WHICH DOCTOR WOULD YOU WANT to have perform your next surgery? The doctor who has one introductory biology textbook from college collecting dust on the shelf behind his desk? Or the doctor whose office is a library of the latest medical texts and whose desk is buried under the past four years worth of the New England Journal of Medicine?

I’m serious. Which doctor do you want standing over you with a scalpel? Well, in terms of expertise, is what we do here in advertising any different? If we propose to sell ourselves as experts to our clients, we actually have to be experts.

I encourage you to read. And learn. And learn a lot. There is no shortcut to being the best. No easy way around it. You have to know your stuff and know it cold.

The short list of books and online resources I’ve included here is only the beginning. They happen to be my favorites in the creative area. But there are many other disciplines you should be studying—marketing, branding, interactive—all of which will be relevant to your craft.

There is no shortcut. This is how we learn it. Bit by bit.

Remember: “Chance favors the prepared mind.”


Read every old One Show and Communication Arts you can get your hands on. Read every British Design & Art Direction annual you can find.

Become a student of advertising history. On the subject of history, I’ll list these titles: When Advertising Tried Harder ...

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