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  • Writer's pictureBusiness Books New Curator

Top 10 best-selling business books for Marketing

Jonah Berger is a Wharton professor who goes the mile to understand the reason why some ideas travel better than others, and why some products get more talked about than others. Whether that is emails, YouTube videos, films, advertisements or cultural memes. Whatever the case, some things get spread faster than others, and some are deep enough to become a part of the public lexicon. Berger explores this phenomenon, dissecting the science of why things get spread and how that influences the world around them. This is the subject of the book, Contagious: How to Build Word of Mouth in the Digital Age. Drawing from a range of areas like social psychology, philosophy, marketing and trends, Berger illustrates the case for the success of a product or idea’s social currency. It turns out that word-of-mouth generates more than two times the sales of paid advertising, accounting for some 20% to 50% of all purchase decisions. It’s also somewhere around 8.5 to 30 times more effective than traditional media. He points out the word-of-mouth has incredible democratic power — it’s available for all. Book review here: Get your copy here:


Imagine driving down a road and seeing a bunch of brown cows. Seems normal right? Now, imagine seeing a purple cow. That’s remarkable. Exciting. And memorable. This is what Seth Godin’s The Purple Cow is about. He suggests that in today’s competitive world, you need to be a purple cow in everything you do. You’re either a purple cow or not. You’re either invisible or not. The choice depends on you. This purple cow phenomenon is what Godin associates with the successes of brands like Apple, Starbucks, Pret-a-Manger. He reveals the underlying differentiation strategy of such brands, as means to achieve spectacular growth in a highly competitive modern business world. Godin’s The Purple Cow takes a stab at conventional thinking in the world of marketing. Marketing so far has been established by the Ps — price, promotion and publicity. Godin introduces the new P that is the Purple Cow — a metaphor to remarkable products that defy conventions, captivate people and hold attention. Godin insists that marketers need to put a Purple Cow in everything they do and build as the way to stand out and remain noticeable. The book is a manifesto for anyone in the world of creating and marketing products, offering a range of real cases and examples designed to equip readers with practical strategies and tactics to create memorable brands. Godin calls for remarkable differentiation — to stand out from the herd, especially at a time with the rise of Internet and digital marketplaces. Purple Cow thinking is a message that continues to remain more relevant today than ever. It deals with a variety of areas that set the pace for influence and organic word-of-mouth in the modern world. Godin’s book allows readers to challenge conventional thinking, traditional advertising and pursue new forms of effectivness without bombarding people with the old-world ways of mass messaging and interruption. Alternatively, the Purple Cow approach allows marketers to create products that are inherently remarkable, so they become natural conversation starters. It’s a manifesto for creating stand out products and marketing. Book Review here: Get your copy here:


Chip and Dan Health are business professors who’ve been researching why some ideas spread and others don’t. They discovered the common thread: stickiness. Hence, the title, Made to Stick. This is a timeless classic that explores why some ideas thrive and others die, and is a refreshing read for anyone interested in learning how to influence others with ideas. Whether you’re hoping to get people to buy, vote, learn, diet, donate or start a revolution, this book delivers the foundations to activate those goals. Chip and Dan Heath play up the famous Mark Twain observations: ‘A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can even get its boots on.’ An interesting truth that recognises that folklore, legends, conspiracies and bogus stories tend to move around and spread effortlessly. Whereas, important ideas, born from scientists, entrepreneurs, intellectuals, politicians and journalists fail to spread. The former have what the Heath brothers call the ‘stickiness’ factor. They dissect the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to keep ideas sticky. They refer to strategies like the human scale principle, velcro theory or memory and creating curiosity gaps in developing stickiness. Using examples such as the infamous kidney theft ring hoax, sportsmanship lessons from coaches to Sony’s new product developments, they draw insights to supplement the case for creating things with stickiness. Book review here: Get your copy here:


No matter how impressive you build your aeroplane, it won’t leave the ground if it ignores the fundamental law of physics that is gravity. Renowned marketing consultants and authors of the seminal Positioning - The Battle for Your Mind, Al Ries and Jack Trout make a compelling case that marketing isn’t physics, nevertheless there are fundamental laws in marketing which when respected increases your propensity for effectiveness. They pose the question, why can’t marketers have a set of laws that help them win and maintain market share? The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing is just that book, offering marketers a compendium of 22 immutable laws for succeeding in the marketplace. They explore a variety of laws, such as the Law of Leadership, the Law of the Category, the Law of the Mind and so on. These strategic laws and insights are timeless and continue to inspire millions of marketers around the world in their path to creating and influencing successful products and campaigns. Al Ries and Jack Trout go on to suggest that violating these laws means you’re just playing risk. These 22 Laws are born from decades of marketing research, studied from a variety of marketing success, providing readers with a solid grounding on how to operate, navigate and get ahead in a competitive marketplace. Al Ries and Jack Trout’s Laws aren’t scientific truths, but they provide a great framework to achieve marketing dominance, helping marketers overtake competitors in definitive ways. Book review here: Get your copy here:


