Reg Lascaris

THE READER: Reg Lascaris — ad man

The legendary South African ad man shares his reading favourites


Reg Lascaris co-founded advertising agency TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris in 1983; it has subsequently received a host of awards including Financial Mail’s Agency of the Century. The regional president of TBWA\Africa\Middle East, Lascaris has worked on many brands, including the ANC during the run-up to South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994. He has co-authored five books and has recently penned Lessons from the Boot of a Car.

What are you reading at the moment?

I’m reading Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson, but it’s taking me quite a while due to other pressures.

What book has had the greatest impact on you?

I think Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People is one of the best self-help books ever written.  A lot of people have pooh-poohed it, but I found it very informative when I read it a few years ago (a couple of times) and I’m sure a lot of that information has remained in my subconscious mind.

What is your favourite novel of all-time?

I don’t really read novels, so the closest thing I can get to “stories” is A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson.

What were your favourite books as a child?

I remember as a child reading the Secret Seven series which of course are novels, and that was later followed by The Famous Five, which I enjoyed tremendously.

What’s the last book you gave as a gift?

This is pretty obvious — Lessons from the Boot of a Car which I wrote recently.

What’s the last thing you read that made you laugh?

Very definitely the first Spud by John van de Ruit, because a lot of it is based on a boarding school I went to many years ago.

Which book have you never been able to finish?

When I was at University for a “short time”, everybody was talking about the threat of communism, the Cold War etc. etc, so I attempted to read a very thick book on communism, which I never finished, but I can’t remember what it was called.

What book do you turn to for advice?

Like many other people, I’m a big admirer of Warren Buffet and one of my favourite Warren Buffet-related books is The Warren Buffett Way: Investment Strategies of the World’s Greatest Investor.

The greatest book you’ve read about advertising?

One of the funniest and true to life books on the advertising industry in the ’70s and ’80s and still a great book to read today is From those Wonderful Folks who Gave you Pearl Harbor by Jerry Della Femina.  It’s a real send-up of everything that happens in this business.

Your favourite magazine?

Fast Company – I find it a quick informative read of current happenings.

What book would you give to the President of South Africa to read?

Leadership for Dummies by John Marrin – this is self-explanatory.

Lessons from the Boot of a Car by Reg LascarisLessons from the Boot of a Car is published by Penguin and is available from



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