Best Marketing Books

Being part of the B2B Marketing Group on Linked IN I noticed this great discussion started by Laurissa Doonan about their all-time favourite Marketing books. I thought it would be a great idea to share these comments to help others maximise their potential. Naturally, the surnames of the people commenting have been removed and as much of the raw content has been left in its original format as possible. You will find direct links to Amazon so you can explore the books in more detail. For now, this is only part one of the thread, there’ll be lots more to come. Happy reading everyone!


A book that I’ve read twice and really enjoyed is “Then we Set his Hair on Fire” by Phil Dusenberry of BBDO. I had never heard of it before but a mentor recommended it to me so I bought a used copy, as it was quite hard to find. It’s an amazing read though and full of useful insights!

For the B2B market, I also recommend “Selling the Invisible” and “What Clients Love” by Harry Beckwith. They are both must-reads for this industry.


These are not really pure marketing books but as best sellers in their time I loved reading “Who Moved my Cheese” by Spencer Johnson and “What they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School” by Mark H McCormick. I found them both to be very thought provoking and insightful.


He recommends “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” by David Meerman Scott. It speaks about the recent changes in information sharing and how they affect marketing and PR including the concept of giving away content for “free”, the new role of social media, blogs and more.


I’m also a huge fan of “Who Moved my Cheese“. I also think “Appreciation Marketing” by Tommy Wyatt and Curtis Lewsey is a great read. Simple but effective and just the type of reminder we all need from time to time.


My choice has to be “Positioning The Battle for Your Mind“, a 1981 classic consistently updated by Al Ries & Jack Trout of Madison Avenue…still love it after all these years! Even Spencer Johnson says it is one of the most important communications books he’s ever read.


The Inner Game of Selling” by Willingham and like Darryl I’d recommend anything by Al Ries such as “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing“.


There are four books that I cherish:

Truth Lies” and “Pefect Pitch- The Art of Selling Ideas and Winning New Business” by Jon Steel.
Eating the Big Fish” by Adam Morgan
A Technique for Producing Ideas” by James Young.

I’d also recommend anything to do with behavioural economics. It’s a real eye opener to how we make decisions rather than how we think we make decisions. Any of Dan Ariely’s books are brilliant or “Nudge” by Richard H Thaler and Cass R Sunstein, which I’m currently reading.


Blink” by Malcom Gladwell gives fantastic insights into the human decision making process-essential reading for all marketers.


Seth Godin is on my list. Been advised to start with “The Big Moo” and then move onto some of the other more ‘marketing orientated’ books.


Seth Godin has become our Guru of choice. I cannot recommend him highly enough. His take on the new economy and how we fit in is inspired. I don’t normally gush about such things but having read about 5 of his books and currently re-reading “Linchpin“, I am a complete disciple. Read “Linchpin” first, then look at “Tribes” and “The Dip” and lastly “The Big Moo“.


I agree with Tami that “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” is a good read. I have just ordered “Then we Set his Hair on Fire” that Mark mentioned and also “Purple Cow” by Seth Godin from Amazon as they all sound like my kind of marketing books! Thanks for the advice everyone.


The Marketing Gurus” by Chris Murray is very good as well as these other marketing guru books…

Purple Cow” by Seth Godin
Crossing the Chasm” by Geoffrey Moore
The Popcorn Report” by Faith Popcorn
The Anatomy of Buzz” by Emanual Rosen
Relationship Marketing” by Regis McKenna
Don’t Think Pink” by Lisa Johnson and Andrea Learned
Renovate Before you Innovate” by Sergio Zyman

I also loved “100 Great Businesses and the Minds Behind Them” by Emily Ross and Angus Holland.

I Love you More Than my Dog” by Jeanne Bliss and “Zag – the No1 Strategy of High Performance Brands” by Marty Neumeier.


Great Thread! Like the others I would definitely recommend Seth Godin’s “Purple Cow” – it’s refreshing and easy to get to grips with.


The Guerrilla Marketing Handbook” is excellent.


Seth Godin has written books to suit many marketers’ needs. I’ve read them all and rate them highly, especially “Tribes” which was a big help to me.


Made to Stick” by Chip and Dan Heath is a fantastic read going into why some ideas take hold and other come unstuck. It also gives you the tools you need to ensure your marketing ideas stay the course.


There is one book permanently on hand which is called “Commonsense Direct Marketing” by Drayton Bird. My other all-time favourite is “The End of Marketing as we know it” by Sergio Zyman, it’s full of simple yet essential stuff!


My choices are “The Marketing Imagination” by Theodore Levitt, “Positioning, the Battle for Your Mind” by Al Ries and Jack Trout and finally “Meatball Sundaes” by Seth Godin.


Take a look at this new one on the market called “The Little Fish Guide to DIY Marketing” by Jackie Barrie. It provides great marketing tips for established businesses and individuals who don’t know where to start.


I watch the Chartehouse VHS (remember them?) every few months to bolster up the day to day philosophy of having fun…don’t forget “Fish Tales” and “Fish for Life” follow up books as well!


Kenchi Ohmae’s book, “The Mind of the Strategist” is hands down the best strategy. “SNAP Selling” by Jill Konrath is another book I would highly recommend.


Find I often reference “Made to Stick“. Recently read Chip and Dan Heath’s new book, “Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard“. This gave excellent insight into implementing effective change.


Listening to the book “A Whole New Mind” helped me so much with the new direction I’m taking my business and he gives so many great references and examples.

A delegate of mine also sent this link to me: “The Surprising Truth about what Motivates Us“. Knowing this endorsed some of the development work we’d recently covered together.


Thanks Kay. You might like to look up Mark L Fox – “Da Vinci and the 40 Answers – A Playbook for Creativity and Fresh Ideas” – another amazing guy; Mark was Chief Engineer for NASA and these tools and techniques are used at NASA for problem solving and innovation.

We hope you have found this discussion useful. Please keep posting your comments and suggestions, they are all extremely beneficial in helping other people and yourself to be successful in life and maximise potential. Also, don’t forget to keep an eye on the Maximise Potential website for Part two of this on-going discussion.

About the Author

Hi, I'm Tom Burkinshaw, I co-produce the Maximise Your Potential Podcast and Website and my goal is to help as many people as possible be successful in life, careers and business, by offering free coaching and mentoring through a series of unique interviews from inspiring people who all display exceptional self-belief, mental toughness and desire to achieve. Thank you for taking the time to visit Maximise Your Potential!