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The Original Mad Man

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Jan 04, 2012 02:34 AM
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by Baz Mcm ( last modified Aug 18, 2010



If Don Draper had kept a diary.

Scored a vintage book at a local antique mart.

The Diary of an Ad Man.
By James Webb Young. Originally Published
in 1944.

Can't help wonder if Matt Weiner (creator of Mad Men) drew any inspiration from these pages. Granted, this book is not oozing sex, sloshing booze, or billowing cigarette smoke, but it is written by an
"Ad Man" during the mid 20th century. And it's really good.

The book plays out as a one-a-day entry from June 1, 1942 - December 31, 1943. It covers a myriad of topics ranging from the war, the ad business, and personal interactions.

As a Mid Century Modern loving Ad Man (I work for Foundry Advertising), I devoured every entry as if it were a last meal.

Taste an excerpt from the entry dated October 2, 1942:

"Presented a new campaign to a client today and he didn't like it. He couldn't tell me why, but instead began trying to tell me how to make the ads over. This is one route to poor advertising."

Almost certain we've heard Don Draper utter near identical sentiments.

It has become impossible for me not to hear Jon Hamm's voice
as I read this book, even though it slightly pre-dates his character's
Ad Man lifestyle.

It appears first edition hardbacks pull some serious coin. Which happens to be exactly what I've got. Later printings can be had more reasonably. I think you should get a copy. Or you can read it for free online.

If all this has you craving a Mad Men fix, check out Mad Men Unbuttoned.







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