Al Ries and Jack Trout’s Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind is a seminal marketing book that popularized the fundamental idea of positioning in the world of marketing. While this book came out in the 1980s, at a time when ideas like differentiation were becoming incredibly necessary with the rise of competition. Ries and Trout helped a world of marketers rethink their approach to marketing by shifting the focus from communicating product features to establishing a positioning in the customer’s mindspace. This was a revolutionary idea that inspired marketers to understand the art and science of marketing with a psychological lens, helping them see marketing as a mind game more than a functional, product game. Ries and Trout describe the notion of creating a ‘position’ in a prospective customer's mind that’s associated by spotlighting the positives and alleviating the negatives of a brand, creating a favorable perception of the brand relative to competition. Book review here:

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Strategy is about choices. Deciding what to do, and what not to do. This is the premise of the seminal marketing book that is Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works by Roger L. Martin and A.G. Lafley. This management theory book is a solid, practical guide on how marketers should develop their strategy. It is a highly-reputed, well-regarded piece of seminal marketing literature for it comes from real marketing experts, Roger L. Martin, a renowned marketing professor and strategy consultant and A.G. Lafley, the former CEO of P&G. The old-saying goes, P&G is the school of marketing. That if you’ve had a stint with P&G, you’re among the most decorative ranks of marketers. The book reveals a P&G's approach to marketing. It shows the actual strategic framework used by Lafley, working with his strategic advisor, Martin, in doubling P&G’s sales, quadrupling its profits, and increasing its market value by more than $100 billion during Lafley’s tenure as P&G CEO from 2000 to 2009. The book is a guide to marketers and business leaders on how to think strategically and develop strategic plans to run the business, covering day-to-day actions and serving larger strategic goals on where to play and how to win. Lafley and Martin reveal their five-step strategic framework and on how to move across it with specific choices to be made at each step. Book review here: Get your copy here:


Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point is a seminal book on social psychology that’s had a massive impact on culture. Gladwell’s astute observation forms the basis of this book. He observes that there is a point in time, when an idea, trend or a social behavior reaches a certain threshold, after which it spreads like wildfire. If you think about it, this makes instinctive sense, and Gladwell builds on this idea by demonstrating why and how it’s actually very true. For instance, consider how a single sick person can influence an epidemic. The same phenomenon, he observes, applies to all areas of culture: a fashion trend, the popularity of a new ritual, a drop in crime rate etc. Gladwell’s ‘tipping point’ phenomenon is such a well-told narrative that it’s no surprise that this book has been a perpetual bestseller, changing the way people think about the ways in which ideas disseminate, and how products, when embedding with culture, and the trends that shape it, reach widespread acceptance. Get your copy here: 


Words matter a lot. They matter so much that the words you put together to describe your product or message makes or breaks its adoption. And in a world filled with information and dwindling attention spans, words, the right combination of them, are all the more important. Donald Miller’s Building a Story Brand explores the power of communicating things, and in the right, concise, compelling ways to connect with people; the most important factor in determining business success. Because using the wrong words to talk about a product means nobody will be talking about that product. Marketers stand to lose millions if they fall short on effectively communicating with their customers, and this is a common challenge faced not just by big marketers, but also small business owners. Book review here:

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Brands have existed for centuries. But the power of a brand's value hasn’t been recognised or studied up until recently, in the relative context of marketing history. Renowned marketing professor David A. Aaker makes a compelling case for why brands aren't just brands, they are indeed a company’s most important strategic asset that when maximized can lead to strong and sustainable business growth. Aaker references giants like General Electric, Kodak, Healthy Choice, McDonald's, Saturn, helps marketers understand how these brands have been created and managed to deliver multi-million-dollar growth. David A. Aaker’s Building Strong Brands is a guidebook for brand management, helping marketers discover the value of a brand as a strategic asset; as the company’s primary competitive advantage. Book review here:

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Byron Sharp is a professor of marketing sciences at The Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science, the world's largest centre for research into marketing. Byron Sharp’s How Brands Grow challenges the conventional beliefs about marketing. He suggests that much of what is learned in ‘traditional’ marketing degrees is just theory. Applying rigorous research methodologies, considering a large variety of categories from like FMCG, finance, banking, airlines and so on, he simplifies marketing principles to a definitive 7 rules of brand growth, and a range of laws. In a world teeming with short-termism and short tenures for marketers, recognising the true value of a brand is becoming a forgotten battle. Byron Sharp’s How Brands Grow is a seminal book on guiding marketers to think about the value of a brand, revealing fundamental insights on what a brand is, how brands grow, how advertising actually works, what price promotions do, what loyalty programs do and so on. Sharp’s book is based on decades of marketing research explaining all the contextual gaps that marketers overlook. It presents a range of brand laws, based on decades of solid research, helping marketers understand the essential principles of how brands grow. The book overrides conventional myths and misinformation parading the world of marketing with evidence-based insights, flipping marketers’ perspective on how to actually grow the brand. It has thus become a global bestseller, and a seminal book in marketing boardrooms worldwide. Book review here:

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