Top Copywriting Books... Ever

by 307 comments
UPDATE: I've looked through the 4 pages of replies to this thread, extracted the books mentioned, and listed them below.

I know I've missed some, so please reply to the thread or pm me, and I'll update this list. Same goes if you don't think something should be there.

I'd like to construct a weebly page with a ratings system on, so Warriors can let me know their rating of each book. That way we can come up with an "Ultimate List Of Copywriting Books" for this thread.

Remember - the idea here is to learn copywriting without spending hundreds (or thousands) on top level courses.

Don't get me wrong. Of course taking part in something like Carltons SWS, Makepeace's Desktop Copy Coach, etc. etc. is going to educate you no end, and vastly improve your copy skills - so I'm NOT bashing these courses.

The idea here is to learn the basics (or maybe even everything you need to know) from some good ol' hard back books. Use Abe books, or Amazon - get yourself a second hand copy of the books that appeal to you, and you can get started on your copywriting education without breaking the bank...

A BIG thank-you to everyone who has (and continues to) comment on the thread!

Here's the list so far. PM me if I've got any duplicate listings, mispellings etc.

Okay, so here goes:




"Scientific Advertising" Claude Hopkins

"Tested Advertising" Caples (4th edition or earlier only)

"How I Raised Myself from a Failure to Success in Selling" Betger

"How to Write a Good Advertisement" Schwab.

"How to Write Sales Letters That Sell" Drayton Bird

"The Robert Collier Letter Book" - by Robert Collier

"Tested Advertising Methods" -by John Caples

"How To Write A Good Advertisement" - by Vic Schwab

"The Lazy Man's Way to Riches" - by Joe Karbo

"Break-Through Advertising" - by Eugene M. Schwartz

"7-Steps To Freedom" - by Ben Suarez

On Writing - Stephen King

"Advertising Secrets of The Written Word" by Joe Sugarman

"Making Ads Pay" by John Caples

Web Copy That Sells by Maria Veloso

The Architecture of Persuasion by Michael Masterson

Influence The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini

The Adweek Copywriting Handbook by Joe Sugarman

"The Elements of Copywriting" by Gary Blake and Robert Bly

"The Ultimate Sales Letter" by Dan Kennedy

Cashvertising by Drew Eric Whitman

"Write to sell " it is written by Andy Maslen

"Influencing Human Behaviour" by H.A.

"Tested Sentences That Sell" by Elmer Wheeler

"Unlimited Selling Power" by Moine and Lloyd.

Writing for Emotional Impact by Karl Iglesias

Bob Bly's "The Copywriter's Handbook"

How To Make Your Advertising Make Money - John Caples

Tested Advertising Methods - John Caples

The Copywriters Handbook - Bob Bly

The Adweek Copywriting Handbook - Joseph Sugarman

Sales Letters That Sizzle - Herschell Gordon Lewis

Cash Copy - Jeffrey Lant

Magic Words That Bring You Riches - Ted Nicholas

Ogilvy On Advertising

Method Marketing by Denny Hatch.

My First 50 Years in Advertising by Maxwell Sackheim.

The Greatest Direct Mail Sales Letters of all Time " by Richard Hodgson.

How To Write Advertising That Sells by Clyde Bedell

Ads That Sell by Bob Bly

How To Write A Good Avertisement-- Victor Schwab

Advertising Headlines That Make You Rich-- David Garfinkle

Magic Words-- Ted Nicholas

Robert Collier Letter Book-- Robert Collier

My Life In Advertising -- Claude Hopkins

Bird - Commonsense

The First Hundred Million by E. Haldeman-Julius

David Ogilvy's "Blood, Brains and Beer"

"Confessions of an advertising man"

"Million Dollar Mailings" by Denison Hatch

"The Wizard of Ads" trilogy by Roy H. Williams

Making Ads Pay by John Caples

Method Marketing - Denison Hatch

"How to Write Sales Letters that Sell" by Drayton Bird.

Hypnotic Writing -- Joe Vitale

"The Lazy Man's Way to Riches" - by Joe Karbo

Denny Hatch's Million Dollar Mailings


Some more from Matt Jutras:


Techniques of Propaganda and Persuasion - Magedah E. Shabo

Write Right: 26 Tips to Improve Your Writing. Dramatically. - Roger Shapiro

Winning Website Sales Letters: How To Create An Opening That Pulls Prospects In... A Message That Sells Them... And An Offer They Simply Can't Refuse! - Robert Boduch

Great Headlines Instantly 2.1: How To Write Attention-Grabbing Headlines That Pull In More Prospects... More Customers... and More Profits - NOW - Robert Boduch

I agree, anything from Robert Boduch is worth looking at. He's a top guy too.


H
ere's the weebly site so you can see ratings: http://bestcopywritingbooks.weebly.com/


Moderators, if I'm not allowed that link in my post, please pm me and I'll remove it straight away.
Last edited by Maximillion_Z on December 13, 2009 at 15:52 PM. Reason: Updated List
#copy writing #book #books #copywriting #overlooked #top

  • Profile picture of the author Maximillion_Z
    And the Gary Halbert Recommended List:

    "Scientific Advertising"

    -by Claude Hopkins

    "The Robert Collier Letter Book"

    -by Robert Collier

    "Tested Advertising Methods"
    -by John Caples
    "How To Write A Good Advertisement"

    -by Vic Schwab

    "The Gary Halbert Letter" (all back issues)

    -by Gary Halbert
    "The Boron Letters"

    -by Gary Halbert

    "The Lazy Man's Way to Riches"

    -by Joe Karbo

    "Break-Through Advertising"

    -by Eugene M. Schwartz

    "7-Steps To Freedom"

    -by Ben Suarez
  • Profile picture of the author Loren Woirhaye
    Joe Sugarman's books have a more modern feel to them
    than many of the classics mentioned here - even though
    he wrote them in the days before the internet he
    was dealing with technological innovations. One
    year he was selling calculators for $200 a pop and
    the next year better calculators were $40 - kinda
    like the Internet Marketing phenomenon where information
    that sells for $1000 today is given away next year.

    Useful stuff.

    I've read Drayton Bird's book on Direct Marketing and
    it's first-rate - more useful in many ways than "7
    Steps To Freedom" - which deals specifically with
    how to run a direct mail business, not copywriting.
  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    Even though it's not a copywriting guide get Seven Kings' "On Writing." This is one of his few non-fiction books with a slight autobiographical slant. Excellent stuff.

    In a nutshell King says, you've gotta have some intrinsic talent or all the study in the world won't help. Once you've determined you've got the basic talent there are two things you must do consistently. Those are: read a lot and write a lot. The rest will take care of itself. I agree. Good luck.
  • Profile picture of the author Maximillion_Z
    Thanks for the replies.

    I just saw the other thread in the copywriting section: "Best Copywriting Book?"

    Just to say that I didn't mean to start a thread with such a similar theme. Should've looked before posting

    ---

    Loren Woirhaye, regarding Sugarman - it would be good to get your opinion on this, by Mark Joyner (not affiliate link):

    simple·ology | Simpleology Great Teacher Series - Ted Nicholas and Joe Sugarman Teach Direct Response Copywriting

    It looks interesting given the $1 7 day trial, but it doesn't seem directly endorsed by Sugarman or Ted Nicholas, nor does it have any real testimonials.
  • Profile picture of the author Loren Woirhaye
    Hi maximillion - I looked at it. I promote Simpleology
    as an affiliate - I generally feel their stuff is good.

    If you've never read Sugarman's "Advertising Secrets
    of The Written Word" you might really enjoy the Sugarman
    part of it - because you wouldn't know it's just some guy
    reading the book to you word-for-word.

    The Ted Nicholas part is, as far as I can tell, original.

    There are 60 million people in the USA who basically don't
    read - but they still want to learn how to make a lot
    of money. The market for spoken-word info-products
    is vast for that reason. Simpleology break things down
    into nice little bites. I think it's a good system but if
    you are a voracious, aggressive student I think you
    might find the copywriting course too slow.

    Still two world-class teachers though - guys who made
    their fortunes selling stuff with copy - not peddling
    copywriting seminars and courses. They both started
    doing that only after they were very successful.
  • Profile picture of the author Maximillion_Z
    Originally Posted by Loren Woirhaye View Post

    If you've never read Sugarman's "Advertising Secrets
    of The Written Word" you might really enjoy the Sugarman
    part of it - because you wouldn't know it's just some guy
    reading the book to you word-for-word.

    The Ted Nicholas part is, as far as I can tell, original.
    That's what I was worried about.

    $45 a month for 12 months = $540 to have a book read to you.

    The AWAI course also seems good, but as you mentioned - us aggressive students don't want to wait a year just to learn the basics...

    ---

    As you're a pro (I'm guessing), do you think it possible to become a copywriter just by studying these books, and just practising?

    I mean, it would be nice to take on a few small time gigs until enough income arives to afford the high end courses.

    ---

    Ben Settle's "Copywriting Grab Bag" looks to be a winner also.
  • Profile picture of the author Loren Woirhaye
    Yes. If you've sold stuff in person of on the phone it
    will be easier for you though.

    The most important thing is to write. I don't follow
    formulas normally. For a cheap, quick salesletter
    for a generic product I might though. For a high-priced
    product I spend a lot of time working out what to
    say - the big ideas and arguments - when I sit down
    to write they flow out.... mostly in a messy way that
    needs a lot of editing .

    I'm not a big-shot by any stretch but my copy does sell...
    and know what? I read the books over and over and when
    I sit down to write I don't think much about what the do's
    and don't's are in the books.

