Round Seventeen & 1/2: The Names Have Been Changed to Protect the Inefficient – Rich Siegel

(Reviewed by Don Jung)


We’ve evolved from the mad men of the 1960’s and 70’s to the internet and  social media of the twenty-first century. However, one thing hasn’t changed. The advertising industry still tries to get you to buy products that you didn’t even know you wanted. And specifically, who does this? The copywriter comes up with these catchy slogans that manipulate you into buying all this stuff.

Round Seventeen & ½ is a series of short stories about the advertising business told from a copywriter’s perspective.

It’s about how these industry people try to work together to come up with brilliant ads and how they relate to each other. It’s about how they work such long, grueling hours, but still have a life that they can enjoy. These are war stories that are told with a dry humor that only a veteran ad man like author Rich Seigel can tell it. “The $45 Million Dollar Birthday Party” is one where trying to balance work with a family life can get you fired… or maybe rehired with more money? In any event, it’s just one of the many hilarious stories.

There are chapters that show how crazy the advertising world is and how Siegel had to survive the egotistical personalities that he had to work with. This is an easy read as each short story has a different tone that illustrates the copywriter’s experiences with all different types of people and how they reward themselves when they accomplish something. Sometimes wacky, sometimes daffy, the stories represent a view from inside the industry and you wonder how these people can maintain their sanity and have a normal life.

Round Seventeen & ½ will not only appeal to those interested in the world of advertising, but also to those who want to see the humorous side of hard work and coming up with crazy ideas.

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