The Alternative SCA 2.0 Reading List, by @larrygrange

Laurens Grainger

By Laurens Grainger

The Alternative SCA 2.0 Reading List

Before starting at the SCA, we were given a pretty hefty reading list of books on advertising to get through before our first day.  Just less than a week before I start, I can happily say that I’m now down to the last few pages of the last book on the list.

All this reading, it got me thinking.  What if the SCA did a reading list that wasn’t just about advertising theory?  Sure, those books are interesting – but you can learn just as much by seeing the finished article too.  And why limit it specifically to adverts?  Plenty of people have used the methods from books like ‘Made To Stick’ in films, music and TV for decades without relating it to advertising at all.

I introduce to you my Alternative SCA Reading/Watching/Listening List (us youngsters need more stimulation than books alone).  A list celebrating clever storytelling by clever people.

Reading List

Anything You Want by Derek Sivers (

– A short and inspiring book from the guy behind a company called CD Baby. Following the journey of his business from garage to multi-million pound revelation, Derek Sivers’ book is packed full of anecdotes about the successes and failings of taking the unconventional approach and doing things your own way. Inspiring and enjoyable read.

Dave Trott’s blog (

– I was looking for a clever way to describe his writing, but then I came across this Amazon customer’s review of Dave Trott’s work.  They’ve got it spot-on:

“Dave Trott’s unique and snappy style of writing brings to life a collection of weird and wonderful stories from the worlds of advertising, sport, warfare and business, and much more besides.  Essential reading for absolutely anybody who has to solve problems and wants a foot up.”

Watching List

The Armando Iannucci Show (

– Probably the most bizarre TV show I’ve ever seen and quite possibly the funniest.  It’ll get your imagination doing cartwheels.  The man behind Alan Partridge, The Thick Of It and Time Trumpet never got a second series for this.  Absolute disgrace.

Hoop Dreams 

– “A documentary about American high school basketball – how’s that relevant?”  Well, firstly it was Oscar-nominated so that should give it some sort seal of approval. And secondly, the story itself – a tale of the struggles of two up-and-coming high-school basketball players in inner-city New York – portrays the issues of race, education and the class-system in such a vivid way that the story will be biting away at you long after the credits end.

Listening List

Radiolab (

A collection of incredible award-winning podcasts covering all matter of subjects: from the science of colours to stories about peeping Toms.  Every single podcast is perfectly produced and the storytelling is outstanding.  Whatever I write here won’t really do it much justice – trust me.  Just check out the backlog here (it stretches back to 2007) and go to town on it.

Dorm room tycoon (

Imagine a website with an archive of recorded interviews with the founders of agencies like CP+B, BBH, AMV, Droga5 and W+K – well, that’s what this site offers. Not surprisingly, there’s some pretty fascinating anecdotes in there, but it’s not just limited to that – you also get genuinely useful advice from experts on their craft.  David Abbott’s Guide to Copywriting? it’s right there for you to take… 

And the best thing about this site? It’s all completely free.

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