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Summer Reading List for Businesses and Marketers

Summer is NOT over, yet. Now is the perfect time to catch up on some reading and learning!

Published on

Jul 26, 2023

Written by

Nadia Mehra

As the summer sun brings smiles to faces and warms up the world, businesses and marketers have the perfect opportunity to take advantage of leisurely activities that can help them grow professionally. 

One way to relax (and learn) is by reading. To help, we've created a Summer Reading List for Businesses and Marketers. This list is filled with books that cover topics ranging from marketing strategies to leadership and even tech disruption. It also includes insightful perspectives on the ever-changing business landscape to keep marketers and businesses up-to-date on trends.

Whether you're seeking captivating reads or thought-provoking ideas, this summer reading list is sure to satisfy your curiosity. So, put down the sunglasses and pick up a book - it's time to fuel your entrepreneurial spirit and elevate your marketing prowess!


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1. "Purple Cow" by Seth Godin

Let's kick off our reading journey with a marketing classic by the renowned visionary Seth Godin. In "Purple Cow," Godin challenges businesses to embrace a remarkable approach. Much like a purple cow stands out in a field of black and white, businesses need to create products, services, and marketing campaigns that are truly unique and extraordinary. 

Learn how to break through the noise of the market and capture the attention of your target audience by being truly remarkable. With captivating anecdotes and practical insights, "Purple Cow" will reshape your perspective on marketing, inspiring you to embrace innovation and stand out in a sea of competition.

2. "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries

For aspiring entrepreneurs and startups, "The Lean Startup" is a must-read that lays the foundation for building a resilient and agile business. Eric Ries introduces the concept of developing a company through the use of minimum viable products (MVPs) and consistently iterating based on customer feedback. Discover how to navigate the uncertainties of entrepreneurship by adopting a build-measure-learn feedback loop, allowing you to constantly refine your products and strategies to meet customer demands and market changes. "The Lean Startup" is a practical guide that empowers entrepreneurs to build and scale successful businesses efficiently, while minimizing risks and optimizing resources.

3. "Building a StoryBrand" by Donald Miller

In the digital age, where consumers are bombarded with messages from all directions, storytelling has become a powerful tool for businesses to connect with their audience. In "Building a StoryBrand," Donald Miller reveals the art of crafting a compelling brand story that resonates with your target audience and inspires action. 

Drawing inspiration from timeless storytelling techniques, Miller provides a step-by-step framework to clarify your brand message, make it relatable to your customers, and drive conversions. "Building a StoryBrand" is a transformative guide that will help you create a cohesive brand narrative and establish a deep emotional connection with your customers.

4. "Contagious: Why Things Catch On" by Jonah Berger

Have you ever wondered why certain ideas, products, or videos go viral while others don't? In "Contagious: Why Things Catch On," Jonah Berger explores the science behind contagiousness and unravels the underlying principles of why certain things become popular. By studying real-life examples of viral sensations, Berger provides actionable insights on how to make your marketing messages spread like wildfire. 

Learn the six key principles of contagiousness, from social currency and triggers to emotions and practical value. "Contagious" will equip you with a toolkit to create compelling and shareable content that captivates your audience and amplifies your brand's reach.

5. "Everybody Writes" by Ann Handley

In the digital era, where content is king, the ability to write compelling and engaging copy is an essential skill for marketers. "Everybody Writes" by Ann Handley is a practical guide that helps you enhance your writing skills, create captivating content, and connect with your audience on a deeper level. With valuable tips, actionable advice, and witty anecdotes, Handley demystifies the writing process and empowers you to produce high-quality content that sets your brand apart. 

Whether you're crafting emails, blog posts, social media updates, or marketing materials, "Everybody Writes" will be your go-to resource for becoming a confident and persuasive writer.

6. "Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World" by Adam Grant

In "Originals," Adam Grant explores the traits and behaviors of non-conformists who challenge the status quo and generate innovative ideas. Through a captivating blend of psychology and history, Grant delves into the minds of originals and reveals the unique characteristics that set them apart. 

Discover how to foster creativity, overcome self-doubt, and develop a culture that encourages and embraces original thinking within your business. "Originals" will inspire you to think differently, challenge norms, and implement innovative ideas that propel your business to new heights.

7. "Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers" by Jay Baer

Customer service is the heartbeat of every successful business. In "Hug Your Haters," Jay Baer emphasizes the importance of embracing customer complaints and feedback as opportunities to strengthen relationships and foster customer loyalty. Baer presents a powerful framework for handling customer complaints and explores how exceptional customer service can transform detractors into brand advocates. 

Armed with insightful case studies and practical strategies, "Hug Your Haters" will empower you to turn negative experiences into positive outcomes and build a customer-centric brand that stands out in the market.


Woman Working


8. "Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth" by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares

If you're a startup seeking rapid growth, "Traction" is the guide you need. Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares provide a comprehensive framework for finding the right marketing channels to drive customer acquisition and growth. The book introduces nineteen traction channels, from traditional advertising to content marketing, social media, and beyond. 

Learn how to experiment with different channels, measure their effectiveness, and identify the ones that work best for your business. "Traction" equips startups with the tools to accelerate growth and achieve explosive customer acquisition, setting the stage for long-term success.

