You would not embark on a trip without a map. For me, the Bible and the wisdom it contains is the roadmap for my life. As with any trip, if you don’t follow the map you end up getting lost or having problems. In no means am I saying I always follow the map, but that is what I aspire to do.
As his Bible gets filled up with notes he rotates and get new ones, but he has used this one for 10 years.
This is one of the most famous books on advertising. The author, David Oglivy, is the patriarch of modern mass advertising and a brilliant copywriter. One of the main problems agencies and advertisers have is they forget that the motivating factors for consumers have stayed the same, we’ve just complicated things. The channels and tools have changed, but in its simplest form, we need to understand the problem the consumer has and how our product or service can fix it. Mandatory reading for anyone that wants to enter this field.
Ken has always had this copy of the book, but he has another one that is signed by David Ogilvy that was a gift from Mr. Ogilvy himself. He’s not one for autographs or celeb things but thought hey, that’s pretty cool.
Now this one is interesting. This book is representative of the fact that I love learning things. My mind is a strange place and I consistently think in advance of a lot of things. I do a lot of scenario thinking whether that’s in work or my personal life. What happens if the power goes out – I think about that stuff all the time. I am constantly reading because I want to have a base of knowledge upon which I can draw because I think one of life’s most critical skills is problem solving. So in absence of having actual experience in a specific area or a partner that is an expert in that particular area, I want to have knowledge that I can rely on to solve problems I may encounter, like how to avoid a shark bite. So I have lots of these kinds of books. I also enjoy books written by people like Malcom Gladwell, he is a genius about making you think about what you think you know. He will take 2 disparate thoughts/ideas/notions and weave them together in a compelling story. His topics range from homelessness to why some kids excel more than others in a classroom. Once again, it’s giving me knowledge and information that challenges what I traditionally think or what I’ve come to believe. I think that we constantly have to challenge what we think we know.
From the time I was 7 or 8 years old, I spent so much time with my dad building things. My parents were very involved in a Christian camping ministry in Houston and that group raised money to buy about 500 acres of land near Huntsville. So from the time I was 8, I was out there with my dad cutting down trees, stripping the bark, building cabins and digging water wells. When you’re out in the middle of the woods you have to figure things out – if the chainsaw breaks you have to figure how to fix it, if the wood is too heavy for you to lift, you have to figure out how to move it. So from a very young age, my parents challenged me to figure things out. I treasure those roots. I treasure those lessons. And I treasure books that challenge my way of thinking.
This is what I would call my airport or vacation reading. You get to the airport and realize you will be sitting in an airport for eight hours and then sitting on the beach for three days. So I like books that are thrillers or suspense – not scary. I hate scary stuff, but my sons make fun of me because I never finish any of these.
This is a book I am currently reading. I enjoy reading biographical or autobiographical business books and this one is about the founding Creative Artist Agency – which is the most powerful talent management company in the world. It’s fascinating to, again, look at what other people have done and what can I learn from their experiences and apply to my own.
This book was a gift from a mentor, good friend and former client of mine, Frank Wyckoff. Frank is a man that important to Schaefer in the early years. He was head of the franchise council for Snelling Personnel Services – our first, really large national account. Frank has helped me navigate many business and life situations – I’m incredibly grateful for his friendship. Again, I love seeking knowledge from other people.
Important point – knowledge just for the sake of knowledge is gnostic in its quest. I want knowledge in order to gain wisdom. My family will tell you that when we do our devotion at night one of my prayers is often to gain wisdom. I treasure the wisdom of others.