The Carlyle Gregory Company LLC

The Carlyle Gregory Company LLC

Everyone has favorite books. Mine happen to usually involve politics, strategy, and life. Here are my suggestions:

    Rules for Radicals, by Saul D. Alinsky.
    Alinsky, who is not one of us, is a genius at understanding mass movements and how to organize them.  This is must reading for people who are trying to build a political party or recruit a large volunteer organization.

    Pocket Pal, edited by Michael H Bruno.
    The best intro to graphic arts I know of.  This book tells you enough to make you very dangerous in dealing with printers, artists, etc.

    The Effective Executive, by Peter F. Drucker.
    A short (!) book by Drucker that gives harried executives some guidelines for survival.  Introduced me to a totally new way of looking at campaign management.

    On Business Communications, by Rudolf Flesch.
    Still the best book on writing. His methods are particularly adaptable to political writing.  Flesch wrote Why Johnny Can't Read.

    The True Believer, by Eric Hoffer.
    A penetrating study of why people join groups.  A good, though controversial, book that should be helpful in recruiting and keeping volunteers.

    The Prince, by Niccolo Machiavelli.
    Still one of the best books about the art of politics.  Despite Noccolo's bad reputation, there is much in this book for the gentlest of politicians.

    Ogilvy On Advertising, by (you guessed it) David Ogilvy.
    Ogilvy differs from most advertising geniuses in that he sets out rules to follow in advertising campaigns.  Good rules and humorous, easy-to-read text.

    Plunkitt of Tammany Hall, recorded by William L. Riordon.
    Probably the best description of the "old style" politics in print today.  Useful reading in order to fathom the psyche of your opponents (many of whom still think like traditional hack politicians) as well as reaching an understanding of community based politics.

    Graphic Designer's Production Handbook, by Norman Sanders.
    If you have to design & print your own campaign materials, this is a handy book to have.  It answers all the questions you might have when dealing with printers & layout artists.

    The Responsive Chord, by Tony Schwartz.
    Schwartz is a Democrat media consultant, but also one of the few people who think about the media and why it persuades and sometimes fails to persuade.  This book is a textbook for people who want to understand the power and limitations of broadcast media.

    The Art of War, by Sun Tzu.
    Take out the word "War" and insert "Politics" and you have the best political text ever written.  No one has done a better job of defining political strategy since 400 BC.

    The New Well-Tempered Sentence: A Punctuation Handbookfor the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed, by Karen Elizabeth Gordon
    A quick and fun guide to punctuation.  As good as Strunk (the Elements of Style) and dramatically more fun.  If you are going to work in a campaign you have to be able to communicate, which means you have to use English correctly, which means you have to know where to put those pesky commas.

    Up the Organization, by Robert Townsend.
    Townsend is the guy who made Avis the 2nd largest car rental company in the world by ignoring all the traditional wisdom about running a corporation.  An excellent guide to management in easy one page bites.

Beware that some of these books are harder to find than others.  Currently though all of them are available at and most can be found at Barnes & Noble.


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