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Damn Good Advice (For People with Talent!): How To Unleash Your Creative Potential by America's Master Communicator, George Lois

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Damn Good Advice (For People With Talent!) is a look into the mind of one of America's most legendary creative thinkers, George Lois. Offering indispensle lessons, practical advice, facts, anecdotes and inspiration, this book is a timeless creative bible for all those looking to succeed in life, business and creativity. These are key lessons derived from the incomparle life of 'Master Communicator' George Lois, the original Mad Man of Madison Avenue. Written and compiled by the man The Wall Street Journal called "prodigy, enfant terrible, founder of agencies, creator of legends," each step is borne from a passion to succeed and a disdain for the status quo.

Organised into inspirational, bite-sized pointers, each page offers fresh insight into the sources of success, from identifying your heroes to identifying yourself. The ideas, images and illustrations presented in this book are fresh, witty and in-your-face. Whether it's communicating your point in nanosecond, creating an explosive portfolio or making your presence felt, no one is better placed than George Lois to teach you the process of creativity.

Poignant, punchy and to-the-point, Damn Good Advice (For People With Talent!) is a must have for anyone on a quest for success.

176 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 1, 2012

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George Lois

24 books38 followers

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5 stars
1,195 (29%)
4 stars
1,410 (35%)
3 stars
995 (24%)
2 stars
290 (7%)
1 star
97 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 355 reviews
Profile Image for Dr. Appu Sasidharan (Dasfill).
1,265 reviews2,438 followers
September 1, 2023
What can a Mad Man of Madison Avenue teach you in your life? This book is the answer to it.

If you are someone from America, George Lois is probably a name that needs no introduction to you. He was the master brain behind many legendary ad campaigns.

If you are working in advertising and marketing, this is a book you should never miss. It is written in an exciting format that will attract everyone's attention, and the author has done a decent job of telling us the secrets behind the field of advertising.

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Profile Image for Miguel.
323 reviews76 followers
May 6, 2013
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.
70 reviews60 followers
January 6, 2013
While it says (For People with Talent), it is mainly focused on the "traditional advertising" world. Nevertheless, the writer has a great sense of doing things the right way.
Profile Image for Kyle.
Author 8 books187 followers
June 14, 2012
This is a short book packed with awesome tid bits about creativity and marketing. I read it cover to cover. At times, the book was so spot on and insightful that I slammed it shut with anxiety. Holy cow, this is so good it's scary. Right after I was done reading it, I pulled out a notepad and began shooting out ideas.
Profile Image for Jasmine.
249 reviews7 followers
April 3, 2020
This book was horrible and the only saving grace is that it reminded me that choosing not to work in advertising was a wise move.

I picked this up at the bookstore because I'd seen it on many "essential reading" lists for designers. I opened it to #86: Keep up the fight against racism, no matter what the cost. That struck me as unusually down-to-earth for a design book, so I bought it.

Lois fakes inclusiveness and seeks to push back against the way the public views advertising after binging seven seasons of Mad Men. There are some fair tips about graphic communication, but everything was framed as a stunning innovation by Lois. While he talked about pushing the envelope and giving your all to your work, and pulling of wild stunts with clients, all I could think about is that he was praised for it because he was a white man in the sixties. Lois seems unable to acknowledge his privilege. He also is speaking to men—one of his tips is literally to not screw your secretaries.

I disagreed with Lois a lot. I don't think you need to give your all at every workday so you collapse at the end. (I have friends and family and hobbies, thanks.) I don't think you should reduce your sleep to make more time for work. And I don't think advertising is the high art he claims it is. Elitism seeped out of the book. I'm sure some peoples' opinions will be well, I'll never be excellent if I don't make the sacrifices Lois did, but also Lois had a lot going in his favor.

He thanked twenty-five "master communicators" in the back of the book and dedicated this work to them. Yes, they are all men. Lois made some attempt to pretend he was speaking to a diverse audience (occasionally adding a "(or her)" after a male pronoun) but he's not walking the walk.

Skip this. You'd be better off spending your time working on something. Or if you read it out of curiosity, be prepared for disappointment.

