Are you passionate about marketing, consumer behavior, psychology and human behavior in general?

Yes my friend, so am I. In order to support your interest on the topic here is a list of books I commonly recommend during my “Consumer Behavior” course at IUBH University of Applied Sciences or that for some reason have given me interesting insights.

Before reading, please note: Obviously there are many other interesting books outside this list. This is simply a selection. Also, books are not listed in any specific order.

In order to facilitate it, I have organized the list into: Didactic Consumer Behavior Books (for students taking “Consumer Behavior” courses”) and General Human Behavior (for students and professionals), covering interesting topics such as evolutionary psychology and behavior, modes of thinking, history of humankind, smartphone addiction and much more.

Here we go!

Didactic Consumer Behavior Books

The books listed in this section are readings mostly recommended for students (bachelor or masters levels). They explain extremely well essential concepts such as attitude, perception, decision making process, motivation, segmentation, persuasive communication and many others.

PLEASE NOTE: In case you are a student, wishing to learn essential concepts, do not worry about the edition of these books. The description of the concepts do not change. The main difference among the editions lies in formatting, case studies and general examples. So you find cheaper older versions, go for it!

1. Consumer Behavior (Author: Leon Schiffman and Leslie Kanuk)

2. Consumer Behavior (Authors: Zubin Sethna and Jim Blythe)

3. Consumer Behavior: Buying, Having, and Being (Author: Michael Solomon)

4. Living Brands: How Biology & Neuroscience Shape Consumer’s Behaviour & Brand Desirability (Author: Constantinos Pantidos)

General Human Behavior

The books listed here focus on specific general topics. For example, evolutionary psychology, smartphone addiction, advertising and attention, behavioral economics, modes of thinking and more.

Again, the order of the books is random. There is no criteria.

I would recommend these for anyone interested in human behavior. They are not necessarily marketing books (on the sense of describing concepts). However they provide incredible insights about the origins of human behavior and discussions of behavior in very specific contexts.

1. The Consuming Instinct (Author: Gad Saad)

  • Why do I suggest this book? This is a very insightful book about evolutionary psychology and consumption behavior. You’ll learn for example, how survival and reproductive signaling influences product choices and portrayal. Extremely interesting!
  • Where can you find it? Amazon.

2. Misbehaving (Author: Richard H. Thaler)

  • Why do I suggest this book? Great read on behavioral economics. For a marketer, it may be a bit dry at times. But if you follow through you’ll derive incredible insights into how we make decisions that are not necessarily rational, thus showing how we “misbehave”.
  • Where can you find it? Amazon.

3. Thinking Fast and Slow (Author: Daniel Kahneman)

  • Why do I suggest this book? This is a true masterpiece. Generally, the book describes decades of research involving our two main modes of thinking: System 1, fast and intuitive; and System 2, slower and more rational.
  • Where can you find it? Amazon.

4. The Attention Merchants (Author: Ti Wu)

  • Why do I suggest this book? This is a great read into all possible tricks done by the advertising industry to capture the attention of consumers. If are interested in topics such as attention, retention and persuasion, you will love it.
  • Where can you find it? Amazon.

5. Sapiens (Author: Yuval Noah Harari)

  • Why do I suggest this book? You may ask yourself as to why I am recommending this book. But there is a very clear reason: in order to understand how and why we behave, going all the way back to the origins of humanity and going the process of forming societies and culture will clarify a series of reasons as to why we have and behave as we do currently in the society we have. It is an excellent read.
  • Where can you find it? Amazon.

6. Homo Deus (Author: Yuval Noah Harari)

  • Why do I suggest this book? This is an incredible read about human behavior and discussion as to where where society is moving to giving our current trends. Will we become immortal? What is the multi-connection of internet doing to us? Many factors of human behavior in relation to technological development are discussed and you will derive great insights. Also highly recommend it!
  • Where can you find it? Amazon.

7. Happiness by Design (Author: Paul Dolan)

  • Why do I suggest this book? Happiness is such an important concept that it is even being considered now a measure of development. Moreover, with this great read you will notice how well being and happiness are influenced and defined by most of our decisions we make, based on pleasure and purpose.
  • Where can you find it? Amazon.

8. The Shallows (Author: Nicholas Carr)

  • Why do I suggest this book? Smartphone addiction is a huge problem for many reasons. Not only it created new patterns of behaviors and is devaluing the creation and delivery of many services (such as entertainment) it is influencing the plasticity of our brains. And the truth is that we have no¬† idea what it will cause in the coming decades to our capacities to concentrate, retain and process information. Especially if you work with education and experiences, read this book.
  • Where can you find it? Amazon.

Final Suggestions

Obviously this is not an ultimate list and there are so many other books that could have been included (throughout time I will be adding others).

But for some reason these have triggered my curiosity more than others and this is why I am sharing.

Hope in some way they can also bring you insights and will enhance your curiosity for human behavior.

Turn it up!