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Customer Psychology Books

I believe that, if we want to be effective at marketing and selling, we need to understand why customers buy what they buy, how they think about buying and what influences them to buy. This knowledge then provides the basis for us to present our business in the best light.

In recent years, the topic of neuromarketing has developed based on measurable activity in people’s brains. This has helped to close the gap between direct response marketing and brand based marketing which emphasises awareness of the brand and products or services.

You may have heard the cliche that customers buy emotionally and then justify rationally. There’s a lot of truth in that as I believe any significant purchase has to be approved by both the emotional and logical elements of our brains.

Below are the books about customer psychology I’ve reviewed at Amazon.co.uk.

My aim is to be a tough reviewer where five star books are highly recommended and four star books are also well worth reading. Three star books are worthwhile but not special enough to recommend. I try to avoid reading books that others have flagged up as disappointing so there is a bias towards the better books.


The Brain Audit: Why Customers Buy (And Why They Don’t) by Sean D’Souza -a great book that I regularly recommend to business owners |I’m working with. (This link takes you straight to my review.)

Sean D'Souza The Brain Audit

This is available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

Triggers: 30 Sales Tools You Can Use to Control the Mind of Your Prospect to Motivate, Influence, and Persuade by Joseph Sugarman – A classic marketing book with the key messages presented as stories. (This link takes you straight to my review.)

Joseph Sugarman Triggers

This is available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk


Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade by Robert Cialdini – A follow-up to a classic which will be seen as a must read but it left meeting feeling disappointed because I expected something great.

How Customers Think: Or, How Customers Like to Buy by Steve Deery –  a nice book about matching your selling style to the customer’s buying style.

The Persuasion Slide – A New Way to Market to Your Customer’s Conscious Needs and Unconscious Mind: Use Psychology and Behavior Research to Influence and Persuade by Roger Dooley – A nice mental model of the buying process. Amazon.co.uk

Buyer Legends: The Executive Storyteller’s Guide by Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenburg with Anthony Garcia – Customer persona plus use situation and moments of truth

7 Secret Motivators That Drive Your Customers to The BUY Button by Susan Friedmann – A nice introduction to why people buy.

Mindcontrolmarketing.Com: How Everyday People Are Using Forbidden Mind Control Psychology and Ruthless Military Tactics to Make Millions Online by Mark Joyner – A book with a story, withdrawn because the ideas were “too dangerous”.

Methods of Persuasion: How to Use Psychology to Influence Human Behavior by Nick Kolenda – A very interesting read although its hard to remember all the techniques without serious study and revision. In time, this could be promoted to 5 stars.

The Guerrilla Marketing Revolution: Precision Persuasion of the Unconscious Mind by Jay Conrad Levinson – An interesting start to a new way of marketing to the unconscious brain.

Influence!: 47 Forbidden Psychological Tactics You Can Use To Motivate, Influence and Persuade Your Prospect by Dan Lok – A well written book about psychological marketing tactics. Amazon.co.uk

Why People Buy by John O’Shaughnessy – A revealing book about consumer theory written for practitioners and academics but it’s nearly 30 years old. Amazon.co.uk

Neuromarketing: Understanding the Buy Buttons in Your Customer’s Brain by Patrick Renvoise and Christophe Morin -an easy-to-read introduction to the new scientific approach to marketing which helps to make sense of why direct response marketing and brand marketing work. (This link takes you straight to my review.)

Patrick Renvoise and Christophe Morin Neuromarketing: Understanding the Buy Buttons in Your Customer's Brain

This is available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

Reading Customers Minds: Why Customers Don’t Buy From You And What To Do About It by Lindsay Spencer-Matthews – Very interesting and well worth reading as it uses set theory to contrast what you and your customer know and believe to be true.

Emotional Copywriting Revealed by Timothy S Van Milligan – a very interesting book for those of us who can find it hard to switch from logical to emotional thinking. It looks at ten useful emotions for marketing and includes examples but my unfamiliarity with American TV adverts cost it a star. (This link takes you straight to my review.)

Timothy S Van Milligan Emotional Copywriting Revealed

This is available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

BrainScripts for Sales Success: 21 Hidden Principles of Consumer Psychology for Winning New Customers by Drew Eric Whitman – an interesting book but it could have been better if the author had spent more time on the 8 primary desires and 9 secondary desires that provide the underlying motivations for buying.


Zero to Psychographics: Your guide to uncovering your target audience using psychographics by Sarah Arrow – A short introduction that’s quite technical and loses focus on making the ideal target customer very human.

Decoded: The Science Behind Why We Buy by Phil Barden – mainly written for large fmcg companies and I felt it covered old ground rather than introducing much new.

Neuromarketing For Dummies by Stephen J. Genco, Andrew P. Poholmann and Peter Steidl -a technical look at neuromarketing but it’s more for academic use than small business owners.

Customer Avatar: Define Your Ideal Customer Profile by Richard G. Lewis – A short summary that introduces the idea rather than being a definitive source.


Unthinking: The Surprising Forces Behind What We Buy by Harry Beckwith – Long-winded and very American which makes it hard to understand the examples.

Psychological Triggers – Triggers That Cause Buyers to Open Their Wallets by Dr Treat Preston – best avoided because I found the style very irritating.


Emotional Intelligence for Marketing: Positive + Negative = Positive by Steve Young – Message to author – proofread it, give it to someone else to read, edit it and then try again.

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