Summer Reads: Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy


As part of our #SummerOfCPD, we want to promote the many ways in which you can do some self-reflective learning and top up your CIPR CPD points. Whether you are by the poolside or just slowing down at the office, reading a book is a great way of earning 10 valuable points.

 Our ‘Summer Reads’ series is a collection book reviews, recommended by our members that have been also been submitted as part of their own CPD.

In the second review of the series, Jason MacKenzie, Managing Director, Liquid, CIPR Executive Board Director reviews David Ogilvy’s Confessions of an Advertising Man.

My bookshelves heave with books. I cannot resist adding to my collection.

Whilst I’ve read some of all of them, I’ve only read all of some of them.

The notable exception is David Ogilvy’s ‘Confessions of an Advertising Man’, which I dip into often and have read through twice.

My battered old copy was printed a decade before I was born and bought for R30 in 2004 in a second hand bookstore on Cape Town’s Long Street. The proprietor told me that it was his favourite book. To this day, I don’t know whether he was telling the truth.

Ogilvy was a legend who led a fascinating life. He was a chef in the Hotel Majestic in Paris, an Aga salesman in Scotland and worked at the British Embassy in Washington, before launching his own advertising agency.

This book is packed with wisdom, wit and business-savvy observations. Ogilvy was a copywriter, storyteller and wordsmith par excellence. I guarantee that you will benefit from his sagacity.

“In your day-to-day negotiations with clients and colleagues, fight for the kings, queens and bishops, but throw away the pawns. A habit of graceful surrender on trivial issues will make you difficult to resist on those rare occasions when you must stand and fight on a major issue.”


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