Required summer reading: [marketing] Back-to-work books

The days might have passed to where you're no longer in school, but that doesn't mean you can stop learning! Summer reading was a necessary, but not always fun, portion of the school year. To continue in the tradition of previous summers, I wanted to give some book recommendations to liven up your book pile this summer.


While I am definitely someone who enjoys a beach read, these are a few of my favorite marketing beach reads.

Beach Reads for your Business

Rework by 37signals

I just finished this book the other day - it was incredibly quick read and very insightful into how you can avoid pitfalls in building your business. If you need a quick jolt about how you can change and run your business, this is a perfect under 2-hour read.

I loved the visuals, the authors' style, and the clearness of what they had to say. It was easy to follow and I really enjoyed learning more about the founders' journey in business.

You can do it your own way. Businesses don't need to be layers and layers of processes or shoot for staggering growth. Right-size your business instead of shooting for what is expected (growing employees, Public IPO, etc)

Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior by Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman

These brothers come together and create a book to help explain the decisions that consumers make. They go into case studies and examples of just how irrational consumers are, and the small tweaks that can be made to drive action and change.

Understand how your consumers are irrational so you can use the underlying psychological principles behind your marketing tactics.

Advertising Life

The Art of Client Service by Robert Solomon

Clients got you down? Listen to how this account executive worked through the ad business and created value for his clients. More than just a glorified scheduler, Robert turned client service in a way to build client longevity for your business.

The stories are interesting and provide a slice of life for an account executive in an advertising agency. A read that offers 58 tips for marketing professionals.

Always create value. By being more, you create a better environment for your agency and coworkers. You do this in how you interact with others and creating a more effective relationship with clients. 

Hey Whipple, Squeeze This! by Luke Sullivan and Edward Boches

A comprehensive guide to great and classic advertising, this book is a must-read for anyone in advertising. Learning the craft means understanding how and why great ads work, something the authors showcase in every chapter.

Simplify, simplify! Don't get too caught up in a concept or an idea. Think about something in the simplest terms and convey a singular message.

Virality of Ideas

Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger

Remember all those fun email forwards that are now replaced by Instagram posts? Learn why each of those types of social shares went viral. Jonah Berger explains how things go "catch on" with his six principles.

Tell an interesting story. Every product has a story - even blenders - that can be used to grab and keep attention.

Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Another brotherly dup deliver a book explaining why you remember some things, while forgetting others. Why do some ideas stick around and others fade? They found six commonalities among stories that kept them "sticky" over time.

Connect to people with emotion. Emotion will humanize stories, brands, and products so that people can connect to what you are trying to convey.

Personal Growth

Yes, Please! by Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler sheds light on her career, trials and tribulations on her way to success, and the comedic pals she made along the way. The SNL crew, like Seth Myers and Tina Fey, make an appearance and she delivers an homage to her Parks and Rec cast.

Hilarious and literally having me chortling at the airport, Amy packs insight and humor into the package. You knew she was funny, but get to know her even better in Yes, Please!

When you're ready to complain or be frustrated, just say, "Yes, please." Welcome new experiences and changes that come your way with openness and grit.


Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

Get into the arena and put yourself out there! Brene Brown did just that with her first TED Talk that went viral. Seeing the interest in her research on vulnerability and shame, she wrote a book dedicated to her many years of research.

Be open to being vulnerable. The best and the worst moments in life happen in that space. Without spending time feeling the negative or trying times, you won't be able to enjoy the good.

Now reading

Predictably Irrational

To be started soon, I'm excited to learn more about psychology (my original major) and human behavior.

What are you reading?