Top 10 Books on Growth and Growth-Hacking

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    Home / Growth / Top 10 Books on Growth and Growth-Hacking

    It is hard to believe that there once was a time when Airbnb, Pinterest, or LinkedIn didn’t even exist, let alone became household names for virtually every individual in society today.

    There was a time when these companies were just niche websites frequented by select groups of people, but now their success is undeniable as they have revolutionized how we travel as well as our ability to create things while also providing a platform for finding new jobs all over the world.

    What is the secret behind how these companies became so successful? 

    Contrary to popular belief, they didn't just explode to worldwide popularity with a great product. There was a careful and studied methodology involved in their rise.

    This methodology is called Growth Hacking; its practitioners include not only today’s hottest startups but also the companies like IBM, Walmart, and Microsoft, as well as the millions of entrepreneurs, marketers, managers, and executives who make up the community of Growth Hackers.


    10 books that will take you through different aspects of growth marketing await you in this article.

    Are you ready to be a part of the growth team?

    1- Hacking Growth by Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown

    Hacking Growth

    The book Hacking Growth: How Today's Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success is a great way to understand the basics of growth hacking. Breaking traditional marketing norms, this book shows you the road to a whole new world in terms of rapid growth, which is acquired through thinking like a marketer with a growth hacker mindset. Having cross-functional teams, performing rapid tempo testing, focusing on customer lifetime, and finding the right growth hacking strategy are just some of the topics this valuable book touches upon.

    Since its release, it has been used in many different industries and cases of business success—some companies that have applied growth hacking tactics include Facebook, Twitter, and Google. The authors Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown, the founder of and the growth product manager of Facebook, respectively, put all they know into the making of this guidebook exactingly to prove to readers that old marketing strategies might not work in today's online-driven market.

    The book Hacking Growth is a great way to understand the basics of growth hacking.

    In other words, this book provides insight into how the growth hacking process works and will help you find your success.


    Hacking Growth: How Today's Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success Review

    2- Explosive Growth by Cliff Lerner

    Explosive Growth

    Filled with insightful and entertaining stories, this book will help you turn your own startup into a huge success or fill you in on what not to do to end up as a failure.

    The best-seller Explosive Growth: A Few Things I Learned While Growing To 100 Million Users - And Losing $78 Millions is rich in examples, starting with the first online dating app and how it grew to 100 million users. While talking about his experience, Lerner goes all in about the old Facebook ecosystem, which brought all potential customers to its door and made him acquire revenue from the people of the digital world with ease.

    Don't forget that not all stories have a good ending; thus, this book includes real-life examples that are filled with lessons for you to consider before impulsively acting on your decisions. Packed with expert advice on everything from marketing and branding to generating buzz over social media, this book has all the information you need to grow your business massively.

    According to the description on the Amazon page of this book, you will learn how to:

    • IGNITE EXPLOSIVE GROWTH by creating a remarkable product,
    • identify the ONLY 3 METRICS THAT MATTER,
    • explore valuable VIRAL GROWTH strategies to grow rapidly,
    • execute the GENIUS MEDIA HACKS that helped us acquire 100 million users,
    • and create a thriving culture of PASSIONATE EMPLOYEES and CONSTANT INNOVATION.


    Explosive Growth: A Few Things I Learned While Growing To 100 Million Users - And Losing $78 Million Review

    3- Traction by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares


    Ever wondered what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur?

    Well, the answer is probably not what you think—it’s not about having an original yet complex product that is managed by a brilliant team that can make it all happen.

    It’s not about being original or having a brilliant team. 

    The key to success is how consistently you can grow and acquire new customers. This concept is called traction, and it makes anything and everything easier—fund-raising, hiring press partnerships, and even acquisitions. That is why this book focuses on the concept of creating a whole new understanding of the customer base, making you concentrate on the acquisition channels that will generate more customers by reaching a bigger audience.

    Talk is cheap, but traction is hard evidence that you’re on the right path. To get a better view of your user base, read this growth hacking book Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth which teaches you the nineteen channels to build a customer base and how to pick the right one for your business.

