Posts Tagged ‘books

06
Mar
12

Growing Pains: When Reading Trumps Shopping

Today, I realized that something really strange has happened to me. I don’t know when it initially began, but I do know that I caught wind of it today. It went something like this: I parked my car, walked down the street of busy shoppers and retail stores, walked into Barnes and Noble, stayed an hour, bought a book, walked to my car, and drove back home. For many this is an ordinary trip to B&N, but let me insert the part I didn’t mention. After getting out of the car I easily walked past H&M, Forever 21, Apple, Dots Cupcakes, and multiple stores that once secured my attention. And this was third to B&N since the month started. It was once I got home that I realized I had overlooked my favorite pastime of shopping to go to the bookstore. With a confused look on my face I thought, “What the hell just happened?”

I decided to take a look at my room and saw a major shift from how I used to be to today. I now have more books that I voluntarily purchased (right) than shoes to wear to the club. My magazine stacks of 944 and Cosmopolitan have been replaced with Success and Advertising Age. My DVR is full of National Geographic documentaries and interviews instead of episodes of Project Runway and The Game. And instead of chatting with friends I’m highlighting points in books more than ever before. There’s been a drastic change in the type of information I take in and I don’t know why I wasn’t I informed earlier. My only conclusion to the change is that I am no longer interested in the novelties of what was once my every day and that I’m devoting more time to teach myself new things. Not a bad thing at all, but when you understand that I used to spend all my free time at the mall to now spending all my free time at Barnes & Noble it does kind of come as a shock.

While I do love this unexpected hobby of mine, I can’t help but wonder if I’m getting old or if I’m finally making better use my brain. More importantly, has this happened to you? If so, did it come as a major shock for you as well? Deep down, I don’t see this slowing down so I pray it’s simply a sign that I’m thinking more and challenging things rigorously. However, if it’s really stage one of getting old, then I might as well invest in a rocking chair, bifocals, and a couple of cats. Hopefully it’s not because I really don’t like cats.

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Bookshelf Image: Danielle Salmon

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26
Feb
12

Get Familiar—“The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch

A few months ago I received some really bad (borderline devastating) news in reference to something I worked hard towards. I spent a good day in bed with a cheese pizza and Kit Kat bars when an episode of Oprah’s Life Class came featuring Carnegie Mellon professor, Randy Pausch. In the episode, Randy explained that while he was dying from pancreatic cancer he wanted to leave his children and students with something to remember him by. To do so, he gave a lecture aptly titled, The Last Lecture (below). The lecture went over my deaf ears as I was so frustrated by my dissipated opportunity, until Randy said a sentence that changed my perspective. He said, “Experience is what you get, when you didn’t get what you wanted.” With that one line I got out of bed and tossed out the pizza.

I later received the book as a gift from a coworker named MaryRose. I was thankful that she bought it because from start to finish, The Last Lecture is an insightful read. While it was written to immortalize the final words from the intellectual man, it is honestly a profound and motivational book that offers advice to a multitude of situations. Whether it’s going after a dream, falling in love, or raising children Randy tells his life story in a way that helps others redefine their own. It’s not your typical pauper to prince success narrative, but rather a man who was raised well and whose life lessons made his life better. His accounts opened a new perspective to a dreary situation in my life considering that Randy, a dying man, explained to me how to live my life fully. From finding a silver lining in the worst ideas, taking needed breaks, or most importantly living like optimistic Tigger instead of pessimistic Eeyore, there’s a pleasant and refreshing outlook that this books provides which everyone should take in. The book doesn’t aim to have you jot down important facts or memorize terminology; it simply shows you a way to live the life you dream about regardless of the roadblocks. Randy describes it best when he says:

“Brick walls are there for a reason. They give us a chance to show how badly we want something.”

Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

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The Last Lecture
book image: Danielle Salmon
Randy Pausch Last Lecture – Achieving Your Childhood Dreams video: Carnegie Mellon University YouTube Channel

19
Jun
11

Get Familiar: “What is Branding?” by Matthew Healey

When someone asks me what my greatest weakness is professionally, I stop and get a little disappointed to tell them the answer. My greatest weakness in my marketing career is that I don’t have an MBA. I do have a Master’s in Industrial and Organizational Psychology which I love like a daughter, but being in the marketing industry I always wished to have an MBA, or a son in this case. Instead of sitting around and wallowing in my lack of a business degree I decided to take matters into my own hands. No, not applying to an MBA program—that would put me in a financial purgatory. Instead, I read. I pick up books that are referenced in marketing textbooks, in advertising magazines, and those written by top marketing gurus. While I read marketing books, I still include books of my own interest to keep me grounded. Extreme Deviance, The 48 Laws of Power, and 101 Cookie Recipes have either been read or will be picked up next.

Reading marketing and branding books has introduced me to texts such as Brand Revitalization by Light and Kiddon, authors such as Seth Godin, and concepts of authenticity or lovemarks. Most recently, my self-taught MBA book of choice is What is Branding? by Matthew Healey (2010) [right]. This book is such a great read and comes full of insight on companies, campaigns, promotions, and international marketing. What makes it stand out on the shelf is that it touches on trends, history, pop culture, government, and of course marketing all through vivid photography and great detail. It even includes case studies and a portfolio of work from top agencies around the world. Covering areas of product placement, visual style, globalization, brand extensions, public relations and much more the book hits marketing and everything it entails in less than 250 pages. One of my favorite aspects to the books is Healey’s use of relevant quotes from  the likes of Tupac Shakur, Karen McCabe of IEEE, Michael Bierut of Pentagram, and even Charles Darwin. The quote that resonated with me most comes from, Morris Hite who stated, “Nothing will put a bad product out of business faster than a good advertising campaign” (p. 10).

Having a great amount of information, pictures, and connections to real world issues is what makes this book a must read. However, the only improvement that could be made to the book pertains to the portfolio and case study sections. In this part of the book, Healey presents some of the work agencies completed for their clients. He includes Landor Associates’ work for Biltmore, Interbrand’s contributions for AT&T, Irving’s design for Carluccio, and the improvements Minale Tattersfield Design Strategy executed for Dor Alon. Seeing the work these agencies did for their clients to enhance the company was refreshing. Instead of searching the web to see what an agency did for a client, Healey has it well placed and described. What would have helped strengthen that information would be the addition of images of the client’s stance prior to working the with said agency alongside the images said agency did for the client. Seeing the changes would have allowed the reader to see development in action. Despite that, the book is a hit.

If you can’t tell already, I believe that Healey’s What is Branding? is a great book to read. Weather you want to know more about the industry or just need something to read after finishing a Harry Potter novel you should purchase it. I highly recommend it and think that it’s a great reference for all things marketing related.

Next Book: The McDonaldization of Society by George Ritzer

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What is Branding? Images: Danielle Salmon




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Quote of the Week

“Brick walls are there for a reason. They give us a chance to show how badly we want something.” - Randy Pausch, "The Last Lecture"

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