90 books like Confessions of an Advertising Man

By David Ogilvy,

Here are 90 books that Confessions of an Advertising Man fans have personally recommended if you like Confessions of an Advertising Man. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Think and Grow Rich

Arthur VanDam Author Of Save Money on Groceries: 327 Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bills and More

From my list on personal finance that make building wealth easy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love helping people save money in creative ways, build wealth, and gain financial freedom. Thankfully, my Dad taught me how to budget when I was 12 years old. My accounting professor used a ski lift as a way to analyze business profitability. I could visualize that! At Citibank, I found that people were overwhelmed with their finances and Wall Street was confusing. I’m a CPA and MBA in Finance. I love writing, sharing examples, and finding straightforward ways to help people save money and build wealth. These experiences showed me how to make my money work for me. I show you how to make your money work for you!

Arthur's book list on personal finance that make building wealth easy

Arthur VanDam Why did Arthur love this book?

Think and Grow Rich is one of the best books of all time – a true class for achieving super success and wealth.

Napoleon Hill shows you how to get ahead and build wealth. The idea is that successful, wealthy people found the way and we can too. Hill believes that how you think and use the knowledge and experience you accumulate along your journey drives your success.

He explains the importance of desire and faith and gaining specialized knowledge. He emphasizes organized planning, making decisions and taking action, and sticking with it. Hill shares stories based on his interviews with leaders including Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and many other millionaires. 

By Napoleon Hill,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Think and Grow Rich as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill is one of the bestselling motivational books of all-time. Inspired by a suggestion from industrialist Andrew Carnegie, Hill explains the philosophy that helped the wealthiest and most accomplished members of society succeed.


Book cover of How to Win Friends and Influence People

Alex Edmans Author Of Grow the Pie: How Great Companies Deliver Both Purpose and Profit

From my list on living with purpose.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a Professor of Finance who specialises in purposeful business and purposeful living. My work on the former shows how companies driven by purpose are ultimately more successful than those driven by profit alone. My interest in the latter stems partly from the former, but also from 20 years of teaching MBA students at MIT, Wharton, and London Business School. While my day job is to teach finance equations, often even more important to my students’ career success and life happiness is living with purpose. There are many self-proclaimed gurus on this topic who shoot from the hip, so I am particularly interested in books based on scientific research.

Alex's book list on living with purpose

Alex Edmans Why did Alex love this book?

Originally published in 1937, this was the original self-improvement book. Carnegie described it as a “practical, working handbook on human relations”.

After reading it, you might think that none of his tips are earth-shatteringly surprising, but you may not have thought of them before reading the book. This is indeed the mark of a great book – something that makes lots of sense after you read it (and so you’re most likely to put it into practice) but you wouldn’t have guessed yourself; and certainly would not have framed it in as clear and convincing manner as Carnegie.

By Dale Carnegie,

Why should I read it?

17 authors picked How to Win Friends and Influence People as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Millions of people around the world have - and continue to - improve their lives based on the teachings of Dale Carnegie. In How to Win Friends and Influence People Carnegie offers practical advice and techniques, in his exuberant and conversational style, for how to get out of a mental rut and make life more rewarding.

His advice has stood the test of time and will teach you how to:
- make friends quickly and easily
- increase your popularity
- win people to your way of thinking
- enable you to win new clients and customers
- become a…


Book cover of The Old Man and the Sea

Harold Bergman Author Of When the Dream Becomes a Nightmare

From my list on the romance and reality of ocean sailing.

Why am I passionate about this?

Similar to many other men and women, when I was younger and more naïve, I had the romantic dream of sailing around the world, exploring and experiencing new times in exotic places. Like many others who turned that dream into reality, I quickly learned the new and exotic moments were far out-shadowed by the life-threatening, dream-ending, nightmare realities of ocean sailing. Fortunately, I ended the voyage before I killed myself. I wanted to share my dream and nightmare experiences with those who dream.

Harold's book list on the romance and reality of ocean sailing

Harold Bergman Why did Harold love this book?

