How Not to Plan - A Review by Kevin Chesters

2 Jul 2018

Small confession. I was always going to like this book after the opening sentence: “To be honest, we’re not big fans of business books”. After that opening I think I was just suffering from a reviewer’s form of confirmation bias.
 
The best book ever written on planning was Jon Steel’s “Truth, Lies and Advertising”. It was after reading it that I decided to switch into planning from account handling (so you know who to blame). My favourite two “business books” are Legend by James Kerr & An Astronauts Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield. You may have noticed that neither of those titles are business books which reveals my usual tolerance for such tomes.
 
This is, clearly and obviously, not your usual airport “Eat your way to blockchain riches” dreadfulness. Quite the opposite, it is brilliant. Simple, almost shamefully good, lists of how to (and how not to) plan. Sarah & Les have laid it all out in astoundingly easy-to-follow checklists with pertinent examples. For a man who works for an agency that ‘Makes Brands Matter” then my fave chapter was always going to be Chapter 3, and the seductive amazingness of the sentence “Aim for Brand Immortality”.
 
For any junior (or senior) planner, this book from now will be required reading. It’s basically the York Notes for a career in Strategy. I’m only worried that I’m now technically redundant for every planner in my department. There’s literally nothing that I can offer them that they now can’t get for £20 from all good book stores.

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