Book Review: Scientific Advertising

Ian Lurie

I just finished reading Scientific Advertising by Claude C. Hopkins (1866-1932). It was first published 40-50 years ago, written by a guy who started his adult life as a lay preacher. Doesn’t sound like a great recipe for a guide to advertising in the internet age.

But this book is a must if you’re serious about advertising. Hopkins can get a little preachy (hello, started as a lay preacher) but his advice is sound, practical and timeless. Nuggets include:

  • Don’t use pictures unless they add to the message.
  • Measure everything.
  • Give specifics in your ads.

These methods work. They always have. They always will.

You don’t have to take my word for it though: David Ogilvy said:

“Nobody should be allowed to have anything to do with advertising until he has read this book (Scientific Advertising) seven times.”

Order it on Amazon.

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (that's more than 25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team, training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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