Bob Bly Direct Response Copywriter Official Banner

10 Classic Marketing Books You Should Read

June 28th, 2010 by Bob Bly

1) How to Write a Good Advertisement by Vic Schwab (Wilshire Book Company, 1962). A common-sense course in how to write advertising copy that gets people to buy your product or service, written by a plain-speaking veteran mail order copywriter in 1960.

Best part: 100 ?archetypal? headlines that people are still using in various forms today to create new controls (e.g., ?When Doctors Feel Rotten, This is What They Do?).

Availability: Still in print (Wilshire Publishing) and available on

2) My First 50 Years in Advertising by Max Sackheim (Prentice-Hall, 1970). Another plain-speaking, common-sense guide that stresses salesmanship over creativity, and results over awards. The author was one of the originators of the Book of the Month Club.

Best part: The oversize format allows full-size reproductions (large enough for the copy to be legible) of many classic direct response ads (e.g., ?They Thought I Was Crazy to Ship Live Maine Lobsters as Far as 1,800 Miles from the Ocean?).

Availability: Out of print and difficult to find.

3) The Robert Collier Letter Book by Robert Collier. While Schwab and Sackheim concentrate on space ads, Collier focuses on the art of writing sales letters, of which he is a master. You learn how to write persuasive sales letters in a friendly, natural, conversational style.

Best part: While some of the letters may seem old-fashioned and dated, Collier?s timeless principles still apply.

Availability: Comes in and out of print. Somewhat difficult to get.

4) Reality in Advertising by Rosser Reeves (Alfred A. Knopf, 1961). The book in which Reeves introduced the now-famous concept of USP (the Unique Selling Proposition).

Best part: The idea that every successful ad must (a) offer a benefit, (b) the benefit must differentiate your product from the competition, and (c) the benefit must be big enough to motivate buyers to purchase your product instead of others.

Availability: Out of print and difficult to get.

5) Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz. A copywriting guide by one of the greatest direct-response copywriters of the 20th century.

Best part: The notion that advertising does not create desires; rather, it focuses already existing desires onto your product.

Availability: Available from Boardroom Books.

6) Tested Advertising Methods, Fifth Edition by John Caples, revised by Fred Hahn (Prentice-Hall, 1997). An updated version of John Caples? classic book on the principles of persuasion as proven through A/B split tests.

Best part: The A/B split headline tests with the results (e.g., for an air conditioner, ?How to have a cool, quiet bedroom ? even on hot nights? pulled 2 ? times the response of ?Get rid of that humidity with a new room cooler that also dries the air?).

Availability: In print. Available in bookstores and online.

7) Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy (Atheneum). Charming autobiography of legendary ad man David Ogilvy, packed with useful advice on how to create effective advertising.

Best part: Chapter 6 on ?How to Write Potent Copy.?

Availability: Out of print and difficult to get.

8)-Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins (Bell Publishing, 1920). A book on the philosophy that advertising?s purpose is to sell, not entertain or win creative awards ? and how to apply this philosophy to create winning ads.

Best part: His observation that ?specifics sell; superlatives roll off the human understanding like water off a duck?s back.?

Availability: Since the copyright has expired, this book is now in the public domain and is available as a free downloadable e-book on several Web sites.You can also buy it as a paperback on

9) Method Marketing by Denny Hatch (Bonus Books, 1999). A book on how to write successful direct response copy by putting yourself in the customer?s shoes. Packed with case histories of modern direct response success stories, including Bill Bonner of Agora Publishing, and Martin Edelston of Boardroom.

Best part: The introduction of the concept of method marketing, which states: ?You cannot write copy without getting inside the head of the person to whom you are communicating and becoming that person.?

Availability: In print and available on; also on Denny?s Web site

10) Advertising Secrets of the Written Word by Joseph Sugarman (DelStar, 1998). How to write successful advertising copy by a modern master of the space ad.

Best part: The 24 psychological triggers that get people to buy.

Availability: In print and available on

Did I leave out any of your favorites? (I know I left out a dozen or so of mine!)


This entry was posted on Monday, June 28th, 2010 at 1:30 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

82 responses about “10 Classic Marketing Books You Should Read”

  1. Ryan McGrath said:

    Fantastic list, Bob!

