Author: Dr Evert Semeijn

The tech wizard, neuropsychologist and doctor. He has 15+ years of development experience. Translates business goals into practical solutions, often digital.
Top 20 must read neuromarketing books

Top 20 Neuromarketing Books You Must Read

We’ve selected 20 books about neuromarketing that we believe should be on your bookshelf.

Some of them give you a broad overview of neuromarketing and others deep-dive into the conscious and subconscious brain.


Influence by Cialdini

By Robert B. Cialdini

In his book ‘Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion’ (1984) Cialdini explains in detail the fundamental principles of persuasion that get us to say yes. Including how they are used against us by compliance professionals like salespeople, advertisers and con artists. Knowing these principles will allow you both to become a skilled persuader yourself and to defend yourself against manipulation attempts.


Pre-suasion by Cialdini

By Robert Cialdini

‘Pre-Suasion’ (2016) is about the art of influencing. In particular, it reveals that influence is about more than the specific wording of a pitch; it’s about how the pre-suader plays on our emotions, making his product or agenda seem more critical than it is. A pre-suader – be it your mom or your teacher, an advertiser or a sales agent, the media or even cult recruiters – know how to set the stage and get the desired result.


Hooked by Eyal

By Nir Eyal

Hooked (2014) explains, through anecdotes and scientific studies, how and why we integrate certain products into our daily routines, and why such products are the Holy Grail for any consumer-oriented company. Hooked gives concrete advice on how companies can make their products habit-forming, while simultaneously exploring the moral issues that entail.


Brainfluence by Dooley

By Roger Dooley

Brainfluence (2012) explores the unconscious thoughts and motivations that influence our decision-making process and offers tips and tricks on how savvy marketers can exploit them. By understanding the mechanisms that cause us to buy (or not buy), you can increase your sales while keeping your customers happier.


Neuromarketing by Renvoise and Morin

By Patrick Renvoisé & Christophe Morin

By drawing from brain research and innovative marketing techniques, Neuromarketing (2002) offers insights into how we make buying decisions. Understanding the brain’s ancient decision-making processes will equip you with the tools necessary to close deals and motivate people.

The Art of Thinking Clearly

The art of thinking clearly by Dobelli

By Rolf Dobelli

The Art Of Thinking Clearly aims to illuminate our day-to-day thinking “hiccups” so that we can better avoid them and start making improved choices. Using both psychological studies and everyday examples, the author provides us with an entertaining collection of all of our most common fallacies.


Switch by Heath and Heath

By Chip Heath & Dan Heath

Switch examines why it is often difficult for people to switch their behaviour, and how, by understanding the mind, it is possible to find shortcuts that make change easier. Through scientific studies and anecdotes, Switch provides simple yet effective tools for implementing changes.

Made to Stick

Made to stick by Heath and Heath

By Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Made to Stick explains why some ideas become popular, while others wither and die. The book lays out essential characteristics of “stickiness”; that is, what makes ideas “stick” in the mind, and how to make them work for you.


Nudge by Thaler and Sunstein

By Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein

The message of Nudge is to show us how we can be encouraged, with just a slight push or two, to make better decisions. The book starts by explaining the reasons for the wrong choices we make in everyday life.

Predictably Irrational

Predictably irrational by Ariely

By Dan Ariely

Predictably Irrational (2010) explains the fundamentally irrational ways we behave every day. Why do we decide to diet and then give it up as soon as we see a tasty dessert? If you tried to pay your mother for a Sunday meal she lovingly prepared would she be offended? What’s the reason pain medication is more effective when the patient thinks it is more expensive? The reasons and remedies for these and other irrationalities are explored and explained with studies and anecdotes.

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Thinking, Fast and slow by Kahneman

By Daniel Kahneman

Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow (2011) – a recapitulation of the decades of research that led to his winning the Nobel Prize – explains his contributions to our current understanding of psychology and behavioural economics. Over the years, Kahneman and his colleagues, whose work the book discusses at length, have significantly contributed to a new understanding of the human mind. We now have a better understanding of how decisions are made, why specific judgment errors are so prevalent and how we can improve ourselves.

