I’ve always thought it would be a fun idea if somebody were to write a book about digital media in sports. We work in such a Darren Sproles-quick industry that by the time the book was published, it would be filled with completely outdated information.
If you’re not cringing at things you did a year ago, you’re not doing it right. That’s just the nature of our business.
In order to keep moving forward, we need to continue finding inspiration. For most of us in digital media (minus MLB and MLS), summers are our offseason. This is where a lot of planning and creativity must take place.
For those of us who live their lives hashtag to hashtag, there are some promising books out there that can fill us with inspiration and knowledge this summer.
So here’s what I’ve got on my summer reading list. If any of you have read these books, @ me and let me know what you thought.
*This post is not affiliated with Amazon or any of the authors of these books.
Originals by Adam Grant
Price: $14.99 Kindle/$9.68 paperback
Amazon rating: 4.5 stars
Amazon synopsis: With Give and Take, Adam Grant not only introduced a landmark new paradigm for success but also established himself as one of his generation’s most compelling and provocative thought leaders. In Originals he again addresses the challenge of improving the world, but now from the perspective of becoming original: choosing to champion novel ideas and values that go against the grain, battle conformity, and buck outdated traditions. How can we originate new ideas, policies, and practices without risking it all?
Using surprising studies and stories spanning business, politics, sports, and entertainment, Grant explores how to recognize a good idea, speak up without getting silenced, build a coalition of allies, choose the right time to act, and manage fear and doubt; how parents and teachers can nurture originality in children; and how leaders can build cultures that welcome dissent. Learn from an entrepreneur who pitches his start-ups by highlighting the reasons not to invest, a woman at Apple who challenged Steve Jobs from three levels below, an analyst who overturned the rule of secrecy at the CIA, a billionaire financial wizard who fires employees for failing to criticize him, and a TV executive who didn’t even work in comedy but saved Seinfeld from the cutting-room floor. The payoff is a set of groundbreaking insights about rejecting conformity and improving the status quo.
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink
Price: $14.99 Kindle/$9.30 paperback
Amazon rating: 4.5 stars
Amazon synopsis: Forget everything you thought you knew about how to motivate people—at work, at school, at home. It’s wrong. As Daniel H. Pink (author of To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Motivating Others) explains in his paradigm-shattering book Drive, the secret to high performance and satisfaction in today’s world is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.
Drawing on four decades of scientific research on human motivation, Pink exposes the mismatch between what science knows and what business does—and how that affects every aspect of our lives. He demonstrates that while the old-fashioned carrot-and-stick approach worked successfully in the 20th century, it’s precisely the wrong way to motivate people for today’s challenges. In Drive, he reveals the three elements of true motivation:
*Autonomy—the desire to direct our own lives
*Mastery—the urge to get better and better at something that matters
*Purpose—the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves
Along the way, he takes us to companies that are enlisting new approaches to motivation and introduces us to the scientists and entrepreneurs who are pointing a bold way forward.
Drive is bursting with big ideas—the rare book that will change how you think and transform how you live.
Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction by Derek Thompson
Price: $12.99 Kindle/$13.16 paperback
Amazon rating: 4.5 stars
Amazon synopsis: Nothing “goes viral.” If you think a popular movie, song, or app came out of nowhere to become a word-of-mouth success in today’s crowded media environment, you’re missing the real story. Each blockbuster has a secret history—of power, influence, dark broadcasters, and passionate cults that turn some new products into cultural phenomena. Even the most brilliant ideas wither in obscurity if they fail to connect with the right network, and the consumers that matter most aren’t the early adopters, but rather their friends, followers, and imitators — the audience of your audience.
In his groundbreaking investigation, Atlantic senior editor Derek Thompson uncovers the hidden psychology of why we like what we like and reveals the economics of cultural markets that invisibly shape our lives. Shattering the sentimental myths of hit-making that dominate pop culture and business, Thompson shows quality is insufficient for success, nobody has “good taste,” and some of the most popular products in history were one bad break away from utter failure. It may be a new world, but there are some enduring truths to what audiences and consumers want. People love a familiar surprise: a product that is bold, yet sneakily recognizable.
