As many agencies are repositioning themselves as more lean, agile companies, there is a lot marketers can learn from the entrepreneurial field. We asked 12 founders what entrepreneurial book every marketer should read and were given books covering anything from the art of persuasion to positioning a business.
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
1. 'The 80/20 Principal' by Richard Koch
This is an awesome book about the 80/20 principal applied to business. It reinforces that we should focus on the marketing tactics that are having the most benefit in order to maximize results. Examples include that 20 percent of your traffic will spent 80 percent of the time on your site, and 80 percent of your customers will subscribe to 20 percent of your pricing plans.
2. 'Business Brilliant' by Lewis Schiff
In this book, Schiff presents his research on differences in attitude and beliefs between individuals with incomes between $1 million and $10 million and those with incomes between $50,000 and $80,000. The book presents seven behaviors that are common among self-made millionaires and offers practical tips to help entrepreneurs follow in their footsteps. It's a fascinating, eye-opening read.
3. 'The Big Leap' by Gay Hendricks
It's an amazing read about living in the zone of genius. Every marketer should be selling that zone and pushing the company to only allow themselves to work from that place as well.
4. 'Delivering Happiness' by Tony Hsieh
Part anecdote and quite a short read, "Delivering Happiness" by Tony Hsieh (the founder of Zappos) is a personal favorite. It portrays a real focus on customer service, going the extra mile and creating a great brand experience to make your customers more loyal, as we often forget retention when focusing on acquiring new customers.
5. '11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era' by Nilofer Merchant
This guidebook from the Harvard Business Review is on the much-hyped topic of social media, but it goes beyond how to tweet or why blogging matters and digs much deeper into the ways social media influences business broadly and strategically. The book outlines 11 rules to guide entrepreneurial marketers in the evolving technology landscape and on how to think about trends and change.
6. 'The Fire Starter Sessions' by Danielle LaPorte
This book provides the inspiration an entrepreneur needs to move ahead with his or her venture and provides some marketing tips as well. The key takeaway is incorporating generosity into your marketing strategy -- offering freebies and giveaways, for example.
7. 'Purple Cow' by Seth Godin
It's not necessarily about entrepreneurship directly, but "Purple Cow" is a book I recommend to everyone trying to find a way to make their businesses stick out. In an overwhelming world where everyone is trying to get everyone else to listen to what they have to offer, it's important to have something remarkable about your business that will grab attention.
8. 'Confessions of an Advertising Man' by David Ogilvy
David Ogilvy was responsible for some of the most memorable advertising campaigns ever created. "Confessions of an Advertising Man" contains all the Ogilvy concepts, tactics and techniques that made Ogilvy & Mather what it is today. The book was written in 1963 and is still relevant for marketers and business managers today.
9. 'The Art of the Start' by Guy Kawasaki
Is it possible you haven’t yet read Kawasaki’s "The Art of Start"? If you haven't, you’re missing out! This is literally the No. 1 guide to entrepreneurship, covering all the necessary steps with a perfect mix of honesty, humor and practical advice. If you’re looking for high-level inspiration and day-to-day tactics for starting up, this is your book.
10. 'The Magic of Thinking Big' by Dr. David Schwartz
Too many entrepreneurs never realize their potential because they set wimpy goals and fail to think big enough. This book was a game changer for me, and despite having sold my last startup to eBay, I feel like I've only gotten started. Other entrepreneurs should read this book and double or triple anything they think is possible.
11. 'Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion' by Robert Cialdini
Persuasion is at the heart of everything an entrepreneur does. If you're not selling a product, you're trying to persuade someone to see things your way in one form or another. Influence makes these persuasive tactics extremely clear and helps you not only learn to persuade others, but be aware when someone is trying to persuade you.
12. 'Zag' by Marty Neumeier
When others zig, you zag. Not only does Marty Neumeier clearly articulate this concept as a means to creating a distinguished brand, but he also wrote the book in a "whiteboard" format where no page or drop of ink was wasted. It is a good, quick and informative read that's all about marketing.