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Best Books that Made Me a Better Marketer, Business Owner, and Human Being in 2019

Leaders are readers. I heard that in college and it has stuck with me ever since. So every year I find myself picking up dozens of books, and finishing most of them.

But not every book is worth the price – of money, or more importantly in time.

Some books are worth it. Others are worth a paragraph or two of insight. After all, it’s not books that affect us, but sentences. So I assess and audit what I read and feel no shame about abandoning a book halfway through.

In 2019 I finished 26 books, but only three truly stood out to me. Here are my top 3 reads of the previous year.

My Best Books of 2019

The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer

cover for Ruthless Elimination of Hurry book

First, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry. This was a really great read on the need to slow down in contrast to the always-on, blowing and going pace of life today.

In a world of frenetic activity – one where the Christian church is not immune – Comer makes a beautifully compelling case for us all to slow down and be more present in our lives. Whether you share his theology or religious convictions or not, you’ll find he paints a picture of a thriving life anybody could appreciate.

Best takeaway: “Many have noted that the modern world is a virtual conspiracy against the interior life.” – John Mark Comer

Marketing Rebellion by Mark Schaeffer

cover for Marketing Rebellion book

Next is Marketing Rebellion: How the Most Human Business Wins, by Mark Schaeffer. I listened to the author on a podcast, and then quickly ordered and read the book.

It has framed my new direction as a marketing consultant and agency builder, not as a diversion from the call to ministry, but at least a partial fulfillment of it – to minister in the marketplace and add value in every domain of life (including the private sector).

The essence of the book, what he calls the mark of the Third Rebellion in marketing, is that everyone is being marketed to and growing tired of it.

So, in order to win, you have to become more personal, and less concerned with scalability. Intentional and relational, verses blasting everyone all the time. Ultimately more human. Because “the most human business wins.

I agree.

Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller

cover for Building a StoryBrand book on marketing

And last but not least, Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message so Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller.

I’ve been a fan of this framework for a while (back before there was a book), but when this came out, it changed the game for a lot of businesses. It led me to pursue becoming certified to better serve clients to incorporate the power of story in their marketing.

Story is the only form of communication that has the power to interrupt us and cause us to pay full attention. Organizations that can leverage this appropriately will not only grow, but better serve their clients, customers, or audience.

In the words of Donald Miller, “If you confuse, you’ll lose.”

Your turn!

What were some of the best books you read last year?

Leave a comment below or connect with me on LinkedIn or Facebook to share.

Chris Gensheer founder of Empathy Marketing Group and StoryBrand Certified Guide

Marketing should grow your business, not frustrate you.  That’s why I started the Empathy Marketing Group, to help you clarify your branding, craft compelling messages, and implement it in all your creative material. Connect with me and let’s help you win with your marketing today.

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