Must-Reads to Improve your Marketing Skills

Must read marketing books, Marketing jobs in Dorset

If you don’t want to be a coaster, you need to make sure you stay on top of your game.  A good way to to do this is to mix up what you’re reading and make time for some high-value books that could help you add a few strings to your Marketing ‘career skills bow’. So, where do you start to boost your skills and ultimately excel in or move into your ideal Marketing job in Dorset?

Add some strings to your Marketing skills bow, marketing jobs in dorsetWhen there are so many good books out there and we are all so strapped for time, it’s important to ensure you spend your time wisely and only read the best of the best.

Having gathered recommendations and reviews, we’ve compiled a list for you to chip away at. I certainly haven’t read them all by any means, I’ve just cherry-picked the standout marketing books that come highly recommended. Some you’re sure to recognise and hopefully, there’ll be a few new ones that you don’t to catch your interest.

Think of this as your go-to list when you fancy something different on your commute to work, or when there’s nothing worth watching on TV. Just grab one of these and get inspired!
Some are oldie but goodie must-reads and some are fresh off the press.

If you’re looking for a new marketing role – see our current marketing jobs in Dorset

Here are the 28 best books to read to get ahead in marketing:

  1. Icarus Deception by Seth Godin

‘If Seth Godin didn’t exist, we’d need to invent him’ Fast Company

‘Seth Godin is a demigod on the web, a bestselling author, highly sought-after lecturer, successful entrepreneur, respected pundit and high-profile blogger’ Forbes

Seth Godin is the author of thirteen international bestsellers that have changed the way people think about marketing, the ways ideas spread, leadership and change including Permission Marketing, Purple Cow, All Marketers are Liars, The Dip and Tribes. He is the CEO of and a very popular lecturer. His blog,, is the most influential business blog in the world, and consistently one of the 100 most popular blogs on any subject.

  1. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal

Nir Eyal reveals how successful companies create products people can’t put down – and shows how you can do it too. INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER WITH OVER 200,000 COPIES SOLD WORLDWIDE

‘The most high bandwidth, high octane, and valuable presentation I have ever seen on this subject’
Rory Sutherland, vice chairman.  Ogilvy & Mather

  1. Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing by Harry Beckwith

    ‘The one book on marketing I’d have is I could have just one. A CLASSIC’ Harvey Mackay

  2. The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis

‘A gripping account of how two psychologists reshaped the way we think…What a story it is!’
Sunday Times

‘An enchanted collaboration … During the final pages, I was blinking back tears’ The New York Times

‘You’ll love it….full of surprises and no small degree of tragedy’ Tim Harford

In 1969 two men met on a university campus. Their names were Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. They were different in every way. But they were both obsessed with the human mind – and both happened to be geniuses. Together, they would change the way we see the world.

  1. Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics, by Richard Thaler


Shortlisted for the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award

From the renowned and entertaining behavioural economist and co-author of the seminal work Nudge, Misbehaving is an irreverent and enlightening look into human foibles. Traditional economics assumes that rational forces shape everything. Behavioural economics knows better.

  1. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

‘Trust my snap judgement, buy this book: you’ll be delighted’ The New York Times
‘Compelling, Fiendishly clever’ Evening Standard

This book shows us how we can hone our instinctive ability to know in an instant, helping us to bring out the best in our thinking and become better decision-makers in our homes, offices and in everyday life.

  1. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Robert Grant

The New York Times bestselling author examines how people can drive creative, moral, and organisational progress―and how leaders can encourage originality in their organisations.

WINNER of the Chartered Management Institute’s (CMI’s) Mangement Book of the Year Awards 2017, JP Morgan’s Best Summer Read 2018, and a #1 New York Times Bestseller!

‘Extraordinary’ JJ Abrams
‘Fascinating’ Arianna Huffington
‘Inspire creativity and change’ Richard Branson
‘One of my favourite thinkers’ Malcolm Gladwell
‘Masterful’ Peter Thiel
‘One of the great social scientists of our time’ Susan Cain, bestselling author of Quiet
‘Fresh research, counter-intuitive insights, lively writing, practical calls to action’ The Financial Times

  1. Designing Brand Identity by Alina Wheeler

‘A recipe book for brand builders, Wheeler does for branding what Julia Child did for cooking’
Patricia Martin, author, RenGen

  1. The Life of PT Barnum by PT Barnum

In this account of his life and work, written by the man himself and first published in 1855, P. T. Barnum creates an aura of excitement about himself and his enduring fame, confirming his reputation as the greatest impresario of all time and revealing the controversial decisions that helped him to his fortune.

