15 Great Books For Marketers To Inspire Your Innovation and Creativity

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A good book will teach you something new. A great book can transform your worldview entirely. That’s if you can find the time—and the right book, of course. 

It is hard to step out of your day-to-day grind. We get it—there’s a seemingly never-ending list of to-do’s, your pile of laundry looks more like the Leaning Tower of Pisa each day, and we’ve all got to sleep. 

But there is something special about escaping in a book of any genre. Even the ones you’ve read before, or especially so. Books help us challenge our thinking, shift our perspective, and relieve us from the stresses of everyday life.

If you’re looking for new books to escape in or want to gift that feeling to a friend, let us help. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite books for marketing and business professionals, based on #ContentChat community favorites and the books that our team turns to time and time again. 

15 Great Books for Content Marketers

Below are enough book recommendations to keep you busy for months, if not years. Unless you’re a speed-reading bibliophile (Erika, I’m looking at you), in which case months or days are likely more accurate. The list focuses on marketing and business innovation books, with a few others sprinkled in. 

While these are some of our favorites, we recommend you browse a few pages online or—if you want to make us jealous—during a trip to your local bookstore or library (what a dream!).

Every author’s style and tone are not for everyone, and that’s perfectly OK. Find the ones that hook you, and let the pages take you away.

Do you have a favorite book you want to recommend to us? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @ErikaHeald with the #ContentChat hashtag.

Billion Dollar Brand Club by Lawrence Ingrassia

Looking to make waves as a business newcomer in well-established markets? Former New York Times editor Lawrence Ingrassia examines how brands like Casper, Dollar Shave Club, and Warby Parker ushered in the direct-to-consumer revolution.

Building A StoryBrand, by Donald Miller

Brand messages are often a confusing mix of jargon and buzzwords, written entirely from the “our product is great” perspective. But customers don’t care about your product. Customers care about themselves, and how you can help them in their journey to accomplish whatever it is they’re doing. Donald teaches you the not-so-secret (but incredibly untapped) formula behind what makes for a great story—ones that become box office hits and literary bestsellers—and how to make your customers the hero of your story. 

Content Inc. by Joe Pulizzi

Most business stories are not ones of success. Time and time again entrepreneurs launch ambitious products that flop. Luckily, Joe is here to help you break that cycle. Joe, who is regarded as the ‘Godfather of Content Marketing,’ explains how to build a business with a content-first and audience-focused approach before you even have a product. Trust us, this book will leave you inspired and fully aware of how content can drive your success. Want a preview of what you’ll learn? Check out this #ContentChat recap with Joe

Create The Future + The Innovation Handbook by Jeremy Gutsche

The only constant in this world is change. Everything around us is rapidly adapting, leaving many of us wondering how to stay ahead of the curve in often chaotic circumstances. This 360-page bestseller will give you the tactics, tools, and frameworks that Jeremy and his team used to help 700 of the most powerful brands and leadership teams exploit this chaos and disrupt industries. 

Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

Everything that Ann writes sounds like a letter to a friend. This book reminds us that we are all content creators and can be more intentional with our words. Trust her book’s subtitle; this book is “your go-to guide to creating ridiculously good content.” And you’ll approach your writing in an entirely new way because of it. 

The Experience Maker by Dan Gingiss

Most brands claim they provide an optimal customer experience. Is that the truth, though? Customer experience can be your best marketing, but many brands use the term without actually understanding what makes for a great customer experience. Dan teaches you his WISER methodology for being intentional in how you build truly great experiences. There are plenty of examples here that will make you laugh, cringe, and cringe and laugh (the IKEA example; you’ll know it when you read it). Dan joined #ContentChat to give you a peek at what you’ll learn in the book. 

Humor, Seriously by Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas

You should have fun with your marketing, but it can be a fine line to balance humor with your brand identity (unless you’re Wendy’s on Twitter). Jennifer and Naomi blend insights from comedians, behavioral scientists, and stories from brand leaders to show how humor can work well for business and build a more joyous workplace. 

Lifescale: How to Live a More Creative, Productive, and Happy Life by Brian Solis

Life is hard. We face new challenges each day with a never-ending cycle of news, trends, fads, pressures, expectations, and distractions to sift through in trying to live a happy and successful life. Brian wants to help you live a more creative and productive life by giving you practical tools to find out what’s distracting you, resist the manipulations we face, and find true meaning in your work.

The Non-Designer’s Guide to Design Thinking by Saso Kunitake

Leading brands and thought leaders tout the importance of design thinking, but what exactly is design thinking? What if you’re not a designer? Saso provides a clear way for non-designers and designers alike to learn design thinking.

The Practice: Shipping Creative Work by Seth Godin

You can learn creativity, and Seth shows you how. We often fall into patterns that keep us from reaching our full creative potential and contributing work that is truly unique. The book opens creativity to the masses to show you how to find your voice and share it, no matter what you do. 

RE:Think Innovation by Carla Johnson

Anyone can become an innovator. Carla teaches you how to observe patterns, connect the dots, and become an unstoppable innovation machine—all in a simple five-step framework. We’ve got another #ContentChat recap for you to hear from Carla herself what you’ll learn in the book. 

The Referable Speaker by Andrew Davis and Michael Port

Do you dream of keynoting your favorite conferences and sharing your expertise on countless event stages? Andrew and Michael teach you how to build a sustainable speaking career and turn one speaking gig into a dozen. 

Think Like A Rocket Scientist by Ozan Varol

Yes, a former rocket scientist wrote this book. No, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to think like one. Ozan shares nine strategies to help you reach your next goal, whether it’s accelerating your career, launching a product, or simply conquering the challenges of everyday life. 

Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith

Social media has the power to transform your brand and elevate you as a thought leader. Or, it can be a never-ending uphill climb that makes you question the investment. Chris and Julien are two social media veterans that show you how to approach social media the right way to build your network, expand your influence, and drive positive business results through social media. 

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel Pink

Timing is a science. Daniel—drawing from psychology, biology, and economics research—teaches you how to live a better life by understanding the intricacies of timing and the patterns that can make or break our wellbeing.

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