Five Great Reads for the Emerging PR Pro

Image via Barnes and Noble
Image via Barnes and Noble

“If You Have to Cry, Go Outside (And Other Things Your Mother Didn’t Tell You)”
by Kelly Cutrone

In the era before Cision and Blackberries, Kelly Cutrone cut her teeth on the streets of New York as she built her client list and launched fashion brands. Readers may know her from her screen time on MTV’s “The Hills” and “The City,” appearing as Lauren Conrad and Whitney Port’s boss, respectively. In her book, she speaks about the importance of finding your tribe, the balance between professional and personal relationships, and always following your passion. It sounds cliché, but Cutrone’s pseudo-autobiography depicts what can happen if you work hard and play hard. The book contains valuable lessons that apply to public relations, which include surrounding yourself with people that believe in you, and powering through those long nights in front of media lists and seating charts.

— Hugo Rojo, 2013–2014 Texas Tower PR Director 

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“Social Media and Public Relations: Eight New Practices for the PR Professional” by Deidre Breakenridge

Is social media important to the work that we do as public relations practitioners? Of course it is. In “Social Media and Public Relations: Eight New Practices for the PR Professional,” Deidre Breakenridge, discusses “exactly how to engage today’s sophisticated socialized customers … and how to integrate social media and PR with other key business functions.” I love how informative, yet concise, every chapter is. My favorite practice thus far is that of the public relations policymaker. According to Breakenridge, the public relations policymaker is all about getting ready for policy development; assembling a core social media team to assist in policymaking; doing the research; and communicating and measuring compliance. I commend Breakenridge on making a complex issue — having an organization fully adopt social media — seem doable. I would recommend this book to all, whether they are public relations practitioners or not. The skills learned from this book apply to all business functions.

— Ethan Parry, 2013–2014 BYU PRSSA Vice President of Communications

Image via The Leadership Challenge
Image via The Leadership Challenge

“A Leader’s Legacy” by James Kouzes and Barry Posner

“By asking ourselves how we want to be remembered, we plant the seeds for living our lives as if we matter. By living each day as if we matter, we offer up our own unique legacy. By offering up our own unique legacy, we make the work we inhabit a better place than we found it.” This quote from the introduction to James Kouzes and Barry Posner’s book, “A Leader’s Legacy,” explains exactly why I think this is a “must read” for every leader and aspiring leader. It’s a quick read and loaded with all kinds of practical advice for leaders at all experience levels — “newbie” or seasoned veteran. Three significant points the authors make that bear highlighting are that leaders need “loving critics,” leaders should “want to be liked” and “failure is always an option.” The authors are striving to help us understand that to lead every day is to serve and make a difference. “Leading is not about what we gain from others, but about what others gain from us.” Their final point is the legacy you leave is the life you live. How do you want to live your life?

— Robert “Pritch” Pritchard, APR, Fellow PRSA, PRSSA National Faculty Adviser 

Image via Amazon
Image via Amazon

“The Passion Conversation” by Robbin Phillips, Greg Cordell, Geno Church and John Moore

After hearing Geno Church speak at the PRSSA 2013 National Conference, I knew I had to read “The Passion Conversation,” which he co-wrote with three of his fellow Brains on Fire employees. The book was full of as much energy and creativity as Church’s presentation. I was captivated not only by the clever graphics, but also by the analogy that relates word-of-mouth marketing to falling in love. From the beginning, the book calls itself a love story. While it isn’t like the typical romantic stories I read, it captivated me all the same. The Brains on Fire staff describes how successful word-of-mouth marketing campaigns are centered on the consumer, and demonstrates why this matters with real clients’ “love stories.” “The Passion Conversation” is a great read for anyone who wants to enhance their public relations work with some creativity, wit and passion for consumer-centered marketing.

— Heather Harder, 2013–2014 PRSSA National Vice President of Member Services 

Image via Barnes and Noble
Image via Barnes and Noble

“The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick M. Lencioni

Leadership is a topic that continues to interest me both personally and professionally. I’ve invested a great deal of time in consuming leadership material, and strongly believe that the right leadership lessons can make a significant difference in an individual’s life. Over the years, I have read books by numerous authors who capture the essence of leadership in very foundational ways. However, after a while, many of the authors and their books begin to sound the same. For these reasons, I highly recommend Patrick Lencioni and his books on leadership, specifically, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.” In this book, Lencioni teaches leadership through a fictional story. Although the characters are not real, it won’t take you very long to identify which characters resemble you and your work colleagues. “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” is a very engaging book that will help you and your teams learn to lead together.

— Don Egle, APR, ABC, PRSSA National Professional Adviser

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