Law Firm Marketers’ Favorite Business Books

I recently conducted a quick-and-dirty e-mail survey* of a select group of law firm marketers and consultants to get a read on what they read. More specifically, I asked these thought leaders to name their favorite marketing/sales/strategy books that I could recommend to readers of this blog. What I got back was a long list as many different favorites emerged. Two author names, however, came up again and again.

Leading the list: Malcolm Gladwell for his popular business books The Tipping Point and Blink; and David Maister for The Trusted Advisor (co-authored with Charles Green and Robert Galford) and Managing The Professional Service Firm. (Both author’s also have their own blogs — check out what they’re up to next at and at Maister’s Passion, People and Principals.)

At first I was surprised that Gladwell was appearing on the favorites list of so many legal marketers, but his books, after all, are best-selling business books and written in an entertaining story telling style. That legal marketers, who are often out in front at their firms in terms of business thinking, would enjoy and look to apply Gladwell’s observations to their own situations then is not so surprising after all. In fact, I found Blink, subtitled “The Power of Thinking without Thinking,” to have a huge impact on my own approach to marketing, when learning how quickly and subconsciously we all make split-second decisions based on the tiniest of cues.

Maister may be less known in the pop business press, but has attained guru status as author, speaker, blogger, consultant on the topic of professional services management. The Trusted Advisor is viewed as the bible for any professional services provider. A good habit for law firms would be to give every new hire a copy to be used as a handbook for his/her client service career. That law firm marketers are reading both these authors is good news for their firms and the clients they serve.

Below is the summary of the survey results.

The Top Ten (multiple nominations)

1. The Tipping Point and Blink – Malcolm Gladwell
2. The Trusted Advisor and Managing The Professional Service Firm – David H. Maister
3. The Woman Lawyer’s Rainmaking Game: How to Build a Successful Law Practice – Silvia L. Coulter
4. Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing – Harry Beckwith
5. How to Win Friends & Influence People – Dale Carnegie
6. Legal Business Development: A Step by Step Guide – Jim Hassett
7. SPIN Selling – Neil Rackham
8. Client at the Core: Marketing and Managing Today’s Professional Services Firm – August Aquila and Bruce W. Marcus
9. Move the Sale Forward: Increase Your Sales Through Human Connections – John Klymshyn
10. Law Firm Associate Guide to Personal Marketing and Selling Skills – Beth Cuzzone and Catherine MacDonagh**

Also Recommended (single nominations)

Change Your Questions, Change Your Life: 7 Powerful Tools for Life and Work – Marilee G. Adams
In Search of Excellence – Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman, Jr.
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t
The rainmaking machine: Marketing, planning, strategies, and management for law firms – Phyllis Weiss Haserot
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk! – Al Ries and Jack Trout
Influence Without Authority – Allan R. Cohen and David L. Bradford
Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In – Roger Fisher, Bruce M. Patton, and William L. Ury
Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators: From Idea to Execution – Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble
The End of Advertising as We Know It – Sergio Zyman
Zag: The Number One Strategy of High-Performance Brands – Marty Neumeier
Rainmaking Made Simple: What Every Professional Must Know – Mark M. Maraia
The Brand You 50 : Or : Fifty Ways to Transform Yourself from an ‘Employee’ into a Brand That Shouts Distinction, Commitment, and Passion! – Tom Peters
Marketing the Law Firm: Business Development Techniques – Sally J. Schmidt
Influence: Science and Practice (4th Edition) – Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D.
Even Eagles Need a Push: Learning to Soar in a Changing World – David Mcnally
Hope Is Not a Strategy: The 6 Keys to Winning the Complex Sale – Rick Page
Trust-Based Selling: Using Customer Focus and Collaboration to Build Long-Term Relationships – Charles H. Green

Do you have a favorite book to add to this list? Click on “comments” and let me know.

*Twenty out of 40 persons responded to this survey

** Available in June from ABA Books.

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Posted in Books, Law Firm Marketing, Marketing
2 comments on “Law Firm Marketers’ Favorite Business Books
  1. Beverly Loder says:

    One book that I have found invaluable in working with the lawyers at my firm is The Lawyer’s Guide to Marketing Your Practice, Second Ed., edited by Jim Durham and Deborah McMurray, with chapters written by an stellar cast of seasoned legal marketing professionals. and published by the ABA.

    Another excellent resource, also published by the ABA Law Practice Management Section, is The Lawyer’s Field Guide to Business Development by Bill Flannery. I am encouraging all the attorneys in our firm to read this handy guidebook.

    Beverly Loder
    Director of Marketing
    Shefsky & Froelich, Ltd.

  2. Jim Farrell says:

    Great list of books Amy, I have read a bunch of them. We brought Harry Beckwith into speak at one of our public seminars and will be brining in Neil Rackham on Dec 4, 2008. I just wrote a blog post on “Spin Selling – How to Make the Larger Sale” I would love to know your opinion on Spin Selling – feel free to leave a comment.

    The link to the blog post is:

    Thanks so much,