    Here is my own personal Top 11 list:

    1. Scientific Advertising & My Life in Advertising by Claude Hopkins
    2. Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples
    3. Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy
    4. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
    5. Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz
    6. How to Write a Good Advertisement by Vic Schwab
    7. The System Club Letters by Ken McCarthy
    8. Cash Copy by Jeffrey Lant
    9. Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy
    10. The Magic Words That Bring You Riches by Ted Nicholas
    11. The Secret to Selling Anything by Harry Browne

  2. Bill Perry said:

    I would add “Hypnotic Writing” by Joe Vitale for my own list.
    I can’t contest the books on you list, Bob, as I’ve not read them yet.
    Guess I’ll be adding to my PaperBackSwap wishlist!

  3. Scott Martin said:

    Bob…you were modest here…I’ve enjoyed the Bob Bly books I’ve purchased.

  4. Jodi Kaplan said:

    Many of the out of print titles you mentioned are available at Abebooks (

  5. Ryan McGrath said:

    AbeBooks is a good resource.

    Another is this site:

    It’s amazing that I’ve found some of these books for sale online at $10 or less, including shipping.

    In fact, I’ve even found used classics for $1.00…that is, one buck. Think about…priceless knowledge, as good as (or even better than) $1,000 copywriting course, for less than a fast-food cheeseburger. Wow.

  6. Stacy Ranta said:

    Don’t forget your local library as a resource. The majority of out of print books they can get for you easily.

    Sure, you can’t keep them, but you can always take scans or photocopies of the parts you want. Plus it’s free.

  7. Weekend Reading List « Winding Staircase said:

    […] 10 Classic Marketing Books You Should Read, from Bob Bly […]

  8. Books Read said:

    Thanks for this informative direction. I hope this will help to others. There are lots of books to read for acquire various knowledge. So people should read more books.

  9. Josh Stu said:

    For the business to be successful, it must have a reliable marketing strategy. Otherwise, everything might be put into waste. The logic behind it is that you’re doing business to cater services or to sell products to others so how could that be possible if you can’t reach them easily.

  10. Reading List: 10 Classic Marketing Books by Bob Bly | Clever Internet Network Marketing Tips by Heather C Stephens said:

    […] just read a great blog post by copywriter extraordinaire Bob Bly, where he shares his top 10 favorite classic marketing […]

  11. Search & Technology Resources from Sante’s Blog – July 24, 2010 said:

    […] 10 Classic Marketing Books You Should Read […]

  12. sent sa?l?k said:

    Thanks for this informative direction.

  13. hkqida said:

    Thank you Bob!
    I am looking for some marketing books to improve my knowledge. I will read some of them according your list.

    QIDA CPA LIMITED provide Hong Kong company formation, Offshore company formation, Macao Company Formation Service and virtual office to business in Hong Kong and China.

    If you are interesting, please clik here contact us or here Hong Kong Company Formation for more information or call us by telephone +86755-25532847 +86755-82311616.

  14. alice said:

    Hi I just have this “Method Marketing by Denny Hatch (Bonus Books, 1999” some the method are useful but I have no other….

  15. Andrew Wallace said:

    Marketing is very important to every business. Without the right marketing strategies, getting positive result is slightly impossible. I’m glad you enumerated some useful materials which we could actually use to more about marketing.

  16. Michael Fisher said:

    “10 Classic Marketing Books You Should Read” in this article very important because have very usefull information. It helpful for increase Marketing. Thans for sharing.

  17. mahmudul islam said:

    david ogilvy is the greatest advertiser the world has ever seen. his books are great and unparalleled.

  18. Jack's Customized Fat Loss Review said:

    nice helpful books recommendation, it’s an advantage for a marketer to read this kind of post so they’ll have a source to look for helpful materials.

    – Jack Leak

  19. Marketingkonzept said:


    […]10 Classic Marketing Books You Should Read – blog – direct marketing blog[…]…

  20. Whats your Top Ten Everything said:

    Get your top ten today…

    […]10 Classic Marketing Books You Should Read – blog – direct marketing blog[…]…

  21. Nike Lunar Shoes said:

  22. Cheap Coach Handbags said:

  23. fitzgeralds said:

    Ancensored – Huge Archive Of Nude Celebrity Movies And Pictures.

  24. Cheap Coach Handbags said:

  25. Nationwide Marketing Alliance said:

    Woah this blog is magnificent i love studying your posts. Stay up the great paintings! You know, many people are searching round for this info, you could help them greatly.

