51 Must-Read Marketing Books

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When you search for marketing books on Amazon, you find yourself with an overwhelming 345,985 results to sort through.

Who has the time to do that? Probably not you.

So we did the work for you and found the best books every marketer should read. We’ve listed all 51 below, or you can find them in our list on GoodReads.

Best Marketing Books

All Marketers Are Liars: The Underground Classic that Explains How Marketing Really Works — and Why Authenticity is the Best Marketing of All
Seth Godin
“As Seth Godin explains, great marketers don’t talk about features or even benefits. Instead, they tell a story — a story we want to believe, whether it’s factual or not. In a world where most people have an infinite number of choices and no time to make them, every organization is a marketer, and all marketing is about telling stories.”
Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing
Roger Dooley
“‘Brainfluence’ explains how to practically apply neuroscience and behavior research to better market to consumers by understanding their decision patterns. This application, called neuromarketing, studies the way the brain responds to various cognitive and sensory marketing stimuli. Analysts use this to measure a consumer’s preference, what a customer reacts to, and why consumers make certain decisions. With quick and easy takeaways offered in 60 short chapters, this book contains key strategies for targeting consumers through in-person sales, online and print ads, and other marketing mediums.”
Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself
Kyle Lacy
“Here, readers can learn the right ways to sell their knowledge capital, and demonstrate their value to prospective and potential employers. It shows how to integrate online and offline networking to supercharge both personal and professional connections.”
Buyer Personas: How to Gain Insight into Your Customer’s Expectations, Align Your Marketing Strategies, and Win More Business
Adele Revella
“‘Buyer Personas’ is the marketer’s actionable guide to learning what your buyer wants and how they make decisions. Written by the world’s leading authority on buyer personas, this book provides comprehensive coverage of a compelling new way to conduct buyer studies, plus practical advice on adopting the buyer persona approach to measurably improve marketing outcomes. Readers will learn how to segment their customer base, investigate each customer type, and apply a radically more relevant process of message selection, content creation, and distribution through the channels that earn the buyers’ trust.”
Contagious: Why Things Catch On
Jonah Berger
“‘Contagious’ combines groundbreaking research with powerful stories. Learn how a luxury steakhouse found popularity through the lowly cheese-steak, why anti-drug commercials might have actually increased drug use, and why more than 200 million consumers shared a video about one of the seemingly most boring products there is: a blender. If you’ve wondered why certain stories get shared, e-mails get forwarded, or videos go viral, ‘Contagious’ explains why, and shows how to leverage these concepts to craft contagious content.”
Content Inc.: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses
Joe Pulizzi
“In ‘Content, Inc.,’ content marketing expert Joe Pulizzi shows you how to position yourself as an informational leader in your niche and develop content that is as beloved as that coming from any traditional media company. Using this model, entrepreneurs with limited resources can build a massive online audience as the engine that drives their entire businesses.”
Content Marketing Works: 8 Steps to Transform Your Business
Arnie Kuenn and Brad Kuenn
“‘Content Marketing Works’ is a robust look at the process of creating, implementing and measuring a successful content marketing program. It covers the 8 Step Process of content marketing, created by the experts at content marketing agency, Vertical Measures, and how it can be used at any organization large or small to grow traffic, leads, and business…Readers will learn specific ways to link SEO and content marketing; how to create useful content to attract more traffic, more leads and more business; and how to connect with customers on a human level that encourages trust and loyalty.”
Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, eBooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business
Ann Handley, C.C. Chapman, and David Meerman Scott (Foreword)
“How to create bold content that packs a punch for blogs, podcasts, websites and webinars to establish credibility and build a loyal customer base! Content rules shows how you can create compelling content that people want to consume and which speaks to their needs or wants or desires.”
Converge: Transforming Business at the Intersection of Marketing and Technology
Bob W. Lord and Ray Velez
“‘Converge’ explains how the merging of technology, media, and creativity is revolutionizing marketing and business strategy. The CEO and CTO of Razorfish, one of the world’s largest digital marketing agencies, give their unique perspective on how to thrive in this age of disruption. ‘Converge’ shares their first-hand experience working closely with global brands—including AXE, Intel, Samsung, and Kellogg—to solve business problems at the collision point between media, technology, and marketing.”
Email Marketing Rules: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Best Practices that Power Email Marketing Success
Chad White and Jay Baer (Foreword)
“Email marketing offers unparalleled reach, acceptance, and effectiveness. It’s also a well-established channel with well-defined behaviors and norms. ‘Email Marketing Rules’ is your guide to understanding the best practices of this complex, often misunderstood channel as you craft the best executions for your brand.”
Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break Through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less
Joe Pulizzi
“‘Epic Content Marketing’ takes you step-by-step through the process of developing stories that inform and entertain and compel customers to act—without actually telling them to. Epic content, distributed to the right person at the right time, is the way to truly capture the hearts and minds of customers. It’s how to position your business as a trusted expert in its industry. It’s what customers share and talk about.”
Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content
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. These lessons and rules apply across all of your online assets — like web pages, home page, landing pages, blogs, email, marketing offers, and on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media. Ann deconstructs the strategy and delivers a practical approach to create ridiculously compelling and competent content. It’s designed to be the go-to guide for anyone creating or publishing any kind of online content — whether you’re a big brand or you’re small and solo.”
Get Bold: Using Social Media to Create a New Type of Social Business
Sandy Carter
“In ‘Get Bold,’ IBM social media pioneer Sandy Carter presents a comprehensive framework for transforming your business into a winning Social Business. Carter’s proven six-step agenda addresses goals, culture, governance, listening, trust, engagement, experience, processes, reputation and risk management, analytics, and even globalization.”
Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising
Ryan Holiday
“Bestselling author Ryan Holiday shows how the marketing game has changed forever. He explains the growth hacker mindset and provides a new set of rules—critical information whether you’re an aspiring marketer, an entrepreneur, or a Fortune 500 senior executive.”
Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
Nir Eyal
“Why do some products capture widespread attention while others flop? What makes us engage with certain products out of sheer habit? Is there a pattern underlying how technologies hook us? Nir Eyal answers these questions (and many more) by explaining the Hook Model—a four-step process embedded into the products of many successful companies to subtly encourage customer behavior. Through consecutive ‘hook cycles,’ these products reach their ultimate goal of bringing users back again and again without depending on costly advertising or aggressive messaging.”
How to Win Friends and Influence People
Dale Carnegie
“Since its release in 1936, ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ has sold more than 15 million copies. Dale Carnegie’s first book is a timeless bestseller, packed with rock-solid advice that has carried thousands of now famous people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives. As relevant as ever before, Dale Carnegie’s principles endure, and will help you achieve your maximum potential in the complex and competitive modern age. Learn the six ways to make people like you, the twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking, and the nine ways to change people without arousing resentment.”
Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers
Jay Baer
“The near-universal adoption of smartphones and social media has fundamentally altered the science of complaints. Critics (‘haters’) can now express their displeasure faster and more pub­licly than ever. These trends have resulted in an overall increase in complaints and a belief by many businesses that they have to ‘pick their spots’ when choosing to answer criticisms. Bestselling author Jay Baer shows why that approach is a major mistake. Based on an exten­sive proprietary study of how, where, and why we complain, ‘Hug Your Haters’ proves that there are two types of complainers, each with very differ­ent motivations, and shows readers exactly how to deal with both groups, drawing on meticulously researched case studies from businesses of all types and sizes from around the world.”
Inbound Marketing, Revised and Updated: Attract, Engage, and Delight Customers Online
Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah
“‘Inbound Marketing’ is a comprehensive guide to increasing online visibility and engagement. Written by top marketing and startup bloggers, the book contains the latest information about customer behavior and preferred digital experiences. From the latest insights on lead nurturing and visual marketing to advice on producing remarkable content by building tools, readers will gain the information they need to transform their marketing online.”
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
Robert B. Cialdini
“‘Influence,’ the classic book on persuasion, explains the psychology of why people say ‘yes’ — and how to apply these understandings. Dr. Robert Cialdini is the seminal expert in the rapidly expanding field of influence and persuasion. His 35 years of rigorous, evidence-based research along with a three-year program of study on what moves people to change behavior has resulted in this highly acclaimed book.”
Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior
Jonah Berger
“In his surprising and compelling ‘Invisible Influence,’ Jonah Berger integrates research and thinking from business, psychology, and social science to focus on the subtle, invisible influences behind our choices as individuals. By understanding how social influence works, we can decide when to resist and when to embrace it—and how we can use this knowledge to make better-informed decisions and exercise more control over our own behavior.”
