Awesome Marketing and Business Books – Recommended by the State of Search Team

Awesome Marketing and Business Books – Recommended by the State of Search Team

19th June 2012

Over the past couple of years I have been to a number of conferences and always come away with a list of books that have been recommended by the speakers. This got me thinking about the types of books that people in the industry read, whether they are directly related to online marketing, SEO or business in general so I spoke to the State of Search team and have compiled this amazing list.

I hope you find some of these useful and would love to hear what books you would recommend so if you have anything to add, please leave a comment at the end of the post to share with all the State of Search readers.

Let’s get started…..

Bas van den Beld

Brandwashed – Martin Lindstrom

Brandwashed will give you a lot of insight into how marketing works and how we are ‘psychologically’ ‘tricked’ into buying things. Bas spoke about this type of marketing at SAScon earlier this year.


Sam Noble

The Brand Gap – Marty Neumeier

This is a really easy book to read but it is packed with great ideas and strategies. It teaches you ways to bridge the distance between business strategy and design and look for whitespace in your market to set yourself apart.


Sam Crocker

Inside the Plex – Steven Levy

Inside the Plex looks at how Google thinks, works and shapes our lives. If you are interested in what happens inside Google HQ, this is a must read.


Persuasion: The Art of Influencing People – James Borg

Being persuasive will help you move forward in business and this books will teach you how to get that competitive edge that can set you apart and assist you with getting what you want.


Switch – Chip and Dan Heath

This is the first of two books on our list that have been written by Chip and Dan Heath. It looks at how to change things when change is hard and how simple methods can yield amazing results.


Carla Marshall

The Jelly Effect – Andy Bounds

The Jelly Effect is great for understanding the art of communicating with your clients. The first line of the description for the book is “Like throwing jelly at a wall, poor communication never sticks” which sums this book up nicely.


The War of Art – Steven Pressfield

This is an amazing book about beating procrastination in the creative field.



The E-Myth Revisited – Michael Gerber

This is the updated version of the original bestseller which shows you how to really run a small business – one for freelancers and smaller companies.


Clients From Hell – Anonymous

Full of brilliant real life stories to remind yourself you are not alone. There is also a blog which I would recommend anyone who is dealing with clients to add to their RSS –


The Art of SEO – Eric Enge, Stephan Spencer, Rand Fishkin, Jessie Stricchiola

The Art of SEO provides a great overview for beginner/intermediate level SEO’s which is written by four acknowledged experts in the Search Engine Optimisation industry.


Jeroen Van Eck

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – Robert Cialdini

For anybody active in marketing this is a recommended book to help you understand that reaching your audience is only half the work. The other half is knowing how to influence and convince them.


Jackie Hole

Psychological Triggers – Joe Sugarman

This is the only e-book on the list and Jackie describes this as “The man is a marketing & copywriting genius – how to use triggers to encourage action”. One I will certainly be taking a look at!

Insider’s Secrets To Building & Marketing Your Business Online – The internet Marketing Center – Corey Rudl

An expensive book but it gives you a lot to think about – used to just be called insider secrets.


Paddy Moogan

Made to Stick – Chip and Dan Heath

Made to Stick has been recommended at conferences by Stephen Pavlovich on a number of occasions. It looks at the reasons why some ideas survive and others die. It is a must read if you are in the business of content creation.


Lisa Myers

Blink – Malcolm Gladwell

Blink isn’t a marketing book but Lisa has said that it has helped her in business and it is a book she would recommend we all read.


Rework – Jason Fried

Rework is about changing the way that you work and is the perfect book for anyone who has ever dreamed of starting up a business on their own.


Barry Adams

Barry actually wrote a post on State of Search in 2011 which covered five books that should be read that aren’t about SEO. Rather than going back over his list, here is a link to his post –


Kelvin Newman

Herd – Mark Earls

This is an award winning book by Mark Earls which looks at the behavioural patterns of humans and how to change mass behaviour by harnessing our true nature. The evidence and studies are applied to traditional mechanisms of marketing which will show you why you need a complete rethink about these subjects.


Predictably Irrational – Dan Ariely

Predictably Irrational looks at why we all make illogical decisions and details a number of surprising experiments that will change the way you understand human behaviour.


Ben Holbrook

Pay-Per-Click And Hour A Day – David Szetela and Joseph Kerschbaum

If you are starting our learning Pay Per Click marketing, this is a brilliant book to read. It is easy to apply what they teach you stage by stage.


Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics – Brian Clifton

This book is packed full of tips and tricks that you should be using when analysing data in Google Analytics.



Nichola Stott

The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed our Culture – John Battelle

This book is about the history of search engines and how Google revolutionised the search engine marketing place by providing a far superior experience, which quickly led to phenomenal growth in market share, surprising all competitors (Inktomi, AltaVista etc).

When this product was combined with AdWords PPC in 2002, this created  perfect business conditions for growth in both profit and margin, soon eclipsing Overture/Yahoo as the dominant paid search provider.


The Logic of Scientific Discovery – Karl Popper

Popper is a philisopher writing about principles of reason and deduction. Arguably the first to seriously argue against the burden of falsifiability within scientific disciplines i.e. that something needed to be incontrivertably proved right or wrong, whereas in fact something can only be right insofar as it has never been proven wrong. Many of his theories fit well with the technical diagnostic approach required for large-scale technical SEO, when working with live sites (when it is pretty much impossible to isolate signle variables).


Clarissa Sajbl

Search Engine Marketing Inc – Mike Moran and Bill Hunt

Clarissa is new to SEO and the two books that she has recommended have really helped her out at the beginning stages of her career. The first book is Search Engine Marketing Inc: Driving Search Traffic to your Company’s Website. The book has been written by two people who present today’s best practices and techniques for using search engine  marketing.


Optimize – Lee Odden

This is a brilliant book written by a well respected authority on Content and Online Marketing. Readers of Optimize can expect to receive a simple approach to integrating SEO and Social Media with content marketing.


Annabel Hodges

Don’t Make Me Think – Steve Krug

An oldie but a goodie. Annabel first read it in the early days of her digital marketing career and thinks that the common-sense and the art of interaction from a UX perspective count for a lot – no matter the platform.


Information is Beautiful – David McCandless

Annabel chose Information is Beautiful because it’s actually ‘readable’. Minimal text, highly relevant in this age of graphically focused bite-sized information sharing and genuinely interesting.


Do you have any books to add to this list? We would love to hear about them so if you could leave a comment at the end of this post, that would be great 🙂


Written By
Samantha Noble is the founder of Biddable Moments and a former editor and contributor to State of Digital.
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