Best Business Books: 50+ Marketing Experts Will Make You Smarter

Michael Brenner – CEO of Marketing Insider Group providing content marketing strategy, content development and content marketing workshops. Author of The Content Formula.

Creativity Inc., Ed Catmull
The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell
Ernest Hemingway – Everything Hemingway wrote is worth reading. (Editor’s note: Hemingway was the master of the short sentence.)


C.C. Chapman is a professional creative. He’s also the co-author (with Ann Handley) Content Rules

Made to Stick, Chip & Dan Heath – Focuses on how our brains work. The more you know about how your audience thinks, the more you can work it into your marketing campaigns.
Steal Like An Artist, Austin Kleon – I hated the title of this book when I first saw it. After reading it I fully appreciated. To be successful we need to consume other people’s work in addition to creating. I wish more marketers would learn to do this!
Purple Cow, Seth Godin – It is a classic. If you haven’t read this book yet, get on it now!!!


Dorie Clark – Author of Stand Out and Reinventing You.

The Boron Letters, Gary Halbert – This is famed copywriter Gary Halbert’s letters from prison to his young son. But it’s one of the best examples of high-quality, conversational copywriting, and includes his musings on what makes one successful in sales and life.
Born Standing Up, Steve Martin – A thoughtful look at Martin’s early years and how he came to fame. His story shows the passion and commitment that’s necessary for success, whether you’re a standup or an entrepreneur.
The Education of a Value Investor, Guy Spier – A moving memoir about a guy who was once a jerky financier and how he learned to become a better investor and person.


Heidi Cohen – Chief Content Officer of Actionable Marketing Guide. (Note: I selected these 3 books since they marked marketing pivots. There are many I could add including those by the contributors to this article.)

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – This book provides insights as to how you can achieve the maximum sense of happiness and success. It’s not a self-help book. Rather, it’s based on research by a University of Chicago professor.
On Writing, Stephen King. This book is a classic for every writer. I’ve read it multiple times.
The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron. I love how this book sparked my inner creativity. It’s a guide for anyone seeking to create anything, not just writing or art. It gives you exercises to change how you view the world around you. It’s useful to read when you’re making an important life change.
Made To Stick, Chip & Dan Heath. I couldn’t put this book down. Reading it was a light bulb moment for me. It provided insight into how to craft your marketing to motivate your target customer to act.


Andy Crestodina – Cofounder and strategic director of Orbit Media Studios and author of Content Chemistry.

Getting Naked (or any book by Lencioni) is a good reminder to stay human and honest in all things related to business.
Getting Things Done, David Allen. A classic that I read every few years.


Guillaume Decugis – Co-Founder & CEO,

The Lean Startup, Eric Ries – After I successfully sold my first startup to Microsoft, I thought I’d learned a lot about entrepreneurship. But when my second business failed, this book taught me how to be an entrepreneur again.
How Not To Be Wrong: The hidden math of everyday life, Jorden Ellenberg – Math is everywhere. As marketing becomes more and more data-driven, there’s a lot to learn from this easy-to-understand book. It’s intended for non-mathematicians.


Pawan Deshpande – CEO of Curata and author of The Definitive Guide to Content Curation ebook.

Influence, Robert Cialdini – This is a must-read book for anyone in a customer facing role. It teaches you how to use human physiology to influence someone’s decision making — after all that’s what marketing and sales is all about.


Pam Didner – Content Marketing expert, speaker and professor, author of Global Content Marketing. (Get a free chapter of the book).

Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creative Imaginative Fiction, Jeff Vandermeer – The author explains how to write and plot a fictional story illustrated with creative visuals of monsters and beasts. Telling a good story is hard, but it can be adventurous.


Gini Dietrich – Founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, Author of Spin Sucks and co-author of Marketing in the Round. Head of Spin Sucks blog  and Spin Sucks Pro.

Traction, Gino Wickman – I recommend this to every entrepreneur. It’s, hands-down, the very best book on business planning. It walks you through how to do it, gives you templates, and even provides a two-page plan that you can actually execute against. I love it.
Predictable Success, Les McKeown, – I keep this book on my desk. It’s nice to be reminded that the challenges you have when growing a business aren’t unique. It’s helpful to think, “How should I deal with this?” and be able to open to a chapter on the very issue.


Melonie Dodaro of Top Dog Social Media. Author of  LinkedIn Unlocked and The LinkedIn Code.

I love the book Influence by Robert Ciadini. I attributed him in my book as well, but I also caution people not to use his weapons of influence in an unethical way, which can eliminate trust.
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