Over these past couple of years, I’ve had an insatiable appetite to learn about consumer behavior and how brands can best utilize media to get in front of customers. Each and every one of these books is a worthy addition to every marketer and leader’s library. What do you think of my list? Please leave a comment at the bottom of this post, I’d love to hear your opinion. Feel free to click on any of the share buttons if you liked this.
1. Start with Why by Simon Sinek.
I read once that when a student of mathematics defends their Phd thesis, the solution is often graded on it’s beauty. The simpler the solution, the more beautiful, elegant and truthful it becomes. With his book Start with Why, Simon has written the Phd equivalent for marketers and organizational leaders.
The concept, start with why, is disarmingly simple. However, the research, analysis and insight Simon offers in this book are thought altering. Simon’s observations of successful companies like Apple and Southwest Airlines or leaders like Orville & Wilbur Wright and Martin Luther King Jr. are so resonant with me that I had no choice but to start forming this list at number 2. This book is phenomenal and every leader (by title or not) should add it to their library.
For fans of Chip and Dan Heath, I made a connection today between Start with Why and Switch. Simon makes the case that companies and leaders who inspire, who continuously outperform do the same thing. They start their message first with why, then how, then eventually get to what. Similarily, in Switch, Chip and Dan Heath make the case that to facilitate change you must first Motivate the Elephant, Steer the Rider and then Shape the Path. I believe that there are significant overlaps between the research of these authors which adds proof that both parties have independently devised beautiful, elegant and truthful formulas.
2. Six Pixels of Separation by Mitch Joel
Mitch is the Johnny Cash of digital marketing. Seriously, I’ve only ever seen him wearing black. But that’s beside the point. When I finished reading this book, I wrote this about Six Pixels “Mitch may be the smartest guy on the planet right now when it comes to digital media. Im so glad that I had the chance to read Six Pixels, it’s an eye opener for sure that shifted my understanding of digital connectivity”
Mitch’s idea that really stuck with me is this – in a world where everyone is connected, is your business connected to everyone? Click here from notes I took of Mitch speaking at The Art of Marketing conference in 2010.
3. Purple Cow by Seth Godin
Admittedly, I ripped off the title of this blog reMARCable from Seth. It’s not a coincidence that I used the same colors as the Purple Cow. The ideas in this book are so powerful that it’s reshaped my daily actions. Everything I do to market myself, my company and my clients is in some way shaped by this book.
Consumers do have very little time and an overabundance of choices. Being safe is too risky. Being safe means that your brand or product gets lumped in the the majority of other products on the bell curve making it even harder to stand out. As Seth says, standing out in this kind of environment is obvious. Products that stand out need to be remarkable. Remarkable by definition is worth talking about.
4. Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath
There are six principles that the Heath brothers outline in this book. By following these simple rules, you’ll be able to make your ideas, your marketing message and your brand much more memorable and give each better chance of thriving. The principles are summarized by the acronym S.U.C.C.E.S.
Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, Stories.
In October 2011, I wrote a longer review which you can read here.
5. Brains on Fire by Brains on Fire
The team at Brains on Fire wrote what they call a love story. Their book is a workbook about how to create branded movements. They believe that Marketing is about people, it’s about passion and its about conversation between real people. They believe that movements unite a community around a cause, organization or a brand. As in the case of the Fiskateers, Movements can be a sustainable marketing and research arm of any corporation provided that the company wants to love their customers and let their customer love them back.
Here is a link to a longer book review I wrote last year
What are your favorite books? Are there any on my list that you’d put on yours?
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