Five Books I Can’t Live Without

Forget those newfangled e-books.  These are real, honest paper books (with spines – have you noticed ebooks are spineless?).  Anyway, I find myself referring to them over and over.  The first few make sense, the last one may surprise you.

Roget’s International Thesaurus

I write (a lot), and have been known to spend half an hour searching for just the right word.  I like this version because it has a quick reference in the back (with a few synonyms for each word), and then a page reference to more extensive suggestions.  Arranging the words by meaning (rather than alphabetically) saves a lot of time.  You can see all the meanings for “delight” in one place, instead of having to page back and forth – and you can find just the right kind of delight (charm, thrill, gladden). It’s, well, delightful.

The Copywriter’s Handbook

Write copy that sells. Period. Bob Bly’s book is old (no reference to blogs or twitter), but the advice is still solid. People haven’t really changed (the tools have). My copy is adorned with about a hundred yellow sticky notes.

Confessions of an Advertising Man

Bet you didn’t know David Ogilvy was a spy. He was. He was also the original “Mad Man.” Full of tips on how to write powerful copy, finding the hidden benefits in your client’s products, how to illustrate ads (and design them). It’s even fun to read.

Tested Advertising Methods

Don’t just guess, test! See if headline A is really better than headline B. That’s the beauty (in my opinion) of direct marketing (or internet marketing – same thing – just faster) – you can tell exactly why something worked. Compare the results, see which got more responses, more clicks, or more sales. Yes, it was written a while ago, but the principles are still valid.

Mac OS X Snow Leopard: The Missing Manual

My new best friend. After the new year’s eve computer meltdown, I jumped ahead two operating systems (from Tiger to Snow Leopard). Things are moved around, there are new functions (oooh… garage band guitar… pretty….), new applications (time machine – gotta have time machine!) and a whole new learning curve. Thank goodness David Pogue’s writing is easy to understand, without a lot of techno mumbo-jumbo.

These are mine. What are yours? *

*Buy one, and I get a milkshake.