The "Mad Men" Reading List

By Billy Parrott, Managing Librarian, Mid-Manhattan Library, Art and Picture Collections
February 27, 2012
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL)

UPDATE:  Click here to see the Official New York Public Library and AMC Mad Men Reading List!


You might remember my original list, which will always be available here


This revised list will be easier to follow and, like my previous list, it will be updated as books appear in new episodes. Details on literary references will continue in the comments field. As mentioned in my original blog post, some of the books on the list are featured more prominently in the series than others, but all are a great way to gain insight into the episodes and the social and cultural times in which the series is set.

You might also be interested in taking a look at the Sally Draper reading list, the Glen Bishop reading list, the Mad Men Mystery Solved blog post, and my Mad Men and Sally Draper reading lists on BiblioCommons.

For #MadMenReading related discussions and other news, you can follow me and Mid-Manhattan Library on Twitter and Facebook.  


Lastly, as any ad man will tell you, a picture is worth a thousand words, so be sure to stop by Mid-Manhattan Library's Art and Picture Collections for all your visual resource needs!


The conversation is about to begin again. Pour yourself another scotch, and enjoy! 


Jump to Season 1, Season 2, Season 3, Season 4, Season 5, Season 6

Multiple Episodes >>

You Might Also Like >>

Books About the Show >>


Season 7

Episode 14 - "Person to Person"

The Goodbye Look / Ross MacDonald (click here for more details)

Conversations on Living: 2nd Series / Jiddu Krishnamurti, and Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality / Frederick S. Perls (click here for more details)

Episode 13 - "The Milk and Honey Route" (click here for more details)

On the Road / Jack Kerouac (click here for more details)

Episode 8 - "Severance" 

Mildred Pierce / James M. CainU.S.A. Trilogy / John Dos Passos (click here for more details)

Episode 6 - "The Strategy"

Katie Mulholland / Catherine Cookson (click here for more details)

The Ceremony of Innocence / Ronald Ribman

Episode 4 - "The Monolith"

From the Earth to the Moon / Jules Verne (click here for more details)

Listen to the Warm / Rod McKuen (click here for more details)

The Detective / Roderick ThorpShadow of a Bull Maia Wojciechowska (click here and here for more details)

Episode 3 - "Field Trip"

A Small Town in GermanyJohn Le Carré (click here for more details)

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer / Mark Twain (click here for more details)

Season 7 Promotional Cast Photo

 The Penny Wars / Elliott Baker (click here for more information)



Season 6

Episode 12 - "The Quality of Mercy" (click here for more details)

Evolution / Ruth E. Moore (click here for more details) 

Episode 11 - "Favors"

Nicholas and Alexandra Robert K. Massie (click here for more details)

Episode 10 - "A Tale of Two Cities" (click here for more details)

Bhagavad Gita (click here for more details)

How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success In Selling / Frank Bettger (click here for more details)

Episode 8 - "The Crash"

Valley of the Dolls /  Jacqueline Susann (click here for more details)

Episode 7 - "Man With a Plan"

The Last Picture Show / Larry McMurtry

Episode 6 - "For Immediate Release"

Something / Ralph Waldo Emerson (click here for more details)

Sterling's Gold / Roger Sterling

Episode 5 - "The Flood"

Topaz / Leon Uris

Episode 1 and 2- "The Doorway"

The Inferno / Dante Alighieri, translated by John Ciardi (click here for more details)


Julius Caesar / William Shakespeare



Season 5

Episode 13 - "The Phantom"

    Third Girl / Agatha Christie (click here for more details)

Twice 22 / Ray Bradbury, Tai-Pan / James Clavell, The Smokejumpers / Randle M. Hurst, The Sunday Gentleman / Irving Wallace (click here for more details)

Episode 12 - "Commissions and Fees"

Nat Turner's Slave Rebellion / Herbert Aptheker (click here for more details)

Episode 11 - "The Other Woman"

Nature / Ralph Waldo Emerson (Click here for more details)



Episode 9 - "Dark Shadows"

The Black Cauldron / Lloyd Alexander (Click here for more details)



"Ozymandias" / Percy Bysshe Shelley (click here for more details)

Episode 8 - "Lady Lazarus"

The Crying of Lot 49 / Thomas Pynchon

Episode 7 - "At the Codfish Ball"

The Fixer / Bernard Malamud (click here for more details)



The Berlitz Self-Teacher: French


Episode 6 - "Far Away Places"

The Life of Greece / Will Durant (click here for more details)

Episode 4 - "Mystery Date"

Where Love Has Gone / Harold Robbins (click here for more details)

