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 that drive us to say yes. Including how compliance professionals including vendors, marketers, and artists use them against us. Understanding these principles will allow you to become a competent persuader yourself and defend yourself from deceptive attempts.

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Pre-suasion by Cialdini

By Robert Cialdini

Pre-Suasion (2016) is about the art of influence. It shows in particular, that the influence of the pre-suader plays a role in our emotions, making his product or agenda more crucial than it is. Be it your mother or educator, a sales manager, sponsors, press and even spiritual candidates, a pre-suader understands how to set the stage and the performance you need.


Hooked by Eyal

By Nir Eyal

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


Brainfluence by Dooley

By Roger Dooley

Brainfluence (2012) explores the unconscious thoughts and motivations that influence our decision-making process and provides tips and tricks on how knowledgeable marketers can use them. You can increase your sales while keeping your customers happier by understanding the mechanisms that trigger behavior.


Neuromarketing by Renvoise and Morin

By Patrick Renvoisé & Christophe Morin

Neuromarketing (2002) offers insights into how we make purchasing decisions by drawing on brain research and creative marketing techniques. Understanding the old decision-making processes of the brain will provide you with the tools needed 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 helps to illuminate our day-to-day thinking “hiccups” so that we can better avoid them and start making better choices. The author provides us with an informative selection of all our most popular fallacies using both psychological studies and daily examples.


Switch by Heath and Heath

By Chip Heath & Dan Heath

Switch examines why people often find it difficult to change their behavior, and how it is possible to find shortcuts to make change easier by understanding the mind. Switch provides simple yet effective tools to implement changes through scientific studies and anecdotes.

Made to Stick

Made to stick by Heath and Heath

By Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Made to Stick is a book that changes the way you convey thoughts. It provides a fast-paced series of success stories (and failures), such as the Nobel Prize-winning chemist who consumed a glass full of bacteria to prove a point regarding stomach ulcers, the “Mother Teresa Effect”, and the elementary school teacher whose experiment actually prevented racial prejudice. Made to Stick illustrates the basic concepts of winning ideas and teaches us how we can use these laws to stick our own messages. It is informative, eyes open, and often surprisingly funny.


Nudge by Thaler and Sunstein

By Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein

Every day we make choices—about what to purchase and consume, about financial investments, about our children’s health and education, and about the issues that we support or the world itself. We often choose poorly, unfortunately. Nudge is about how these choices are made and how we can make them better. Through hundreds of eye-opening observations and building on decades of behavioral science studies, Nobel Prize winner Richard H. Thaler and Harvard Law School professor Cass R. Sunstein illustrate that no option is ever posed to us in a neutral manner and that we are all vulnerable to biases that can drive us to make bad decisions. But we can use sensible “choice architecture” to nudge people by knowing how people think.

Predictably Irrational

Predictably irrational by Ariely

By Dan Ariely

Predictably Irrational (2010) describes the irrational manner in which we behave each day. Why do we decide to eat less and then give it up once we see a tasty dessert? Would your mother be insulted if you tried to pay her for a Sunday meal that she lovingly prepared? What’s the reason pain medication is more effective when the patient is told it is more expensive? Studies and anecdotes are used to analyse and explain the reasons and solutions for these and other irrationalities.

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Thinking, Fast and slow by Kahneman

By Daniel Kahneman

In Thinking, Fast and Slow (2011) –a recap of the decades of research that contributed to Daniel Kahnemans’ Nobel Prize winning– he discusses his contributions to our modern understanding of psychology and behavioral economics. Over the years, Kahneman and his collaborators have made a significant contribution to a modern understanding of the human brain, whose research the book addresses at length. We now have a better understanding of how to make decisions, how common mistakes of judgment are so widespread, and how to develop ourselves.

Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ

Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ by Daniel Goleman

By Daniel Goleman

Daniel Goleman explains in this masterpiece how the intelligence of a person is about not only IQ, but also emotional intelligence. It includes the ability to empathize and handle social relationships, as well as the ability to control your own thinking and behavior. With scientific studies and real-life illustrations, the book explains the psychology and physiology behind emotions. He explains why one’s schooling is essential to the growth of emotional intelligence and offers ideas on how to incorporate special training into future generations’ education.


Buyology by Lindstrom

By Martin Lindstrom

Day in and day out, thousands of brand photos, logos, and advertisements are bombarding us to buy their products. However, there are only a few ads that motivate us to whip out our wallets. Why? Using state-of-the-art neuromarketing methods, Buyology answers that question and explores the hidden motivations behind our purchasing decisions.

Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking

Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

By Malcolm Gladwell

Blink (2005) is a guide to making the right decision. Malcolm Gladwell suggests that our intuitive gut instincts can generally be trusted. Most of the time, these initial, rapid decisions are less mislead by irrelevant information taken into account during thorough analyses. On the other hand, gut decisions are vulnerable to cognitive biases that influence the perception and attention of an individual. The book tells us in a more thorough and rational way when to listen to our instincts and when to reason through it. To illustrate human decision-making, Gladwell uses research and examples from a variety of fields.

Webs of Influence

Webs of Influence by Nahai

By Nathalie Nahai

We are facing an unparalleled level of competition as millions of companies try to set up a virtual shop to win over and keep new customers online.
The ability to communicate with your clients, cultivate your relationships and appreciate the dynamics behind what makes them click is at the core of this battlefield.
In The Web Psychologist, Nathalie Nahai draws expertly from the fields of psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral economics to give you the latest developments, cutting-edge methods, and insightful observations that will contribute to online success.
Webs of Influence provides the tools you need to build a persuasive, successful and efficient digital strategy that will propel your company to the next level–with spectacular results.

The hidden brain

The hidden brain by Vedantam

By Shankar Vedantam

When you make the most important decisions in your life, remember the voice in your ear that you’re barely aware of? That’s the subconscious brain. It decides who we love and who we hate, asks us to vote for the white candidate and convict the dark-skinned defendant. And to recruit the thin woman but pay her less than the person who does the same job. If disaster strikes, our brain will lead us to safety and push us to exceptional acts of altruism. However, transforming an ordinary person into a suicide bomber or a crowd of people into a mob can also be exploited.
Shankar Vedantam travels through the latest findings in neuroscience, psychology, and behavioral science in a series of compulsively readable narratives to reveal the darkest corner of our minds and their profound impact on the choices we make as individuals and as a society. Filled with fascinating characters, thrilling storytelling, and cutting-edge science, this is a fascinating exploration of the mysteries that our brains hold of us— and how they reveal themselves.

Consciousness Explained

Consciousness explained by Dennett

By Daniel C. Dennett

Consciousness Explained is a full-scale human consciousness discovery. Daniel Dennett disproves the conventional theory of consciousness in this groundbreaking book and presents a new model based on a wealth of information from the fields of neuroscience, psychology, and artificial intelligence. Our current theories of conscious life-of humans, animals, even robots-are transformed by the new perspectives in this book.


Decoded by Barden

By Phil P. Barden

In this groundbreaking book, Phil Barden discusses what the science of decision says about the purchasing behavior of people and clearly shows its importance in advertising and marketing. He shares the latest research on the reasons behind consumer choices and what happens when consumers make their choices. To explain why people purchase them, Phil decipheres the’ secret codes’ for goods, services and brands. And finally, by dramatically improving key factors such as importance, distinction and reputation, he shows how to apply this insight in day-to-day advertising to significant effect.

Neuro Design

Neuro Design by Bridger

By Darren Bridger

Today, companies of all sizes are generating a lot of creative graphic media and content, including websites, presentations, videos and posts on social media. Many large companies now use neuroscience research and hypotheses to improve their digital content, like Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Tesco, and Google. Neuro Design opens up this new world of neuromarketing design concepts and suggestions and presents insights from the growing neuroesthetics sector that will allow readers to improve their website’s customer engagement and raise profitability. Online resources provide references to motivational reading and additional resources on the website.

The Buying Brain

The Buying Brain by Pradeep

By A. K. Pradeep

Up to 95% of our decisions are made by the subconscious mind. As a result, the largest and most sophisticated companies in the world are applying for the latest advances in neuroscience to create brands, products, package designs, marketing campaigns, store environments, and much more, designed to appeal to our brains directly and powerfully. The Buying Brain provides an in-depth overview of how state-of-the-art neuroscience influences how we make, purchase, sell, and enjoy everything, and also asks deeper questions about how this new knowledge can improve the lives of consumers.

Bonus: How emotions are made

How Emotions Are Made by Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD

By Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD

How Emotions Are Made (2017) questions everything you think you know about emotions. By learning how our brain detects anger, fear, and happiness, to thinking historically about these emotions, you can come up with a new understanding of how emotions are formed and how culture as a whole defines their scope.

