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It’s not often that I will start at, or near, the end, but Mark Earls’ latest book, Copy Copy Copy, demands that I do. Why? Well, on Page 131 there is a sentence that perfectly sets out what the book is about.

So why isn’t it on Page 1, you ask?

If it were there, it wouldn’t make sense. You have to have read to this point for the sentence to resonate powerfully enough.

I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s return to that sentence.

I think questions are way more useful
than answers…
Mark Earls, Copy Copy Copy, 2015.

Those words had such resonance with me, yet having read all that way to that page they became positively seismic. Because everything that came before in the previous 130 pages has solidified how I’ve been approaching my work over the past year or so.

I admit, when I first started reading the book, I couldn’t get into it. I can’t quite pin down why that was, but I suspect I was busy doing too much thinking and my head wasn’t in the right place. When I finally picked the book up again, I have sped through it because it’s not just written well, there is a heap of practical advice you can use. Yes, real advice and not just someone’s opinion.

There are not just answers. There are methods for asking the right questions. I’d been fumbling with that thought and then suddenly, in front of me, I was reading exactly the same thing, just articulated so much better.

Pick A Corner
By far the best thing about Mark’s book is a mention of a pack of cards that accompany the latter chapters. You can get a set at the CopyCopyCopy website (and a copy of the book, if you haven’t already bought one).

The idea that Mark posits is a simple one, yet so deviously simple that it’s been in plain sight for so long. Yet I can’t think of anyone who has pointed it out before. The cards, however, are the thing that really bring it all together.

I love playing with cards. I have made my own decks and tools using cards. I’m addicted to Artefact Cards, as are a lot of my clients. I use them all the time. And I mean, all the time. The set that accompanies the book are my favourite yet.

I used them this morning to kick-start my thinking in a new way, to shift my ideas from the usual to the unusual, to ensure I covered every angle and sniffed out every corner for better ideas.

I don’t think I’d have done that had I not had the cards, had I not read the book.

They will now become an invaluable piece of my strategy and idea generation toolkit. I will be pitching them to clients; I will be using them in workshops; I will probably have to buy a second pack as the inevitable constant use wears down the cards.

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Smarter Thinking
The book is ostensibly written for marketing people. It’s got broader appeal than that, I reckon. This is more than communications. It goes beyond the kind of problem solving that happens in marketing departments and advertising agencies around the world. It has the potential to do more.

I urge you to read it. Really. It’ll change the way you approach the way you work, the things you think, and the outcome of that thinking.

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