50 Books Every Market Researcher Should Read

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With the explosion of user-generated content, we as a society create more content in a day than people did over the course a single year just a decade ago. Much of this content is quite useful, well written and value-driven, but it can often be difficult to sift through the resources.

Although it’s great to ride the wave of new digital information, it is also critical to go back to the fundamentals once in a while. For market research, and related industries and professions, these fundamentals are necessary to revisit from time to time, which is why we dove deep into our own collections to pick out the top 50 books every market researcher should read.

The Business Classics

These are the books that anyone who is remotely related to or interested in the business world should read. Make it a priority to read these age old classics that still stand high:

  • Good to Great — Jim Collins
  • In Search of Excellence — Tom Peters, Bob Waterman
  • The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail — Clayton M. Christensen
  • Awaken the Giant Within – Tony Robbins
  • Think and Grow Rich — Napoleon Hill
  • How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market — Gerald Zaltman
  • The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations — Ori Brafman & Rod A Beckstorm

Qualitative Research

With the plethora of new technologies and tools available to help conduct research, we are spoilt for choice. However, the foundations of the research remain the same – understanding the customer, their requirements, needs and preferences using age old, one-to-one qualitative interviews or focus groups.

The following list of books cover everything related to qualitative research, including conducting quality interviews, designing research projects, evaluating and analyzing qualitative interviews, and how to manage client expectations.

  • Qualitative Research & Evaluation Methods — Michael Quinn Patton.
  • Doing Qualitative Research: A Practical Handbook — David Silverman
  • Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches — John Creswell
  • The Coding Manual for Qualitative Researchers — Johnny Saldana
  • Qualitative Data Analysis: An Expanded Sourcebook (2nd Edition)  — Matthew B. Miles, A. Michael Huberman
  • How to Hire & Manage Market Research Agencies — Kathryn Korostoff

Networking

What is the best way to constantly grow your network? How do you manage and grow the relationships that you start? Answer these questions, and more, by getting started with these books.

  • Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time — Tahl Raz
  • How to REALLY Use LinkedIn — Jan Vermeiren
  • Breakthrough Networking: Building Relationships That Last (Third Edition) —  Lillian D. Bjorseth
  • Networking for People Who Hate Networking: A Field Guide for Introverts, the Overwhelmed, and the Underconnected — Devora Zack

Quantitative Research

With the huge growth in internet and smartphone usage, it has become increasingly important for researchers to keep up with the newest and most widely used technologies coming out. Reading the books below will give you a head start.

  • Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches — John Creswell
  • The Reviewer’s Guide to Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences — Gregory R. Hancock (Editor), Ralph O. Mueller (Editor)
  • The Market Research Toolbox: A Concise Guide for Beginners — Edward McQuarrie
  • Now You See It: Simple Visualization Techniques for Quantitative Analysis — Stephen Few
  • Mail and Internet Surveys: The Tailored Design Method — Don A Dillman

Gamification

Gamification has caught the eye of the research industry in recent years. If you’re a researcher and you haven’t equipped yourself with the latest gamification jargon, it’s definitely time to get started. Here are some of our favorite books that detail more about gamification processes and results.

  • Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World — Jane McGonigal
  • Gamification by Design Implementing Game Mechanics in Web and Mobile Apps — Gabe Zichermann, Christopher Cunningham
  • Game-Based Marketing: Inspire Customer Loyalty Through Rewards, Challenges, and Contests — Joselin Linder
  • Rock, Paper, Scissors: Game Theory in Everyday Life — Jane McGonigal
  • A Theory of Fun for Game Design –Raph Koster

Network Intelligence

Are you willing to do what it takes to become a market leader, and provide incredible information to your clients?  If you consider yourself as a leading market researcher, give reliable insights to your clients even before they ask by gathering intelligence.

  • Introduction to Online Competitive Intelligence Research (Business Research Solutions) — Conor Vibert

Consumer Behavior

Consumers drive the world with product and service expectations, as well as purchasing patterns. Every business depends on consumers to keep their wheels turning, so it’s beneficial to get inside their heads. Here are the top books you should read to help you understand consumers and their behaviors.

  • Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping–Updated and Revised for the Internet, the Global Consumer, and Beyond — Paco Underhill
  • Inside the Mind of the Shopper: The Science of Retailing — Herb Sorensen
  • Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy — Martin Lindstorm
  • The Paradox of Choice – Barry Schwartz
  • The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses – Eric Ries
  • The Thank You Economy – Gary Vaynerchuk
  • Predictably Irrational – Dan Ariely

Listening

Great listeners not only hear intently, but they also process, analyze and respond without skipping a beat. As researchers, our aim is to get as much information and insights about customers as we can, making listening a hugely important factor to research overall.

  • Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone –Mark Goulston M.D. (Author), Keith Ferrazzi (Foreword)
  • The Wisdom of Listening — Mark Brady
  • Are You Really Listening?: Keys to Successful Communication — Paul J., Ph.D. Donoghue, Mary E. Siegel

Personal Development/Psychology

As a researcher, dealing with individuals is a key part of your responsibility. By understanding fundamentals of human behavior and psychology in various environments and groups, you set yourself up beautifully to be a truly successful researcher.

  • Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman
  • The Dip – Seth Godin
  • Psychology — Daniel L. Schacter, Daniel T. Gilbert, Daniel M. Wegner
  • Psychology — Saundra K. Ciccarelli, Glenn E. Meyer
  • What Every BODY is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-Reading People — Joe Navarro, Marvin Karlins
  • 50 Psychology Classics: Who We Are, How We Think, What We Do; Insight and Inspiration from 50 Key Books — Tom Butler Bowdon
  • Group Psychology and The Analysis of The Ego — Sigmund Freud

Leadership & Management

This section is really the bread and butter of anyone interested in leading a successful business/research career. As you move up the ladder, you not only have to be really good at what you do, but also be good at managing and leading a team of researchers. Here are some of the most successful books to help you out with leadership and more.

  • Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life Without Losing Its Soul — Howard Schultz
  • Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence — Daniel Goleman
  • Questions of Character: Illuminating the Heart of Leadership Through Literature — Joseph L. Badaracco Jr.
  • A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age — Daniel H. Pink
  • What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful — Marshall Goldsmith, Mark Reiter
  • How to Win Friends & Influence People — Dale Carnegie

Although this is one of the most comprehensive lists for market researchers, it’s certainly not exhaustive as more great resources pop up. Did we miss any of your favorite books for market researchers? Let us know in the comments below!

Written By Chirag Ahuja

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