101 Must Read Books for PR and Communications Professionals


We are witnessing lately a burst in our access to information. Google, Bing, Social Media, Micro Blogging, Digital Media, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, Tumblr, and Pinterest, among others, are allowing us to access actualities, sometimes even before they occur.

In the midst of this remarkable digital information age, the questions that I have been asking myself lately are:  are we becoming more knowledgeable?; Is the access to such a massive flow of information enhancing our intellectual abilities?; Are we becoming better critical thinkers due to the fact that any information we seek is one Google away?

Irrelevant to what is my stand concerning the above questions, I have a genuine belief that in our quest to be informed, we are finding little time to seek knowledge; Knowledge that is formed through getting exposed to the minds of acclaimed authors (in this case in the field of PR and Communications), reflecting on their writings, and building a knowledge base to become better practitioners.

Lately, and more than ever, I have been asked by different clients, colleagues and friends about my list of the best PR and Communications related books which I always answered with enthusiasm, being a big advocate to the everlasting importance of a book.  This led me to the idea of this post, which is to go and ask my entourage about their preferred reads and compile an extensive list of interesting books that can be considered a corner stone for a knowledgeable PR and Communications practitioner.

I am not claiming that this is “THE” list, nor its uniqueness. This is only an attempt to present what can serve as a base for any knowledge seeker and hopefully challenge his/her intellect to become creative in the field of PR and Communications.

Wishing you happy reading:

A Geography Of Time: The Temporal Misadventures of a Social Psychologist
A Practitioner’s Guide to Public Relations Research, Measurement and Evaluation
Stacks ,Michaelson
A Rhetoric of Motives
Kenneth Burke
About behaviorism
Applying Communication Theory for Professional Life: A Practical Introduction
Dainton & Zelly
Arguing and thinking
Audiences: A sociological theory of performance and imagination
Abercrombie , Longhurst
Bridges Not Walls: A Book About Interpersonal Communicaton
 John Stewart
Building Theories of Organization: The Constitutive Role of Communication
Putnam , Nicotera
Changing Minds
Howard Gardner
Close relationships
Communication and social order
Communication, Action and Meaning
Communications of innovations: A cross-cultural approach
Rogers, Shoemaker
Confessions of a Public Speaker
Scott Berkun
Conducting Interaction: Patterns of Behavior in Focused Encounters
Adam Kendon
Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide
Corporate Communication: A Guide to Theory and Practice
 Creating Effective Groups: The Art of Small Group Communication
Randy Fujishin
Crush It!
Gary Vaynerchuck
Crystallizing Public Opinion
Difference Matters: Communicating Social Identity
Brenda J. Allen
Difficult Conversations
Stone,  Patton,  Heen and  Fisher
Diffusion of innovations
Digital Strategies for powerfull Corporate Communications
Duarte’s Slide:ology
Nancy Duarte
Guy Kawasaki
Excellent Public Relations and Effective Organizations: A Study of Communication Management in Three Countries
Grunig, Grunig, & Dozier
Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently
Harvard Business Review on Communicating Effectively
Harvard Business Review
How To Win Friends and Influence People
Dale Carnegie
Human communication theory: The history of a paradigm
 Influence: Science and Practice
Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone
Language Shock. Understanding the culture of Conversation
Agar, Michael
Lectures on Conversation
Harvey Sacks
Made to Stick
Heath & Heath
Man-made language
Manufacturing consent
Noam Chomsky
Mass Communication theory
Denis MacQuail
Mass Communication Theory: Foundations, Ferment, and Future
Baran, Stanley J. , Davis.
Mass Communications: Living in a Media World
Mass Media and Society
 James Curran &Gurevitch
Mass media research: An introduction
Wimmer, Dominick
Measure what Matters
Messages: The Communication Skills Book
 McKay,  Davis,Fanning
Media effects research
Mind, self, and society
Mind, Self, and Society: From the Standpoint of a Social Behaviorist
George Herbert Mead
Roland Barthes
Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers
Scoble ,  Israel
Pragmatics of Communication.
Watzlawick, Beavin & Jackson
Present Your Way to the Top
David J Dempsey
Presentation of self in everyday life
Propoganda and democracy. Cambridge UP.
Public Relations Startegies and tactis
Wilcox et al
 Remediation. Understanding New Media
Bolter, Richard
Reputation Rules: Strategies for Building Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset
Social Behavior: Its Elementary Forms
George Homans
So What? How to Really Communicate what Matters to Your Audience
Mark Magnacca
Speaking into the air: A history of the idea of communication
Speech communication in the 20th century
Spin: How to Turn the Power of the Press to Your Advantage
 Michael S. Sitrick
Start with the Why
Strategies of Psychotherapy
Jay Haley
The Age of Access
The Art and Science of Communication: Tools for Effective Communication in the Workplace
Perkins, Brown
The Cluetrain Manifesto
Levine, Locke, Searls ,Weinberger
The Dance of Change
Peter Senge’s
The dialogic imagination
The Ethics of Rhetoric
Richard M. Weaver
The Face-to-Face Book: Why Real Relationships Rule in a Digital Marketplace
Keller ,Fay
The Influentials: One American in Ten Tells the Other Nine How to Vote, Where to Eat, and What to Buy
Berry, Keller
The interpretation of cultures
The Language of New Media
The Lost Art of Listening: How Learning to Listen Can Improve Relationships
Michael P. Nichols
The Magic of Dialogue
Daniel Yankelovich
The Media Monopoly
Bagdikian, B.H.
The medium is the massage
 The Reality of the Mass Media.
Luhman Niklas
The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life
Erving Goffman
The process of communication
Holt, Rinhart,Winston
The Psychology of Attitudes
Alice H. Eagly and Shelly Chaiken
The psychology of interpersonal relations
Semiotics: The Basic
The Silent Language
Edward T. Hall
The social construction of reality
Berger, Luckmann
The Social Organization of Zen Practice: Constructing Transcultural Reality
David L. Preston
The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything
Stephen Covey
The Tipping Point.
Malcolm Gladwel
Theories of Human Communication
Little John & Foss
Six Pixels of Separation
Mitch Joel
 Trust Agents
Chris, Smith
Twilight of Press Freedom (The Rise of People’s Journalism)
Merrill,  Gade, Blevens
Corporate Communications
Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man
Marshall McLuhan
Yearning: Race, gender and cultural politics
YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a Day

