On the Bookshelf: New Year Reads

Start 2013 off right with words of wisdom and insights from some intriguing and provocative writers. These books encompass storytelling, creativity, analytics, branding, and more in order to help you kick off the year with some fresh insights. Which ones pique your interest the most?

Winning the Story Wars: Why Those Who Tell (and Live) the Best Stories Will Rule the Future, by Jonah Sachs
With all the media noise that surrounds us each day, the need to capture and keep people’s attention with stories that engage their minds and hearts is more crucial than ever. This fast-paced entertaining book takes on storytelling from the POV of a 24/7 information culture and shares the strategies and tactics that fuel today’s most compelling content.

Damn Good Advice (For People with Talent!): How To Unleash Your Creative Potential by America’s Master Communicator, by George Lois

George Lois was one of the original “mad men” who revolutionized advertising in the 1960s. Now in his 80s, he’s still providing outspoken and often humorous insights to people in creative professions. This slim, visually appealing book offers a lot of great counsel for people in all sorts of roles in PR (and beyond).

To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, by Daniel H. Pink
This book argues that, whether it’s helping our clients sell to consumers, selling our ideas to those clients, or even persuading colleagues to our point of view, nearly everybody today is in the business of sales. Filled with concrete advice, it offers a new perspective on how to reframe the idea of “selling” supported by the latest social science.

The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail – But Some Don’t, by Nate Silver
Pollster Nate Silver made analytics one of the heroes of the 2012 U.S. Presidential election, and this book brings his thinking about data and prediction to a wide audience. Considering the importance of analytics to the PR industry, this readable, insightful book can provide much-needed understanding about how we can learn from data.

Unconscious Branding: How Neuroscience Can Empower and Inspire) Marketing, by Douglas Van Praet
As Rob Flaherty‘s recent conversation with neuroscientist David Eagleman can attest, the study of the human brain can unlock many mysteries for our industry. This book addresses the connections between neuroscience and marketing head on, showing how unseen impulses guide our consumer choices at every step.

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative, by Austin Kleon
Brisk, irreverent and concise, this book positions itself as a “manifesto,” showing how we can all pull inspiration from the things that surround us each day. Filled with doodles, cartoons and other visual candy, it not only tells us about creativity – it shows it.