  1. Permission Marketing by Seth Godin (again)

    ‘Godin is as much a psychologist as a techie, and he writes deliciously without a whit of jargon or puffery’ Fortune

Instead of annoying potential customers by interrupting their most coveted commodity, time, Permission Marketing offers consumers incentives to voluntarily accept advertising. Now the Internet pioneer who has dramatically improved marketing effectiveness in media introduces a fundamentally different way of thinking about advertising products and services.

  1. Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is about Help Not Hype, by Jay Baer

‘What does it actually mean to create engaging content? This book delivers on a broader vision and a specific road map to creating content your customers will thank you for.’
Ann Handley, Chief content officer, MarketingProfs and Coauthor of Content Rules

  1. All Marketers Are Liars, 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.

  1. Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content, by Ann Handley

“All your shiny new channels, properties, and platforms are a waste of space without smart, useful content. Ann Handley’s new book helps make every bit of content count – for your customers and your bottom line.”
Kristina Halvorson, President, Brain Traffic

  1. Thinking Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman

The phenomenal international bestseller – 2 million copies sold – that will change the way you make decisions

‘A lifetime’s worth of wisdom’ Steven D. Levitt’, co-author of Freakonomics

‘There have been many good books on human rationality and irrationality, but only one masterpiece. That masterpiece is Thinking, Fast and Slow’ Financial Times

Why is there more chance we’ll believe something if it’s in a bold typeface? Why are judges more likely to deny parole before lunch? Why do we assume a good-looking person will be more competent? The answer lies in the two ways we make choices: fast, intuitive thinking, and slow, rational thinking.

This book reveals how our minds are tripped up by error and prejudice (even when we think we are being logical), and gives you practical techniques for slower, smarter thinking. It will enable to you make better decisions at work, at home, and in everything you do.

  1. Take Your Shot: How to Grow Your Business, Attract More Clients, and Make More Money
    by Mr Robin M Waite and Robin Waite

“Robin’s book is so much better than the usual ‘how-to’ publication. By telling a story based on a real business owner, he takes us on a journey that will resonate with readers no matter what industry they are in, no matter how small or large their enterprise.

If you are one of those business owners is always ‘busy’, this book will help you to investigate what you are busy doing and whether you are effectively working towards a goal that truly motivates you.

David Tovey, Business Owner, Speaker and Author of Principled Selling – How to Win More Business Without Selling Your Soul.

  1. 3 Months to No.1: The “No-Nonsense” SEO Playbook for Getting Your Website Found on Google by Will Coombe

    Learn the SEO tactics that saw one Airline Pilot quit his flying career. The same ones he used to build a Top SEO Agency in London. 7 Years & 500 clients later, he hands you the Playbook.

  2. How Brands Become Icons by Douglas B. Holt

“How brands become icons is one of the most insightful pieces of thinking on the modern world of marketing.” Jon Hegarty, Chairman and worldwide creative director of Bartle Bogle Hegarty

  1. Buzzmarketing, by Mark Hughes

    Named one of the great business reads of the year by Fast Company and one of the best business books of the year by the Financial Times.

“There’s fake corporate marketing and then there’s real marketing and then there’s real Marketing. This is the real stuff for real people”.  Ben Cohen,  Cofounder, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream

  1. Confessions of an Advertising Man, by David Ogilvy

    A new edition of the timeless business classic featured on Mad Menas fresh and relevant now as the day it was written.

David Ogilvy was considered the ‘father of advertising’ and a creative genius by many of the biggest global brands. First published in 1963, this seminal book revolutionised the world of advertising and became a bible for the 1960s ad generation. It also became an international bestseller, translated into 14 languages. Fizzing with Ogilvy’s pioneering ideas and inspirational philosophy, it covers not only advertising, but also people management, corporate ethics, and office politics, and forms an essential blueprint for good practice in business.

