Books for Marketers: The New, The Noteworthy, and The Classics

In the marketing industry, there is no continuing education.... That's why we put together this list that covers some classic marketing titles, as well as new and noteworthy books which may or not be familiar. 

Don't have the time to read lengthy marketing books, but still want to invest in your personal development? Check out Blinkist... one of  the fine tools in the #MarketersToolbox series. It is a little like "CliffsNotes" for business books.

Lay the Foundation: Classic Books for Any Marketer

Made to Stick - Chip Heath & Dan Heath

Based on 6 characteristics of “Sticky Ideas”: Simple, Concrete, Unexpected, Emotional, Story, Credible. Made to Stick is a book that will transform the way you communicate ideas.

  • “An entertaining, practical guide to effective communication.”


  • Enjoyable read - entertaining

  • Has universal applications


  • Many anecdotes - doesn’t get to the point immediately

Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business - Eric Qualman

2010 Finalist for the Berry-AMA Book Prize for the Best Book in Marketing


  • Summary at the end of every chapter

  • Updated editions include newer developments

  • Online content


  • Somewhat disorganized, lengthy

  • Textbook-like feel

  • Some outdated information


All Marketers are Liars - Seth Godin

“Stories make it easier to understand the world. Stories are the only way we know to spread an idea. Marketers didn’t invent storytelling. They just perfected it.” - Seth Godin

  • "It's easy to see why people pay to hear what he has to say." —Time

  • "If your idea, or issue, or candidate, or product isn't catching on, you haven't been reading Seth Godin." —Micah Sifry, cofounder, Personal Democracy Forum


  • Universal applications

  • Anecdotal, easy-to-read


  • Sometimes described as “preachy”

  • Negative tone


Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley

In Everybody Writes, top marketing veteran Ann Handley gives expert guidance and insight into the process and strategy of content creation, production and publishing, with actionable how-to advice designed to get results.

  • “The alternate click-bait title of Ann’s great new book could have been 73 Ways to Improve Your Writing and Conquer the World! …and it would have been an understatement. We’re all publishers now, and the better writers connect, persuade, and win. Be one of them with this book.” —Brian Clark, Founder and CEO, Copyblogger Media

  • “I just glanced at the table of contents and I’m already a better writer. Ann Handley might just single-handedly save the world from content mediocrity. Really, really ridiculously good-looking content just got an owner’s manual.” —Jason Miller, Senior Content Marketing Manager, LinkedIn


  • Part writing guide, part handbook on the rules of content marketing

  • Covers the basics, as well as more complex writing concepts

  • Do’s and don’ts - practical desk companion

  • Humor


  • Sometimes regarded as “common sense” - serves as a reminder but doesn’t do much in the way of teaching new concepts

  • Heavily references outside material and therefore regarded as unoriginal

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion - Robert Cialdini

Influence, the classic book on persuasion, explains the psychology of why people say "yes"—and how to apply these understandings. You'll learn the six universal principles, how to use them to become a skilled persuader—and how to defend yourself against them. Perfect for people in all walks of life, the principles of Influence will move you toward profound personal change and act as a driving force for your success.

  • "The material in Cialdini’s Influence is a proverbial gold mine." -Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology

  • "For marketers, this book is among the most important books written in the last ten years." -Journal of Marketing Research


  • Evidenced-based psychological context in marketing

  • Conversational writing style

  • Universal applications

  • Ideas are explained, understood, proven, accepted, and realized


  • Could be more concise

  • Dated

New & Noteworthy Marketing Books You Haven't Already Read


  • "The Tools of the perfect read for obsessives wanting to boost their new year productivity." —Financial Times

  • "A Poor Richard's Almanack for the 21st century, Tools of Titans is a practical and inspiring guide to being your best." —BookPage


Pre-suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade by Robert Cialdini

Cialdini draws on an array of studies and narratives to outline the specific techniques you can use on online marketing campaigns and even effective wartime propaganda. He illustrates how the artful diversion of attention leads to successful pre-suasion and gets your targeted audience primed and ready to say, “Yes.”

"Extends the science of persuasion in several important essential tool for anyone serious about science-based business strategies. Pre-Suasion is well worth the long wait, and is destined to be an instant classic. The book belongs on the shelf of anyone in business, from the CEO to the newest salesperson."—Forbes


Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers by Jay Baer

Baer’s insights and tactics will teach you how to embrace complaints, put haters to work for you, and turn bad news into good outcomes. Hug Your Haters proves that there are two types of complainers, each with very different motivations: 
Offstage haters: These people simply want solutions to their problems. They complain via legacy channels where the likelihood of a response is highest—phone, e-mail, and com­pany websites. Offstage haters don’t care if any­one else finds out, as long as they get answers. 
Onstage haters: These people are often disap­pointed by a substandard interaction via tradi­tional channels, so they turn to indirect venues, such as social media, online review sites, and discussion boards. Onstage haters want more than solutions—they want an audience to share their righteous indignation. 

“This is a landmark book in the history of customer service.”  —Guy Kawasaki


Content Code by Mark W. Schaefer

Book highlights include in-depth explorations on the connection between brand and content transmission, a focus on audiences that will move content, practical steps to build "shareability" into all your content, and the new role of promotion, distribution and SEO in a very competitive, digital world. 

"The book connects some important dots that are missing in today’s marketing practices." - Amazon customer review


Viralnomics by Jonathan Goodman

If you desire to use social media marketing to get your product, service, or small business out to the right audience you don't need to understand what buttons to push, you need to understand and appeal to the people pushing them. This book will help.

"A must-read for anyone who wants to win at social." - Jonah Berger

The Challenger Sale is a book catered to salesmen or agencies looking to develop stronger relationships with their clients and close sales.

The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation

The Challenger Sale Approach, which is based off of Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamsons book “The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation,” is a method to help salespeople (or agencies) build healthy relationships with clients by challenging them.

"The most important advance in selling for many years." - Neil Rackham

What are your go-to marketing books?