The best books on advertising are not a joke and you should take them seriously as an entrepreneur.

Out of the current American population, approximately 1 in 25 people are starting their businesses from scratch.

If you’re reading this and that statistic applies to you, then congrats – but also be aware that you now have a lot of responsibility on you.

Many startups don’t make it past one year (for restaurants, the majority close down by 90% within the first year).

So if you don’t want your business to become part of this dismal statistic, begin focusing on marketing strategies that help spread the word about what you do and what services/products you provide.

Time and monetary investments into these areas are key for any chance at success.

Advertising is a crucial element of marketing, which can be described as the process or profession of creating great ads for products or services.

Advertising dates back to Rome when people advertised their items by talking to people on the streets.

Advertising books help readers learn how to empower brands, events, copywriting, and deals more effectively.

These books treat topics like ad strategy, client accounts, and advertising history.

By reading these advertising books, you can sell more efficiently and creatively.

Advertising & Startups

Startups endure several challenges, but one of the most concerning is staying positive in cash. Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) estimates that it costs 30,000 USD on average to start a business.

Although there are significant variances in this figure – some startups begin with only small amount of money while others need up to millions of dollars – establishing an efficient communication plan is arguably the most essential step for all types of startups.

Few startups invest in an advertising strategy in their early days by hiring an advertising agency or by setting up a creative process in-house for creating advertising campaigns.

Advertising a startup can look quite expensive, and a lot of owners lack confidence that advertising is effective or easy to measure.

However, if growth is slow and you have to boost sales, then advertising can be your solution.

While advertising is important, it is only one aspect of a broader marketing strategy.

The marketing mix also includes elements such as the customer base, price, advantage, and communication.

Advertising falls under the category of paid media communications, which also includes earned media like public relations or owned media platforms such as company websites.

Startups that don’t have the luxury of spending loads of money on advertising from the get-go can still gain crucial product-market fit data by conducting small tests.

By targeting entirely alternative groups of customers with ads, you can ascertain whether they would be interested in your idea or product.

Advertising can help startups in several ways

There are many benefits to effective marketing, such as:

  • Increasing your customer base
  • Encouraging current clients to spend more on your output or service
  • Building credibility and enhancing your reputation
  • Informing or reminding customers/clients of the benefits you offer
  • Slowly increasing sales

How does reading advertising books help you?

Targeting your market is the key first step to any ad campaign.

You need to identify who your potential customers are before you can reach them.

For example, if your target audience is comprised of seniors, Snapchat would be an ineffective advertising platform.

On the other hand, generation X is much less likely to read newspapers.

Numerous people who have worked or are currently working in the advertising industry, state that several qualities must be present to make it within this field.

A go-getter attitude is only the beginning.

The person should also show keenness in diverse topics and always express a willingness to learn new things; an employee’s mindset should always be collaborative too.

Therefore, if someone wants to join an advertising business or wants to improve their startup’s reach, they should start by reading one (or all) of these best books on advertising.

The best books on advertising for startup CEOs

With countless options to make your voice heard, it’s tough to know where to start.

You need a commanding online presence and reach in social media channels.

But most importantly, you need sage guidance from those who have come before you– professionals with years of experience in the advertising industry.

Use these essential reads to get your ad campaign started on the right foot and give your business the jumpstart it needs.

These advertising books will make you an expert in the field, whether you’re just starting out or are looking to keep up with new trends.

Ogilvy On Advertising

David Ogilvy is considered the Father of Advertising for a reason- because he’s dang good at it. In this book, he talks about all his experience and knowledge in the industry so far.

This should be on your essential reading list if you’re even remotely interested in advertising; it’s one of those advertising books that you won’t regret reading and will take away valuable insights from.


Frenemies offers insight into how the quick expansion of digital platforms like Facebook and Google has interrupted the advertising industry.

Ken Auletta, a skilled storyteller, takes readers on a journey through an sector experiencing fast transformation.

We witness firsthand how algorithmic ad buying has changed the landscape, while skeptical consumers block ads more than ever before.

Ken Auletta has written extensively on how the internet and social media have changed advertising and marketing, helping brand marketers understand how to build a successful brand in the digital age.

The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding

Discover how to make your product or service into a brand that will stick out in today’s saturated market.

