100 books like Purple Cow

By Seth Godin,

Here are 100 books that Purple Cow fans have personally recommended if you like Purple Cow. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

James Espey Author Of 365 Quotes to Accelerate your Career and Find Balance in Life

From my list on dynamic personal and business tips to build long-term successful brands.

Why am I passionate about this?

Well, all my life, I have been passionately involved in Marketing. I was an intrapreneur in the organisation, challenging the system and trying to build brands for the future. I always took an extremely long-term view, and when I was fired for launching Chivas Regal 18, which is now No. 1 in the world in its category, I became an entrepreneur. I backed start-ups, including my own company. The most successful brand I was ever involved with was called Mimecast, which is an anti-virus company, that sold not too long ago for $5.6 billion.

James' book list on dynamic personal and business tips to build long-term successful brands

James Espey Why did James love this book?

I am a firm believer that you never stop learning, and you learn from everybody.

I was very impressed by Nike. As a young athlete in the 60s, I sometimes had to run barefoot because I could not afford shoes, and I was a keen athlete. Phil Knight’s remarkable book was first published in 2016. I thought it was fascinating because he talked all about the tenacity, determination and commitment and the fact that you have to stand up to people because 99% of people will tell you you will never get there. He got there brilliantly, and, of course, Nike is a phenomenal success.

I was inspired by Phil Knight’s vision, courage, tenacity, and determination to overcome many enormous obstacles to build a great global brand. I sincerely believe this book will be very helpful to any entrepreneur.

By Phil Knight,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A refreshingly honest reminder of what the path to business success really looks like ... It's an amazing tale' Bill Gates

'The best book I read last year was Shoe Dog, by Nike's Phil Knight. Phil is a very wise, intelligent and competitive fellow who is also a gifted storyteller' Warren Buffett

In 1962, fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed $50 from his father and created a company with a simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost athletic shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the boot of his Plymouth, Knight grossed $8000 in his first year. Today, Nike's annual…


Book cover of Innovation in Marketing: New Perspectives for Profit and Growth

James Espey Author Of 365 Quotes to Accelerate your Career and Find Balance in Life

From my list on dynamic personal and business tips to build long-term successful brands.

Why am I passionate about this?

Well, all my life, I have been passionately involved in Marketing. I was an intrapreneur in the organisation, challenging the system and trying to build brands for the future. I always took an extremely long-term view, and when I was fired for launching Chivas Regal 18, which is now No. 1 in the world in its category, I became an entrepreneur. I backed start-ups, including my own company. The most successful brand I was ever involved with was called Mimecast, which is an anti-virus company, that sold not too long ago for $5.6 billion.

James' book list on dynamic personal and business tips to build long-term successful brands

James Espey Why did James love this book?

I discovered marketing and was motivated by an amazing man called Theodore Levitt. I actually visited him at Harvard when he helped me with the Malibu launch in 1979. Levitt was an inspirational marketer, well ahead of his time.

This, his first book, was published in 1962. He rightly said in the book, “Every major industry was once a growth industry,” but as we know (and Levitt said it), there are some that are now riding a wave of growth enthusiasm very much in the shadow of decline.

You have to understand why things develop. The failure is usually at the top because the executives responsible for the company do not understand the changing environment or respond positively to it. For example, Hollywood barely escaped being totally ravished by television before the film companies went through drastic reorganisation but initially, they did not see television as a competitor. They did…

By Theodore Levitt,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Inside Coca-Cola: A CEO's Life Story of Building the World's Most Popular Brand

James Espey Author Of 365 Quotes to Accelerate your Career and Find Balance in Life

From my list on dynamic personal and business tips to build long-term successful brands.

Why am I passionate about this?

Well, all my life, I have been passionately involved in Marketing. I was an intrapreneur in the organisation, challenging the system and trying to build brands for the future. I always took an extremely long-term view, and when I was fired for launching Chivas Regal 18, which is now No. 1 in the world in its category, I became an entrepreneur. I backed start-ups, including my own company. The most successful brand I was ever involved with was called Mimecast, which is an anti-virus company, that sold not too long ago for $5.6 billion.

James' book list on dynamic personal and business tips to build long-term successful brands

James Espey Why did James love this book?

