The best books to inspire creativity, transformation, and innovation

Why am I passionate about this?

For more than 30 years I have been immersed in creative public relations and marketing from campaign development and activation to effectively engaging the primary consumer audiences. Me and my teams developed campaigns around such major sports and entertainment properties as the Olympic Games, Super Bowl, and The Rolling Stones. No matter your industry, inspiration for creativity, transformation, and innovation can come from many sources including the compelling storytelling featured in the books that I recommend.  

I wrote...

ZEO: Introducing Gen Z – The New Generation Of Leaders

By Mark Beal,

Book cover of ZEO: Introducing Gen Z – The New Generation Of Leaders

What is my book about?

ZEO places a spotlight on Gen Z’s ability and influence to transform and innovative business, media, and marketing. It captures their essence as entrepreneurs, digital natives, and tech-savvy. ZEO highlights Gen Z as content creators. It shares Gen Z’s prioritization of diversity and inclusion. It captures Gen Z’s focus as the purpose generation.

ZEO also shines a light on how Gen Z is shifting the mental health conversation. For the next decade, tens of thousands of Gen Zers will graduate college annually, begin their careers and take on roles at companies of all sizes. The key to successful transformation and innovation for marketers attempting to effectively engage Gen Z and for employers attempting to recruit and retain Gen Z is that they all must recognize and empower Gen Zers as ZEOs. 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Confessions of an Advertising Man

Mark Beal Why did I love this book?

Often called the “Father of Advertising,” David Ogilvy pulls back the curtain on his career and the advertising industry in the mid to late 1900s.

Strategic and creative approaches to marketing that he and his colleagues took decades ago are still timely, relevant, and applicable in today’s social and digital media world.  

By David Ogilvy,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Confessions of an Advertising Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A new edition of the timeless business classic featured on Mad Men—as fresh and relevant now as the day it was written


"We admire people who work hard, who are objective and thorough. We detest office politicians, toadies, bullies, and pompous asses. We abhor ruthlessness. The way up our ladder is open to everybody. In promoting people to top jobs, we are influenced as much by their character as anything else."  —David Ogilvy


David Ogilvy was considered the "father of advertising" and a creative genius by many of the biggest global brands. First published in 1963, this seminal book revolutionized…

Book cover of Petty: The Biography

Mark Beal Why did I love this book?

Tom Petty is one of my favorite songwriters, musicians, and singers of all-time.

While I had the opportunity to see him in concert many times starting in the early 1980s, I never knew how he got there. This book shares Petty’s inspiring journey from his humble beginnings in Gainesville, Florida to becoming a rock & roll hall of fame.

His voice and looks may not have been immediately embraced by everyone when he first started, but his story of perseverance is inspiring as is his creative songwriting and storytelling.   

By Warren Zanes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Petty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times Bestseller

*One of Rolling Stone's 10 Best Music Books of 2015*

An exhilarating and intimate account of the life of music legend Tom Petty, by an accomplished writer and musician who toured with Petty.

No one other than Warren Zanes, rocker and writer and friend, could author a book about Tom Petty that is as honest and evocative of Petty's music and the remarkable rock and roll history he and his band helped to write.

Born in Gainesville, Florida, with more than a little hillbilly in his blood, Tom Petty was a Southern shit kicker, a…

Book cover of Greenlights

Mark Beal Why did I love this book?

Matthew McConaughey, the globally recognized actor shares his life story and provides many valuable lessons learned along the way that all of us can apply to our own lives.

Most inspiring for today’s Gen Z students and those who may be stuck in their careers is his storytelling about his pursuit of acting and his failures and successes that empowered him to consistently innovate and transform.  

By Matthew McConaughey,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Greenlights as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the Academy Award (R)-winning actor, an unconventional memoir filled with raucous stories, outlaw wisdom, and lessons learned the hard way about living with greater satisfaction.

