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Ad Celebrity Book List: Luke Sullivan

Posted on March 6, 2008 and read 3,044 times

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Ask anybody in the business -from ad school hopeful to Worldwide Creative Director – to name their favorite books on advertising, and you’re guaranteed to hear multiple mentions of Luke Sullivan’s “Hey Whipple, Squeeze This!” Even our last ad celebrity put this ‘ad Bible’ on his own Top Ten list.


So that got us at ihaveanidea thinking. If everybody loves Luke’s book so much, what kinds of books does Luke himself enjoy? We asked him for his top ten picks. I think he went past ten, but when you get Mr. Sullivan going, you don’t really want him to stop.


The Martian Chronicles
by Ray Bradbury
Ray is my favorite writer, hands down, bar none, no contest. Many people avoid him because they think he is a “science fiction” writer. Well, true, the content is Sci Fi; but the writing is transcendent. It is literature. I collect first editions of his books and they’ll be the first things I grab if my house were to burn down.


Into Thin Air
by Jon Krakauer
The Perfect Storm
by Sebastian Junger
This is perfect back-to-back non-fiction heaven, my friends. Krakeur’s personal account of death high on Mt. Everest followed by Junger’s slow-motion look at death below the Atlantic makes even the hardest days here at the agency seem, well, okay.


Shadow Divers
by Robert Kurson
Okay, one more non-fick title. In 1991, two divers find an unidentified German U-Boat embedded in the ocean floor a few miles off the New Jersey shore. What was it doing there? How did it sink? A buncha divers die trying to figure it out. This is like a popcorn movie, except it’s a book. (Plus you don’t get any popcorn.)


Rabbit Run, Rabbit Redux, Rabbit is Rich and Rabbit at Rest
by John Updike
If you want to know what America was like during the four decades from the ‘50s to the ‘80s, read these four masterpieces. I am not normally a fan of fiction but when it is this good (and they are, the last two winning Pulitzers for Literature), well, it doesn’t matter if happened or not; it is truth.


One Man’s Meat
by E.B. White
If E.B. White were alive today, I would vote for him for President. Often remembered as the author of Charlotte’s Web, White spent most of his career writing for The New Yorker and Harper’s. One Man’s Meat is a collection of his years at Harper’s and they comprise the wisest, most level-headed collection of smart essays I’ve ever read.


Assassination Vacation
by Sarah Vowell
This woman kills me. I love her politics. I love her cynicism. I love how she takes a morbid trip across the country, visits graves and the sites of four presidential assassinations, and turns it into an incredibly funny travelogue. I’d vote for her for president, too. (Is it just me, or do we need to get somebody smart back into the White House?)


Sailing Alone Across the Room, poetry
by Billy Collins
I hate pretty much all poetry. Most of it sounds like a college student playing a guitar at the student union (“Tin can in the street/speaks to me/staircase to God?”). Then one day my mom turned me onto Billy Collins. Words fail to describe what an incredible talent this man is. He writes about the smallest things: the shadow of a bicycle on a shed, a man walking by the window of a bar, the writings in the margins of the library’s copy of Catcher In The Rye. At the risk of sounding really “sensitive,” go get a copy of anything this guy has written.


The Onion: Anything these people write makes me sick with laughter. I get most of my news from The Onion and Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show.” Such is the state of the union today.

I’ll end with what’s on my Gonna-Read-Soon list: The New York Times recently ran an piece on what they thought were the best 25 American novels of the last 50 years; five of them were by Phillip Roth: The Counterlife, Operation Shylock, Sabbath’s Theater, The Human Stain, and The Plot Against America. Wow. I gotta catch up and see what I’m missing. Also I have a feeling that I’m going to like Richard Ford’s trilogy as much as I liked Updike’s: The Sportswriter, Independence Day, and The Lay of the Land.






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