The Future of Work

In business we’re constantly bombarded with articles and books telling us that everything is in a continual state of flux. 

Without doubt, one of the most profound changes to hit employers today comes from the tidal wave of younger, highly educated professionals entering the workforce, people that are digital natives, who have different expectations about work and what they expect from employment (and employers).

Unless you've been living under a rock, this isn't news - and yes, there are already books a-plenty from ‘future of work prophets’ that discuss these emerging trends, but many of them stop short of attempting to provide solutions.

The Future of Work (Aug 2014) is a relatively new book, and so I've only had to 'skim' through it a few times so far, but each look ended up being longer than I intended, purely because of how relevant and compelling the material is.

An easy read - but what really sets it apart from the many other titles of a similar ilk out there, is that this one can actually be used as a roadmap to navigate from, and to help chart a way forward to capitalise on these emerging trends.

Lee P

The Behavioral Economics Guide 2014. Essential reading for all marketers.

This guide serves as a great introduction to Behavioral Economics, and should be essential reading for all marketers, especially those working in Govt Depts and areas of public policy.

So what is Behavioral Economics?

B.E spans elements of social and behavioral sciences, including cognitive and social psychology, developments in neuroscience, and of course, economics. There are many definitions, but one that really resonates with me is:

““Behavioral economics explores why people sometimes make irrational decisions, and why and how their behavior does not follow the predictions of economic models””

— Investopedia


The Behavioral Economics Guide 2014 has a wide range of contributing authors and was edited by Dr Alain Samson (Senior Consultant at London School of Economics).

It starts with a foreword written as a series of communications between George Loewenstein (Professor of Economics & Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University) and Rory Sutherland (Vice Chairman of Ogilvy Group UK), and is an amusing send-up of the classic ‘Academia Vs Private Sector’ world views.

This guide packs a lot into 113 pages, introducing some of the key theories and concepts relating to the subject, and some applied perspectives. 

Because B.E is such a vast subject, and this guide is a reasonably compact overview, it also contains an extensive reading list of books on the subject, for those people who want to learn more.

Our thanks to Dr Alain Samson, who has granted us permission to make this guide available for download from our website.

Download it for free here, or by clicking on the cover image above.

Communications Strategy. A Best Practice Guide.

For obvious reasons, Communications Strategy is a subject very dear to our hearts, and for those of you interested in improving the business effectiveness of your communications, one thing we all know for certain is that it is more difficult to effectively communicate with customers than ever before.

Published in September 2011, this guide is nearly 4 years old now, but it is still an excellent 'primer' on the subject, and it's interesting to see that many of the issues and problems it highlights are still relevant and very real today.

This report sets up the issue well, provides a definition of Communications Strategy, identifies some of the problems, and discusses some possible fixes - however, like most things in life, there are no absolutes, and no 'one size fits all' solution offered. 

Download it for free by clicking on the image.


Author: Guy Murphy, Worldwide Planning Director, JWT (he was at BBH when he wrote and edited this publication)

Commissioned by the UK's IPA, ISBA, MCCA, PRC


Velocity: The Seven New Laws for a World Gone Digital
By Ajaz Ahmed, Stefan Olander

This was first published way back in early 2012,  and 2 years is a lifetime ago in the world of digital -  but it's still a useful read. The authors 'seven laws of the digital age' are just as relevant to businesses today in 2014. Some of the examples, mini case studies and anecdotes have been well documented elsewhere, but they provide good context and support for their seven laws.

It's a fast, easy read,  written in a refreshing style by the authors, Stefan Olander, vice president of digital sport at Nike, and Ajaz Ahmed, founder and chairman at AKQA. Two senior execs, one from the agency, the other from the client, both leaders in their fields. Written as a conversation between the two of them, it's a little like eavesdropping on two guys chatting in a bar.

Lee P


Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness
By Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein

An excellent read - We first heard about this book after reading an article in the New York Times entitled, 'Britain's Ministry of Nudges'.

Well, the article was so fascinating, we tracked down the book to read over our extended end of 2013 break.

In a nutshell, it is all about 'Choice Architecture', and how people can be nudged into behaving a particular way.

So, what is a 'nudge'? To quote Thaler and Sunstein:

“A nudge, ……….. alters people’s behaviour in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives"

It's important to note that nudges are not mandates.

One clear example is this.

"Putting the fruit at eye level in a canteen is a nudge. Banning fast food is not”.

Whatever your industry category, 'Nudge' will make you think about different ways to communicate and influence people's behaviour.

Lee P


An interesting book that explores human behaviour, and starts from the premise that we are all just social animals.

The author, Mark Earles asserts that

“The single most important principle to understand mass behaviour is interaction – that is, mass behaviour arises from the interaction between individuals and not the result of powerful external forces”

I've worked in direct marketing, advertising and digital for the last 20+ years, I was fascinated because at first, he seemed to pour cold water on all three of those disciplines equally. However, that was probably just my inbuilt defensiveness coming to the fore. 

In fact, there's a lot of really good thoughts and evidence in this volume to assist all of us who work in marketing communications today.

He makes the case that 'human gossip' is just our manifestation of 'social grooming', an act displayed by other primates. However, when they 'nit-pick' each other, they are performing a real service - when we do it to each other, probably less so.

After reading this, I've resigned myself to the idea that 'we're all individuals together'.

Lee P

Behavioural Economics For Dummies

Behavioral Economics For Dummies
By Morris Altman

I confess - I'm a dummy, and this series of books are great 'primers' for people like me.

Behavioural Economics has tended to be looked down upon by traditional economists, but adds an element missing from normal economic theory - the 'human element'.

People make decisions based upon a whole basket of factors, of which 'logic' is only one, and perhaps doesn't feature as highly as we (and traditional economists) would like to admit.

Anybody in marketing would get a lot out of reading this book - highly recommended.

Lee P

The Unconscious Civilisation

The Unconscious Civilization
By John Ralston Saul

This book recognises and addresses the unease so many of us feel about expressing why our world is in the mess it is in.

Along with being easily understood Ralston shares his views and transcends the conventional left and right political views. His common sense is uncommon and compelling.

Whatever your views, if you care about where society is heading, read this book.

Tom D