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Roundtable Talk

Books Marketers Read

Ever wondered what marketers read in their free time? Well, let’s find out, shall we?

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

It is often said, you know a person through the book he or she reads. With that in mind, I decided to find out what type of literature our Marketers turn to, for a little intellectual banter.  

Charu Srivastava – Director, PR REDHILL

I’m currently reading ‘The Business of Persuasion’ by Harold Burson. Harold is revered as the father of public relations in its current form, with a career spanning 70 decades that included many industry defining moments. I love this book as it gives a glimpse into the fascinating life of an industry pioneer whose legacy lives on in each one of us who proudly flies the public relations flag high and proud.

I always dreamt of meeting Harold – a dream that seemed attainable as the nonagenarian continued going into his office till last year. Sadly, Harold passed away in January this year at a young 98 years old. This book is as close as I can get to hearing from him about his great adventures in the hopes of improving myself as a communications professional. One of my favourite quotes from this book is ‘All too many individuals facing potentially positive opportunities either fail to recognise them or ill equipped to respond appropriately’.

Jason Tan – Co-founder + Principal Consultant, BlueTangelo

I’m a fan of Malcolm Gladwell and all of his books. Malcolm’s sixth book ‘Talking To Strangers’ highlights the things that make strangers particularly hard to understand and the tools and strategies we use to make sense of people we don’t know fail us. The problem lies in the Truth Default Theory, Transparency and Coupling. 

To explain how the three things work against our better instincts, Malcolm tells fascinating stories of CIA officers who cannot make sense of their spies, judges who cannot make sense of their defendants, and prime ministers who cannot make sense of their adversaries. There are people struggling with first impressions of a stranger; either when they meet for the first time or when they return to the stranger again and again. They struggle with assessing a stranger’s honesty, character and intent. 

The book is an eye-opener and it makes me evaluate my convictions about strangers I meet or the people I don’t know well enough. I used to think that a little bit of personal knowledge gives me a big insight into their character, like job interviews would show if the candidates are going to be good employees, meeting easy-going clients might indicate likelihood of business deals, or like-minded friends becoming compatible business partners.

On a final note, ‘Talking to Strangers’ examines the different ways we misinterpret or fail to communicate with one another. In a time when our world is becoming ever more polarised, this book couldn’t arrive at a better time.    

Dhanyaraam C. – Chief Executive, Sociolytics

Don’t underestimate the value of reading any book more than once. ‘Left Brain, Right Stuff: How Leaders Make Winning Decisions’ is the book that I would read all the way through a second time. It is a wonderful book about how we make decisions, and dispelling some common myths about overconfidence, assuredness, and bias. 

First published in 2014 by its author Phil Rosenzweig , the book looks at how people make business and leadership decisions, how psychological tests are not like the real world and how the predictions about things we can influence and can’t influence are completely different. I love Phil’s data-driven exploration of fallacies in thinking about business and decision making. He goes to great lengths to try to undo some of the more measurable approaches and helps readers strike a balance between rational decision making for planning and enthusiastic execution. 

Readers looking for simple five-point checklists will find this book wanting. If you have read any of the evidence-based business books, this one is next.

Ilyas Amin- Managing Director, Nuance Comms

I have tons of ebooks on apps building and digital marketing. Currently I am reading the ‘Big Book of Digital Marketing’, a direct-to-the-point and useful ebook. The layout is fun and doesn’t get your eyes tired.

This is a book by Digital Firefly Marketing which touches almost everything about digital marketing including social media, content marketing and designing tips. It is the book to read if you are starting as a digital marketer, but can remain a useful tool to seasoned marketer.

What I love most is the strategising part, where you plan your marketing right from when a website or page is being built. This connects to my concept of ‘zero marketing’ where you don’t need to spend to effectively market your business online; perfect refresher for my current project Gogopasar. You can download it for free.

Terence Tam – Founder, Radical Marketing

‘The Storyteller’s Secret’ is one of my favourite books this year. As a marketer specialising in marketing speakers and trainers, I know that communicating via story is one of the most important ways to cut through the clutter and connect with audiences. Carmine Gallo makes this book easy to read and gives lots of case studies where people have used stories to propel their businesses and causes to new heights. In fact, the difference between a good and a poorly constructed story can be the difference between success and failure. While the book is a fun and easy read, there are also lots of practical lessons in storytelling that I’ve gained from reading this book. I would highly recommend this book for any marketer who wants to take their craft to the next level.

Jack Mozumder – Commercial Manager for Big Data / Artificial Intelligence World Asia

The book I have chosen is the 1993 book ‘Bravo Two Zero’ written by the novelist Andy McNab (pseudonym), who is a real life former British Army Infantry soldier. Coming from a RAF family in the United Kingdom, I have always been fascinated by the military world, particularly the Special Air Service (SAS), which is a special forces unit of the British Army.

The book is based upon the real life accounts, mainly Andy McNab’s first person perspective of an SAS patrol during the 1991 Gulf war that became compromised while operating behind enemy lines. Whilst it is an amazing story of heroism and determination to survive, the highly covert operation itself was ultimately a failure. The name ‘Bravo Two Zero’ was the call sign to the eight man SAS patrol squadron that was assigned to the mission. It is an amazing story of extreme bravery in the face of overwhelming odds in which only five of the eight soldiers managed to survive, one of which made a daring 300km escape into neighbouring Syria. 

What I find particularly interesting and amazing about the story is their ability to maintain a sense of humour, even whilst enduring extreme suffering and torture. The book is littered with examples of British “Squaddies Humour” at its very best. Overall it is an amazing example of how, no matter how extreme and intense the situation can become, it is still possible to just keep on laughing. 

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Zu Anjalika Kamis Gunnulfsen

Zu Anjalika Kamis Gunnulfsen is the Marketing In Asia's Editor for News & UGC. She is also a certified Image Branding & Lifestyle Consultant. Born in Singapore and blessed to have lived in a couple of other amazing cities in the world, Anjalika is currently expatriating in Kuala Lumpur. Follow her on LinkedIn and Instagram. You may also reach her by email at anjalika@marketinginasia.com.

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