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Admap: Books that influenced me

Admap is featuring Adam French and Antedote in the October 2012 issue of the magazine in a feature called “Books that influenced me”. This a monthly feature that highlights industry leaders and the books that influenced them over their careers. 

If you have an Admap subscription you can login here to view the article or see the copy of the article below. We have included the Amazon links in case this article inspires you to revisit any of these great books. 

Title: Books that influenced me
Author(s): Adam French
Source: Admap
Issue: October 2012

Books that influenced me

Adam French


Adam French founded the San Francisco-based innovation consultancy Antedote in 2012. Before starting this
business, he founded the US division of the global brand consultancy Clear. He has also worked in innovation
and brand consultancy at WPP. He brings brand and innovation strategy together with expertise in qualitative
and quantitative insight.

1. Feersum endjinn

by Iain M. Banks, published by Orbit, 1995

This was among the first science fiction books that I read, and at first it presented a challenge, with Banks
writing Bascule’s chapters in phonetic prose. However, as the plot unfolds, this puzzle helps move the reader’s
mind firmly into a dying universe and the four characters’ quest to find the Feersum Endjinn that will save what
remains of humanity. This book sparked a deep curiosity in me for what the future might hold, something that
has become part of the work that I do every day.

2. The art of innovation

by Tom Kelley, published by Profile Books, 2002

When I first read this, innovation was still a relatively unknown field that I had been working in for a few years. The description
of the culture of entrepreneurship and innovative thinking has been influential in my own beliefs as to how to create a culture
of innovation for my team. When I re-read this book, it reminds me why I have spent the last 15 years working in innovation:
the challenges that we get to solve make this the most extraordinary way to make a living.

3. Moneyball

by Michael Lewis, published by WW Norton & Co, 2003

Though this has recently been made into a film starring Brad Pitt, this book was recommended to me by a business analyst I
was working with about nine years ago. What fascinates me about this book is the fact that, in the space of one season, the
way that an entire sport worked was redefined. It reminds that when we look at a challenge through a different lens, we can
create something new.

4. The art of the start: The time-tested, battle-hardened guide for anyone starting anything

by Guy Kawasaki, published by Portfolio, 2004

When I started Clear in New York, it was my first time running a business and I sought guidance from people I
knew, as well as books. This book really stood out for me in the guidance that Guy gives, and helped form the
business. In particular, I take his advice about ‘being a mensch’; it’s what I aspire to be as a leader of a
business, to do right by people.

5. Freakonomics

by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, published by Penguin, 2007

I first bought this book at an airport. Little did I know that, rather than sleeping on the transatlantic flight, I would spend it
finishing this book. By applying economic theory to a wider range of diverse topics, the authors uncovered fascinating insights.
This approach served to remind me to look at the world differently and to apply different disciplines and thinking styles to a

6. Managing brand equity 

by David Aaker, published by Jossey Bass, 1991

At the very start of my career, my manager gave me this book with the advice to read it and learn from the
thinking. Though the examples are now a bit dated, it still remains the cornerstone upon which my knowledge
and thinking around brand strategy was built.

Published in Admap, October 2012 ©Warc