5 fall reads for PR pros

A job in the fast-paced PR field is a commitment to lifelong learning. These books will help you keep your skills sharp.

Top public relations agencies look for an edge everywhere they can. Absorbing the latest business, industry or pop culture book is a surefire way to keep up.

Of course, in the 24/7 world of agency PR, people often ask, “When would I even find time to read a book?” I would argue, “How can you afford not to?”

It’s simpler than you think. Downloading just one book onto your phone (and thereby all of your devices if properly synced) means every second of time spent obsessively checking emails or playing Plants vs. Zombies can be converted to reading time.

OK, maybe games are useful, but if you agree that we should incorporate more reading into our days, start here. Then take a look at five recommended books for PR pros to read this fall:

1. Bridge the PR-content gap with “Content Machine.

Today’s PR teams and other specialists must be masters of fabulous content creation.

It’s a constant process to come up with strong ideas that will translate brand or product messages while being readable and shareable. This is a nuts and bolts how-to book that has something to teach us about content.

It may just get your creative juices flowing.

2. “Rogue Elephants is a benign PR expose.

Whether you have 12 months of experience in PR or 12 years, you already have battle stories and “only in PR” anecdotes for friends and colleagues.

This is why memoirs of PR life are always so fascinating and relatable. Subtitled, “One Girl’s Fight Through the Human Jungle,” this book captures a slice of the industry in United Kingdom PR practitioner Jane Hunt’s career from the mid-1980s to 2012.

Laugh, cry and commiserate with Hunt—and see if it doesn’t make you want to keep more careful notes about your own experiences.

3. “Spinglish: The Definitive Dictionary of Deliberately Deceptive Language shows you what not to say.

This book by Henry Beard and Chris Cerf is a dictionary full of fun euphemisms and deceptive language that PR pros should avoid.

It’s particularly timely as election season heats up, but also will help anyone struggling to craft authentic communication stay on the right side of that fine line between informing and selling.

4. “Phishing for Phools” is a cautionary tale.

Pick up this book for a more serious look at the way financial markets can manipulate us.

Though it dissects the aggressive marketing typical of today’s digital-age financial markets, it will resonate with anyone growing a client- or customer-based business and working with media.

5. Celebrate creativity with “Big Magic.”

Touted as the big book of the season for any audience, it asks: Can the wildly successful memoirist Elizabeth Gilbert (of “Eat, Pray, Love” fame) translate her formidable writing skills into a great self-help book on the creative process?

Early reviews seem to think so. The book demystifies the tricky business of creativity and inspiration with anecdotes and practical advice sure to unlock some magic in all of us.

What titles are on your list of books to tackle before the end of the year?

Marijane Funess is the media relations director at Crenshaw Communications. A version of this article originally appeared on PR Fish Bowl.

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