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.

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The books I picked & why

Breakthrough Advertising

By Eugene M. Schwartz,

Book cover of Breakthrough Advertising

Why did I love 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.

By Eugene M. Schwartz,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Breakthrough Advertising as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

paperback version

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

Why did I love 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.

By April Dunford,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Obviously Awesome as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

You know your product is awesome—but does anybody else? Forget everything you thought you knew about positioning. Successfully connecting your product with consumers isn’t a matter of following trends, comparing yourself to the competition or trying to attract the widest customer base.

So what is it? April Dunford, positioning guru and tech exec, will enlighten you.

Her new book, Obviously Awesome, shows you how to find your product’s “secret sauce”—and then sell that sauce to those who crave it. Having spent years as a startup executive (with 16 product launches under her belt) and a consultant (who’s worked on dozens…

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

Why did I love 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.

By Chris Voss, Tahl Raz,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Never Split the Difference as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


A former FBI hostage negotiator offers a new, field-tested approach to negotiating - effective in any situation.

'Riveting' Adam Grant
'Stupendous' The Week
'Brilliant' Guardian
After a stint policing the rough streets of Kansas City, Missouri, Chris Voss joined the FBI, where his career as a kidnapping negotiator brought him face-to-face with bank robbers, gang leaders and terrorists. Never Split the Difference takes you inside his world of high-stakes negotiations, revealing the nine key principles that helped Voss and his colleagues succeed when it mattered the most - when people's lives were at stake.


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

Why did I love 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.  

By Steven Pressfield,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There's a mantra that real writers know but wannabe writers don’t. And the secret phrase is this:


Recognizing this painful truth is the first step in the writer's transformation from amateur to professional.

“When you understand that nobody wants to read your shit, you develop empathy. You acquire the skill that is indispensable to all artists and entrepreneurs—the ability to switch back and forth in your imagination from your own point of view as writer/painter/seller to the point of view of your reader/gallery-goer/customer. You learn to ask yourself with ev­ery sentence and every phrase:…

Thinking, Fast and Slow

By Daniel Kahneman,

Book cover of Thinking, Fast and Slow

Why did I love 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. 

By Daniel Kahneman,

Why should I read it?

37 authors picked Thinking, Fast and Slow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The phenomenal international bestseller - 2 million copies sold - that will change the way you make decisions

'A lifetime's worth of wisdom' Steven D. Levitt, co-author of Freakonomics
'There have been many good books on human rationality and irrationality, but only one masterpiece. That masterpiece is Thinking, Fast and Slow' Financial Times

Why is there more chance we'll believe something if it's in a bold type face? Why are judges more likely to deny parole before lunch? Why do we assume a good-looking person will be more competent? The answer lies in the two ways we make choices: fast,…

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Interested in persuasion, decision making, and negotiation?

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