    Nobody has mentioned Herschell Gordon Lewis's books. I have
    a couple and they are first-rate in my opinion. If I had to
    pick two books that could take you from being a guy
    who writes okay copy to a guy who writes great copy
    they would probably be "Breakthrough Advertising" and
    "Direct Mail Copy That Sells" - because both books are very
    specific in different areas that can transform your whole
    approach in subtle and powerful, creative ways.
  • Profile picture of the author MrCopy
    Don't be fooled by the low price tag and packaging - I think Ca$hvertising by Drew Eric Whitman is a good resource. It's kind of checklist style - but quotes a ton of other books and resources. It's probably a little advanced for beginners.

    It's a great for teaching primary emotional motivators etc.
  • Profile picture of the author Dima Kritchevski
    "Advertising Secrets of The Written Word" by Joe Sugarman is a seriously kick-ass book on writing killer copy. How that managed to evade a significant mention in a thread about the the top copywriting books makes about as much sense to me as tits on a donkey.
  • Profile picture of the author Loren Woirhaye
    It was mentioned. You didn't read the thread.
  • Profile picture of the author Dean Dhuli
    "Making Ads Pay" by John Caples

    This book isn't talked about as much as "Tested Advertising Methods", but I personally feel
    MAP is much, much better than TAM.
  • Profile picture of the author Michael Lee
    My recommendations:

    Web Copy That Sells by Maria Veloso
    The Architecture of Persuasion by Michael Masterson
    Influence The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini
    The Adweek Copywriting Handbook by Joe Sugarman
  • Profile picture of the author mspennylane
    I'm currently reading "The Elements of Copywriting" by Gary Blake and Robert Bly. It was written a while ago so some sections, like web copywriting, are out of date. But most of the methods seem to be timeless.

    By the way, I'm new here and looking forward to getting involved in a few discussions
  • Profile picture of the author chrisalbright
    Originally Posted by authork View Post

    Inquiring minds want to know...what is this book?
    It's "Advertising Secrets of the Written Word" by Joe Sugarman. I don't have that one yet, but I've got "The Adweek Copywriting Handbook" also by him. It's very good. I started the Simpleology copywriting course and the JS stuff was remarkably similar to it.

    I'd also recommend "The Ultimate Sales Letter" and "The Ultimate Marketing Plan" both by Dan Kennedy. The latter is not focused on copywriting, but it's a good business reference.

    Also, check out Ted Nicholas's website. I'd recommend anything by a guy that made millions of dollars selling a book about forming a corporation without a lawyer!
  • Profile picture of the author Loren Woirhaye
    "The Adweek Copywriting Handbook" is a newer version in paperback
    of "Advertising Secrets" - which is available in paper but mostly sold
    as an exquistively printed and bound hardcover. It's really a nice
    book to own but the Adweek handbook has the same information
    in it. Personally I like Sugarman's writing but his book doesn't make
    my A-list because it pertains to a specific type of catalog writing he
    basically invented and was wildly successful with. Drew Alan Kaplan
    is one of the surviving exponents of the style - though as far as
    I know his catalog is now all online. If D.A.K. wrote a book on copy
    or marketing I would buy it.

    Sugarman's advice on the specifics of how-to write copy may or may
    not work for you.

    Often ignored is Jeffrey Lant's book "Cash Copy". Some people hate his
    style but if you could only have one book on the topic it's a contender.
  • Profile picture of the author Woody C
    Originally Posted by ncub8 View Post

    Don't be fooled by the low price tag and packaging - I think Ca by Drew Eric Whitman is a good resource. It's kind of checklist style - but quotes a ton of other books and resources. It's probably a little advanced for beginners.

    It's a great for teaching primary emotional motivators etc.

    If you want to understand the psycological triggers behind sales and copywriting then Cashvertising by Drew Eric Whitman is a MUST!

    He also just got on Twitter and has some really helpful tweets, all promoting Cashvertising, of course . @DrewEricWhitman is his username.
  • Profile picture of the author methomas
    I haven't seen any mention of Joe Vitale.

    Mr. Vitale, also known as Mr. Fire (mrfire.com)is one of the top Internet copywriters and has several ebooks on Hypnotic Marketing and Hypnotic Writing secrets.

    Well worth reading.
  • Profile picture of the author mccflo99
    I agree M E, you can get Hypnotic Writing on Amazon for less than 15 bucks and it's a steal. I read all of his material.

    Chris
  • Profile picture of the author wrcato
    Maximillion_Z,
    In my opinion anyone serious about copywriting needs to read "Scientific Advertising". It's a classic. Claude Hopkins is considered the "Father" of modern day advertising. If you haven't read it yet you can read it for free on my blog. 2Ultra.com Presents: ---> Ad-Copy Secrets Revealed It is located in the header under the title.
  • Profile picture of the author priyankeshu
    There is one more book... "Write to sell " it is written by Andy Maslen it is one of the best books easy to understand.. in the book.. writer talks a bit about psychology too!

    With no doubt... Claude Hopkins is a must read for any advertising/marketing professional... in fact people say that one should read it at least 10 times before starting a marketing career

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