Levine Communications Office

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The 10 books PR pros are reading (or should be) this summer:

Posted by Levine Communications Office on June 18, 2012

You know the drill.

It’s summertime, and you’re supposed to be reading books, presumably at the beach, which is tricky for the millions of you whose nearest body of water is the local pool (or the pond outside your office building).

We don’t know about you, but the staff at PR Daily does most of its reading during the colder months, when plunging temperatures drive us indoors. Come summertime we’re outside, doing active stuff—or drinking at outdoor patios (mostly that). Then again, most the of PR Daily staff lives in a cold weather city—Chicago—so we’re inside most of the year.

Regardless of how much we read this summer, it’s nice to at least have a list of titles when we start stockpiling books for the long winter.

Last month, we asked you to name the books you plan to tread this summer. We paid close attention to your answers (lots of “50 Shades of Grey” readers out there), vetted them, and blended those books into our official list of books PR Daily readers should crack open this summer. We divided the list in half—5 books “for business,” and 5 “for pleasure”—although some of them might be interchangeable.

And don’t worry; you don’t need a beach to enjoy them.

For Business: 

Imagine: How Creativity Works,” by Jonah Lehrer
This title is the “50 Shades of Grey” of the business-related books—because of the bondage, obviously. Just kidding. “Imagine,” like “Grey,” was among the most common books cited by PR Daily readers. Released in March, the book is a study of creativity that features case studies (Pixar, Bob Dylan) and neurological research (not the boring kind). It will inspire you to, well, feel inspired. 


United Breaks Guitars: The power of one voice in the age of social media,” by Dave Carroll

Remember Davie Carroll? For a few weeks he was every brand’s worst nightmare—and every consumer’s hero—because he took on United and not only won, but also changed the customer service landscape.
In 2009, United baggage handlers severely damaged his $3,500 guitar. One year later, after numerous failed attempts for reimbursement, Carroll recorded a song and made a YouTube that went viral. Naturally, United perked up and worked things out with Carroll. The incident made every company aware of the power of social media.

Three years later, Carroll’s written a book on the incident and its lessons for consumers and businesses. Might want to slip this one under the door of your manager—the one who still doesn’t get social media.

Return on Influence: The Revolutionary Power of Klout, Social Scoring, and Influence Marketing,” by Mark Schaefer  Mark Schaefer has spent the last couple of years becoming an expert on online influence, which means he’s sort of an influencer on influencers. The director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions covers the waterfront on this topic, in what is currently the book marketers and PR pros should own if they want to understand how to identify influencers or maybe become one. 

Mark Schaefer is an occasional PR Daily contributor

Marketing in the Round: How to Develop an Integrated Marketing Campaign in the Digital Era,” by Gini Dietrich and Geoff Livingston

If you’re job involves developing and shepherding PR and marketing plans, this book by PR professional Gini Dietrich and social media jack-of-all-trades Geoff Livingston is a must. It shows the future of marketing and explains how it works. The term “marketing in the round” refers to a discipline in which all of the silos—PR, marketing, customer service—are knocked down and the bottom line of any campaign is the results. The book’s description says it’s a must-read for the people in PR and marketing who are making the decisions; we’d add that it’s also good for those striving to become decision makers.

Gini Dietrich and Geoff Livingston are occasional PR Daily contributors.

Ready to Launch: The PR Couture Guide to Breaking into Fashion PR,” by Crosby Noricks
Among many aspiring public relations professionals, there’s a mistaken belief that the industry is all about fashion, cocktails, and parties. Hardly. But performing public relations on behalf of a fashion brand is one part of the business. For those serious about getting into this side of PR—and who want the straight dope on what it’s like—PR professional and blogger Crosby Noricks (of the PR Couture blog) offers a useful guide.

For Pleasure: 

Fifty Shades of Grey,” by E.L. James

It’s a smash hit. According to our poll, most of you plan to read it (and the rest already have). Enough has been said about this book, so we’ll leave it at that.

A Song of Ice and Fire” series, by George R.R. Martin
The uber-popular—and now controversial—“Game of Thrones” TV series on HBO began as a book series called “A Song of Ice and Fire.” The first in the series is titled “Game of Thrones,” which grabbed several awards upon its release in 1996. Thanks to the HBO series, the book became a New York Times bestseller last year.

There are five books in the series. The author, George R.R. Martin, is reportedly writing the sixth book, and a seventh is planned. Many PR Daily readers said they plan to tackle the books this summer.

Girl Walks into a Bar,” by Rachel Dratch
Tina Fey’s “Bossypants” became a bestseller when it bookshelves last spring. Fey’s former “Saturday Night Live” cast mate Rachel Dratch hasn’t reached that pinnacle with her memoir “Girl Walks into a Bar,” yet. The book, released in March, covers Dratch’s romantic life and her unexpected pregnancy at the age of 44. Some have said it’s funnier than “Bossypants,” but you didn’t hear that from us. We can tell you this much—it’s no Debbie Downer:

Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary,” by Simon Winchester
One of the primary contributors to the Oxford English Dictionary was Dr. W.C. Minor, a wealthy American Civil War veteran, who was locked in a British insane asylum for murder. In the 1880s, Minor began a correspondence from the asylum with editor Dr. J.A.H. Murray, and started helping him with the massive dictionary. The story of these men and this book, first published in 1999, is a terrific read for those who enjoy history, language, and intrigue.

The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald
 You’ll see a number of copies of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Great Gatsby” this summer, because the glossy movie version of the classic novel comes out later this year.  By all means read “Great Gatsby.” Read it once a year. But if you want to dive deeper into Fitzgerald, pick up this collection of his short stories. It will probably keep you occupied into next summer. There are jaunty tales about drinking and wooing from early in this career, along with some sad and thoughtful stuff he wrote toward the end of his life. Read “Afternoon of an Author,” and you’ll feel grateful you do the majority of your writing in an office.

and,
of course,
GUERRILLA P.R. – 2.0” by Michael Levine (Harper Collins)

The best-selling P.R. book of all-time.

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