Reading for Work: Book Recs for Marketers

Contributed by Marina Garcia, Marketing Specialist at NWESI

In the marketing world, there are a multitude of resources that claim to help people gain new skills, understand their industry at an even deeper level, or teach innovative ways to conquer professional goals. Often times these resources are as good as they say, however finding ones that are worth your energy first requires wading through the sheer amount of items on the market. In an effort to reduce time and energy spent scrolling through reviews and speculation, here’s a short list of recommended books for marketing and business.


The Fine Art of Small Talk | Debra Fine

This book is the Communications pick because it explains why human-to-human interaction in the form of the abhorred “small talk” is necessary to create relationships and grow as a professional in any field. It’s a short, easy-to-read book that thoughtfully lays out the if’s, how’s and why’s of small talk that serve as both an introductory course to unpracticed networkers, and as a refresher to networking veterans on how to make small talk effective.

Buy it now from Powell's or Amazon!


Data Story: Explain Data and Inspire Action through Story | Nancy Duarte

Data Story allows readers to understand how data can be used to fuel decisions, company narratives, and create engaging reports. As someone newer to data use in marketing, I loved how this book was laid out, and found it to be a useful reference to deepen my understanding of working with data beyond spreadsheets and charts.

Buy it now from Powell's or Amazon!


Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture | Henry Jenkins, Sam Ford, and Joshua Green

Although this edition of Spreadable Media is a few years old, I’ve found its messages on media content continue inspiring my work when I lose sight of how to create sticky content. This book uses real-world examples and an in-depth discussion of the digital landscape to examine audience reaction, viral content, and what is considered successful.

Buy it now from Powell's or Amazon!

A similar book I’ve heard good things about (though haven’t read) is Contagious: Why Things Catch On, by Jonah Berger.


The Priory of the Orange Tree | Samantha Shannon

I’ve added a fiction pick because despite the fact that professional books are typically made to give us a direct return on real-world skills (contrary to the goals of fiction), I believe it’s just as important that we feed our creative side and draw inspiration from characters and worlds beyond our own. This book is a highly anticipated story that draws on character strength, fantasy, and taking risks for yourself. Though I’m not anywhere close to finishing this book yet—it’s a really long book—I definitely recommend it to those who need to find new paths of creativity driven by a different reality.

Buy it now from Powell's or Amazon!

Consider helping local bookstores while browsing! A few shops in the Portland area include Powell’s, Annie Bloom’s, and Broadway Books. And if you’d like to share any book recommendations with SMPS Oregon members, send your suggestions to [email protected].

Title photo by Claudia Wolff on Unsplash.

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