Working in PR is an exercise in discipline. We assume responsibility for everything from strategy to execution details, all of which can change on a moment’s notice. As Beth points out in her 33 Signs You Work in PR piece, #22 is “You are perfectly capable of writing a press release while tweeting, updating Facebook and watching Mad Men at the same time.” A successful PR practitioner needs discipline to carve out time for tasks essential to our job function, particularly the non-tangible elements like reading. It sounds simple enough, but with a daunting to-do list full of deliverables, reading can seem like a distraction when its intent is to provide inspiration and ideas.
At InkHouse, we are constantly reading, watching and monitoring for conversations that matter to our clients. We are media junkies always on the search for new opportunity. We find the time to read because we are curious and we know that being successful requires not just an understanding of our clients but an understanding of the media and what the media is covering.
Beyond reading the traditional and social media channels, I asked my colleagues what they are absorbing in their spare time and was inspired by the variety of responses. Some enjoy reading business titles and others prefer books that can “lead thoughts in different directions” (HT @gregpc). As content creators ourselves, it’s important to read whatever it is that keeps our “prose loose and creative, as opposed to getting stuck in business-speak” (HT @tinacassidy2 who just finished writing a nonfiction book).
With that in mind, here’s a list of books we are currently reading outside of the office to stay informed and to inspire creativity – both essential to any PR practitioner’s success.
Content Rules by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman (cc-chapman.com)
If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland
Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
The Elements of Style (the illustrated version with Maira Kalman’s drawings)
The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes by Mir Tamim Ansary
Edmund Morris' three volume biography of Teddy Roosevelt – The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, Theodore Rex and Colonel Roosevelt
Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo
Milkshake by Joanna Weiss
Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer
Room by Emma Donoghue
Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart
The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence has Declined by Steven Pinker
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Secret Lives of Wives by Iris Krasnow
World War Z by Max Brooks
Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
Have you read anything good lately? Contribute to the list using the comments section.