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3 Books Every Copywriter Should Read

By July 14, 2023August 9th, 2023No Comments

Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” – Margaret Fuller

I am constantly lending books to people. But the books never come back. My friends and coworkers, it seems, are book thieves. To combat this (because I can’t afford to keep buying multiple copies of books just to replace the stolen ones), I am going to strongly recommend books rather than hand them out. 

There are books under my coffee table, books on the windowsills, and books tucked away all over my apartment. I believe every person can benefit from reading, whether for entertainment or education. 

We live in a fast-paced world, dominated by screens and instant gratification. There is something special in turning off the screen and sitting down with a book. If you’re a fan of e-readers, you may be missing out on the whole experience, but at least you’re saving the trees. 

As the founder of a marketing agency, I am no stranger to the hustle. And I’m not condemning the hustle. But I am encouraging you to turn off your phone, pick up a book, and read. 

For writers, reading is essential. For copywriters, reading is writing. The two go hand in hand. 

Here are three books to get you started. Come back for more recommendations when you finish them (this list could truly be at least 20 books). 

“Junior” is for copywriters in the early years of their career, when the copy is bad and the job doesn’t pay. The book is fresh, written by a copywriter who is still writing. It isn’t a memoir or a portfolio of a past marketing mogul. 

Sometimes the best advice you can get is from someone who is in your same boat, just with a different perspective.

This book, to the young copywriter, is the Bible and Thomas Kemeny is the copywriter’s Christ.

I have revisited this book several times and believe even experienced writers can glean much from Kemeny’s words. As a refresh or a wake-up call, this is a valuable resource for any copywriter. 

“Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.” – Jim Rohn

This is more of a…“This-worked-in-1945-type-of-book.” However, its basic principles still apply. Published in 1988, this book was written by the “father of advertising,” David Ogilvy.  Just like any good advertising copy, this book is direct, digestible, and easy-to-read.

This book is noted as a timeless classic for any in the marketing realm, though it may seem a bit egotistical. However, a man has to firmly believe in his own ideas, right? 

As a founder of a marketing agency, it provides the basics: agency management, client attainment, retention, and how to build campaigns that work.

“Think before you speak. Read before you think.” – Fran Lebowitz

Warning: This is a dense read and not for a Sunday afternoon. Get ready to trudge through Kahneman’s thoughts on biases and questionable decision making.

This international bestseller is written with humans in mind – not specifically writers. However, this book delves deeply into our brain processes – our oftentimes misleading intuition and the nuances of decision-making. 

As an asset to a copywriter, this helps a writer choose words or phrases that shape their point and drive a visitor to a goal. Try to ignore that this sounds like subtle manipulation. Think of the thought process behind writing interview questions. A writer won’t simply write “Yes or No” questions that evoke little thought or effort. They need to understand what makes a reader tick, what drives them to make a decision.

And, for all the book thieves in my life: please bring back my books…pretty please… with sugar on top.