Books That Matter to Author & Consultant John Jantsch


Books That Matter is Tracking Wonder’s interview series that showcases influential thinkers’ and authors’ relationships with books that matter to them.

John Jantch offers consistently useful, grounded marketing advice for business owners and thought leaders who want to attract and engage their customers with real value. His blog is among my go-to for practical know-how. John’s influence skyrocketed when Thomas Nelson Publishing brought out his book Duct Tape Marketing in 2007. He has since built a team of certified consultants and produced more useful books, including SEO for Growth: The Ultimate Guide for Marketers, Website Designers, and Entrepreneurs. I wanted to know what books stick with the “sticky” marketer. John’s influences range from an architecture design philosopher to Holden Caulfield to Deepak Chopra. Enjoy.

Jeffrey: What one book most took off the top of your head (Dickinson on poetry) or was “the axe for the frozen sea within” you (Kafka) or otherwise just changed something profound within you? What did it do for you? Maybe a book that lit you up as a child or that turned you on as a young adult or last week that salved some pain or turned your thinking upside-down. 

John: The Practice of Management by Peter Drucker – I know this seems like a pretty dorky choice for a marketing guy, but Drucker was one of the first to actually understand that everything is marketing and so in his book aimed at managers he outlines the basis of my entire business and marketing point of view.

What one detail do you still recall from that book?

The purpose of a business is to get and profitably keep a customer!

Was there a book you imagined living inside of growing up?

White Fang – Jack London.

Is there a character you still imagine being or being friends or seeking counsel from ?

Ponyboy Curtis – he was Tuff.

What’s the one book you have most often re-read?

Spiritual Habits of Highly Successful People – Deepak Chopra – I think it feels like meditation.

What kinds of books are you most appreciating or seeking these days?

I’m reading a lot of older stuff right now – just finished Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac.

What kinds of books most irritate you?

I don’t get irritated at books.

You’ll read anything by whom?

Christopher Alexander.

Survey: Roughly what % of books do you read digitally versus in paper? (What’s your preferred reader?)

I like paper best, but the reality is I’m always dipping into a dozen books at a time so Kindle just makes sense.

In a sentence or two, what’s your forecast for the future of publishing?

I would like to think books that make us think will come back some day.

Which book would you want everyone to read? Why?

Catcher in the Rye. “But you can’t always tell – with somebody’s mother, I mean. Mothers are all slightly insane.” HC

What is a little-known book you most relish and champion?

The Timeless Way of Building – Christopher Alexander.

What book are you most embarrassed or proud to have never read?

Moby Dick – fits both embarrassed and proud.

If you had the time, talent, grit, and support, what book would you write?

A business fiction book.

What’s the one thing you hope readers of your book, Duct Tape Marketing:The World’s Most Practical Small Business Guide, come away with?

About 10 things they actually do!

Tracking Wonder - John JantschJOHN JANTSCH is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network. His latest book, SEO for Growth – The Ultimate Guide for Marketers, Web Designers, and Entrepreneurs, is changing the way the world thinks about SEO.​

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