Top 10 Marketing Books To Jump Start Your Business
1) How to Write a Good Advertisement by Vic Schwab (Wilshire Book
Company, 1962). A common-sense course in how to write advertising
copy that gets people to buy your product or service, written by
a plain-speaking veteran mail order copywriter in 1960.
Best part: 100 "archetypal" headlines that people are still using
in various forms today to create new controls (e.g., "When
Doctors Feel Rotten, This is What They Do").
Availability: Still in print (Wilshire Publishing) and available
2) Taken At The Flood: The Story of Albert D. Lasker by John Gunther
(Harper & Brothers, 1960). Albert Lasker (1880-1952) was a prominent advertising executive during the first half of the 20th century. During his 40-year tenure with the Chicago-based Lord and Thomas, Lasker built the company into the largest advertising agency in the United States. Through his innovation and leadership, he helped to usher in the new age of modern advertising.
Lasker had an inquiring mind about what advertising was and how it worked. In 1904 he met John E. Kennedy who had been a Canadian mounted policemen and who now promised him to tell him what advertising was. Lasker believed that advertising was news, but Kennedy said to him that, "news is a technique of presentation, but advertising is a very simple thing. I can give it to you in three words, it is "salesmanship in print."
Great read about the history of american advertising with techniques on testing, testing and more testing until you proved that your marketing will be profitable.
3) The Robert Collier Letter Book by Robert Collier. While Schwab
and Sackheim concentrate on space ads, Collier focuses on the art
of writing sales letters, of which he is a master. You learn how
to write persuasive sales letters in a friendly, natural,
Best part: While some of the letters may seem old-fashioned and
dated, Collier's timeless principles still apply.
Availability: Comes in and out of print. Somewhat difficult to
4) Reality in Advertising by Rosser Reeves (Alfred A. Knopf,
1961). The book in which Reeves introduced the now-famous concept
of USP (the Unique Selling Proposition).
Best part: The idea that every successful ad must (a) offer a
benefit, (b) the benefit must differentiate your product from the
competition, and (c) the benefit must be big enough to motivate
buyers to purchase your product instead of others.
Availability: Out of print and difficult to get.
I got lucky. Was in an Ann Arbor, Michigan books store and this book saw sitting there with a $9.00 price tag on it. This one book has the most underlines and border notes than any of my marketing books. A classic and worth seeking out.
5) Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz. A copywriting
guide by one of the greatest direct-response copywriters of the
Best part: The notion that advertising does not create desires;
rather, it focuses already existing desires onto your product.
Availability: Available from Boardroom Books.
6) Tested Advertising Methods, Fifth Edition by John Caples,
revised by Fred Hahn (Prentice-Hall, 1997). An updated version of
John Caples' classic book on the principles of persuasion as
proven through A/B split tests.
Best part: The A/B split headline tests with the results (e.g.,
for an air conditioner, "How to have a cool, quiet bedroom - even
on hot nights" pulled 2 ½ times the response of "Get rid of that
humidity with a new room cooler that also dries the air").
Availability: In print. Available in bookstores and online.
7) Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy (Atheneum).
Charming autobiography of legendary ad man David Ogilvy, packed
with useful advice on how to create effective advertising.
Best part: Chapter 6 on "How to Write Potent Copy."
Availability: Out of print and difficult to get.
8) Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins (Bell Publishing,
1920). A book on the philosophy that advertising's purpose is to
sell, not entertain or win creative awards - and how to apply
this philosophy to create winning ads.
Best part: His observation that "specifics sell; superlatives
roll off the human understanding like water off a duck's back."
Availability: Since the copyright has expired, this book is now
in the public domain and is available as a free downloadable
e-book on several Web sites.You can also buy it as a paperback on
You can download it right now by simply right clicking the link below
and saving to your hard drive:
9) Method Marketing by Denny Hatch (Bonus Books, 1999). A book on
how to write successful direct response copy by putting yourself
in the customer's shoes. Packed with case histories of modern
direct response success stories, including Bill Bonner of Agora
Publishing, and Martin Edelston of Boardroom.
Best part: The introduction of the concept of method marketing,
which states: "You cannot write copy without getting inside the
head of the person to whom you are communicating and becoming
10) Advertising Secrets of the Written Word by Joseph Sugarman
(DelStar, 1998). How to write successful advertising copy by a
modern master of the space ad.
Best part: The 24 psychological triggers that get people to buy.
Availability: In print and available on amazon.com.
Did I leave out any of your favorities? (I know I left out a
dozen or so of mine!)
P.S. Id be a bad marketer if I didn't include my book:
97 Marketing Secrets To Make More Money: Your Secrets Guide To Growing Your Business Right.