The Art of Choosing, Columbia University professor Sheena Iyengar, a leading expert on choice, sets herself the Herculean task of helping us become more effective choosers. She asks fascinating questions like: Is the desire for choice innate or created by culture? Why do we sometimes choose against our best interests? How much control do we really have over what we choose? Ultimately, she offers unexpected and profound answers drawn from her award-winning, discipline-spanning research.

– By Al Ries and Jack Trout


Witty and fast-paced, this book spells out how to position a leader so that it gets into the mind and stays there, position a follower in a way that finds a ‘hole’ not occupied by the leader, and avoid the pitfalls of letting a second product ride on the coattails of an established one. Revised to reflect significant developments in the five years since its original publication, Positioning reveals the fascinating case histories and anecdotes behind the campaigns of many stunning successes and failures in the world of advertising.