Profile Image for Miranda.
2 reviews
January 22, 2016
Not so "damn good". Most of the advice is either thinly veiled career boasting or something you should already know if you've progressed beyond the first year of marketing or design school. The book reads like a giant run-on sentence of "do more and do better" without actually giving insight into how to do this other than to "try". I've read more creative insight in a dry textbook, which is very disappointing because George Lois is talented and accomplished in his career.
There are many examples of work shown, but it somehow fails to tie them into the text, they sit flat on the pages like a picture of a trophy, impressive but with no explanation of method. In a field so focussed on process and creativity, this book lacked detail into either.

Profile Image for Katerina Charisi.
179 reviews55 followers
June 22, 2018
Είχε χαβαλέ. Αλλά πέρα από αυτό, δε θα οδηγήσει μάλλον κανέναν στην επιτυχία lol
Profile Image for Stephanie Marie.
82 reviews33 followers
January 2, 2013
This book is a great motivator. It boasts a clean, fun design, it's easy to read (in one sitting or spread out over a week where you really need a kick in the pants), and is straightforward. George knows what he knows and that's all there is to it.

At first, I was thrown off by the numbered list format of the book-- I was expecting something more traditional-- but it was great. It made it very light and easily digestible. George's writing style is aggressive, in your face, and matter-of-fact-- so if you're in the market for hand-holding or cheerleading, this is not for you. Of course, George subscribes to the "my way or the highway" train of thought, so there are some tips and pieces of advice that aren't quite for me. But, overall, I found inspiration from 98% of what George was saying. Some dogeared pages, some underlined sentences, and I feel refreshed and ready to go!
Profile Image for Vilija Jankūnaitė.
168 reviews16 followers
January 15, 2018
Knygoje reklamos specialistas George Lois dalinasi ne 1, o net 120 patarimų apie kūrybiškumą ir reklamą. Gerų minčių yra, bet iš esmės ypatingai nesužavėjo ir didelio įspūdžio nepaliko. Knyga turėtų būti aktuali visiems, kam įdomi reklamos sritis - dizaineriams, marketingistams ypatingai.
Profile Image for Katerina.
46 reviews6 followers
May 18, 2022
It was an entertaining train/waiting queue/gap between classes read for a day but nothing quite tangible to take away. In short it proclaimed: be true to yourself and don’t let anyone’s doubts prove you wrong. I just saved you 10€ and a few hours of reading.
Profile Image for Danielius (Debesyla).
Author 1 book245 followers
March 16, 2018
Tai - labiau įkvepiančių motyvacinių frazių rinkinys, nei patarimai. Tuolab "velniškai geri".

Tačiau suprantama, kodėl autorius knygą pavadinimo taip pasipūtėliškai. Visos knygos metu kartoja - pasitikėk savo idėja, rėžk drąsiai, varyk tiesiai. Taip pat beveik kiekvienas jo patarimų - pasigyrimas, kaip kažką padarė ir tai pavyko. Kas irgi, tebūnie, bent jau iš patirties kalba. Nežinia ar tinkamos kitiems, bet, bent patirties.

Tai - labiau motyvuojanti knyga. Ji padės kelti klausimus, kas reklamoje gerai, o kas eh.

Bet rekomenduoti negalėčiau - ši knyga paprasčiausiai pernelyg tuščia... Jei ties kiekvienu punktu būtų po nuorodą, kur pasidomėti plačiau (pvz. kokie kiti žmonės tai sako, kur plačiau kas rašo, iš kur idėja gimė...), būtų naudinga. O dabar - tiesiogine prasme feisbuko įrašų vertės rinkinys.

