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Sad Men [Kindle Edition]

Dave Roberts
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £12.99
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Product Description


"Told with wit, warmth and an obsessive eye to detail that I have not seen since Nick Hornby was writing about pop music, Sad Men is both a brilliant memoir about a lifetime obsession with advertising and a heartfelt, curiously moving book that roams the world but always returns to the fantasies that were created by smart people trying to sell us stuff. Forget Don Draper - Dave Roberts is the world's favourite ad man." (Tony Parsons)

"Witty, wry and self-deprecating. Go buy!" (Freya North)

"An insightful, eye-opening and often eye-wateringly funny tale." (Sunday Sport)

"If you wish to discover what kind of mad man becomes an ad man, the answers are to be found in Sad Men." (Roger Lewis Daily Mail, Book of the Week)

"Genuinely enlightening... what is most surprising about the book, and the "obsession" detailed within, is just how moving and sympathetic it proves. There's a tendency to think of advertising as an intensely cynical industry, but what Roberts' story illustrates is that there is often an artistic impulse and integrity at play as well. More than this, Sad Men takes one of the bugbears of contemporary entertainment, product placement, and uses it in the most sincere and even heartfelt fashion." (

Book Description

It's advertising, but not as you know it: the warmly nostalgic and brilliantly depicted story of a life a world away from Mad Men by the acclaimed author of 32 Programmes and The Bromley Boys.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 11576 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital (27 Mar. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #340,976 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Dave Roberts has been one of those annoying bike couriers, a security guard, a Civil Servant, a KFC chef who was fired for trying to steal a sample of the secret recipe and a train driver - all before reaching 20. After that, he settled for a career in advertising, which never really hit any heights.
His first book, e-luv: an internet romance came out in 2006 and was followed by The Bromley Boys, which is now being made into a film, two years later. Next up was 32 Programmes in 2011, which was shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award. His fourth book, Sad Men came out in 2014.
His loves (aside from his family) include Bromley Football Club, the music of Saint Etienne, Eastenders and golden retrievers.
His favourite books are Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene, The Adventures of Goodnight & Loving by Leslie Thomas, Rain Men by Marcus Berkmann and anything by Guy Burgess. More recently, The Drowning of Arthur Braxton by Caroline Smailes and One Day by David Nicholls.
He currently lives in Connecticut, USA but hopes to come home to England someday.

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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The English Don Draper? 31 May 2014
From a very early age Dave Roberts knew exactly what he wanted to do - he wanted to work in advertising. When he watched TV it wasn't the programmes that he liked best, it was the adverts that appeared in between. Adverts influenced his everyday life to such an extent that he would dress up to look like the Milky Bar Kid and always sang "don't forget the fruit gums, mum don't forget my tube of fruit gums, those that last all day" to his mum when she was going shopping. He wasn't that much of a fruit gum fan but he loved the advert that featured that jingle. On leaving school he managed to fulfil his dream by getting a job in a small advertising agency in Leeds, but soon that wasn't enough; he was an ambitious young man who craved to work for the biggest name in advertising- Saatchi and Saatchi. This book is the story of Dave Roberts's single minded quest to achieve this dream and his many ups and downs along the way.

I chose to read Sad Men on the strength of Dave Roberts's previous books, Bromley Boys and 32 Programmes which were both about another of Roberts's obsessions - football. I was hoping that Sad Men would be similarly football themed, thinking that the title Sad Men referred to those of us who turn up week in, week out, to watch their team and usually go home feeling miserable after another lousy performance. Surely we were the Sad Men that Dave Roberts's book would be about? As it turned out it didn't matter that it wasn't because, despite my initial misgivings about reading a book about the advertising industry, this book is extremely entertaining and occasionally very funny.

