I was keen not to talk about a 'traditional' book about Planning or strategy.
So I ended up saying something like this:
My background is in other creative industries loosely associated to the communications industry.
I studied architecture for my first degree, and then became a pseudo - graphic/ multimedia designed for a small healthcare agency.
I then studied my MA, which focussed on business strategy and creative thinking, and took a slight sidestep into Planning.
I am what a friend and I have described as a Learned Planner.
Here's an excerpt from a paper I submitted to WARC recently that talks about it a little more:
I have a theory that there are two kinds of planners: Taught planners and Learned planners.
Taught planners are traditionally spotted at university studying a human sciences course, and join a large network agency to learn their particular interpretation of planning.
Learned planners have spent part of their life working in another discipline and then make a switch over to planning. Their previous discipline may be unrelated to their new industry altogether but they bring with them unbridled enthusiasm, an essential naivety of the constraints of the industry and a new perspective on answering problems.
Like a footballer being taught ballet to increase balance, there are many positives to be learned from the latter approach but traditionally these people don't fit into the pigeonholes of the large networked agency.
So being of this ilk, I'm interested in people from other backgrounds sharing their learnings and experiences, because a lot of the time they can add something useful to a subject.
This is the book I'd like to talk about for a few minutes.
It's a book by a chef/ TV host/ writer/ traveller called Anthony Bourdain.
And it's absolutely brilliant.
It’s a great book that covers many elements of Planning, and generally of life in creative agencies. All you have to do is swap ‘food’ for ‘communications’ and ‘restaurant’ for ‘agency.’
It's FUN to read. It makes you WANT to be a chef. How many planning books make you want to be a planner!?
Here's an example where he's talking about his very first oyster:
This really struck a chord with me. This is how I felt when I realised I wanted to work in communications. Wanted to create content that creates emotions within people. That has a resonance with them. All you have to do is to change 'food' and 'chef' to 'communicaitons' and 'Planner'...
Here's another example where he's talking about what he wants from a runner:
I think there are some great tips in there for people getting into Planning. It's about trying to keep your head when you're in a hectic situation and having the wherewithal to put things into perspective and prioritise.
Don't look at Planning things, look at things like a Planner.
There are learnings all around us, and Bourdain is a rich source of learnings.
It's a great book. It's part memoir part instruction manual on how to work in the food industry.
It's not the only great thing he's worked on.
His TV series No Reservations is a must watch for all Planners.
In it he travels the world eating the food that brings different cultures together.
Lots of street food, family food and celebration food.
It's food that connects people, that tells a story about a place.
It's essential viewing.
Anyway, in the book there is a full chapter where he talks about a job interview.
He talks about how he prepared for it, and how he made a mistake in it.
It's really interesting.
Lastly, he lists 14 tips he'd give to anyone that wants to get into the food industry.
Again, I think there's great crossover in what we do.
(Some are very relevant, some less so... I'll let you decide which is which...)
Here is just a sample:
... and that is a very good place to end it. Read this book. It's amazing.