We celebrate International World Book Day on 23 April. It’s the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) organized day to recognize and promote the benefit of reading books.
The date is rather auspicious. It marks the day that several prominent authors were either born or died, such as Will and Miguel (that’s Shakespeare and Cervantes).
Books are a source of learning, self-discovery, understanding, and development. We are voracious, lifelong readers as they also bring us joy.
Imagine the thousands of hours that the authors put into writing and editing their books. Their knowledge is available to you in just a few hours of reading. The authors gift you with their insights, experiences, and perspectives.
If you currently don’t have a book to read, let us encourage you to pick up one and make the time for reading it. As marketers, you might want to read books on marketing and business to make you savvier. Non-fiction is vital to gaining perspectives on societies, culture, and psychology. Don’t ignore fiction, as studies suggest that reading them will develop empathy, an essential trait for marketers and leaders from all walks of life.
Our feeling is that if we get one new idea or learn one more thing that we can use to open our minds and improve our lives or performance, then reading the book was well worth our investment in money and time. Here are some books that we have read more than once and recommend to you:
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl – This book is psychiatrist Frankl’s memoir as a concentration camp survivor and his lessons for pursuing something meaningful.
- The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization by Peter M. Senge – Mr. Senge presents five disciplines to overcome organization dysfunction and create a more promising and productive future. It challenges us to incorporate systems thinking.
- Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of The Box by The Arbinger Institute – Learn how we sabotage our personal and professional relationships and how to improve them.
- Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together by William Isaacs (with an introduction by Peter Senge) – The front cover copy calls it “A pioneering approach to communicating in business and life.”
- Small Decencies: Reflections and Meditations on Being Human at Work by John Cowan – While published in 1992, its lessons have never been more needed than today. We’ve gifted this book to many clients.
- To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee – This Pulitzer Prize Winner deals with racial injustice, loss of innocence, class, and our legal system. If you don’t read it, then at least watch the Academy-Winning movie starring Gregory Peck.
- Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples – The late Mr. Caples was Chairman Emeritus of the BBDO Ad Agency. His book is about making your advertising more effective. It’s evidenced- versus eminence-based. In other words, he has the goods to prove his principles.
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey – This classic provides timeless and universal principles for becoming (more) effective.
- The Mind of the Strategist: Business Planning for Competitive Advantage by Kenichi Ohmae – It’s about strategy development to gain a competitive advantage. Don’t we all need it!?!
- ZAG: The #1 Strategy of High-Performance Brands by Marty Neumeier – It’s clear, simple, and elegant. We particularly laud his analogy of corporation growth to the game of rock, paper, and scissors.
- Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson – Inspirational! This book details the life story and practices of one of the foremost Marketects of our era.
- Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance by Atul Gawande – This book is not just about improving surgery as its lessons apply to all walks of life and business.
- Shoe Dog: A Memoir By The Creator Of NIKE by Phil Knight – This memoir details the ups and downs of and lessons from entrepreneurship and creating a successful company. Mesmerizing!
- Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed The Art Of War by Robert Coram – This book details the life—trials and tribulations—of a change agent and difference-maker and what it takes to be one.
- The Daily Drucker: 366 Days of Insight and Motivation for Getting The Right Things Done by Petr F. Drucker with Joseph A. Maciariello – Advice from the Father of Modern Management.
- The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg – Change your life by changing your habits!
- How The Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In by Jim Collins – How to avoid decline to irrelevance or death. While you’re at it, you might also want to read Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t, also by Jim Collins.
- The Plague by Albert Camus. This book is an allegory about the Nazi occupation of France. However, it seems to be governments’ response to COVID-19. On the other hand, read A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles. It explores the rich life of a man confined to house arrest in a Moscow hotel.
- Great At Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better and Achieve More by Morten T. Hansen – It says it all in the book’s title and sub-title.
- Never by Ken Follett – He imagines events and decisions that lead to WW III. It is frightening and made more plausible by current events. Don’t miss it!
We’d also recommend the following authors:
- Malcolm Gladwell, who deals with sociology issues.
- Robert B. Cialdini who writes about the psychology of persuasion.
- Edward De Bono, originator of the term “lateral thinking.” Mr. DeBono has written extensively on creative thinking.
- Seth Godin writes thoughtfully on marketing.
While you’re at it, please consider books we’ve written on marketing management (www.bdn-intl.com). There’s:
- Creating Brand Loyalty: The Management of Power Positioning and Really Great Advertising by Richard D. Czerniawski and Michael W. Maloney – This book has been called the bible of positioning and advertising. It was selected as one of the top ten business books in China and translated into Mandarin.
- Competitive Positioning: Best Practices for Creating Brand Loyalty by Richard D. Czerniawski and Michael W. Maloney – This practical book will show you how to make your brand stand out from the pack.
- Avoiding Critical Marketing Errors: How to Go from Dumb to Smart Marketing by Richard D. Czerniawski – This is the most recent book, published in March 2019. It was a number 1 Amazon new release in Global Marketing, Industrial (B2B) Marketing, and Product Management. It tackles those critical marketing errors that lead to underperformance, threaten marketing relevance, and undermine brand potential. Importantly, it addresses what all marketers and their organizations need to do to make their marketing matter more—smart(er) marketing! You can learn more here: http://bdn-intl.com/avoiding-critical-marketing-errors
Some final thoughts: Okay, so the date for International World Book Day has come and gone. Let’s not squander its intention.
- Gift a book to a child. “A child who reads becomes an adult who thinks”—anonymous. It will open new worlds to the child.
- Donate books to libraries and organizations that share enlightenment with others. You might also share a particularly good read with family and friends.
- If you do not consider yourself a reader, grab a light, engaging beach read that will engage you and discover the many benefits of reading.
- Please let us know other books not included in our list that you recommend to us. Let’s share and grow together.
If you found this article helpful, please encourage your team to subscribe to Brand Development Network International blogs DISPATCHES and Marketing Matters. They provide thought-provoking information that can help bolster your team’s performance. All it takes is to register at www.bdn-intl.com.
Peace and best wishes,
Richard Czerniawski and Mike Maloney