I liked this book because it taught me several lessons. One was to be careful of what you wish for. The second was that if your goal is that important to you, do not let anything stop you from attaining it. The third was to maybe take a second look at your goal and reassess whether it is really that important to you.

By Ernest Hemingway,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Old Man and the Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This powerful and dignified story about a Cuban fisherman's struggle with a great fish has the universal appeal of a struggle between man and the elements, the hunter with the hunted. It earned Hemingway the Nobel prize and has been made into an acclaimed film. Age 13+


Book cover of Greenlights

David Winkler Author Of The Arrangement: A Love Story

From my list on emotionally available male celebrities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started reading and listening to memoirs in preparation for writing my own, and they inspired me to be honest and vulnerable about my story in ways that helped me overcome sexual shame. I lived a fascinating lifestyle as a sugar daddy for a few years, but talking about it was scary as hell. Reading other men who admitted their fears and failings gave me the courage to be radically honest and lay it all out there. Writing the book was cathartic in ways decades of therapy failed!

David's book list on emotionally available male celebrities

David Winkler Why did David love this book?

I started reading the book and then switched to listening to the audio version. Thanks to Matthew’s vocal passion and conviction, the book sprang to life as a powerful insight into a personal belief system that has kept him “just keep livin’.”

Having worked with him, I know he always keeps things professional and close to the vest, and it moved me to see him opening up about the struggles he faces.

By Matthew McConaughey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the Academy Award (R)-winning actor, an unconventional memoir filled with raucous stories, outlaw wisdom, and lessons learned the hard way about living with greater satisfaction.

I've been in this life for fifty years, been trying to work out its riddle for forty-two, and been keeping diaries of clues to that riddle for the last thirty-five. Notes about successes and failures, joys and sorrows, things that made me marvel, and things that made me laugh out loud. How to be fair. How to have less stress. How to have fun. How to hurt people less. How to get hurt less.…


Book cover of Obvious Adams: The Story of a Successful Businessman

Jeffrey J. Fox Author Of How to Become a Rainmaker: The Rules for Getting and Keeping Customers and Clients

From my list on how to be successful in business and life.

Why am I passionate about this?

By 18 I had read all the books I chose for this essay. During high school, I read biographies of John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Jefferson, Geronimo, Anne Bonny, J. Pierpont Morgan, Winston Churchill, Sophocles, and more. In addition to panoramic, sweeping, epic fiction—Harold Robbins, Tai-Pan, Lawrence of Arabia, Faulkner, Doctor Zhivago (read in Russian and English)—I studied and reread self-help, “how-to” books on everything: writing, cooking, fishing, whatever. I read Ted Williams’ book on hitting a baseball, but, alas, it didn’t help.

Jeffrey's book list on how to be successful in business and life

Jeffrey J. Fox Why did Jeffrey love this book?

Obvious Adams is a gem of a “book.” It is 58 pages long, and was originally published as a short story in the Saturday Evening Post magazine in 1916. Adams becomes an advertising superstar because he does one hard thing: he thinks. By thinking, he discovers obvious solutions to knotty problems. Did you ever here someone say, “I wish I thought of that?” The answer is simple: you didn’t study, analyze, think, hard enough. When my mother read my first book, “How to Become CEO,” she said, “Jeffrey, much of this is obvious.” “Correct Mom, but nobody does it.”

By Robert R. Updegraff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Obvious Adams as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

OBVIOUS ADAMS was first published as a short story in the Saturday Evening Post in April, 1916. Though it was the story of an advertising man, it was quickly recognized as presenting a germ idea basic to outstanding success in the business world and the professions. Harper & Brothers brought out the story in book form in September of the year of its publication in the Post. The book met with a ready sale. In reviewing it, the New York Times said, "The young man who is going to seek his fortune in the advertising business should have Obvious Adams…


Book cover of Duct Tape Marketing  The World's Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide

Ian Brodie Author Of Email Persuasion: Captivate and Engage Your Audience, Build Authority and Generate More Sales With Email

From my list on small business marketing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a writer and consultant on marketing and creating online courses. I’m obsessed with “cracking the marketing code.” Ever since I saw firsthand what a huge impact even small marketing changes could have on a business's success I’ve been determined to figure out what the really big impact but low workload changes are. I’ve written about some of them in my book Email Persuasion and I share others in my blogs and videos.

