I’ll tell you straight up… I don’t like reading.

Never had the attention span for it too.

But I understand the power of mastering copywriting.

And I believe it’s the gateway to any form of content creation.

Nothing teaches you to become a copywriter better than… reading copy.

Here are the 19 best copywriting books that changed my mind.


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1. The Adweek Copywriting Handbook by Joseph Sugarman

My Overall Favorite Copywriting Book

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The Adweek Copywriting Handbook is my overall favorite copywriting book.

Joseph Sugarman is one of the best copywriters in America.

The book covers multiple aspects of copywriting like:

  • Crafting engaging headlines
  • Understanding the psychology of persuasion
  • Creating compelling sales copy

There are foundational principles but also advanced tactics.

Great for copywriters of all levels.

If you could only buy one book….

This is it.


2. Breakthrough Advertising By Eugene Schwartz

Best for Advanced Copywriting Techniques and Strategies

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Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz is a pretty old book published in 1966.

But despite that, it remains highly relevant and insightful for anyone looking to create compelling and persuasive marketing messages.

One of the key concepts is “mass desire.”

Schwartz argues that copywriters cannot create demand or desire for a product…

But channel and direct the existing desires of their target audience instead.

This approach requires in-depth market research and a deep understanding of the customers’:

  • Desires
  • Fears
  • Needs
  • Motivations.

It never occurred to me but highly insightful.

And that’s just one mindblowing concept from the book.

It’s been out of production for a while, so the price may shock you…

I highly recommend forking out the cash if budget is not an issue.

Because it’s a gold mine of copywriting secrets.


3. Ogilvy On Advertising By David Ogilvy

Best for Learning From the Experiences of a Successful Advertising Executive

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Ogilvy On Advertising is basically David Ogilvy’s memoirs from his time as an advertising executive.

He is a legendary figure in his industry and known for leveraging human psychology for the sake of an ad’s agenda.

Not many of us will ever use paid ads as copywriters, but…

This book contains timeless principles and practical advice applicable to modern-day copywriting.

Learn about:

  • Advertising strategies that modern marketers and copywriters can apply
  • Out-of-the-box thinking
  • Managing an agency, hiring, and maintaining connections

Ogilvy’s emphasis on creativity and engaging storytelling makes this book informative and enjoyable.

I highly recommend giving it a read, even if you have no intention of getting into advertising.

Trust me. You won’t be disappointed.


4. Copy Logic By Michael Masterson & Mike Palmer

Best for Understanding the Logic and Principles Behind Effective Copywriting

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Copy Logic By Michael Masterson & Mike Palmer breaks down the process of:

  • Writing persuasive copy
  • Creating compelling offers
  • Optimizing marketing messages

… clearly and concisely.

You learn a systematic approach and why copywriting matters.

Couple that with practical examples and real-world case studies…

You’ll master the science and logic behind killer copy.


5. Copy That Sells By Ray Edwards

Best for Writing Persuasive Copy That Drives Sales

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Just like me…

Ray Edwards believes copywriting is the best money-making skill.

He takes a rather statistical approach by forming a “copy thesis” to craft:

  • Compelling headlines
  • Emotional connections
  • Persuasive arguments

His methodology is about invoking emotion by virtually “reading their minds.”

Hit the nail on the head so well when describing their problems and focusing on the transformation that…

They can’t help to believe you have the solution.


6. Hey Whipple, Squeeze This By Luke Sullivan

Best for Creative Advertising and Developing Unique Ideas

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Another solid book on advertising.

Creative ad campaigns, to be specific.

“What that’s got to do with copywriting Brendan?”

Everything.

Rather than forcing messages in people’s faces…

Extract best practices for:

  • Storytelling
  • Persuasive writing
  • Memorable messaging

And apply it across various channels like social media, blogging and newsletters.


7. How To Write Seductive Web Copy By Henneke Duistermaat

Best for Writing Compelling Web Copy

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If a blog is your main content channel, like me, this book is a solid pick on how to plan, write, edit, and optimize web copy.

