best advertising books

11 Best Advertising Books for Beginners & Startups

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The global revenue of the advertising industry in 2020 was 578 billion US dollars. This figure, generated by the industry during a pandemic, demonstrates the vast scope of advertisements and why people should read advertising books and consider it a career.

While other industries like entertainment, tourism, and hospitality took a significant hit, the advertising industry overcame the pandemic relatively unscathed.

With the increase in the number of businesses and the growing importance of a social media presence, the advertising agency would surely be capable of offering several vacancies to those who are interested.

A Career in the Advertising Industry

If you’re the type of person who loves to make things, then advertising is the perfect place for you. You’ll be able to come up with ideas for new products and services that people will want to buy, and then you’ll get paid to put those ideas into practice.

It’s also a good fit if you love impacting the world around you. For example, when you work in advertising, your job isn’t just about selling stuff—it’s about ensuring people understand what they need and helping them get it.

Another thing that makes advertising an excellent career choice: it can be done almost anywhere! As long as there are people around who are willing to hear what you have to say, there’s no reason why you can’t make advertising your career.

The average annual salary for an advertising agent is around $89,900, according to However, that figure varies depending on where you work, how many years of experience, and what position you hold. For example, a person holding a management position would probably earn more than entry-level or junior employees.

Why Should You Read an Advertising Concept book? 

Reading advertising books can help you build your own career, as it enables you to understand the industry and teaches you how to apply your skills. In addition, you will learn how to think like an advertiser and write ads that sell.

Advertising is a highly competitive field, and you must be up-to-date with the latest techniques to succeed. Reading books about it can help you do that.

You can read about new trends, research, and ways of doing things. You can also find tips on getting ahead in your field and making the best use of the resources you have. It’s essential to keep learning to stay ahead of the competition.

According to leaders and veterans of the advertising industry like Val DiFebo or Devika Bulchandani, a person must display or foster certain qualities to make it in the advertising business.

Although being hardworking is a prerequisite, someone who wants to succeed in the field must be interested in various topics and subjects. Therefore, employees must always be open to learning and expanding their thinking.

Hence, it is pretty clear why someone interested in joining this industry must first educate themselves by reading marketing and advertising books.

Best Books on Advertising

Here is a list of the eleven best advertising books one must read before officially starting their career in an advertising agency.

1. Ogilvy on Advertising

Miles Young's 13 Ad Predictions | Ogilvy

The book is considered a bible and a must-read among those who work in the ad world. Like all screenwriters have to read Syd Field’s book Screenplay, all those aspiring to work in advertising must read Ogilvy on Advertising.

Ogilvy on advertising by David Ogilvy is a book about the importance of advertising and its role in society. The main focus is how this changes with the advent of new technologies. In addition, it covers topics such as direct response, positioning, and brand loyalty.

The author explains that advertising is not just something that can be used to sell products or services but also to help people make better decisions by educating them on specific products and services.

He also talks about how advertising can help build up brands known for having great quality products so that when customers see those brands, they know they will get what they pay for.

This book was written by David Ogilvy, who has been in the advertising business for over 50 years and has worked with some of the biggest companies in America, such as Ford Motor Company, General Foods (Kraft), IBM, Shell Oil Company, and many others.

This book by David Ogilvy is one of the few texts on advertising that gets a stamp of approval from all its readers.

Ogilvy on Advertising has stood the test of time as its principles are relevant even three decades later.


  •  An entertaining read.
  •  Concepts are made easy to understand.
  •  Universally recommended.
  •  Informative for beginners and more educated readers alike.
  •  Contains an analysis of successful advertising campaigns.

2. Zag: The Number One Strategy of High-Performance Brands

ZAG: The Number-One Strategy of High Performance Brands (Audio Download):  Marty Neumeier, Marty Neumeier, Audible Studios: Books

As the title suggests, the focus of this book is all about standing apart from the crowd. According to Zag, a brand must be “zigging” when they’re in a position to do so, but it should also be “zagging” whenever possible.

This means they should be willing to go against conventional wisdom and do something unexpected if it helps them succeed. The concept is based on the idea that a company can minimize its competition by being different or ‘zagging’ ( further explained in the book).

The author of this book, Marty Neumeier, discusses how the best brands have been able to do this successfully over time.

However, he also provides examples of companies that failed because they didn’t understand what strategies would work best for them or how they could implement them effectively.

This book offers advice that will be suitable for all new ventures. However, it is specifically designed for those looking to create or reboot their brand. Zag is recommended by all professionals in the branding division and is considered an essential reading, similar to Ogilvy on Advertising.


  • It is A short book containing necessary concepts.
  •  All the information is essential.
  •  The reader’s time is not wasted as there is no ‘fat’ in the book.
  •  Includes a step-by-step plan to differentiate a brand.
  •  It has warning signs for brands that might fail.

