Stripping away the countless claims on “Best Marketing Books” out there, I’ve shortlisted the ones that actually taught me something. Heads up, they could have, but none of the books mentioned here carry any affiliate links or CTAs to buy because that’s not the point of this list.
Almost every marketing book I’ve read follows the same guidelines – Claim to be one of the “best marketing books” to solve all your problems, and then proceed to talk about arbitrary basics as “expert tips” that’re usually picked up as common sense long before starting your first job. Don’t spam your users with emails more than 50 times within a day? Thanks for letting me know. Although to be fair, someone should have told Microsoft this as well.
Or worse, they’re packed with enough fluffy BS to put North America out of business.
Over time, I’ve read a lot of marketing books, and seen almost everything they have to offer. Without really naming names (looking at you, happy) – there was one on user retention that was literally a paperback version of the ebook, where you could turn a page and come across a thumbnail of an embedded YouTube video. It’s selling on Amazon Germany for 82EUR 🤯. Even worse, the key takeaway from the book was “retention is a strong policy”, and gave a total of 0 actionable insights or context into how to achieve better retention. Thanks.
The point being, most marketing books are a complete waste of money, time, and effort, and do virtually nothing to improve your understanding of commercial B2B and B2C marketing, nor do they give enough real-world context to paraphrase into your daily operations. They’re filled with so many buzzwords, marketing fluff, and absolute BS, that you’d be hard-pressed to find a book that’s worth its price-tag. Prof. Scott Galloway had a genius theory on Yogababble recently, where he created a correlation between the amount of fluff a company has in their mission statements, v. their stock market performance a year after going public. Not really comparing apples and oranges here, but I’m sure there’s a definite correlation to how much fluff a marketing book has vs. how useful it actually is.
If you haven’t seen the TL;DR of Yogababble, watch it, its hilarious. In fact, here it is.
Therefore, I’ve taken it upon myself to share the books I’ve genuinely liked and learnt from (in no particular order), and the one primary thing they taught me that made me recommend them.
If they end up being nothing but fluff to you, then, well, we gain knowledge from different things I suppose.