I don’t know it all. But I do know where to look it up.

Here are the marketing and language references and resources that I turn to most often.



Copyblogger. All about content marketing, but often relevant to print too. Lots of free, easy-to-search information and tutorials.

Neuromarketing. “Where Brain Science and Marketing Meet.” Breaking news about brain science relevant to marketing. Human beings are more emotional than rational, and buying decisions are largely based on subconscious motivations. Brain studies reveals the real reasons why we do what we do—they’re not always what we say or think they are.

Pro Copy Tips. Copywriting tips and resources. The author is a direct marketer. Direct marketing folks can easily measure customer response, so they know what works.


About Face. By Dan Hill, an authority on the role of emotions in consumer behavior. A nice, concise overview.

Ogilvy on Ogilvy. A marketing classic. Some things don’t change.

Resonate. By Nancy Duarte. Love this. How to use storytelling techniques normally reserved for cinema and literature in business and other communications.



The American Heritage Dictionary 5th edition (2012). A publishing-industry standard. Web 11 (below) has long been my go-to, because much of the book industry uses it. But AHD5 is more up-to-date for the moment, so I’ve begun consulting it regularly. It’s also the dictionary of choice at Copyediting (see below). Sometimes I check both dictionaries before making a spelling decision, especially concerning an evolving compound.

The Chicago Manual of Style. A workhorse of the editing profession. If your “editor” hasn’t heard of CMOS, find someone else. You can sign up for a free trial of the online version (I hardly crack my hard copy anymore).

Copyediting. The foremost newsletter for style advice, editing tips, and news on language trends. It’s been guiding professionals like me on best practices for more than 20 years.

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary 11th edition (2004). A publishing industry standard, it’s recommended by the Chicago Manual of Style (see above). Online, I use the thesaurus.


Garner’s Modern American Usage, 3rd Edition. The go-to grammar, usage, and style reference for many copy editors and writers, by Bryan Garner. It’s a fat, serious reference, yet pretty accessible. Here’s what the late David Foster Wallace had to say about the second edition in an April 2001 Harper’s magazine review: “The book’s ‘feel-good’ spirit (in the very best sense of ‘feel-good’) marries rigor and humility in such a way as to allow Garner to be extremely prescriptive without any appearance of evangelism or elitist putdown. This is an extraordinary accomplishment.”