  26. remote work newfoundland said:

    Hello, Neat post. There is an issue together with your site in web explorer, might check this? IE still is the marketplace chief and a big component of other people will omit your great writing due to this problem.

  27. SEO Marketing Tips said:

    Attractive portion of content. I simply stumbled upon your website and in accession capital to assert that I acquire actually enjoyed account your blog posts. Any way I will be subscribing to your augment or even I fulfillment you get admission to consistently quickly.

  28. kamery do rur said:

    If some one wants expert view regarding blogging
    then i advise him/her to go to see this weblog, Keep up the pleasant work.

  29. 5TPHKTsH said:

    326830 255956You produced some decent points there. I looked on the net towards the concern and identified a lot of people go together with together along with your internet internet site. 118679

  30. accident lawyer utah said:

    958619 874569Delighted for you to discovered this internet site write-up, My group is shopping far more often than not regarding this. This can be at this moment surely what I are already seeking and I own book-marked this specific internet site online far too, I?ll often be maintain returning soon enough to appear at on your exclusive weblog post. 712928

  31. Office catering London said:

    Thank you for sharing that knowledge with us

  32. ??? ?? said:

    Wow, this article is good, my younger sister is analyzing these kinds
    of things, therefore I am going to let know her.

  33. Look At This said:

    Your posts is very appealing.

  34. Internet Marketing Services TT said:

    I know this site presents quality based posts and other stuff,
    is there any other web page which gives such stuff in quality?

  35. Harlan Picco said:

    An impressive share, I simply given this onto a colleague who was doing a bit of evaluation on this. And he actually purchased me breakfast because I found it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to debate this, I feel strongly about it and love reading extra on this topic. If doable, as you become experience, would you mind updating your blog with extra details? It’s extremely helpful for me. Huge thumb up for this blog put up!

  36. 25 Must-Read Best Copywriting and Marketing Books - GreatContent² said:

    […] Bob Bly’s Ten Classic Marketing Books You Should Read […]

  37. Darel Aranovski said:

    God bless you! Just a wonderful selection, this is exactly what I have been looking for lately. Where else can I read this author’s ?? article, he clearly understands the literature. I will also share, recently I also found an author of articles who certainly knows his business. And can recommend good books. I am not a critic myself and would not say that I am super well versed in books. I think for this you need to read a lot, as the author of this article. Thank you 🙂

  38. Xender said:

    Google the giant of data on internet look it

  39. One Dasty said:

    Bringing home a new puppy is a wonderful experience involving the whole family, which is why we begin training early to ease the amount of support, we assist in the preparations to make it less stressful. To provide a completely different environment for our puppies, we thoroughly researched and make sure this puppies will only go to respectable families

  40. robert said:

  41. Tyler said:

    A superbly written article, if only all bloggers offered the same content as you, the internet would be a far better place.

  42. MONSTER TRUCKZ said:

    Nice Comment For More Info Visit.

  43. annie said:

    Such a great write up.
    This gave me so much benefits and I learnt so much from what you shared, please keep doing the good work.

    ragdoll kittens
    ragdoll kittens for sale
    ragdoll kittens for sale near me
    ragdoll kittens for adoption

  44. Ndure Shoes said:

    Ndure offers their customers jackets of all types, including Denim Jackets For Women, eather jackets, puffer jackets, and Sherpa denim jackets. Buy the best available winter blue jeans Jackets for women online in Pakistan from Ndure. We bring you high quality bomber jacket, Puffer Hooded Gilet for womens online.

  45. Lillie Bishop said:

    macaw parrots for sale
    macaw parrots for adoption

    Our parrots make a wonderful companion pet. Purchasing a pet parrot online is easy at MyMacaws Home. We sell parrots of the highest quality health and basic ability in their DNA. We have a small selection of macaw parrots for sale, Harlequin macaw parrot for sale, Blue and Gold Macaw parrot for sale and Hyacinth macaw parrot for sale. Browse wide variety of Parrots and Eggs on our Website below:


  46. Ndure Shoes said:

    There are always amazing sale on brands on the Ndure website, bringing amazing footwear and apparel.

  47. Olivia Hartley said:

    Awesome! This article is very informative and very good. Thanks for sharing this with us. Keep sharing.

  48. Alexpeter said:

    The Career Coach is Europe’s top career coaching consultancy – and has helped more than 10,000 people land their dream jobs, all in less than 40 days.