    According to the description on the Amazon page of this book, you will learn how to:

    • Find and use offline ads and other channels your competitors probably aren’t using,
    • get targeted media coverage that will help you reach more customers,
    • boost the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns by automating staggered sets of prompts and updates,
    • and improve your search engine rankings and advertising through online tools and research.


    Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth Review

    4- Growing Happy Clients by Daphne Tideman and Ward van Gasteren


    First of all, you don't have to be a growth hacker to enjoy this book.

    The authors make it easy for the reader to follow and understand how they successfully hacked growth in their own work by providing readers with five principles that affect your relationship with customers, create a more loyal customer base, and bring about a (more) positive business impact. Moreover, this book is for anyone—you can be a traditional marketer who is new to growth hacking, part of the marketing team slowly getting into growth hacker marketing, or a manager that will apply growth hacking to the overall content marketing strategy.

    With a no-nonsense approach of the authors who spent at least ten years of combined experience, you'll learn everything that separates successful growth hackers from the average ones in Growing Happy Clients: Our processes & experiences for growing fortune 500 corporates & the fastest growing scaleups. Additionally, this book will help you gain the growth hacker mindset that you might lack—regardless of the knowledge and tools you have.

    According to the description on the Amazon page of this book, you will learn:

    • The five principles to handle any and every client you come across,
    • How to create internal fans within a company to ensure your contract gets renewed,
    • How to rid yourself of the confining label of Marketing and have a broader impact.


    Growing Happy Clients: Our processes & experiences for growing fortune 500 corporates & the fastest growing scaleups Review

    5- Don’t make me think by Steve Krug

    Don't make me think (revised)

    The most important book for every UI designer, growth marketer, and web designer for me is Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, mostly thanks to the witty approach the author takes when explaining the principles of intuitive navigation and information design.

    As the usability consultant Steve Krug explains in his book, if a visitor only needs to stop and think about their next step for one second on your website, it's probably not as intuitive as it could be; thus, it constructs a solid foundation with fundamentals for you to gain a more creative path in both user experience and web design.

    This book is a must-read for any growth hacker who wants to improve and enhance their improve their UX skills since it manages to display crucial concepts in a very practical way with lots of examples for you to grasp them and generate growth hacking ideas regarding even websites with ease.

    Do you want to deep dive into the world of UX with a growth mindset?

    "The most important thing you can do is to understand the basic principle of eliminating question marks," says the book.


    Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability Review

    6- The Paper Plane Plan by Ross Davies

    The paper plane plan

    The Paper Plane Plan: Growth hacking techniques especially for the B2B service industry is a blueprint for how companies in the B2B service industry can take advantage of growth hacking to grow their company.

    This step-by-step guide provides you with many examples that include successful business models, business plans, and the ideas that actually work for them. By reading it, you can consider new growth hack tools, tactics, and techniques as a base that will help you generate new ideas to implement in your own business. Thus, if you want to be aware of essential concepts that make up marketing, such as buyer personas, value propositions, and customer perception, give this insightful book a chance.

    According to the description on the Amazon page of this book, you will learn:

    • How to select the perfect marketing hack/idea for your business with practical examples,
    • how to get your current clients to spend x10 with you,
    • how to scale your marketing rapidly without extra effort,
    • and how the author Ross Davies applied these lessons to his own business, which was consistently growing by a minimum of 50 % per year for five years.


    The Paper Plane Plan: Growth hacking techniques especially for the B2B service industry Review

    7- Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday

    Growth Hacker Marketing

    Effective growth hackers have thrown out the old playbook and replaced it with testable, trackable, and scalable tools—they believe in modifying products and businesses until they get to activate explosive reactions.

    Marketing experts all over the world are giving Holiday's new growth hacking book rave reviews, claiming it is a must-read 'cause it includes several big names who didn't rely on traditional marketing at all. These names played big on growth hacking process to grow big as a business, which contains building a big audience to reach new users by using growth hack as a critical perception to make your dreams come true in the long run.

