How the Moonies Work the Airports and how Jim Jones Got His Followers to Drink the Poisoned Kool-Aid
If you're serious about copywriting you should do as much research on your craft as you can. Reading direct mail and copywriting classics will not only make you a better copywriter but you'll know more about advertising than 90% of the people in the business.
Recently, John Forde recommended Robert B. Cialdini's "INFLUENCE: The Psychology of Persuasion". It answers the questions of how the Moonies work the airports and how Jim Jones got his followers to drink the poisoned Kool-Aid.
Cialdini originally wrote the book to understand why he himself was buying things he felt he didn't need. It's not only a great handbook for marketers, it's also a fascinating read:
Another book that's a "must" for copywriters is Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People" – which has just been dubbed The Business Book of the 20th Century by British Airways.
Since it was first published in 1936, it's sold over 15 million copies. And today, the unofficial "cult of Carnegie" numbers in the millions worldwide.
With credentials like those, you can't afford not to read it.
You can buy the book online at: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0671723650/
Or Carnegie summarized his key points before he died (in 1955) – and I just read them online, start to finish, in less than 3 minutes. Click on: http://www.westegg.com/unmaintained/carnegie/win-friends.html
Here are a few others:
David Ogilvy's Ogilvy on Advertising http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/039472903X/
Claude Hopkin's My Life in Advertising and Scientific Advertising http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0844231010/
John Caples' How to Make Your Advertising Make Money http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0134235908/
Bob Bly's The Copywriter's Handbook http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0805011943/
Bob Bly's The Complete Idiot's Guide to Direct Marketing http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0028642104/