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 CraneElements of Style (William Strunk and E.B. White) and The New Rules of Marketing and PR (David Meerman Scott)
Lisa HoffmannEmotional Intelligence (Daniel Goleman), World Wide Rave (David Meerman Scott)
Jen WilburGroundswell (Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff) and The Influentials (Jon Berry and Ed Keller)
Lauren VargasNever Eat Alone (Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz) and Made to Stick (Chip and Dan Heath)
Dave FleetNow is Gone (Brian Solis/Geoff Livingston) and Tactical Transparency (Shel Holtz, John Haynes and Lynne Johnson)
Kelly GroehlerThe World is Flat (Thomas Friedman), Execution (Larry Bossidy, Ram Charan and Charles Burck), and The Snowball (Alice Schroeder)

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18 comments on “What are your PR “must reads?”

  1. Kristen Kouk says:

    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

  2. Allan says:

    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.

  3. Chuck says:

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

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

  4. Kellye Crane says:

    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.

  5. amymengel says:

    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 http://www.teachingpr.org/management_book_reviews


  6. Robin says:

    Why Decisions Fail by Paul Nutt

  7. mary says:

    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.

  8. Danny Brown says:

    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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Sedef Onder says:

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

  12. 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).

  13. 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

  14. 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)

  15. Ryan Mathre says:

    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.

  16. Chevis says:

    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!