Must reading

Four leading figures in the communications industry review the books they believe are most impactful to PR pros at every level

Four leading figures in the communications industry review the books they believe are most impactful to PR pros at every level

The World Is Flat
By Thomas Friedman
(2005, Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

In the past quarter century, PR pros have continually dealt, and adapted to, new technologies and new modes of serving our clients and the public. Now, more than ever, people are using these new digital tools - blogs, social networks, wikis, and the entire spectrum of online communications - to converse with the world. In turn, they are having a profound impact on corporate and consumer PR. Friedman does an excellent job of explaining how the explosion of digital technology has shifted the idea of globalization.

With the democratization of digital technology, we are now in an age where creating a conversation is just as important as driving media. Ogilvy's defined goal is to help our clients be-come involved in the conversation. As such, I encourage all PR pros to read The World is Flat.

Reviewed by Marcia Silverman, CEO, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide

Samuel Adams: Father of the American Revolution
By Mark Puls
(2006, Palgrave Macmillan)

Described as "a genius at devising civil protests and political maneuvers," Samuel Adams was effectively chief PR officer of the American Revolution. He launched the "campaign" to declare independence a decade before the first shot was fired. He put together a "grassroots" organization, orchestrated the Boston Tea Party, and had a major influence on making George Washington commander-in-chief. He was also the most prolific writer of Op-Eds to advocate separation from England.

PR pros will gain valuable insights with this relatively brief and dramatically told story by Mark Puls, one-time Detroit News journalist. It's a model case history of PR at a time when formal news outlets could be counted on one hand and a pamphlet by Thomas Paine on reasons for declaring independence was literally a bestseller.

Reviewed by Harold Burson, founding chairman, Burson-Marsteller

IMC: The Next Generation
By Don and Heidi Schultz
(2003, McGraw-Hill)

IMC: The Next Generation clearly introduces the new issues of marketing practice to the professional interested in the trends and practices of modern marketing and communications.

This book delves into both the left and right portions of the brain with discussions of understanding the consumer, reaching them with creative plans, and messaging and tracking them with contemporary databases.

The main target of the authors, both professors at Northwestern's IMC program in Medill, has always been the customer, but the diagrams and explanations easily incorporate other stakeholders, including employees, media, government, and others. The book is a logical and creative work by two of the best thinkers in marketing.

Reviewed by Clarke Caywood, director of the graduate program in PR, Medill Graduate School, Northwestern University

Reputation Management: The Key to Successful Public Relations and Corporate Communication
By John Doorley and Helio Fred Garcia
(2006, Taylor & Francis Group)

The book covers PR in a way that links real-world practice with communications theory and history. One of the most important lessons to be learned from this book comes from Doorley and Garcia's assertion that reputation is a tangible asset that should be managed like all others.

The authors' use of real-life examples is highly effective when it comes to illustrating various corporate communications scenarios. In addition, this practical how-to guide features informative contributions from numerous experienced PR pros.

I have over 25 years of experience in PR, but I still constantly seek ways to enhance my skills. When dealing with my firm's corporate clients, Reputation Management is a book I continually look to for guidance.

Reviewed by Kim Hunter, founder and president/CEO of Lagrant Communications

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