What agency execs are reading on the beach

One of the key accessories for a good vacation is a good book. We asked agency executives what they’re reading this summer as the sands of time (and beach) slip through their toes. They answered:

SoYou'veIf you have a client that’s inches away from a Twitter fail …
Will Pyne, co-founder and global ECD at U.K. agency Holler recommends “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed,” by Jon Ronson, a book that reminds you to think before you tweet. Set in Ronson’s signature world of extremes, the book compares social media shaming and the Twitter outrage machine to the physical public shamings of decades past. Pyne said you also get a “bit of schadenfraude,” which can come in handy for agency people who have seen their own clients crash and burn. Jesse Gazzulo, group creative director and TBWA/Media Arts Lab, also recommends the book: “It was a fascinating examination of the incredible power people have over others’ lives, now made much easier and more terrifying by the power of social media.”

ReadyPlayerIf you want to prepare for our robot overlords …
Tim Leake, svp growth and innovation at RPA, recommends “Ready Player One,” by Ernest Cline, a story set in the not-too-far future where the Internet is a utopia called OASIS. “It might sadly be a very real glimpse into our Oculus-Rift-centric future lives that exist both physically and virtually,” said Leake, who also recommended “The Family Fang” by Kevin Wilson about parents who are also performance artists but take their art a step too far. “We love creativity, but is it always worth the cost?” said Leake. Heresy!

MansSearchIf you want to find the good in advertising …
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl is book of choice for Mick DiMaria, group creative director at 72andSunny. Written in 1946, it’s a story about the author and his experience at Auschwitz. But for DiMaria, it’s about “how positive thinking can lead to positive behaviors which lead to positive outcomes. Themes that are just as relevant in 2015.”

RulesofPlayIf you want to wonk out on design and culture …
Paul Bennun, chief creative at Somethin’ Else, is a fan of “Rules of Play” by Katie Salen and Eric Zimmermann. It’s a “hugely entertaining breakdown of what games are and how they work; it’s a book that had a massive effect on me,” he said. “I can’t imagine a single modern practice that doesn’t employ systems thinking (even advertising campaigns are systems nowadays) and grokking this book is pretty much the best way to understand how human beings interact with and enjoy systems.”

BorntoRunIf you want to convince your team that an all-nighter is really not that bad …
McKinney executive creative director Peter Nicholson recommends “Born to Run,” the Christpher McDougall tome about the North American Tahrahumara tribe, that runs barefoot ultra-marathons without getting any injuries. “The book goes beyond just running. It inspires me to push my limits in my thinking, how I view a challenge,” said Nicholson. “It’s all about empowering to “overcome yourself.’” Eric Grunbaum, ECD at TBWA, also recommended it, albeit for more prosaic purpose: “Maybe it’ll improve my endurance for long work meetings,” he said.

GorgeousNothingsIf you want to feel better about your deck …
Grunbaum’s colleague at TBWA, group CD Charles Hodges, recommends “The Gorgeous Nothings” by Emily Dickinson. It’s a book made of a group of scraps of notes the author wrote that never became finished poems. “I find a lot of the creative process to be like that, making things without having any idea as to whether or not they are going to work out,” he said. “I also have the attention span of a goldfish, so for some reason, reading unfinished poems kind of makes sense. It’s also nice to know that even great writers have no idea what they are doing.”


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