Unconscious Branding

Unconscious Branding by van Praet

By Douglas Van Praet

Unconscious Branding (2012) reveals how marketers can tap into our subconscious, encouraging our participation in and support of company brands. In just seven steps, you’ll discover new strategies to guide your own company toward developing a brand with which customers can build a genuine relationship.


Buyology by Lindstrom

By Martin Lindstrom

Day in and day out we’re bombarded by thousands of brand images, logos and commercials enticing us to buy their products. However, only some ads motivate us to whip out our wallets. Why? Using cutting-edge neuromarketing methods, Buyology answers that question and explores the hidden motivations behind our purchasing decisions.

Neuromarketing for dummies

Neuromarketing for dummies by Genco and Pohlmann and Steidl

By Stephen J. Genco, Andrew P. Pohlmann & Peter Steidl

Neuromarketing is a controversial new field where researchers study consumers’ brain responses to advertising and media. It provides new ways to look at the age-old question: why do consumers buy? This book goes beyond the hype to explain the latest findings in this growing and often misunderstood field and shows business owners and marketers how neuromarketing works and how they can use it to their advantage. You’ll get a firm grasp on neuromarketing theory and how it is impacting research in advertising, in-store and online shopping, product and package design, and much more.

Webs of Influence

Webs of Influence by Nahai

By Nathalie Nahai

As legions of businesses scramble to set up virtual-shop, we face an unprecedented level of competition to win over and keep new customers online. At the forefront of this battleground is your ability to connect with your customers, nurture your relationships and understand the psychology behind what makes them click. In this book The Web Psychologist, Nathalie Nahai, expertly draws from the worlds of psychology, neuroscience and behavioural economics to bring you the latest developments, cutting-edge techniques and fascinating insights that will lead to online success. Webs of Influence delivers the tools you need to develop a compelling, influential and profitable online strategy which will catapult your business to the next level – with dazzling results.

The hidden brain

The hidden brain by Vedantam

By Shankar Vedantam

Remember that voice in your ear when you make the most critical decisions in your lives—but you’re never aware of? That’s the hidden brain. It decides whom we fall in love with and whom we hate, tells us to vote for the white candidate and convict the dark-skinned defendant, to hire the thin woman but pay her less than the man doing the same job. Our brain can direct us to safety when disaster strikes and move us to extraordinary acts of altruism. But it can also be manipulated to turn an ordinary person into a suicide terrorist or a group of bystanders into a mob. In a series of compulsively readable narratives, Shankar Vedantam journeys through the latest discoveries in neuroscience, psychology, and behavioural science to uncover the darkest corner of our minds and its decisive impact on the choices we make as individuals and as a society. Filled with fascinating characters, dramatic storytelling, and cutting-edge science, this is a gripping exploration of the secrets our brains keep from us—and how they are revealed.

Consciousness Explained

Consciousness explained by Dennett

By Daniel C. Dennett

Consciousness Explained is a full-scale exploration of human consciousness. In this landmark book, Daniel Dennett refutes the traditional, commonsense theory of consciousness and presents a new model, based on a wealth of information from the fields of neuroscience, psychology, and artificial intelligence. Our current theories about conscious life-of people, animal, even robots–are transformed by the new perspectives found in this book.


Decoded by Barden

By Phil P. Barden

In this groundbreaking book, Phil Barden reveals what decision science explains about people’s purchase behaviour, and demonstrates its value to marketing explicitly. He shares the latest research on the motivations behind consumers’ choices and what happens in the human brain as buyers make their decisions. Phil deciphers the ‘secret codes’ of products, services and brands to explain why people buy them. And finally, he shows how to apply this knowledge in day to day marketing to significant effect by dramatically improving key factors such as relevance, differentiation and credibility.

