Books Every PR Student Should Read

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With the PRSSA 2017 National Conference approaching, I have been giving a lot of thought to what clothes I will take, how many resumes I will print and what books I will bring to read on the plane. I love to read and have been trying to squeeze time in to read books relevant to the PR industry. I’ve read all of these books, most of them multiple times, and they are all great to have in your arsenal. Who knows — they might even give you a conversation starter!

“Leave Your Mark” by Aliza Licht.

Aliza Licht was the brain behind “DKNY PR Girl,” which is the Twitter and Tumblr persona for Donna Karan, so naturally this book is a PR and social media gold mine. Her insight and “tell it like it is” personality makes her the perfect book mentor.

“Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead” by Sheryl Sandberg.

As a woman entering a job field where collaboration is necessary, I found this book to be so insightful. Sandberg talks about typical challenges for women in the workforce and how to combat them. Even if you are not a woman, the information in “Lean In” will help you understand the complexities of the workforce and how we can support one another.

“How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie.

I waited a long time to read this novel because I thought it was too cliché of a book choice. I broke down and read it last year; it exceeded every expectation I had and then some. Our field changes every day but the basic skills needed to develop relationships have not changed at all. Carnegie lays out techniques ranging from ways to get people to like you to how to bring people into your way of thinking. While it may sound pretentious, I promise there is so much valuable information in here. It is a book you will want to have a highlighter handy while reading.

“Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve read this book; it is one of my top 10 all-time favorites. Gilbert talks about creativity and “strange jewels” living inside of all of us. She does a flawless job in explaining attitudes and approaches needed to live an empowered, creative life. This book always leaves me inspired, especially as a future practitioner in a creative field.

“The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair.

I’ve had to read this book twice for classes. The books’ unsettling topic made it much more interesting to me because it got me thinking about the other side of the story. The meatpacking industry had to rebuild from the ground up after their harsh conditions were exposed. Reading this book from a PR perspective helps place yourself in a difficult situation: how do you handle that big of a crisis? What would you do?

Which book do you want to pack to read on the way to the PRSSA 2017 National Conference?  Are there any other books you would add to the list?

Erin Hildreth is a senior at Kansas State University studying journalism and mass communications with an emphasis in public relations, and gerontology with a concentration in long-term care administration. Connect with her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter.

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