Review: Hacker, Maker, Teacher, Thief

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I’m not a big fan of business books. I’ve read some very good ones, but I have generally found that the majority peddle the same old crap and offer nothing new or profound.

However, I put all my cynical thoughts to one side and picked up a (signed) copy of Hacker, Maker, Teacher, Thief: Advertising’s Next Generation at the launch event and spent a few days reading it, and then re-reading it.

Advertising, I think it’s fair to say, has been searching for a long time for what it is that defines it in this post-digital world. Does the latest book from the Creative Social stable shed any light on what that definition should be in the future?

Split into four main categories, the essays explore Creativity, Culture, Education, and Innovation within this weird industry we call advertising.

Yes, certainly there are many essays among the 35 that make up the book that really do have some fantastic ideas on what advertising is becoming. There are answers, philosophies, opinions and all manner of ideas spread throughout. There are also some that peddle the same old crap, or are simple navel-gazing pieces from the contributors. Thankfully, the latter are few, and to be honest it could well be my own personal bias that makes me dislike two, or three, or four.

Even some of those essays I really enjoyed reading, I still had my own ideas, thoughts and interpretations that didn’t chime perfectly with the author’s. That’s a good thing, as it means they made me think.

What I found most important about the book is that no one has a definitive answer, which means there is scope to define your own interpretation of what creativity, advertising, communications, et al, will be as we progress. The only thing most contributors can agree on is that what we once called advertising is no longer what we think of as advertising now.

This isn’t a book to absorb and parrot back to people down the pub, or on Facebook, Twitter, etc. It’s designed to make you consider things, to begin to form your own opinions on what the future holds for the industry – and those who choose to work within it.

As the quote from Graham Fink says on the cover: “[This is] less of a book and more of a lively debate. So rather than read it, ‘listen to it’ and get stuck in. It’ll make you want to ask questions, nod vigorously and heckle from the back.”

Buy it. It’ll do exactly what Mr. Fink says on the cover.

Available from Lulu, or Amazon

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