10 non-advertising books to read if you wish to work in advertising

Stavros Kontaktsis
4 min readApr 24, 2020

We’ve all seen the Mad Men episode where Mr. Cooper suggests to Don Draper to read Atlas Shrugged (Season 1 Episode 8, The Hobo Code). Later in the season, Don appears to have been influenced by the book’s philosophies, saying, “If you don’t appreciate my hard work, then I will take it away and we’ll see how you do.”

But Atlas Shrugged is not the only book featured in Mad Men. Inferno by Dante Alighieri is also seen on Don’s hands while he is on the beach, Mark Twain is regular and many more.

The reality is that if you want to work in Advertising you must read. A lot. Literature is the best place to find insights about human nature.

Advertising is all about finding the right insight and generating the correct ideas to leverage this small point of advantage in your favor. We need tools to help us find insights, put them in perspective, and rationalize them in order to get better at our job. So here are 10 books that can help you in your journey to becoming a Mad Man (or Woman).

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Stavros Kontaktsis

With a diploma in Chemical Engineering I ended up in Advertising and Communications. I like gadgets and scuba. Opinions are my own.