Book Vloggin’ with Jan: Mad Men Book Recs

“Normally, I don’t like my vlogs to be anchored to one fixed point in time. If you watch any of my vlogs, then you know that I like to speak to the overall human experience. Why we read what we read and how it helps us to understand the the world better– rather than recommending books based on an established like. Then again, I really miss Mad Men. I needed books to hold me over until the final-FINAL season, and I’m sure you do, too. So my format is going to change a bit. Instead of the usual rating system, I will isolate certain aspects of the show and recommend a book on that. So, without further ado, Mad Men books…”

Each month, Jan, one of our intrepid booksellers, picks a different topic and tells us about her must-read books surrounding it. This month she’s vloggin’ about books to hold us over until the final-FINAL season of Mad Men. And no, she won’t lose her job for talking about television.

Books Discussed In This Blog, All BookPeople Staff Picks:


Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
“Mad Men doesn’t dare go this far. You’re going to love it. Or hate it. You won’t come out of it the
same. I’m serious. This story is so tragic, a friend of mine saw the film and created a different
ending to the story in his head and that became his memory of the film. I had to correct his
memory of the story… Character John says, ‘Hopeless emptiness. Plenty of people are on to the emptiness, but it takes real guts to see the hopelessness.'”


The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe
“If the Peggy Olson/Joan Harlowe scene is what you’re into, have I got the book for you. The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe goes even further than Mad Men goes with representing women in an office environment. In Mad Men, we get glimpses of the various secretaries, typists, and operators at the beginning of the show, but as one or two of their stories develop, they tend to move out of the women’s-only world and into the executive world where they are surrounded by men… You can even see Don Draper reading this book when he’s in bed with Betty in season 1, episode 6: ‘Babylon.'”


UBIK by Philip K. Dick
“Narratively, UBIK is about a corporate magnate, Glen Runciter, who will debug your office of secret-stealing telepaths, for a fee. Runciter bridges the gap between death and life as he helps his employees by giving them cans of Ubikan aerosol spray that keeps things around them from reverting back to 1939 versions of themselvesthings like radios, cars, elevators, hotels. (It is important to note that this book takes place in futuristic 1992). Thematically, UBIK asks what Dick asked in nearly all of his works: what is reality? And if you’re into a show about a man wearing a dead man’s identity as his own and his greatest power is selling people different versions of reality, then you should really check out UBIK.”


Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy
“First and foremost, Confessions of an Advertising Man is a business book. This isn’t what Roger Sterling calls “the book everyone writes.” It should be called “A Thousand Reasons I’m So Great.” Ogilvy outlines all aspects of managing and operating an ad agency .That’s not to say there are no
parallels to Don Draper or to Mad Men. If it didn’t have parallels, it wouldn’t be here. Like Draper,
Ogilvy wrote copy and served as creative director of his agency. Like Draper, Ogilvy believes in
using personal experience in his copy… The influences of David Ogilvy’s Confessions of an Advertising Man on AMC’s Mad Men are stunningly visible. But read for Ogilvy’s influences on creating demand in our culture today.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s