Recently, an agency principal called with an unusual request. He wanted a reading list to share with his employees that would provide a “best of” overview of the industry’s best ideas, thinking and history. We were happy to compile a list of our favorites, and thought all of our readers might like to see it.
Topics range from the wisdom of Bernbach and Ogilvy, to sales techniques, copywriting, brand positioning and viral marketing. Some are classics, others are recent additions destined to be classics. A few remind us of ethics and best practices too often igmored in the modern era. The list is alphabetical, not by order of importance or recommendation. Please suggest additional titles if you have favorites not on the list. Links are to traditional print editions via Amazon.com, but all may be available elsewhere; some may also be available as ebooks.
All are worth a browse or a serious cover-to-cover reading. If you're feeling extra ambitious we challenge you to pick one of the books and have your entire team read it and then take some time to come together, either virtually or in-person (socially distanced of course), and discuss. Could be a fun team building exercise or even just a welcome change of pace from the typical day-to-day. Happy reading!
BadMen: How Advertising Went from a Minor Annoyance to a Major Menace by Bob Hoffman (The Ad Contrarian)
Building Strong Brands by David Aaker
Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Berger, Jonah
Decoded: The Science Behind Why We Buy by Phil P. Barden
Guerrilla Marketing, by Jay Conrad Levinson
Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads by Luke Sullivan, Sam Bennett
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion By Dr. Robert Cialdini
Integrated Marketing Communications: Putting It Together & Making It Work by Don E. Schultz, Stanley I. Tannenbaum, Robert F. Lauterborn
Little Red Book of Selling: 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness by Jeffrey Gitomer
Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands by Kevin Roberts
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Obvious Adams: The Story of a Successful Businessman (Classic Reprint) by Robert R. Updegraff
Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy
Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries, Jack Trout, and Philip Kotler
Pre-suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade By Dr. Robert Cialdini
Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin
Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing by Harry Beckwith
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk! by Al Ries and Jack Trout
The Book of Gossage by Howard Luck Gossage, Jeff Goodby, and Bruce Bendinger
The Choice Factory: 25 Behavioural Biases That Influence What We Buy by Richard Shotton
The Little Blue Book of Advertising: 52 Small Ideas That Can Make a Big Difference by Steve Lance, Jeff Woll
The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More by Chris Anderson
Where the Suckers Moon: The Life and Death of an Advertising Campaign by Randall Rothenberg
In addition to books, consider agency subscriptions to AdAge and Adweek, and have employees share favorite blogs, online publications like TheDrum and MediaBistro, and tech-specific publishing sites. Mix in some general interest newspapers or magazines. Whether you dabble or delve deep, enjoy. Thanks and good reading!