It’s a treasure trove of practical advice… guiding you through a 6-step process to craft compelling website copy.

It emphasizes the importance of understanding your audience and tailoring your words to resonate with them.

And it goes beyond just listing features.

It teaches:

  • How to highlight the benefits your product offers and the problems it solves
  • How to make your copy relatable and persuasive
  • How to craft a unique value proposition that sets you apart from the competition

The beauty of this book lies in its simplicity.

It encourages using short, simple words and sentences for easy comprehension.

You also get a comprehensive 26-point editing checklist to refine your copy.

(damn…)

Plus, it shares invaluable tips on SEO optimization to attract more visitors.

You thought that was it?

No…

But what truly sets this book apart is the persuasive copywriting techniques like using:

  • Sensory words
  • Repetition
  • Alliteration (Using the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words… yes, I Googled that)

As a blog owner, this book is a must-have.

If you want to turn those words into cold hard cash…

I can’t recommend this enough.


8. Influence: The Psychology Of Persuasion By Robert Cialdini

Best for Understanding the Psychology of Readers and Persuasion Techniques

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Here’s a reality check…

People don’t buy based on logic. It’s all emotion.

If you want to leverage that… you need to master psychology.

The Psychology of Persuasion teaches you how to tap into readers’ psyches and understand the art of persuasion.

Backed by over 35 years of rigorous research to decipher why people say “yes.”

You’ll learn Cialdini’s six universal principles of persuasion:

  • Reciprocity
  • Commitment and Consistency
  • Social Proof,
  • Liking
  • Authority
  • Scarcity

And how to use them to influence others while protecting yourself from manipulation.

What makes this book a standout is its comprehensive, evidence-based approach.

Not some mumbo jumbo fluff plucked from thin air…

Master the lessons in this book, and you’ll discover what makes people click that “buy” button.

It’s a roadmap to achieving your personal and professional goals through the power of persuasion.


9. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook By Gary Vaynerchuk

Best for Social Media Copywriting and Engagement Strategies

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If you have been on social media for the past few years…

I don’t think you need an introduction to Garyvee. He’s everywhere.

He knows exactly how to grow on social media with words.

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook highlights the importance of understanding the unique dynamics of each social media platform and customizing your content to fit.

It’s what Gary has been preaching for years.

Contextualizing.

You get a practical approach to social media copywriting and engagement strategies. 

And it’s your secret weapon among all the noise to give you that metaphorical knockout blow on social media.


10. Made To Stick By Dan And Chip Heath

Best for Creating Memorable and Persuasive Copy

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It’s not enough to craft persuasive copy.

You need to claim free real estate in people’s minds and let it fester.

Made to Stick teaches why some ideas gain traction while others fade away.

The brothers Dan Heath and Chip Heath reveal six key principles of “stickiness”:

  • Simple
  • Unexpected
  • Concrete
  • Credible
  • Emotional
  • Stories

SUCCES.

(It could probably fit in another “S”…)

It has countless examples and case studies documenting what it takes to craft impactful and memorable copy.

Not just theory…

You’ll learn how to get into people’s heads and stay there.


11. Tested Advertising Methods By John Caples

Best for Tested Advertising Copy Methods and Techniques

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Tested Advertising Methods is a masterclass in proven advertising techniques.

It covers all aspects of advertising, including:

  • Research
  • Headlines
  • Copywriting
  • Layouts

All packed into 35 chapters of ad copywriting secrets that are easy to follow even as a beginner.

Caples is known for conducting rigorous tests to achieve the most optimal results…

And the best part?

He teaches you how to do it too.

If you’re looking for a data-driven approach to ad copywriting…

This is a winner.


12. The Boron Letters By Gary Halbert

Best for Direct Response Copywriting

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Into direct response copywriting?

I can’t think of a better book that The Boron Letters.

It’s the ultimate guide on:

  • Persuasion
  • Selling
  • Navigating life’s challenges

… all wrapped up in a series of heartfelt letters from a father to his son.

