December 10, 2019

15 Must-Read Books for Marketers

There are plenty of disciplines and topics that are worth learning about in marketing, but the best marketers are not masters of all of them. Instead they study each facet of marketing to understand how they influence each other. They know their strengths, recognize their weaknesses and build teams around them to compliment both.

These fifteen books cover the primary disciplines and skill sets that every marketer should learn about if they want to become experts in their field.


If we’re going to have a list of books marketers should read, then we should probably start with some books that are on marketing. These three books will help you understand modern marketing concepts and how the industry reached its current state.

Inbound Marketing, Revised and Updated: Attract, Engage, and Delight Customers Online
by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah



Inbound Marketing, Revised and Updated: Attract, Engage, and Delight Customers Online is a comprehensive guide to increasing online visibility and engagement. Written by top marketing and startup bloggers, the book contains the latest information about customer behavior and preferred digital experiences. From the latest insights on lead nurturing and visual marketing to advice on producing remarkable content by building tools, readers will gain the information they need to transform their marketing online.

All Marketers are Liars: The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing Really Works — and Why Authenticity Is the Best Marketing of All
by Seth Godin



As Seth Godin has taught hundreds of thousands of marketers and students around the world, great marketers don’t talk about features or even benefits. Instead, they tell a story — a story we want to believe, whether it’s factual or not. In a world where most people have an infinite number of choices and no time to make them, every organization is a marketer, and all marketing is about telling stories.

Conversational Marketing: How the World's Fastest Growing Companies Use Chatbots to Generate Leads 24/7/365 (and How You Can Too)
by David Cancel and Dave Gerhardt



Online forms, email inquiries and follow-up sales calls don’t provide the immediacy that modern consumers expect. Conversational marketing and sales are part of a new methodology centered around real-time, one-on-one conversations with customers via chatbots and messaging.  By allowing your business to communicate with customers in real-time — when it’s most convenient for them — conversational marketing improves the customer experience, generates more leads and helps you convert more leads into customers.

Stay up to date with our marketing, sales and customer success content —  subscribe to our blog!


Every deal your company closes is the culmination of thousands if not millions of decisions that are made by many different people. This makes it vital for marketers to understand how and why people make decisions. Some of the best marketers in the world spend years honing this skill to become masters of their craft, and these books are a great place to start.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
by Robert B. Cialdini



In this highly acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Dr. Robert B. Cialdini — the seminal expert in the field of influence and persuasion — explains the psychology of why people say yes and how to apply these principles ethically in business and everyday situations.

Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade
by Robert B. Cialdini



The acclaimed New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller from Robert Cialdini — “the foremost expert on effective persuasion” (Harvard Business Review) — explains how it’s not necessarily the message itself that changes minds, but the key moment before you deliver that message.

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions
by Dr. Dan Ariely



Dan Ariely refutes the common assumption that we behave in fundamentally rational ways. From drinking coffee to losing weight, from buying a car to choosing a romantic partner, we consistently overpay, underestimate and procrastinate. Yet these misguided behaviors are neither random nor senseless. They're systematic and predictable — making us predictably irrational.


It’s easier to track, measure and optimize your marketing efforts than ever before. This has given rise to the data-driven demand generation marketers of today. Now, that doesn't mean you need to be a data junky to be successful, but you should be familiar with the concepts introduced in these books.

Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster
by Alistair Croll and Benjamin Yoskovitz



Written by Alistair Croll (Coradiant, CloudOps, Startupfest) and Ben Yoskovitz (Year One Labs, GoInstant), the book lays out practical, proven steps to take your startup from initial idea to product/market fit and beyond. Packed with over 30 case studies and based on a year of interviews with over a hundred founders and investors, the book is an invaluable, practical guide for Lean Startup practitioners everywhere.

Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb



Fooled by Randomness is a standalone book in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s landmark Incerto series, an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk and decision-making in a world we don’t understand. The other books in the series are The Black Swan, Antifragile, Skin in the Game and The Bed of Procrustes.


The value that a strong brand can provide to a company is immeasurable — literally and figuratively. The way someone feels about your company starts with your brand and that is the one thing your competition cannot steal from you. While there is a lot more to branding than just design, it still goes a long way in helping to build a connection with your audience.

Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities
by David Airey


Author David Airey not only shares his experiences working with clients, including sketches and final results of his successful designs, but uses the work of many well-known designers to explain why well-crafted brand identity systems are important, how to create iconic logos and how to best work with clients to achieve success as a designer. Contributors include Gerard Huerta, who designed the logos for Time magazine and Waldenbooks; Lindon Leader, who created the current FedEx brand identity system as well as the CIGNA logo; and many more.

