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Best Marketing Books: Bestsellers, Classics, And Must-Reads

Published April 8, 2022
/ Updated April 27, 2022
New York Times Bestsellers

1. The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds By Michael Lewis

book cover of Michael Lewis's "The Undoing Project"

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Dive into the story of one of the greatest scientific partnerships in history between two Israeli psychologists with polar opposite personalities. This book takes a deep dive into the human mind and the decision-making process by exploring this dynamic duo’s compelling lives and research.

Learn more about The Undoing Project on Amazon.

2. Contagious: Why Things Catch On By Jonah Berger

book cover of Jonah Berger's "Contagious"

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Word of mouth advertising and the phenomenon of a video going viral does not simply happen by chance. Contagious uncovers the six principles that any organization can implement to boost their brand’s social transmission and spread their marketing message beyond their greatest beliefs.

Learn more about Contagious on Jonah Berger’s website.

3. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move The World By Adam Grant

Originals analyzes real-life stories and research on everything from politics to sports, business, and the entertainment industry. Discover how creativity is developed from childhood to help spark your innovative mind. This book encourages you to go against the grain by developing fresh ideas and teaching you how to turn your dreams into reality.

Learn more about Originals on Adam Grant’s website.

4. Words That Work By Dr. Frank I Luntz

Book cover of Dr. Frank Luntz's "Words That Work"

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Tapping into the mind of a man that used his knowledge to help spring over 20 Fortune 500 companies, Words That Work reveals how words are strategically used to persuade not only our buying decisions but even our core beliefs and values. Endorsed as “A must-read!” by world-renowned business strategist Tony Robbins, this book will unveil the power behind the words you choose.

Learn more about Words That Work on Amazon.

5. Shoe Dog: A Memoir By The Creator Of Nike By Phil Knight

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Immerse yourself into the story of how an introverted 24-year old took a $50 loan and turned it into an athletic wear empire. Learn about the CEO’s long journey of trials and tribulations on his path towards creating one of the most recognizable brands in the world. Phil Knight is open, authentic, and gives us raw details of his journey that other CEOs may shy away from.

Learn more about Shoe Dog on Amazon.

6. Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way To Influence & Persuade By Robert Cialdini

One of the world’s most distinguished social psychologists demonstrates a powerful persuasion method that involves shifting the audience’s state of mind before making a call to action. Cialdini advises speakers that captivating an audience and changing their beliefs is not needed as long as these tactics are put to use. A message is only as strong as the “pre-suasion” implemented before it is delivered.

Learn more about Pre-Suasion on Amazon.

7. Made To Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive, & Others Die By Chip Heath & Dan Heath

Inspired ideas and cultivating innovations can fizzle out without leaving a trace, yet preposterous hoaxes and infamous “fake news” will spread across the world like wildfire. Brothers Chip and Dan Heath divulge into the six common traits that enable ideas to grab hold of the public’s attention and stand the test of time.

Learn more about Made To Stick on the Heath brothers’ website.

International Bestsellers

8. Building A Story Brand By Donald Miller

Storytelling is one of the most effective marketing tactics for businesses to get customers emotionally invested in a brand. Discover the seven universal story points all humans respond to while learning how to make your message clear and concise to connect with your target audience.

Learn more about Building A Story Brand on the book’s website.

9. Hooked: How To Build Habit-Forming Products By Nir Eyal

book cover of Nir Eyal's "Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products"

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Combining his years of research and experience, Nir Eyal discloses a four-step method known as the “Hook Model” that successfully pulls customers back in over and over again. Discover how companies are increasing their retention rates without spending a fortune on advertising and how hook cycles can allure the consumer’s mind into creating subconscious habits.

Learn more about Hooked on Nir Eyal’s website.

10. Blue Ocean Strategy: How To Create Uncontested Market Space And Make The Competition Irrelevant By W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne

Stop fighting for market space in cutthroat industries and create unknown industries where competition is yet to exist. Blue Ocean Strategy will shift your mindset away from typical business strategies and encourage you to divulge untapped market space potential.