Introduction to neuromarketing & consumer neuroscience

Introduction to neuromarketing and consumer neuroscience by Ramsøy

By Dr. Thomas Zoëga Ramsøy

How do we make decisions on what to buy and what to pay for it? Why are we affected by brands and pricing when making our choices or just experiencing something? Traditional approaches to such questions have relied on the behavioural and social sciences. However, today we see a dramatic shift in our understanding of consumption behaviours. Recent advances in modern neuroscience, and how it combines with economics and psychology, have allowed us to study of how different brain functions serve consumer behaviour. A commercial industry is emerging that offers novel ways to assess consumer attention, emotion and memory. This book, written by one of the leading figures in neuromarketing and consumer neuroscience, offers a comprehensive insight into the workings of the brain and its mind, and how this knowledge can inform our understanding of consumption behaviours. The book offers both basic and front-end academic insights, and includes chapters on sensation and perception; attention and consciousness; emotion and feeling; memory and learning; motivation and preference; and decision making. It also offers up to date and comprehensive insight about how the tools of neuroscience can be applied to assess consumer cognition and emotion. This book works as a landmark for this emerging academic and commercial disciplines, and to become a standard book of reference, just as the textbooks by Kotler and Keller have been for advertising and marketing.

Decoding the new consumer mind

Decoding the new consumer mind by Yarrow

By Kit Yarrow

A decade of swift and stunning change has profoundly affected the psychology of how, when, and why we shop and buy. In Decoding the New Consumer Mind, award-winning consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow shares surprising insights about the new motivations and behaviors of shoppers, taking marketers where they need to be today: into the deeply psychological and often unconscious relationships that people have with products, retailers, marketing communications, and brands.

Drawing on hundreds of consumer interviews and shop-alongs, Yarrow reveals the trends that define our transformed behavior. For example, when we shop we show greater emotionality, hunting for more intense experiences and seeking relief and distraction online. A profound sense of isolation and individualism shapes the way we express ourselves and connect with brands and retailers. Neurological research even suggests that our brains are rewired, altering what we crave, how we think, and where our attention goes.

Decoding the New Consumer Mind provides marketers with practical ways to tap into this new consumer psychology, and Yarrow shows how to combine technology and innovation to enhance brand image; win love and loyalty through authenticity and integrity; put the consumer’s needs and preferences front and center; and deliver the most emotionally intense, yet uncomplicated, experience possible. Armed with Yarrow’s strategies, marketers will be able to connect more effectively with consumers—driving profit and success across the organization.

Evert Semeijn, PhD

Techy co-founder that ensures quality service and a smoothly running organisation

Comments (4)

  • Patrick Renvoise

    Dear Dr. Semeijn:

    Thank you for putting this list together!

    Although I agree with most of your choices, I have an issue with 3 of those books.
    1 Pre-suasion. Although I’m a total fan of Cialdini this book contains very little new concepts. In fact almost 50% of the book is just old references! It really feels like the book was published for nothing more than selling a few copies based on the fame of the author!
    2 Biology and 3 The buying brain. Those don’t bring much especially when you compare them to Think Fast and Slow or Predictably Irrational or Nudge.

    By the way have you read: Before you know it?… I think it might make it to your top list.

    I am the co-author of NeuroMarketing which you have kindly listed and we are now releasing our second book titled “The Persuasion Code” (available mid september on Amazon). You might also like it but here I might be a little biased!!!

  • Hi Patrick,

    thanks for sharing your thoughts. We think you’re mostly right and still, we have our reasons for including them 🙂

    Buyology and the Buying Brain are indeed not for experts. It does –however– give some good insights for those completely new to the field.

    As for Pre-suasion: although most of the content is recycled, it is packaged in such a way that attentive readers get to see the ‘priming matrix’. We believe this is actually one of the better books to get a basic understanding of how we’re subconsciously influenced.

    We’ll definitely check out ‘Before you know it’. And feel free to send us a copy of your new book if you want us to review it on our website!

  • Hi Dr Semeijn

    Many thanks for including my book ‘Decoded’ in your list.

    I would, however, caution your readers about ‘Buyology’ as a recommended text. You may not be aware that 45 neuroscientists wrote to the New York Times following an Op Ed that Lindstrom published, complaining about the claims in his book and their lack of scientific validity. You can find the letter here;

    I hope you find this useful.
    Phil Barden

  • Hi Phil,

    Your book is great, it deserves to be in this list 🙂

    Regarding Buyology, thanks for bringing this to our attention. We strongly support your statement, urge readers to read the mentioned article, and would like to add some context.
    The value of Buyology is -in our eyes- not in the soundness of the scientific research. Instead, novice readers grow an understanding of what the potential of neuromarketing is. Also, although sometimes oversimplified, Martin did a great job of creating awareness for the neuromarketing industry. That’s why it’s on this list.

    Thanks again

Comments are closed.


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