This time last year, December 2016, I was preparing to set up on my own as an independent public relations consultant. I had many ambitions and goals, one of which was to read one business book a month.
Here are some of my favourites:
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
I took the opportunity to re-read this classic book, an all-time international best seller, first published in 1937 and still relevant today. Dale says that achievement is 15% down to technical knowledge and 85% down to personality and the ability to express ideas, assume leadership and arouse enthusiasm among people. There is so much in this book; I feel that if I were to read it again there would still be so much to gain.
Myths of PR by Rick Leigh
A new book published this year and one which resonates with me, as so many people have no idea what PR is or what it can do for their business, or they have many misconceptions about PR. I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard, “it’s about spin”, “you can’t measure PR” and “PR is only media relations”. This book addresses these, and other common myths, head on and realistically captures what public relations is today. It is full of case studies, facts and humour and illustrates the value and role of PR.
Essential English For Journalists, Editors and Writers by Harold Evans
Another book which remains on my desk at all times. As communicators using the written word, we need to lead by example and maintain the highest standards of writing. Authored 30 years ago by journalist Harry Evans, it remains an indispensable guide for all writers today. Whilst I believe that writing should be dynamic and move with the times, I firmly maintain that we should all aim to use the English language well, and at a time when we are all content creators, reading good, correct English is a joy.
Campaigns That Shook the World by Danny Rogers
This book really showcases how powerful PR campaigns can be, by describing in detail nine campaigns from the political, entertainment and corporate sectors. It explains the use of particular strategies and tactics and includes interviews with many of the leading professionals involved, including Alistair Campbell, Tim Bell and Simon Fuller. This is a great read for anyone who wants to understand, and see evidence of, how PR can change opinions and influence mood and actions.
Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
Another classic which I took the opportunity to re-read. The seventh habit, about ‘preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have – you’, has taken on particular importance for me this year and I have actively tried to build in better working habits and practices that will benefit not just me, but also those with whom I work.
Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends by Seth Godin
In a world where the way we receive information is changing, not only in terms of the sheer volume of information we receive, but also when and how, there is a growth in demand for some form control. In the sense that we, as the customer, want to find and receive information at a time of our own choosing, not necessarily when companies want us to. Alongside this constant bombardment of messages, there is a sense of irritation, as our attention is distracted from our tasks at hand.
This book, primarily about advertising, advocates building a relationship with customers, creating trust, understanding their problems and providing opportunities for customers to get to know the people and values behind the corporate face. If businesses can relate better to their customers, and vice versa, they can build better conversations and therefore better sales.
Manage Your Day-To-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus and Sharpen Your Creative Mind by Jocelyn K Glei and 99U
An easy to read collection of contributions from authors, bloggers, columnists and others, all advising and reminding you of how to stay focused and be able to complete the big important tasks, along with the smaller time-consuming stuff, and still have a life in a 24-7, always-contactable, world. It has lots of great, practical tips ideal for all those freelancing, written in a style which encourages you to look at your own ways of working and concentrate on those that suit you best.
These are my highlights of business books I have read this year and I am looking forward to reading another book a month during 2018.