Here’s a selection of must-read selection of adverting media planning and buying books for those working in advertising and communications strategy.

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  1. The Communications Challenge: A practical guide to media neutral planning A practical guide to communications planning. Becoming quite collectable. Even I’m in it.
  2. Media Planning: A Practical Guide, Third Edition (NTC Business Books) This is a great place to start with good accessible coverage of all the basics in media planning and buying. Jim Surmanek.
  3. Advertising Media Planning, Seventh Edition Sissors and Baron offer a comprehensive run down on all aspects of the media process, a great practical book.
  4. Media Planning & Buying in the 21st Century: Integration of Traditional & Digital Media US handbook of media planning and buying covering both traditional and digital channels in a comprehensive way. Very good practical read. By Ron Geskey
  5. The Media Handbook (Routledge Communication Series)The Media Planning Handbook is another comprehensive practical guide to media planning. Again, a US title so leans to how the US media market works. By Helen Katz.
  6. The Advertised Mind: Groundbreaking Insights into How Our Brains Respond to Advertising by Du Plessis, Erik (2005) Hardcover Interesting look into how advertising works from another practitioner, Erik Du Plessis
  7. Advertising Effectiveness: Findings from Empirical Research This is a serious tome on understanding advertising effectiveness. Not a high profile book, but actually one of the best books on advertising effectiveness you can buy from Giep Franzen.
  8. Effective Advertising: Understanding When, How, and Why Advertising Works (Marketing for a New Century) A comprehensive “meta study” of research into advertising effectiveness from Gerard Tellis.
  9. How to Do Better Creative Work (Prentice Hall Business) I worked with Steve Harrison for a couple of years. A remarkably understated authority on developing creative work.
  10. 101 Contrarian Ideas About Advertising: The strange world of advertising in 101 delicious bite-size pieces Contrarian thinking from Bob Hoffman who revels in challenging the industry’s status quo and accepted wisdoms. And he’s often right. Practitioner.
  11. My Life in Advertising and Scientific Advertising (Advertising Age Classics Library) As far as I know this is the only pre-war (and I mean WW2) book on advertising that is still in print. That’s probably because it was written by a copywriter who was paid by how much he sold. And he was paid a lot.
  12. Sexy Little Numbers: How to Use the Data You Have to Increase Sales and Grow Your Business at Virtually No Cost A lot of business and marketing problems can be better understood and even solved with numbers. Not many people realise this. Maex points the way.
  13. Disruption: Overturning Conventions and Shaking Up the Marketplace (Adweek Magazine Series) TBWA used the disruption model for new business for about 20 years, as far as I know they still do. And so do many others. You still can’t attend an industry event without hearing the word “disruption”.  If you want to chat with some authority, you will need to read this book.
  14. Ogilvy on Advertising This is still a classic from David Ogilvy and his autobiography Confessions of an Advertising Man is also a great read.
  15. How Brands Grow: What Marketers Don’t Know Many brands suffer from problems that are defined at the category level, but not many marketers or agency staffers understand how categories behaviours actually work. They naturally prefer to look at consumers. Byron Sharp’s How Brands Grow shows that you must look at both.
  16. Predatory Thinking: A Masterclass in Out-Thinking the Competition There have been mixed reviews for this selection of Dave Trott blog posts, but as far as I know non of the reviewers have achieved anything like the reputation he enjoys.