Whether you like it or not, you’re working in the field of marketing. Selling, promoting and persuading is what we do naturally as humans so we may as well get better at it.
The ability to communicate effectively is a key skill in any environment. You talk to your clients, fans, friends, lovers, family and hundreds of other people along the way. Don’t you think it would be valuable to learn how to do it more effectively?
On the list below, you’ll find some of the best marketing books ever written. They’ll equip you with the knowledge necessary to build influence, make friends, sell products, show others your point of view, and build enthusiasm and confidence in your communication.
Read for at least 30 minutes per day to keep your mind full of positive ideas and possibilities.
25 Best Marketing Books of All Time
Brian Tracy – The Way to Wealth
This list contains Brian Tracy’s books for a reason. I have found his work invaluable when it comes to personal and business success. His books have been my constant companions for many years, and they’re worth coming back to time and again. This one is business-related, and it teaches you how to approach building business building, even if you don’t have any previous startup experience. It’s excellent in its simplicity, and if you plan to become an entrepreneur, it will pay for itself many times over.
Brian Tracy – The Psychology of Selling
“The Psychology of Selling” is a comprehensive course about the art and science of selling. Some of the strategies presented in the book may seem a bit outdated, but still, it’s a classic for everyone who wants to learn more about persuasion, influence, making effective presentations and the mindset of a great salesperson.
Jeffrey Gitomer – Little Black Book of Connections
Jeffrey Gitomer is the self-proclaimed “King of Sales”. He’s philosophy is all about giving value first. This little book contains many useful ideas for business networking. If you’re a sales person, or you just want to work on expanding your circle of influence, you should definitely give it a try.
Jeffrey Gitomer – The Sales Bible
In this rather large volume, you can find sales and business knowledge of immense value. The ideas in the book have been collected over the years and then put into one place. It contains many interesting chapters (including “The Sales Commandments”) that will help you to ask penetrating questions, uncover the hidden needs of the prospects and finally close the sale.
Robert Kiyosaki – Cashflow Quadrant
This is the second book of the series about “Rich Dad” and the “Poor Dad”. If the first book is about inspiration, this one gives you concrete philosophy about personal finance. There’s the cashflow quadrant, and it’s good to know about it. You can either be an employee, a self-employed professional, a business owner, or an investor. By reading this book (which gets a bit repetitive at times), you can learn more about these specific roles, and pick the one that will suit you best. Hint – don’t pick “the employee” one.
Robert Kiyosaki – Rich Dad’s Guide to Investing
There are dozens of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” books out there, but in my opinion, only three are worth reading. The first one teaches you about the different mindsets of rich and poor. The second one gives you information about the four cash flow quadrants. This one shows you can become an investor, and grow your money, even if you start from a negative cash flow position. If you’ve never read anything about getting ahead financially, this is a good start.
Jay Abraham – Getting Everything You Can Out Of All You’ve Got
If you’re already in business, and you wonder how to take it to the next level, read this book. It’s written by a highly respected marketing and business optimization expert who’s been in the trenches for decades. The book contains twenty-one different ways you can use to increase your sales, increase the average order value, keep your clients happy, etc. The methods are really simple, but they’ve been used over and over again by successful entrepreneurs, so they should also work for you.
Michael Corbett – 33 Ruthless Rules of Local Advertising
If you own a local business, you have to read this short book. It will teach you brilliant marketing methods that aren’t used by the majority of local business owners (hence, you can outperform your competition by a huge margin). You will learn how to write compelling sales copy, how to buy media, how to measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, and how to avoid the common mistakes made by local-advertisers.
Chet Holmes – The Ultimate Sales Machine
Implementing the ideas from this book will require pigheaded determination and persistence. Chet Holmes, however, was one of the best sales people that ever lived, and he was able to double the sales wherever he went – so pay attention. Interestingly, he was working for Charlie Munger, the billionaire partner of Warren Buffet. Chet worked in Charlie’s publishing company, and he was able to achieve results that astonished even the great investor. From the book, you will learn how to systematize your sales process and make it seamless.
John Jantsch – Duct Tape Marketing
It’s easy to lose your focus when you work in a small company. Most business owners seem to spend their precious days on “extinguishing fires” (solving minute problems) and not on business building. By reading the “Duct Tape Marketing” you will be able to see the bigger picture and create a solid marketing strategy for your company – one that will not require your constant attention, and starting everything from scratch the next time you plan a campaign. You will learn a lot about creating value propositions, building brand identity, and direct marketing (the best there is!). It’s a must-read for a small business owner.
Jay Abraham – Joint Ventures: From Mediocrity to Millions
This large volume is one of the best business books I’ve ever read. It contains priceless knowledge about building partnerships with people and businesses. Jay’s philosophy is all about uncovering hidden assets, and untapped opportunities that will lead to a geometric growth of your company. With the right approach, joint ventures could become the profit generator you were looking for. Interestingly, you don’t even need to have a business to set up joint ventures. You can act as a mediator between two companies and get your cut along the way.
Jay Abraham – Mr. “X” Book
This is a large marketing encyclopedia you can use during a lifetime of business adventures. It certainly contains many of the best marketing strategies available for keen entrepreneurs, but also “the strategy of preeminence” which can serve you as a guiding force for dealing with clients and business partners. The pages of the book are just filled with priceless information. I highly recommend it to any person interested in business and marketing.
Dan Kennedy – NO B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs
This is a classic in the category of time management. Dan Kennedy was the first one to introduce the concept of the “time-vampires” which was rehashed by a number of other authors. In the book you will find some NO B.S. ideas about protecting your time, avoiding distractions, and achieving greatness in business. It’s always about carving uninterrupted chunks of time for yourself and concentrating on your most important activities. This book will show you how to do it more often.
