First up, a small book with a big title: "It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be," (Phaidon) by Paul Arden, former exec creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi, London. A pithy little paperback filled with aphorisms and yes, adages, about how to become rich and powerful (by wanting to become rich and powerful, Paul says). According to Paul, getting fired can be a good career move. "It means the job isn't right for you." That should be solace for the deadbeats sunning themselves in Seaside.
Next up, "Well Written and Red: The Story of the Economist Campaign" (Dakini, London), by Alfred Marcantonio, former director of Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO. "Red" is a heavy hardcover documenting a long running, award winning ad campaign by Abbott Mead. This is an especially good book for those who are too distracted (and who isn't on the beach?) for deep reading as the book is really nothing more than 200 pages of full-page slogans.
Turning to practical material, there's "Hire Me, Dumbass!" a self-published collection of actual job inquiry letters written by Paul Mozian, a self-described "laid-off marketing pro" who just recently got a job as host of the ABC show "My Life is a Sitcom." Here's a letter to KABC radio in L.A.: "Dear KABC, I have been interested in radio for the past six months. I would love the opportunity to be a Disc Jockey at your radio station." And this to Nike: "I have often thought about working at Nike but never bothered to apply. Then your `Just Do It' campaign came out and I was totally inspired."
If you're contemplating a move in the Madison + Vine space , then "Celebrity Stew" (Hollywood Circle Press) is just for you. This gem, written by former food publicist Leo Pearlstein, documents the golden years when product placement was an ordinary course of events in Hollywood, actually the main course, with top stars like Steve Allen, Glen Campbell and Rita Moreno happily hamming it up for Hormel meats and California Prunes.
Finally, for beachcombers who have already given up the ghost: Before you spring for that Excalibur metal detector that scans for coins in the sand, stop for a moment and take a look at "A Bitter Pill to Swallow," by marketing consultant Cornell Graham. It's a self-published (in large typeset), melodramatic novel about the lives and loves of three African-American women who are partners in a small ad shop in Atlanta.
One passage describes the women: "They stood ever so tall, graciously confident, and genuinely united. Like pillars of strength, rays of hope and deliverers of empowerment, they were truly a dynamic trio. All three of them. All black. All women. "
Cornell tells Adages he is confident he will be writing novels for a living soon. This is his second book (Adages reviewed his first, "Prophet Priest & King," on Jan. 28, 2002).
Hey, if Cornell can do it, you can too!
In the fox hole
Overheard at Fox News offices on Sixth Ave: "Jeez, how many ways can you say fat, right-wing bastard?" Said by Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO of Fox News, when he found out that The New Yorker was running a 20,000-word article, written by Ken Auletta, about him in the May 19 issue.
Send your book reports to firstname.lastname@example.org