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Confessions of a Mad Man Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Kindle, Kindle eBook, July 18, 2011
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Length: 152 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Product Details

  • File Size: 512 KB
  • Print Length: 152 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Parker Consultants; 1 edition (July 18, 2011)
  • Publication Date: July 18, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #781,836 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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was prepared to dislike it even though the price is the lowest I have paid for a book since Amboy Dukes. I was prepared to dislike it because its title is so derivative (which is to say somebody else is using it). But the author produces the best advertising blog, one of the few that doesn't bubble over with bloggorrhea or self-congratulation and the book is really an uncondensed, unvarnished version of that blog. He captures the period (1960s to 1980s in the advertising business) perfectly and demonstrates that the business prior to public offerings, mergers, consolidation, media buying separated from the creative and production of work, quarterly statements, worldwide pitches run by new business consultants was, if not better, at least one in which the largesse which now goes into management fees to senescent HQs used to go into perfectly shaken martinis, bonuses for the proletariat, and suites with turn down service for the traveling copywriters. If the author seeks absolution through his Confessions, this reader has a perfect penance: three Our Fathers and three Beefeater Martinis with a twist shaken to cold perfection.
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George Parker has a lived a Hemingway-like life in Advertising. He even looks like the guy, from the grizzled beard right on down to the even more grizzled liver.

So it's nice to hear that there was a time when life in Advertising wasn't always about wage freezes and downsizing.

"Confessions" is about a lot of things: It's about breaking into the business. It's about surviving the business. And it's about finding a way to get the hell out of the business. It's also about the most enjoyable book you'll ever read on the subject.

The thing that makes this book so much fun to read is George himself. He's the first to admit the advertising business has, and never has had much integrity. No, what gets his goat is that money-grubbing holding companies have ransacked the very industry that allowed him, nay, paid him dearly to booze, womanize, travel -- and when he wasn't doing that -- create great advertising for a living.

George also takes no prisoners. His assault on a business that has been pillaged by rich and greedy bean counters who have more in common with flesh eating bacteria than they do with actual humans is a thing of beauty.

At the same time, George's sympathies for the Creatives that are sacrificed by gross mismanagement and narcissism are real. And he's genuinely sad that they will never have the outrageous (and oft times illicit) experiences that he had coming up through the ranks. That's the softer side of George -- if calling the Chairman of one of advertising's largest holding companies, The Poisoned Dwarf, can be considered soft.

All in all, this is a great, entertaining read for anyone in the industry or outside. Oh, and if by chance you find yourself skewered in this book, my advice is to just suck it up and move on.
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George Parker's book is a rollicking tale revealing what the Mad Men (in the popular TV series, or "Advertising Men" in Ogilvy parlance) were up to beyond the "drama" in the office. Often this type of book is the gospel of the managing partner at the ad agency as part of their campaign to be acquired by a larger agency. That's not this book - it would be at home right next to your biographies of Keith Richards, Mick Jagger or other Rockers leaving a trail of alcohol, cocaine, ruined vehicles, and one hell of a good time.

Disclaimer: like many rock bios the language is not safe for work. Mr. Parker clearly calls out the f***tards, dou*** nozzles and wank3rs (Amazon tolerates no profanity in reviews) with no fear. Anyone in Advertising or Marketing is well familiar with the tired statement that "half of all your marketing spend is wasted, you just can't tell which half." This book makes it clear (and the author has no problem telling his major accounts) that more like 90% of it is wasted, much of it on booze, 5 Star restaurants and junkets around the globe to capture video for 30 second spots, the majority of which ends up on the cutting room floor.

This is a fantastic book covering an amazing expanse - from his riding over to the US via ocean liner and meeting Ogilvy himself to get into the industry, through a stint back in Europe as "Agency Fireman" back to the Bay Area during the pre-internet explosion fueled by Dell, Compaq, Larry Ellison, the first coming of Jobs, and others. The stories are humorous and astounding - my favorite was the author, his buddy, and his pilot getting drunk and crashing their plane into the ocean and nearly dying while trying to get a shot for a cookie ad. Wrapping up with commentary on social media and the future of the industry, this is the most entertaining book you'll find on the subject.
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George Parker is many things to many people: seasoned copywriter, advertising survivor, blogger...
but in this book, he is a storyteller, and not one of the Aesops Fables 'alls well that ends well' variety. This is more like Phillip K Dick storytelling ...
bad people doing bad things storytelling, the kind that rivets you to your seat, book, Kindle, iPad - whatever - firmly gripped in sweaty hands.

But he tells this tale with such ease and humor that it makes the advertising world seem like a fun place to be. And that's where he gets you ...
amidst all the romping across the globe to shoot spots for bidet cleansers, late night bull session carousing, and exacerbating round table campaign meetings, he carefully delivers the point:
it's a hard way to make a living, populated by an interesting assortment of characters, most of them rather incompetent yet powerful, and you.

A thoroughly enjoyable read for practitioner or apprentice alike, I'll close with 3 good reasons to read this book:

1: He's been there
2: He's done that
3: He's lived to tell the tale accurately and amusingly ...
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