Business Insights

Business Insights

The Marketing Centre Book Club: Essential Summer Reading

As the American author Jeannette Walls said, one of the summer’s biggest benefits is the extra light to read by. In addition, of course, summer is synonymous with a well deserved two-week break, too - perfect for catching up on some reading time.

It’s hard to know what’s worth your attention, though. There’s a lot of choice out there and your holidays are a precious chance to do read and learn with a clear mind. Often, your best thinking is done on holidays, so why waste it on a sub-par business book?  

But don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Below are a few crowdsourced book recommendations from The Marketing Centre’s marketing directors to help you find the perfect book for the holidays.

So whether you’re by the poolside or just in the garden, inspiration need not be far from hand. Read on.


What’s the Future of Business?: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences, by Brian Solis (Buy at Waterstones and or get it on Audible)

Recommended by Jason Wills, Home Counties Marketing Director

Digital analyst, sociologist and futurist Brian Solis scans the horizon to see what’s next for businesses. Solis doesn’t just explore trends and theories, but offers his vision as to how you can get ahead in uncertain times.

Why Jason chose this book: “Though this was written in 2013 I still think it’s very relevant today. It talks about the ‘dynamic customer journey’, and how every consumer touchpoint on that journey adds or subtracts from the overall customer experience.

“Given that context, it strongly recommends that as a business you need to ‘innovate or die’ with clear priorities on what to address. Solis has written three other books on innovation and consumer trends. ‘What’s the future of business’ is his second one, and he has written two more subsequently expanding on his work. So depending on your knowledge on the subject area, you could start at a different point in Solis’ bibliography.”


Tools of Titans, by Tim Ferris

Recommended by Bernard Page, North West  Marketing Director

You might recognise Ferris’ name from his book ‘The Four Hour Work Week’. In his newest work, Ferris compiles the insights from over 200 interviews with uber-successful people from a range of fields.

This book contains the distilled tools, tactics, and tricks of the world’s most successful people. It’s a long read - but hey, you’ve got some time this summer.

Why Bernard chose this book: “This is a really big read, weighing in at over 700 pages. But it’s not dense. The book is a compendium of all the interviews Ferris has done with a wide array of successful business people, so it’s easy to dip in and out.

“In fact, you don’t really have to read the whole book. Each interview is clearly marked throughout so I tackled it by reading just a few selected ones depending on what was most relevant to me. Not only are the insights great, it’s also packed with great tips by Ferris himself.”

Buy at Waterstones

Get it on Audible

The Hard Things About the Hard Things, by Ben Horowitz

Recommended by Jean Moncrieff, London Marketing Director

Ben Horowitz - one half of the eponymously named VC firm Andreessen-Horowitz - offers essential advice on building and running a startup. But it’s more than just another management book: Horowitz discusses his own failures - as an engineer, as a founder and a husband - with brutal honesty.

Why Jean chose this book: “If you are scaling a business, this book nails the realities of the most uncomfortable decisions you will need to make.

“From hiring the right people to leading when you don't know where you are going, Ben's book speaks to the tough challenges every ambitious entrepreneur faces and offers sound, practical advice on how to overcome adversity.”

Buy at Waterstones

Get it on Audible


Thinking, Fast & Slow’ by Daniel Kahneman

Recommended by David Abbott, North West Marketing Director

The Nobel Prize-winning psychologist compresses all of his groundbreaking work into this single, eminently readable digest.

Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions, and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking in this era where speed is favoured over accuracy.

Why David chose this book:The best book I can recommend for business leaders is 'Thinking, Fast & Slow' by Daniel Kahneman. It's an easy and interesting read from a psychologist whose work led to the whole field of Behavioural Economics. It gives insight after insight into how we make decisions. Any business that wants to be successful ought to think about how we make decisions and how they can use that understanding and insight to communicate better with their customers.”

Buy at Waterstones

Get it at Audible


Start With Why, by Simon Sinek

Recommended by Huw Johns, South Wales  Marketing Director

Rounding out the list is Simon Sinek’s now classic book ‘Start with Why’. Originally published in 2009, Sinek mounts a passionate defence of inspiration - rather than manipulation - as the most effective leadership tool.

As the title suggests, start with why - inspire people with a sense of purpose - and then get to how and what.

Why Huw chose this book: “Sinek analyses great leaders and leading brands and observes a striking commonality. Drawing on a host of real-life examples, he explains how great leaders and great brands inspire us. Don’t have time for the book? Watch some of Sinek’s talks on YouTube instead.”

Buy at Waterstones

Get it on Audible



Summer is a time for relaxation, of course, but it’s also a chance for headspace. The best books inspire creative thought and it’s those moments out of the whirlwind of business that often lead to innovative ideas.

So what about you? What are your summer reads? Let us know.



Business Growth

Written by Clare Methven

Clare Methven is the Co-Founder of The Marketing Centre and specialises in working with small and mid-size businesses. She has over 25 years’ experience working in PR and marketing agencies focussed on construction, financial services and travel companies.

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