Thriller or filler? The PR Professional's Handbook by Caroline Black

This month's book reviews feature a handbook for PR beginners.

Published by Kogan Page

Long before press releases and hashtags, public relations existed, playing a vital role in the way organisations communicated. In ancient Rome, fight directors at the Coliseum fostered word of mouth recommendations of their shows, aware this provided a greater pull to the masses than graffiti proclaiming the times of future events.

It is anecdotes and case studies such as this that make Caroline Black's new book an enjoyable read.

The handbook is billed as a complete introductory text to the world of PR. It provides those new to the industry and those looking to enter it with a full breakdown of the skills required to prosper as a PR professional and delivers an understanding of how PR operates and interlinks with the wider world.

For the many who have not studied PR at university, a breakdown in chapter two of the key academic theories of PR application is a valuable tool. Theory clarifies thinking, giving a concrete and rational foundation for decision-making, Black explains.

Nonetheless the book is about grasping the basics, sometimes the very basic. There is a page explaining the difference between nouns and verbs and three devoted to "taking care of yourself", with advice to "eat often but lightly" and "get enough sleep".

Yet the book is a worthwhile read. Throughout, it reinforces the value of PR, highlighting its importance to the economy at large and its vital role in communications. This is something everyone working in the industry should be aware of and championing all the time.

Liam Keogh, director, Palm PR

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