What to Read to Raise Your Marketing Game (and How to Find the Time)

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    I’m a voracious reader. Every year for the past few years, I’ve devoured more than two dozen books – both fiction and nonfiction – and more than three dozen magazines. I think my love of reading has made me more conversant at parties, more well-spoken in general and, most importantly in the context of this blog, a better writer.

    A lot of interesting new marketing books have hit the press in 2016 and 2017. I’ve read some of them, but there are plenty more still on my list. As summer comes to a close and the cooler weather intensifies my desire to curl up with a good book, I’m looking to whittle down the list, both enjoying myself and becoming better at my craft in the process.

    The following books – all released within the past year and a half and rated four or more stars on Amazon – are on my reading list for this fall. Because all but one of these is available as a downloadable audiobook, I’ll easily find time to read them as I work out, commute, cook dinner or do laundry, and you can do the same. (For more time-saving tricks, download our free tip sheet, 5 Time-Saving Hacks for B2B Marketers.)

    My Fall 2017 Marketing Reading List

    “Humanize Your Brand: How to Create Content that Connects with Your Customers,” by Jessica Ann.

    Described by one critic as “a book that invites us to make no distinction between our humanness and our marketing strategy,” this title “explores the meaning, art and science behind Human Content to evolve your brand,” making it worthy of attention in today’s impersonalized world.

    “The Storyteller’s Secret: From TED Speakers to Business Legends, Why Some Ideas Catch on and Others Don’t,” by Carmine Gallo.

    I really enjoyed Gallo’s “Talk Like TED” (published in 2014), which offered tips for public speaking based on lessons from the most successful TED speakers. I’m looking forward to Gallo’s latest title, which promises to examine the success factors of leaders like Elon Musk and brands like Southwest Airlines, and in so doing, argues that “a story is your most valuable asset and your competitive advantage.”

    “The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads,” by Tim Wu.

    In this examination of the impact of advertising from the viewpoint of the consumer, Wu argues that “more than a century’s growth and expansion in the industries that feed on human attention” has contributed to a distracted, unfocused populace, going as far as “changing our nature – cognitive, social, and otherwise – in ways unimaginable even a generation ago.” I’m hoping this historical perspective will reinforce and lend additional detail to my belief that content must be useful in order to be effective.

    “Non-Obvious 2017: How to Think Different, Curate Ideas & Predict the Future,” by Rohit Bhargava.

    Less about marketing specifically and more about business in general, this book aims to predict future trends that are less than obvious “by asking the questions that most trend predictors miss.” Containing predictions on trends like “passive loyalty,” the “robot Renaissance” and “moonshot entrepreneurship,” and including a section on marketing and social media trends, I couldn’t resist adding this to my list.

    As you put your fall reading list together, don’t forget the marketing classics. My own personal favorites include “Epic Content Marketing” by Joe Pulizzi; “Primal Marketing” by Patrick Hanlon; “The 12 Powers of a Marketing Leader” by Thomas Barta and Patrick Barwise; and “Talk Like TED” by Carmine Gallo.

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    What to Read to Raise Your Marketing Game (and How to Find the Time)