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World
Gary Vaynerchuk
“Gary Vaynerchuk is on a mission to improve marketers’ right hooks by changing the way they fight to make their customers happy, and ultimately to compete. Thanks to the massive change and proliferation in social media platforms in the last four years, the winning combination of jabs and right hooks is different now. Communication is still key, but context matters more than ever. It’s not just about developing high-quality content, but developing high-quality content perfectly adapted to specific social media platforms and mobile devices-content tailor-made for Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Tumblr.”
Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition
Michael A. Stelzner
“‘Launch’ reveals a new way to grow your business that involves focusing on the needs of others, giving gifts, working with outsiders, and restraining your marketing messages. These principles are precisely the opposite of traditional marketing. Yet they work. And they are the future. If you follow the formula outlined in this book, you can attract countless customers and prospects, resulting in amazing business growth.”
Marketing in the Round: Multichannel Approaches in the Post-Social Media Era
Gini Dietrich and Geoff Livingston
“This book is a must-read for every senior marketing, communications, and PR decision-maker. It’s not about social media. Or new (or old) media. It’s about results — and there’s only one way to get results. You must finally bite the bullet, tear down your silos, and integrate all your marketing and communications. That’s how you choose the best platforms and messages for each customer. That’s how you make research and metrics work. That’s how you overcome today’s insane levels of complexity and clutter.”
Maximize Your Social: A One-Stop Guide to Building a Social Media Strategy for Marketing and Business Success
Neal Schaffer
“Today, a large number of companies still don’t have a strategic approach to social media. Others fail to calculate how effective they are at social media, one of the critical components of implementing any social media strategy. When companies start spending time and money on their social media efforts, they need to create an internal plan that everyone can understand. ‘Maximize Your Social’ offers a clear vision of what businesses need to do to create — and execute upon — their social media for business road map.”
Nicely Said: Writing for the Web with Style and Purpose
Nicole Fenton and Kate Kiefer Lee
“Whether you’re new to web writing or you’re a professional writer looking to deepen your skills, this book is for you. You’ll learn how to write web copy that addresses your readers’ needs and supports your business goals.”
Non Obvious: How to Think Different, Curate Ideas & Predict the Future
Rohit Bhargava
“For the past four years, marketing expert and Georgetown University Professor Rohit Bhargava has curated his best-selling list of “non-obvious” trends by asking the questions that most trend predictors miss. It’s why his insights on future trends and the art of curating trends have been utilized by dozens of the biggest brands and organizations in the world like Intel, Under Armour and the World Bank. In this all-new fifth edition, discover what more than half a million others already have: how to use the power of non-obvious thinking to grow your business and make a bigger impact in the world.”
Ogilvy on Advertising
David Ogilvy
“A candid and indispensable primer on all aspects of advertising from the man Time has called ‘the most sought after wizard in the business.’”
On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
William Zinsser
“‘On Writing Well’ has been praised for its sound advice, its clarity and the warmth of its style. It is a book for everybody who wants to learn how to write or who needs to do some writing to get through the day, as almost everybody does in the age of e-mail and the Internet. Whether you want to write about people or places, science and technology, business, sports, the arts or about yourself in the increasingly popular memoir genre, ‘On Writing Well’ offers you fundamental principles as well as the insights of a distinguished writer and teacher.”
Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing
Lee Odden
“‘Optimize’ is designed to give readers a practical approach to integrating search and social media optimization with content marketing to boost relevance, visibility, and customer engagement. Companies, large and small, will benefit from the practical planning and creative content marketing tactics in this book that have been proven to increase online performance across marketing, public relations, and customer service. Learn to incorporate essential content optimization and social media engagement principles thereby increasing their ability to acquire and engage relevant customers online.”
Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind: How to Be Seen and Heard in the Overcrowded Marketplace
Al Ries and Jack Trout
“The first book to deal with the problems of communicating to a skeptical, media-blitzed public, ‘Positioning’ describes a revolutionary approach to creating a ‘position’ in a prospective customer’s mind-one that reflects a company’s own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of its competitors.”
Return on Relationship: Relationships Are the New Currency: Honor Them, Invest in Them, and Start Measuring Your ROR
Ted Rubin and Kathryn Rose
“Social media drives engagement, engagement drives loyalty, and loyalty correlates directly to increased sales. Is your company currently focused on gaining brand advocates and building its social media credibility? Do you question whether or not using Facebook, Twitter, or blogs is a worthwhile investment of your time and resources? In ‘Return on Relationship,’ Ted Rubin and Kathryn Rose present real world, practical ideas that will help businesses maximize their potential through using community-focused tools on the Internet.”