Learn more about Blue Ocean Strategy on the book’s website.

11. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference By Malcolm Gladwell

Book cover of Malcolm Gladwell's "The Tipping Point"

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Behind every popular brand, idea, or trend that we know and love today, there was a particular moment or event that took it from zero to hero. The Tipping Point exposes what’s behind these moments and how one small action can spur a domino effect that changes the world.

Learn more about The Tipping Point on Amazon.

12. Crossing The Chasm: Marketing And Selling Disruptive Products To Mainstream Customers By Geoffrey A. Moore

When new technology is introduced to the public, its acceptance appears to rely on a sociological model known as the Technology Adoption Lifecycle. Geoffrey Moore makes the case that while the early adopters and early majority follow each other in sequence in the adoption cycle, there is an immense gap of acceptance between the two. Learn about the tactics that marketers use to close this gap and quickly propel technology towards universal adoption.

Learn more about Crossing The Chasm on Amazon.

13. Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide To Creating Ridiculously Good Content By Ann Handley

Book cover for Ann Handley's "Everybody Writes"

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While the world of marketing has evolved, the importance of being a skilled writer to sell remains constant. Our message represents our brand, making it imperative to deliver it appropriately. Ann Handley delivers practical advice for marketers to take their writing ability to the next level and start curating powerful content.

Learn more about Everybody Writes on Ann Handley’s website.

14. Don’t Make Me Think Revisited By Steve Krug

Book cover for Steve Krug's "Don't Make Me Think"

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The ultimate guide for web designers and developers has been rejuvenated with the knowledge to fit modern times, along with a brand new chapter on mobile phone usability. Learn how to design websites that turn traffic into conversions by simplifying the buying process. Steve Krug will keep you engaged with actionable advice and dashes of humor throughout.

Learn more about Don’t Make Me Think on Amazon.

Classic Marketing Books

15. Influence: The Psychology Of Persuasion By Robert B. Cialdini, PH.D.

Book cover for Robert B. Cialdini's "Influence: The Psychology Of Persuasion"

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A pioneer in the psychology of influence, Robert Cialdini has comprised The Seven Principles of Persuasion that will help you break through adversity and achieve success in your toughest business meetings. No unethical gimmicks, just scientifically backed concepts to make others say “Yes!”

Learn more about Influence on the book’s website.

16. On Writing Well By William Zinsser

Book cover for William Zinsser's "On Writing Well"

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Originated from a course that Zinsser taught at Yale University, On Writing Well is a guide that allows anybody to build a solid foundation around their writing skills. This classic has survived over 40 years due to its warm approach and sound advice. Master the fundamentals of writing that have proven to be timeless decade after decade.

Learn more about On Writing Well on Amazon.

17. Hey Whipple, Squeeze This By Luke Sullivan

Book Cover of Luke Sullivan and Edward Boche's "Hey Whipple, Squeeze This"

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One of the most classic tomes on copywriting ever published. If your job is to write to sell, then you need this book on your shelf.

Learn more about Hey Whipple, Squeeze This on Amazon.

18. Ogilvy On Advertising By David Ogilvy

No individual has had a greater impact on advertising and the art of copywriting than David Ogilvy. Ogilvy on Advertising collects his thoughts on a wide variety of aspects of the industry.

Learn more about Ogilvy On Advertising on Amazon.

19. Confessions Of An Advertising Man By David Ogilvy

Book cover of David Oglivy's "Confessions Of An Advertising Man"

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David Ogilvy is one of the most influential figures in marketing and advertising history. That much is widely-known, and at this point, doesn’t need to be reiterated. This book was instrumental in cementing his place in history back when it was first published in 1963, and it’s still worth reading today.

Learn more about Confessions of an Advertising Man on Amazon.

20. Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind By Al Ries & Jack Trout

Getting the public to notice your brand in a cluttered media environment isn’t easy. So, what’s the key to cutting through? Positioning. And this book clearly illusrtates exactly how to make sure you don’t get lost in the noise.