Pozityvu - labai geras dizainas. Nors lietuviškas vertimas vietose trukdė suprasti idėjas, manau gal angliškai skaityti būtų buvę geriau(?).
Profile Image for Marysya Rudska.
196 reviews71 followers
June 17, 2018
Збіса добра порада - смішна мотиваційна книжка з великою кількістю картинок і неймовірних сленгових слів минулого століття. Загалом залишила хороше враження і надихнула прибрати робочий стіл і ще раз подумати про якість того, що я роблю. Звісно, серед 120 порад були й такі, з якими я категорично не погоджувалась, наприклад - менше спати. Ну камон!
Але переважно - це тонізуюча книжка - не ний, зберись, працюй важко, роби годні вєщі і не мовчи про це!
Profile Image for Tamara.
1 review1 follower
January 25, 2014
I read this book while I was backpacking through Europe right after I finished 5 years of Architecture school. I was in a place where you realize you've been pushed into the real world and you barely know how to swim. You haven't figured anything out yet.
This book gave me 'Damn Good Advice' that I still go through at times when no one else can say the right thing. It's fresh and in-your-face. I loved how clear and to the point his writing style is. No BS, just like talking to the author in his living room, sitting right across from him. I'm glad I bought this book, very randomly, when I picked it out of a few hundred books. It struck me as BOLD at first sight. Mind you, I spent a couple of hours in the book store before I made my choice.
Profile Image for Afnan.
67 reviews22 followers
August 10, 2014
This is a GREAT book for readers interested in design and specifically advertising. However, it also contains worthy general advice. The writer's passion for his field is spilled all over the pages which provides a great inspiration for the reader. George Lois mentions his own experiences and the secrets to the success of many of his work. As for myself, My mind started thinking like advertiser and I started drafting ideas right away. I'm very glad I had purchased this book and I plan to read it again every once in a while.
Profile Image for Jasia.
30 reviews4 followers
November 27, 2020
A book I would recommend to anybody going into any creative field. Clear, specific, bold advice for making things happen in your career and feeling good about yourself. Written by George Lois, who can only be described as the original Mad Man... He vehemently denies any connection to the show, but if you subtract the philandering, drinking in the workplace and other generally frowned-upon activities, some of the stories Lois tells could be right out of the T.V. show. Brilliant and inspiring words from a truly brilliant man.
Profile Image for Kaarel Aadli.
157 reviews26 followers
October 22, 2019
Oi, jumal, mulle meeldis! Aga mulle meeldib ka selline self-help väga. Meenutas väga palju Paul Ardeni samas stiilis üllitisi (ei kujuta ette, kui palju sealt endale üheksandas klassis kõrva taha panin, ilmselt on arvestatav protsent minu identiteedist temalt pärit). Kindlasti oli reklaamimaailma poole kaldu, aga nõu sai kindlasti iga mõttetööd tegev inimene. Muidugi ei olnud teos minu pihta nii löögivõimeline/hämmastusttekitav, kui ta kunagi oleks olnud (aeg on ikkagi edasi liikunud ja inimene on küpsenud, juma tänatud), aga mõnus lugemine oli siiski!
Profile Image for Chara  Sourri✨*°°*..
15 reviews5 followers
March 17, 2021
I can say that it didn’t really cut a swath in the beginning !! That changed along the way !!! Awesome immediacy and honesty that makes you feel uncomfortable but you really enjoy it !! With audacity and conciseness, George Louis penetrates your mind like with a bullet and he reveals you his secrets !! He may not give you solutions, but he “kicks” you in an intense way to show you that if you want your talent and your hard work to be recognized you need the kind of “Greek tsampouka” and lots of audacity!
Profile Image for Sheen Pandita.
13 reviews1 follower
August 18, 2021
This book and the advice in it has not aged well.
Mainly dealing with advertising world, of which the author is a big name, the advice largely stereotypical does not hold true, also in some parts the person seems to be gloating of his own achievements while claiming to never display clout.
Nevertheless, decent read, give you material to think about and what you want from life as a person with creative talent.
January 21, 2021
As an advertising professional, I can only admit being completely mesmerized by George’s attitude, work and accomplishments. Nevertheless, I do believe his advice belongs to a different advertising age. The field is constantly changing and very few things are universally correct. Putting that aside, I had a great time reading this and I ended up feeling more in love with my job than ever.
37 reviews1 follower
February 2, 2021
Perfect for start of the year! A recommitment to instinct, experience and good creative. Thx George.
Only 3 because it’s a bit thin.
Profile Image for Andreea Chiuaru.
Author 1 book766 followers
May 17, 2017
Nu a fost chiar ceea ce mă așteptam, trebuie să recunosc. Însă am rămas cu un set de idei frumoase, mi-a plăcut formatul și grafica și nu am putut să mă gândesc cât de frumos ar fi fost cursul de ''Introducere în publicitate'' pe care l-am făcut în primul an de facultate, dacă ar fi avut mai multe astfel de sfaturi practice de la oameni din industrie și mai puține clasificări, tipologii și definiții.
Profile Image for Keely.
813 reviews11 followers
February 10, 2015
Picked this up yesterday afternoon while in the library aimlessly looking for inspiration and ended up reading the whole thing. Lois shares his advice on creativity, hard work and big ideas, gleaned over a 50+-year career in advertising. He claims to take the show Mad Men as a personal insult, but it's hard not to be reminded of just a teensy little bit of Don Draper while reading Lois' thoughts on having absolute confidence in your work and selling your ideas. Anyway, it's a visually striking book to go through, and many of Lois' tips and proclamations resonated with me. Here are a few favorites: "Think long. Write short"..."Everybody believes in co-creativity--not me. Be confident of your own, edgy solo talent"..."Work is worship"..."Research is the enemy of creativity--unless it's your own 'creative' research (heh-heh)"..."Never eat shit. (If it looks like shit, and it smells like shit, and it tastes like shit...it's shit.)"..."hop out of bed each day thrilled about the prospects of doing great work"..."Write everything, do everything, as well as it can be done."
Profile Image for Dan Nietsche.
30 reviews
January 8, 2019
The tragedy of this book is that of a man who continually tells you to have the 'big idea' or go home actually sells you old rope. The book is what I'd consider quite 'American'. It's flashy, it's loud, it's PERFECT for advertising.

