24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2012
I've recently been re-reading the books that have been influential to my work and writing, so after giving away a few copies of Paul Arden's Phaidon books (Whatever You Think, Think the Opposite; It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be), I ended up buying them again from the local bookstore and grabbing this one at the same time. I didn't know it had been recently published but am pleased I get to write one of the first reviews for it.
I didn't know anything about George Lois when I read this book. Previous reviews were full of discussions of his egomania and self-aggrandizement but that doesn't matter to me. All that matters is whether this book does, in fact, contain Damn Good Advice. Well, it does.
This book isn't perfect, but if you're up to short books that give you a certain feeling rather than information, this could be the one. It's ten bucks, and for that price I can either get an expensive drink at a horrible bar, or I can spend a Sunday morning reading about someone's exploits and what they've learned. I did the latter, and you should too.
Reading Damn Good Advice reminded me of a lot of things that everyone needs to be reminded of: to stand up for what you believe in, to have faith in yourself even against the odds, and lots of things we tend to forget when we get caught in the tedium of our daily life.
It'll probably end up being one of those books I end up reading once a year, to get that feeling again. Maybe you should too.
41 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on July 14, 2012
...that the man who goes on and on about the Big Idea, the self-proclaimed master of originality, has gone and written a book that is basically just a poor copy of the very successful Paul Arden books.
Note of caution: don't be fooled by this poor imitation. George Lois has written what is basically one big congratulatory pat on the back. Sure, he obviously did some pretty great stuff way back in the days when there wasn't much in the world of advertising to compete with but the way he puts that across just makes him sound like a candidate for 'the person you'd least like to invite to a dinner party'. The anecdotes mostly go something like this: "So we were in the room, and this guy says something SO stupid and I say *insert self-important quip that only George Lois finds amusing*". That's pretty much it. Buy the Paul Arden book with the money I just saved you and read something that is informative, witty and interesting instead.
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on December 25, 2012
I was unfortunate enough to receive this book as a present, I think the person just had a quick look at the cover and figured it might provide some helpful creative ideas. A shame they didn't even flip through the first few pages, because they would have immediately seen what an unlikeable person George Lois is and how his writing is not only arrogant, but just plain ignorant too.
The book is basically a list of 120 numbered pieces of 'advice' which are actually mostly just stories of how amazing George Lois thinks he is - yes you can do it too, you just have to be as full of yourself as George Lois. At the top of each piece is a supposedly cute or profound little catchphrase such as 'Follow your bliss' or 'Always go for The Big Idea' which sums up the following text. Unfortunately rather than being cute or profound they are either blatantly obvious, incredibly cliched, or sometimes just plain nonsensical.
Not to mention that many of these ideas contradict each other. I imagine that Lois just threw together the book to make a quick buck and it didn't really matter if one idea was compatible with the next. Probably the piece de resistance is #103, after repeatedly patting himself on the back in the previous 102 items, he writes 'Never act cocky'!!! He tries to excuse his own cockiness by saying he's not cocky, he's 'cocksure', obviously not realising that the two words are synonyms.
When I got to the one about forcing yourself to sleep less, I thought that maybe I had got it wrong and I was actually reading a parody! But sadly no, this guy is simply a lunatic.
Strangely enough, my copy of the book actually has a sickening smell! Coincidence? In any case, this gives me another reason not to read it, if I needed one...
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2012
Forget George Lois. This book isn't about him. It's about you. He just offers himself as an example of what you can do - if you think correctly and go hell-for-leather. Sure he's got ego but it's as big as his gratitude for those he has learnt from. And you won't find better stories and adventures even from a naked Della Femina. I found George's book to be inspiring in a practical way. So much so, it actually made me grow a pair. Within one hour of finishing his book (and rereading the bravery chapter three times), my friends and I started a street campaign to help my mate's band become famous. Fuelled by his Hilfiger story of just acting big (and why not), we have launched a band in Ireland from nobodies to being interviewed in the newspapers, radio and tv in less than two weeks. We're hoping to be on Oprah in less than 4 weeks. Thanks George, you are a brave man and a damn good one. I hope our site [statuesofus.org] is a good compliment and proof that your book works. As I said after reading your book, `Yeah screw it, let's do it.'
