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Must-Read Books For PR Professionals

One of the smartest ways to keep producing high-quality public relations work is to keep reading – and not just work-related headlines or the clickbait on your Facebook page! We’re talking about long-form thought pieces, well-written blogs posts, and newsletters designed for particular verticals.

We’re also talking about books. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly a quarter of all Americans report not having read a book in the past year. Shocking! With all the ways that reading can improve work (as well as life) it’s time to take a look at some important books to consider in the coming months.

Reading helps critical thinking, creativity

Check out our short list of some must-reads for fall in non-fiction, fiction, essays and more.

Unbelievable by Katy Tur
Who can forget then-candidate Trump calling out “Little Katy,” the NBC reporter assigned to cover the campaign last fall? Well, certainly not Tur. Thrown into the assignment most thought would be a short one nearly by accident, the journalist got a front-row seat to the spectacular that was the presidential race of 2016. And she has stories that will make PR people, journalists and others laugh, shudder and think. Tur’s book is full of insights on dealing with high-stress, high-profile situations and personalities. Her life story also includes that of her parents, pioneers of helicopter news reporting in Los Angeles in the 80s and 90s and it offers a great perspective on news-gathering through the decades.

The Power of Broke by Daymond John
Have you watched “Shark Tank?” Of course you have! Daymond John, FUBU founder and regular “Shark,” extols the business virtues of maintaining a “broke” mindset as a way to attain wealth. It’s not necessarily a new idea, but in the age of the entrepreneur-as-brand, it carves out a nice niche for John and offers some lessons for those beginning to build a business and a public image.

A Legacy of Spies by John LeCarre
If there ever was a time that the world needed fictional intelligence agent George Smiley, that time is now. LeCarre invented the character and the modern spy thriller based on his own experience with the British Secret Intelligence Service. Smiley became the blueprint for spy-heroes since the Cold War era, and he’s more relevant than ever as a whole new generation has a heightened interest in Russia. There is more to appreciate about LeCarre – -although he is in his 80s, listen to this recent interview he gave, which should help any executive preparing for an upcoming appearance.

No One Understands You And What To Do About It by Heidi Grant- Halvorson
Halverson is a social psychologist at Columbia Business School. Here she synthesizes a wealth of peer-reviewed research about how we perceive one another and how we can manage perception. Most of us assume that others see us as we see ourselves, but this isn’t always the case. This very reader-friendly volume shows how research can help us align our behavior to better communicate with and understand friends, family, and business colleagues.

The Platinum Age of Television by David Bianculli

We’ve written before about the benefits of reading well-written criticism. Criticism demands that the writer continually stretch to offer descriptions that readers can use to make well-informed decisions about art, pop culture and more. And that’s what all good writing should do! This book critically examines the last fifty years of television by a renowned critic of the genre, explaining what makes particular programs “platinum-quality.”  If TV is not your area of interest, try reading criticism of film, music, or other literary works to improve vocabulary and expand creative thinking about any writing, from business plans to new product announcements.

The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin
While we believe all of the above books qualify as “self-help,” no well-rounded reading list is complete without a book devoted to self-improvement. In The Four Tendencies, Rubin’s extensive research seeks to categorize us into  Four Tendencies: Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels. Understanding which tendency we lean toward, according to bestselling author Rubin, can help people make better decisions, meet deadlines, suffer less stress, and engage more effectively. Feel free to take the quiz here to determine your “tendency.”

Giant of the Senate by Al Franken
We like to end on a funny note. While not all of this autobiography by the Minnesota Senator is humor, a good portion of it reflects Franken’s dry and wry midwestern wit.  The Senator tells his “fish out of water” story – comedian, SNL writer and star who mounts a successful campaign to win distinguished elected office. And what could have remained a one-note joke has instead become the tale of a public servant bent on making change in an absurd environment. Pick it up to read well-written humor, stick with it to glean inside-baseball about the inner workings inside the Senate chamber.

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