While the social web is awash in content I’m finding timely insights from older work, especially from books. I’m carving more time out to regularly read again partly due to the realization that yes, Google (and other axes of info evil…Twitter, Facebook and RSS delivered through the iphone) were making me stupid. Not necessarily the content, the services or the device. They’re all undoubtedly remarkable info advances. The evil for me is the always-on part. The constant flow information, too much of it unimportant. The not hitting the pause or reset switch. So my nightstand and Kindle are again piled up with good stuff, including The Diffusion of Innovation, The Chaos Scenario, and Then There’s This. Not to mention other fictional text and a must-read if you’re into fitness, Born to Run.
My favorite right now is The Book of Gossage, a collection of essays from the late great agency provacateur. His thoughts on the communications business, creativity and culture are as relevant today as they were when written in 1986, framed around the question, “Is Advertising Worth Saving?” One of the many prescient take-aways:
“Advertising is by nature a very primitive art form. By like any form, it requires superlative talent, if results are to be superlative. The upshot is, that a large talent will have to settle for a small, if precise, outlet. It’s like making Steinways which will be used for playing Chopsticks.”
The reality is advertising is worth saving, though in a very different form, under a different name. Superlative talent will carry an even bigger premium to be heard over incessant social noise. And outlets where we forge relationships and tell stories will become even smaller and much more precise.