Whether you run your own business or work in marketing, you need to keep learning and growing your skills. If you continue improving your marketing skills, you’ll earn more money, do better at your job, and feel more satisfied with your work.
Here at Fomo, we have an internal book club where the team reads the same book and we have a group standup to discuss our key takeaways and how to apply them to our company and our lives. This activity helps us consistently improve our marketing skills over time.
So, we believe one of the best ways to level up your marketing skill set is reading great marketing books, and applying what you learn. That’s why in this post we share what we feel are the 29 best marketing books of all time. By reading the books on this list and applying the knowledge in them, you will keep getting better at marketing and become more successful at growing businesses.
By Nir Eyal
Do you want to create sticky products that users come back to again and again? In this book, Nir Eyal shares the Hook Model: a four-step process that builds user habits and encourages them to take your desired actions.
If you want to build user habits into your product so they consistently interact with it, Hooked is a must-read.
By Robert Cialdini
Many marketers and behavioral scientists consider Robert Cialdini to be the leading expert on influence and persuasion. Cialdini provides an in-depth introduction to the seven levers of influence in this book:
- Commitment and Consistency
- Social Proof
If you want to incorporate the most advanced behavioral science into your marketing and product, you should read Influence.
By Jonah Berger
Word-of-mouth marketing is a cost-effective way to grow your business. But, why do people share some products with their communities and not others? Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger answers this question in Contagious and goes into six basic principles that cause information to spread.
By Seth Godin
Most people hate marketing that interrupts them—think of the last unwanted telemarketing call you received.
Advocating for a different approach, Godin introduces Permission Marketing in this book. With Permission Marketing, you offer your potential customers incentives to view your ads and marketing materials voluntarily. This method helps you build trust and leads to more sales.
By Ryan Holiday
In this concise book, Ryan Holiday shares a framework you can use for growth marketing. He suggests using tools and tactics that are testable, trackable, and scalable. This way, you can iterate on your marketing strategy to make it more effective over time.
By Al Ries and Jack Trout
This classic lays out 22 laws for marketing. Some of these laws include the Law of Leadership, the Law of the Category, and the Law of the Mind. While some of the examples in this book are outdated, the principles themselves are timeless.
By Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares
This book is a growth marketing classic written by two extremely successful founders. In it, they teach you the Bullseye Framework for identifying the best traction channels for your business. They also go into the 19 different traction channels such as publicity, search engine marketing (SEM), and content marketing, and how you can use them to grow.
By April Dunford
April Dunford’s book on positioning is the best one we’ve found on the topic. While most positioning books share abstract information on finding your product’s positioning, Dunford shares step-by-step instructions for nailing it.
After you read and implement this book, you’ll know what differentiates your product and how to communicate it in a way that gets people to buy.
By Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown
Some people say “Build it [your product] and they [customers] will come.” But, this statement just isn’t true. The largest companies founded in the last ten years used a scalable, repeatable approach to growth. They growth hacked their way to success.
Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown introduce you to growth hacking in their book and describe how you can acquire customers, retain them, engage them, and encourage them to buy your product again and again.
By David Ogilvy
If you want to get better at copywriting and advertising, you must read Ogilvy on Advertising. Many copywriting experts recommend it as one of the most important books they read to improve their skills.
The Mom Test: How to talk to customers & learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you
By Rob Fitzpatrick
When growing a business, you need to ensure you’re building a product people actually want. Why? Because if you build something people don’t need, no amount of amazing marketing will save you.
To learn what people want and how to validate your ideas, read this book. In it, Rob Fitzpatrick shows you where customer research conversations go wrong and how to do them more effectively.
By Wes Bush
What if you could use your product itself as a way to acquire new customers and retain them? That’s what this book is all about. If you run a SaaS company and want to start growing better and faster while cutting your acquisition costs, check out this book.
By Chip & Dan Heath
This practical book will help you understand why people remember and believe in certain ideas and forget and reject other ones. Applying the concepts from it to your company will help you build a more memorable product and brand that persuades customers to purchase.
By Kathy Sierra
If you have zero marketing budget, you can still succeed in building your company. You just need to focus on making your product so it creates successful users. And, that’s what this book teaches you how to do. While it goes into more than just marketing, at the end of the day we believe it’s one of the best marketing books because if you can make your users successful, they will share your product and it will grow.
