There are so many business-oriented books out there; how do you know which one is what you’re looking for? How about turning to someone who has read not all, but a good many of them. When author and president of McKee Wallwork Cleveland Advertising, Steve McKee, was starting out as a field marketing manager for Pizza Hut, he found himself unable to earn an MBA. Instead, he developed a love for business books and began reading everything he could get his hands on to help him with his career. Today, he is often asked which book is his favorite. Unable to pick just one, McKee put together a list of branding, marketing, and advertising books that have made an impact on his life. See the list below:
- Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy by Thomas Sowell – According to McKee, “Sowell presents practical concepts about how incentives, trade-offs, and other dimensions of the economy really work” and the book is more interesting and more relevant than any economics course you could take in college.
- The Marketing Imagination by Theodore Levitt – McKee says this book made the concept of marketing “come alive” for him. Written by a late Harvard Business professor, the book is somewhat dated, but still a great read.
- Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors by Michael E. Porter – According to McKee, this book takes a long time to digest and he finds himself referring back to it as he works with his own clients. This is a popular book that is really helpful in any industry.
- Positioning: The Battle for your Mind by Jack Trout and Al Ries – This book is all about branding and making a complex subject easy to understand.
- Profit from the Core: Growth Strategy in an Era of Turbulence by Chris Zook and James Allen – This book is the result of a 10-year, 2,000-company study. McKee says it won’t make any top marketing book lists, but it does a great job of explaining why all companies seek sustained, profitable growth but only a fraction of them actually achieve it.
- The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Jack Trout and Al Ries – The second book on the list by Trout and Ries.
- Hitting the Sweet Spot: How Consumer Insights Can Inspire Better Marketing and Advertising by Lisa Fortini-Campbell – McKee says this is the best resource he’s found for account-planning. He says, “Following the disciplines in this book can lead to truly groundbreaking marketing and advertising efforts.”
- A Technique for Producing Ideas by James Webb Young – This isn’t exactly a book, so much it as it is a booklet. Originally developed for University of Chicago students in the 1930’s, McKee says the the information in this book is helpful and quaint, and explains how process of creativity works.
- Feeding the Media Beast by Mark Mathis – This book explains “how the news business works, the pressures journalists face, and the predicaments in which they often find themselves.” McKee says this book helped him overcome his fears of talking to reporters or appearing on television.
- The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White – McKee says much of the business world’s problem is understanding that the written word is still important. No matter how great your idea is, crafting it and presenting it poorly can hurt your cause.
According to McKee, reading just these ten books will put you ahead of most of the business world. You can read more about what he says about the books here: Essential Reading for Marketers