Seven Books PR & Communication Professionals Should Read

It’s no surprise that PR and communications professionals are big fans of the written word. One of our go-to ice breakers on any virtual coffee break or team meeting is ‘what are you currently reading?’ With the holiday season upon us, we’re sharing some of our favorite book recommendations for you to gift to loved ones or read for yourself as you cozy up to the fireplace this winter.

1. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert 

This excellent book for creatives of all stripes encourages the pursuit of creative interests by showing readers how to deal with fears, notice ideas, act on them and take the stress out of creation. It goes without saying that all of these themes apply to communications professionals. Big Magic will have you thinking about your upcoming projects in a new way.

2. Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin 

In this 2015 portrait of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Pulitzer Prize-winning American historian Doris Kearns Goodwin examines how Honest Abe structured his cabinet to include people who ran against him for the presidency. President Lincoln purposely sought different points of view to inform his decision making, which is a great business practice and brilliant communication strategy. The writing is also stunningly beautiful, showing that you can be extremely creative even when writing non-fiction.

3. Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson 

Looking for a fun quarantine read? Nothing to See Here features a nanny taking care of her friend’s two children who spontaneously combust when they get angry, sad or anxious. There is an uncanny resemblance between the book and our need as PR professionals to juggle multiple clients’ needs at once and be ready to “put out a fire” at a moment’s notice.

4. Talking to Strangers by Malcom Gladwell  

Malcom Gladwell’s latest book studies the miscommunication, interactions and assumptions people make when dealing with those that they don’t know. The author covers a variety of events and issues, including the arrest and subsequent death of Sandra Bland, the investment scandal of Bernie Madoff, and the trial of Amanda Knox. This book is perfect for professionals who crave insights into how perception and even the media effects our judgment and how we comprehend people.

5. 1984 by George Orwell  

This iconic dystopian thriller explores the power of messaging and the need to understand your audience in order to make a positive or negative impact in society. Plus, it’s a classic controversial novel that should be on everyone’s shelves.

6. Dare to Lead by Brené Brown 

This author is a favorite among researchers and communicators. Her book Dare to Lead covers the willingness to step up, put yourself out there, and lean into courage.  Brown has spent 20 years studying courage, vulnerability, shame, empathy and brave leadership. This book

gives leaders a skills-based and actionable playbook. This is a perfect read for managers or those aspiring to be one.

7. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl 

This book chronicles the author’s experience as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. Frankl went through terrible hardships, such as losing his pregnant wife along with other family members and friends. While the topic seems far removed from current experience, the author discusses how we can cope with sorrow, find meaning in it and move forward with renewed purpose. We need such skills as we conclude a year when COVID-19 changed our lives.  As communication professionals, we can help clients and others express their newfound purpose in ways that inspire others.

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