(who’s cutting onions…)

Every chapter is filled with actionable copywriting tips that can be implemented immediately and independantly to see a boost in conversions.

It’s a classic and a must-have in your arsenal.


13. The Copy Book By D&AD

Best for Learning From Examples and Essays by Top Copywriters

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The copy book is a collection of essays and works by 53 leading professionals in the advertising world.

These include powerhouse copywriters like:

  • David Abbott
  • Lionel Hunt
  • Steve Hayden
  • Dan Wieden
  • Neil French

What better way than to learn from the experience of those that have walked the talk?

You’ll learn the importance of creativity, brevity, and impact in advertising copy.

And even highlights the collaborations between copywriters and other creative professionals.

Another solid pick.


14. The Copywriter’s Handbook By Robert Bly

Best for Beginner Copywriters and Learning the Basics of Copywriting

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If you’re just starting and want a single source of truth…

The copywriter’s handbook offers a bachelors degree worth of foundational copywriting.

Robert Bly highlights that copywriting is basically just sales behind a keyboard.

And he covers everything from basic copywriting frameworks to more nuanced techniques like:

  • Why the word “Free” is the most important word in copywriting.
  • How 80% of readers read the headlines and skip the rest. Essentially emphasizing how to nail this.
  • How to use your customers’ words against them to get increase conversions

It’s the copywriting 101 class you wish you had in school.


15. The Mom Test By Rob Fitzpatrick

Best for Understanding Customer Needs and Conducting Effective Market Research

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You know how your mom will lie to spare your feelings?

That’s what “The Mom Test” by Rob Fitzpatrick seeks to eliminate.

Because who gives a sh*t about your feelings…

You want the truth when it comes to customer research.

People tend to lie to avoid hurting your feelings. And that leads to useless redirection and bias.

But that has no value in writing highly persuasive copy that hits the nail on the head.

The book teaches you:

  • How to ask the right questions
  • How to avoid bias during customer interviews
  • How to handle misleading responses

You’ll perfect the art of understanding your ideal customer avatar to turn your words into impactful money-makers. 

Trust me. You won’t regret it.


16. The Tall Lady With The Iceberg By Anne Miller

Best for Using Metaphors To Create Persuasive Copy

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Do you like metaphors?

I sure do.

The Tall Lady With The Iceberg highlights the power of metaphor to explain, persuade, and sell anything to anyone.

(Yes even your grandma)

The book provides insights into the effective use of metaphors in communication, helping readers create more compelling and persuasive messages.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Use metaphors in your copy to create vivid images in the reader’s mind. Making your message more memorable and engaging.
  • Simplify complex concepts by making them relatable and not dry AF.
  • Evoke emotions
  • Tailor metaphors to resonate and cause that switch in your audience’s head to “click.”

I love how metaphors add an irreplaceable level of personality and humor to any copy.

It’s also one of my favorite ways to humanize AI text.

I’d say GET IT.


17. Finding the Right Message by Jennifer Havice

Best for Turning Customer Voice Into Irresistible Website Copy

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Finding the Right Message is another killer copywriting book on customer research.

But compared to The Mom Test By Rob Fitzpatrick, which focuses on how to talk to customers…

Jennifer Havice teaches specifically how to create persuasive copy using customer insights.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Use the language of your customers
  • Focus on the problems rather than features
  • Conduct tests and analyze results to supercharge your copy

It’s another solid book to dive deep into the minds of customers…

You can’t go wrong with it.


18. Wired For Story By Lisa Cron

Best for Understanding the Power of Storytelling in Copywriting

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Storytelling is one of the most fundamental concepts in copywriting that many just suck at.

Human are hardwired for expectations and there is a specific framework that makes them tick.

Wired for Story is that bible you need to follow.

You’ll learn:

  • The science behind storytelling and how it affects the human brain
  • Unique engagement copywriting tactics
  • How to use conflict and tension to keep the audience invested

And many more secrets that copywriters use to understand cognitive processes involved in storytelling.