Learn more about Positioning on Amazon.

21. The Copywriter’s Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Copy That Sells By Robert W. Bly

book cover of Robert W. Bly's "The Copywriter's Handbook"

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If you read just one book about copywriting, you could make a solid case for reading The Copywriter’s Handbook. It’s a classic guide to mastering the craft, and it deserves a place on every wordsmith’s bookshelf.

Learn more about The Copywriter’s Handbook on Amazon.

22. The Adweek Copywriting Handbook: The Ultimate Guide To Writing Powerful Advertising & Marketing Copy From One Of America’s Top Copywriters By Joseph Sugarman

Book cover for Joseph Sugarman's "The Adweek Copywriting Handbook"

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If anyone should know copywriting inside and out, it’s the folks at Adweek. Joseph Sugarman’s tome on writing marketing copy is another must-read.

Learn more about The Adweek Copywriting Handbook on Amazon.

23. A Technique For Producing Ideas: The Simple, Five-Step Formula Anyone Can Use To Be More Creative In Business & In Life! By James Webb Young

Book cover of James Webb Young's "A Technique for Producing Ideas"

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The underlying principles that drive creative thought never change. This timeless classic should be required reading for anyone tasked with being an idea person (and on some level, that’s all of us as marketers).

Learn more about A Technique For Producing Ideas on Amazon.

24. The New Rules of Marketing and PR By David Meerman Scott

Book cover for David Meerman Scott's "The New Rules of Marketing and PR"

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This fundamental book is full of information any beginning marketer should check out. In fact, it’s possible your first boss may have handed you a copy. Even for those with experience, there’s nothing wrong with brushing up on the basics.

Learn more about The New Rules of Marketing and PR on Amazon.

25. Purple Cow By Seth Godin

The CoSchedule crew are big fans of Seth Godin. This book explains the importance of standing out in crowded marketplaces, like a “purple cow” might in a field of, well, ordinary cows.

Learn more about Purple Cow on Amazon.

26. Epic Content Marketing By Joe Pulizzi

book cover of Joe Pulizzi's book, "Epic Content Marketing"

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Joe Pulizzi knows his stuff about content marketing. As the founder of the Content Marketing Institute, there are few better authors in the business to learn from.

Learn more about Epic Content Marketing on Amazon.

Marketing Book Top Picks From The CoSchedule Team

27. Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is About Help Not Hype By Jay Baer

book cover of Jay Baer's "Youtility"

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In Youtility, Jay Baer lays the groundwork for success in content marketing. It can be summed up in this powerhouse statement: “What if — faced with more competition than ever before — you stopped trying to be amazing, and just started being useful?”

This book is a guide to cutting through the clut­ter: marketing that is truly, inherently useful.

Learn more about Youtility on Amazon.

28. Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action By Simon Sinek

book cover of Simon Sinek's "Start With Why"

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According to Sinek, great leaders inspire people to take action via the same pattern. They all think, act, and communicate in the same way — by focusing on their “why” and using that to build their “how” and “what” and create buy-in from their teams.

Learn more about Start With Why on Amazon.

29. Content Strategy For The Web By Kristina Halvorson & Melissa Rach

In this marketing book, Kristina shows that the linchpin of an effective website is meaningful content. But creating and delivering said content can feel like a black box if you’re new (or if things haven’t been going so hot).

Content Strategy for the Web explains how to create and deliver amazing content for just the right people, when and where they need it most.

Learn more about Content Strategy for the Web on Amazon.

30. Managing Content Marketing: The Real-World Guide for Creating Passionate Subscribers to Your Brand By Robert Rose & Joe Pulizzi

book cover of Robert Rose & Joe Pulizzi's "Managing Content Marketing"

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According to Rose and Pulizzi, the average brand spends over 25% of their total marketing budget on content marketing. In their opinion, what’s missing from the success equation isn’t first dollars, it’s process.

This book lays out the use case for content marketing (and beyond) so you can get the buy-in you need to change process, manage the team, and more.

