I just finished a great book by Daniel Pink called "A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future." It wasn't great in the sense that it inspired me to run out and do something extraordinary, but it let me know that I am (and have been) moving in the right direction, according to economic and marketplace trends in America. I highly recommend the book for anyone feeling frustrated or overwhelmed by the sometimes overly-analytical, data-driven workplace.
In today's market, what sticks is what makes the customer FEEL good, and it doesn't really matter HOW we accomplish that. For example, you may sit through a 45-minute presentation with important charts and graphs and only remember one slide with a picture on it. Perhaps the picture made you smile or there was a compelling story that went with it - but either way, that's what stood out.
The reason? It's so easy to find information online these days - often by reaching for our cell phones and blackberrys. I bet you don't know who played Ruth Joad in "The Grapes of Wrath" in 1940, and I'm sure you can't tell me how many people for every 10,000 were injured at work in 2007. I'm also confident that you can give me the answers in less than 10 minutes, but that won't give me a sense of how brilliant of a writer John Steinbeck is or what its like getting caught in a paper shredder.
Data is important, but it takes a lot more than that to sell your ideas. Check out Seth Godin's blog for more.