So, it is officially the holiday season, and you are looking for the ideal gift for family, friends, and of course, your clients and stakeholders. Books about communications is a fantastic idea. PR used to be all about gaining exposure and generating buzz for organisations through the media, but with content marketing, new technologies and social media coming to the forefront during the last years, comms must continuously adapt. Leaders are incessant learners, always looking to explore fresh ideas in influencing evolving audiences. That is why I am often asked to recommend good books for PR and communications. This is my must read list for 2017:
1. The PR Masterclass - Alex Singleton
Alex Singletons is a former journalist and has witnessed many PR campaigns. He reveals the secrets of implementing a communication strategy and the book includes practical advice and insights. You get to discover how to develop and pitch effective newsworthy material, regardless of your budget. This is an interesting book about public relations and how the media is changing. Singleton calls on the PR industry to grow up and adopt the rigour of a professional discipline
2. The Art of Perception - Robert Leaf
The art of perception is the memoir of Robert Leaf who has been at the forefront of the PR industry for almost fifty years. He was the first to bring PR to the USSR in the midst of the Cold War. Also, he signed a partnership agreement with the Chinese government to establish the first official Chinese PR company. In this book, Leaf explains how PR has in reality become perception management.
3. The New Digital Age - Eric Schmidt & Jared Cohen
One of the most ambitious attempts to date to sketch the form of the world that will emerge as a result of the penetration of digital communication into every corner of the globe and every part of people's lives. A must read for everyone who wants to understand the depths of the digital revolution. The authors explain that technology is not a magic formula for all problems, but the uses of technology can make a world of difference.
4. The Content Code - Mark Schaefer
The content code starts where your content marketing plan ends, and provides the launch code for next-level marketing success. A pioneering book that explores the psychology of sharing. It is also highly practical, offering ideas that can be used by organisations of any size. Book highlights include in-depth explorations on the connection between brand and content transmission, a focus on audiences that will move content, practical steps to build "shareability" into all your content, and the new role of promotion, distribution and SEO in a very competitive, digital world.
5. Zero to One - Peter Thiel
The great secret of our time is that there are still uncharted frontiers to explore and new inventions to create. In Zero to One, entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel shows how we can find unique ways to create those new things. Thiel begins with the contrarian premise that we live in an age of technological stagnation, even if we are too distracted by shiny mobile devices to notice. Information technology has improved rapidly, but there is no reason why progress should be limited to computers. Progress can be achieved in any industry or area of business. It comes from the most important skill that every leader must master: learning to think for yourself.
6. How to Win Friends and Influence People - Dale Carnegie
This book has been called the PR bible. Having sold over 15 million copies since first being published in 1937 as Carnegie states in the book "success is due 15 % to professional knowledge and 85 % to the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people." It is a classic and a great one.
7. It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be - Paul Arden
This uplifting and humorous book provides a unique insight into the world of advertising and is a quirky compilation of quotes, facts, pictures, wit and wisdom. All packed into easy-to-digest, bite-sized spreads. The author, a well-known top executive in advertising, offers up his wisdom on issues as diverse as problem-solving, responding to a brief, communicating, playing your cards right, making mistakes, and creativity - all endeavours that can be applied to aspects of life.