Business Insights

Business Insights

Our Favourite Business Books Of 2018 Revealed

“It's a great blessing if one can lose all sense of time, all worries, if only for a short time, in a book.”

– Nella Last


We asked our proven part-time Marketing Directors for their favourite business books. Here’s what they told us.

BadMen: How Advertising Went From A Minor Annoyance To A Major Menace – Bob Hoffman

Buy it here

“This is a quick, scary read that explores while consumers are trying harder to get away from online advertising, they’re increasingly falling into the trap of the unscrupulous few that seem to own the web and which sell their behaviour and data like a product.

While 600 million of us use ad blockers, advertisers continue to try to get their ads in front of the right audience at the lowest cost, leaving them vulnerable to using low-cost websites run by terrorists, racists, pornographers and similar. Adverts that are disguised online to “encourage” consumers to click on banner ads have become a priority. These benefit neither the brands that pay for them nor consumers, who don’t realise they’re being sold to.

In turn, Facebook and Google are holding the world hostage to bad advertising integrity, leading us to believe that people we know endorse things they don’t, and showing us search results we think are “genuine” but which are sponsored or paid for. Hoffmann argues that ad-blocking is the solution for the millions of us who don’t want to end up as a product.”

– Sally Shuttleworth, Bath & South West


Factfulness: Ten reasons we're wrong about the world - and why things are better than you think – Hans Rosling

Buy it here  ・ Listen to it here

‘The late, great Hans Rosling focuses his mind on the power and importance of facts in a post-truth world. Factfulness is not a business book per se, but remains highly relevant for our times. In it, Rosling unpicks major issues, including education, healthcare and economics, and delivers a sobering dose of reality – showing that, despite our fears, the world is in remarkably good shape, and that forgetting facts can be a most dangerous thing to do.”

– Alex Swann, Home Counties


Will It Make The Boat Go Faster?: Olympic-winning strategies for everyday success – Harriet Beveridge & Ben Hunt-Davis

Buy it here

“Ben Hunt-Davis understands the pain behind team-building better than most. Part of the gold-winning British men’s rowing team, this is his warts-and-all account of pretty shoddy individualism in a dysfunctional Olympic team, who achieved little until they radically changed their approach. Highly practical, it should appeal to anyone interested in personal development, and managers with their eyes on ambitious corporate goals. It’s funny, too.”

– Alex Hardy, Yorkshire & Lancashire


Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE – Phil Knight

Buy it here  ・ Listen to it here

“Not a new book, but one that sticks in the best-sellers lists like glue. Phil Knight uncovers the history of NIKE, the brand he founded in his early 20s – selling imported Japanese shoes from the boot of his car. Part biography, part business masterclass, it’s an essential read for anyone looking to overcome the hurdles and obstacles that affect manufacturing businesses – one Warren Buffett called his favourite book of 2016.”

– David Long, Home Counties


Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade – Robert B. Cialdini

Buy it here

“For me, the best book of this year is Cialdini’s Pre-suasion. Grounded in behavioural economics, it unpicks the psychology of our decision-making and sets out effective tactics for influencing others – including how location, behaviour and communication affect the outcome of conversation. In my view, it’s a must-read for anyone who needs to communicate with an audience and encourage them to buy, try or sign-up. Useful at home, too!”

– David Abbott, Yorkshire & Lancashire


This is Marketing: You Can't Be Seen Until You Learn To See – Seth Godin

Buy it here  ・ Listen to it here

“Godin has a cult following for a reason. In this book, he offers deep insight into the new marketing paradigm – asking marketers to think more deeply about, and be more ambitious, in the work they do. There are useful frameworks here for thinking about segmentation, customer behaviour and building real – not perceived value – via marketing. A must-read for curious, critical marketers.”

– Andrew Scheer, Home Counties


These are ours; what about yours? Tell us your recommend read on Twitter @MarketingCentr.


From all of us at The Marketing Centre,  wishing you a very happy New Year!

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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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