Neuro Design

Neuro Design by Bridger

By Darren Bridger

Today, businesses of all sizes generate a great deal of creative graphic media and content, including websites, presentations, videos and social media posts. Most big companies, including Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Tesco and Google, now use neuroscience research and theories to optimise their digital content. Neuro Design opens up this new world of neuromarketing design theories and recommendations and describes insights from the growing field of neuroaesthetics that will enable readers to enhance customer engagement with their website and boost profitability. Online resources include web links to inspiring reading and further website resources.

The Buying Brain

The Buying Brain by Pradeep

By A. K. Pradeep

The subconscious mind makes as much as 95% of our decisions. As a result, the world’s largest and most sophisticated companies are applying for the latest advances in neuroscience to create brands, products, package designs, marketing campaigns, store environments, and much more, that are designed to appeal directly and powerfully to our brains. The Buying Brain offers an in-depth exploration of how cutting-edge neuroscience is having an impact on how we make, buy, sell, and enjoy everything, and also probes more profound questions on how this new knowledge can enhance customers’ lives.

Bonus: How emotions are made

How Emotions Are Made by Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD

By Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD

How Emotions Are Made (2017) challenges everything you think you know about emotions. From learning how our brain registers anger, fear and joy to how we think about these emotions culturally, you’ll come away with a new understanding of the ways in which emotions are created and how their scope is determined by society at large.
Paradox of choice: why less is more!

Paradox of choice: why less is more!

It’s Saturday evening and you’re planning to have a romantic date with your Netflix account. Just the two of you, no one else interrupting, enjoying a movie to the fullest. You start browsing through what Netflix has to offer. There the first option of choice arises: are you in the mood for a happy-ending love story or Brad Pitt’s Moneyball? Or maybe a movie is not at all what you’re looking for. You start looking at the endless list of series and documentaries. At some point, you get overwhelmed by the amount of choice and after 30 minutes you’re still at the point of wandering around in the Netflix catalogue. This is a perfect example of what Barry Schwartz calls the Paradox of Choice, the idea that more choice leads to more psychological stress and less happy feelings.

Too much choice?

The paradox of choice explains that consumers experience a lot of stress because of all the choices they can make. One example of why this stress is caused is that people often begin to reconsider the trade-off of that decision in terms of missed opportunities. "Is the movie that I’m watching now giving me the satisfaction that I’m looking for? With one click, I can still switch to that other one." This reconsideration in return will affect the amount of satisfaction we experience from the decision. From a neuromarketing perspective, the brain will not focus on what it has, but on what it does not have.

Paradox of choice and the sweet spot

Does the whole idea of a paradox mean that the best thing to do is give no choice at all? No. Schwartz discovered a so-called sweet spot in the paradox of choice. The point where the number of choices is most effective on our subjective well being. To give you an idea, here’s a visual display of the paradox of choice and the sweet spot.

Paradox of choice and the Sweet Spot
The Sweet Spot

Applying this knowledge to consumer choice shows that a larger assortment of products like jam, chocolate or even pension plans results in less motivation to actually buy the product. The trick is now to find that sweet-spot: where you offer not too little, but also not too much.

What about eCommerce?

It’s interesting to know whether this paradox also applies to online marketing, webshops and websites. You would expect that online shopping would be able to ‘handle more options’ because of the filters you can apply. If you’re looking for a particular product you can use these filters to narrow down the enormous amount of choices that a webshop like eBay has to offer.

According to tech startup Bestmatch, this is indeed the case. They argue that reducing the number of choices you offer will have three positive outcomes for the customer:

  1. improving the quality of decision making
  2. making the process of buying a product less stressful
  3. more satisfaction with the decision after the purchase

Why your sales will increase by offering fewer products

This shows that for an online platform like a webshop, you need to create an environment that offers enough, but not too many options. The key here is to create filters that are easy to use. The whole idea of not too much choice is also applicable to online marketing: these need to be kept simple, logic but still informative. A website with an overload of menus and buttons will lead to more psychological distress and confusion. Too many pictures or colours will distract the brain from what really matters. Less is more is the key to success.