Neville Isdell, who retired as Chairman of Coca-Cola in 2009, whilst born in Ireland, grew up in Zambia, as I did, and by coincidence, we were both at Cape Town University, and we worked together at Coca-Cola in Johannesburg for a year in 1969.

Neville is very direct and cannot stand sycophantic behaviour, which I respect. He lived and worked in 11 countries on 5 continents in his 43 years at Coca-Cola, and he placed a great deal of importance on understanding and respecting local culture. He believed much of his success came from selecting strong people who focused on the importance of positive action over words. He also states that the majority of views often mean that something has happened, but more importantly, it is the minority view and ideas where breakthrough growth and success lie.

Between 2004 and 2009, when he took over as the CEO of Coca-Cola…

By Neville Isdell, David Beasley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Inside Coca-Cola as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first a Coca-Cola CEO tells the remarkable story of the company€™s revivalNeville Isdell was a key player at Coca-Cola for more than 30 years, retiring in 2009 as CEO after regilding the tarnished brand image of the world€™s leading soft-drink company. This first a Coca-Cola CEO tells an extraordinary personal and professional world-wide story, ranging from Northern Ireland to South Africa to Australia, the Philippines, Russia, Germany, India, South Africa and Turkey. Isdell helped put out huge public relations fires (India and Turkey), opened markets(Russia, Eastern Europe, Philippines and Africa), championed Muhtar Kent, the current Turkish-American CEO, all while…


Book cover of On Strategy

James Espey Author Of 365 Quotes to Accelerate your Career and Find Balance in Life

From my list on dynamic personal and business tips to build long-term successful brands.

Why am I passionate about this?

Well, all my life, I have been passionately involved in Marketing. I was an intrapreneur in the organisation, challenging the system and trying to build brands for the future. I always took an extremely long-term view, and when I was fired for launching Chivas Regal 18, which is now No. 1 in the world in its category, I became an entrepreneur. I backed start-ups, including my own company. The most successful brand I was ever involved with was called Mimecast, which is an anti-virus company, that sold not too long ago for $5.6 billion.

James' book list on dynamic personal and business tips to build long-term successful brands

James Espey Why did James love this book?

My last recommendation is one I read recently, published by Chris Woolston. I worked with Chris Woolston for many years in two different companies, and he did a great job; then he formed his own company called “Forward Thinking.”

He is a great strategist. His book encapsulates the essence of his approach to strategy in life and at work. The Bible, says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish,” but I personally add that you need a good strategic plan to achieve your vision.

People often struggle with the concept of strategy–it can sound worthy and intellectual–but in essence, it is a simple concept.  You need to be clear about what you want to achieve and have a clear plan to achieve it, a plan that draws on your unique strengths to achieve what is important to you and your company, often in a testing environment with all sorts…

By Chris Woolston,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Never Lose a Customer Again: Turn Any Sale into Lifelong Loyalty in 100 Days

Brittany Hodak Author Of Creating Superfans: How To Turn Your Customers Into Lifelong Advocates

From my list on turning your customers into superfans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m passionate about customer experience because it’s the number-one reason businesses succeed or fail. Regardless of the size (or budget!) of your company, you can set yourself apart—and create superfan customers!—by focusing on being exceptional in the areas that really matter. I grew up watching my dad prioritize customer service, first as a fast-food restaurant manager and then at a car dealership, and I know firsthand that how you treat your employees and your customers makes all the difference! 

Brittany's book list on turning your customers into superfans

Brittany Hodak Why did Brittany love this book?

Never Lose A Customer Again is my go-to recommendation for readers that are interested in learning the psychology behind customer loyalty. Joey Coleman details the eight emotional stages that customers go through in the 100 days following a purchase and how you can strategically anticipate their reactions to strengthen your relationships. Everyone that has read Never Lose A Customer Again has told me that it’s helped them improve their relationships with everyone in their lives, not just their prospects and customers. 

By Joey Coleman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Never Lose a Customer Again as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Award-winning speaker and business consultant Joey Coleman teaches audiences and companies all over the world how to turn a one-time purchaser into a lifelong customer.

