Category: Book

Favourite Books #2021

Today’s #WorldBookDay and I decided to share some of my all-time favourite books to commemorate #WorldBookDay2021.

Little back story, I used to read a lot as a child but then puberty and girls happened and I fell off 🤦🏿‍♂️. But since late 2018, I’ve been reading as much as 60 books a year.

Wasn’t easy picking them and that’s why this list is so short. Please bear with me.

1. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

There’s no simple way to describe The Alchemist because it’s not a book you just read. It’s a book you experience.

The Alchemist has been on The New York Times bestseller list for more than 315 weeks. It’s also been translated into 80 different languages, setting the Guinness World Record for the most translated book by any living author.

Kobe Bryant, Will Smith, Anthony Robbins, Madonna, Neil Patrick Harris, Pharell, and others all praise it to the highest heavens.

2. The Purpose Driven Life – Rick Warren

This book takes you on a 40-day spiritual journey. I read it at the beginning of every year.

3. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Marcia Marquez

Another book you need to read to experience. I loved it so much. It helped me develop an internal compass.

4. Stay With Me – Ayobami Adebayo

The best book I read in 2020. So powerful and engaging I couldn’t keep it down. Read it in one night. Should be made into a movie. Hello, Netflix.

5. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn – Betty Smith

This book covers everything I love talking about – life, family, parenting, money, purpose, books and love. The hardest things in life. Has also one of the most powerful dedications I’ve ever seen.

6. The Power of One – Bryce Courtenay

Powerful, riveting, engaging. One of the few books I reread and I learn something fresh and new every time.

Notable mentions: I’m a sucker for Malcolm Gladwell because of how he presents them as a law case. David and Goliath, Outliers, Talking to Strangers, anything he writes, I’ll read.

I love John Grisham and Agatha Christie too.

12 Reasons Why Albert Einstein Would Have Been A Great Copywriter and Advertising Guru.

It’s one thing to be one of the greatest scientists ever and devise the theory of relativity changing humanity’s understanding of space and time, but regularly dropping gems about life that can easily be related to advertising and copywriting puts Albert Einstein on another plane entirely.

The following quotes are exactly why I think Albert Einstein would have been a great copywriter/advertiser.

1. On Why Nothing Taught About Advertising In School Works In Real Life.

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”

2. On The Importance Of Value.

“Strive not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.”

3. On The Importance of Research.

“If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.”

“The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.”

“Imagination is the highest form of research.”

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

4. On Curiosity& Constant Learning.

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”

“Life is like riding a bicycle. to keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

“Learn from yesterday, live for today.
Hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”

5. On Why It’s Important You Find A Way To Enjoy What You Do.

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.”

6. On Humility.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.

“We still do not know one-thousandth of one percent of what nature has revealed to us.”

7. On Inspiration

“I think 99 times and find nothing. I stop thinking, swim in silence, and the truth comes to me”

8. On (Human) Nature

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”

9. On Failure & Persistence.

“Failure is success in progress.”

“Adversity introduces a man to himself.”

10. On Simplicity.

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

“If you can’t explain it to a 6-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.”

“Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

11. On Risk Taking

“A ship is always safe at shore but that is not what it’s built for.”

12. On Understanding Your Craft

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”

I might as well call this The Albert Einstein Guide For Writing Excellent Copy That Converts 😁

3 Reasons Why Reading Short Stories Will Make You A Better Copywriter.

A short story is exactly what it calls itself, a short story.

Whether it’s the size of a newspaper column or a few pages of a hardcover book with a few twists and turns or attempts at suspense, a short story has to be short, precise, engaging from end to end and with a clear message.

Think of Aesop’s Fables and well done music videos.

Copywriters are taught to engage a reader from the headline (a block of words/sentences) up to the lead (a block of paragraphs) and down to the rest of the copy (a block of different things). A short story engages you from the first word.

Because you don’t want to lose your reader at any time. Unless you’re selling what they don’t need or they are just about to reach for their bank cards to buy what you’re selling. This means you have to engage them from beginning to end.

Hard stuff, I know.

So, instead of rambling like the keynote speaker at a bankers’ conference, a short story approach keeps your copy light and tight.

It also teaches the efficient use of characters.

Unlike in dramas and movies, we see lots of extras. And aside from battles and scenes requiring a gathering of people, most of them are people who add little or nothing to the overall story. In essence, the story can do without them.

One of the short story’s strongest powers is minimalism in characters, both in selection and usage.

A good short story writer asks some of the following questions: Do I need this character? What’s he doing in here? How does she add to the story?

And if the answers don’t make sense, the characters are put to death. Sometimes their deaths (ie if they are killed in the story) eventually become opportunities to make the story richer.

This same ruthlessness should show in your copy.

It’s unnecessary having loose ends scattered throughout your work.

You’re not making a series, franchise instalment or documentary, so why bring a character into your story arc or a sentence or paragraph into your marketing argument which does nothing except occupy space?

This isn’t physics, but it’s helpful you know these things matter.

I read a short story last night, Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

And it might have taken just 5 minutes to but while reading it you had a sense every single line was open to another meaning. The entire story had my brain firing.

In the same way, your copy should have the feel of a Molotov cocktail. In the sense, they set your customers ablaze on impact.

I also loved the story and chances are I’ll read it again in future.

This is why in order to avoid buyer’s remorse which might turn into refunds or kill any opportunity for repeat purchases or upselling , your copy should let the customer feel like they made the purchase decision themselves, not like you forced them to.

What do you think?