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An awesome post by @NateDesmond, he catalogues nine of the top books all digital marketers should read. Although many believe reading books have taken a backseat to online articles/posts, you'd be surprised the power of what you can learn from reading an authoritative book. For example, #4 on the list (Hooked by Nir Eyal) totally changed the way I look at product development. The nine books on Nate's list are:
  • 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing
  • Trust Me, I’m Lying
  • Permission Marketing
  • Hooked
  • Moneyball
  • Influence
  • Web Analytics 2.0
  • Predictably Irrational
  • Predictable Revenue
Have you read any of the above? Do you agree/disagree with the list?
  • ND

    Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré

    about 5 years ago #
  • SC

    Shana Carp

    about 5 years ago #

    Disagree with two:
    Influence and Predictably Irrational

    Cialdini's and Dan Arieli's research predates Joe Heinrich's research.
    http://www.psmag.com/magazines/magazine-feature-story-magazines/joe-henrich-weird-ultimatum-game-shaking-up-psychology-economics-53135/

    TL:DR

    Joe Henrich/University of British Columbia decided to do a lot of these studies on pre-industrial tribes. Pre-industrial tribes do not respond to the studies involved in these books similarly to US College Kids in Universities with Lots of Research Going On. Hell, they even found out that perception of lines! is different in the west and other parts of the world.

    Most people in the US do not respond as similarly as US College Kids in Universities with Lots of Research Going On.(They are the WEIRDest of The WEIRD - Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic)

    If you are starting a startup in Africa, or China, or Russia, or even in the US for people who did not graduate college, you need to take these books with really large grains of salt. And even if you are, most of the studies mentioned in these books tested for small effects - so you still may end up in a situation where the study you rely on is wrong, because they are near impossible to repeat. In fact, there has been p-hacking issues in most major Psychology and Behavioral Economics journals

    http://edge.org/panel/robert-kurzban-p-hacking-and-the-replication-crisis-headcon-13-part-iv

    • DF

      David Fallarme

      about 5 years ago #

      Nice point, Shana. In our enthusiasm and thirst to find ironclad psychological 'principles' we may be overlooking the sample bias inherent in a lot of these landmark studies.

      A lot of these studies are some combination of the following:
      - conducted with college kids
      - run in the 50s/60s
      - run only in North America

      Indeed, one could make the argument that "humans are humans" but it's important to be aware that cultural differences are real. Generational differences are real. Thanks for the great comment.

      • SC

        Shana Carp

        about 5 years ago #

        I try to be careful. Plus, I really like the social sciences, and these sorts of issues have tripped up people publishing the original papers.

        And that's before we get into p-hacking (http://www.nature.com/news/scientific-method-statistical-errors-1.14700 ) issues that a lot of these studies have. I love the book Thinking: Fast and Slow, but even Kahenman has come out and said that some of the studies in the book are likely to be false due to p-hacking issues/small effects.

        A lot of these books are steps away from the actual studies. If you read the actual studies, you'll often find you don't get to see the original dataset, so it extremely hard to judge what's flying.

  • JS

    Justin Sadkowski

    about 5 years ago #

    I thought "Youtility" was a good read.

  • ND

    Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré

    about 5 years ago #

    So far [on that list] I've only read Hooked, Influence, and Web Analytics 2.0 and they definitely had an impact on how I view the related subjects.

    I feel as though my life is changed every time I read a book.

    • ND

      Nate Desmond

      about 5 years ago #

      I particularly love the intersection of behavioral psychology and marketing. If you liked Influence, you'd probably also love Predictably Irrational and Yes: 50 Scientific Ways to Be Persuasive.

  • JB

    Jay Baer

    about 5 years ago #

    One that never gets mentioned, but is one of my favorite is Different by Youngme Moon. Excellent book and an easy read on competitive differentiation. Another one that is a little inconsistent but doesn't get enough attention is Joseph Jaffe's Flip the Funnel.

  • ND

    Nate Desmond

    about 5 years ago #

    I'd love to hear what books you all would add to the list!

  • BH

    ben hoffman

    about 5 years ago #

    i got about 20 pages into Web Analytics 2.0 but then noticed that it was a bit outdated. Maybe I judged too soon...

    Would you say the book is still relevant? (especially in light of all the recent changes in Google Analytics).

    • ND

      Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré

      about 5 years ago #

      Ben, you have a good point. I feel like I read that book forever ago.

    • SC

      Shana Carp

      about 5 years ago #

      yes but no. I find it a great building block point, but the end results of that book is you have to read the Google Analytics Docs to implement a lot of the ideas in the book.