Episode 3 - "Tea Leaves"

Mein Kampf / Adolf Hitler (click here for more details)

Sterling’s Gold / Roger Sterling (click here for more details)

Episode 1 and 2 - "A Little Kiss"

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn / Mark Twain 

Episode 11  "Chinese Wall"

Sterling’s Gold / Roger Sterling

Episode 10 - "Hands and Knees"

The Miracle Worker / William Gibson 

Episode 9  "The Beautiful Girls"

The Clue of the Black Keys / Carolyn Keene

(See The Sally Draper reading list for more details) 

Episode 5 "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword"

The Horse That Liked Sandwiches / Vivian L. Thompson

Season 3

Episode 10  "The Color Blue"

Helping Yourself with Psychiatry / Frank CaprioSet Theory and Logic / Robert StollMeeting with Japan / Fosco MarainiThe Corps / W.E.B. Griffin

(See 10/23/10 update for more details) 

Episode 9  "Wee Small House"

The Bible

Episode 7  "Seven Twenty Three"

Be My Guest / Conrad Hilton

(See 10/23/10 update for more details)

Episode 6  "Guy Walks into an Advertising Agency"

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer / Mark Twain

(See 10/23/10 update for more details)

Episode 3  "My Old Kentucky Home"

The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary

(See 10/20/10 update #2 for more details)

Season 2

Episode 11  "Jet Set"

The Sound and the Fury / William Faulkner

Episode 10  "The Inheritance"

Junior Classics Volume One (Fairy Tales And Fables) and Volume Seven (The Animal Book)

Episode 9  "Six Month Leave"

Ship of Fools / Katherine Anne Porter

Episode 8  "A Night to Remember"

Admiral Hornblower in the West Indies / C. S. Forester

(See 1/22/12 update for more details)

Episode 4  "Three Sundays"

“A Diamond as Big as the Ritz” from Babylon Revisited and Other Stories / F. Scott Fitzgerald

(See "A Mad Men Mystery Solved" for more details) 


Episode 3  "The Benefactor"

Marjorie Morningstar / Herman Wouk

Episode 2  "Flight 1"

The Agony and the Ecstasy / Irving Stone (click here for more details)

Episode 1  "For Those Who Think Young"

Meditations in an Emergency / Frank O’Hara

Season 1

Episode 8  "The Hobo Code"

Exodus / Leon Uris

Episode 4  "New Amsterdam"

Nursery Friends from France / translated by Olive Beaupre Miller


Italy / Herbert Kubly and the editors of Life

Episode 3  "Marriage of Figaro"

Lady Chatterley's Lover / D. H. Lawrence

Episode 1  "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes"

Betty Crocker's Hostess Cookbook

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The Image, or What Happened to the American Dream / Daniel Boorstin

Sex and the Single Girl / Helen Gurley Brown 

“The Swimmer” / John Cheever


How to Predict What People Will Buy / Louis Cheskin


The Real Mad Men: The Renegades of Madison Avenue and the Golden Age of Advertising / Andrew Cracknell


From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor / Jerry Della Femina


The Strategy of Desire / Ernest Dichter


Handbook of Consumer Motivations / Ernest Dichter


Memoirs of a Beatnik / Diane di Prima


The Conquest of Cool / Thomas Frank


The Feminine Mystique / Betty Friedan


Mid-Century Ads: Advertising from the Mad Men Era / Jim Heimann


The Arrangement / Elia Kazan


Motivation in Advertising: Motives That Make People Buy / Pierre Martineau


Peyton Place / Grace Metalious


The Hidden Persuaders / Vance Packard


Swimming in the Steno Pool: A Retro Guide to Making it in the Office / Lynn Peril


The Lonely Crowd / David Riesman


Heaven's Bride: The Unprintable Life of Ida C. Craddock, American Mystic, Scholar, Sexologist, Martyr, and Madwoman / Leigh Eric Schmidt


The Hucksters / Frederic Wakeman


The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit / Sloan Wilson


Revolutionary Road / Richard Yates

Books About the Show


The Fashion File / Janie Bryant


Mad Men and Philosophy: Nothing Is as It Seems / edited by Rob Carveth and James South


Mad Men: Dream Come True TV / edited by Gary Edgerton


The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook / Judy Gelman


Mad Men: The Illustrated World / Dyna Moe


Mad Men on the Couch: Analyzing the Minds of the Men and Women of the Hit Tv Show / Newman, Stephanie


Analyzing Mad Men: Critical Essays on the Television Series / edited by Scott Stoddart


Mad Men Unbuttoned: A Romp Through 1960s America / Natasha Vargas-Cooper