I read a lot and yes, as a Planner / Strategist / Whatever-we’re-calling-it-this-week of course I’ve read all the big titles in my field like How Brands Grow, Nudge, Truth Lies & Advertising and Paid Attention.
But that’s only a tiny percentage of what I actually read. I read Sunday newspapers and regional newspapers and local papers (I may be the only Planner who still sends newspaper clippings to clients) and anything I can get my hands on in the dentist’s waiting rooms and at the hairdressers. I read Horse & Hound magazine and my old Quant textbooks from Uni when I need to talk to Data Scientists and interesting autobiographies. But when I want to pick up a book for entertainment or relaxation, I nearly always reach for a lightweight romcom.
There are few pleasures greater than stretching out on a comfy sofa in a quiet house with a selection of tasty snacks to hand and ploughing through a lightweight, funny, gentle paperback. Especially if you’ve read one of the other books in the same series and the characters are old friends.
I used to work with an agency director who was very, very well-read when it came to business and marketing titles, but simply could not understand why anyone would read novels purely for pleasure without any expectation of learning anything, let alone lightweight romcoms. Perhaps that’s why he needed to engage a Planner’s services.
I always encourage young Planners to read widely and enthusiastically, but sometimes the brain needs a bit of TLC and that, for me, is where novels come in. Not to say that I’ve learnt nothing from them however – my knowledge of firework displays, traditional travelling fairs, racing yards and beach hut ownership has all come on in leaps and bounds and, inevitably, there will come a day where I say in a meeting “I read somewhere that…”.