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Archive for June, 2010

OK, the sun came out yesterday. And again today. I can’t promise it’ll stay, but I think it’s actually finally summer.

Portland just had the wettest May in history and broke the record for the wettest June by the 16th of the month. We’veĀ  had no sign of summer until now.

So, with the new-found sun we finally get to post our summer reading list. And here it is:

Flipped: How Bottom-Up Co-Creation is Replacing Top-Down Innovation. John Winsor.

Just began this one, but it’s looking good already. Written by the man who started Radar Communications, which was bought in 2007 by Crispin, Porter, Bogusky. Just recently helped start the crowdsourcing agency Victors and Spoils. Promises to challenge most of what you think and know about how branding should happen. Victors and Spoils has just attracted Jon Bond (as in Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners) as an investor. These guys have something up their sleeves, and it ain’t paper flowers. A must read.

Chief Culture Officer: How to Create a Living, Breathing Corporation. Grant McCracken.

What? You haven’t read it? What’s your problem? He’s telling corporations to hire the cultural capabilities we agencies are supposed to own. He’s describing a job most of us would want. And if you haven’t discovered the other writings of McCracken yet, or his blog, I hope you’re a professor of medieval history somewhere. (Mmmm…medieval history.) Sheesh. Get this book.

A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari.

Yes, we’ve started it before, but who ever finishes it the first go-round? Or ever? But if you want to know who predicted the whole future model of branding and brands, you need to read this. Actually, you only need to read the first chapter on the Rhizome. Because it’s the second-best metaphor (after “culture“) for how brands need to act and live in this era. Benefits include looking like a mysterious post-modern philosophical type to the babes (of either gender) on the beach. Also good for crushing greenheads on Plum Island, or for swinging at Donny Deutsch to keep him away from your girlfriend in the Hamptons. Impressive tome.

Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth. Juliet Schor.

Yes, she’s an economist. But her book doesn’t read like she is. Except it’s smart. I heard her on NPR and had to pick it up. She could turn your head around about all kinds of things, especially your definition of sustainability. As in, human sustainability is connected to economic and environmental sustainability–surprise! You might just decide to work less and raise chickens as your own small way of preventing the next Gulf oil disaster (or personal disaster). Provocative indeed.

Designers Don’t Read. Austin Howe.

We’re reading this because some of us haven’t read it yet. Soon all of us will have read it. And by all of us, I’m including you. Reading Mr. Howe is like eating pots de creme. It’s absolutely delicious and over far too soon. Austin has abandoned his own people (advertising) to live with the Others (designers). Find out why. A must read for everyone going into or still slugging away in the business of branding. Each (short) chapter even tells you how many minutes it will take to read it. (Not many.) Yum.

Envisioning Information. Edward R. Tufte.

OK, it’s not his latest book, and it’s not new, but people here are reading it for a reason. I don’t know what that reason is because I haven’t read it. But Melissa, our senior strategist, highly highly recommends it. And Josh, our creative director, thinks everyone’s already read it. Is he right? (Oops, not quite.)

Livability: Stories. Jon Raymond.

Josh admits that he’s promoting the book of his co-editor of Plazm magazine, but I told him that was OK, as long as he was actually reading it, which he assured me he was. A review on Powell’s says: “These nine gorgeous stories from novelist and screenwriter Raymond find pallid Northwesterners testing the moral perimeters of their decent lives.” Beach-y, don’t you think?

Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers. Alexander Osterwalder.

This is another Melissa recommend. Josh asked if maybe putting it on our list was giving away a secret, and Melissa said No, everyone should read it. Melissa is smart, so I guess I’m going to be reading it. Sometimes I’m a Game Changer, but mostly I’m a Lyrics Changer, which drives my wife crazy. Ignore my digression and listen to Melissa.

The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage. Roger L. Martin.

I found this on Dennis’ desk. So he must be reading it. He just left for a Disneyland vacation with his family. So that might be an indicator that The Mouse and this book don’t go together. I don’t know. Looks interesting. Smells new. Got that nice, new tight binding when you lift the cover. And he’s emblazoned his name on the top of the pages with a Sharpie, so he’s committed to it. Ooh, and it’s published by Harvard. Dennis has good taste in books so that’s a recommend.

That’s it for now. Dive in, bibiophiles, and read your summer away.

– Doug

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