Terry’s Book Club

Welcome to my book club. During our broadcast season, I’ll make a recommendation and tell you why I think it’s worth reading. You can also recommend books to me below. Let’s share.


Georges St. Pierre: The Way of the Fight

by Georges St. Pierre

Hello everyone. Under The Influence is back on the air for the 2021 season and I have an interesting book to recommend.

It’s written by one of the greatest mixed martial arts fighters of all time – but I don’t want you to pass this by because you are not a fight fan.

As a matter of fact, that is exactly the point.

This book is so insightful, so thoughtful and so rewarding that I would say it’s one of the best books I’ve read this year.

Here’s why.

Georges St. Pierre (GSP) thinks outside the box – or shall I say – outside the octagon. For example, he began studying gymnastics because he considered gymnasts the best athletes in the world. Other UFC fighters scoffed at the thought of it. But GSP understood gymnasts can generate power from the most awkward positions – and in a fight, a competitor will have you tied up in knots – so you need to be able to generate power from strange, uncomfortable positions.

Just the fact he saw that insight makes GSP so interesting.

Apply that kind of thinking to your own life or career. Where can you look for an advantage in an unlikely place?

He also notes that when people make it to the top of their profession, they change their thinking. Instead of pushing for innovation, they seek status quo. They want to preserve their position so they stop evolving. They forget it was innovation that pushed them to the top. As GSP says, they begin to focus on the result of success instead of the process of success. It’s the trap of success.

He encourages you to look at your competitors objectively, that way you can see weaknesses they are trying to conceal. Once you can figure that out, you can begin to move your competition away from their strengths into their weaknesses. Then you begin to win.

GSP once fought a smaller man and kept getting jabbed in the face and GSP couldn’t understand how he was able to do that so consistently. When the bout ended, he shook the other fighter’s hand and suddenly realized why: His opponent had a really long reach. GSP’s mind had processed his height, but not his reach.

The lesson: Look beyond the obvious. Everyone sees the obvious. The really perceptive people see what others don’t. It’s there where all the advantages lay.

Top three reasons to read these books:


Everything GSP talks about in this book is a lesson you can take with you. Regardless of the profession you are in.


GSP believes as the mixed martial arts progress, fighters will get smaller – not bigger. That’s because they will rely less on muscle and more on strategy. Strategy rules.


Most of all, this book is nuanced and smart. Think mixed martial artists are brutes? Think again. This book is written by a true thinker. His philosophy: How to win fights by fighting as little as possible. Substitute “fights” for “market share” and you’ve got a prized book to add to your shelf.


Scotty: A Hockey Life Like No Other
by Ken Dryden

This month’s book selection is for hockey fans. As most fans know, Scotty Bowman is the winningest coach in NHL history with nine Stanley Cups under his belt. There are 29 years between his first cup win and his last. Remarkable. He began his career in the 50s and was able to observe the great […]

Maximum Volume 1926-1966 & Sound Pictures 1966-2016
by Kenneth Womack

This month’s book selection is a two-volume set. If you are a Beatles fan or if you are fascinated by biographies of people who put a dent in the world, this series on producer George Martin is one of the best. And I have read virtually ALL the books about the Beatles and Mr. Martin. […]

Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story
by Chris Nashawaty

Any Caddyshack fans out there? The idea for this 1980 movie came from Bill Murray’s brother, Brian Doyle-Murray. It was based on the Murray brother’s childhood summers spent working as caddies on the snootiest golf courses along Chicago’s wealthy North Shore. The slobs versus snobs premise bubbled with comedic possibilities. Nashawaty also places an interesting […]

The Castle on Sunset: Life, Death, Love, Art, Scandal at Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont
by Shawn Levy

This month’s book selection was recommended by listener Peter Blackmore. Thanks Peter. I directed hundreds of commercials over the years in Los Angeles and while on those many trips, one of my favourite spots was the infamous Chateau Marmont hotel. One day on the way to the airport, I was notified my flight was cancelled. […]

Dream Teams: Working Together Without Falling Apart
By Shane Snow

I have been a member of teams over the entire course of my career. The creative departments of advertising business are structured to be team-focussed. Writers are teamed with art directors. As a writer, I worked with a number of very talented art directors over the years. Some partnerships were better than others. So much […]

The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible
by A.J. Jacobs

Here’s a book to beat the February blahs. A.J. Jacobs was an editor at Esquire magazine in 2007 when he wrote this book. As an experiment, he wanted to see if he could go a full year trying to live by all the rules in the Bible. And he wanted to follow those rules literally. […]

Last Train To Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley
By Peter Guralnick

Aside from the subject of advertising, the largest category in my book collection is biographies. I’ve read hundreds of them. My favourite genre by far. So when I say the Last Train To Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley (1994) is one of the best biographies I have ever read – maybe the best – […]

How To Fly A Horse:
The Secret History of Creation, Invention and Discovery

by Kevin Ashton

This remarkable book mines the mysterious process of creativity. It’s one of the best books I’ve read on the subject and I would recommend it as a perfect bookend to Creativity, Inc by Ed Catmull. Ashton’s basic premise is this: There is no magical shortcut to creativity. No get-creative-quick schemes. Creators spend almost all of […]

The Gift of Fear
by Gavin de Becker

This month’s book recommendation is something a little different. Anyone who listens to our show or podcast knows I am endlessly curious about human behaviour. And I firmly believe that kind of learning can come from any discipline. Gavin de Becker is widely regarded as the foremost expert on the protection of public figures. He […]

You Can Negotiate Anything
by Herb Cohen

For this month’s selection, I’m going to recommend an book I read many years ago. It was written in 1982 and spent nine months on the New York Times Best-Seller List. It’s still easy to find online. Author Herb Cohen was one of the world’s top negotiators. He was brought in when corporations needed to […]

Creativity, Inc.
by Ed Catmull

Managing a creative business is never easy. I did it for 25 years and I can say firsthand that a creative company is all about culture. And that creative ideas are as fragile as soap bubbles. But what if you could spend a few hours extracting the wisdom from the CEO of one of the […]

The Man Who Sold America: The Amazing (But True!) Story of Albert D. Lasker and the Creation of the Advertising Century
By Jeffrey Cruikshank & Arthur W. Schultz

A few seasons ago, we did an episode on Albert D. Lasker, possibly the most fascinating adman of the 20th century. It was our most listened-to episode of the year. Lasker changed advertising for all time. He brought the concept of “salesmanship” to advertising, which up until then had only been used to deliver news. […]

The Mockingbird Next Door
By Marja Mills

My favourite movie is To Kill A Mockingbird. The movie was based on a book written by the reclusive Harper Lee. Published in 1960, it still sells close to one million copies per year. Astounding. But here’s the enduring mystery: It was the only book Harper Lee ever wrote. As a matter of fact, she […]

Thanks A Lot Mr. Kibblewhite
By Roger Daltrey

This is a gem of a book. It’s not a long read – just 246 pages – perfect for airplane trips and vacations. First there’s the title. Mr. Kibblewhite was the headmaster who expelled Daltrey from school. As Daltrey was leaving his office, Kibblewhite yelled “You’ll never make anything of your life, Daltrey.” I often […]


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