Here are my top 10 favorite marketing books. (in no particular order)
1.) Insanely Simple(Ken Segall)
Description: In Insanely Simple, you’ll gain insights into the mind of Steve Jobs, and listen in on the receiving end of his midnight phone calls. You’ll understand how his obsession with Simplicity helped Apple perform better and faster, sometimes saving millions in the process.
Pros: Fascinating “Outsiders” look at Apple’s business practices
Cons: A little repetitive with a lot of filler content
2.) Spent(Geoffrey Miller)
Description: Exposing the hidden reasons for why we buy what we do, Spent applies evolutionary psychology to the sensual wonderland of marketing and perceived status that is American consumer culture. Geoffrey Miller starts with the theory that we purchase things to advertise ourselves to others, and then examines other factors that dictate what we spend money on. Miller analyzes an array of product choices and deciphers what our decisions say about ourselves, giving us access to a new way of understanding-and improving-our behaviors to become happier consumers.
Pros: The evolutionary look at marketing is game-changing
Cons: The book is longer than it needs to be… easily worth it
3.) The Tipping Point(Malcolm Gladwell)
Description: The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate. Malcolm Gladwell explores and brilliantly illuminates the tipping point phenomenon, is already changing the way people throughout the world think about selling products and disseminating ideas.
Pros: Fun read backed by case studies and data
Cons: None. Read this book.
4.) Reality Check(Guy Kawasaki)
Description: Reality Check is Kawasaki’s all-in-one guide for starting and operating great organizations-ones that stand the test of time and ignore any passing fads in business theory. This indispensable volume collects, updates, and expands the best entries from his popular blog and features his inimitable take on everything from effective e-mailing to sucking up to preventing “bozo explosions.”
Pros: Guy is engaging and articulate. Startup AND marketing advice
Cons: It leaves you want more… in an empty way
5.) Delivering Happiness(Tony Hsieh)
Description: In his first comic book, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh shares the different lessons he has learned in business and life, from starting a worm farm to running a pizza business; through LinkExchange (acquired by Microsoft for $265 million), Zappos (acquired by Amazon for over $1 billion in stock), and more.
Pros: Advice from a real entrepreneur. Nice mix of biography and business advice
Cons: Great information on satisfying customers, but little on acquiring them
6.) Content Rules(Ann Handley)
Description: Blogs, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other platforms are giving everyone a “voice,” including organizations and their customers. So how do you create the stories, videos, and blog posts that cultivate fans, arouse passion for your products or services, and ignite your business? Content Rules equips you for online success as a one-stop source on the art and science of developing content that people care about. This coverage is interwoven with case studies of companies successfully spreading their ideas online—and using them to establish credibility and build a loyal customer base.
Pros: Practical and actionable advice to get started
Cons: Needs more information on customer acquisition
7.) Made to Stick(Chip Heath)
Description: Made to Stick is a book that will transform the way you communicate ideas. It’s a fast-paced tour of success stories (and failures)–the Nobel Prize-winning scientist who drank a glass of bacteria to prove a point about stomach ulcers; the charities who make use of “the Mother Teresa Effect”; the elementary-school teacher whose simulation actually prevented racial prejudice. Provocative, eye-opening, and often surprisingly funny, Made to Stick shows us the vital principles of winning ideas–and tells us how we can apply these rules to making our own messages stick.
Pros: Entertaining with great case studies
Cons: A little longer than it needs to be
8.) Blink(Malcolm Gladwell)
Description: Blink is a book about how we think without thinking, about choices that seem to be made in an instant-in the blink of an eye-that actually aren’t as simple as they seem. Why are some people brilliant decision makers, while others are consistently inept? Why do some people follow their instincts and win, while others end up stumbling into error? How do our brains really work-in the office, in the classroom, in the kitchen, and in the bedroom? And why are the best decisions often those that are impossible to explain to others?
Pros: Wildly entertaining with great stories and fascinating data
Cons: None. Another Gladwell gem
9.) Enchantment(Guy Kawasaki)
Description: Enchantment, as defined by bestselling business guru Guy Kawasaki, is not about manipulating people. It transforms situations and relationships. It converts hostility into civility and civility into affinity. It changes the skeptics and cynics into the believers and the undecided into the loyal. Enchantment can happen during a retail transaction, a high-level corporate negotiation, or a Facebook update. And when done right, it’s more powerful than traditional persuasion, influence, or marketing techniques.
Pros: Covers a wide range of startup and marketing ideas
Cons: A bit repetitive
10.) Brain Rules(John Medina)
Description: See how the brain works while using it in the process of reading this book! Most of us have no idea what’s really going on inside our heads. Yet brain scientists have uncovered details every business leader, parent, and teacher should know – like that physical activity boosts your brain power.
Pros: Biological and psychological look at marketing. Fascinating.
Cons: Less marketing related and it can get a bit academic