The best books to deliver more persuasive messages

Who am I?

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always been intrigued by how people make decisions and why the words we use can significantly impact those decisions. After years of conducting customer research and writing marketing messages for clients, my interest in finding and delivering compelling messages at just the right time to the right audience has only grown. I’ve poured my experience in the online marketing trenches into my book, Finding the Right Message, where I reference more than one of the authors on my recommendation list. 


I wrote...

Finding the Right Message: How to Turn Voice of Customer Research Into Irresistible Website Copy

By Jennifer Havice,

Book cover of Finding the Right Message: How to Turn Voice of Customer Research Into Irresistible Website Copy

What is my book about?

Imagine if you could connect with your website visitors the moment they landed on your website. They understood exactly what kind of value your product or solution provided. And they were eager to join your email list, start your free trial, or hit the buy button. What would that mean to your business?

Jen Havice, messaging strategist and customer-driven copywriter, walks you through how to ask the right questions to learn what makes your customers tick so you can produce copy your visitors can’t resist. Filled with examples, templates, and case studies, this second edition of Finding the Right Message is both practical and timely. You’ll get a process for determining what messages your customers need to see along with field-tested ways of improving your copy.

The books I picked & why

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Breakthrough Advertising

By Eugene M. Schwartz,

Book cover of Breakthrough Advertising

Why this book?

Decades old, this book continues to be one of the most important resources for creating and delivering effective messages in marketing. Eugene Schwartz is one of the godfathers of direct advertising whose insights about understanding your customer’s state of awareness have been invaluable to countless marketers and copywriters. The examples he shares may be dated, but the advice remains relevant.


Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning so Customers Get It, Buy It, Love It

By April Dunford,

Book cover of Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning so Customers Get It, Buy It, Love It

Why this book?

Whether you’re trying to sell a software solution or a new energy drink, you need to determine your product’s positioning so you deliver the most compelling messages to the right audience. April Dunford walks you through her tried and tested positioning process while peppering in humorous personal stories and anecdotes. I love this book as much for the priceless business content as for April’s wit.


Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as If Your Life Depended on It

By Chris Voss, Tahl Raz,

Book cover of Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as If Your Life Depended on It

Why this book?

Written by an ex-FBI hostage negotiator, this book uses real-life examples from Voss’s experience in law enforcement as a backdrop to his advice on successfully navigating just about any conversation. Creating a persuasive sales message isn’t that different from negotiating a raise or a hostage release. You need to understand who you’re talking to, what makes them tick, and why they make the decisions they do. Voss’s book is an entertaining read that is jam-packed with actionable advice you can use in your everyday life.


Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t: And Other Tough-Love Truths to Make You a Better Writer

By Steven Pressfield,

Book cover of Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t: And Other Tough-Love Truths to Make You a Better Writer

Why this book?

Don’t let the title turn you off. This book helps any type of creator develop the most critical skill of connecting with their audience: empathy. Pressfield reminds us that we need to ask ourselves continually what’s in it for our reader, viewer, listener. Otherwise, we’ll end up speaking to no audience at all.  


Thinking, Fast and Slow

By Daniel Kahneman,

Book cover of Thinking, Fast and Slow

Why this book?

Written by a world-renowned psychologist, this book explains what influences thought and the two thinking systems we rely on to process information. Kahneman’s work has been enormously influential on behavioral economics and increasingly marketing. If you struggle to understand how people make decisions and the best way to get a response from them, read this book. 


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in persuasion, decision making, and negotiation?

5,888 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about persuasion, decision making, and negotiation.

Persuasion Explore 16 books about persuasion
Decision Making Explore 42 books about decision making
Negotiation Explore 23 books about negotiation

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Ultralearning, Stumbling on Happiness, and Difficult Conversations if you like this list.