What are some of your "wow" books?

34 replies
These days, I try to read for pleasure as much as I do for learning... and usually I can find books that will do both.

Can I ask other copywriters and marketers here...what were some of those "wow" copywriting and marketing books you've read that you just FELT were different and better than most.

Like, the next level stuff that you just "got" and made you feel better for reading it?

Not the traditional classics that most copywriters read, but maybe some of the lesser known yet incredibly informative ones?

For me, 3 of them would be...

1. The Brain Audit by Sean D'Souza
2. Obvious Adams by Robert R. Updegraff
3. Secret of Selling Anything by Harry Browne

I'm looking for "wow" books... that when you read it, you just knew it was something special.
#books #wow
  • Profile picture of the author Ross Bowring
    Shawn... don't wait. Just go buy "Mastery" by Robert Greene right now.

    --- Ross
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  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    I've been reading Jobs and Mastery for last month.
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    • Profile picture of the author TheBigBee
      I am sorry - this is not 100% applicable.

      But "Business Brilliant" will inspire you to be creative enough to figure out a way to turn copywriting into mega millions.

      Case study - data driven stuff. Amazing read.
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      • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
        Originally Posted by TheBigBee View Post

        I am sorry - this is not 100% applicable.

        But "Business Brilliant" will inspire you to be creative enough to figure out a way to turn copywriting into mega millions.

        Case study - data driven stuff. Amazing read.
        I second that, about Business Brilliant. I'm about half way through. It's a slow read, mainly because I keep writing notes in the margins on how to apply the information inside. I think this is another Pitch Anything...a must read book.

        Originally Posted by shawnlebrun View Post

        Thanks Mastermind... I think that may be the book that people in the "Offline" section of the forum had been talking about recently.

        Claude and Ewen had mentioned it, I think, in their posts... and I had planned on getting around to asking them if it was indeed Business Brilliant.

        Thanks for this.
        Yup. This is right up there with Influence, Pitch Anything, And anything written by John Caples. In my top ten, of all time.
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    • Profile picture of the author shawnlebrun
      Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post

      I've been reading Jobs and Mastery for last month.
      Thanks Rick, 2 votes for Mastery... Jobs was a heck of a read, planning on bringing the wife to see the movie.
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  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    I think it'll dramatically impact how you coach new copywriters.
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  • the thomas hall direct mail guides and letters was a big wow for me

    And one thing that he found in Japan about what makes a story winner has helped me over and over again to write good ads.
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  • Profile picture of the author DavidG
    the WAR of ART by Steven Pressfield.
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  • Profile picture of the author MIB Mastermind
    Best books I've read recently are:

    Mastery
    Pitch Anything
    Great Leads
    15 Invaluable Laws of Growth
    The Now Habit
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  • Profile picture of the author shawnlebrun
    Thanks guys for the recommendations, started reading Mastery and love it.

    I'll throw another into the mix, and it can especially help copywriters who are just
    starting out, and here's why.

    Back when I started writing for others, I had a lot of insecurity about my ability, what I was worth, how much I should charge, etc...

    Basically, it was a bunch of useless chatter that was going on in my head, that was trying to actually work against me!

    Imagine that, a voice in your OWN head telling you that you're not good enough, you don't deserve $5,000 per letter, you don't deserve the big clients, etc...

    Well, after reading about how even the best of the best (Halbert, Carlton, Bencivenga) would have internal "am I good enough" struggles... I eventually gained a ton of confidence and today, am quite able and willing to turn away any client, any time.

    But for those newer copywriters just starting out... quieting that "self-defeating" noise and chatter going on in your head, that shit that could be holding you back... that's a HUGE part of success.

    I wish I had found "The Untethered Soul" by Michael A. Singer years ago... because it would have helped me quite that chatter and noise a lot sooner.

    I talk to a LOT of newer copywriters, and I always recommend this book.

    And to the new copywriters I coach, this is the first thing I have them read... because it ALL starts from within.

    That self-defeating noise and chatter and voice in your head can stop you from getting paid what you're worth... it can stop you from landing the clients you WANT to work with... it can make you look at this entire business from a different point of view.
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  • Profile picture of the author NewRiseDigital
    Here's some of the powerful books I'm reading right now that really hit the spot...

    How To Sell Your Way Through Life - Napoleon Hill
    No BS Business Success In The New Economy - Dan S Kennedy
    The Inner Side Of Advertising (1925) - Cyril Freer
    How To Win Customers - Heinz M. Goldmann
    The Psychology Of Advertising - Walter Dill Scott
    The Secrets Of Mail Order Selling (1924) - Cyril Freer
    Outwitting The Devil - Napoleon Hill
    Toward A Psychology Of Being - Abraham Maslow (some brilliant chapters on motivators that can be applied to marketing)
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  • Profile picture of the author TheSalesBooster
    Picked up Mastery the other day and got the audio book... Damn this book is boring... Maybe I should of picked up the print version so I could skip around, but I've been listening to about an hour of it so far and all the guy keeps talking about is chimps, evolution, and other stuff I can't remember now because it literally put me to sleep.

