Lessons In Not Sucking: 9 Must-Read Books

November 29, 2007 by

This is part nine in a series on Lessons In Not Sucking. Today I give you nine books that are must-read when it comes to not sucking. I admit, it is not a definitive guide, but you try narrowing down a list of nine. If you have your favorites–or if you disagree with mine–feel free to tell us in the comments.

  1. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
  2. Church Marketing 101 by Richard Reising

    Read the CMS review.

  3. Purple Cow by Seth Godin
  4. Mind Your X’s and Y’s by Lisa Johnson

    You can read my review over on Personality’s site.

  5. A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink

    Read the CMS review.

  6. Getting Real by 37signals

    We’ve mentioned this book here and here.

  7. The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

    Read the CMS review.

  8. Good To Great by Jim Collins

    Read the CMS review.

  9. Thinking for a Living by Joey Reiman

    You can read my review over on Personality’s site.

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Brad Abare


Brad Abare is the founder of the Center for Church Communication. He consults with companies and organizations, helping them figure out why in the world they exist, why anyone should care and what to do about it. He and his wife Jamaica live in Los Angeles with their daughter, MirĂ³.
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9 Responses to “Lessons In Not Sucking: 9 Must-Read Books”

  • Lex
    November 29, 2007

    Man … I’ve only read one of those. Can someone put those in order? Most important at the top, so I know where to start?


  • Adam Gregory
    November 29, 2007

    I would also suggest Simple Church by Thom Rainer. It is not technically a marketing book it delves into a lot of stuff that has to do with marketing.


  • Roland Thomas Gilbert
    November 29, 2007

    Thank you for acknowledging Richard Reising’s brilliance. I read Church Marketing 101 (I agree, “Worst. Title. Ever.”) about 1.5 years ago when I entered the church communications field. I highly recommend it, [dare I say] especially for pastors who think they know what “branding” is.
    Quite coincidentally, I blogged about it this morning.


  • Sam
    November 29, 2007

    I would add robinhood marketing.


  • Gene Mason
    November 29, 2007

    I’ve read all of these but one, and I’m going to suggest a book that many reading this blog would probably consider heresy, but it’s biblical and I think it explains some key conversations we need to be having in the North American evangelical church:
    Selling Out the Church: The Dangers of Church Marketing
    by Philip D. Kenneson
    For those who think “marketing” and “ministry” can peacefully coexist, I think it’s important to look at another perspective before drinking the Kool Aid. :)


  • ECC
    November 30, 2007

    I would add “Made to Stick” by Dan and Chip Heath. Good stuff.


  • greg wallace
    April 7, 2008

    CMS/CFCC is simply one of my favorite web sites to spend time on. As a lay leader in a urban church of under 100 with a congregation of primarily hookers and bikers (with the occasional little old lady from up the street) and a rockin’ kids ministry, you guys are very much at the center of providing much of our direction.
    That being said — didn’t you just know it would come to this? — what in the world are you doing with Seth Godin’s highly disposable “Purple Cow” on your list of Top 10 when there are so many other resources out there that are so more practical and better written? “High Intensity Marketing” and “Kellogg on Marketing” both are come to mind.
    “Purple Cow” is nothing more than a highly unoriginal book that basically says, To be different, be different! I love how one critical reviewer quoted Steve Martin’s advice on how to make ten million dollars: “First, start with nine million dollars.”
    Godin is hardly brilliant with his pithy premise: Make your company remarkable. Bright idea. Unfortunately, he is so carried away with being clever he never gets around to saying say how to do that, nor does he present any evidence apart from vaguely detailed and often confusing case studies and examples. And because the book was published in 2003, much of this part is now dated. I’m surprised you don’t recommend something a little more contemporary and targeted more toward church marketing, i.e. “Marketing Your Church to the Community.”
    But that’s just me. I’m sure there are lots of your readers for whom marketing is a brand new idea and they need a book like “Purple Cow” to give them permission to have ides. Too bad. What a waste of money. And you’re better than that.


  • Leigh Baldwin
    July 15, 2008

    I would also recommend “Simply Strategic Growth: attracting a crowd to your church” by Tim Stephens. I would also recommend “Pop goes the Church.” Anything Tim writes will be an incredible asset to your thinking. He is an amazing writer.



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