  49. Rivaj UK said:

    Rivaj offers great cosmetics and related products like makeup remover and makeup remover wipes. So, grab the best makeup remover from Rivaj today and enjoy. Their makeup remover kits are truly unbeatable and offer a high degree of satisfaction. Rivaj offers the best makeup remover to their customers every day.

  50. Jazmin Clothing said:

    Jazmin provide wide range of shawls for women at reasonable price. Grab your favorite shawls online in all over Pakistan with fast delivery.

  51. HazelJames said:

    Website development Ireland and Dublin offer a complete digital solution for taking your business online. Our Award Winning Agency not only devises strategies for your brand, but we own it like our own.

  52. carls12 said:

    Business Analyst produces reports that will be presented to Microsoft end-customers, sellers and partners. You will take data collected from their infrastructure environment to create business analytics and a Cloud Migration Business Case for presentation to Customer.

  53. ash12 said:

    Comfortable Residence option by FlightsnTravel is one the best accomodation place

  54. agus said:

    Pakai Link ini aja bebku di Jamin MAXWIN loh?, link scater jackpot ,Ada bocoran tips dan pola bermain nya juga loh, SCATTER isinya X100 X250 X500 nyamber trs??. Ingat begitu MAXWIN atau PROVIT lgsg WD,proses depo dan wd cepet banget ,di jamin gak bakal nyesel deh ,
    Ambil Bonus Mu Sekarang
    Claim melalui Live chat
    Deposit Bank Online 24jam
    Deposit All E-wallet
    minimal depo 20 ribu
    Deposit Pulsa Tanpa Potongan
    Turn Over Terendah 5X
    dengan WD yang di jamin cepat
    hub wa : 082160924564

  55. bosboms said:

    Minimal deposit ke Bank 10 rb
    Minimal withdraw 25.rb
    Minimal deposit ke pulsa 10 rb tanpa potongan
    (syarat withdraw TO x5 khusus pulsa)
    Ayo bosku buruan deposit..
    dan juga kami ingin menginfokan kepada bosku semua nya
    Bahwasanya dalam permainan server slot PG Soft dan pragmatic play sedang banyak jackpot besar nya bos
    di coba kembali bermain bersama kami bosku ^^
    hanya dengan minimal deposit sebesar 10rb bosku bisa mendapatkan hadiah hingga puluan juta rupiah ^^

  56. Roberts Wills said:

    Such an amazing article I find this blog really informative thanks for this help really appreciated.

  57. Tif said:

    so nice

  58. anna said:

    thanks its amazing

  59. toni eka saputra said:

    ??i nh? c? h?i trúng l?n, nào, ??ng b? l? c? h?i ngàn vàng này, hãy th? ch?i slot ?ang ch?i nhi?u nhân l?n ngay hôm nay, link ??ng ký :

  60. Adoro said:

    Upgrade your wardrobe with the perfect pair of handmade shoes for men. Our collection offers a wide variety of styles and colors for men of all walks of life. Crafted with attention to detail and quality materials, our shoes offer unbeatable comfort, durability, and style

  61. IDalamat said:

    Hey, Thank you for sharing this amazing and useful article with us. I hope you will publish such articles in the future as well. I would love to see more. It’s so helpful. Good Bye!.

    SMP Raden Fatah Batu
    Distributor Resmi K-Link Karimun

  62. Addresseek said:

    this is good website, this website has wonderful information.

    Nowra Skate Park – Nowra

  63. Emma Harriet said:

    Esta es una publicación muy crucial. Espero San Justo escorts que sea agradable para todos.

  64. BabyBoxShop said:

    Indulge in the art of gifting with our Baby Hampers – lavish assortments of baby essentials and treats that exude luxury and care. Each hamper is a treasure trove of comfort, featuring everything from organic skincare products to charming nursery decorations. Welcome the new arrival in style and sophistication with our meticulously crafted baby hampers.

  65. iHost VPS said:

    Cheap VPS Hosting refers to a hosting service that offers Virtual Private Servers at an extremely affordable price point. These hosting plans are designed to be budget-friendly while still providing a reliable platform for users to host websites, applications, or other online projects. While cost-effective, it’s essential to ensure that the hosting service meets the required performance and support standards.

