Book Review: Confessions of an advertising man

I read Ogilvy on Advertising last month, and absolutely loved it. I picked up David Ogilvy’s first book Confessions of an Advertising Man soon after, and have just finished reading it.

This one is great too, and I really like Ogilvy’s writing style. It is direct, powerful, authoritative, and he doesn’t waste any words.

You couldn’t shorten any sentence he wrote, and the authority with which he speaks on the subject leaves a very strong impression on you.

The book is filled with advice on advertising, and 10 out of 11 chapters start with “How”. Like “How to Get Clients” or “How to Keep Clients”.

Review Confessions of an Advertising Man
Review Confessions of an Advertising Man

The only chapter that doesn’t start with “How” is the last chapter which is titled “Should Advertising be Abolished?”

I’m really glad I read this book and was a little surprised that it isn’t more popular among bloggers. There are a lot of lessons here that can be used by bloggers or even writers in general.

For example – Ogilvy says that twice as many people read the title of an illustration than the copy of the ad, and I’m sure that a lot more people read image titles than full blog posts too. So, while a blogger may not be selling anything – the image title is an excellent place to deliver the message of your post, and hook readers on to it.

Then there is advice on bite sized paragraphs, and keeping the first paragraph of an ad really short, and inviting. I think this is applicable to blogging or other forms of writing too. There are several other tips about writing an ad that can be used by bloggers.

So, is the book for advertisers and bloggers alone?

I really don’t think so because there is advice that’s applicable to a wide range of professionals. Especially, these chapters:

  • How to Manage an Advertising Agency
  • How to Get Clients
  • How to Keep Clients
  • How to Be a Good Client
  • How to Rise to the Top of the Tree – Advice to the Young

I really enjoyed reading through these chapters, and felt that everything was relevant to what I do, which has nothing to do with advertising at all. That shouldn’t be a surprise because these are words coming from an extremely successful person, and the principles that help you grow in one career should also work in another career.

I’d recommend Confessions of an Advertising Man without qualification. I enjoyed reading it, found it useful, and I think others will too.

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