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The Best Books on Copywriting: Must Read for Every Writer (Top 8 of all time)

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Copywriting is no longer strictly in the domain of advertising

Once upon a time, in the long gone era that was so well depicted in Netflix’ ‘Madmen’, copywriting, the writing of marketing copy, was a Madison Avenue exclusive and a deep mysterious art in the psychology of persuasion.

Starting with men like David Ogilvy (it was almost always men back then), known as the father of advertising, and Joseph Sugarman, authors of Ogilvy on Advertising and The Adweek Copywriting Handbook, respectively, the established advertising methods and best practices for the creation of powerful advertising and effective copywriting were forged.

Long before the existence of content creators or online content (let alone the internet), America’s top copywriters studied classic copywriting books to elevate the art of copywriting. It became a quest, and a lucrative one at that, to become the best copywriters possible.

Today, with online content exploding in both variety and importance, from blog posts to emailed sales letters, to breakthrough advertising for direct marketing and content marketing, becoming a good copywriter or even a master copywriter is more vital than ever.

This article is a potential start on your journey to that end. Regardless if it is new customers that you seek, or just crafting a good advertisement or perhaps more traffic, likes and follows in social media, the fastest route to learning the best ways to influence people for your online business is to get ahold of these awesome books and dig into the expert advice.

And with these classic titles, there’s no fluff and the content and magical knowledge is as relevant today as it was in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the so-called Madmen era.

Ultimate sales letter or direct marketers dream, breakthrough copywriting awaits

You may have a need to learn the art of copywriting to craft the best titles, sub-heads or ad copy. You may just need a slogan for your personal brand or blog. You may even be considering becoming a successful copywriter in your own right, in order to make a living or even a small fortune selling your skills in this ever growing market.

With content creation being such an exploding area of online commerce, and great copy being so essential for small business owners to global corporations, the quickest way to get the knowledge you need is to take this list of the best copywriting books of all time. Once you dive in you will be able to use them to unlock the ultimate secrets of the written word and apply same to produce seductive web copy for better conversion rates and top flight digital marketing.

Writing copy that’s an easy read, and will focus reader’s minds on your good content, will be enhanced exponentially by the self-created copywriting course that will be the inevitable outcome of absorbing the practical advice and essential reading in these case studies.

A great book can change your life and a step guide toward great sales copy will be an incredibly useful tool and great resource for any new copywriter.

After all, writing well and conveying the right message is based on understanding and internalizing the core principles of good copywriting. We believe that these are the best books to help you do exactly that.

Ogilvy on Advertising

Click photo for more on “Ogilvy on Advertising” on Bookshop.

A candid and indispensable primer on all aspects of advertising from the man Time has called the most sought after wizard in the business. 

Told with brutal candor and prodigal generosity, David Ogilvy reveals: 

How to get a job in advertising, How to choose an agency for your product, The secrets behind advertising that works, How to write successful copy–and get people to read it, Eighteen miracles of research and What advertising can do for charities And much, much more.

Click photo for more on “Adweek Copywriting Handbook

The Adweek Copywriting Handbook

Great copy is the heart and soul of the advertising business. In this practical guide, legendary copywriter Joe Sugarman provides proven guidelines and expert advice on what it takes to write copy that will entice, motivate, and move customers to buy.

For anyone who wants to break into the business, this is the ultimate companion resource for unlimited success.

Made to Stick

Click photo for more on “Made to Stick” on Bookshop.

Made to Stick will transform the way you communicate.

It’s a fast-paced tour of success stories (and failures): the Nobel Prize-winning scientist who drank a glass of bacteria to prove a point about stomach ulcers; the charities who make use of the Mother Teresa Effect; the elementary-school teacher whose simulation actually prevented racial prejudice. 

Provocative, eye-opening, and often surprisingly funny, Made to Stick shows us the vital principles of winning ideas–and tells us how we can apply these rules to making our own messages stick.

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Click photo for more on “Thinking, Fast and Slow” on Bookshop.

System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The impact of overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning our next vacation–each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions. 

Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives–and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. Topping bestseller lists for almost ten years, Thinking, Fast and Slow is a contemporary classic, an essential book that has changed the lives of millions of readers.

Copywriting Strategies

Click photo for more on”Copywriting Strategies” on Bookshop

Messaging is the single most important factor in the success of any business or endeavor. This invaluable book will teach you strategies for identifying your target consumer, creating a strong message, and writing powerful copy that connects your message with your audience. 

What sets this copywriter’s handbook apart from other copywriting books:  Copywriting 101–Learn the essentials for crafting persuasive copy, including the Ten Commandments of copywriting, common misconceptions, and writing in the digital age.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Click photo for more on”Influence” on Bookshop.

The foundational and wildly popular go-to resource for influence and persuasion–a renowned international bestseller, with over 5 million copies sold–now revised adding: new research, new insights, new examples, and online applications.

In the new edition of this highly acclaimed bestseller, Robert Cialdini–New York Times bestselling author of Pre-Suasion and the seminal expert in the fields of influence and persuasion–explains the psychology of why people say yes and how to apply these insights ethically in business and everyday settings. Using memorable stories and relatable examples, Cialdini makes this crucially important subject surprisingly easy. With Cialdini as a guide, you don’t have to be a scientist to learn how to use this science.

Persuasive Copywriting

Click photo for more on “Persuasive Copywriting” on Bookshop.

Enhance your copywriting skills with psychology-driven techniques to create stand out copy that taps into consumer decision making and sells, using this second edition of the ultimate copywriting survival guide for the 21st century – essential to every marketing or creative professional’s bookshelf. With many professionals now developing their skills on the job, it is notoriously difficult to benchmark successful copy.

This book provides a step up for those who already know the basics of writing copy, and are seeking more advanced, psychology-driven techniques to gain the competitive edge. With practical insight into human decision making and consumer engagement, it will inspire the clear-cut confidence needed to create, quantify, and sell stand out copy in a cluttered marketplace.

Never Split the Difference

Click photo for more on “Never Split the Difference” on Bookshop.

After a stint policing the rough streets of Kansas City, Missouri, Chris Voss joined the FBI, where his career as a hostage negotiator brought him face-to-face with a range of criminals, including bank robbers and terrorists. Reaching the pinnacle of his profession, he became the FBI’s lead international kidnapping negotiator. Never Split the Difference takes you inside the world of high-stakes negotiations and into Voss’s head, revealing the skills that helped him and his colleagues succeed where it mattered most: saving lives. In this practical guide, he shares the nine effective principles–counterintuitive tactics and strategies–you too can use to become more persuasive in both your professional and personal life.

Life is a series of negotiations you should be prepared for: buying a car, negotiating a salary, buying a home, renegotiating rent, deliberating with your partner. Taking emotional intelligence and intuition to the next level, Never Split the Differencegives you the competitive edge in any discussion.

Ogilvy on Advertising
The Adweek Copywriting Handbook
Made to Stick
Thinking, Fast and Slow
Copywriting Strategies
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
Persuasive Copywriting
Never Split the Difference

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