The 5 Key Books That Have Shaped Serif

Since I started Serif in 2009, I have been an avid reader. Over the last 3 years especially, I’ve tried to knock out at least 1-2 books a week on the topics of: marketing, advertising, storytelling, filmmaking, business development, project management, etc. Below are the 5 books that have directly influenced me the most and have helped shape Serif’s story.

Love is the Killer App, Tim Sanders

I read this book by Tim Sanders back in 2009 when I first started Serif. Sanders discusses the importance of your knowledge, your network equaling your networth, and love. This is a great read for anyone who is interested in personal development. It’s just an all around solid read.

Getting Things Done, David Allen

After reading this book, I have implemented its methods and now I live and die by them. One of my favorite teachings from the book is the “two minute rule:” if it takes two minutes or less do it now. That could be a phone call, text message, email, etc. By doing this, it creates a snowball effect for your workflow. I also highly recommend downloading the app Things after reading the book. Things is based of the GTD workflow and I’ve loved using the app for 3+ years. It’s the best project management/day-to-day software I have found.

Making Ideas Happen, Scott Belsky

Ideas are easy but making ideas happen is not. This is a must read for all right-brain creatives. Belsky teaches that finishing projects isn’t a talent that we are born with but a skill that needs be nurtured and developed over time. Belsky studied dozens highly effective people over the duration of 6 years prior to writing the book. He also teaches organizational habits and how to work in a community. If you’re struggling with shipping your ideas and projects, this the book is for you.


All Marketers Are Liars (Tell Stories), Seth Godin

If I had to choose a book that has had the greatest influence on Serif and especially our client’s projects, it’s probably this one. Godin teaches the importance of stories and how to connect them to an audience that shares the same worldview. But more importantly he teaches the importance of authenticity in storytelling. If you are struggling on how to better tell your story you should definitely give this book a read. Seth has a fantastic blog I recommend checking out as well. He’s considered to be the leader of marketing. As proof of that, you can Google just the name Seth to find his blog. 😉

Confessions of an Advertising Man, David Ogilvy

If you work in advertising and aren’t aware of Ogilvy, I don’t know what to say… Ogilvy was an advertising genius. He founded Ogilvy and worked with companies like British Airways, Rolls Royce, Dove, etc. and put out world class campaigns. Ogilvy has such an interesting story, ranging from working in the military and the Gallup Research Group, to living with the Amish before founding his agency. The book is packed full of wisdom and insights that are still very applicable today even though it was written in 1963, which include:

  • How to manage an advertising agency (admire people who work hard)
  • How to get clients
  • How to keep clients
  • How to be a good client
  • How to build great campaigns
  • How to write potent copy
  • How to illustrate advertisements and posters
  • How to make good television commercials
  • How to make good campaigns for food products, tourist destinations, and proprietary medicines
  • How to rise to the top of the tree–advice to the young

Anyone who works in business will love this book. Oh, and, supposably, Don Draper’s character is based off Ogilvy.

I hope you consider reading any of the above books, they truly have shaped my life and Serif’s story and will  likely do the same for you. If you have any books you would like to recommend, I would love to hear about them. You can email me at or leave a comment below.

Have a good holiday weekend guys and talk to you soon.


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