3. Truth, Lies, And Advertising: The Art of Account Planning Buy Truth, Lies & Advertising: The Art Of Account Planning Book  Online at Low Prices in India | Truth, Lies & Advertising: The Art Of Account  Planning Reviews & Ratings

This is a book that takes it back to the basics. This book explains that while many companies are trying to use increasingly innovative or unnecessarily advanced methods to improve their marketing efforts, there is a more straightforward way.

Truth, Lies, and Advertising: The Art of Account Planning is a book about the art of advertising, but it’s not your typical how-to guide. Instead, it provides an in-depth look into the creative process of creating effective ads and how account planners can create them.

The book covers a variety of topics, including:

  1. How do you get your ideas approved?
  2. How do you find out what the client wants from you?
  3. What makes a good ad?

The techniques relating to account planning taught in this book are simple yet effective in creating successful marketing campaigns. The author Jon Steel makes a case for the book in today’s time, even though it was published in 1998.

According to Jon Steel, good marketing, communication, and planning are still just as important when connecting brands with customers, which makes this book just as relevant now as it was two decades ago.


  •  Provides examples of how to create ideas.
  •  Contains entertaining anecdotes for learning.
  •  Helpful case studies on how to implement given techniques.
  •  Particularly helpful to beginners.
  •  How to combine strategy and creativity to ensure the best results.

4. Rework

Rework : Fried, Jason, Heinemeier Hansson, David: Books

This New York Times Bestseller offers an unconventional method of starting an advertising agency. This book helps separate the clutter by teaching its readers to focus on what is truly important: their work.

The book is famous for its counterintuitive ideas. This is not advice readers will find in other written material, but it is helpful nonetheless. Like the previous book, Rework also takes a ‘keep it simple’ approach, explaining various concepts.

Rework is a book about how to get your business to run like a well-oiled machine. It’s not about the product you make or the service you provide but rather the processes and systems that keep everything running smoothly.

David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried are co-founders of 37Signals, a company that designs software for businesses and individuals. They’ve worked with hundreds of clients to help them improve their processes and systems, where they got their inspiration for this book.

In Rework, Hansson and Fried take us through their step-by-step process of rethinking our workflows to minimize waste, which gives us more time and energy to put towards things that matter most. In addition, the authors provide methods to accomplish more work by putting in less effort.

While Rework may seem controversial, its readers have benefited from following the advice offered. Further adding that Rework provides original advice that leaves room for no excuses.


  •  Helpful for all businesses, even outside of advertising.
  •  Includes steps to gain more exposure for a company.
  •  Contains advice for all types of businesses.
  •  The writing style makes the book easy to read.
  •  All information is relevant and explained in a short, concise manner.

5. Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Ads

Buy Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads  Book Online at Low Prices in India | Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: The  Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads Reviews & Ratings -

This book is funny and irreverent. Yet, it has been described as one of the essential readings one can go through to develop compelling advertisements.

Authored by proficient copywriter Luke Sullivan, this book is helpful for everyone wanting to know about the creative aspects of advertising. The book starts by giving a history of the subject along with theoretical and practical knowledge on creating good advertisements.

This book can act as a school textbook but also has a writing style and humor that make it a great casual read for anyone wanting to know more about advertising.

Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to learn how to write a great ad. It’s also a great book if you’re looking for inspiration to make your ads stand out.

The book is written in a very conversational tone, which makes it easy to read and understand. The author uses many examples from real ads to show you exactly what works and doesn’t.

He also includes lots of tips on how to improve your writing skills so that you can create better ads yourself!

This book is perfect for anyone who wants to know more about advertising but doesn’t have any experience in the field yet. It even includes some basic information about how things like magazines work so that you don’t feel lost if you haven’t worked in this industry before!


  •  Helpful examples of suitable ads over multiple mediums.
  •  This is an excellent book for those hesitant to read more academic books on advertising.
  •  All concepts are helpful even today.
  •  Very engaging writing style.
  •  The audiobook is currently free on Amazon.

6. Contagious: Why Things Catch On

Buy Contagious: Why Things Catch On Book Online at Low Prices in India |  Contagious: Why Things Catch On Reviews & Ratings -

Written by Jonah Berger, this book was given the title of Best Marketing Book 2014 by the American Marketing Association.

According to this book, some products are sold more than others solely because of their advertising. Instead, they are sold more because of word of mouth and social influence because these products and the ideas behind them are contagious.

While this book is helpful for advertisers, it goes beyond ads. Contagious examines why some stories, e-mails, YouTube videos, and social media posts get shared most while others don’t.

The book is based on a study examining what makes people share content on social media and why they stop sharing it.

Berger uses his findings to identify 6 principles of contagiousness: social currency, triggers, emotion, public, stories, and practical value. These principles are explored in detail with examples from companies like Coca-Cola and Virgin America.

Jonah Berger is a professor at Wharton and has spent years studying the principles covered in this book to know how a particular idea (or product) can become widely popular.


  •  Includes relevant and interesting case studies to explain concepts.
  •  The book also covers the psychology of consumers.
  •  Lots of research and proven studies to back the concepts proposed.
  •  Explains how an idea can be contagious over six defined steps.
  •  Free to listen to on Audible.

