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At WordofMouth.org our required reading list is full of fantastic books by word of mouth leaders who get it. And while we easily could have added a dozen more books to this list, we narrowed it down to the eight that are great for teaching the fundamentals.

Here are some of the best books to get you started:

1. Unleashing the Ideavirus, by Seth Godin
2. The Culting of Brands, by Douglas Atkin
3. I Love You More Than My Dog, by Jeanne Bliss
4. The Anatomy of Buzz, by Emanuel Rosen
5. The Ultimate Question, by Fred Reichheld
6. Raving Fans, by Ken Blanchard
7. Brains on Fire, by Robbin Phillips, Greg Cordell, Geno Church, and Spike Jones
8. Word of Mouth Marketing, by Andy Sernovitz

1. Unleashing the Ideavirus, by Seth Godin

GodinThis classic book is from one of marketing’s most influential thinkers, Seth Godin. While books like Purple Cow and Permission Marketing get lots of love (and deservedly so), this book explains why information travels so much faster and more effectively from customer-to-customer than from a business to a customer. Seth gives examples of how companies like Volkswagen, PayPal, and Hotmail have gotten their customers to spread their ideas and how you can too — no matter what size your business is.

Buy on Amazon >>

2. The Culting of Brands, by Douglas Atkin

AtkinDouglas Atkin is one of our frequent guest authors and an all-around brilliant guy. In this book, he explains what cults like the Unification Church have in common with brands like Ben & Jerry’s — from attracting the right people to giving them a sense of belonging. He talks about how cults and brands alike can inspire true loyalty from normal folks.

Buy on Amazon >>

3. I Love You More Than My Dog, by Jeanne Bliss

BlissCustomer experience expert Jeanne Bliss, another frequent contributor to WordofMouth.org, explains how companies earn extreme love from their customers by making five decisions about how to run their business. She shares her experiences with beloved companies like Zappos, Harley-Davidson, and Land’s End and how they inspire raving fans.

Download the first chapter | Buy it on Amazon >>

4. The Anatomy of Buzz, by Emanuel Rosen

RosenTruly one of the foundational books on word of mouth, The Anatomy of Buzz talks about the success of products like the Palm Pilot and the movie The Blair Witch Project because of word of mouth marketing. Emanuel Rosen explains the mechanics behind these conversations and gives real-life examples of how it’s worked for other companies.

Buy on Amazon >>

5. The Ultimate Question, by Fred Reichheld

ReichheldAccording to Fred Reichheld, too many companies are missing the connection between their customer relationships and their future growth. He introduces how to clearly measure real growth based on one important question: “Would you recommend us to a friend?” This book was originally published in 2006, and this question is still used in marketing meetings every day. No word of mouth plan is complete without it.

Buy on Amazon >>

6. Raving Fans, by Ken Blanchard

BlanchardDesigned as a guide for a new area manager on her first day, this marketing parable by Ken Blanchard explains why just satisfying your customer isn’t enough to have a successful business. He’ll show you how to create a business that thrives on thrilling customers and inspiring them to tell everyone about you and your stuff.

Buy on Amazon >>

7. Brains on Fire, by Robbin Phillips, Greg Cordell, Geno Church, and Spike Jones

Brains on FireHere’s the newest book on our list, and it’s an instant classic. The Brains on Fire team explains the passion behind word of mouth movements that inspire fantastic communities like the Fiskateers, Love146, and Rage Against the Haze. They talk about the process of starting these movements — from recruiting the right people to lead movements to achieving the company culture that supports them.

Download an excerpt | Buy on Amazon >>

8. Word of Mouth Marketing, by Andy Sernovitz

womfavbook-Sernovitz1Finally, as biased as we are, we recommend our own Andy Sernovitz’s Word of Mouth Marketing. The 5 Ts framework in this book shapes all of the tips and advice we share each week, and it’s filled with dozens of real-world examples from giant and tiny companies alike.

Download the first chapter | Buy on Amazon >>

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Comments

  1. Simon Rees

    Thanks – some on the list that I’ve not read. Among those that I have read, the standout book has to be The Anatomy of Buzz Revisited (don’t bother with the original title above – it’s entirely superseded by the new version).

    I also like Justin Kirby’s book ‘Connected Marketing’ – but that’s getting quite long in the tooth now.

  2. rich wakefield

    I suggest “contagious” great new book.

  3. Fernando Anzures

    Hello thanks for sharing , I’ve read almost all of them but there is one brand new that I have enjoy as wel that is CONTAGIOUS from Jonah Berger it has good examples and explains a provable methodology.

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