Beutler Ink's Book Shelf: Best Reads For Content Developers

At Beutler Ink we think it’s important to continue to learn and hone your craft, so we’ve pulled together this list of books that have been an important part of our professional development (plus we just love to talk shop). We realize that it takes a lot of players with specific skill sets to make and distribute great content, so we found something for everyone on your content team. This list of resources will take you from that initial spark of inspiration to strategizing successful ideas, from designing great visuals and writing flawless copy, to growing professionally and leading your team.

Got a great book to add? We’d love to hear about it. Tweet @BeutlerInk your pick!


Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

Heather Robertson Strategist

“I was introduced to Made to Stick by Dan and Chip Heath early in my career. Many of the examples they use in the book to explain why some ideas are successful (concrete visuals, simple storytelling, etc.) have stuck with me many years later. So, clearly, they know their stuff.”


Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art

Jehoaddan Kulakoff Art Director

Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud is one college book that I kept in my library. Not only does it cover the art of comics, but takes on explaining the art of visual communication in a wonderfully straightforward, visual way (it's a comic book!).”

Varieties Of Social Explanation: An Introduction To The Philosophy Of Social Science

Pete Hunt Strategist

“It's hard to imagine anyone picking this up for a casual read, but Varieties of Social Explanation by Daniel Little was the best book I read as a poli sci student and one that continues to influence my analytical thinking and writing. Little argues persuasively that any adequate social explanation requires a proper accounting of the causal mechanisms that link cause to effect. In some cases this action chain will be a relatively straight-forward description of clear proximate causes. But think of how often we cite culture or religion or social norms as an "explanation" for a particular outcome. How do we properly explain or model the impact these structural conditions have on individual agency? And how can we be sure that this interpretation is correct? Little's book attempts to answer these questions, while also providing an overview of key social science theories from positivism to postmodernism.”



The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition

Emily Gaudette Researcher & Writer, Wikipedia

“Getting language down to the simplest terms is the best way to make something WP-appropriate, and Strunk & White helps remind me to pare down my writing.”

Ogilvy on Advertising

Sheri Cook Director of Accounts

Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy is one of the books I had to buy my sophomore year of college. At the time, this book was more of a chore to me than anything, but now, I truly enjoy flipping back through the pages and seeing what I can pull from the experience of an advertising giant in the early 80s. It's interesting to see how much of the old-school thought can be applied to work we do now, because, although advertising back then was much different than it is now, there are still principles that are true today—they're just shaped and molded in a new way. Plus, the book is packed full of beautiful, old advertisements that I like to drool over!”

Dr. Enelow’s Handbook

Claire Carlson-Jones Production Strategist

“When I thought of the one piece of writing that has been most helpful in my career (as both a student, an employee, and an individual), I was immediately brought back to my high school English teacher's "handbook." While in 11th grade 'Dr. Enelow's handbook' was printed and given to every student, he soon published it online and the guide continued to be a personal writing source well into college. Even now I consult this grammar and style blueprint to bring me back to the basic foundations of a well-written sentence.”

Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads

Lydia Wallbaum Account Manager

“I loved Hey Whipple, Squeeze This in college, and I just realized the author has a pretty great website for publishing his own content:”

Grid Systems in Graphic Design: A Visual Communication Manual for Graphic Designers, Typographers and Three Dimensional Designers (German and English Edition)

Jay Doronio Designer

“A personal favorite is Grid Systems in Graphic Design by Josef Muller-Brockmann. This is definitely a must-read for any aspiring designer--this book showed me that design is about methodologies and structure and not just pretty pictures.”

Daniel Eatock Imprint: Works 1975-2007

Robyn Baker Art Director

Imprint by Daniel Eatock bridges the worlds of fine art and graphic design in a way that reinforces the importance of process, and shows that even the most simple of methodologies, explorations, and experimentations can be used to create meaningful work.”


The Art of Being Unreasonable: Lessons in Unconventional Thinking

William Beutler President

The Art of Being Unreasonable by Eli Broad is a kind of business advice book-as-memoir: about starting out a middle-class accountant and the wisdom he accumulated on the way to becoming a billionaire entrepreneur and patron of the arts. For any team leader who wants to be hard-nosed without being a hard-ass, Broad instructs: “Entrusting people with greater responsibility and greater expectations is the highest form of praise.”

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

Jenny Karn Vice President, Content

“The book that has most influenced my professional life is Lean In. I joined a Lean In circle, and I invoke the phrase on an almost daily basis. It pushes me to be the best version of me I can be and to think of ways that I might be (even unconsciously) holding myself back and challenging me to put an end to those thoughts and behaviors. I'd recommend it to anyone—woman or man.”

Purple Cow, New Edition: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable--Includes new bonus chapter

Sheri Cook Director of Accounts

Purple Cow by Seth Godin was a book recommended to me by the owner of the first agency I worked at right out of college. Seth Godin explains that the original 4P-marketing method is no longer applicable, and instead should be replaced with 5 P's instead: Product, Price, Place, Promotion and Purple Cow. Essentially, his message is this: you can build a business and sell a product, but if the product looks just like the other brown cows your audience sees everyday, it will fail. The original school of thought was (and oftentimes still is) that advertising / marketing only comes in to communicate the values of the product after it has been developed and manufactured. But, as we know, that clearly is not a valid strategy. A product's attributes should be at the heart of marketing—how useful is this to the audience/user? why will they care? will they learn something? what kind of utility does it bring to their lives? Though Seth Godin's lens is focused more on actual companies (Starbucks, Hasbro, etc.) and how they can be purple cow companies, he strongly states that successful companies/products are lead and driven by marketers.”