Marketing books aren’t hard to find. If you’re in marketing, whether that’s as part of a global organisation, an SME, or you own your own business, I’m sure you’ll agree that staying on the cutting edge of ideas is vital.
There are a lot of great blogs, podcasts and other media to be consumed in the marketing world.
But books are a little different. They have an almost timeless appeal.
I found that there are plenty marketing books out there. But, when people put together “Best of Marketing Book” lists and things like that, they go with older, more traditional style books.
This list of 20 essential books that every marketer should read, not only contains marketing classics, but also books from online marketers and a younger generation of writers.
Let’s dive into our list of the best marketing books available right now:
Pat Flynn – Will It Fly?
Pat Flynn labels himself as “the crash test dummy” of marketing. His website, Smart Passive Income, is full of exciting experiments that outline what does and doesn’t work when it comes to online marketing. Needless to say, I was excited for his book, and it didn’t disappoint.
Pat’s book encourages people to stop rushing into half-baked business and marketing ideas. Split into five parts leading to “all systems go”, Will It Fly will challenge you to think critically, act deliberately, and dare greatly when it comes to your business and marketing ideas.
Seth Godin – Permission Marketing
Seth Godin is an author, entrepreneur, marketer and public speaker. His blog attracts hundreds of thousands of readers on a daily basis. Without doubt, he’s a leading edge marketer.
Permission Marketing is based around the idea of offering consumers incentives in return for permission to market to them. TV ads, newspapers, magazine adverts and most traditional advertising methods are based around interrupting our viewing and taking our attention. Permission marketing enables companies to build long term relationships with customers, create trust and build brand awareness.
Eugene Schwartz – Breakthrough Advertising
Eugene Schwartz was an art collector and author who wrote 10 books over his career. His book, Breakthrough Advertising was wrote in 1966 and is no longer widely available, so be prepared to hunt high and low to find it. It’s worth it.
Breakthrough Advertising is not just a book for marketing professionals and business owners, it’s a book for everyone in the business world. Put simply, Breakthrough Advertising addresses universal business problems that people are still trying to solve today. How to write a great headline, how to cut through the noise and how to open up a whole new market.
Chris Ducker – Virtual Freedom
Chris Ducker is an entrepreneur and business owner with both physical bricks and mortar businesses and online business. He’s also a podcast host and the founder of the Youpreneur network, a membership site for business owners.
Entrepreneurs often suffer from “superhero syndrome.” Thinking they have to do everything within their business themselves. Inevitably, this leads to burnout. Virtual Freedom helps you explore the options when it comes to hiring digital staff and outsourcing work.
Joe Pulizzi – Content Inc
Joe Pulizzi is the first author that has 2 books featured on this list. He’s the founder of the Content Marketing Institute and is responsible for the World’s largest in-person content marketing event, Content Marketing World. And if you ever see him in person, he’ll be wearing orange.
Content Inc explores a 6 step process that many business and entrepreneurs use to dominate the market without selling anything in the first instance. Joe shows you how to position yourself as a leader within your chosen niche and develop content that delivers results.
Joe Pulizzi – Epic Content Marketing
Epic Content Marketing helps businesses and marketers develop strategies and use stories to leverage the widespread distribution of social networks, Google and the mainstream press. Just like Content Inc, there’s a step by step process to the delivery that gets you results.
Gary Vaynerchuk – Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook
And just like that, we’re up to 2 books by 2 authors. Gary Vaynerchuk has written a handful of the best marketing books, but we thought it only fair to give others a chance.
He also runs an awesome business YouTube channel that you should be paying attention too.
Gary Vaynerchuk’s life goal is to buy the Jets (the NFL team.) He started his career as a marketer at Wine Library, we’re he invented the now famous Wine Library TV.
In Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, Gary shares advice on how to connect with your customers while beating your competition. This book will provide you with a blueprint and marketing strategy that will lead you or your business to social media success.
Gary Vaynerchuk – Crush It!
Crush It is about finding your one true passion, and crushing it. The point in Gary’s book is that anything can be achieved if you truly want to. He encourages you to find out what you really want in life, and hunt it down. The lessons in Crush It could be applied to many marketing campaigns and business goals.
Jay Baer – Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is About Help Not Hype
Jay Baer is a keynote speaker that works with organisations around the world to help them get more customers and win more business. His book, Youtility is a New York Times best-seller. He also runs one of the most respected marketing blogs in the world over at Convince and Convert.
Youtility offers a new approach to winning business. Rather than being pushy and vying for everyone’s attention with interruptive advertising, Jay’s book asks you to think “How can we help?” Youtility encourages you to cut through advertising clutter and make lifelong customers. By genuinely helping people, you can create customers for life.
Michael Hyatt – Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World
Michael Hyatt is one of the top business bloggers in the world. Over at his website michaelhyatt.com, Michael provides near daily articles to help both marketers and people that have their own business. He’s providing real value while helping people get the life they want.
Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller. The book is about building a platform that serves as a foundation for your business. He shows you what marketers, authors, public speakers, entrepreneurs and more are doing today to make themselves stand out in a crowded market space.
Ryan Levesque – Ask
Ryan Levesque is a marketing expert, coach and consultant and is the creator of RocketMemory and SurveyFunnel among others. Ryan has been featured in CNBC, Yahoo Finance, The Miami Herald, The San Francisco Chronicle and more.