In this book, you’ll hear stories from some of the top companies in the globe like Rolex, Volvo, and Heineken. Learn practical steps so you can follow their success.

The Anatomy of Buzz

In The Anatomy of Buzz, Emanuel Rosen presents products and services that would most benefit from word-of-mouth marketing campaigns.

He also provides ways for creating and maintaining these types of campaigns effectively.

Over a hundred directors, marketing leaders, and researchers were interviewed in order to write this book on how companies can build a successful buzz.

The author then goes on to describe different effective methods of attracting attention from influential users as well as “big-mouth” motivators.

Furthermore, Rosen outlines tried-and-true tactics for stimulating customer selling – like using customer hubs and networks present online or elsewhere to the company’s advantage.

Adland: A Global History of Advertising

Adland is an amazing book because it not only offers a closer look at the chronicle of modern-day advertising but also explores moments of the past like The Great Depression.

In addition, key developments are looked at more intently, such as the burst of radio and television, all the way to podcasts. Mark Tungate does an incredible job making this book into a fun journey that will whisk readers away.

Creative Advertising

If you’re looking to get some advertising inspiration, Creative Advertising by Mario Pricken is a great book to pick up.

It features a mix of well-known and lesser-recognized campaigns and provides an in-depth analysis of the thinking process behind each one.

With over 200 great ads on offer, you’ll be able to see how different methods can produce creative and memorable ads.

Confessions of an Advertising Man

In Confessions of an Advertising Man, David Ogilvy- an accomplished ad executive- gives readers a look into the life and times of working in advertising.

This book is part documentary, providing historical context for modern-day ads, and part guidebook giving helpful tips to those looking to enter or improve their skills in advertising.

By sharing stories about his career, David Ogilvy teaches how to find and keep clients, write more persuasively, and couple words with images effectively.

Most of the lessons in this book are just as relevant today as they were when Madison Avenue was in its prime.

Scientific Advertising

In Scientific Advertising, Claude C. Hopkins covers many different topics that are important to advertising such as how different advertising laws are determined, mail order ads, and headlines psychology among other things like negative advertising and strategies for testing an ad campaign.

Tested Advertising Methods

If you want to know how to produce advertising copy that engages your audience and sells, look no further than Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples.

Even though it was released more than twenty years ago, the concepts discussed in this book are still relevant today in the advertising industry.

You can apply the principles shared in this book to almost every medium, and get insights into everlasting, successful concepts of advertising.

Breakthrough Advertising

Mr. Eugene talks about the unconscious desires of people in this book because, to advertise effectively, we need to comprehend human psychology.

Breakthrough advertising goes even deeper by focusing on buying psychology. There are lots of principles in this book that make it a necessary read for marketers and copywriters mainly, but it wouldn’t hurt even if you don’t want to start an advertising career and just want to see your company grow.

The Boron Letters

Gary C. Halbert was a well-respected copywriter, and The Boron Letters is a published compilation of the correspondence he had with his son.

Bond Halpert decided to share his father’s wisdom with the public after Gary passed away.

Packed with useful tips on how to produce great copy and market efficiently, this book receives high praise from both experts and regular folk.

Even though these letters are a few decades old, they contain applicable advice about advertising and life in general.

Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Ads by Luke Sullivan

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You need to read Hey Whipple if you want to improve your advertising and creativity skills. It’s like having a personal mentor, as the author shares experiences from his own career throughout the book along with helpful tips and advice.

He has a lovely writing style and doesn’t hold back—he talks about almost everything you could think of and throws in a joke every 5 sentences or so.

But it’s not like when your intolerably funny uncle tries too hard to make everyone laugh.

Instead, his delivery keeps the advice feeling new and relevant. If you’re interested, go for his most recent edition, which has an added section on digital platforms.

Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout

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Advertising Age rated this book as the best marketing book of all time, and I would agree that it is a great addition to any bookshelf.

The Art of Client Service: 58 Things You Should Know

In “The Art of Client Services”, advertising executive Robert Solomon details both his successes and failures in the advertising industry.

This book is a must-read for anyone working or hoping to work in advertising, with chapters on topics ranging from copywriting to research to art direction.

The revised edition also includes a section on technology’s role in modern advertising.

