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A List of Lists: The Best Media and Marketing Books

“Must reads” that may explain—but not stop—the insanity.

Ava Seave By Ava Seave
01/07/2010 -01:34 PM

The number of excellent business, marketing and media books out there is good for consumers and bad for authors or companies trying to sell copies. It's hard not to see this condition as an excellent metaphor for the entire media business in recent years: free entry makes it tough for competitors to be profitable.

That being said, here is my list of favorites, which have been selected from four annual best-of lists—many that I’ve bought, and some that I’ve read—that you should take into consideration in gearing up for the challenging media year ahead.

From IWantMedia.com's Best Books from 2009

Top 5 out of 67 books
1.    Googled: The End of the World As We Know It  by Ken Auletta
2.    The Curse of the Mogul: What's Wrong with the World's Leading Media Companies  by Jonathan Knee, Bruce Greenwald  and Ava Seave [Full disclosure: I am a co-author of  this one!]
3.    Adland: Searching for the Meaning of Life  on a Branded Planet by James P. Othmer
4.    The Chaos Scenario: Amid the Ruins of  Mass Media, the Choice for Business is Stark by Bob Garfield
5.    My Paper Chase: True Stories of Vanished Times by Harold Evans

From Mediapost.com's roundup of 2009’s Best SEO books
All 5 out of 5 books
1.    The Art of SEO by Eric Enge, Stephan Spencer, Rand Fishkin & Jessie Stricchiola
2.    When Search Meets Web Usability by Shari Thurow & Nick Musica
3.    SEO Warrior by John I.  Jerkovic
4.    The Truth About Search Engine Optimization by Rebecca Lieb
5.    Search User Interfaces by Marti Hearst

From AdAge's Top 10 Media and Marketing Books of All Time
Top 5 out of 10 books

1.    Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout (published in 2000)
2.    Ogilvy On Advertising by David Ogilvy  (current edition, published 1985)
3.    The 22 Immutable Laws Of Branding by  Al Ries and Laura Ries (current edition published 2002)
4.    E by Matt Beaumont (current edition  published 2000)
5.    Hey, Whipple. Squeeze This: A Guide To Creating Great Advertising by Luke Sullivan (current edition published  2008)
From the Miami Herald’s Richard Pachter -- Best Business Books of 2009
5 of the marketing or media books out of 11 general business books

1.    Collapse of Distinction: Stand Out and Move Up While Your Competition Fails by Scott McKain.
2.    Taming The Search-And-Switch Customer: Earning Customer Loyalty in a Compulsion-to-Compare World by Jill Griffin.   
3.    The Twitter Book by Tim O'Reilly, Sarah Milstein.
4.    Six Pixels of Separation: Everyone Is Connected. Connect Your Business to Everyone by Mitch Joel.   
5.    In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing by Matthew E. Mays


Ava Seave is a Principal of Quantum Media, a strategy and marketing consulting group.

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