marketing books

10 Books That Will Teach You Fascinating Things About Yourself and Human Behavior. . .


  1. The Power of Habit

This is fantastic personal development book teaches the trigger and reward loop systems that make up your most powerful habits, whether it is brushing your teeth, or a dark gambling addiction. It also dives into how businesses and products from toothpaste to Febreze, survive and thrive on our habit/ reward system.


2. Brain Rules


Understanding psychology and the human brain has helped me in everything from copy-writing to getting my butt to the gym. For a total neuroscience geek, John Medina is an exceptionally eloquent, funny, and conversational writer. It is clear he loves his subject matter, and his enthusiasm is contagious.

This book will show you both the evolution and facts behind the amazing brain power boost of exercise, how sleep can make you smarter, how stress will make you dumber, why boredom is death for attention spans, how to remember with repetition, why vision is queen of the senses, and more.

If you have ever wondered if there are gender brain differences, or if music really does improve cognitive functioning, Medina will clue you in with his 12 brain rules.


3. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs

It has been said that the greatest leaders, (Walt Disney, Steve Jobs) in their hearts, were showmen. They loved to delight and entertain. Gallo teaches how to use numbers, stories, and analogies to capture attention, delight audiences, and develop unforgettable stage presence in your presentations. Read if you believe in ridding the world of brain-deafening powerpoint presentations. I re-visit this book every time I want to distill information down in a way that will cause an audience to perk up and listen.


4. Hooked

Are apps the cigarettes of the 21st century? Nir Eyal is a friend of mine, and an all around cool guy. His book is almost as addicting as the digital products of which he analyzes. He applies principles from ‘The Power of Habit’ to our modern addiction, explaining the social and biological triggers for our fixation with technology, and proposing an ethical approach to solving problems with user dependency.


5. Contagious

Inspired by the Tipping Point, Berger’s research infers that there are 6 main factors that help explain social pandemics: 1. Social Currency; 2. Triggers; 3. Emotion; 4. Public; 5. Practical Value; and 6. Stories (STEPSS). This book combines some marketing 101 principles to the modern viral age. I reference it a lot in my upcoming course ‘How to Go Viral’.


6. Influence

Did you know attractive people often receive lighter prison sentences? Or that seeing other people doing something makes us want to do it too? Cialdini will make you aware of all of these human fallacies and more, so you can overcome them (or use them to your advantage).

This book will teach you how to increase your influence (or dodge crafty manipulators) with the 6 Rules of Influence (Reciprocity, Consistency, Social Proof, Likeability, Authority, and Scarcity). Aside from providing useful tips, Cialdini exposes fascinating insights into human nature and our own bias traps.



7. Made to Stick

Have you ever had an idea you wanted to make stick like velcro in the mind of lots of people? ‘Made to Stick’ shows you how the ‘SUCCES’ model, using concepts of ‘Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, and Story’ have been used in everything from getting Clinton elected, putting a man on the moon, and solving a littering problem in Texas.


8. The Art of Seduction

The book is not for the faint of heart, but highly entertaining and well-told a history lesson in human behavior. Robert Greene’s scheming and manipulation can be a little over the top, but it’s hard not to be enthralled by his eloquence and Machiavellian deviance. Learning how to seduce, or delight, is a practical life skill in everything from politics to sales to cocktail conversation.



9. Tribes

This excellent read by Seth Godin makes it clear how social media is the perfect medium to the method of finding customers that will resonate with your mission. Seth Godin’s books, especially this one, will inspire you to lead and rally a community to make the changes you want to see in the world.


10. Save the Cat


Telling a great story is key to everything in marketing, from capturing attention, to creating a brand, to producing a viral video.

Save the Cat is inspiring and heartwarming, and will have you foaming at the mouth to write the next Chinatown. Stay focused. You are trying to start an online brand. Or abandon your dreams to become a screenwriter. Whatever works for you.