40 Best Influence & Persuasion Books

These are the 40 best books about influence marketing, persuasion, and spreading ideas. Maybe I can convince you to spread this list? 😉

This could be the most important book list I ever made. We all want to change other people’s minds. We want to convince our spouse, educate our children, influence our colleagues, and manipulate our managers. Every day we deal with customers, suppliers, friends, and politicians, and we often try to change their minds about something.

That’s why we need these books.

The books listed here cover various areas, such as trust, stories, brain science, games, and social networks. But they all have one thing in common: they help you persuade people and influence their behaviors. You will notice that the list includes the major classics, but it has a bias towards newer books. Because, after all…

When you aim high, don’t just get to know the giants. Find the small ones standing on their shoulders.

I made this list for employees, managers, coaches, marketers, parents, politicians, NGO’s, and community leaders.

Go change the world!

Enjoy reading.

This ranking of 50 best influence & persuasion books is the average of five different rankings: the number of Amazon reviews, the number of GoodReads reviews, the average Amazon rating, the average GoodReads rating, and the number of days since first publication. That means this list shows you a mix of the most popular, best rated, and (relatively) newest books in this category.

# Title Author Year  
1

The Impact Equation
Are You Making Things Happen or Just Making Noise?

Chris Brogan, Julien Smith

2012

2

To Sell Is Human
The Surprising Truth About Moving Others

Daniel Pink

2012

3

Pitch Anything
An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal

Oren Klaff

2011

4

Made to Stick
Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

Chip Heath, Dan Heath

2007

5

Influence
The Psychology of Persuasion (multiple editions)

Robert B. Cialdini

1984

6

Loyalty 3.0
How to Revolutionize Customer and Employee Engagement with Big Data and Gamification

Rajat Paharia

2013

7

How to Win Friends & Influence People

Dale Carnegie

1952

8

The Business of Belief
How the World's Best Marketers, Designers, Salespeople, Coaches, Fundraisers, Educators, Entrepreneurs and Other Leaders Get Us to Believe

Tom Asacker

2013

9

Contagious
Why Things Catch On

Jonah Berger

2013

10

Enchantment
The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions

Guy Kawasaki

2011

11

Return On Influence
The Revolutionary Power of Klout, Social Scoring, and Influence Marketing

Mark Schaefer

2012

12

Breaking Out
How to Build Influence in a World of Competing Ideas

John Butman

2013

13

Influence Marketing
How to Create, Manage, and Measure Brand Influencers in Social Media Marketing

Danny Brown, Sam Fiorella

2013

14

Lead with a Story
A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire

Paul Smith

2012

15

Grouped
How small groups of friends are the key to influence on the social web

Paul Adams

2011

16

Return on Relationship

Kathryn Rose, Ted Rubin

2013

17

Influencer
The Power to Change Anything (multiple editions)

Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, et al

2007

18

Winning the Story Wars
Why Those Who Tell (and Live) the Best Stories Will Rule the Future

Jonah Sachs

2012

19

The Thank You Economy

Gary Vaynerchuk

2011

20

Unconscious Branding
How Neuroscience Can Empower (and Inspire) Marketing

Douglas Van Praet

2012

21

Yes!
50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive

Noah J. Goldstein, et al

2007

22

Trust Agents
Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust

Chris Brogan, Julien Smith

2009

23

The Dragonfly Effect
Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways To Use Social Media to Drive Social Change

Jennifer Aaker, Andy Smith

2010

24

The New Relationship Marketing
How to Build a Large, Loyal, Profitable Network Using the Social Web

Mari Smith

2011

25

Spreadable Media
Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture

Henry Jenkins, Sam Ford, Joshua Green

2012

26

Influence
Science and Practice

Robert B. Cialdini

1988

27

Purple Cow
Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable (multiple editions)

Seth Godin

2003

28

Make Your Idea Matter
Stand out with a better story

Bernadette Jiwa

2012

29

How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age

Dale Carnegie

2011

30

Stand Out Social Marketing
How to Rise Above the Noise, Differentiate Your Brand, and Build an Outstanding Online Presence

Mike Lewis

2012

31

The Commitment Engine
Making Work Worth It

John Jantsch

2012

32

All Marketers Are Liars
The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing Really Works–and Why Authenticity Is the Best Marketing of All

Seth Godin

2005

33

Unique
Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media

Phil Cooke

2012

34

Invisible Influence
The Power to Persuade Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere

Kevin Hogan

2013

35

World Wide Rave
Creating Triggers that Get Millions of People to Spread Your Ideas and Share Your Stories

David Meerman Scott

2009

36

Brainfluence
100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing

Roger Dooley

2011

37

Fascinate
Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation

Sally Hogshead

2010

38

Nudge
Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (multiple editions)

Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein

2008

39

Six Pixels of Separation
Everyone Is Connected. Connect Your Business to Everyone

Mitch Joel

2009

40

Your Network Is Your Net Worth
Unlock the Hidden Power of Connections for Wealth, Success, and Happiness in the Digital Age

Porter Gale

2013

Do you like this list? Please share, retweet, like, +1, or pin it. You probably have no idea how much work this was… 🙂

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I am an Amazon affiliate. By purchasing a book from this list you help me pay for this blog. And for coffee.


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  • http://dannybrown.me Danny Brown

    Hi there Jurgen,
    Quite the list here – and nice to see a certain book at #13, especially given it’s not always an easy read as we’re looking to completely flip influence marketing on its head. Thanks so much for putting this together, and for including Sam and I’s book. 🙂

  • http://profile.typepad.com/jurgenappelo Jurgen Appelo

    Hi Danny. Glad you like the results. And congrats!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/strock1 James Strock

    Thanks for this good list of books relating to persuasion. Good to have them in one place.

  • http://davidbolton.net Dave Bolton

    Great idea and execution. Wondering if the stats will be unnaturally skewed to newer books though, since marketing for new books tends to be about accumulating reviews these days.

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