The A-Z of Modern Design
by Bernd Polster, Claudia Neumann, Markus Schuler and Frederick Leven


This encyclopedia is the most comprehensive guide available to international product design of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It includes more than 300 entries on influential designers and studios and the most important design-led manufacturers worldwide, both past and present, from Frank Lloyd Wright, Raymond Loewy and Philippe Starck to Apple, Ikea and BMW. The products featured range from classic cars, furniture and ceramics to the latest MP3 players. Each entry includes an informative profile, a biography or company history, and a product chronology and is accompanied by color photographs.


What is marketing without content? As marketing has evolved over the years, the one thing that remains consistent is that content is king. Whether it’s an e-book, video, blog post or podcast, it’s vital for marketers to find ways to share their message with their intended audience. These books will help you become a better communicator and content creator.

The Copyeditor’s Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications
by Amy Einsohn



The Copyeditor's Handbook is a lively, practical manual for newcomers to publishing and for experienced editors who want to fine-tune their skills or broaden their understanding of the craft. This book may be used for self-instruction or as a textbook in copyediting classes. The exercises are accompanied by answer keys and detailed line-by-line explanations.

Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars
by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman



Blogs, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other platforms are giving everyone a "voice," including organizations and their customers. So how do you create the stories, videos and blog posts that cultivate fans, arouse passion for your products or services and ignite your business? Content Rules equips you for online success as a one-stop source on the art and science of developing content that people care about. This coverage is interwoven with case studies of companies successfully spreading their ideas online ― and using them to establish credibility and build a loyal customer base.


Even if you never jump on a call as a marketer, you should know what it takes to sell because at the end of the day marketing should result in sales. These books by Trish Bertuzzi and Mark Roberge will help you understand how sales teams think and the importance of marketing and sales alignment.

The Sales Development Playbook: Build Repeatable Pipeline and Accelerate Growth with Inside Sales
by Trish Bertuzzi



This book is about not just growth, but high-growth, explosive-growth, the kind of growth that weather satellites can see from space. The success of any business-to-business company is directly linked to how effectively they acquire new pipeline. To skyrocket growth, sales development is the answer. This book encapsulates author Trish Bertuzzi’s three decades of practical, hands-on experience. It presents six elements for building new pipeline and accelerating revenue growth with inside sales.

The Sales Acceleration Formula: Using Data, Technology, and Inbound Selling to go from $0 to $100 Million
by Mark Roberge



The Sales Acceleration Formula provides a scalable, predictable approach to growing revenue and building a winning sales team. Everyone wants to build the next $100 million business, and author Mark Roberge has actually done it using a unique methodology that he shares with his readers. As an MIT alum with an engineering background, Roberge challenged the conventional methods of scaling sales utilizing the metrics-driven, process-oriented lens through which he was trained to see the world. In this book, he reveals his formulas for success.


Not every marketer needs to know how to manage, but marketing teams always run on tight budgets and timelines. This means that a thorough understanding of operations can go a long way to get more output from a small input. This book by Andy Grove is a great resource for any manager or team looking to reduce waste and increase efficiency.

High Output Management
by Andrew S. Grove



The essential skill of creating and maintaining new businesses — the art of the entrepreneur — can be summed up in a single word: managing. Born of Grove’s experiences at one of America’s leading technology companies, High Output Management is equally appropriate for sales managers, accountants, consultants and teachers, as well as CEOs and startup founders. Grove covers techniques for creating highly productive teams, demonstrating methods of motivation that lead to peak performance — throughout, High Output Management is a practical handbook for navigating real-life business scenarios and a powerful management manifesto with the ability to revolutionize the way we work.

The Takeaway

This list is just a starting point for you to expand your marketing expertise. This is by no means a comprehensive list of every marketing-related book you should read in your lifetime. I encourage everyone to continue educating themselves and diversify their knowledge by learning about as many fields as possible. 

If you’d like to continue learning from us, subscribe to our blog, where we publish new content relating to Inbound Marketing, Sales and Demand Generation every weekday.

Subscribe to our blog

Tag(s): Sales Marketing

Guido Bartolacci

Guido is Head of Product and Growth Strategy for New Breed. He specializes in running in-depth demand generation programs internally while assisting account managers in running them for our clients.


Ready to jumpstart your acquisition, retention and expansion efforts?

Request Assessment