Five Books to Add to Your Reading List from PRSSAIC

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The speakers at PRSSA 2019 International Conference shared their experiences and advice, but what specifically piqued my interest was their book recommendations. I’m always looking out for new books to read and this was the perfect experience to collect some titles of books for my professional development. Some were books that helped them grow professionally and some were books written by them detailing an experience or idea. So, I thought I would share my list with others who didn’t catch all of the titles.


For those looking to improve their writing:

Writing Without Bullshit by Josh Bernoff

This suggestion came from the enthusiastic Dr. Kaye Sweetser. Everyone remembers her keynote speech Saturday morning and she highly suggested this book for young professionals that embellish too much in their writing. One of the difficult parts of writing in PR is saying what you mean, how you mean it and saying it concisely. She suggests giving this a read to learn how to cut back all of the nonsense and learn to say what you want boldly.


For those looking for inspiration:

Grit by Angela Duckworth

This No. 1 New York Times bestseller is all about using passion and perseverance to achieve your goals. In this book, Duckworth denies natural talent, luck and genius, and shows how pushing through is what helps you achieve your goals. She calls this power grit. Grit is what helped her get to where she is. Angela Duckworth is the co-founder and CEO of Character Lab, a nonprofit that uses psychological science to inspire children to find their grit. This inspirational book was featured on #TheShelf as their book of the month. For more great reads like this check out #TheShelf on @prssanational on Facebook.


For those looking for journalism, international relations or a powerful story of sisterhood:

Somewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and the Other’s Fight to Bring Her Back by Laura Ling and Lisa Ling

If you were lucky enough to attend Laura Ling’s session, I won’t have to convince you why you should read this book. However, if you weren’t able to attend the memorable and tear-inducing speech, Somewhere Inside is the whole story from the perspective of both Laura and her sister, Lisa Ling. Laura Ling is a journalist and author, and her story is one from which everyone can learn.


A book for those interested in customer relations:

The Experience Effect: Engage Your Customers with a Consistent and Memorable Brand Experience by Jim Joseph

Jim Joseph is the Global CEO of Citizen Relations and an adjunct professor at New York University. His book talks on how you can provide messages and experiences that are simple and powerful. This book is a part of a series and if you’re an entrepreneur or self-starter, you may also be interested in The Experience Effect for Small Business or The Personal Experience Effect.


A book for young professionals interested in diversity and inclusion:

Diverse Voices: Profiles in Leadership, Foreword by Harold Burson, Edited by Shelley and Barry Spector

The PRSA Foundation is working toward a more inclusive and diverse workplace. The introduction outlines the book as “a ground-breaking collection of candid interviews detailing the career journeys of more than 40 leading diverse public relations professionals.” All profits from this book go toward their mission. This is an incredible opportunity to understand the public relations field from a different perspective and learn how we can make it more inclusive.


These books have been suggested by top professionals in the public relations field and they’re worth a read. Their insight and inspiration can be a valuable asset to any young professional.

Have any questions about #TheShelf, PRSSA’s national book club? Reach out to Adriênne Bolden, PRSSA vice president of diversity and inclusion.

Most of these books are found at online retailers but consider supporting independent booksellers with your purchases.

Briana Shervinskie is a senior organizational communication and public relations major at Capital University. She serves as her PRSSA Chapter’s vice president of communication and programs. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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