Top Marketing Books: Experts Recommend the Best!

Top Marketing Books“What are the top marketing books I should read?” is a question I’m often asked.

While I have my favorite marketing books, new and old, I asked top marketers what they recommend. Here are their replies.

(Note: There are duplicates since multiple marketers recommended the same books although their reasons varied.)

If you’d prefer, here’s a simple list of marketing books.


Top marketing books: Marketers choose their favorites

Top Marketing Books


Hana Abaza of Shopify. Also, speaker, blogger and self-proclaimed podcast junkie 🙂 Her podcast is Flip the Switch.

Ogilvy on Advertising, David Ogilvy – While the technology might change, the rules of good marketing don’t. This book is a classic and one I think newbies and veterans can both benefit from.
Permission Marketing, Seth Godin – So much of what we do as online marketers now is based on the principles in this book – if you haven’t read it, you should.
Traction, Gabriel Weinberg  – This book is very tactical and gives some highly actionable takeaways for marketers that are trying to connect with new customers.


Scott Abel of The Content Wrangler, Inc. Author of The Language of Content Strategy and Intelligent Content: A Primer. Co-Founder of Intelligent Content Conference.

Contagious: Why Things Catch On, Jonah Berger – The why of product and service success. Explores what makes products popular and how to get word of mouth attention from social channels and beyond.
Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content, Ann Handley – A quick reference guide to creating content that works. Covers creation, production, and publishing. Lots of fresh tips and ideas.
How Not To Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking, Jordan Eilenberg – A book about numbers that helps marketers better understand the importance of using data wisely to predict outcomes and drive business success.
Document Engineering: Analyzing and Designing Business Documents for Business Informatics and Web Services by Robert J. Glushko and Tim McGrath.
The Discipline of Organizing by Robert J. Glushko et al.
Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy by Ann Rockley and Charles Cooper


Ardath Albee – Author of Digital Relevance: Developing marketing content and strategies that drive results

Story by Robert McKee – I’m a natural storyteller with a degree in English and I was working on writing a novel the first time I read it. McKee’s book helped me understand story structure and how to sustain tension over the term of a longer piece of work. With that depth of insight, discovering and shaping the story a business shares with customers is infinitely easier.
The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell – Pretty much the same as above, but this book helped me to apply a more intent application to character. A lot of the methodology I developed for creating buyer personas came from thinking spawned by Campbell’s ideas. Especially the idea that we can learn to understand ourselves better through the stories we choose to read or view.
Permission Marketing by Seth Godin – Flipping marketing on its head just made so much sense to what I instinctively saw as the opportunity for companies to connect more meaningfully with customers.


Mike Alton of Agorapulse.

Content Inc., Joe Pulizzi. He expertly outlines what some of the most successful companies have done with their content and the strategies they followed.
Everybody Writes, Ann Handley – I not only enjoyed reading this book but also, highly recommend it to my blogging clients.
The Content Code, Mark W. Schaefer – Mark helps us to really get into the best techniques and understand who our ‘Alpha Audience’ is.


Scott Aughtmon – Author of  51 Content Marketing Hacks

Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples
Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins


Jay Baer Author of Hug Your Haters

Different by Youngme Moon. I love this book. Spectacular work on differentiation within competitive categories.


Robbie Kellman Baxter of Peninsula Strategies. Author of The Membership Economy: Find Your Superusers, Master the Forever Transaction & Build Recurring Revenue. (Check Baxter’s video summary of The Membership Economy.)

Free, Chris Anderson
Back of the Napkin, Dan Roam


Jonah Berger Wharton Professor. Author of Invisible Influence and Contagious: Why Things Catch On

Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath Great insight into why things stick in memory, why they spread, and why they become (or don’t become) popular.
Diffusion of Innovations, Everett M. Rogers.
Micromotives and MacrobehaviorsThomas C. Schelling. An intriguing look into the relationship between our behavior and the world around us.


Toby Bloomberg. Author of free e-book, Social Media GPS: 40 Interviews with Marketing Professionals About Social Media Conduct On Twitter

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World, Gary Vaynerchuk – Gary’s voice is ‘down and dirty’ but his through out he puts digital marketing into an everyday perspective.
New Rules of Sales & Service, David Meerman Scott – David brings a strong case together of why it’s critical to include social into the sales function. He peppers his book with lots of real life examples the best is his own travel experience to Antarctic.
Moments of Truth, Jan Carlzon -The president of Scandinavian Airlines (aka SAS) gives us the first look at transparency and in the momement marketing.  First published in 1989 it remains a go-to classic in my library.


Tim Bourquin of

Email Marketing Demystified: Build a Massive Mailing List, Write Copy That Converts and Generate More Sales, Matt Paulson –  Even though email marketing has been around for along time, the industry is constantly changing. If you want to cut through all the noise, read Matt’s book. It is a true crash course that will save you years of trial and error.
How To Become a Marketing Superstar, Jeffrey J. Fox – This book makes sure you are asking yourself the right questions about your own company and products so that you can, in turn, “sell” those benefits to your customers.  Marketing has one job and that is to sell products. This book tells you how to ensure your marketing is focused on that one objective.
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