Ian's book list on small business marketing

Ian Brodie Why did Ian love this book?

Duct Tape Marketing is probably the best “if you could only have one book” guide to marketing for small businesses. Written by a guy who’s been “in the trenches” working with small businesses on their marketing for over two decades, it’s practical and actionable and keeps you firmly focused on what’s really important to succeed, not on “flavor of the month” tactics.

It’s a great book for non-marketing people. And it very much focuses on setting up systems and processes so we get consistent results from our marketing. In other words, the boring stuff we tend to avoid but that actually makes the most difference!

By John Jantsch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Duct Tape Marketing The World's Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In his trusted book for small businesses, John Jantsch challenges you to craft a marketing strategy that is as reliable as the go-to household item we all know, love, and turn to in a pinch: duct tape.

As a renowned marketing guru and small business coach, John Jantsch has become a leading advisor on how to build and grow a thriving business. Duct Tape Marketing shows you how to develop and execute a marketing plan that yields more revenue and ensures the longevity of small businesses.

Taking a strategic, systemic approach to marketing rather than being constantly won over to…


Book cover of Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works

Jennifer Riel Author Of Creating Great Choices: A Leader's Guide to Integrative Thinking

From my list on to think differently on creative problem solving.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer, teacher, and partner at IDEO, the global design and innovation firm. Before IDEO, I spent more than a decade teaching university undergrads and MBAs to create better choices, in their work and their lives. Now, I work with business leaders to help them do the same thing, at the intersection of design and strategy. I believe that one key to getting to those better choices is the ability to understand, reflect on and, yes, even improve our own way of thinking and engaging with the world. The books on this list have shifted my own understanding of the world and how I think. I hope they inspire and challenge you as well. 

Jennifer's book list on to think differently on creative problem solving

Jennifer Riel Why did Jennifer love this book?

My own early experiences with strategy were pretty uninspiring – slow, incremental, and almost entirely analytical. But the framework that Roger and AG lay out in Playing to Win changed it all for me. It’s practical. It’s understandable. And it is aimed at not just understanding the world as it is, but at imaging a world that might be different… and forging a real strategy to bring that new world to life. The book is based on the approach to strategy Roger honed in his career as a management disclosure and that AG practiced as CEO at Procter & Gamble. Full disclosure, I helped them as they were writing the book – and honestly think it is the best book on strategy of the past 30 years.

By A.G. Lafley, Roger L. Martin,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Playing to Win as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Are you just playing--or playing to win? Strategy is not complex. But it is hard. It's hard because it forces people and organizations to make specific choices about their future--something that doesn't happen in most companies. Now two of today's best-known business thinkers get to the heart of strategy--explaining what it's for, how to think about it, why you need it, and how to get it done. And they use one of the most successful corporate turnarounds of the past century, which they achieved together, to prove their point. A.G. Lafley, former CEO of Procter & Gamble, in close partnership…


Book cover of How to Write Sales Letters That Sell

Ian Brodie Author Of Email Persuasion: Captivate and Engage Your Audience, Build Authority and Generate More Sales With Email

From my list on small business marketing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a writer and consultant on marketing and creating online courses. I’m obsessed with “cracking the marketing code.” Ever since I saw firsthand what a huge impact even small marketing changes could have on a business's success I’ve been determined to figure out what the really big impact but low workload changes are. I’ve written about some of them in my book Email Persuasion and I share others in my blogs and videos.

Ian's book list on small business marketing

Ian Brodie Why did Ian love this book?

David Ogilvy said, “Drayton Bird knows more about direct marketing than anyone in the world,” and you can see why he said it in this book.

At some point in your marketing you need to get your potential customers to become paying customers. To actually part with their hard-earned cash. This book is a masterclass on how to do that in print – either on your website or in letters, adverts, brochures, or flyers. Bird’s writing has that amazing quality of charm, of being able to get you to buy without feeling you’ve been sold to. The book shows you how to get something similar yourself and is chock full of examples to learn from.

