best advertising books

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

While other industries like entertainment or tourism and hospitality took a major hit, the advertising industry managed to come out of the pandemic relatively unscathed.

In fact, the global revenue is expected to grow by a full twelve percent in 2021. Clearly, this indicates that advertising is a great field to get into.

With the increase in the number of businesses and the growing importance of a social media presence. The advertising agency would be sure to offer many vacancies for those who are interested.

Why should you read books on advertising? 

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 advertising.

Being hardworking is nothing but a prerequisite. Someone who really wants to be successful in the field must display interest in various topics and subjects. An employee must always be open to learning and expanding their way of thinking.

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

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

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

The book is considered to be a bible and must-read. Just like all screenwriters have to read Syd Field’s book Screenplay. All who aspire to work in advertising have to read Ogilvy on Advertising.

This book 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.
  •  Contains 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. When everyone in the herd goes zig, you have to zag. The concept is based on the idea that a company can minimize its competition by being different or ‘zagging’( further explained in the book).

This book offers advice that will be suitable for all new ventures. It is specifically designed for those creating or rebooting their brand.

Zag is recommended by all professionals working in the branding division and is considered to be essential reading, in a similar way to Ogilvy on Advertising.


  •  A short book with important 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.
  •  Includes warning signs for brands that might fail.

3. Truth, Lied, 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 simpler way.

The techniques relating to account planning that are 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 their 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 to starting an advertising agency. This book helps separate the clutter as it teaches its readers to focus on what is truly important: their work.

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

The author provides methods to get more work done 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

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This book is funny and irreverent. Yet, it has been described as one of the most important texts one can read in order 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.

Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This can act as a school textbook but also has the writing style and humor which would make it a great casual read for anyone wanting to know more about advertising.


  •  Helpful examples of good ads over multiple mediums.
  •  A very good book for those hesitant to read more theoretical 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 being the Best Marketing Book 2014 by the American Marketing Association.

According to this book, some products are not sold more than others because of advertising. They are sold more because of word of mouth and social influence. Because these products and the ideas behind them are contagious.

The book is definitely helpful for advertisers but goes beyond ads. Contagious examines why some stories, e-mails, YouTube videos, social media posts get shared the most while others don’t.

Jonah Berger is a professor at Wharton and has spent years studying the principles covered in this book in order to know how a certain 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 how to think in the same manner as the creators of the most popular ads in recent history.

Creativity can be taught with the help and improved upon with 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.

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 so as to not seem monotonous. 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 course work.


  •  Contains all advertisement related concepts.
  •  Useful and recent examples.
  •  More lively than other textbooks.
  •  Very helpful 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 lessons of the book 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. Right from the basic topics like writing ads and headlines.

Readers have commented that they find new pieces of 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.
  •  Contains topics that many other books on advertising do not.
  •  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 who is known as the father of modern advertising techniques. The book is used by students learning about advertising as well as 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. The book covers basic as well as 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
  •  Very practical 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 on how to write an exciting and emotionally captivating copy. The author reveals all the secret techniques that have helped him gain his own success in the field of copywriting.

This book is said to be the most informative resource on how to enter and become successful in the advertising industry. Joe Sugarman’s book has also received praise from Albert Gore, the former Vice President of the United States.


  •  Very helpful advice that Joe Sugarman learned in his own career.
  •  Covers advertising on various forms of media.
  •  The book offers techniques for improving your writing.
  •  Book is presented in an easy to understand manner.
  •  Helps motivate readers to practise the included techniques and start writing.


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

About the Author

Sarang Padhye

Being an avid film buff and a content marketer, I started this blog to provide the best information on screenwriting and filmmaking. Screenplays is certainly where it all begins. However, I also provide writing and advertising tips regularly through my articles.

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