Top 5 Books for Campaign Managers

New campaign manager on the block? Veteran consultant always leveling up? Here’s a list of 5 MUST READ books for your summer reading list.

by | May 30, 2024

Whether you are just starting your first job as a campaign manager or you’ve been in politics for more cycles than you can count, there’s always an opportunity to level up your game. But honestly, who has time to sit down with a stack of books? The ContactDrive team sat down to both compile a list of must read titles for political leaders and provide the essential takeaways at a glance. Enjoy!

The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns

Called the “Moneyball for politics” by Politico, The Victory Lab dives into how cutting-edge social science and analytics are reshaping the modern political campaign, replacing it with a new data-driven order. Journalist Sasha Issenberg tells the hidden story of how the analytical revolution is upending the way political campaigns are run in the 21st century. The Victory Lab follows the academics and operatives rocking the war room and re-engineering a high-stakes industry that was previously run on gut instinct and outdated assumptions. Provocative, clear-eyed and energetically reported, this book offers insights into political marketing, human decision-making, and the increasing power of analytics – perfect for any new (or old) campaign manager to learn how to maximize their resources to WIN!

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win

With a job as important as campaign manager, it’s crucial to take ownership and leadership over your campaign – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Extreme Ownership tells the story of two U.S. Navy SEAL officers who led the most highly decorated special forces unit of the Iraq War, demonstrating how to apply powerful leadership principles from the battlefield to business and life. In combat, the most intense and dynamic environment imaginable, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin learned some of the toughest leadership lessons, with absolutely everything at stake. Since leaving SEAL Teams and launching a company, the two have trained countless leaders and worked with hundreds of companies in virtually every industry across the U.S. and internationally, teaching them how to develop their own high-performance teams and most effectively lead those teams to dominate their battlefields. A compelling narrative with powerful instruction and direct application, Extreme Ownership challenges leaders everywhere to fulfill their ultimate purpose: lead and win.

Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen

What will your campaign’s brand be? If you use the wrong words to talk about your candidate, nobody will want to vote for them. So how do we connect with these people effectively? New York Times best-selling author and marketing expert Donald Miller shares the proven system he has created to help you engage and truly influence customers, which in this case, are the voters. In Building a StoryBrand, Miller teaches marketers and business owners to use the seven universal elements of powerful stories to dramatically improve how they connect with customers and grow their businesses. Whether you are the marketing director of a multibillion-dollar company, the owner of a small business, a politician running for office, or the lead singer of a rock band, Building a StoryBrand will forever transform the way you talk about who you are, what you do, and the unique value you bring to your customers.

Groundbreakers: How Obama’s 2.2 Million Volunteers Transformed Campaigning in America

How did the Obama campaign recruit, motivate, develop and manage their 2.2 million volunteers? Elizabeth McKenna and Hahrie Han tell just that story, and the transformation it had for the campaign world in Groundbreakers. While the roles within your campaign are vital positions, much of the real power is held among those unpaid local citizens who are ready to take responsibility for a new era. Republicans and Democrats alike can learn a lot from the story of the Obama campaign, and Groundbreakers documents how they were able to inspire a new way of running field campaigns – take a page out of their book, and get into the minds of the constituents before starting your campaign.

Sidewalk Strategies: Seven Winning Steps For Candidates, Causes And Communities

It’s at the local level that some of the most crucial decisions are made about education, healthcare, emergency services, environment, planning, development, transport – decisions that directly affect the quality of our lives. And it’s at the local level that ordinary citizens can still have a real impact on shaping their communities by getting involved. Through this book, Larry Tramutola gives us smart and effective guidelines for making real political change at every level. The only question now is, new campaign manager, what will your Sidewalk Strategy be?

If one of these books had an impact on how you plan to run your campaign, we want to help you continue to make that impact. ContactDrive is a tool that can be used to help you build and mobilize your network of supporters, advocates and donors. Sign up for your free trial today (yes, completely free, no credit card necessary) by visiting

Read one of our recommended books? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Send us a message on LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook.