My name is Saul! I'm an award winning Word of Mouth Marketer, Professional Speaker on the subjects of Social Media, Customer Service and best of all... Word of Mouth. I collect Air Force One sneakers and think you should hire me... (as a consultant) to teach you how to get your company doing interesting things!
the smartest man in the world.

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Photos from the Drupal Conference in San Francisco, CA 2010

Monday, Mar 03, 2009

The 5 books you should read if you are a Marketing/Business type.

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People love lists and for that reason alone I try to avoid them but I have been doing a bunch of reading lately and decided to share with you my list of the 5 books that in my opinion you should read if you consider yourself a biz man of any kind.

Now I should state that these 5 books are not all business books but have a lessons in them that are key to running a business or just being a pretty smart marketer…and just so no one gets offended, this list is in no particular order.

Pow Right Between the Eyes by Andy Nulman

I sometimes feel this this book was written just for me since it is all about “Surprise Marketing” and that is something I have been practicing pretty much my whole career. In the book Andy Nulman has the perfect balance of advice and examples to get you thinking how you can add a little surprise into your business and marketing. I could go on and on about this book because unlike some business books this one was could be easily not considered a business book because it is an very entertaining read (but is still overflowing with lessons)…and if you were wondering if a book about “Surprise Marketing” had any surprises in it, the answer is on the last page!

Story by Robert McKee

Considered by most as THE screenwriters bible, Story teaches you exactly what you would think from a book by this title.


This is so important in sales, marketing, communications and if you are going to spend the time to learn it you might as well learn from the best. Now I could tell you all about how being interesting in your storytelling is important but I figure you know all this by now.

Good Days Gone Mad by Dick DeBartolo

My love for William Gains knows no bounds…for those who don’t recognize the name he was the founder and publisher of Mad Magazine. Good Days Gone Mad is a part memoir and part tribute to William Gains as remembered by friend and Mad Writer Dick DeBartolo. It is chocked full of fun and amazing stories from inside the walls of Mad Magazine and I tell anyone who is in a management role in any company to read this since it is almost a blueprint of how to build a great office culture and have your staff love you more then their own families…my favorite example is the one where he took the whole office to Haiti because Mad had a grand total of one Haitian subscriber, Gaines arranged to have the entire group driven directly to the person’s house and once there the entire staff formally presented the bewildered subscriber with a renewal card.

Word Of Mouth Marketing by Andy Sernovitz

Like Story, Word of Mouth Marketing by Andy Sernovitz is considered the bible for practitioners of WOM marketing. I have read this book once a year for many years now and have probably given 12 copies or more to folks as gifts as this is required reading if you plan on working with me…and in the interest of full disclosure I should tell you and I am SUPER honored
to have been mentioned as a case study in the new revised version that was just released in February (with the red cover) and take a glance at page 65 🙂

…and finally I throw one out there that may surprise you.

The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists

OK I have to admit I haven’t read this one yet but do own it…and this may let you in a little too much into my brain but I didn’t pick this up to help me pick up ladies (I don’t need help with that cause I am charming) but I am interested in reading it to see if there are any incites into better understanding the way women think so I can be a more genuine marketer. I believe that if you fancy yourself a marketing/business person you need to understand who lives in your desired markets and any advantage you can have to influence that market in a genuine (not creepy) way by simply understanding them is a huge win. I don’t know if this is the best approach but reading a variety of content will keep you from getting bored and make you a well rounded person…and hey if this book helps you make out with someone in an elevator and get a new customer I am sure you will thank me!

So there is my list and I hope you check them all or at least a few of them out…and as I tweeted yesterday the inspiration for this post came from my favorite picture in the William Gaines book.

…and if you think this list is not accurate please feel free to add some books for me to read in the comments field!

  1. I read The Game — very entertaining. I especially love using the terms (i.e., “negging”, “two-set”) to sleazy guys at bars who think girls don’t read the same books they do.

  2. The Game is worth a read for the sheer madness, but it’s more about how to be noticed than how to connect with anyone. Tactically, it definitely depends on what you’re trying to market, because the methodology is direct and harsh. However, the underlying principle is 100% applicable to any product or service, as it’s based on supply and demand and, specifically, scarcity.

    If you look at the origins of Red Bull, there’s a great case study there on how to increase demand in a market by seeding the product within a particular group, while making it scarce for everyone else. This essentially solidifies the cliques who have access to the product (haves), making them even more desirable to outsiders (have nots), while elevating the product within the clique as it makes those insiders feel even more unique and powerful. As a result, the haves end up flaunting their newfound love which drives the have nots even crazier. This is the basic principle of The Game.

  3. I agree with you about, “Story.” It is a very well written book. Not just useful to screenwriters, but anyone who has a story to tell a story.

    It was also used in the film “Adaptation” with a fake Robert McKee.

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