How Do I Choose the Best Consumer Behavior Books?

D. Nelson

Individuals who study consumer behavior are concerned with the factors that lead people to purchase certain products and services over others. To choose the best consumer behavior books, you should consider what your goals are. For example, if you are taking classes in consumer behavior, the best consumer behavior books are going to be those assigned by your instructor and included in your syllabus. Individuals who want books to help them develop as marketing or sales professionals, on the other hand, should choose books that enable them to learn about principles and practices that have relevant practical applications.

Many consumers want to read consumer behavior books because they are interested in the field.
Many consumers want to read consumer behavior books because they are interested in the field.

While students of subjects such as psychology, sociology, and economics should purchase consumer behavior books required by their instructors, they might also benefit from performing some additional reading. For instance, professors often provide students with suggested reading lists that prepare them for their classes. If this kind of list is not available, you might want to read books that provide you with basic understanding relevant to your course. For example, if you are taking a psychology class about consumer behavior, choose an introductory text that focuses on psychological and emotional reasons that cause people to make certain consumer decisions.

Consumer behavior books can provide readers with insights outside of their usual profession, such as ideas for marketing and selling products.
Consumer behavior books can provide readers with insights outside of their usual profession, such as ideas for marketing and selling products.

Professionals might use consumer behavior books to learn about ideas for marketing and selling products. In this case, you might want to find books related directly to your situation. For instance, if you are interested in online marketing, you should find consumer behavior books that are about making your page show up in Internet search results, and designing effective web pages. Professionals may also choose consumer behavior books that pertain to a particular industry. A restaurant owner, for example, can benefit from a book about how certain environments affect diners' appetites and comfort levels.

Many consumers want to read consumer behavior books because they are interested in the field, but they may not be scholars or professionals. In these instances, choosing the best book depends largely on your interest. If you prefer to read economics books, choose a text that is categorized as a business book. Individuals who prefer to think about social issues might choose books about current events.

When it comes to finding books that you enjoy, you might benefit from reading reviews. Professional book reviewers you trust can provide insightful commentary that triggers interest in certain selections. You might find, on the other hand, that reader reviews on forums and social networking sites provide you with a greater variety of perspectives.

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Discussion Comments


@Mammmood - Marketing books often talk about the emotional impulses that cause people to buy. I know, because I’ve had to use these books as references when I offer copywriting services. The major point is that people buy because of benefits.

You have to push the right buttons, so to speak. So when I’m evaluating a product I have to understand how to sell the benefits of the product, not its features. Features translate into benefits. The benefits should solve a problem that people are having. Sell the sizzle, not the steak, that kind of thing.


@NathanG - I’ve read in some marketing books that color affects people moods. Interior decorators know this a lot. Frankly, I don’t think that all restaurant owners understand it.

I was in one restaurant once that had a drab, depressing atmosphere. It was clear from the décor that the owners didn’t think color was all that important. It was an afterthought if anything. Perhaps they thought that the food alone would draw people.

Well, food is certainly the main factor I would agree. But the right environment creates a certain ambience. It makes you feel comfortable, like you want to stay longer. Obviously if you stay longer you might be more likely to order dessert or something else. So it does help your bottom line in my opinion.


@SkyWhisperer - That’s a good point. I think that any good books on consumer behavior should focus heavily on psychology and sociology. There’s a big “herd instinct” that drives consumers many times.

That’s why we’ve had phenomenon in the past like the pet rock or the Cabbage Patch dolls. Seriously, you look at these things and ask yourselves, “Why would anyone buy these as toys?”

But they did, and in droves, making their manufacturers very wealthy in the process. Of course the reality is that these are aberrant situations, maybe once in a lifetime opportunities. Still, the herd instinct is very real and if you can capitalize on it you can do very well.


I once read some books on search engine optimization. If you want to understand consumer behavior on the Internet, then there is no better place to start.

At the heart of search engine optimization of course are search keywords. There are ways to find out what people are searching for, and that gives you an idea of what they’re interested in. You can target your marketing campaign accordingly.

Also it’s important to realize that some search terms come and go. They’re trends, like buzz fashions in the real world. So if you’re going to capture these trends you need to act quickly.

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