Dave Roberts's previous books were good, enjoyable reads but they weren't as good as this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential addition to your book collection! 24 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Sad Men by author Dave Roberts is a compelling read! With a dubious sense of fashion and an unhealthy appetite for chipsteaks and beer, Dave is a man on a mission. His childhood ambition to work for his favourite ad agency, Saatchi and Saatchi, eventually leads him from the MG production line in Abingdon to the dizzying heights of Creative Director in New Zealand.
Packed with advertising slogans, anecdotes and cringeworthy situations Dave has produced a real page turner! It is a brilliantly written, real “laugh out loud” account of his attempt to fulfil his dream. Highly recommended – an essential addition to your book collection!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Sad, Not Mad, Not Bad . . . 5 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the third of Dave Roberts' autobiographical works that I've read following on from e-luv and 32 Programmes. Each one takes a particular strand of his life story (in this case his career in advertising, as opposed to football or dating) and he leads us along it in a light, self-deprecating style. As in the other books, his copy-writing skills make it hard to finish one chapter without wanting to rush straight into the next one, so this is another compelling tale. Inevitably though, there are quite big overlaps with the author's other works, with his 1990s illness again stopping things dead just when you think they're building to a climax. Prior to the illness, aside from a few errors of judgement, his advertising career wasn't that "sad" at all, really - he was as good as lots of other people in the industry at re-cycling each others' ideas, and now that he's an author he's getting good at re-cycling his own ideas for our enjoyment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
There is no doubt at all that advertising is big business. A multi-million pound industy, with eyewatering budgets for some brands. I'm guessing that the average person will not recognise many names in the business, although there can't be many who haven't heard of Saatchi and Saatchi - the world's favourite advertising agency.

I'm a child of the 70s. There were three TV channels, and only one of those showed adverts. Before the days of 'record it and fast-forward through the ads' we had no choice but to watch them. TV advertising was so powerful in those days - one channel, a captive audience. Jingles and images stuck in the mind and became part of our everyday life.

There is a generation who when hearing the words 'Accrington Stanley', do not automatically think of a lowly football club. No, we think of milk, being drunk straight from the glass bottle by a kid wearing a football strip. How many of us tried instant mashed potato for the first time and immediately broke out into maniacal laughter whilst jerking around in a strangely mechanical way and shouting 'for mash get smash'? I was completely convinced that my Nana 'flew like a bird in the sky', purely because she ate Nimble bread.

There are programmes dedicated to old TV adverts. I've had endless nostalgic conversations with friends and family ...... .. 'hey, do you remember' ...... 'what about ...' - we still know the jingles, we can act out the parts. Whilst TV advertising can often still produce some amazing commercials, I doubt very much that any of the modern-day ads will feature so much when our younger generation start to look back on their life.

Dave Roberts is ad-obsessed and always has been. Not just TV advertising, but magazines, newspapers, trade press, bill boards and radio too.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Book
A good read. Interesting and amusing in parts. How to and how not to climb the advertising ladder.
Published 4 months ago by 'Marble'
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb read from start to finish. An insight ...
A superb read from start to finish. An insight into a young man's dreams of becoming the next Maurice Saatchi but not quite ever getting there - but clearly relishing the challenge... Read more
Published 4 months ago by A.J.Lloyd
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully written account by Dave Roberts of why and how ...
A beautifully written account by Dave Roberts of why and how he fell in love with advertising and his apprenticeship in small-time agencies in England before inadvertently finding... Read more
Published 5 months ago by James Hall
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Äs good äs it gets
Published 5 months ago by walter sanzin
4.0 out of 5 stars You'll be glad, man!
FOOTBALL obsessive Dave Roberts continues the tale of his life with an account of his years working in the advertising industry. Read more
Published 5 months ago by J. Wise
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll buy a Lada *
From the same demented mind that brought you the wonderful "Bromley Boys" and "32 Programmes," and sharing the same air of nostalgic, gentle but (genuinely)... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Buffalo
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshes parts other books can't reach
A must read for anyone considering a career in advertising - or anyone who simply wonders what all the fuss is about. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Andrew Irving
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read...very funny
A touching nostalgic story written with humour and insight. Highly readable and funny with a self depreciating sharp wit that will take you straight back to epic adverts from the... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Stevew
5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny.
As a football fan I have read the authors previous books 32 Programmes and The Bromley Boys and loved them. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
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