Ask is based on the idea that you shouldn’t have to guess what your prospects and leads are thinking. In the book, Ryan provides a system known as The Ask Formula that helps you discover exactly what people want from you, and how to deliver it to them. Other authors on this list, such as Pat Flynn, have raved about Ryan’s book, and even reviewed it on his TV show, spiTV.
Gary Keller and Jay Papasan – The ONE Thing
Gary Keller and Jay Papasan are regular collaborators and as well as The ONE Thing, they’ve wrote a number of other books together such as The Millionaire Real Estate Investor.
The ONE Thing deviates from their pattern of releasing real estate themed books and has been very well received the world over. In this book you’ll learn to cut through clutter, build momentum towards your goals, dial down on stress and master what matters to you. “The ONE Thing is a New York Times bestseller which delivers extraordinary results in every area of your life.”
David Meerman Scott – The New Rules of Marketing and PR
David Meerman Scott is an online marketing strategist. David is an internationally acclaimed bestseller whose books and blogs are must reads for marketing professionals. If you’re looking to grow your business or strive in the role you work in, David’s material is for you.
The New Rules of Marketing and PR offers a step by step plan to help you harness the power of modern marketing methods. The New Rules of Marketing and PR is full of compelling case studies, real world examples of using content to success and inbound marketing strategies and tactics. The book was written for marketing professionals and entrepreneurs who want to grow their business or create success.
Dale Carnegie – How to Win Friends and Influence People
Dale Carnegie was a writer and lecturer renowned for his courses in self-improvement, salesmanship, corporate training and more. He wrote several books over his career, including one of the first best-selling self-help books, How to Win Friends and Influence People.
How to Win Friends and Influence people was published in 1936, and it’s content is still as relevant today as it was then. The book itself contains a list of expectations at the beginning, explaining to the reader what they’ll get out of reading it. Among them are, increasing your popularity, how to make connections quickly and easily, increase earning power, winning new clients and more. The book promises to your your relationships around and improve interaction with everyone in your life.
Ann Handley – Everybody Writes
Ann Handley is a veteran of creating and managing digital content and relationships. As well as being a Wall Street Jorunal bestseller, Ann is a monthly columnist for Entrepreneur Magazine.
Everybody Writes is the go to guide to developing leads, attracting customers and retaining relationships through the written word. Ann explains in her book that in this digital, content drive age, we’re all writers. By reading Everybody Writes, you’ll learn how to write better, improve your grammar, learn best practises and more. Everybody Writes is the ultimate field guide for businesses that know great content is key.
Ekaterina Walter – The Power of Visual Storytelling
Ekaterina Walter has led strategic and marketing strategies for Fortune 500 companies Intel and Accenture. A Wall Street Journal bestseller, Ekaterina is a regular contributor to Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., The Huffington Post and more.
The Power of Visual Storytelling best summed up by the quotes of some other writers on this list:
“This book is not only a complete overview of [visual storytelling] but, most importantly, the key to doing it right, a total Right Hook!” Gary Vaynerchuk
“A valuable guide to understanding how to develop powerful marketing programs using the art of visual storytelling.” Guy Kawasaki
Russell Glass and Sean Callahan – The Big Data-Driven Business
Russell Glass is the head of products at LinkedIn and is the co-author of The Big Data Driven Business alongside Sean Callahan.
The Big Data Driven Business makes the case that big data is for real and as business owners and marketers, you should be using it. It uses case studies and examples from Apple to Blackberry to demonstrate the future of the big data revolution. In the book, you’ll learn what big data is, what corporations have done with big data and how you can use it to drive your business forward.
Napoleon Hill – Think and Grow Rich
Napoleon Hill was an American author working in the new thought movement area of study. When he died in 1970, his most successful book was, and remains, Think and Grow Rich.
Think and Grow Rich is labelled as “the most important financial book ever written.” In the book, Hill researches and writes about more than forty millionaires to find out about their journey, and how they got to millionaire status. It’s an interesting look into the psyche of people and once you’ve read the book, you’ll understand more about human nature and willing than ever before.
Jonah Berger – Contagious
Jonah Berger is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. His primary field of study is around word of mouth, social and viral marketing. Making the title of his book, Contagious, highly relevant.
Contagious is a study into why some products and/or ideas are talked about more than others. Jonah tries to answer the question of virality. What makes a YouTube video spread like wildfire? Whether you’re in the marketing department at a Fortune 500 company, an SME or own your own business, Contagious will help you succeed, and understand how you can best put your advertising budget to use.
Guy Kawasaki – The Art of Social Media
We all know Guy Kawasaki. If you don’t, he was one of the marketing executives at Apple that were responsible for marketing their Macintosh computer in 1984. He’s also on the Board of Trustees at Wikimedia.
His book, The Art of Social Media, is a no-nonsense guide to becoming a social media superstar. It’s no secret that social networks can have a make or break effect on your business. The Art of Social media is filled with more than 100 practical tips and tricks to help you rock your chosen social network.
There are huge amounts of marketing books, and we might have missed out some great books.
What are the best business marketing books that you’ve read? If you have any recommendations that you’d like to see added to the list, let us know if the comments below.
reading time: 13 minutes