19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2012
I thoroughly enjoyed "Damn Good Advice." I guess at the ripe old age of 78 I'm still a George Lois Junkie. I've rung the bell a few times in the business of creative advertising (I created the 1971, and now googlized, "Buy the World a Coke.")
I think what touched me in his book is, of all things, that letterhead for a building. It looked like the delicate work of one of the great designers in this business, like a George Tscherny not an ad guy as good as George. I've got all his books, but the one I treasure most is the book of Esquire Covers. I think to some degree, they changed the culture of our country.
To this day, sometimes when I get an assignment, I ask myself, "Now what would George do." ----Harvey Gabor
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2015
If I were to rename this book, it would probably be "Damn Bad Advice (that is, in large part, based on nonsensical conjecture)". While George Lois is certainly a talented advertiser and author (the book is, if nothing else, entertaining) much of the advice offered in this book is nonsensical, and in some cases not even advice at all. I'm not sure there's a piece of advice in here that isn't already immediately apparent to anyone with any semblance of critical thinking skills. Of the 120 points included in the text, a good portion of them are self-congratulatory accounts of Lois's greatest successes. While, I suppose, it could be argued that these stories each contain an underlying principle that should be followed on the road to success; I think it's tough to discern any meaningful advice from Lois's tirade against Mad Men in point 92. While there's certainly a few decent nuggets of insight for graphic designers and aspiring advertisers, even when read by its intended audience I could only suggest this book is passable. I think the best advice would probably be to not read this turd and ignore these contradictory and masturbatory ramblings.
87 of 124 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2012
This book is one of the most egregious manifestations of narcissism I've ever encountered. George Lois is so impressed with himself and his work (which, by the way, is old and old-school) that it's not only sad, it's distracting. This book is nothing but a collection of platitudes from a guy who loves to hear himself talk (and preferably, it seems, about himself). I get it George...you've been successful. You're famous in the ad world. Well, now you're insufferable.
Page 1 = a quotation, rendered in bold type, from none other than George Lois. Page 2 = six pictures of the author. Pages 4-5: A full-spread photograph of George Lois presenting to clients 37 years ago. (Who has a photograph of himself presenting work to a client, and has kept it for 37 years?!)
There are hundreds of more relevant books on the subject of creativity and how to unleash your potential. Don't waste your money or time on this one.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2014
I bought this book after a quick glance at the title and reading a couple of pages that were good advice. If they had been contained and isolated from the rest they would have been of value. However, as many of the other reviewers have already noted, this book is really just a brag sheet - and a poorly executed one at that. The advice in here is jaded and biased. Most points made are easily refuted, or at the very least only subjective opinion. There is nothing here much worth carrying forward into your daily life. As a couple people in the 1 star category have already said, you should give the book away. But, I have chosen to keep it so it doesn't pollute the mind of a gullible reader, or take up space in the public library, and it doesn't get me in trouble for littering, and will serve as an easy example of bad advice for my students.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2015
Got this as a present. author wrote it to tell himself how amazing he is. Outdated information (like stop tweeting your life away and learn to draw). Knowing how to write tweets is actually a requirement these days for copywriters, as is a basic understanding of every digital media. Absurd tips like sleep less (if you sleep 6 hours a night, aim for 5), and finally it really got me upset when he wrote if you're a talented woman, these days, you have a shot at it. Want to buy something useful if you're starting in advertising, go for "Hey Whipple, squeeze this".
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2015
This book doesn't have any advice for creative people. It's merely a vehicle for George Lois to brag about his accomplishments -- the truth of which is suspect anyway, given the testimony by Julian Koenig discrediting many of Mr. Lois's claims. Don't waste your money on this book.