reading list


Some useful and interesting books, relevant to pitching. Or not.

Public speaking books, as a rule, I would avoid. I read them so you don’t have to. Most have some great tips, but they’re usually over-sold as unbreakable dogma or padded with pseudo-science..

Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull. Specifically chapter 5 “Honesty and Candour”, which describes the vital role the “Braintrust” plays in Pixar’s success. In a nutshell, it’s an informal group of senior creatives to whom anyone in the firm can bring work. They are obliged to be candid in their reaction to it, and the person submitting the work is obliged to receive their feedback on the work (not themselves). Highly pertinent to supporting colleagues doing something exposing like speaking in public. Particularly for polite folks like British publishers …

Adventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman. Because it’s ace, but specifically because it contains the glorious Harrison Ford quote, to George Lucas, on the set of Star Wars: “You can write this shit, George, but you sure can’t say it”. A reminder to write like you talk.

The Chimp Paradox by Steve Peters. Like many popular psychology books, it’s a terrific example of charging £8.99 for a very skinny paperback, and I commend Ebury for that. For our purposes, it speaks about the value of feeling confident about doing your best, even if you’re not confident of the outcome [link]

The Perfect Pitch by Jon Steel. Entertaining and invaluable. Why?

1.     Great take-down of Powerpoint

2.     Exceptional distillation of clever pitching practice

3.     Dissection of the Paris v London Olympic pitches which is worth the price of admission alone, and then some.