The previous reviewer is right - Dave Trott is indeed an advertising legend and his writing is as good as you would expect from such a creative genius. The fact that the book is a compilation of the best of his blog posts mean you get a succession of inspiring insights wrapped up with wit, charm and some lovely storytelling. At the start of the book, Dave says that there are two requirements from anything he reads: he has to learn something, or it has to be entertaining. 'Creative Mishchief' fulfilled botn criteria for me.
For more years than I care to remember Dave Trott has been a legend in the advertising world. So it is great to actually have his pearls of wisdom at your fingertips. Not merely a book about advertising more a guide to life in general. Well put together in short punchy episodes so you can nip in and out at your leisure.
Dave Trott is a legendary advertising copywriter of the modern era. I was delighted when I finally managed to get my hands on Creative Mischief, a book which I'd heard a lot about.
Before I go into details, I would recommend that if you're involved or interested in advertising, PR, communications or marketing, then this book is applicable to all those disciplines. Another reviewer has suggested that this is "more a guide to life in general" - to which I would disagree, although certainly, some of the principles could be relevant to "life". The bias is certainly towards advertising - although this is NOT a how manual in how to succeed in advertising.
The first thing I noticed about the book was that it was in a very handy size - it's not a pocket book, but it's small enough that it's easy enough to carry around (you could put into the pockets of a coat/jacket). I managed to read through it in a couple of hours. The paper quality is very good and the lines are nicely spaced out.
The book is divided into 62 "chapters" which are essentially very short stories covering Trott's professional and, occasionally, personal experiences. Some are a page long, others a few pages long. They're not in any sort of order (either chronological or in terms of telling a specific story). The stories are engaging and witty - there are no "thou shall do this" or "thou shouldn't do this" - Trott doesn't go about telling you how to lead your life; he doesn't preach; and nor does he tell you how to succeed in advertising - he's simply telling you the lessons he has learned over the course of his distinguished career; the things he did well and the things he screwed up on. Whether you take note and change your behaviour is entirely up to you. There's a good balance of funny stories and those that are more straight to the point. Trott comes across as very black and white - there are times when he pulls no punches. He either likes something, or he doesn't. There's no sitting on the fence with him.
Each story is a little nugget - there are no superfluous details. They cover behaviour, teamworking, sharing ideas, how he won accounts, how he pushed himself, lateral thinking, visual communication, copywriting and opening your eyes to possibilities and opportunities.
The reason I've given the book 4 stars is some of the stories seemed a little repetitive, but this shouldn't detract from what is a very good book. It's not just aimed at those in advertising - anyone involved in any of the creative/communication disciplines would find this book highly informative. As Trott says in his introduction "For me there are two requirements from anything I read: learn something or be entertained" - this book does both.
Can't believe there are no reviews yet. Dave Trott is an advertising legend. His blog is highly respected by peers and students of advertising. I can't recommend Creative Mischief enough. It is short and full of wisdom. Not a word wasted. It will make you think. And help you be a better marketer. If you liked Ries and Trout's "Positioning, the battle for your mind" or Jon Steel's "Truth, lies and advertising", you will love this.
Like Paul Arden's books, this is a cracking read that gives you a huge amount of knowledge quickly and enjoyably. It's full of brilliant advice that is aimed towards advertising but could just as easily apply to other areas of life. Word for word it must be one of the most helpful and interesting books out there. Congrats, Mr. T.
Only time to snatch a couple of pages, a train journey or a wet afternoon? However long one has to spend reading this, there's a massively valuable piece of advice or a useful idea or a though provoking, humorous anecdote worth having on every page.
You don't have to understand what advertising is about or who the characters involved are (... that helps add to the overall form), I defy anybody not to take something useful away with them having read this.
I didn't know much about the ad industry, but this book has sparked an interest to learn more! I have since looked up a few of the agencies mentioned throughout the book and stumbled upon an extremely vibrant and interesting industry! The anecdotal style makes for an accessible read perfect for commuter journeys.
This book should be subtitled 'The with and wisdom of Dave Trott'. It's full of aphorisms, anecdotes and cracker barrel philosophy, with only glancing reference to the advertising profession, of which he is an acknowledged master. But it's none the worst for that: after all, what do they know of advertising who only advertising know?
Personally I found it engaging, amusing and at times laugh out loud funny - check out the vignette of Ian Drury dropping in unannounced for a drink-and-drug soaked Christmas dinner with the Trott family, and Dave's account of Frank Muir mugging an innocent bystander in New York's Central Park (no, I didn't believe it either, but you'll have to buy the book to find out how this deliciously absurb incident came about.
All in all it reaffirmed my belief in copywriters as Clark Kent style super-heroes. (David Ogilvy once said that copywriters are the least visible people in an agency, but the most important). But then I'm a copywriter myself, so I admit to being a bit biased!