We believe in developing strategists through conversations. We know there are well documented foundations on what strategy is and does, the business value of creativity or how advertising really works. That being said, it’s only natural that, based on these principles, your thinking evolves over time.
So we decided to do an experiment. Instead of asking strategists what are the top books to read about strategy, we asked them which books are influencing their thinking right now. Here’s a selection of the answers we got back.
Empire of Things, by Frank Trentmann
Via Adam Thompson, Senior Creative Strategist at FutureBrand UXUS
A book about the epic history of consumption, and the goods that have transformed our lives over the past 600 years. If you’re into strategy, you’re probably into consumer culture. This feels like an excellent primer.
Men Without Women, by Haruki Murakami
Via Ana-Maria Olaru, Senior Strategic Planner at Havas
A dazzling new collection of short stories from the beloved, internationally acclaimed Haruki Murakami. Need a new fiction fix? Can’t stand the idea of reading a story that takes 700 pages to unfold? Maybe start here.
If I Could Tell You Just One Thing, by Richard Reed
Via Robin Bonn, Founder at Co:definery
A book packed with advice into life and how to make the most of it, from people like Stephen Fry, Dame Judi Dench, Sir David Attenborough and Olivia Colman. Because one can never have too much wisdom from others, right?
The Right Stuff, by Tom Wolfe
Via Matt Leach, Director at Herd by Many
A wildly vivid and entertaining chronicle of America's manned space program. But also, to quote Matt, “a brilliant deconstruction of group think, of how logical decisions aren't always the 'right' decisions, and how sometimes we're all just a bit weird.” Don’t know about you, but we’re in!
The Signal and the Noise, by Nate Silver
Via Grace Emery, Senior Analyst at Luxus Worldwide
We live in an increasingly data-driven world, but it is harder than ever to detect the true patterns amid the noise of information. Nate Silver reveals how we can all develop better foresight in our everyday lives. Whether you work with data or not, this is something we should all be more familiar with.
The Botany of Desire, by Michael Pollan
Via Carolyn Khoo, Planner at JWT
In blending history, memoir and superb science writing, Pollan tells the story of four domesticated species – the apple, the tulip, marijuana and the potato – and might change the way we think about our place in nature. If you want a change of perspective, this feels like a solid way to do that.
Post War: A History of Europe Since 1945, by Tony Judt
Via Julian Cole, ex-Head of Communications Planning at BBDO NY and currently on a strategy sabbatical
A magisterial and acclaimed history of post-war Europe, from Germany to Poland, from Western Europe to Eastern Europe, selected as one of New York Times Ten Best Books of the Year. History is a fantastic source of how culture evolves in the long run, so if you’re into this as a theme, dive right in!
If you want to meet more strategists and talk about all sorts of good stuff (including books!), all you have to do is become a Group Think member by signing up below. It’s all free! And the people are often quite lovely.