    Translated into more than 30 languages, Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising tackles the newest marketing trends and features, successful startups, brands, and small businesses that successfully implemented the notions that the author put out within his book to build their brand awareness. If you want to become a part of the transformation that growth marketers succeedingly pursue, then give this growth marketing classic in Silicon Valley a chance.


    Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising Review

    8- Hooked by Nir Eyal


    Nir Eyal's book sheds light on the psychology behind what makes a user come back for more.


    By supplying a four-step process that will answer all your questions, from hook cycles to customer behavior. These steps provide insight into successful products that you get to promote your product without relying on traditional marketing tools, such as advertising and direct mail. For example, you understand how products become sticky by influencing customer behaviors, thanks to the way Eyal puts his practical experience into words.

    In other words, he shows how to use triggers and rewards to encourage addictive behavior in consumers.

    Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products not only teaches an innovative way of looking at how we can incentivize retention throughout product development but also provides valuable insight into the world of growth hacking.

    According to the description on the Amazon page of this book, you will learn:

    • Practical insights to create user habits that stick,
    • actionable steps for building products people love,
    • and fascinating examples from the iPhone to Twitter, Pinterest to the Bible App, and many other habit-forming products.


    Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products Review

    9- Contagious by Jonah Berger


    Many people are familiar with the term “going viral,” but what is it about a person, idea, or product that makes them so popular?

    You can build several questions with this pattern.

    What makes some stories more infectious than others? How do different products and ideas go from being unpopular to wildly popular? Why does one online video get posted on Facebook 25 times while the other only gets viewed twice?

    The answer might surprise you: People don't listen to advertisements—they listen to other people's opinions.

    Just like the book states, "One way to generate surprise is by breaking a pattern people have come to expect." Thus, the author focuses on the concept of influence; to be more exact, how one thing can get to the spotlight by deriving value from the six basic principles that are all explained throughout the book. 

    Contagious: Why Things Catch On explores how things become popular, why some content goes viral, and what this means for advertising in general. No doubt that reading this book will make you realize that some specific techniques might make information spread faster than ever, and word-of-mouth might be a good source for shaping the ideas around you—only if you know how to use it to your advantage!


    Contagious: Why Things Catch On Review

    10- Growth Hacking: Silicon Valley’s Best Kept Secret by Raymond Fong and Chad Riddersen

    Growth Hacking

    Once in a while, there is an entrepreneur who comes along and redefines what it means to be successful.

    These people are often called “Growth Hackers” by Silicon Valley’s elite because of their ability to grow companies so quickly.

    But what exactly is Growth Hacking: Silicon Valley's Best Kept Secret?

    This book aims to answer all your questions on this phenomenon that has become the most sought-after job for entrepreneurs, marketing professionals, and even college graduates—it is all about business owners who want to take their business to the next level by growing their business. Throughout the book, the authors touch upon several concepts and practices to reinforce the idea of growth hacking in both sales and advertising.

    Give it a read to dig deeper into the mysterious world of Silicon Valley.


    Growth Hacking: Silicon Valley's Best Kept Secret Review


    There are a lot of resources that will help you pursue an approach with the growth hacking concept in mind.

    This article provides you with top 10 books on growth and growth hacking so that you can grasp the fundamentals and adjust your business plan according to them with ease.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is Growth Hacking?

    Growth hacking is a set of strategies that are used by companies that aim for a big amount of growth in a short period of time. The term itself is relatively new, especially after the spreading of startup culture.

    What does a growth hacker do?

    A growth hacker is a person who constantly searches for an effective way to ensure growth and achieve the best results at the lowest cost, making the whole process a win-win.

    How can you become a growth hacker?

    There are no clear fields for you to study in universities, but you need comprehensive training to become a growth hacker, just like any other job. You might start by searching for beginner-friendly courses, reading the books on the list we provided, understanding product and content marketing by experiencing some different roles in the industry and being open to trying new strategies.

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