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Owning 1 of the 25 largest US PR Firms, I am regularly asked about the best Public Relations books and as such, in no particular order wanted to offer my thoughts of the Top 10 PR books, and marketing books. This list is quite subjective, and one which is meant as a guidepost for those wanting to become the best in the industry – hence rather than reading books strictly about PR, related books are on the PR must read list.In no particular order:
- “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie: This book has been called the Public Relations bible – Having sold over 15 million copies since 1st being published in 1937 as Carnegie states in the book “success is due 15 per cent to professional knowledge and 85 per cent to “the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people.” It’s a classic and a great one.
- “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference” by Malcolm Gladwell: An enjoyable, great read which tells us how “Ideas and products and messages and behaviours spread like viruses do.” Understanding the power of audiences and to whom, and how to communicate is a core necessary value for all in PR & marketing.
- “Crystallizing Public Opinion” by Edward L. Bernays: The first book by the man considered to be the father of public relations, Bernays combined crowd psychology with the psychoanalytical ideas of his uncle, Sigmund Freud, to become the first thinker to explain how PR could thrive by managing public opinion. Amazing how true that even today his book rings true, including the statement: “Perhaps the most significant social, political, and industrial fact about the present century is the increased attention which is paid to public opinion.”
- “Thank You for Smoking” by Christopher Buckley: While the movie wasn’t great, the novel most certainly is. The book features a Big Tobacco representative who does a great job of defending not only tobacco companies but also those who partake in the dangerous habit of using their products. Good read.
- “Confessions of an Advertising Man” by advertising legend David Ogilvy – There are similarities between advertising and PR and understanding marketing and advertising from 1 of the greatest advertisers ever is necessary reading for all in PR. It’s a well written clean book which breaks out his concepts tactics, and techniques and are a must-read for anyone in business – and particularly marketing and PR.
- “It’s Not the Big That Eat the Small…It’s the Fast That Eat the Slow: How to Use Speed as a Competitive Tool in Business” by Jason Jennings and Laurence Haughton. Media moves very fast, and as a 2011 survey indicated, being a Public Relations pro is the 2nd most stressful job in America. Moving fast is core to the PR business and necessary to thrive.
- “Reputation Rules: Strategies for Building Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset” by Daniel Diermeier: This professor from the Kellogg School of Management tells us how “In our lightning-fast digital age, a company can face humiliation and possibly even ruin within seconds of a negative tweet or blog post.” Fascinating examination of understanding the importance of reputation.
- “Spin: How to Turn the Power of the Press to Your Advantage” by Michael S. Sitrick – Written by the founder of a major crisis PR firm, the book is an insider’s guide into the world of crisis communications. It’s a crisis PR handbook.
- “Game change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the race of a lifetime” by John Heilemann, Mark Halperin: “This shit would be really interesting if we weren’t in the middle of it.”—Barack Obama, September 2008. A fascinating insiders take pulling back the curtain – and media insight on the fascinating presidential campaign which saw Obama’s rise to be the most powerful man in the world.
- “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations” by Ronn Torossian: Naturally, my PR book is a must read – it’s also the 1st book by the owner of a top 25 PR Agency. The book details how valuable public relations is – how public relations can define brands; help companies and individuals court the press or avoid it; grow business; resolve crises quickly; improve search results on Google and so many other things. Effective PR makes such a difference – and I have many case studies and great stories to illustrate it. Buy this book at: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/for-immediate-release-ronn-torossian/1102047620
So, there you have it – 10 must read Public Relations books. Now you have the required PR reading list.
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