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Books by Roger Parry


The Ascent of Media:

From Gilgamesh to Google via Gutenburg

Our society is shaped by our media - now more than at any time in history. They play a crucial role in culture, commerce and politics alike. The Ascent of Media is the first book to look at the new digital era in the context of all that has gone before, and to build on the past to describe the media landscape of the future.

Ascent takes us on a journey from the earliest written story - the Legend of Gilgamesh etched on clay tablets - to the Gutenberg press, and from the theatres of Athens to satellite TV and the coming semantic web. Tracing 3000 years of history the book shows how today's media have been shaped by the interaction of politics, economics and technology.


The text explains why Britain has the public service BBC whilst America developed the private broadcasting networks ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC. The book profiles the people and organizations that have created the media world and reveals the often surprising stories behind such ubiquitous items as the keyboard, telephone dial and tabloid.

Ascent of Media shows that issues of today such as a sensationalist press, piracy, monopoly, walled gardens and balancing advertising and subscription revenue have all happened before. Each upheaval in the media world - the development of moveable type printing in the 1450s; the telegraph network in the 1850s; radio broadcasting in the 1920s; and digital distribution in the 2000s - created huge fortunes, challenged authority and raised fundamental issues of copyright, privacy and censorship. Traditional media then adapt, evolve and go on to thrive in the face of competition.

The convergence of the internet, mobile phones and tablet computers is now transforming our culture. Established media giants are struggling, while new firms like Google, Facebook and Apple are thriving. The superabundance of media, with increasing amounts generated by consumers themselves, means that media professionals are becoming curators as much as creators of content. The Ascent of Media traces the story of media from clay tablets to tabloids to the tablet computer. It relates how we got where we are and, based on the experience of history, where we are likely to go next.

Read the reviews here

Read the PDF of Peter Preston's review here

Roger Parry discusses Ascent of Media watch the video here

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Enterprise: The Leadership Role:

The Role of the CEO

A highly readable book about the key issues and actions that any CEO or business leader must tackle and do if they are to be successful in their role. Today's business leader - the CEO in particular - is under great pressure to perform - ie, to create wealth for the company's owners (the shareholders). CEOs have many other roles and responsibilities, but creating wealth is their primary reason for being.


This book is about what successful CEOs and other business leaders must do in order to put their companies at the top of the league tables of wealth creators. Written in a clear and intelligent manner,


Roger Parry (himself a CEO of one of the world's largest media companies) provides first-hand observations and an insider's framework for thinking about business and the necessary management actions for success. In short, Enterprise is a comprehensive and very readable manifesto of how to make businesses more valuable ...essential reading for business leaders of today.

Read the reviews here

Roger Parry discusses Enterprise the Leadership Role watch the video here


Making Cities Work

The majority of the human race will soon call a city their home. Cities bring out the best and worst in humanity and making them work well is a huge challenge. The issues of congestion, pollution and crime are complex. This book showcases example of initiatives that have worked.


Making Cities Work examines the characteristics that make cities pleasant and practical places to live and work. Featuring 30 individual case studies which focus on the experiences of arriving in, enjoying and moving around a city, this beautifully illustrated book is an ideal reference for city and urban planners as well as transport planners and executives.


You will find a case study illustrating arriving in an ancient city - Venice, as well as modern examples of the arrival experience from Gardemoen Airport,  Oslo;   TGV Stations in Avignon and  Aix;  Chep Lap Kok airport, Hong Kong; and more.

Other cases illustrate enjoying a  city including Marbella Old Town; South Bank, Brisbane; Copenhagen City Centre; and more.


Moving around examples describe the urban cycle scheme that was pioneered at Rennes in France;  road pricing in Singapore and the Legible City initiative in Bristol UK


 In addition, the book identifies "urban heroes," those individuals who have led particularly successful projects in urban improvement throughout the world. Order your copy of this practical work today. 