    When does it pick up?
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  • Profile picture of the author Walt Serdville
    The Brain Audit was what hooked me in. Bigtime.
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  • Profile picture of the author webn
    "The One thing" by Gary Keller - Though it is not directly related to copywriting or marketing, but, they will also be benefited.
    The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth...The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth... not an affiliate link
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark 99
    Brilliance Breakthrough by Eugene Schwartz helped me ten fold.
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  • Profile picture of the author EricRand
    Hackers and Painters - by Paul Graham.

    Anyone who wishes to profit from their gifts (words, ideas or programming skills) needs to read this book.

    You can be forgiven if you think this book is just about code and programming. Nothing could be farther from reality.

    Eric Rand
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    • Originally Posted by EricRand View Post

      Hackers and Painters - by Paul Graham.

      Anyone who wishes to profit from their gifts (words, ideas or programming skills) needs to read this book.

      You can be forgiven if you think this book is just about code and programming. Nothing could be farther from reality.

      Eric Rand
      I might add two things here:

      1. Yes, Paul Graham's writings are fantastic. Some of the most well thought out pieces you'll find on business anywhere.

      2. You can get almost all the articles in Hackers and Painters on paulgraham.com for free!
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Hill
    Originally Posted by shawnlebrun View Post

    For me, 3 of them would be...

    1. The Brain Audit by Sean D'Souza
    2. Obvious Adams by Robert R. Updegraff
    3. Secret of Selling Anything by Harry Browne
    Along the lines of Harry Browne's book and Obvious Adams, How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger is a bit of an underground classic.

    Motivation in Advertising by Pierre Martineau is not often mentioned, but it's another excellent book that influenced many authors of other more popular classics. While it may have been written in 1957, it's timeless.

    Brilliance Breakthrough by Eugene Schwartz is somewhat hard to find, and a bit unconventional. However, it will improve almost anyone's writing by teaching how to think (and write) using the brain's natural method of pictures.

    A book I'm reading now called Ruthless Copywriting Strategies by TJ Rohleder is an entertaining summary of the many things we need to keep in mind as creative direct marketers. Want to keep it simple but effective? Read this book.

    Mastery looks like a worthwhile book too. Judging from the video Joe posted, it certainly explains why agencies can go stale and why outsiders can be so influential.
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  • Profile picture of the author tkhowse
    1. The Copywriter's Handbook by Bob Bly
    2. Convert: Designing Websites to Increase Traffic & Conversion by Ben Hunt
    3. Duct Tape Marketing
    4. The Referral Engine by John Jantsch
    5. CRM at the Speed of Light by Paul Greenberg
    6. Web Analytics 2.0 by Avinash Kaushik
    7. How to Build Websites that Sell: The Scientific Approach to Websites by Peep Laja
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  • Profile picture of the author elmo033057
    I'm trying to read all of the books recommended by the late Mr. Halbert, since I am new to this. I got my copy of 7 Steps to Freedom II: How to Escape the American Rat Race in the mail two days ago. Holy crap, Batman, that thing is the size of the NY City phone directory!!!!!! Now I know why they codified the word "ginormous".

    7 Steps to Freedom II: How to Escape the American...7 Steps to Freedom II: How to Escape the American...
    Mark "Elmo" Ellis
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  • Profile picture of the author repricerexpress
    Originally Posted by shawnlebrun View Post

    These days, I try to read for pleasure as much as I do for learning... and usually I can find books that will do both.

    Can I ask other copywriters and marketers here...what were some of those "wow" copywriting and marketing books you've read that you just FELT were different and better than most.

    Like, the next level stuff that you just "got" and made you feel better for reading it?

    Not the traditional classics that most copywriters read, but maybe some of the lesser known yet incredibly informative ones?

    For me, 3 of them would be...

    1. The Brain Audit by Sean D'Souza
    2. Obvious Adams by Robert R. Updegraff
    3. Secret of Selling Anything by Harry Browne

    I'm looking for "wow" books... that when you read it, you just knew it was something special.
    Hi Shawn, not so much books but websites I have come across lately that I'm pretty addicted to include Content Marketing Tools and Training | Copyblogger, Noah Kagan's Okdork.com - A blog about marketing, online communities and other business musings. Come join the fun! and http://www.helpscout.net. Their blogs and general content are fascinating and full of exciting little tangents to go off on if you're into design, marketing, copywriting and generally helping clients sell more (or sell more yourself). If these are new to you, kiss your weekend goodbye once you click on the first few links as you'll be hooked!!!
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  • Profile picture of the author MIB Mastermind
    Another one I'm reading just now is Business Brilliant.

    Superb book.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mathematic ROIs
    I would have to say "Pitch Anything" & "Influence"
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  • Profile picture of the author Loren Woirhaye
    I've read the other book by Steinmetz "How To Sell At Higher
    Prices That Your Competitors" and while it is rather
    technical in some ways it hammers home the arithmetical
    realities of how to sell a product which has demand
    in an edifying way. I think Dan Kennedy mentioned it
    somewhere so I bought it and was duly enlightened.
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