Monday, March 30, 2009

What are your PR "must reads?"

As PR pros, we all do our fair share of reading. Me? I read the Wall Street Journal, CNN, and various local publications. Esquire and Golf Digest. And, of course, I read my fair share of PR and social media blogs. Where I fall short--at least lately--has been my book reading. You know, those hard-covered repositories of information and insights? 

Sure, I read some non-fiction and an occasional Vince Flynn novel, but what are today's "must reads" for PR pros? Instead of sharing what I think you should read, I enlisted the help of my trusted PR colleagues. Here's what they had to say (interesting to note that very few of these suggestions were actually traditional "PR" books). 

What would you add to this list?

Kellye Crane--Elements of Style (William Strunk and E.B. White) and The New Rules of Marketing and PR (David Meerman Scott)

Lisa Hoffmann--Emotional Intelligence (Daniel Goleman), World Wide Rave (David Meerman Scott)

Jen Wilbur--Groundswell (Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff) and The Influentials (Jon Berry and Ed Keller)

Lauren Vargas--Never Eat Alone (Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz) and Made to Stick (Chip and Dan Heath)

Dave Fleet--Now is Gone (Brian Solis/Geoff Livingston) and Tactical Transparency (Shel Holtz, John Haynes and Lynne Johnson)

Kelly Groehler--The World is Flat (Thomas Friedman), Execution (Larry Bossidy, Ram Charan and Charles Burck), and The Snowball (Alice Schroeder)


Lia Z. Simcina said...
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Allan said...

The Trusted Advisor by David Maister, Charles Green, and Robert Galford. An brilliant book on how to give advice and be a great counselor.

The Art of the Long View: Planning for the Future in an Uncertain World by Peter Schwartz. There is no better book on how to plan for uncertainty (issues management) and it's still a great reference for me.

kak said...

Wow! Really needed a list like this and will start scrounging Half Price Books! Thanks for sharing, it is especially useful for young professionals.

Kristen Kouk

Chuck said...

This is a really good list. My list would add:

Altitude Branding
Convince and Convert
Media Philosopher
Proving the Value of Public Relations

Kellye Crane said...

Terrific list of books -- thanks for compiling, Arik! One thing I'm struck by is the wide range of subject matter represented. I think this is quite fitting, given the evolving nature of PR.

amymengel said...

I've been on a big fiction kick lately, so I don't have much to add to this great list.

A former PR professor of mine, Karen Russell, has her students write management/PR book reviews and post them to a blog as a class assignment. They've reviewed books like Seth Godin's Tribes, Matha & Boehm's Beyond the Babble and Rohit Bhargava's Personality Not Included. The site is


Robin said...
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Robin said...

Why Decisions Fail by Paul Nutt

mary said...

May be old school but I still rely on Effective Public Relations by Cutlip and Center. Was the primary APR text and still a good guide to tried & true PR strategies.

Danny Brown said...

I would have to add "The Media Savvy Leader" by David Henderson and "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell - great reads with much to chew on.

Arik C. Hanson, APR said...

Great adds all--thanks for the suggestions. Keep 'em coming.

I may actually republish this list with your suggestions later this month. What a great resource you have all helped the community create.

Suzanne McGee said...

These are all great suggestions. I'd add a couple others that expand our PR viewpoints to include journalists and authors that include their musing or commentary on their own writing. Consider: Good Guys & Bad Guys, by Joe Nocera, New York Times as well as The Education of a Coach by David Halberstam. Often we listen to our peers, which is important, but it's great to have outside perspectives.

Movin' on Out said...

Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant (W. Chan Kim, Renee Malborgne)

Heather Schwartz, APR said...

I would add The Purple Cow and All Marketers are Liars both by Godin. Blink by Gladwell. Emotional Branding by Gobe. Six Thinking Hats by De Bono. Never Eat Alone (I know it was mentioned but it is brilliant).

The Sports Ace said...

I think a lot of my PR must-reads are already here. But I'll round out the list a bit:

--Freakonomics, by Dubner and Levitt - not PR necessarily, but it will get you thinking differently than you did before

--Work Like You're Showing Off, by Calloway - also not necessarily PR, but it will help you identify your passions and find ways to build them into your career


Jason Sprenger

storyassistant said...

Thanks for asking, Arik...:). I would like to ask that everyone reading this comment take an evening out of their week to read David Meerman Scott's (@dmscott) "The New Rules of Marketing & PR" and his new book "World Wide Rave." These are both amazing books looking at the evolving importance of social media. Great topic & post!

Matt Batt (@storyassistant)

Ryan Mathre said...

Great post. I'd like to second a few that have already been added by others -- The Education of a Coach, New Rules of PR and Marketing, and any Malcolm Gladwell books (Blink, Outliers, Tipping Point)

One recommendation I have is Moneyball: The Art of Winning and Unfair Game by Michael Lewis. While the book focuses on baseball it really is about business, leadership and success.

Chevis said...

I would add Creating Magic by Lee Cockerell, former executive vice president of operations at Walt Disney World Resort.

I just finished reading this book and could not put it down. Cockerell gives numerous examples along with his advice and learnings over the years and I found it very interesting. Many of the ideas and strategies are very easy to implement and most are common sense, but nonetheless, not everybody implements them. It is not a hard read at all and goes by very fast so if you are worried about the time it takes to sit down and read an actual book, don't be!