In this age of information, it should be a primary goal of ours to become more, well, informed. With this in mind, I’ve compiled a few resources - visual and auditory, something for everyone - that people in the automotive industry could benefit from, or at the very least enjoy.
For Those Who Prefer the Auditory Things
Podcasts have really blown up in the past few years. Smartphones contributed to the boom, too, making it easy to access all of that sweet, sweet content. Ranging from storytelling to business, they’re a great medium to spread information (and can be a good way to pass the time on that commute). Here are some automotive podcasts worth a shot.
CarStuff: for all things automotive! (No, really: the description of the podcast rhetorically asks, “What's the history of stop lights? What are some common myths about car dealerships?”, a.k.a. the two most different automotive topics ever.) Produced by HowStuffWorks and hosted by senior editor Scott Benjamin and writer Ben Bowlin, you’re sure to find something that’s just right for you in this topically-diverse podcast.
Car Talk: hosted by so-called “America’s funniest auto mechanics,” this NPR podcast takes calls from car owners and cracks wise as they answer questions. And the good news: “You don't have to know anything about cars to love this one hour weekly laugh fest.” Sadly, Car Talk has come to an end, but it’s definitely worth a listen. (Remember what I said about those commutes? This might make them feel a little shorter.)
The AutoBlog Podcast: hosted by Dan Roth, this podcast is a “long-running no-holds-barred audio-only counterpart to Autoblog.com.” Essentially a bunch of automotive enthusiasts getting together to talk cars, the AutoBlog Podcast is a place to, in the description’s own words, “drop the pretense of being professional automotive journalists” in order to talk passionately and without too many reservations. Welcoming special guests including staff from Autoblog.com and “titans of the auto industry,” this weekly podcast is awesome.
The Dealer Playbook Podcast: created by Michael Cirillo, I imagine this is one of the podcasts you’ll be most interested in. Another weekly podcast, episodes focus on marketing, sales, and leadership. “Knowledge isn’t power until you know what to do with it,” Cirillo writes. The goal of the Dealer Playbook Podcast is to provide you with actionable insights to implement into your everyday work.
For Those Who Prefer the Written Word
Fear not: I’ve got some book recommendations, too (although I don’t suggest reading these on your commute behind the wheel).
Drive On!: A Social History of the Motor Car: rated a solid 4.0 on Goodreads, author L.J.K. Setright - considered of the world’s foremost and most forthright authors on the technological changes in the automotive world - follows the history of automobiles, charting it decade by decade and tracing how cars have adapted based on what society demanded of them. Setright covers the progression from wooden wheels to computer control, sharing the origins of the word “dashboard” to the maximum speed of a raindrop along the way. Called “stimulating” and “witty,” you’d be doing yourself a favor by picking up this read.
Six Men Who Built the Modern Auto Industry: written by Richard A. Johnson, this is the story of six extraordinarily important men who rebuilt and redefined the automotive industry following World War II: Henry Ford II; Eberhard Von Kuenheim, the founder of BMW; Shoichiro Honda; Lee Iacocca, the founder of Chrysler; Robert Lutz, an influential key player at General Motors; and Ferdinand Piech, builder of Volkswagen Group. Follow along and witness the huge fundamental changes they brought to the industry, making a sizable dent in the societies they lived in along the way.
The Machine That Changed The World: a collaborative effort by James Womack, Daniel Jones, and Daniel Roos, their book is based on an MIT five-million-dollar, five-year analysis of the future of the automobile. Exploring the underlying history and impact the automobile had from the very beginning, from its mass-production days to more modern technologies, the book takes a good look at the evolution and attempts to predict its future. According to the New York Times Magazine, “The fundamentals of this system are applicable to every industry across the globe...[and] will have a profound impact on human society - it will truly change the world.”
Epic Content Marketing: here we take a detour from the purely automotive-focused books and set our sights on something just as important nowadays: social media and marketing. The book, written by Joe Pulizzi and one of FORTUNE Magazine's Top 5 Business Book Must-Reads, tackles the topic of attracting prospects and customers by creating the content said prospects and customers actually care about. After all, we (and our prospective customers) are constantly inundated with new content, coming from all sides and at all times. In order to be truly effective, your content has to stand out and be meaningful - and Pulizzi will tell you how to achieve just that.
The Art of Social Media: carrying on the previous theme, this book, by the incredibly knowledgeable Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick, serves as the one essential guide to getting the most bang for your buck - as well as for your time and effort. Coming in strong with 100+ tips, tricks, and insights to strengthen your social media strategy, you definitely want to pick this one up if you use social media in your business. (Hint: if you don’t, you should.)
Now that I’ve presented you with quite the wall of text, dip your toes in! Do you have any other podcasts or books that you would recommend? Let me know!