  1. Positioning: How to be seen and heard in the overcrowded marketplace, by Al Ries and Jack Trout

    ‘This book is fantastic! They give you some clear examples of why companies rise and fall because of their failure to position themselves in a way that makes sense to the market. They talk about how companies go from successes to duds because of their inability to understand their place in the market.’ – Matthew

The now-popular marketing term ‘positioning’ was originally coined by Trout in 1969. If you want to learn what positioning means for your personal brand, this book is the place to start.

The first book to deal with the problems of communicating to a skeptical, media-blitzed public, Positioning describes a revolutionary approach to creating a “position” in a prospective customer’s mind-one that reflects a company’s own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of its competitors.

  1. Influence, by Robert Cialdini

‘For marketers, it is among the  most  important books written in the last 10 years’ –Journal of Marketing Research

Psychologist and marketer Bob Cialdini explores why people are persuaded to change their minds, and teaches you how to become a savvy persuader yourself. He introduces you to his six principles of ethical persuasion. Perfect for people in all walks of life, the principles of Influence will move you toward profound personal change and act as a driving force for your success.

  1. Branding Pays, by Karen Kang

“Karen is the master of personal branding” Regis McKenna

One of the first lessons Kang introduces is that everyone knows the importance of a well-curated social media presence, but few people will actually take the initiative to manage their personal brand.

‘As a career services professional, I stress to students the importance of maintaining their personal brand. We started using this book in our career management courses because of its practical application. It’s easy to understand (“cake” and “icing”) with concrete examples. The book teaches you not only how to develop your brand, but more importantly, how to manage and maintain your brand.’– J.P.

  1. Career Warfare, by David D’Alessandro

‘A refreshing message . . . from someone who has fought many corporate wars.’―The New York Times

With the latest stories from D’Alessandro’s neverending collection of corporate derring-do and new insight on the global battlefield, the nationally bestselling Career Warfare is more essential than ever when navigating your way to success.

  1. The Success Principles, by Jack Canfield

 In celebration of its 10th anniversary, a revised and updated edition of Jack Canfield’s classic bestseller with a brand new foreword and an afterword for succeeding in the digital age.

Since its publication a decade ago, Jack Canfield’s practical and inspiring guide has helped thousands of people transform themselves for success.

  1. Guerilla Marketing, by Jay Conrad Levinson

    ‘Great book that gives you a quick introduction to the world of marketing, especially helpful for small business owners. If you’re an entrepreneur, this book is a must-read.’ – James

    Levinson shares his experiences in guerrilla marketing (a term he coined), and details how, with enough creativity and strategic thinking, you can spin any situation to your advantage. He also discusses best management practices, particularly as technology is evolving so rapidly.

Although Levinson’s book was first published in 1983, his teachings are timeless and they can easily be applied to the contemporary personal brand.

  1. Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence-and How You Can, Too by Gary Vaynerchuk

#1 New York Times Bestseller!

Four-time New York Times bestselling author Gary Vaynerchuk offers new lessons and inspiration drawn from the experiences of dozens of influencers and entrepreneurs who rejected the predictable corporate path in favour of pursuing their dreams by building thriving businesses and extraordinary personal brands.

  1. Marketing Myopia by Theodore Levitt

A Harvard Business Revie classic – (2008)

In Marketing Myopia, Theodore Levitt offers examples of companies that became obsolete because they misunderstood what business they were in and thus what their customers wanted. He identifies the four widespread myths that put companies at risk of obsolescence and explains how business leaders can shift their attention to customers’ real needs instead

  1. Contagious: How to build word of mouth in the digital age by Jonah Berger

‘It’s exciting and gratifying to know that each of us can spark an idea that catches fire and spreads, as Berger demonstrates in this book’ Forbes Magazine

Why are some products and ideas talked about more than others? Why do some articles make the most emailed list? Why do some YouTube videos go viral? Word-of-mouth. Whether through face-to-face conversations, emails from friends, or online product reviews, the information and opinions we get from others have a strong impact on our own behaviour.

Indeed, word-of-mouth generates more than two times the sales of paid advertising and is the primary factor behind 20-50% of all purchasing decisions. It is between 8.5 and 30 times more effective than traditional media. But want to know the best thing about word-of-mouth? It’s available to everyone.

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