The best books to make your marketing more creative

Who am I?

You know how most young kids go through a phrase where they ask “why” about everything, and then they ask it again, and again, and again? Well, I never really outgrew that. I studied journalism because it gave me permission to be curious about new things every day, and to ask experts “why.” Marketing gave me a new way to chase my curiosity: Why are people clicking this ad, opening this email, following that social account or searching for that phrase? I’ve helped 30% of the Fortune 100 answer the questions about why their content is working, or isn’t, and my first book, The Content Fuel Framework: How to Generate Unlimited Story Ideas, was born from my introspective curiosity about how my own idea generation process worked. 

I wrote...

Book cover of The Content Fuel Framework: How to Generate Unlimited Story Ideas

What is my book about?

In The Content Fuel Framework, trained journalist and award-winning content marketer Melanie Deziel shows you how to maximize your creativity by systematizing it. This simple framework catalyzes the brainstorming process, making idea generation effortless and nearly automatic. No more writer's block. No more asking "what should I post?" No more waiting for that "big idea" to show up in its own time. 

Never before have we consumed as much content, in as many forms, and in as many places as we do now. This means marketers, creators, and anyone who communicates with an audience is under more pressure than ever to deliver unique content, consistently. How can you fill all those web pages, social feeds, blogs, and newsletters, every single day?

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Why did I love this book?

I’ve never read Eat, Pray, Love, but Big Magic showed me what the hype surrounding Eilzabeth Gilbert is all about. This book helped dispel some of the deep-seeded “artists die broke and alone” socially imparted beliefs that I didn’t even realize were hidden deep down there. It also gave me a language for talking about the ideas I have that aren’t right for me (or aren’t right for me right now), which is incredibly freeing. It strips the guilt, shame, and most of the frustration away from “writer’s block,” and that gave me a fresh perspective on creative thinking. 

By Elizabeth Gilbert,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked Big Magic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration from Elizabeth Gilbert's books for years. Now, this beloved author shares her wisdom and unique understanding of creativity, shattering the perceptions of mystery and suffering that surround the process - and showing us all just how easy it can be. By sharing stories from her own life, as well as those from her friends and the people that have inspired her, Elizabeth Gilbert challenges us to embrace our curiosity, tackle what we most love and face down what we most fear. Whether you long to write a book, create…

Book cover of Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity

Why did I love this book?

While productivity and creativity might seem like strange bedfellows at first, this book taught me plenty of ways to think differently and to optimize my work with others. Since much of the best marketing is done in or by groups, effective group dynamics are key. This book also underscores how important it is to add processes, rules, and planning to seemingly unstructured work habits to make them more efficient. (I’m looking at you, nebulous “brainstorms” with no clear goal or code of conduct.)

By Charles Duhigg,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Smarter Faster Better as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In his international bestseller The Power of Habit, Pulitzer Prize-winner Charles Duhigg explained why we do what we do. Now he applies the same relentless curiosity and masterful analysis to the question: how can each of us achieve more?

Drawing on the very latest findings in neuroscience, psychology and behavioural economics, he demonstrates the eight simple principles that govern productivity. He demonstrates how the most dynamic and effective people - from CEOs to film-makers to software entrepreneurs - deploy them. And he shows how you can, too.

'Charles has some wonderful advice for increasing productivity . . . the tips…

Book cover of Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content

Why did I love this book?

This book is such a good read for anyone who creates written content (and that’s everybody… hence the title). I have sent this book as a gift to so many people—recent grads, colleagues, clients, and more—that sometimes my go-to online booksellers ask me if I’m sure I want to place my order, since I’ve already ordered the book multiple times prior. (Much like when Netflix asks you if you’re still watching, the answer is a resounding “Yes! Leave me alone and let’s keep this party going!”) My favorite thing about reading Ann Handley’s writing (whether it’s this book, her others, or her fortnightly newsletter, Total Annarchy) is that her voice is so tremendously engaging, consistent, and real. I don’t know what the writing equivalent of a blind taste test is, but if there is one, I’m nearly positive I’d be able to identify Ann’s writing. 

By Ann Handley,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Everybody Writes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Finally a go-to guide to creating and publishing the kind of content that will make your business thrive. Everybody Writes is a go-to guide to attracting and retaining customers through stellar online communication, because in our content-driven world, every one of us is, in fact, a writer. If you have a web site, you are a publisher. If you are on social media, you are in marketing. And that means that we are all relying on our words to carry our marketing messages. We are all writers. Yeah, but who cares about writing anymore? In a time-challenged world dominated by…

Book cover of The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload

Why did I love this book?

This book is a hefty one—I recommend the audiobook if you’ve got a bad back—but it will help you understand how your brain works in a way that almost no other book can. And the better you understand your mind, the better you’ll be able to make it do what you want, and how to protect yourself from the things that might otherwise sabotage your creative thinking.

By Daniel J Levitin,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Organized Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In The Organized Mind, New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling author and neuroscientist Daniel Levitin offers practical solutions to the problems of information overload.

Overwhelmed by demands on your time? Caught in an unproductive spiral of emails and multitasking?

You're not alone. When we're deluged with information our creativity plummets, our decision making suffers and we grow absent-minded. Nowadays, we drown in our inboxes, forever juggle several tasks at once and try to make complex decisions ever more quickly. This is information overload.

Combining the latest neuroscience with everyday examples, Daniel Levitin explains how to take back control…

Book cover of Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

Why did I love this book?

I like to consider myself a generalist, in many ways, so I’d be lying if I said this book didn’t give me lots of warm-fuzzies. (It’s always good to get scientific validation that your approach to things is a good one.) The most creative people I know are those that have combined multiple careers, interests, or pursuits to arrive at their groundbreaking ideas, so this book is a must-read to grant yourself permission to explore the “unrelated” in your quest for the new.  

By David Epstein,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Range as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Fascinating . . . If you're a generalist who has ever felt overshadowed by your specialist colleagues, this book is for you' - Bill Gates

The instant Sunday Times Top Ten and New York Times bestseller
Shortlisted for the Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award
A Financial Times Essential Reads

A powerful argument for how to succeed in any field: develop broad interests and skills while everyone around you is rushing to specialize.

From the '10,000 hours rule' to the power of Tiger parenting, we have been taught that success in any field requires early specialization and many…

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