Bradley Nickel

Online Marketing Guy |

4 min read

7 “Sales & Marketing” Strategy Books You’ve Probably Never Read

Everyone knows that there are a few books that are staples in every marketer’s library.

Some of the more popular books are “Influence” by Cialdini, “The Lean Startup” by Eric, Ries, and various books by Seth Godin.

These are all amazing books. You should read each of them multiple times and take notes.

But there are a ton of other great books out there that aren’t necessarily marketed as business books, or aren’t as well-known as “Influence”.

Here are 7 of our favorite books that you’re not going to see on most peoples’ top 10 lists.

#1: Meet Your Happy Chemicals: Dopamine, Endorphin, Oxytocin, Serotonin by Loretta Graziano Breuning

Your brain is on drugs every second of every day. Those drugs are dopamine, endorphin, oxytocin and serotonin. These are your brain’s happy drugs that lead to pleasure, pain reduction and feelings of belonging and self-worth.

The search to create more of these drugs is the reason why humans do what they do and buy what they buy. When you understand how these chemicals work, you can start to tailor your marketing strategy towards fulfilling your brain’s desire to create more.

“Meet Your Happy Chemicals” is a quick read and gives a great overview of how these chemicals work. After you read this you might have some ideas on how to trigger these brain chemicals within your sales funnel.

#2: Words That Work by Frank Luntz

“It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear.”

When you can change the language your prospects use, you change the dialog. You get them on your side. On your level. They become easier to influence. But it’s not all about what you say, it’s about what they hear and how they interpret it.

Author Frank Lutz was a master speechwriter and advisor for some of the biggest political campaigns of the past 30 years. He helped presidents win elections just by changing a few key words and phrases.

Frank’s book gives great examples that are very specific on how you can change your dialog with your customers to make your marketing campaigns and everyday interactions more effective.

If changing a few words can persuade millions of people to vote differently … what do you think it can do for your marketing campaigns?

#3: The Culture Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Live and Buy as They Do by Clotaire Rapaille

“When asked direct questions about their interests and preferences, people tend to give answers they believe the questioner wants to hear.”

Why do Americans associate cheese with DEATH? Why do the French associate cheese with LIFE? Why do Americans overwork themselves? Why are we obsessed with “keeping up with the Jones’?”
All of these things that make us all slightly different are due to the “silent codes” present in all cultures. These codes influence what we buy, why we buy it, and how we make daily decisions.
Knowing the codes and why we do what we do is important behind any marketing strategy.

#4: The System Club Letters – 57 Big Ideas to Transform Your Business and Your Life by Ken McCarthy

Ken McCarthy is considered one of the first internet marketers, dating all the way back to 1995. This book is a compilation of 57 business and marketing lessons that were originally sent as private letters to his “System Club”.

Some of these letters are a bit dated, but the techniques and concepts explained still apply today. It’s a short, fun read that most people would get some use out of.

#5: Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success by Phil Jackson

“The most we can hope for is to create the best possible conditions for success, then let go of the outcome. The ride is a lot more fun that way.”

Phil Jackson is a retired NBA coach who has won 13 NBA championships (11 when this book was published) in multiple cities. He coached Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neil and dozens of other NBA stars with massive egos.

Unlike many NBA coaches, Phil wasn’t an aggressive, overbearing control-freak. He led by giving up control. He encouraged others to take on their own leadership role within the organization.This allowed him to take a more “hands off” coaching approach while still building championship teams.

He explains the strategy behind his success in Eleven Rings. Being an NBA coach is a lot like being a manager, entrepreneur or business owner. This is a great book for anyone looking for a better way to manage employee and personal relationships.

#6: Great Leads: The Six Easiest Ways to Start Any Sales Message by Michael Masterson & John Forde

This one copywriting book is quickly moving from the known to the unknown, but it’s a goody. Much of a previous blog post on customer awareness was based off the lessons learned in this book. The main idea is that the opening of your content is THE MOST important part of your sales message.

Great Leads focuses on your customer’s awareness level. If you’re not tailoring your message to the stage your customer is in, there’s little chance you’ll make the sale. The lessons learned from this 90 page book might change the way you think about copywriting and marketing in general.

#7: The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation by Drew Westen

Political analysts and advisors are masters of persuasion, image, branding and creating a candidate that wins elections. One of the key takeaways is that people don’t vote on issues, they vote on values. This book is an amazing look at the reason why people vote a certain way even when it’s not in their best interest.

Warning: This book is not bipartisan. However, there are a ton of golden nuggets in it if you can keep an open mind.


Got any favorites? Write them in the comments below!

Bradley Nickel

Online Marketing Guy |


  1. Excellent list. #’s 2, 3, and 6 have already been instrumental for me and I look forward to reading the rest. I also suggest, “The Power Of Habit”, and, “The Paradox Of Choice”

  2. Thanks for the great list. I’ve already read “Great Leads” and agree that it’s a very insightful book into how to write the beginning of any sales message.

    Looks like “The Culture Code” will be my next one.

  3. Thanks, definitely some topics for my reading list!



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