Read the reviews here

Roger Parry discusses Making Cities Work watch the video here

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People Businesses:

Making Professional Firms Profitable

At the time this book was written one person in ten worked in a professional service firm - or 'people business' as they are often called.  It is now more like one in seven.  Accountants, advertising agencies, architects, designers, headhunters, lawyers, management consultants, market researchers, PR consultants - together these and many other service firms like them employ huge numbers of professionals: people who, though highly competent in their chosen fields, often lack the skilled and specialist management to help them give of their best.  


People Businesses offers proven and practical guidelines for managers in this sector - managers who realize that highly professional can also mean highly profitable.


  • Part 1 Service firm concepts: what is a professional service firm?; how do they work?

  • Part 2 Levers of profitability: what can you do to maximize profits?

  • Part 3 Putting people first: how to get the best from the firm's key assets; its people.

  • Part 4 Running the business: the secret of profitable growth. Part 5 Strategy: where to take the firm, and how to operate it, in the future.

Read the reviews

Roger Parry discusses Enterprise the Leadership Role watch the video here

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Beyond Digital:

Marketing Renaissance

Digital technology is now embedded in all aspects of advertising and public relations. The social, political and commercial pressures on tech. giants to reform are ushering in a new era of marketing communications which rediscovers the value of traditional ideas in a digital world.


Since the 1990s, waves of digital technology have transformed the business of marketing communication.  There has been an irreversible shift from a product-centric to a consumer-centric approach.  Digital channels have given consumers far more content, choice, power and information. They also provide vast amounts of data and insight.  Marketing communication has moved from being a broadcast to a dialogue.


But after the initial enthusiasm there has been a much more critical appraisal of the digital communications revolution. As the technology has advanced the traditional analytical tools like the Marketing Mix and the Marketing Funnel have been called outmoded.  This book suggests that, with refinement and updating, these ideas are as relevant and useful as ever.

Before the internet, smartphones and social media was the Classical era of marketing communication. Then, during two decades of digital transition, we have been dazzled and intrigued by the novelty and wonders of new technologies – at times losing sight of the fundamentals of branding and marketing. It is now accepted that digital media have some serious problems: accuracy of audience measurement, lack of media buying transparency, brand safety (proximity with undesirable content) and data privacy.

This book reflects the reality that “digital” marketing, as a stand-alone idea, is now passé.   Digital is ubiquitous.  It is fully embedded in all aspects of communication. The growing criticism of the technology giants and the social, political and commercial pressure on them to clean up their act is ushering in a Neoclassical era when issues such as taking responsibility like traditional publishers and providing third party verification of audiences will get resolved. It is time to rediscover and rewrite the classic marketing communications frameworks, not to abandon them.

Read PDF of City AM's review here

Roger Parry discusses Beyond Digital watch the video here


Delivering the Neural Nudge

The rapid and accelerating use of the mobile internet, delivered on smartphones and tablets, is allowing the insights coming from behavioural economics and neuroscience to be applied in ways that are driving radical change in the techniques of marketing communications. For many decades manufacturers, retailers and governments have purchased time and space from media owners to get across their messages in the form of paid advertising. But now we have a better understanding how people make decisions and how marketing communication affects our brains and actions. This leads to more sophisticated and targeted campaigns being created with more use of earned and owned media. Through the technology of mobile internet we can deliver these messages with greater precision, at lower cost and at the most effective time and place.


Marketing professionals have long been aware of the “trigger point” in the customer journey which is the moment people move from having a preference for a product or service to actually buying it.


Neuroscience and behavioural economics have allowed us to understand how these trigger points work much better.

The mobile internet offers a very powerful means of unlocking this knowledge of decision making and delivering a “neural nudge” – a call to action – at exactly the right moment. The final moment of decision to select brand A or B or to have or decline that extra drink or donut is finely poised. We now understand much more about what drives our choices and how to use the mobile internet influence decisions. This book is about how marketing communication is changing in the face of new ideas and new technologies.

Roger Parry discusses Delivering the Neural Nudge watch the video here

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