Whether you’re trying to get ahead of the competition or simply catch up, this book is for you.


All start-up founders who want to create a product that will really interest users should read Hooked by Nir Eyal.

In the book, there is an insightful discussion of how emotions affect our behavior.

If you can apply what you learn in the book to your product, you may be able to form a new habit – which could lead to startup success.

The Ultimate Guide to A/B Testing

If you want to increase conversions on your website, understanding your target market is essential.

Increasing traffic to your site through SEO is great, but if those visitors don’t convert, it doesn’t matter.

Think about what would motivate someone to visit your site and take action accordingly.

A/B testing is an excellent method to use if you want to see results.

What A/B Testing Is, Why It Matters & How To Get Started will give you a better understanding of the basics, importance and how it works so that you can start seeing changes too.

FAQ about the best books on advertising

What are the best books on advertising for beginners?

A well-liked book for novices is “Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Making Brilliant Advertising” by Luke Sullivan. It covers the fundamentals of advertising, such as how to create captivating language and layouts and comprehend the advertising market.

What are the essential books on advertising every marketer should read?

The classic work on advertising for marketers is David Ogilvy’s “Ogilvy on Advertising.” With sections on copywriting, brand identity, and campaign strategy, it offers a thorough introduction to advertising.

What are the most influential books on advertising in history?

Vance Packard’s “The Hidden Persuaders” is among the most important books on advertising ever written. It examines the application of psychological strategies in marketing and advertising and how they affect consumer behavior.

What are the best books on digital advertising and marketing?

A thorough introduction to digital marketing, “Digital Marketing Strategy: An Integrated Approach to Internet Marketing” by Simon Kingsnorth discusses subjects like social media marketing, SEO, and content marketing. It offers helpful suggestions for putting together successful online campaigns.

What are the best books on copywriting and persuasive writing for advertising?

A well-known book about copywriting is “The Copywriter’s Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Copy That Sells” by Robert Bly.

Headlines, body text, and calls to action are all covered as foundational elements of producing convincing copy.

What are the best books on branding and brand identity?

Gregory V. Diehl’s book “Brand Identity Breakthrough: How to Create Your Company’s Distinctive Narrative to Make Your Goods Attractive” is a thorough manual on branding. It addresses issues including brand positioning, brand strategy, and brand message.

What are the best books on the psychology of advertising and consumer behavior?

A notable work on the psychology of advertising and customer behavior is Robert Cialdini’s “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.”

It examines the fundamentals of persuasion and how marketing and advertising might make use of them.

What are the best books on social media advertising and marketing?

A helpful manual for social media marketing is “The Art of Social Media: Power Advice for Power Users” by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick.

It addresses issues including developing a social media strategy, utilizing various social media channels, and gauging the effectiveness of social media efforts.

What are the best books on advertising and creativity?

Pete Barry’s book “The Advertising Idea Book: Think Now, Design Later” discusses innovation in advertising. It offers helpful guidance for coming up with original advertising concepts, from ideation to execution.

What are the best books on advertising and the future of the industry?

A book on advertising and the future of the business is “Disruptive Marketing: What Growth Hackers, Data Punks, and Other Hybrid Thinkers Can Teach Us About Navigating the New Normal” by Geoffrey Colon.

It examines how technology has affected marketing and advertising and offers tips for navigating the ever-changing environment.

Conclusion on the best books on advertising

Advertising has long appealed to our most basic desires and needs.

In fact, many of the best-selling advertising guides from America’s golden age are still relevant today. However, with the rise of digital advertising and technology’s growing influence on modern culture and marketing, it’s also worth reading newer books on the subject.

Whether they were published recently or not, these marketing and advertising books can help professionals learn the skills and strategies needed to connect with audiences and sell products.

Your messaging has the power to educate customers about your products or services, make them loyal to your brand, show them new uses for what you’re offering, and more.

Ultimately, this will help increase sales by either drawing in new customers or maintaining relationships with current ones.

If you liked this article with the best books on advertising, I have a few more interesting ones for you. Want to know about the startup vs small business difference? You should also check out these articles about entrepreneur podcasts, the positions in a startup company, and some startup quotes to inspire you.


I'm the manager behind the Upcut Studio team. I've been involved in content marketing for quite a few years helping startups grow.