I've been in this life for fifty years, been trying to work out its riddle for forty-two, and been keeping diaries of clues to that riddle for the last thirty-five. Notes about successes and failures, joys and sorrows, things that made me marvel, and things that made me laugh out loud. How to be fair. How to have less stress. How to have fun. How to hurt people less. How to get hurt less.…

Book cover of Gray Goldfish: Navigating the Gray Areas to Successfully Lead Every Generation

Mark Beal Why did I love this book?

I knew Stan before he was an author and one of the world’s leading experts on helping organizations worldwide increase customer loyalty, improve employee retention and generate positive word-of-mouth.

Stan is one of the most creative marketers I know, and one of the most engaging keynote speakers. His series of goldfish books are insightful and inspiring whether and employer or brand marketer.

Gray Goldfish is very relevant today as companies big and small are attempting to understand and lead an unprecedented multigenerational workplace.

By Stan Phelps, Brian Doyle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Gray Goldfish as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How do you successfully lead the five generations in today’s workforce?

You need the tools to navigate. Filled with over 100 case studies and the Generational Matrix, Gray Goldfish provides the definitive map for leaders to follow as they recruit, train, manage, and inspire across the generations.

We believe the recipe for successfully leading across these five generations is not a one-size-fits-all solution. We believe the recipe comes from understanding nuances and being able to treat each team member as an individual. This involves going beyond the “Golden Rule” and treating others how you would like to be treated. Gray…

Book cover of Using Semiotics in Marketing: How to Achieve Consumer Insight for Brand Growth and Profits

Mark Beal Why did I love this book?

As the marketing landscape is more cluttered than ever and brand marketers are consistently transforming and innovating their marketing to reposition their brand and effectively engage their target consumers, Rachel Lawes immerses us in the powerful influence of visual images in branding, advertising, and marketing.

She highlights how visual imagery is interpreted differently by different genders, cultures, races, and other factors and shares case studies that will inspire future campaign ideation and activation.     

By Rachel Lawes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Using Semiotics in Marketing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Semiotics is a superpower for marketers. It's a proven, powerful method of uncovering consumer insight, tailoring brand strategies that work and generating profit for brands. Companies such as Unilever and P&G have attested to the success of Lawes semiotics in stimulating innovation and boosting sales. Now newly updated, this second edition is packed with even more revelations about brands, consumers and their emerging needs. Three new chapters reveal the unseen social forces that drive the Be Kind movement, public appetite for sincerity and the emotions of younger generations. Using Semiotics in Marketing is an acclaimed how-to guide that makes semiotics…

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Book cover of Adventures in the Radio Trade: A Memoir

Joe Mahoney Author Of Adventures in the Radio Trade: A Memoir

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Broadcaster Family man Dog person Aspiring martial artist

Joe's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Adventures in the Radio Trade documents a life in radio, largely at Canada's public broadcaster. It's for people who love CBC Radio, those interested in the history of Canadian Broadcasting, and those who want to hear about close encounters with numerous luminaries such as Margaret Atwood, J. Michael Straczynski, Stuart McLean, Joni Mitchell, Peter Gzowski, and more. And it's for people who want to know how to make radio.

Crafted with gentle humour and thoughtfulness, this is more than just a glimpse into the internal workings of CBC Radio. It's also a prose ode to the people and shows that make CBC Radio great.

By Joe Mahoney,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Adventures in the Radio Trade as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"In dozens of amiable, frequently humorous vignettes... Mahoney fondly recalls his career as a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio technician in this memoir... amusing and highly informative."
— Kirkus Reviews

"What a wonderful book! If you love CBC Radio, you'll love Adventures in the Radio Trade. Joe Mahoney's honest, wise, and funny stories from his three decades in broadcasting make for absolutely delightful reading!
— Robert J. Sawyer, author of The Oppenheimer Alternative''

"No other book makes me love the CBC more."
— Gary Dunford, Page Six
Adventures in the Radio Trade documents a life in radio, largely at Canada's…

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