As it’s been a while since I’ve shared a book list with the community, I thought I’d share 20 marketing and non-marketing books I think you’ll enjoy.
Now, I don’t profess to be any kind of marketing guru (although to be honest, no one who does should be trusted!), but I don’t mind a good book (especially audiobooks for the dog walk!). I think a good balance of fiction and non-fiction also helps broaden our horizons a bit. Hopefully, something on the list takes your fancy. And, if it doesn’t please don’t judge me too much…
- When. I loved this book because everyone asked ‘what’ is the best thing to do, and even ‘why’ you’re doing it. But rarely, people consider ‘when’ is the best time to do something. It was a bit of an eye opener for me, and changed how I structure my day and marketing comms completely.
- The Body. Bill Bryson is a genius, and I could easily add several of his books to this list, but ‘The Body’ was my favourite (although H/T To the short history of everything). It was just really interesting to understand how our bodies work a little more. Simple as that.
- Homo Deus.The follow up book to the more famous ‘Sapiens’. I liked Homo Deus as it asked the question of ‘what now?’ given we’re doing better at feeding more people and not fighting lots of wars and stuff (by relative standards). A bit existential, but helped my marketing thinking too as it helped me understand what people want now on a societal level.
- Ted Talks. If you are wanting to speak at more events, or are looking to curate speakers for events, read this. Unmissable. That’s it.
- Alchemy. Oh to be in Rory Sutherland’s mind. This entertaining look at pretty much everything is a little hard to sum up in words in typical Rory style, but… it’s really good 👍
- The Choice Factory. Speaking of Rory, another incredible look at behavioural science is ‘The Choice Factory’. 25 (I think!) concepts of behavioural science – all of which can be applied in the marketing context. I reeeeeally enjoyed this one.
- Man’s Search for Meaning. Okay, a heavy one here. MSfM follows a psychologist through the camps of WWII, and his observations of being a prisoner there. It’s not an easy read, but the thing I took from it is ‘no matter what happens, people can never take your thoughts from you’. Which is a useful thought for me to know there is always something you can control in a crazy world.
- Watertight Marketing. Previous TMM speaker Bryony Thomas created Watertight Marketing and put it all in a book. It has a model for every bit of strategic marketing. Follow this and you can’t go far wrong. As close to a definitive guide to strategy as I’ve seen.
- Obviously Awesome. Another TMM speaker in April Dunford. Not many people specialise in positioning, but this is where April excels. A great look (if quite software focused), into a fundamental and completely underestimated part of marketing. Louis Grenier is also making interesting noises in this space too.
- Rework. A short, interesting, refreshing view on the world of work by DHH and Jason Fried. For anyone frazzled or always on the go – this one is for you. I’d love to get them speaking at TMM one day!
- Shoe Dog. The story of how Nike was built, which, y’know… is cool. But also, showed me a business model I have NO INTEREST at all in following. So much borrowing of money. I’d have no fingernails left. Still fascinating though.
- Both Obama books. Both Michelle and Barack Obama’s recent books are excellent and well worth a read (or listen). In fact… listen to them as both Michelle and Barack narrate their own books, and both are cool AF.
- This is Marketing. It’s almost a cliché at this stage to be a marketer who likes Seth Godin, but the guy has a gift of ✨clarity✨. My big takeaway from him was the focus on the customer. I found the first half of the book better than the second, so read that at least. (note: in Googling this, I just seen he has written a new book, which I’ll be checking out!)
- Do/Open. If you want to write a newsletter, here is your guide. That’s it. Beautiful and well written. Just get it! Bit of a man-crush on David Hieatt.
- Ogilvy on Advertising. The one everyone speaks about. Despite being a classic at this stage, the thing that struck me with OoA is how many of the principles still apply today. Takeaway: everyone says “marketing changes so quickly”… it doesn’t at its core.
- Beloved Brands. For anyone looking to build a brand that people care about – this is essential reading. The thing I appreciated about this book is that it didn’t speak in platitudes, but actually told you how to do it.
- Amazing story generator. Okay, a bit left of field here, but this fun book is a great little creative exercise. For anyone looking to sharpen their storytelling skills and get their imagination going, this is a really fun book. As a bonus, the kids will probably love it too.
- Hey Whipple, Squeeze This. A must read for any creative. Essential.
- Stay curious. If you want to start an event – this is your inspiration book. Clare and David created a series of events from a chicken shed that propelled them to worldwide notoriety. A CV worth listening to.
- Salesforce: the story of how it grew. Salesforce is huge, but it had to get to that point somehow. In this book, their CEO explains how they did it. Some *interesting* marketing tactics inside which you can form your own opinions on 🙂 In either case – educated is informed 🙂
Hopefully that keeps you busy for a while…