Best books by The Marketing Society's Hugh Burkitt

In a new content series Marketing Society Editor-at-large, Hugh Burkitt, chooses his six favourite business books for the discerning marketing leader.

Up The Organisation: How to stop the organisation from stifling people and strangling profits by Robert Townsend
First published nearly fifty years ago, this book has been re-issued many times and is still wonderfully fresh and easy to read. The author was boss of Avis when they did their brilliant “We try harder” campaign with DDB. His philosophy on how to partner with DDB to get the best out of them is still worth framing.

The Anatomy of Humbug: How to think differently about advertising by Paul Feldwick
A mysteriously titled book, that lucidly describes and debunks all the different theories that claim to explain how advertising works.

Marketing and the Bottom Line: The marketing metrics to pump up cash flow by Tim Ambler
All marketers who have aspirations for the C suite should have this book by their bedside. Tim converted early in his career from accountant to marketer because he wanted to make money, not just count it. This book offers the metrics that will allow boards to concentrate on making money not just arguing about where to spend it.

The Essential Drucker by Peter Drucker
Most things worth saying about business management and marketing were first said by Peter Drucker. This collection of his writings includes this encouragement for marketers: “Because the purpose of a business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two – and only these two – basic functions: marketing and innovation”.

Leadership Plain and Simple by Steve Radcliffe
Another book to keep close by you if you have aspirations to lead any enterprise. Steve helped found the Society’s Marketing Leaders Programme and taught on it for a over a decade. It has always been a joy to listen to his Wigan accent in full flow, and this book is punchy enough to be as effective as a real-life coaching session.

The Perils of Perception: Why we are wrong about nearly everything by Bobby Duffy
“Go with your gut” is a piece of advice you will often hear from successful business leaders, but this book is a timely reminder that there is a huge gap between what we believe and the truth. As recent political history demonstrates, it can be unwise to think that your own views are normal without checking the objective evidence.

By Hugh Burkitt, Global Ambassador and Editor-at-large at The Marketing Society