Over at Hacker News, someone asked if we could recommend any fundamental reading on internet marketing. Here is my reply:
To get fundamentals and theory foundation, drop the “internet” part of your requirement. The internet is just another way to connect people.
All successful marketing comes down to a fundamental understanding of people, how we like to be spoken to, what captures our attention, and what messages stick.
Read my notes and excerpts on some of these books to get an idea if they're what you're looking for:
Small is the New Big - by Seth Godin
A “best-of” collection of small essays about marketing. Seth writes in general terms meant to give you perspective, change the way you think about marketing, and inspire you to actions, no matter how small, that make all the difference. Read anything by Seth Godin (as others here have said), but this is his best overview.
Made to Stick - by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
A deep analysis of what makes certain ideas or stories memorable.
You, Inc - The Art of Selling Yourself - by Harry Beckwith
Harry Beckwith is amazing. Read everything by him. This is just his newest. He's the best at reminding you how basic human consideration translates into marketing.
Getting Everything You Can Out of All You've Got - by Jay Abraham
Jay Abraham is an absolute marketing genius from an angle the others here don't cover. This gets you into his mindset, seeing profitable aspects in your business you never noticed before, and how to communicate them to your audience. Sorry I don't have notes on this one: