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Our Top 14 Must-Read Books for Business Owners and Marketers

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Our Must-Read Books for Business Owners and Marketers

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Nowadays, the internet is a treasure trove of business and marketing opinions, just waiting to find the right audience. Unfortunately, this landslide of content often comes at the cost of uncertainty regarding just how legitimate and useful the information provided is. Certainly, the proper vetting of information is an important step for anyone searching for business, marketing, and creative advice—in fact, it’s part of what we’re all about here at Eminent.

It’s also why we’re such huge fans of well-written, supremely insightful books for business owners. There’s a lot to be said about a source of well-researched, quality information you can repeatedly access in the moment—and return to as the years go by and you experience new challenges. To help, we’ve built a list of our personal best books about marketing to give you a chance to experience them for yourself.

Here, in no particular order, you’ll find books for business owners designed to enhance your marketing skills, share key business insights, and improve your use of art and design as they pertain to your business.

Jenny’s Favorites

1. This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See — Seth Godin

Described by marketers and critics alike as Seth Godin’s magnum opus of marketing guidebooks, This Is Marketing is one of the best books about marketing we’ve found. In it, Godin details the approach necessary to reach the modern consumer, who has an ever-increasing array of options and choices available at any given time. Whether you sell a product or service or are simply marketing your own personal brand, we believe you can benefit from the actionable advice presented here.

This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See—Seth Godin

2. The Advertising Concept Book: Think Now, Design Later — Pete Barry

One of Pete Barry’s most important insights in this guide to creative strategy and advertising campaigns is the simplest—no amount of polish will make a bad idea into a good one. That’s why the Advertising Concept Book focuses on the first (and most important) stage in the creative process—the concept. This book is a testament to its lesson: The best ideas last forever, a comprehensive guide to advertising, and a quick reference source wrapped in one.

The Advertising Concept Book: Think Now, Design Later —Pete Barry

3. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative — Austin Kleon

This book for business owners is built around the artist’s premise as both a creative thief of ideas and a master re-mixer capable of refreshing sources of inspiration until they are creative in their own right. This, one of the titular 10 things nobody told us about the creative process, is far from the only inspiring bits, but it is certainly one of the most interesting. As Picasso said, “Art is theft,” and reading this book will help you decipher which great ideas in your purview are worth stealing and which are best left in the past.

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative—Austin Kleon

4. The Little Big Things: 163 Ways to Pursue EXCELLENCE — Thomas J. Peters

You may hear “management book from a business guru” and immediately dismiss it as yet another dry clump of text about corporate life. Instead, however, The Little Big Things is the exact opposite. Originally written as a series of short-format blog posts about pursuing excellence, we found this book—and all 163 ways to do so—energetic, highly consumable, supremely quotable, and worth returning to time and again.

5. The Greatest Salesman in the World — Og Mandino

If you’re more inspired by narrative than straightforward advice, follow this parable of Hafid, an ancient Jerusalemite with an indefinable desire to become the world’s best salesman. Through the giving of 10 scrolls, each inscribed with a crucial secret to success, the young man learns 10 positive thinking and habit-changing ideals that ultimately help him become a success in his own right. We think you’ll be just as inspired as Hafid, Jenny, and Chris (our ownership team) were by the end of this short but powerful book.

The Greatest Salesman in the World—Og Mandino

6. Copywriting: Successful Writing for Design, Advertising, and Marketing — Mark Shaw

Copywriting is one of the most often undervalued—and underestimated—skills necessary for successful marketing. Few understand its importance, and even fewer are truly great at it. Shaw’s book not only outlines a few essential techniques for success but makes it applicable for today’s internet-heavy marketing world and provides fascinating case studies along the way.

Copywriting: Successful Writing for Design, Advertising, and Marketing

7. Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers — Geoffrey A. Moore

Although Crossing the Chasm was written in 1991, marketers still tout the book as the modern marketing bible for entrepreneurs nearly 20 years later. A simple read-through will tell you why: even in 2021, we still experience the same technology adoption cycle of innovators, early adopters, laggards, and everyone in between. It’s one of the best books about marketing for anyone involved in high-tech (and in 2021, that category encompasses all of us).

Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers

Chris’ Favorites

1. Managing Your Money All-in-One for Dummies

The Dummies series is one of the best-known instructional series in history for a reason—they’re well-written, even better organized, and updated frequently to encompass an ever-changing field. Even if you’re not a money management, investment, and personal or business finance dummy, chances are, you can benefit from this book.

2. The Complete Guide to Memory Mastery — Harry Lorayne

Ask any creative type, business strategist, or marketer for their shortlist of the most important qualities necessary for success in their field, and you’ll likely find “excellent memory” listed near the top of most of them. This book gives many techniques and tricks for not only remembering things but improving your overall memory. Then, Lorayne delves into just why organizing the mind in this way can improve success in multiple areas of life.

3. Key Performance Indicators for Dummies — Bernard Marr

This Dummies book tackles some of the most complicated (and thus inherently confusing) topics for business owners and marketers—the data points that can help you monitor and improve performance. In it, author Bernard Marr thoroughly explains a list of essential KPIs, then provides a comprehensive list of over a hundred ways to use them to strive toward growth. No matter what kind of business you operate, this book has you covered.

Key Performance Indicators for Dummies—Bernard Marr

4. Likeable Social Media, Third Edition: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, & Be Generally Amazing on All Social Networks That Matter — Dave Kerpen, Michelle Greenbaum, Rob Berk

If you’re still unsure whether your business is likable on social media—or even whether the concept truly matters at the end of the day—we implore you to give this book a read. While the original version focused primarily on Facebook and Twitter, other major platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, and others have been incorporated in subsequent versions. Kerpen’s storytelling will instantly have you seeing the light regarding the importance of social media in today’s marketing landscape and being inspired to create a more likable presence.

5. One Million Followers: How I Built a Massive Social Following in 30 Days — Brendan Kane

Another must-read for anyone needing to up their social media game in the upcoming year (with an anticipated update to be released shortly after the time of this publication), this is one of the best books about marketing that thoroughly describes the dedication necessary to build the kind of social media following your brand craves. Most marketers particularly appreciate Kane’s devotion to testing and his revelations regarding what truly works when it comes to social, and we’re no different. Read this book, put the concepts to work, and begin to see a shift in the way your social accounts draw in followers.

One Million Followers: How I Built a Massive Social Following in 30 Days

6. Hook Point: How to Stand Out in a 3-Second World — Brendan Kane

Yes, this is another book for business owners that hinges upon the dramatic changes the eCommerce and social media worlds have inflicted upon the digital and in-person buying process. However, it’s a particularly powerful one, dedicated to perfecting that “hook point” in your product, process, or persona necessary to sell to a world with a three-second attention span. Kane himself refers to it as the “art of standing out”—and we think learning to do just that is a vital component of entrepreneurship, creativity, and marketing today.

Hook Point: How to Stand Out in a 3-Second World—Brendan Kane

7. Think Like A Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose — Jay Shetty

Jay Shetty’s title of choice is much more than just a catchphrase—he did become a monk and has subsequently spent years perfecting the practices necessary for both peace and purpose. Since then, he’s built a healthy social media following driven by people fascinated by his life and mindset. His book is no different, offering a wonderful look at reducing stress, building focus, and learning from others.

Think Like A Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose—Jay Shetty

Get Informed, Get Inspired

Bottom line: We believe that reading about creativity is a great way to inspire yourself, learn about what others have done in your field, and motivate yourself to do your best work yet. Use our guide as a jumping-off point to get started, pick a few titles that sound interesting, and let the inspiration begin.

For more insights, marketing tips, and creative solutions for your biggest business roadblocks, browse our blog. Or, reach out to the experts at Eminent SEO to learn how our marketing team can help you build your brand and plan for growth for years to come.



Avatar for Jenny Stradling

Jenny Stradling

CEO, Business Owner, Digital Marketer, SEO Strategist and Writer.

I am passionate about researching, writing and sharing information on important topics as well as fun ideas and helpful reviews. I focus on health, wellness, beauty, marketing, design, art, work/life balance, quality, sustainability, ethics, human rights, personal growth, collaboration, inclusion and making the web a better place.
I am a mom of 6, glamma and partner to a wonderful man who supports me in every way, including co-owning and running our business and managing this crazy life we’ve created with each other. In my free time (what’s that?) I love to listen to podcasts, read, cook, sing, paint, dream, spend time with my family and create beautiful memories.

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