Four favourite books: Jesper Norgaard

Strategy Director at Grey London gives us his picks

When I was asked to write about my four favourite books, I thought it would be an easy exercise. I was wrong! As I stood in front of my bookcase, I realised that I have read a great deal of fantastic books over the years, making it rather difficult to settle on four. I decided to go with four books that made my eyes light up as they brought back a tsunami of great memories. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I did.

E, by Matt Beaumont

E is a hilarious novel about a fictitious advertising agency, Miller Shanks, full of colourful personalities. The Amazon description says it all: “The novel is a tapestry of insincerity, backstabbing and bare-arsed bitchiness: that is to say, everyday office politics.”

The most interesting thing, however, is probably the format. The story is told entirely through the medium of e-mails, blog posts, MSN messages and more. It’s amazing! And the sequel, E Squared, is just as good.

Narconomics, by Tom Wainwright

Narconomics was recommended to me by a friend – thanks Rob – and is arguably the best business book I have ever read. It’s written by an economist who investigates how to run a drug cartel. The book shines a light on the communalities between how cartels and big businesses are run – the importance of having a brand, dedication to customer service, CSR initiatives and more.

Not only is it incredibly interesting and very well-written, it’s also a solid conversation starter with the security personnel in Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.

Creativity, Inc, by Ed Catmull

If you work in the creative industries and grew up watching Pixar movies like I did, Creativity, Inc. is an absolute must-read. It’s written by Ed Catmull – co-founder of Pixar – who takes you behind the scenes and shares some great advice on creativity and leadership.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story about how they almost deleted Toy Story 2 by mistake, but my favourite nugget from the book is that you should trust the creative process and always be clear and honest – this is something I try to embody every day.

On Writing, by Stephen King

Stephen King is one of the great writers of our time, and for whatever reason, he generously opened his toolbox and wrote a book on how to write. It’s magnificent!

As a strategist, I write a fair bit – narratives, slides, briefs, etc. – and this book gave me a lot of tangible advice that has improved my own writing; concepts like writing with the door closed vs. open, as well as removing the non-essentials. I can’t recommend it enough.

Featured image: freddie marriage / Unsplash

Jesper Norgaard

Jesper is part of the strategy team at Grey London. Having lived and worked in three different countries, he brings an outsider’s perspective and a huge variety of experience. He’s a brand thinker and a digital native with a strong understanding of how the digital world works - both technically and conceptually. When he’s not thinking about people, brands and the spaces in which they collide, he’s probably brewing Ethiopian coffee, baking his famous Danish rye bread or diving down obscure YouTube rabbit holes.

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MediaCat is an online publication exploring marketing and media change. We focus on brands, the environments where they operate, and the industries that serve them, reporting on ideas, trends, and perspectives. Delving into modern brand experiences, evolving media landscapes, emerging forms of insight, the dynamic world of commerce, forces of transformation in organisations and markets, and the drivers of social impact, we aim to guide professionals navigating a brave new world.

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