9. “What Customers Want: Using Outcome-Driven Innovation to Create Breakthrough Products and Services” by Anthony Ulwick

Delve into the world of customer-centric innovation with "What Customers Want: Using Outcome-Driven Innovation to Create Breakthrough Products and Services" by Anthony Ulwick. This groundbreaking book introduces Outcome-Driven Innovation (ODI), a transformative approach that empowers businesses to craft breakthrough products and services that resonate with their target audience. 

By understanding customers' desired outcomes and aspirations, Ulwick demonstrates how businesses can move beyond incremental improvements and deliver truly transformative solutions. In a customer-centric landscape, "What Customers Want" is a must-read for businesses and marketers seeking to elevate their approach to innovation, foster long-term customer loyalty, and drive unparalleled growth. 

10. “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman

Dive into the fascinating world of decision-making and cognitive biases with "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman. As a groundbreaking work in behavioral economics, this book unravels the two systems that drive our thinking: the fast, intuitive, and often impulsive "System 1," and the slow, deliberate, and analytical "System 2." Kahneman's insights shed light on how these systems influence our judgments, perceptions, and decision-making processes. 

From understanding the impact of cognitive biases on marketing strategies to honing critical thinking skills in business, "Thinking, Fast and Slow" offers valuable lessons for businesses and marketers alike. Add this thought-provoking read to your summer reading list and embark on a journey of self-awareness and cognitive exploration that will empower you to make better-informed decisions and elevate your marketing and business acumen.

11. “Content Strategy for the Web” by Kristina Halvorson & Melissa Rach

Unlock the power of content with "Content Strategy for the Web" by Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach. In today's digital age, content is the cornerstone of successful marketing, and this book serves as a comprehensive guide to crafting a compelling content strategy. With practical insights and real-world examples, Halvorson and Rach delve into the key components of content strategy, from content audits and user research to editorial planning and governance. 

As businesses strive to connect with their audience on a deeper level, "Content Strategy for the Web" equips marketers with the tools and techniques to create captivating content that resonates with their target audience. Whether you're a seasoned content creator or a marketing enthusiast, this book is a valuable addition to your summer reading list, helping you elevate your content approach and drive meaningful engagement that translates to business success.

12. “Influence: Science and Practice” by Robert B Cialdini

Discover the science behind persuasion and influence with "Influence: Science and Practice" by Robert B. Cialdini. As a marketer or business professional, understanding the principles of persuasion is essential for driving successful campaigns and achieving your goals. Cialdini's timeless classic explores the psychology behind human behavior, unveiling the six universal principles of influence: reciprocity, commitment and consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity. 

Drawing on research and real-life examples, this book provides practical strategies for effectively persuading others and making your message stand out in a crowded market. Add "Influence: Science and Practice" to your summer reading list to gain valuable insights into the art of persuasion and equip yourself with the tools to become a more persuasive and influential marketer.

13. “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek

Embark on a transformative journey of inspiration and purpose with "Start with Why" by Simon Sinek. As a business leader or marketer, understanding the essence of your organization's "why" is key to driving authentic connections with your audience and achieving long-lasting success. Sinek's insightful book delves into the concept of the "Golden Circle," emphasizing the importance of starting with the "why" before moving on to the "how" and "what" of your business. 

By exploring the stories of visionary leaders and successful companies, "Start with Why" reveals how a clear sense of purpose can ignite passion and loyalty among customers and employees alike. Add this thought-provoking read to your summer reading list to uncover the power of purpose and learn how to inspire meaningful change and growth in your business endeavors.

14. “Brand Hijack: Marketing Without Marketing” By Alex Wipperfurth

Unlock a fresh and unconventional approach to marketing with "Brand Hijack" by Alex Wipperfurth. In this captivating book, Wipperfurth challenges traditional marketing methods and introduces the concept of "brand hijacking." Learn how to tap into the power of cultural movements, trends, and the passion of your audience to create authentic and impactful marketing campaigns. 

Through insightful case studies and practical strategies, "Brand Hijack" empowers marketers and businesses to break away from conventional norms and embrace a dynamic and engaging approach to brand promotion. This summer, add "Brand Hijack: Marketing Without Marketing" to your reading list and embark on a journey to revolutionize your marketing game and connect with your audience in ways that spark lasting brand loyalty.

15. “ReWork” by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson

Step out of the ordinary and challenge the status quo with "ReWork" by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. This dynamic book disrupts traditional business practices and offers a refreshing take on entrepreneurship and work culture. With a no-nonsense approach, Fried and Hansson advocate for simplicity, innovation, and authenticity in the workplace. "ReWork" encourages businesses and marketers to question conventional wisdom, embrace agile decision-making, and focus on delivering value to customers. 

By sharing their experiences as the founders of Basecamp, the authors provide actionable insights to create a more productive, adaptable, and fulfilling work environment. Add "ReWork" to your summer reading list and discover a treasure trove of unconventional wisdom that will ignite your entrepreneurial spirit and revolutionize your approach to business and marketing.


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Final Thoughts

Summer is NOT over, yet. Now is the perfect time to catch up on some reading and learning! We hope this list of books has given you plenty of ideas for what to read next. Whether it’s a business book that helps you fine-tune your marketing strategy or an inspirational novel that motivates you in your career, there are so many great options out there. So get cozy with a good book and start gaining new knowledge today! What will be your first pick from our Summer Reading List?


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