The iMarketer Reading List: The best inspirational books — and podcasts — for marketers

As iMarketers, we’re lifelong learners. There are always new ideas and strategies for reaching potential clients — and helping those clients reach their own customers — for us to soak in. And there will be times when you’re sinking into a rut and need a little inspiration to snap you back out of it. That’s when you can pull out this handy reading list for marketers.

We’ve got a little bit of everything for you here: some motivational marketing books, how-go guides, a few of our all-time favorite authors whose work we devour, and even a few podcasts to tune into when your eyes need a break from all that reading.

(One quick note before we dive in: We’ll link to each book on Amazon to keep it simple, but if you’ve got a local independent bookstore, that’s a great place to buy them! You can find the closest one by searching your zip code on Of course, there’s always your local library to keep costs down, too!)

Books and authors

  1. Chase the Lion: If Your Dream Doesn’t Scare You, It’s Too Small by Mark Batterson. Batterson encourages readers to stop running from our fear of failure and instead to chase down our biggest, boldest dreams.
  2. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, who talks about how a different type of corporate culture can increase happiness for both you and your employees. (This is one of our favorite reads because even though we don’t usually have “employees” as iMarketers, our clients do! This book has great information to relay to our clients on the importance of workplace culture and its impact on profit.)
  3. Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg about why habits exist and how they can be changed.
  4. Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley on attracting and retaining customers with top-notch online communication.
  5. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World by Gary Vaynerchuck about social media marketing that connects with customers and beats the competition.
  6. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin about creating products and services that are truly noticeable and worth marketing.
  7. Actually, go ahead and read basically anything by Seth Godin. He is all kinds of inspirational, and he’s even got a new book — This is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See — coming out in a couple of weeks. (We. Can’t. Wait.)
  8. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek. (He’s also done a hugely popular TED Talk on the same topic that is also worth checking out.)
  9. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell about the spreading of an idea, trend or behavior.
  10. Running Down a Dream: Your Road Map to Winning Creative Battles by Tim Grahl, who offers up what he calls a personal field guide to defeating your own worst enemy.
  11. Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small by Nick Westergaard about marketing on a tight budget.
  12. Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller on simple but effective brand messaging.
  13. Anything by Chip and Dan Heath, including Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, and Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work.
  14. Everything by Jon Acuff, including Start.: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, and Do Work That Matters, Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job & Your Dream Job, and Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done.


  1. In case you read all of Jon Acuff’s books and still want more, check out his podcast, “Creative Slide with Jon Acuff.”
  2. Marketing Over Coffee with John J. Wall and Christopher S. Penn, who chat about marketing tips and tricks over drinks in a local coffee shop each week. We suggest starting with their most popular episodes, which include conversations with several of the authors listed above.
  3. Success Made Simple with Dr. Dave Martin. This podcast is delivered in inspirational, easy-to-digest episodes of just 10-15 minutes each. A quick listen while you’re heading out in the morning for that client coffee meeting!
  4. The Social Pros Podcast, where Jay Baer of Convince and Convert and Adam Brown of SalesForce interview leading social media strategists.

Ok, that was a lot of information … but we’ve still got one more book for you: The iMarketer Blueprint Guide! We know we’re a tiny bit biased, but our e-guide is stuffed full of practical information that will take you from the earliest stages of your new business to rockin’ it as your full-time gig years down the road.

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