  66. iHost VPS said:

    Our SSD VPS Canada guarantees lightning-fast performance and quick data access. With Solid State Drives (SSDs), your applications and websites benefit from reduced latency and increased efficiency. This option is well-suited for businesses and individuals who prioritise speed and responsiveness in their hosting environment.

  67. mirra23 said:

    Online marketing is a rapidly expanding area, with new strategies, theories, tactics, and tools emerging on a daily basis, Drift Boss and the only way to remain ahead is to keep tuned in and on the lookout for anything new and valuable.

  68. CAvpshost said:

    Are you looking to buy cheap Windows VPS hosting? Look no further than CaVPS Host! We offer affordable and reliable Windows VPS solutions that cater to your specific needs. With our exceptional services, you can enjoy the power and flexibility of a virtual private server without breaking the bank.

  69. Leo said:

    Thanks a lot
    Give us a visit : Jeux video

  70. Leo said:

    Médaille d’or

  71. We Buy Dead Stocks.. said:

    Turn your Scrap Metal into cash with We Buy Dead Stocks, the largest dead stocks buyer in the UAE. We offer top prices for your surplus materials, promoting sustainability and responsible recycling. Sell your scrap metal today and make the most of your unused resources.

  72. BSNS Consulting said:

    Business Consultancy and Services. Our team is committed to enhancing your company’s revenue and efficiency through comprehensive advisory, strategic planning, and process optimization. Whether you need help with market entry strategies or performance improvement, we’ve got you covered with end-to-end solutions.

  73. We Sell Dead Lots.. said:

    Find the latest electronics items at Weselldeadlots. From smartphones and tablets to laptops and smart home devices, we have a wide range of cutting-edge electronics to cater to your tech needs. Experience innovation and convenience with our high-quality products. Shop now and stay ahead of the curve with Weselldeadlots.

  74. iHost VPS said:

    Cheap US VPS Hosting is a Virtual Private Server hosting service that offers affordable pricing for VPS solutions located within the United States. It provides users with the advantages of VPS hosting, such as dedicated resources and enhanced control, while catering to budget-conscious customers. Hosting VPS servers in the US can be beneficial for businesses and individuals seeking improved accessibility and speed for US-based visitors.

  75. CAvpshost said:

    Welcome to CaVPS Host, your premier destination for affordable Windows VPS solutions. We understand the importance of finding a reliable and budget-friendly hosting provider, which is why we offer the Windows vps cheap
    plans in the industry. With CaVPS Host, you can experience the power and versatility of a Windows VPS without breaking the bank.

  76. Tiptop-einrichtung said:

    A friseurstuhl is a specially designed chair that offers comfort and support to clients during a hair salon visit. These chairs are often adjustable in height and have a recline feature for ease of operation.. Explore our collection of stylish and comfortable barber chairs to provide the best experience for your customers.

  77. Tiptop-Einrichtung.. said:

    friseurstühle are the chairs available for clients in a hair salon. They are designed to be comfortable and allow the hairdresser easy access to the client’s hair.

  78. Baby Box said:

    New born gifts are heartwarming gestures to embrace the arrival of a tiny bundle of joy. Explore a collection of carefully curated gifts that bring comfort, joy, and practicality to the early days of parenthood.

  79. display led said:

    thanks for your post. 3951AB LED 3951BB 5-digit 3591AB 7-Segment 3591BB Display

  80. 7-segment display said:

    it’s useful information. 3951AB LED 3951BB 5-digit 3591AB 7-Segment 3591BB Display

  81. Ginkgo Retail said:

    Ginkgo Retail provides a strategic roadmap on how to reduce customer returns, leveraging data-driven insights and innovative approaches. Our tailored solutions pinpoint the root causes behind returns, empowering businesses to proactively address issues. Through streamlined processes and proactive customer engagement, we enhance product accuracy and customer satisfaction, minimizing return rates. With our expertise in predictive analytics and personalized experiences, Ginkgo Retail guides businesses in implementing effective policies and practices that mitigate return complexities. Gain a competitive edge by partnering with us to navigate the landscape of reducing customer returns, fostering lasting customer loyalty and optimizing operational efficiency.

  82. William G Morgan said:

    Your writing style is captivating; I couldn’t stop reading! As a language enthusiast, I appreciate how Canuckle Game helps me learn new Canadian English words while having a blast. It’s the perfect game for word nerds! Join the word fun today! And guess what? It’s completely free, ad-free, and playable in your browser!

Leave a Reply