SEO 2016: Learn Search Engine Optimization With Smart Internet Marketing Strategies
Adam Clarke
“No matter your background, ‘SEO 2016’ will walk you through search engine optimization techniques used to grow countless companies online, exact steps to rank high in Google, and how get a ton of customers with SEO.”
Shareology: How Sharing Is Powering the Human Economy
Bryan J. Kramer
“Technology continues to evolve and make our lives busier and more complicated, but it can never replace true human connection our fundamental need to share information, stories, and emotions. ‘Shareology’ explores the history, science, and art of sharing and its importance to both individuals and brands in the emerging sharing economy. It is meant for entrepreneurs and marketers who want to make their content more valuable (and shareable), and for individuals who want to understand the power of sharing to grow their personal brand.
Six Pixels of Separation: Everyone Is Connected. Connect Your Business to Everyone.
Mitch Joel
“‘Six Pixels of Separation’ offers a complete set of the latest tactics, insights, and tools that will empower you to reach a global audience and consumer base — and, best yet, you can do this pretty much for free. Digital marketing expert Mitch Joel unravels this fascinating world of new media-but does so with a brand-new perspective that is driven by compelling results. The smarter entrepreneurs and top executives are leveraging these digital channels to get their voice ‘out there’ — connecting with others, becoming better community citizens, and, ultimately, making strategic business moves that are increasing revenue, awareness, and overall success in the marketplace-without the support of traditional mass media.”
Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators and Icons Accelerate Success
Shane Snow
“In ‘Smartcuts,’ Snow shatters common wisdom about success, revealing how conventions like “paying dues” prevent progress, why kids shouldn’t learn times tables, and how, paradoxically, it’s easier to build a huge business than a small one. From SpaceX to The Cuban Revolution, from Ferrari to Skrillex, ‘Smartcuts’ is a narrative adventure that busts old myths about success and shows how innovators and icons do the incredible by working smarter — and how perhaps the rest of us can, too.”
The Relationship Age
Mari Smith, Nick Nanton, and J.W. Dicks
“The Relationship Age is a collection of strategies from leading social media experts around the world that will help you navigate the world of social media–online and offline. Most people only discuss the new online tools when discussing social media, and while those are important, they aren’t the whole story. Social media is any form of media that starts a discussion with the goal of creating relationships. Whether you’re just getting started, or you are a social media expert yourself, this book will open doors to strategies that you can implement today to help you grow your business by creating relationships. So, open up and dig in.”
The Tao of Twitter: Changing Your Life and Business 140 Characters at a Time
Mark Schaefer
“It’s time to take the mystery out of Twitter. Twitter may be the most powerful business and personal networking platform ever created but it remains a frustrating, strange world for most people. ‘The Tao of Twitter’ is a path, a majestic random synergy with the potential to change your business and your life forever — if you know the way! This is a book designed for busy people who can’t spend hours in experimentation and research trying to find success. In one hour you will know enough strategies, tactics, and time-savers to create an effective presence on Twitter that will result in meaningful and measurable benefits.”
Spin Sucks: Communication and Reputation Management in the Digital Age
Gini Dietrich
“Most PR books tell you how to ‘spin’ your message. People are sick of that! ‘Spin Sucks’ will teach you how to communicate honestly, responsibly, openly, and authentically…and truly ‘earn’ the trust of your customers, stakeholders, investors, and communities.”
Style: The Art of Writing Well
F.L. Lucas
“With unique authority and good humour, F. L. Lucas takes us through his ten points of effective prose style and provides a tour of some of the best (and worst) that has been written in a number of languages and literatures. Wry, perceptive and rich in quotation and anecdote, the book reads like a personal conversation on the art of writing well — with a master of the art.”
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk!
Al Ries and Jack Trout
“In ‘The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing,’ Ries and Trout offer a compendium of twenty-two innovative rules for understanding and succeeding in the international marketplace. From the Law of Leadership, to The Law of the Category, to The Law of the Mind, these valuable insights stand the test of time and present a clear path to successful products. Violate them at your own risk.”
The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users
Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick
“With more than 100 practical tips, tricks, and insights, Guy and Peg present a ground-up strategy to produce a focused, thorough, and compelling presence on the most popular social-media platforms. They guide you through the steps of building your foundation, amassing your digital assets, going to market, optimizing your profile, attracting more followers, and effectively integrating social media and blogging.”
The Impact Equation: Are You Making Things Happen? Or Just Making Noise?