Let’s make this list even bigger and why not 1001…tweet, share, or comment your own preferred list and I will update and circulate accordingly…



About rogerjabaly

A true believer in communications as a vital discipline to lead organizations in the 21st century and the fact that "One cannot not communicate". Appreciate simple communications strategies that can actually be implemented and enjoy monitoring social behaviors. Avid reader, Judo player, Optimistic by nature, husband and father
This entry was posted in Communications, Media, PR and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to 101 Must Read Books for PR and Communications Professionals

  1. Pingback: A Seat at the Board Table! 3 Things Communicators need to start doing. | Communication is King

  2. Srinivas Seshadri says:

    This is indeed very useful to my entire corporate communication team

  3. Thanks for posting this. There are some great suggestion here that I definitely look forward to reading.

  4. David Grier says:

    Here’s another “must read” on Public Relations/Public Affairs:
    “Social Change and Corporate Strategy — The Expanding Role of Public Affairs” — by Andrew B. Gollner. Published by Issue Action Publications, Inc. Copyright 1983. ISBN0-913869-00-7.
    I admit to a certain bias in recommending this book, as I am quoted in it.
    David Grier, APR

  5. tgversailles says:

    Thank God for books! Social media produces a very small percentage of good content, a fairly larga amount of repetition and an equaly large amount of outright Junk.

    Roger, the problem facing us here is information overload. May I suggest that starting from your 100-book list we should try to bring it down to 10, which then becomes a manageable project within a reasonable amount of time. Of course there are different perspectives; some of us will prefer the «how-to» books, others, such as myself, are more into the philosophical approach to dialogue, listening and conversation.

    I confess to having read very few books from your list.

    May I be so bold as to ask, if your really had to bring it down to the only five books that you would be allowed to carry on a space shuttle, what would they be?

    And thank you again for this wonderful initiative.

    • rogerjabaly says:

      Salut Guy,

      I can’t agree with you more on the fact that we are overexposed and you put it in a great context when you say “Information overload”.

      I believe that the culture of sound bites will impede our ability to create in the world of PR and Communications and will produce professionals with lots of information and less of knowledge.

      I agree that the list may be extensive, but look at it in this way, 100 books starting from Aristotle’s 4th century BC “Rhetorica” all the way till Heath Brothers 2007 “Made to Stick” is actually not bad 🙂

      As for my top 5 picks, mmmmm this will be challenging, but here you go in random order:

      – Pragmatics of communication
      -A Rhetoric of Motives
      -Made to Stick
      -Manufacturing Consent

      Happy reading

  6. Bill walker says:

    I am biased but how about Sept 2014 book “Crisis Communications in the 24/7 Social Media World” (Amazon)

    • rogerjabaly says:

      Hi Bill,

      I will definitely add your book to my reading list especially that I am very interested in the subject. By the way I am a fan of your writings on crisis communications.

  7. jdgreen2 says:

    Reblogged this on Amateur PR Girl.

  8. Joseph says:

    Thank you so much for posting this list! I’m a PR student, but I still enjoy learning from a good book. Looks like I’ve got some reading to do…

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  10. de Lichana says:

    Roger, I perfectly agree with you !
    It’s what I was meaning by “getting old” ! getting old means getting wiser and wiser.
    All our ancien human civilization had, always particularly respect elder people: they were books / “human books”.. They were keeping hold of the whole tribe knowledge.
    Still today, under the “arbre à palabre” (~”endless discution” tree) the elder teach the youngs in Africa.
    millenium after millenium, the increasing number of people on the planet had lead human to create different communication tools until the “book”,to communicate.
    Our new tools are in a way or another the extention of books,with a little something else.
    We still can not help of ignoring one or the other tool..
    The right synthesis and balance is great …and delicious !

    • rogerjabaly says:

      I couldn’t put it in a better way…thank you for expressing what I want to say…the right balance is key and the ability to differentiate between knowledge and information…and Informed human being may become short sighted and take unbalanced actions due to developing a memory based on actualities. while I believe that a knowledgeable human being is key for an insightful future. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts

      • de Lichana says:

        I thank you too for your so large -but at the same time sharp and precise “communication” approach ! GREAT !

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  12. de Lichana says:

    I perfectly do agree with you approach Roger !
    Maybe because we both spent so much time both with books and this remarkable digital information age,
    Are we getting old ? 🙂

    • rogerjabaly says:

      I think it is not that we are getting old :)…but wise enough to understand that we can’t proceed with developing a human mind and intellect for a better future without reading the words of great thinkers such as Aristotle and Barthes

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