Dan Kennedy – The Ultimate Sales Letter
That is the best introduction to copywriting I’ve read so far. In the book, you will find really simple formulas that help you to create and send your very first sales-letter. Even if you’re a seasoned marketer, you’ll get a lot of benefits from this book. You can use it to create a checklist for your campaigns to make sure that everything is in the right place. And don’t forget to use the “three-step” approach to direct mail – it’s been proven to work over and over again.
Dan Kennedy – NO B.S. Ruthless Management of People & Profits
That’s not a book for the faint of heart. As you can guess from the title, it includes some ideas that your employees may find, well, ruthless. Overall, the whole “NO B.S.” series is very well written and full of great advice, but I’ve found this book especially interesting. It presents the true image of the employer-employee relationship. It tells you to hire slow and fire fast and offers a great breakdown of the key business stats you should measure.
John E. Kennedy – Reason Why Advertising
John E. Kennedy was a man who changed the advertising game forever when he first described ads as “Salesmanship-in-print”. His book has only about fifty pages, and it’s been written at the dawn of the XX century, but it’s definitely worth checking out. It presents a simple philosophy that should guide all your advertising efforts. Basically, it’s all about giving your prospective clients a reason why they should buy your product (preferably, many reasons why).
Peter Lynch – Learn To Earn
If you’ve never heard much about the investing game (besides DiCaprio in “The Wolf of Wall-Street” and Michael Douglas in “Wall-Street), you should give this book a try. It’s been written by the legendary mutual fund manager, Peter Lynch who worked with the Fidelity Magellan Fund from 1977 to 1990, during which time the fund’s assets grew from $20 million to $14 billion. In the book, you’ll get some simple advice about investment options and taking care of your money. Yet in conclusion, the author says that if you can’t become a full-time investor, you should consider putting your money into mutual funds or bonds.
Michael Hyatt – Platform, Get Noticed In A Noisy World
With the advent of social media, it became much easier to get noticed as an artist, writer, or a businessperson. But you need the right strategy in place as well. Michael Hyatt built a huge online platform for himself (he’s got a blog, a podcast, a video show, and a large following on social media), and in this book, he shows exactly how he did it. “Platform” is very practical and it’s composed of short articles that were put into one, cohesive package.
Bob Lotich – How to Make Money Blogging
This is probably the best book about making money from blogging. It’s only sixty pages long, and you can download it for free from Amazon. Creating and running a blog is not a very complex task and Bob Lotich succinctly explains all tricks of the trade. From the book you will learn about domain names, setting up a WordPress site, publishing, promoting, increasing traffic, advertising, and finally, monetizing your blog.
Ken Blanchard, Spencer Johnson – The One Minute Manager
An international bestseller, “The One Minute Manager” is a must-read for any person with managerial responsibilities. It’s a fast read, and it’s based on a story of the mysterious manager, who achieves great results while having the fun along the way. It’s clear that the authors lack proper storytelling skills, but still, ideas from the book are worth the attention. In fact, if every manager used the rules presented in the script (for example, “one minute praising” or “one minute reprimand”) the world of business would be so much better.
Jim Collins – Good to Great
If you’re satisfied with your small business, then you may leave this book alone. But if you have a grand vision, and you want to expand your enterprise, you should masticate it like there’s no tomorrow. Jim Collins took many years to carefully study companies that were able to dominate their respective markets. In “Good to Great” he shares his findings and shows you the patterns you can adopt in your own company. You will especially love “The Hedgehog Concept” which simplifies the whole approach to business-building.
Jay Conrad Levinson – Guerilla Marketing
Guerilla Marketing is a classic and a proud member of a modern marketer’s bookshelf. Instead of pouring untold amounts of money into your campaign, you can use some of Levinson’s ideas to create a successful campaign on a shoe-string budget. From the book, you will learn dozens of creative methods that yield positive marketing results for your business. You can use anything from graffiti to happenings, to stickers, to flash mobs. Then, spread the word on social media to attract even more potential clients.
Gary Vaynerchuk – The “Thank You” Economy
This book concentrates more on the “why” and not the “how” of modern marketing. If you bear with it, you will find that it contains many important ideas about the modern business world. With his honest-to-goodness approach, Gary shares his story of becoming NYC’s king of wine-sales, and how he did it through social media by satisfying basic human needs. Maybe it sounds simplistic, but his most powerful strategy seems to be caring for other people and scaling it through digital channels. If you approach this book with an open mind, it can change the way you look at the business.
Michael Gerber – The E-Myth Revisited
This is an absolute go-to title for people who ponder launching a startup. If you’re one of these people, please read the book and spare yourself years of hard work, frustration, and underachievement. Most people start out on their own because they’re good at something, and are able to get paid for it. Yet soon enough, instead of cherishing their passion, they’re inundated with the responsibilities of the business owner. At this point, the entrepreneurial dream turns into a nightmare and the joy of work is gone. Don’t go that road. Create a plan instead. Work “on” your business and not “in” your business to achieve your goals. This book will show you how.
Seth Godin – All Marketers All Liars
Successful marketers are the masters of storytelling. When you understand the “perception is reality” rule of marketing, you will realize that building a story around your business, your products, or even about yourself will serve as the main attractor for potential clients. “All Marketers All Liars” is all about creating compelling stories, and complemented by “Tribes”, it’s a great course on modern marketing. People gather around shared ideas, and “they walk around with their umbilical cords, looking for a place to plug them in”. Become their socket by employing thought-leadership and masterful storytelling.
I hope you enjoyed this rather long collection of books. Please let me know if I missed any marketing classics. I’m always open to new, great reads.