Coleman's theory of building customer loyalty isn't about focusing on marketing or closing the sale: It's about the First 100 Days® after the sale and the interactions the customer experiences.

While new customers experience joy, euphoria, and excitement, these feelings quickly shift to fear, doubt, and uncertainty as buyer's remorse sets in. Across all industries, somewhere between 20%-70% of newly acquired customers will stop doing business with a company with the first 100 days of…


Book cover of The Right Story

Elena Mutonono Author Of Grounded Growth: Sustainable and Profitable Online Teaching Business On Your Own Terms

From my list on online language teachers building their own businesses.

Why am I passionate about this?

The start of my own online teaching business in 2010 felt both liberating and frustrating. I enjoyed working for myself but struggled to make my offers unique, attractive, sustainable, and successful. I had no idea how to make my voice heard in the highly-saturated and fast-growing online teaching industry. Following the advice of famous online business gurus, I lost track of what I wanted my business to accomplish and burned out following every online teaching trend there was. The books I’ve selected helped me align with my own vision and values, inspired me to overcome my limitations and succeed on my own terms.

Elena's book list on online language teachers building their own businesses

Elena Mutonono Why did Elena love this book?

Most online teachers I’ve worked with detest the idea of marketing, and yet this is something we cannot avoid especially when running our own business. Bernadette Jiwa defines marketing as a story you tell that has the capacity to change the world. In the book she shares multiple purposeful stories of people who shared their message in the most authentic way and how their courage moved others to action and brought about change. This is a guide into marketing that will make you excited about the change you seek to make and how your small online teaching business can transform the world. 

By Bernadette Jiwa,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Every Jiwa book is a special event, and this one is no exception. Memorable stories about stories, practical, hard-won insights about how people change and why. Short and powerful.—"SETH GODIN

What makes some bad ideas successful, and why do many good ideas fail?

It turns out that there’s no such thing as a bad idea or a good idea. There is only the wrong story or the right story. The right story is one that is trusted. It is believed because it is told by the right person, for the right reasons, in the right way, at the right time,…


Book cover of All Marketers Are Liars: The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing Really Works--And Why Authenticity Is the Best Marketing of All

Daryl Weber Author Of Brand Seduction: How Neuroscience Can Help Marketers Build Memorable Brands

From my list on to help you understand the mind of your customer.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I was young, I was fascinated with how the mind works; how all of our thoughts, feelings, memories, decisions, and actions come out of this lump of flesh in our heads. I studied consciousness, psychology, and neuroscience both at university, and on my own for decades. Once I started working in marketing, for many of the biggest and best brands in the world, I realized that marketers tend to have deep misconceptions and misunderstandings for how the mind actually works. My goal is to bridge the gap between all of the knowledge we have about the brain, and how that could be helpful to brands and marketers. 

Daryl's book list on to help you understand the mind of your customer

Daryl Weber Why did Daryl love this book?

Seth Godin has become a leading voice and best-selling author, especially in the world of marketing. While others of his books are more widely known, this book is very underappreciated. It is wonderfully written and helps you truly understand the role of marketing in today’s world to truly connect with how consumers see the world, and your brand within it. 

By Seth Godin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All Marketers Are Liars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The indispensable classic on marketing by the bestselling author of Tribes and Purple Cow.

Legendary business writer Seth Godin has three essential questions for every marketer:

“What’s your story?”

“Will the people who need to hear this story believe it?”

“Is it true?”

All marketers tell stories. And if they do it right, we believe them. We believe that wine tastes better in a $20 glass than a $1 glass. We believe that an $80,000 Porsche is vastly superior to a $36,000 Volkswagen that’s virtually the same car. We believe that $225 sneakers make our feet feel better—and look cooler—than…


Book cover of Valuable Content Marketing: How to Make Quality Content Your Key to Success

Henneke Duistermaat Author Of How to Write Seductive Web Copy: An Easy Guide to Picking Up More Customers

From my list on writing for the web.

Why am I passionate about this?

In 2012, I escaped my corporate job to found Enchanting Marketing. I had discovered I love writing and I love teaching people how to write even more. I help small business owners and solo flyers find their voice and share their ideas with gusto, so they can captivate, educate, and inspire their audience. I created this list with 5 book recommendations as a mini-course on writing for the web. There’s little overlap between the books; they all complement each other. Happy reading and happy writing! 