Every business, every artist, every person looking to promote themselves and their work wants to know what makes some works so successful while others disappear. Hit Makers is a magical mystery tour through the last century of pop culture blockbusters and the most valuable currency of the twenty-first century—people’s attention.
From the dawn of impressionist art to the future of Facebook, from small Etsy designers to the origin of Star Wars, Derek Thompson leaves no pet rock unturned to tell the fascinating story of how culture happens and why things become popular.
In Hit Makers, Derek Thompson investigates:
· The secret link between ESPN’s sticky programming and the The Weeknd’s catchy choruses
· Why Facebook is today’s most important newspaper
· How advertising critics predicted Donald Trump
· The 5th grader who accidentally launched “Rock Around the Clock,” the biggest hit in rock and roll history
· How Barack Obama and his speechwriters think of themselves as songwriters
· How Disney conquered the world—but the future of hits belongs to savvy amateurs and individuals
· The French collector who accidentally created the Impressionist canon
· Quantitative evidence that the biggest music hits aren’t always the best
· Why almost all Hollywood blockbusters are sequels, reboots, and adaptations
· Why one year–1991–is responsible for the way pop music sounds today
· Why another year –1932–created the business model of film
· How data scientists proved that “going viral” is a myth
· How 19th century immigration patterns explain the most heard song in the Western Hemisphere
Storynomics: Story-Driven Marketing in the Post-Advertising World by Robert McKee
Price: $15.99 Kindle/$19.49 hardcover
Amazon rating: 5 stars
Amazon synopsis: Based on the worldwide seminar offered by the legendary story master Robert McKee and Skyword CEO Tom Gerace — STORYNOMICS translates the lessons of storytelling in business into economic and leadership success. Robert McKee’s popular writing workshops have earned him an international reputation. The list of alumni with Academy Awards and Emmy Awards runs off the page. The cornerstone of his program is his singular book, Story, which has defined how we talk about the art of story creation. Now in STORYNOMICS, McKee partners with digital marketing expert and Skyword CEO Tom Gerace to map a path for brands seeking to navigate the rapid decline of interrupt advertising. After successfully guiding organizations as diverse as Samsung, Marriott International, Philips, Microsoft, Nike, IBM, and Siemens to transform their marketing from an ad-centric to story-centric approach, McKee and Gerace now bring this knowledge to business leaders and entrepreneurs alike. Drawing from dozens of story-driven strategies and case studies taken from leading B2B and B2C brands, STORYNOMICS demonstrates how original storytelling delivers results that surpass traditional advertising. How will brands and their customers connect in the future? STORYNOMICS provides the answer.
The Choice Factory: 25 behavioural biases that influence what we buy by Richard Shotton
Price: $9.99 Kindle/$15.81 paperback
Amazon rating: 4.5 stars
Amazon synopsis: Before you can influence decisions, you need to understand what drives them. In The Choice Factory, Richard Shotton sets out to help you learn.
By observing a typical day of decision-making, from trivial food choices to significant work-place moves, he investigates how our behaviour is shaped by psychological shortcuts. With a clear focus on the marketing potential of knowing what makes us tick, Shotton has drawn on evidence from academia, real-life ad campaigns and his own original research.
The Choice Factory is written in an entertaining and highly-accessible format, with 25 short chapters, each addressing a cognitive bias and outlining simple ways to apply it to your own marketing challenges. Supporting his discussion, Shotton adds insights from new interviews with some of the smartest thinkers in advertising, including Rory Sutherland, Lucy Jameson and Mark Earls.
From priming to the pratfall effect, charm pricing to the curse of knowledge, the science of behavioural economics has never been easier to apply to marketing.
The Choice Factory is the new advertising essential.