But the man is so clearly a product of his time. He shuns teamwork - it's all about the (great) ego, which I suppose is his'. As I apparently don't know the man, I couldn't verify it, but he comes across as a massive douche.

Now, not a lot in this book is factually wrong, there is a lot of sense in there, but you will have to get rid of the added bombast. There are valid points in here, but please take your time and your mind whether you want to be that kind of 'creative'.

An no, not being out for a cheap, sensationalist, quick solution to everything does not make you 'mediocre'.
Profile Image for Kevin Kelly.
101 reviews6 followers
November 12, 2018
This is the book version of George Lois. Short, sweet, blustery, tons of ego and a couple of nuggets if you're not too turned away from his confidence. There's been some criticism over the years of him claiming authorship/work that he only had a small part producing. Anyone can see that is not an impossible scenario by reading thru this book. He represents an old method of cranking out effective advertisements - his logos tend to make me cringe a bit - but by being so singularly focused, he loses a bit of nuance. Is that good or bad? I don't know. It's easy to be a critic, but hard to produce the amount of good work this guy did. Love him and/or hate him, George Lois doesn't give a fuck.
Profile Image for Sophie.
104 reviews168 followers
December 19, 2014
George Lois is an American art director, designer, and author. In Damn Good Advice , Lois offers a guide to creativity and success heavily influenced by his time spent working in advertising. While the book's advice heavily leans towards design work and advertising skills, there are pointers and advice that can benefit anyone working in a creative field.
Profile Image for Fa6amie.
58 reviews
September 13, 2015
This book was pretty good, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I wanted to because I couldn't relate to it. It was more targeted for people that could use their creativity at work; artists, marketing, graphic design, etc. It talked mostly about advertising & how to stand out with your ideas through creativity.
Profile Image for Mariana García.
40 reviews1 follower
February 12, 2016
Como publicista, es una lectura obligada. Lois es un comunicador increíble, lleno buen gusto y sabiduría. Cualquier persona que trabaje con algo relacionado con la creatividad (en especial publicistas) debe leerlo.

Este libro está lleno de buenos consejos irreverentes para mejorar el proceso creativo.
Profile Image for C.A..
Author 1 book26 followers
August 11, 2012
A quick read that really does offer good advice. A legend in the advertising world for his provoking ads, he offer uncompromising advice. His focus in on the jobs in advertising, but his advice works for anyone attempting to make a living with meaning in the arts.
Profile Image for Dani.
6 reviews1 follower
January 7, 2017
I am a big fan of these books. I have been given this and 'It's not how good you are, it's how good you want to be' as gifts. Great quick reads for short journeys to inspire. I also like giving these books as gifts to fellow creatives and those in creative industries.
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