The lessons can be applied not only to fiction writing but also to advertising, social media content, and other forms of communication.

In essence, it’s going to make you a better “copy-teller.”


19. Words That Sell By Richard Bayan

Best for Creating Impactful Headlines and Persuasive Language

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Words That Sell by Richard Bayan is essentially a thesaurus of over 2,500 high-powered words, phrases, and slogans that can make a significant difference in selling products or services.

It covers everything from “snappy transitions” to “knocking the competition” and “grabbers”.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Find the right words and phrases to evoke emotions
  • Add muscle to copy by using powerful verbs and adjectives
  • Target copywriting niches effectively

It also includes a concise copywriting primer and a special section on selling yourself.

The headline is the single most important part of your entire copy.

Screw that up, and no one is reading the rest of your content.

This book should be one of the top 3 must-haves on this list.


Best Copywriting Books (FAQs)

What Should I Read To Be a Better Copywriter?

In my opinion, you should be reading Words That Sell By Richard Bayan, Breakthrough Advertising By Eugene Schwartz, The Copy Book By D&AD, and Made to Stick by Dan and Chip Heath to be a better copywriter.

Everything else is extra credit but good to know.

Which of These Books Focus Specifically on SEO Copywriting?

How To Write Seductive Web Copy By Henneke Duistermaat is one of the best books that focuses specially on SEO copywriting and web copy.

However, I also strongly recommend you pick up The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization by Eric Enge, Stephan Spencer, and Jessie Stricchiola to get a solid foundation in SEO.

What Are Some Copywriting Books That Cover the Psychology of Persuasion?

Influence: The Psychology Of Persuasion By Robert Cialdini, Wired For Story By Lisa Cron and Ogilvy On Advertising By David Ogilvy are some copywriting books that cover the psychology of persuasion.

What Are Some Copywriting Books That Focus on Writing for Social Media?

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook By Gary Vaynerchuk is a solid book that focuses on writing for social media.

What Are Some Copywriting Books That Cover the Use of Humor in Persuasion?

Though not specifically for humor, The Tall Lady With The Iceberg: The Power Of Metaphor To Sell, Persuade, & Explain Anything To Anyone By Anne Miller cover how to use metaphors in your copy. You can incorporate the lessons and principles from the book while choosing humors and relatable examples.

What Is the Best Book Every Copywriter Should Have in Their Library?

The Adweek Copywriting Handbook by Joseph Sugarman is arguably one of the best books every copywriter should have. Sugarman effectively covers all areas of copywriting, from the fundamentals to creating copy that resonates with the audience.

Can I Learn About Direct Marketing From Any of the Best Books for Copywriters?

Yes, you can. Adweek Copywriting Handbook by Joseph Sugarman explores 31 psychological triggers that can be used in direct marketing to prompt a response from customers. 

Besides Reading, How Else Can I Become a Better Copywriter?

You can also take courses, perform copywriting exercises, work for an agency or company.

To Sum Up

If you want to master copywriting…

You gotta read it no matter if you like it or not.

Otherwise, it’s like saying you want to be a videographer but don’t want to watch videos.

It doesn’t work like that.

Consume content in the same medium you want to improve in.

These 19 best copywriting books will cover all your bases to be a wizard with words.

But if you are really THAT lazy…

Here are some copywriting quotes to get you primed.

Please do me a favor by sharing this article and commenting below.

P.S. One more thing before you forget…

Join my newsletter, The Raw Baw

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Article by

Brendan Aw

Brendan founded brendanaw.com™ to help others start and grow a creator business. He brings over 6 years of executive marketing experience from startups in E-commerce, NFTs, Crypto, Fintech, E-sports and Agencies. Now, he’s growing his family’s 7-figure luxury lighting business in Cambodia and his creator platform. Brendan received his Bachelor of Commerce with a double major in Accounting and Finance from the University of New South Wales. He also has a background in Data Science.

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