Chris Brogan and Julien Smith
“In ‘The Impact Equation,’ Brogan and Smith show that to make people truly care about what you have to say, you need more than just a good idea, trust among your audience, or a certain number of fol­lowers. You need a potent mix of all of the above and more.”
The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, & Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly
David Meerman Scott
“‘The’ benchmark guide to marketing and PR, updated with the latest social media and marketing trends, tools, and real-world examples of success ‘The New Rules of Marketing & PR, 4th Edition’ is the pioneering guide to the future of marketing, an international bestseller with more than 300,000 copies sold in over 25 languages. It offers a step-by-step action plan for harnessing the power modern marketing and PR to communicate with buyers directly, raise visibility, and increase sales. It shows how large and small companies, nonprofits, and more can leverage Web-based content to get the right information to the right people at the right time for a fraction of the cost of big-budget campaigns.”
Think Before You Engage: 100 Questions to Ask Before Starting a Social Media Marketing Campaign
Dave Peck
“Be sure you’ve addressed the most important questions before using social media to market your company or brand! From small business owners to job seekers, social media marketing campaigns are being started every day. However, without the proper prep work, campaigns fail, brands or organizations are impacted, customers are not engaged, and money and efforts are wasted. This invaluable guide answers all the most important questions to consider before starting a marketing campaign using social media so you can avoid common pitfalls.”
Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us
Seth Godin
“Who is going to lead us? The Web can do amazing things, but it can’t provide leadership. That still has to come from individuals—people just like you who have passion about something. The explosion in tribes means that anyone who wants to make a difference now has the tools at her fingertips.”
Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation and Earn Trust
Chris Brogan and Julien Smith
“Today’s online influencers are web natives who trade in trust, reputation, and relationships, using social media to accrue the influence that builds up or brings down businesses online. The book shows how people use online social tools to build networks of influence and how you can use those networks to positively impact your business. Because trust is key to building online reputations, those who traffic in it are ‘trust agents,’ the key people your business needs on its side.”
Web Analytics 2.0: The Art of Online Accountability and Science of Customer Centricity
Avinash Kaushik
“‘Web Analytics 2.0’ presents a new framework that will permanently change how you think about analytics. It provides specific recommendations for creating an actionable strategy, applying analytical techniques correctly, solving challenges such as measuring social media and multichannel campaigns, achieving optimal success by leveraging experimentation, and employing tactics for truly listening to your customers. The book will help your organization become more data driven while you become a super analysis ninja.”
Will the Real You Please Stand Up: Show Up, Be Authentic, and Prosper in Social Media
Kim Garst
“In ‘Will the Real You Please Stand Up,’ leading social media expert Kim Garst shares with you the tips, tricks and techniques that have helped her rise to, and stay at the top of the social media world. However, this is NOT a how to book on social media. It is something much more powerful. It is a guided journey to discovering the most unstoppable force in nature, something which you already have but just don’t know how to harness and unleash.”
Writing White Papers: How to Capture Readers and Keep Them Engaged
Michael Stelzner
“The white paper is a crossbreed of a magazine article and a brochure. White paper guru Michael Stelzner reveals his secrets for creating compelling white papers that attract readers in droves. The first of its kind, ‘Writing White Papers’ provides critical how-to details for every step of any white paper project-from performing the needs assessment to attracting prospects with creative marketing tactics.”
X: The Experience When Business Meets Design
Brian Solis
“If you search for the ‘7 stages of experience,’ you’re sure to find some of the most incredible thoughts on experience design going back to Walt Disney himself. But why is experience so important? Because the very people you’re hoping to reach are now far too elusive, thanks to empowering and always-on social technologies. At the center of everything is the need for people to share experiences, including your products and services. ‘X’ outlines the importance of user experience for executives to appreciate and also experience themselves. Through rich visualization and a balance of pragmatic and inspirational text, ‘X’ artfully motivates readers to rethink business models, products and services, marketing, and customer and employee relationships with desired experiences in mind.”
Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is about Help Not Hype
Jay Baer
“If you’re wondering how to make your products seem more exciting online, you’re asking the wrong question. You’re not competing for attention only against other similar products. You’re competing against your customers’ friends and family and viral videos and cute puppies. To win attention these days you must ask a different question: ‘How can we help?’ Jay Baer’s ‘Youtility’ offers a new approach that cuts through the clut­ter: marketing that is truly, inherently useful. If you sell something, you make a customer today, but if you genuinely help someone, you create a customer for life.”

Didn’t see your favorite marketing books in our list? Share your suggested reads in the comments!

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