Henneke's book list on writing for the web

Henneke Duistermaat Why did Henneke love this book?

For writing online beyond your own website, I highly recommend this book. It presents both the big picture and the nitty-gritty of content marketing for small businesses.

What I like about this book is that the authors understand that as a small business, you can’t do everything and be everywhere. So, choose where you want to be and create content that captivates, educates, and inspires your audience.

By Sonja Jefferson, Sharon Tanton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER: Small Business Book Awards 2016 - Community Choice - Social Media Category WINNER: Small Business Book Awards 2014 - Community Choice - Marketing Category (1st edition) Make sense of content marketing in the digital world with this award-winning, practical guide to using content to grow your business and raise your brand. From websites, white papers and blogs to tweets, newsletters and video, content is king in the digital world, now more than ever before. Get it right and you have a huge opportunity to connect with clients and customers in ways they appreciate and trust - they will be…


Book cover of Who Do You Want Your Customers to Become?

Marty Neumeier Author Of The Brand Gap

From my list on brand strategy.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my younger days I was a graphic designer and copywriter, approaching brands largely from a creative viewpoint. Over the years I’ve discovered that creative work is much more powerful when harnessed to business strategy, and business strategy is much more powerful when combined with exceptional creative work. I’ve characterized the gulf between strategy and creativity as the “brand gap,” which has led to eight books on branding and a school for professional mastery called Level C.

Marty's book list on brand strategy

Marty Neumeier Why did Marty love this book?

It’s a startling question, especially for companies that focus on their own success instead of the success of their customers. But if you’re out to build a lasting brand, it’s the right question to ask. Schrage shows why the goal of innovation should not be to invent a great product but to create a great customer.

By Michael Schrage,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Who Do You Want Your Customers to Become? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Who do you want your customers to become?

According to MIT innovation expert and thought leader Michael Schrage, if you aren’t asking this question, your strategic marketing and innovation efforts will fail.

In this latest HBR Single, Schrage provides a powerful new lens for getting more value out of innovation investment. He argues that asking customers to do something different doesn’t go far enough—serious marketers and innovators must ask them to become something different instead. Even more, you must invest in their capabilities and competencies to help them become better customers.

Schrage’s primary insight is that innovation is an investment…


Book cover of Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time

Eric G. Flamholtz Author Of Growing Pains: Building Sustainably Successful Organizations

From my list on the stages and challenges of organizational growth.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm Professor Emeritus at UCLA and have also been on the faculty of Columbia University and The University of Michigan, where I received my PhD degree. I founded Management Systems Consulting, which works with entrepreneurial firms in the US and globally to scale up, in 1978. I've served on the board of a firm (99 Cents Only Stores) that scaled up and was a NYSE listed firm. I've advised CEOs who have created global champion firms and been recognized as leaders in their space. I've authored or co-authored several books including Creating Family Business Champions; Corporate Culture: The Ultimate Strategic Advantage; Changing the Game; and Leading Strategic Change.

Eric's book list on the stages and challenges of organizational growth

Eric G. Flamholtz Why did Eric love this book?

This book is by the founder of a company that has successfully navigated the stages of growth from a start-up to a sustainably successful organization and become a global champion or recognized leader in its space. Accordingly, the book is from the “horse’s mouth.” Schultz and his coauthor take the reader on the journey of the development of one of the classic entrepreneurial successes of our time. He details the challenges, his thinking, and the responses that were made to create the Starbucks of today. The book provided s the reader with a rare opportunity to participate in the Starbucks journey from a vision to the reality of building a great company. 

By Howard Schultz,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Pour Your Heart Into It as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Pour Your Heart Into It, former CEO and now chairman emeritus Howard Schultz illustrates the principles that have shaped the Starbucks phenomenon, sharing the wisdom he has gained from his quest to make great coffee part of the American experience.

The success of Starbucks Coffee Company is one of the most amazing business stories in decades. What started as a single store on Seattle's waterfront has grown into the largest coffee chain on the planet. Just as remarkable as this incredible growth is the fact that Starbucks has managed to maintain its renowned commitment to product excellence and employee…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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