Meet the Real MAD MEN

The AMC series, Mad Men, returns for its 5th season on Sunday, after 17 long months. How accurate is the show? Former copy writer Jane Maas, often called “the real-life Peggy Olson,” writes about the era in Mad Women: The Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue in the ’60s and Beyond (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press; Tantor Audio).

On Saturday’s CBS This Morning, the 80-year-old says, “Whatever they did on the show, we did more…The only thing they got wrong is that women copy writers wore hats all the time, even in the ladies’ room.”

Andrew Cracknell also has first-hand knowledge of that world. He focuses less on tales of drinking and debauchery and more on the creativity that fueled a revolution in the formerly humdrum business in The Real Mad Men: The Renegades of Madison Avenue and the Golden Age of Advertising (Perseus/Running Press).  PW is a fan; “Advertising geeks will gobble this up, but even those completely unaware of Don Draper and Sterling Cooper will appreciate this lively and spirited account” and Adweek calls it “a thoughtful paean about the creative people who pioneered modern advertising and the dynamic cultural environment that influenced them.” Get a taste of it here.

Today, NPR’s Morning Edition interviewed one of the men behind that revolution, George Lois. His new book is Damn Good Advice (For People With Talent!): How To Unleash Your Creative Potential By America’s Master Communicator (Phaidon). The book’s trailer demonstrates Lois’s belief that any problem can be solved through creativity.

The AMC site includes a list of other Mad Men inspired books and the New York Public Library’s Billy Parrott is keeping a list of the books mentioned on the show.

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