By Matthew Royse
Regional Marketing Director
Freudenberg IT LP


There are tons of business and marketing books available today via Amazon or at your local bookstore.

But what are the ones that marketing leaders should read in 2019?

What books are really worth your time?

What can have a big impact on how you view today’s growing importance of marketing?

To save you time, I compiled a list of the best books that cover the most critical issues for today’s marketing leaders. These books should help you with useful business and marketing tips and best practices that will enable you to help you grow your company through digital marketing and traditional marketing efforts.

Here is a list of top 20 books all marketing leaders should read in 2019.

1. Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions

Author: John Kotter
Why should you read this book? This fable illustrates the eight-step process of change. It is an easy-to-read story about penguins that realize their iceberg is melting and go about making the necessary changes to improve their situation. The characters in the story are like people you can recognize at your company. Their tale is one of resistance to change and courageous actions for dealing with those challenges. The penguins offer an inspiring model as we all struggle to adapt to change. This book provides a simple and relatable story about overcoming the stress and uncertainty of rapid and constant change. Based on the award-winning work of Harvard Business School’s John Kotter, this book can show you and your company how to thrive during tough times. This book provides the process for how to manage change and produce positive outcomes.

2. Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade

Author: Robert Cialdini
Why should you read this book? The author of the bestselling book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini explains the secret to persuasion. Hint: persuasion doesn’t lie in the actual message but in the moment before that message is delivered. In this book, the author shows how you can take advantage of the critical time before you deliver an important message. To change the minds of people, a “pre-suader” must also change their state of mind. Using extensive experience and research, the author shows you how you can become a master persuader. The book shows you how the diversion of attention can lead to successful pre-suasion and get your targeted audience to say yes to your desired outcome.

3. The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies

Author: Chet Holmes
Why should you read this book? The author of this book, Chet Holmes, has been called “one of the top 20 change experts in the country.” Too many leaders jump on every new trend, but don’t stick with any of them. The book shows you how to tune up every part of your business by spending just an hour per week on each impact area you want to improve. The author’s advice starts with one simple concept: focus. Instead of trying to master thousand of strategies to improve your business, it is important to hone in on essential skill areas that will make the biggest difference. This book shows you that you should teach your people how to work smarter, not harder.

4. The Four Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals

Authors: Sean Covey, Chris McChesney, and Jim Huling
Why should you read this book? This book was written by bestselling author Sean Covey and the FranklinCovey organization based on their work with hundreds of thousands of employees and companies. This book reveals the essential disciplines that help companies and employees realize their most important goals. The 4 Disciplines of Execution (also known as 4DX) is a simple, repeatable, and proven formula for executing your most important and strategic goals. The 4 disciplines are 1) focus on the wildly important; 2) act on lead measures; 3) keep a compelling scoreboard; and 4) create a cadence of accountability. This book shows leaders how they can produce results when the strategy requires a significant change in behavior.

5. The 12 Powers of a Marketing Leader: How to Succeed by Building Customer and Company Value

Authors: Thomas Barta and Patrick Barwise
Why should you read this book? This book is written by former McKinsey partner Thomas Barta and senior London Business School professor Patrick Barwise. According to Seth Godin, author of All Marketers Are Liars, this book is “the essential leadership playbook for the CMO of the future.” This book is one of the first research-based leadership books for marketers. This book identifies the 12 specific behaviors (or powers) that help marketers increase their business impact and create a successful career. After reading this book, you’ll know how to make an impact at the highest levels, align marketing with your company’s priorities, l inspire your non-marketing colleagues, build a successful marketing team and focus on the right goals to benefit your customers.

6. What Customers Crave: How to Create Relevant and Memorable Experiences at Every Touchpoint

Author: Nicholas J. Webb
Why should you read this book? This book discusses how to treat customers and create exceptional customer experiences. The author examines how today’s digital age is changing consumer expectations and what companies should do to stay on top. It boils down to two key questions: 1) What do your customers love? and 2) What do they hate? If your organization answers these two questions well, it will be successful. This book will provide you with invaluable insights into what customers crave, what they care about, and how to create relevant yet memorable experiences at every touchpoint.

7. Content Trap: A Strategist’s Guide to Digital Change

Author: Bharat Anand
Why should you read this book? Bharat Anand, a Harvard Business School (HBS) Professor of Strategy, discusses HBS’ innovative approach to digital transformation. Simply: foster connectivity over focusing on content. Organizations are facing two big challenges today: how to get noticed and how to make money. To overcome these obstacles, this book examines companies who are doing it right and companies doing it wrong. These successes and pitfalls show you that you don’t need to make the best content but produce content that enables connectivity. Bharat demonstrates that choices are part of a larger and interconnected strategy. This book is a modern playbook for how organizations can navigate digital change and leaders can transform their company.

8. Bold Leadership for Organizational Acceleration

Author: Jim A. Tompkins
Why should you read this book? This book emphasizes the importance of maintaining your relationships, energy, and enthusiasm. Everyone today suffers from being overwhelmed. The world has morphed into a global village where things must be done right away without sacrificing excellence. Our hectic business and personal lives leave us feeling as if there is not enough time in the day to get everything done. There is a remedy: Bold Leadership. In this book, the author shows you how to become a leader and how to encourage others to lead. This book will help you get your life out of overload mode, both professionally and personally. The author outlines what inspirational leadership looks like, how to define your company’s core competencies, and how to respond to constant changes. The author also provides case studies about organizations such as Google, Wal-Mart, and IBM.

9. How to Win Friends and Influence Others

Author: Dale Carnegie
Why should you read this book? This books will show you that you can go after the job you want (and get it), You can take the job you have (and improve it), and you can take any situation (and make it work for you). The author’s time-tested advice has helped countless of people move up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives. One of the most groundbreaking and timeless bestsellers of all time, How to Win Friends and Influence People will teach how to make people like you, how to win people to your way of thinking, and how to change people without arousing resentment. This book is a must-read in the 21st century and fulfills the promise of “the only book you need to lead you to success.”

10. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Author: Charles Duhigg
Why should you read this book? This book explains that success is largely a matter of creating successful habits. In this book, Charles Duhigg (an award-winning business reporter and author of this book) explains why habits exist and how they can be changed. Utilizing vast amounts of information, the author creates narratives ranging from Procter & Gamble to the NFL. The author outlines how we should understand human nature and its potential. At its core, the book contains an compelling argument: the key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. As the author shows that habits can help us transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.

Stay tuned for 10 more great books to read in 2019 in our next Marketing Revolution Newsletter!

Matthew Royse is a creative and strategic thinker who specializes in helping companies to conceptualize, develop and implement digital marketing and integrated communications strategies and programs. Matt is a professional speaker, digital marketing/social media instructor at Duke University and LinkedIn trainer. Previously he was Director, Marketing Communications at Forsythe Technology.

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