      The conceptual side is great though

  • MV

    Margaux Viola

    about 5 years ago #

    Great blog Nate! I like the selections that you chose. One that I would add is Contagious by Jonah Berger. He talks about the principles that drive things to become popular - Social currency, triggers, emotion, public, practical value, and stories (STEPPS).
    Enjoy!
    http://jonahberger.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Contagious-Framework-STEPPS.jpg

  • LM

    Lyle McKeany

    about 5 years ago #

    Predictably Irrational is one of my favorites from your list. I've got to pull that one off the shelf and give it another read one of these days. And yes, I do have a physical copy on my shelf!

  • BP

    Brandon Pindulic

    about 5 years ago #

    I felt like Lean Analytics really helped me understand what to track / measure when I read it awhile back

  • HS

    hortense soulier

    about 5 years ago #

    Definitely would add Google Semantic Search by David Amerland. Semantics are the future of the web!

  • SM

    Spencer Montgomery

    about 5 years ago #

    Awesome article Nate! Haven't read Predictably Irrational or Moneyball, going to check them out after reading this.

    I'm also a huge fan of Breakthrough Advertising, The Ultimate Sales Machine, and studying the work of the great Direct Response Copywriters...Dan Kennedy, Gary Halbert, John Carlton, Jay Abraham, Joe Sugarman etc. And for mindset all of Dan Sullivan's material for Strategic Coach is outstanding.

    Studying direct response, copywriting and the psychology behind it has been super high leverage for me. "growth hacking" to me is the melding of direct response marketing and technology.

    Thanks again for sharing...your blog kicks ass.

  • CS

    craig sullivan

    almost 5 years ago #

    I second Nir Eyal's book and also Web Analytics 2.0 (not for tactics but for the approach - as others have pointed out here).

    I'd also add the following books - and my selection criteria here is books that you can actually fucking use to help you design, run, analyse and scale your testing. There are plenty of books that to me are nothing more than 'Behavioural economics porn' - as they don't really help me do anything practical with the wonderful stories that get shared (again, again, again).

    The books:

    Web Form Design : Filling in the Blanks (Luke Wroblewski)
    This book is stone cold the best introduction to designing highly usable and high converting forms. It's the best book for funnel and forms optimisation around - and everyone should read it. Luke has tons of resources on cross device stuff and he's tested and researched this stuff more than anyone. Top buy.

    Persuasion (and Yes!) (Robert Cialdini)
    Again - seconded as although the material is older than some of the new books kicking around - this stuff is the foundation I always return to in terms of core principles. Underrated and far more practically useful than most of the 'behavioural economics' books that are just recycling stuff endlessly.

    Forms that work (Caroline Jarrett)
    Another great forms book.

    Don't make me think (Steve Krug - revised addition)
    Common sense but not common practice - the easiest and best introduction to usability testing and why we do it. This book is brilliant for giving to senior management (i.e. don't listen to me - just read this).

    Designing with the Mind in Mind (Jeff Johnson)
    A bridge between the worlds of cognitive psychology and web design. This book is like 'Cognitive Science for Web Designers and Product Managers'. Helps you understand why UI and interface design results in the outcomes you see.

    Evil by design (Chris Nodder)
    Much more than a tour of the dark side of persuasive arts - this book is crammed with good advice, examples and background. One of the best tomes I've read in 2014.

    The Psychology of Price (Leigh Caldwell)
    Leigh's talks on intangible pricing, psychology, presentation and many other topics mark him out as a 'man who knows' in my book. Worth giving to everyone who deals with pricing of products in your company. Remember - this stuff is not new - most retail merchandisers would laugh at us puny web guys exploring stuff they've known for decades. Buy it.

    Other honourable mentions go to:

    Letting go of the words (Ginny Reddish) - for copywriting
    You should test that (Chris Goward) - one of the better books on testing out there
    Advanced web metrics with Google Analytics (Brian Clifton - 3rd edition) - I'm always learning new twists and things from him

  • BP

    Bruno Panatta

    almost 5 years ago #

    I really liked this list and want to point out that, it's not limited to the next 20 years of Marketing, it goes well beyond that.
    Great choices!

  • RM

    ricardo martinez

    about 5 years ago #

    Hi Nate
    I though agree with some of the books you have listed here. Two great books that are also extremely helpful
    1) The Lean Startup
    2) Inbound commerce: How to sell better than amazon. (pretty basic but it has a couple of insightful chapters about funnel optimization)

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