By Drayton Bird,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Write Sales Letters That Sell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The right piece of direct mail can produce excellent response rates and have an extraordinary effect on business. But why do some sale letters achieve spectacular results whilst others are instantly consigned to the bin? This book reveals the secrets of creating successful sales letters. Containing examples of real sales letters, it includes plenty of advice on what to avoid as well as what to include. Key topics are covered such as: the secrets of persuasion; planning a letter which will get replies; creating offers that get responses and timing mailings for maximum effect.


Book cover of Captivology: The Science of Capturing People's Attention

Ian Brodie Author Of Email Persuasion: Captivate and Engage Your Audience, Build Authority and Generate More Sales With Email

From my list on small business marketing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a writer and consultant on marketing and creating online courses. I’m obsessed with “cracking the marketing code.” Ever since I saw firsthand what a huge impact even small marketing changes could have on a business's success I’ve been determined to figure out what the really big impact but low workload changes are. I’ve written about some of them in my book Email Persuasion and I share others in my blogs and videos.

Ian's book list on small business marketing

Ian Brodie Why did Ian love this book?

Of all the marketing challenges facing us today, the biggest by far is the immensely difficult task of getting and keeping the attention of our target customers in a ridiculously noisy world.

Captivology isn’t necessarily a marketing book per se. But it’s the best guide to the art and the science of capturing attention. It shows you what gets people to take notice of something, to pay it deeper attention, and then to keep coming back and devoting time to it. You can apply these lessons across all your marketing and of all the marketing ideas and concepts I’ve come across in the last decade, this one has had the deepest and most positive impact on me and the results in my business.

By Ben Parr,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Captivology as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


Why are we captivated by sites like Facebook and Instagram, but couldn't care less about MySpace Why do some musicians grow as popular as Beyonce, while others never make the charts Why do some nonprofits, such as Charity: Water, succeed in getting our donations, while other charities are ineffective And why can't anyone seem to ever get the attention of their kids

In Captivology, Ben Parr, former editor of Mashable and cofounder of DominateFund, reveals how and why our mind pays attention to some events, ideas, or people and not others. Vividly bringing to life the stories of entrepreneurs, musicians,…


Book cover of Petty: The Biography

Mark Beal Author Of ZEO: Introducing Gen Z – The New Generation Of Leaders

From my list on inspiring creativity, transformation, and innovation.

Why am I passionate about this?

For more than 30 years I have been immersed in creative public relations and marketing from campaign development and activation to effectively engaging the primary consumer audiences. Me and my teams developed campaigns around such major sports and entertainment properties as the Olympic Games, Super Bowl, and The Rolling Stones. No matter your industry, inspiration for creativity, transformation, and innovation can come from many sources including the compelling storytelling featured in the books that I recommend.  

Mark's book list on inspiring creativity, transformation, and innovation

Mark Beal Why did Mark love this book?

Tom Petty is one of my favorite songwriters, musicians, and singers of all-time.

While I had the opportunity to see him in concert many times starting in the early 1980s, I never knew how he got there. This book shares Petty’s inspiring journey from his humble beginnings in Gainesville, Florida to becoming a rock & roll hall of fame.

His voice and looks may not have been immediately embraced by everyone when he first started, but his story of perseverance is inspiring as is his creative songwriting and storytelling.   

By Warren Zanes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Petty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times Bestseller

*One of Rolling Stone's 10 Best Music Books of 2015*

An exhilarating and intimate account of the life of music legend Tom Petty, by an accomplished writer and musician who toured with Petty.

No one other than Warren Zanes, rocker and writer and friend, could author a book about Tom Petty that is as honest and evocative of Petty's music and the remarkable rock and roll history he and his band helped to write.

Born in Gainesville, Florida, with more than a little hillbilly in his blood, Tom Petty was a Southern shit kicker, a…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in advertising, business ethics, and presidential biography?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about advertising, business ethics, and presidential biography.

Advertising Explore 49 books about advertising
Business Ethics Explore 19 books about business ethics
Presidential Biography Explore 19 books about presidential biography