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Up the Agency: The Funny Business of Advertising

Before his glorious retreat to Provence, delightfully chronicled in his best-sellers A Year in Provence and Toujours Provence, Peter Mayle made his career in advertising, beginning as a copywriter and finishing thirteen years later as a creative director ("I think I was also a vice president," he writes "but I never had the cards printed"). Up the Agency is his caustic valentine to the culture of Madison Avenue, where the tribal customs and rituals are as wondrous to behold as the sights on any anthropological expedition. Treading fearlessly and wittily where no one without a customized BMW and matching Armani suit has gone before, Mayle dissects this odd and endlessly fascinating industry - where the speed of a new talent's ascent can be matched only by his shocking fall months later. Whether describing the perfect ad man, the frenzy and desperation of putting together a new campaign, or the treachery of the fickle product-buying public, Mayle brings his insightful eye to bear on this very funny business, which brings both pleasure and pain to millions - and millions to a few.

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