David Ogilvy didn't just revolutionize the advertising industry and serve as one of the inspirations for Mad Men, he also composed some really great lists.
The legendary ad exec and copywriter ("David Ogilvy is to advertising as Jimi Hendrix is to the electric guitar," enthuses the Buffer blog) periodically took a break from crafting iconic ad campaigns to share his insights on writing and leading in bullet point format.
Here, for example, is his list of the 20 most persuasive words in advertising. It was written in 1963 and still circulates widely today. Or take as another example his internal memo offering ten tips on how to write better, all of which are as true in 2015 as they were in 1982.
Clearly a fount of wisdom for wordsmiths, Ogilvy also had advice to offer fellow executives and entrepreneurs, including a list of ten traits he believed were the essential building blocks of creative leaders. It can be found in the book The Unpublished David Ogilvy, but was originally a talk he gave to his staff. It came to me via the always intriguing Brain Pickings blog.
- High standards of personal ethics.
- Big people, without pettiness.
- Guts under pressure, resilience in defeat.
- Brilliant brains--not safe plodders.
- A capacity for hard work and midnight oil.
- Charisma--charm and persuasiveness.
- A streak of unorthodoxy--creative innovators.
- The courage to make tough decisions.
- Inspiring enthusiasts--with trust and gusto.
- A sense of humor.
Some of these will probably come as no surprise -- fearlessness and hard work are pretty well accepted parts of the creative process -- but others are less expected. Everyone admires a sharp sense of humor and high ethical standards, but they're less often associated with creativity.
If you're looking for more wisdom from Ogilvy, Copyblogger has rounded up his quotes on topics ranging from research to headlines to standing out from the crowd.
What traits would you add or subtract from Ogilvy's list?