7. Creative Advertising: Ideas and Techniques from the World’s Best Campaigns.

Creative Advertising: Ideas and Techniques from the World's Best Campaigns  by Mario Pricken

The book teaches readers how to create ad campaigns using some of the most notable advertisements in the last two decades as examples. This book can educate anyone on thinking like the creators of the most popular ads in recent history.

It features interviews with creative directors from over 40 agencies, including Leo Burnett and Young & Rubicam. These interviews are accompanied by images of some of the most famous and influential advertising campaigns of all time, including “Think Small” (Volkswagen) and “Got Milk?” (Got Milk?).

Creativity can be taught and improved upon with the help of continued practice. This book has concepts and examples that can help people understand what goes into creating trendy ads so that the readers can learn to do so on their own.

Creative Advertising is one of those books that is so full of helpful advice that it is frequently referred to by working professionals who have been in the industry for years.


  •  Over four hundred examples to explain various concepts.
  •  All case studies are taken from different forms of media.
  •  Offers tangible and actionable steps to creating ads.
  •  Very useful for visual learners.
  •  Even helpful for business-minded executives to improve their creativity.

8. M: Advertising

M: Advertising: Buy M: Advertising by Arens William at Low Price in India |

M: Advertising is a textbook/coursebook on advertising. The book is used in many courses related to media and marketing. It is many teachers’ first choice of text when trying to explain various marketing and branding concepts.

In the book M: Advertising by Arens and Weigold, the authors discuss how to make your advertising more memorable. They talk about how to use a good metaphor and create an “epic story” for your brand.

The authors also discuss how to use visual elements like music or color in advertising, as well as how to use repetition in your advertisements. Like many academic texts, this book contains exercises and questions to help the students practice what they have read.

That said, the book is narrated dynamically not to seem monotonous. Moreover, the textbook aims to convey all the concepts relating to advertising in their practical and applicable forms.

Many students learning to advertise recommend this book as an all-inclusive guide to their coursework.


  •  Contains all advertisement-related concepts.
  •  Helpful and recent examples.
  •  More lively than other textbooks.
  •  Beneficial exercises.
  •  Reasonably priced.

9. Breakthrough Advertising

Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene M. Schwartz

This book is a boon for anyone working in advertising or employed as a copywriter. However, the book’s lessons can be used by anyone trying to increase sales in their business.

Breakthrough Advertising teaches its readers how to influence the different variables that can cause market sales to fluctuate. The book also offers a masterclass on copywriting, beginning with essential topics like writing ads and headlines.

Readers have commented that they find new and helpful information every time they revisit this book to brush up on advertising-related concepts. This book also helps improve writers’ creativity with the help of actionable steps.


  •  Explain elements of copywriting in an easy-to-understand manner.
  •  The concepts covered are still relevant today.
  •  Very helpful as a text for advanced or experienced copywriters.
  •  It contains topics that many other books on advertising do not.
  •  It helps intermediate copywriters become advanced copywriters.

10. Scientific Advertising

Buy Scientific Advertising Book Online at Low Prices in India | Scientific  Advertising Reviews & Ratings -

This book was released almost a hundred years ago and is still relevant today. It was the first official text on learning about advertising.

Scientific Advertising is written by Claude C Hopkins, the father of modern advertising techniques. The book is used by students learning about advertising and industry professionals.

The author David Ogilvy who wrote the most popular book on advertising(the first one on this list), recommends reading this book.

The book teaches advertising with the help of human psychology. In addition, the book covers basic and complex topics like advertising laws, negative advertising, advertising strategy, testing advertising campaigns, etc.


  •  One of the most fundamental texts on advertising.
  •  Recommended by all marketing experts.
  •  Helpful for business and creatively inclined professionals
  •  Efficient knowledge.
  •  Free on amazon audible and only $0.99 on kindle

11. The Adweek Copywriting Handbook

Buy The Adweek Copywriting Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Powerful  Advertising and Marketing Copy from One of America's Top Copywriters Book  Online at Low Prices in India | The Adweek Copywriting

The Adweek Copywriting Handbook contains knowledge about the very essence of the advertising business. The author Joe Sugarman is himself an experienced and prolific copywriter.

The book shares tried and tested methods and suggestions for writing a compelling and emotionally captivating copy. In addition, the author reveals all the secret techniques that have helped him gain success in the field of copywriting.

This book is renowned as the most informative resource on entering and becoming successful in the advertising industry. Joe Sugarman’s book has also received praise from Albert Gore, the former Vice President of the United States.


  •  Constructive advice that Joe Sugarman learned in his career.
  •  It covers advertising in various forms of media.
  •  The book offers techniques for improving your writing.
  •  The book is presented in an easy-to-understand manner.
  •  It helps motivate readers to practice the included techniques and start writing.


Having read all the books mentioned above, anyone will be sure to have a head start in their advertising career. Anyone can succeed in advertising with the right attitude, desire to learn, and determination. These books will no doubt help with that.

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