How Not to Plan: 66 Ways to Screw it Up

How Not to Plan: 66 Ways to Screw it Up

by Les Binet and Sarah Carter

Packed with insights, this book is a compendium of 66 articles originally published in Admap, “all loosely based on a myth-busting theme.” The word “not” in the book title and each article title is in strikethrough type. The articles are grouped into 9 chapters: Setting Objectives; Product, Price, and Place; Brand and Communication; Research and Analysis; Talking and Thinking Strategy; Who Are You Talking To?; Media and Budgets; Creative Work; and Effectiveness and Evaluation.  Continue reading “How Not to Plan: 66 Ways to Screw it Up”

Beyond the Blue: Artwork and Writing from the Prison Arts Collective

Beyond the Blue: Artwork and Writing from the Prison Arts Collective

This book is a catalog produced in conjunction with an exhibition of artwork created in California prisons. I attended an opening of this traveling exhibition as well as a panel discussion with former participants, teaching artists, and the deputy director of the Prison Arts Collective (PAC). This book is atypical of those normally featured on this site, but I feel it deserves some attention because it presents a perspective from a corner of humanity where voices are normally out of earshot, which may offer some insights into the bigger picture of some of society’s toughest challenges.

I will start with excerpts from the book before making some of my own observations. Continue reading “Beyond the Blue: Artwork and Writing from the Prison Arts Collective”

Agility: How to Navigate the Unknown and Seize Opportunity in a World of Disruption

Agility: How to Navigate the Unknown and Seize Opportunity in a World of Disruption

by Leo M. Tilman and Gen. Charles Jacoby (Ret.)

“The need for agility in business, government and warfare arises precisely from the uncertainty and complexity of the competitive environment.”

I imagine both co-authors of Agility have some battle scars—Tilman from Bear Stearns during the 2008 financial industry crisis and Jacoby from his career in the U.S. Army where he achieved the rank of 4-star general. Kidding aside, this book goes beyond military metaphors and presents a fusion of military and business thinking about risk intelligence and uncertainty as well as a leadership approach that emphasizes truth (as opposed to assumptions), trust, clear communication, and executional dexterity throughout the organization.

Complex adaptive systems “are constantly changing and evolving. They lack centralized control. They are inhabited by a multitude of stakeholders driven by distinct objectives, risk tolerances and modes of operation. These players interact in dynamic tension with one another, alternating between the urge to recoil from and engage in risk-taking and aggression. Their actions and adaptations lead to entirely unpredictable patterns and outcomes.” Continue reading “Agility: How to Navigate the Unknown and Seize Opportunity in a World of Disruption”

Copywriting Made Simple

Copywriting Made Simple: How to Write Powerful and Persuasive Copy that Sells

by Tom Albrighton

This is an excellent introduction to copywriting, offering general advice on the process as well as specific tips for print advertisements, audio and video scripts, sales letters, emails, brochures, and social media posts. The book is divided into three parts: plan your copy, write your copy, and improve your copy. Continue reading “Copywriting Made Simple”

The Flaw of Averages

The Flaw of Averages: Why We Underestimate Risk in the Face of Uncertainty

by Sam L. Savage

This is a book about how to manage in a world of uncertainty. The beginning section presents a number of statistical concepts in simplified language; more sophisticated techniques follow. The author discusses how these concepts apply in a wide variety of contexts including oil exploration, pharmaceutical R&D, the stock market, the housing bubble, weather, climate change, health care, gene pools, the war of terror, and supply chains. He also describes some illogical accounting rules required by the FASB and the SEC. Continue reading “The Flaw of Averages”

Eat Your Greens: Fact-Based Thinking to Improve Your Brand’s Health

Eat Your Greens: Fact-Based Thinking to Improve Your Brand’s Health

Edited by Wiemer Snijders

This book is a compilation of 42 chapters written by 37 practitioners and scholars of branding, advertising, and marketing. “The brief to all of the contributors was simple: tell us how you apply or find inspiration from marketing science in a short, easy-to-digest paper… I did not ask them to write about a particular topic; this was intended as a bag of nutritious ‘mixed greens.’” There is no chapter on spinach or basil, but somehow cauliflower scored a cameo role in chapter 26. Continue reading “Eat Your Greens: Fact-Based Thinking to Improve Your Brand’s Health”