“Pick Me” Review

At the end of the school year, I read the book “Pick Me: Breaking into advertising and staying there” by Nancy Vonk and Janet Kestin. (Thank you Jean Grow for the recommendation). For those unfamiliar with the book, Nancy and Janet took popular topics and concerns from aspiring creatives and answered them along with some top creatives in advertising . Some of the Guru’s include Chuck Porter (Chairman, Crispin Porter + Bogusky), Sally Hogshead (Award winning copywriter, now Creative Director), and Nancy and Janet themselves (Co-Chief Creative Officers at Ogilvy Toronto).

The book is filled with insights and a vast amount of knowledge shared from these acclaimed creatives. Although there’s much much more that can prove valuable from this book, I chose a few favorite quotes:

  • A good ad is fresh and interesting. It’s simple and single-minded. It makes you feel or think something. It might make you want to do something.
  • A human truth or insight lies at the heart of all powerful ideas.
  • It’s better to fail by going down in flames than by settling for mediocrity.
  • You can’t out think everyone, but you can outwork them.
  • Be as respectful to the receptionist as to the president.
  • Probably the best way to get fresh ideas is not to look for them.
  • You changed your mind countless times since you were five, and why would that necessarily stop just because you went to a lot of trouble to get a particular degree? ((About choosing to go into advertising. I love this new perspective! Appeals to my nerd who loves the “sunk cost” concept from economics)).
  • Great people create their own opportunities.
  • Work smarter, not longer.
  • You can’t “fix it in the edit.”
  • Nail the font. For God’s sake, nail the font.
  • Your work’s important. Your family’s more important.
  • Spend more time listening than talking.
  • Be a true partner to your clients; be interested in their business and show it.
  • You’ll learn the most from people who push you hard.
  • Don’t forget to have a life.

Amazing, I know. But that’s only a taste. I truly recommend this book, especially to an aspiring copywriter. And if you’re not into copywriting, read it anyway. It was still very interesting and beneficial for me –  someone who is better suited for the account side.

If you like the quotes, check out the book. Read it, enjoy it, and let me know what you think!


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