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A Media & Content Marketing Strategist’s Favorite Books

by Jesse Spear

Building the industry bookshelf one recommended read at a time

Each of these books hit me from a different direction — a friend, a Google search, a bookstore in South Africa. But they are all now bonded on my shelf and in my psyche.


Daring Greatly, by Brené Brown

After reading Daring Greatly, it’s safe to say I drink the Brené Brown Kool-Aid. She approaches self-help in a way that doesn’t scream “I know better than you,” but rather, “I’m in this with you, and here’s how I think we can get through it.” She provided me with a definition of vulnerability that I didn’t know I needed — at a time that I really needed it.

“And often the result of daring greatly isn’t a victory march as much as it is a quiet sense of freedom mixed with a little battle fatigue.”


Everything is Horrible and Wonderful, by Stephanie Wittels Wachs

This book serves as a reminder that while there’s bad during the good times, there’s also good during the bad times. It was recommended to me by a good friend and served as a bond for that friendship while helping me connect to my own emotions. The author approaches the sudden death of a loved one in a way that’s raw and real, resulting in a book that is equal parts grief, growth and giggles.

“Sometimes we even eat pizza and dance in the living room to reggae music and Annie Lennox. I never expected to dance in the living room again…And as time passes — as it inevitably does — the good days will outnumber the bad.”


The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson

To me, this one is less about not giving an F and more about prioritizing what to give an F about. It’s a beautifully vulgar collection of anecdotes stitched together to make us reflect on where we’re choosing to put our energy. I recommend picking up this gem right about the time you think you’ve got it all figured out.

“Certainty is the enemy of growth.”


Elephant Whisperer, by Lawrence Anthony

They say you shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, but what about a gift herd of unruly elephants? Anthony teaches about patience, perspective, respect, and relationships through his journey with a strong-willed herd of nature’s largest (and most majestic, IMO) land animal. The pages of this book hold a little dose of whatever you might need — emotion, science, humor, action & adventure. And, of course, elephants.

“And there we were, a herd of elephants, two huge crocodiles, a dog and a bedraggled group of men united by the most basic instinct of all — survival.”


Next on my reading list is Jab, Jab, Right Hook, by Gary Vaynerchuk — reflection comin’ at ya real soon.

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