Learn more about Managing Content Marketing on Amazon.

31. UnMarketing: Stop Marketing, Start Engaging By Scott Stratten & Alison Kramer

book cover of Scott Stratten & Alison Kramer's "Un-Marketing"

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UnMarketing emphasizes listening to your audience, engaging them in something meaningful, and then building trust that leads to a purchase.

The book puts it well: “No one likes cold calls at dinnertime, junk mail overflowing your mailbox, and advertisements that interrupt your favorite shows. If this is ‘marketing,’ then the world would probably prefer whatever is the opposite of that.”

Overall, a person should walk away from this book with a more genuine — even human — approach to marketing.

Learn more about UnMarketing on Amazon.

32. Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build an Incredible Career By 99U

While this book is not about marketing in the traditional sense, it’s packed with value on growing your skillset (and career).

Anyone reading this will learn how to build new skills, learn from failure, while raising questions within their own career on how to take it up a level to get where you want to be.

Learn more about Maximize Your Potential on Amazon.

33. Draplin Design Co.: Pretty Much Everything By Aaron James Draplin

This book is filled with inspiring design work, case studies, inspiration, how-tos, and advice from one of the great designers of our time.

Author Aaron Draplin has worked with brands like Esquire, Ford Motors, Patagonia, Nike, and The Obama Administration, and has a wealth of insight (and hilarity) to share with the new generation of graphic designers.

Learn more about Draplin Design Co. on Amazon.

34. Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence By Lisa Cron

book cover of Lisa Cron's "Wired For Story"

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In Wired for Story, author Lisa Cron takes a deep dive into what keeps an audience “transfixed,” and their brains craving more.

The book is a brilliant how-to on doing what engaging copy must do: “ignite the brain’s hardwired desire to learn what happens next.” With nods to the evolutionary purpose of story to electrify human curiosity, marketers will be equipped to spin yarns that drive traffic, engagement, and brand-audience relationships that drive sales.

Learn more about Wired for Story on Amazon.

35. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less By Greg McKeown

Essentialism is another best marketing books pick that’s an outside angle for marketers, but check out the questions author Greg McKeown asks to any would-be readers:

  • Have you ever felt the urge to declutter your work life?
  • Do you often find yourself stretched too thin?
  • Do you simultaneously feel overworked and underutilized?
  • Are you frequently busy but not productive?
  • Do you feel like your time is constantly being hijacked by other people’s agendas?

This book provides answers and methods collectively termed “the way of the essentialist.” In essence, it’s a systematic discipline for doing the critical “few” and pruning the chaotic “many.”

Learn more about Essentialism on Amazon.

36. 10x Marketing Formula: Your Blueprint for Creating ‘Competition-Free Content’ That Stands Out and Gets Results By Garrett Moon

This book, by CoSchedule co-founder and CEO Garrett Moon, is an absolute game changer. It’s the exact formula we used to grow from zero customers, no web traffic, and a non-existent audience to 8,000+ customers, 1.3M+ monthly pageviews, and 250k+ email subscribers in four years.

If content is part of your marketing program whatsoever, this book will put you lightyears ahead.

For me, the three most valuable concepts are competition-free content,content core, and its conversion psychology framework.

  • Competition-Free Content: Competition-free content is content that adds tremendous value to your customers and audience that only you can produce. It’s content that stands out through topic, structure, or media type. And it renders competition irrelevant because this is uncontested space.
  • Content Core: The content core is the quickest way to turn your content into revenue and is arguably the most important part of your marketing. It’s content that connects the dots between what your audience wants and the value your business provides. (If you only read one chapter in this book, make this the one.)
  • Conversion Psychology: Understanding the psychology of why people click, try, and buy is fundamentally important to converting audience members into paying customers. And this is the whole job of marketing! This framework that Garrett offers (with the fantastic Joanna Wiebe) perfectly describes the customer’s journey from unaware of your existence to raving about your product. It’s outstanding.

Learn more about 10x Marketing Formula on CoSchedule.