5 great PR books to keep on your shelf

By:   Mickie Kennedy  This post can originally be found here

A truly educational book is one you can pop open to any page at any time and, even though you’ve pored over the book many times, still find something to learn.

There aren’t that many books out there like that. However, here are five that should have a permanent space on your bookshelf—or desk, or nightstand, or the bathroom counter.

1. “Effective Public Relations” 

Affectionately known as the “PR bible,” “Effective Public Relations” is an industry standard. Keeping a copy around to flip through is a good idea, as the wide variety of subjects covered is unlike any other.

You may think of it as just a textbook, but ignoring the basics could lead to disaster when you tackle the advanced. Buy a copy (or update to the latest edition), and brush up on your theory, your concepts, and the history of PR.

2. “The Art of Money Getting” 

When you think of a person persuading others to give him their money, you probably think of somebody like P.T. Barnum. Barnum’s “The Art of Money Getting” not only shows you how to be very successful in business, but also gives advice on how to keep money once you’ve gotten it.

Barnum was a master of providing a spectacle and drumming up business to build his wealth, but he also valued people and the art of entrepreneurship. The book, though short, will give you insight into the man’s mind and way of life.

3. “Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business” 

Erik Qualman’s book examines the impact of social media on not just our business but our entire lives. Businesses enjoy the closest relationships they’ve ever had with consumers, and often a social media campaign can make or break a business. Socialnomics is the study of what this trend will yield in the future and how you can take full advantage of it for your own company.

[RELATED: Women In PR 4th Annual Summit In Chicago 

4. “Trust Agents

To be a real PR pro, you have to understand what being a “trust agent” means. Consumers want to trust the businesses they deal with daily; if a business isn’t trustworthy or is trying to manipulate them, that business will fail. To be a trust agent, you have to represent a company and put its best face forward. Understand the world, and you understand the business. This book, by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, will show you how.

5. “Bulletproof News Releases” 

Even though social media is taking over the PR world, there’s still something to be said about a good, old-fashioned press release. If you send them out at all, you need “Bulletproof Press Releases,” which rightfully bills itself as “help at last for the publicity deficient.” The art of the press release is quickly being lost, and in this day and age, that can be a disaster.

Editors receive hundreds upon hundreds of releases every single day, so if yours isn’t 100 percent solid, you’re toast. For lessons on how to make your press release bulletproof and increase your chance of getting noticed, look no further than this book.

What’s your “PR bible”?

Mickie Kennedy is the CEO and founder of eReleases and blogs at PR Fuel. Download your free copy of The Big Press Release Book, a must-read for the up-and-coming PR professional. Follow eReleases on Google+PinterestFacebook and Twitter.



  1. Regarding PR textbooks, there is no “bible,” although “Effective Public Relations” was the only text for many years early on in the evolution of modern PR, so it got the first-in-category “bible” distinction. There are four other notable texts that are equally good and all are used in PR degree and non-degree programs. All are useful references on public relations history, functions, case studies, planning, principles, practices, trends, issues, etc. As I’ve urged practitioners for years, read at least one cover to cover. You will be amazed at what you don’t know that you don’t know about the profession. Add this assignment to your 2014 New Year resolutions.

    • The Practice of Public Relations by Fraser P. Seitel; Prentice Hall: Englewood Cliffs, NJ; 2010. First edition: 1978.
    • Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics by Dennis L. Wilcox & Glen T. Cameron; Allyn and Bacon: Boston; 2008. First edition: by Dennis Wilcox, Phillip Ault & Warren Agee; 1986.
    • Public Relations: The Profession and the Practice by Dan Lattimore, Otis Baskin, Suzette Heiman & Elizabeth Toth; McGraw-Hill: New York; 2008. First edition: by Otis Baskin and Craig E. Aronoff; 1983.
    • This Is PR: The Realities of Public Relations by Doug Newsom, Judy Turk & Dean Kruckeberg; Cenage/Wadsworth: Belmont, Cal.; 2009. First edition by Alan Scott & Doug Newsom; 1976.

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