Marketing takes a week to learn and a lifetime to master.

Though we have worked in the industry for over 25 years each we never stop growing our knowledge and improving our skills. On this page you will find some of the marketing, business and related books that we have read, use and like. If you'd like you can order them directly from this page. True, there is lots of info out there on the internet, but sometimes only a book will do!

We only recommend marketing and related business books that we have read and think are useful - we hope you will find them useful too.

Shut Up, Stop Whining & Get A Life

Larry Winget

Some self-help, motivational books are soft and fluffy and aim to gently coax you into change. This one is not like that. As it says on the jacket "your results are your own damn fault, no one cares about your problems, get off your butt and go to work".  It doesn't let anyone off the hook!

It's challenging but fun to read at the same time. You don't have to like or agree with everything, but it will make you think about some aspects of your life differently (and for the better). Enjoy the ride!

:59 Seconds

Professor Richard Wiseman

I picked this little gem up at London Victoria as part of a "Buy 1 Get 1 1/2 price" offer  a couple of years ago. It's been looked at so much the pages are falling out.It's sort of a self help book but with a difference. Every suggestion is underpinned by good, hard, peer reviewed research. It aims to explode some of the myths that the self help industry perpetuate and give alternative approaches that really work. It's not all about feelings and relationships though. There are sections on planning, creativity, motivation, stress and other business related issues too. Each issue is addressed in 3-4 pages, so nice and snappy, and is followed by one or more things you can try yourself in 59 seconds or less.  A really interesting read in a similar style to "Freakonomics". 

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Stephen R. Covey

The absolute daddy of personal organisation. Covey is to effectiveness, what  Jimmy Hendrix was to guitar - and I don't mean he does it with his teeth.  He doesn't present a quick fix but presents a way of living your life that would make you happier and more effective and, if everyone followed the example, the world a better place. I recognise that this sounds a little motherhood and apple pie but it's really not.  It deals with time management, delegation, organisation, negotiation but all from a principle centred viewpoint. I like it and I aspire to live it.

The Strategy & Tactics of Pricing

Thomas Nagle, John Hogan, Joseph Zale

"I think this book is great because it just is the best book ever written about pricing which is just the most fascinating subject ever."

The above was written by Sharon impersonating me (Jim) I know I do go on about Nagel but frankly I think the guy is a genius. I was fortunate enough to be sent on a two day seminar that he ran back in the noughties and over the course of that two days he changed everyone's mindset in the room about pricing. The book is easy to read, there is not too much maths involved, and there are lots of examples. Buy the book, read it and prepare to be reprogrammed!

Yes! 50 Secrets from the Science of Persuasion

Noah J.Goldstein, Steve J. Martin, Robert B. Cialdini

This book is endlessly fascinating and gives a marketer lots of ideas for ways to improve your communications quickly and easily. It is a lighter read than the 'Influence' book reviewed below but equally relevant.

It is broken down into short chapters (50 would you believe?) and is better for dipping into and reading over a period of time than for consuming all at once. You'll certainly be entertained and learn things that you can use to entertain your friends - even if you don't follow any of the advice in your own business!

Competitive Strategy

Michael E. Porter

If you are looking for a light read this isn't it. It is however a work of genius that will reward the diligent reader. Porter is a Harvard economist who turned his mind to competition and competitive strategy. He is recognised as "the daddy" on the subject.  This is a solid book and it deals with a complex subject - how to analyse the nature of competition in an industry using the 5 forces model - but Porter is a clear writer so it isn't a struggle. I think it is probably more suited to the leader of a larger business so if you're a one or two man band you might want to start elsewhere. There is however no one who could learn nothing from this book.

Competitive Advantage

Michael E. Porter

In this book Porter moves on with his thinking from "Competitive Strategy" which deals with industry analysis to focus on how we can create enduring competitive advantage. He describes the "value chain" model which lots of people talk about but few really understand. Again a great book that's not a difficult read but deals with fairly weighty topics. Again probably more relevant to the larger business.

The Mind of the Strategist: The Art of Japanese Business

Kenichi Ohmae

We bang on endlessly about the importance of getting your marketing strategy right but strategic thinking is not something that comes easily to everyone. This is a bit of an aged classic which was written when Japanese businesses were probably at their competitive peak so it does laude their approaches which in 2012 we might take issue with. ignoring that though what the book aims to do and in which it succeeds in spades is to give the reader some logic and approaches to approaching problems strategically.

Million Dollar Consulting

Alan Weiss

This is a book about how to become a millionaire consultant written by a millionaire consultant.  If you are a consultant and you want to become a millionaire you could do a lot worse than read this book.  Don't be put off by the title and assume that it's a hype laden get rich quick book - it isn't. It contains lots of really good practical information on how to organise yourself, how to pitch, and how to sell. I defy anyone to read this and not learn something that will improve their business.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Robert B. Cialdini

I love this book - in fact writing about it now makes me want to re-read it! The information is really well conveyed with lots of case studies, backed up by research, explaining why people say yes - and what you can do with that information.

It details the six universal principles of persuasion that you can use more effectively to influence others - once you know how.

For example, take the principle of scarcity. In an experiment it was found that cookies with a few in the jar were rated as more desirable than cookies with plenty in the jar. The testers admitted that they tasted the same. Cialdini explains, " The joy is not in experiencing a scarce commodity but in possessing it. It is important that we do not confuse the two."

Reading this book will help you understand yourself better as well as others!

Powerful Marketing on a Shoestring Budget

Dee Blick

If you are looking for a straightforward and practical guide to implementing marketing promotions this book could be it.

It is illustrated with examples and case studies and covers step-by-step how you can build your small business through PR, targeted direct mail, exhibitions, business networking, e-marketing, advertising and telephone cold calling.

If I had to be picky I would say it is not truly a book about marketing - rather about promotions. The first section on marketing planning is a bit light but does at least aim to get you thinking about your objectives, target customers, competitors, etc. All of which will make the activities you decide to undertake that much more successful.

Get Clients Now!

C. J. Hayden

This book is written specifically for service businesses, which is great given the growth in this area in recent years. It advocates a structured system for attacking marketing promotions, perfect if you struggle to get your activities into a plan and under control!

You are encouraged to analyse and identify where your weak points are and come up with appropriate strategies and tactics to address them. It is practical and easy to follow - if a bit too gushingly 'American' at times! Although the book is written as a 28 day programme it is easy to dip into different chapters to find the bits that are most appropriate to you and work at your own pace.

Creating Powerful Brands

Leslie de Chernatony and Malcolm McDonald

It's a meaty tome but one of the standard texts for students of branding.

Lots of case studies and research to back up the arguments and to-do lists at the end of the chapters make it a practical guide as well as just a good review of the subject.