By Malcolm Gladwell
What if I told you that human beings think without thinking? That fact is true, and it’s what bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell explores in this book. He goes into how people make decisions in an instant that are more complicated than they seem. To understand the decision making process potential users make when evaluating your product, check out Blink.
By Dale Carnegie
To successfully market a product, you have to understand people. Dale Carnegie’s classic, How to Win Friends & Influence People, will help you understand people.
Just a few of the things Carnegie teaches in this book are six ways to make people like you, twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking, and nine ways to change people without arousing resentment. The skills and understanding of people that you pick up from this book will make you a better marketer.
By Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh
If you want to build a huge startup (think at the scale of Amazon, Facebook, or Airbnb), then you must read Blitzscaling. Written by Reid Hoffman (a co-founder of LinkedIn), it provides advice for scaling your company from zero to a billion users.
By Gary C. Halbert and Bond Halbert
Neville Medhora, founder of CopywritingCourse.com, shares The Boron Letters as one of his two-must read books for anyone getting started in copywriting. Written as letters from Gary C. Halbert to his son Bond Halbert, they contain copywriting wisdom that will help you convert more customers.
By Robert Cialdini
Earlier in this post, we referenced Cialdini as one of the great behavioral scientists and social psychologists of all time. In this second book from him, Cialdini shares “how to prepare people to be receptive to a message before they experience it.” He explains how if you can redirect people’s attention before a relevant action, you can persuade them to take that action. If you want to incorporate principles from social science into your marketing, you have to read Pre-Suasion.
By Michael Lewis
Michael Lewis, one of the most successful and influential authors of the modern age, shares the story of Israeli psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky in this book. He also reveals how their theory of mind changed the way we look at the world. Along the way, he explains many psychological concepts and principles from Kahneman and Tversky’s work that will grow your skills as a marketer.
By Jason Kincaid
Jason Kincaid worked as a senior writer at TechCrunch for years. From his experience there, he wrote this practical guide to getting media coverage and attention. If you actually want to get media coverage for your startup, read this book.
Blue Ocean Strategy, Expanded Edition: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant
By W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne
In crowded markets, competition creates a “bloody red ocean of rivals fighting over a shrinking profit pool.” To succeed with your company, the authors of this book argue you need to create blue ocean opportunities. These blue oceans are untapped markets that have strong potential for growth. Like several other titles on this list, while Blue Ocean Strategy isn’t a traditional marketing book, it will help your marketing become more effective by teaching you how to build businesses with fewer competitors.
By Seth Godin
The second book from Seth Godin on this list, This Is Marketing distills his most important marketing advice from over the years and shows you how to do work you’re proud of.
By Ann Handley
Even in a digital world, writing matters now more than ever, especially for marketing. That’s why you need to learn how to write better.
One way you can start to improve your writing is by reading this book. In it, Ann Handley goes into how you can write better, shares easy grammar rules tailored for business, helps you write more engaging stories, and offers other skills and wisdom.
By Dan Norris
Written by a successful entrepreneur, Content Machine shares how he used content marketing to grow his WordPress support business to over $1M in annual revenue with only $181.23 in ad spend. It will show you how to grow your SEO traffic (and business) with content marketing.
By Ryan Holiday
Part-exposé and part-how-to guide, this book from marketer and author Ryan Holiday looks at the underbelly of the online media industry. Holiday shows how bad incentives drive online publications to publish stories at a crazy fast rate (which often leads to incorrect news), and provides a technique you can use to trade your stories up the media chain to get national coverage.
Ask: The Counterintuitive Online Formula to Discover Exactly What Your Customers Want to Buy...Create a Mass of Raving Fans...and Take Any Business to the Next Level
By Ryan Levesque
If you want to learn what prospects actually want to buy and create survey-based sales funnels, you’ll enjoy reading Ask. Ryan Levesque uses this book to teach you how to run effective customer surveys so you can validate your ideas and sell more of your product.
By Tim Ferriss
The 4-Hour Workweek is another non-traditional marketing book that has appeared on this list. Yet, the principles in it will help your company grow faster with less effort.
How? By teaching you how to delegate unimportant tasks and focus on the highest-leverage projects that only you can do.
By Austin Kleon
If we had to boil down the core principle of Show Your Work! to one sentence, it would be: The more generous you become, the faster you will grow. What does this statement mean? It means that if you let others see how you work, what goes well and what fails, you will get their attention and grow your audience or business.
Other Marketing Books?
Do you know other particularly helpful marketing books that we should include on this list? If so, please let us know on Twitter.