5 Best PR Books for Marketing & PR Students

Best PR Books for Marketing & PR

As a refresh of a post I wrote a few years ago which now has close to 100,000 reads about the top 10 PR & Marketing books.


We assume you have already read the PR classic books. As I have always said, the best public relations professionals read often – marketing and PR books, and more.

The classic PR books include: How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie; Crystallizing Public Opinion, by Edward L. Bernays (Freud’s nephew); Confessions of an Advertising Man, by David Ogilvy and the novel Thank You for Smoking, by Christopher Buckley (which is much better than the movie in my opinion).

The current thinking is that we become a composite of the five (or so) people we spend the most time with – and some of those five spots are taken up by people we love. Upping your game, increasing your understanding and skills is vital to your career and life advancement.

So, one way to make positive changes – spend more time with quality people and thinkers. For most people, the remaining open spots for the five are filled by our peers.

Well, our peers are great, but most of them are on your level – that’s why they’re peers. But there’s another option, start spending more time with industry and thought leaders, watch motivating TED talks, and read…read…read quality nonfiction books covering the topics that matter most to you. If you work in PR, then media and PR know-how should be top of that list. So, in addition to the classic PR books, here are five more great options for your PR library.

No matter what format (hard copy, digital or audio) immerse yourself in what people who’ve learned the lessons already and understanding will increase with the skills following right behind that.

These are in no particular order of importance.


Rogue Elephants - Public Relations Book

Rogue Elephants: One PR Girl’s Fight Through the Human Jungle, by Jane Hunt – 2013

This is an account of Ms. Hunt’s experience working successfully in the Public Relations field in the UK for nearly thirty years. It is presented with humor and humanity, and if you’re looking for a good view into the industry, you’ll get one from her perspective. This is a must own book for any college level student seriously trying to pursue a career in PR.


power of ownership - top marketing pr book

The Power of Ownership, by John Bailey – 2013

In this book, Mr. Bailey shares 40 plus years’ experience in the business. He is deeply committed to honesty and ethics in business and gives ways those principals have helped him and his company thrive. Mr. Bailey was an instrumental part of changing the world we live in through his campaigns. These include changing public perspective to wear seatbelts, and views about public smoking. Also, if you are a Detroit history buff, you will enjoy an insider’s view of many events in the City and its larger companies.


lean in women work - top marketing pr book

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg – 2013

Sheryl Sandberg is the COO of Facebook. She encourages women to take a forward step in leadership in all areas. She also asks for people to stop assuming that men run the world, requesting that men be real partners with their spouses, sharing equally in family responsibilities.


art of perception - top marketing pr book

The Art of Perception: Memoirs of a Life in PR, by Robert Leaf – 2012

This is another PR war stories book. Robert Leaf was a PR industry leader for nearly 50 years, so he has a few good stories to tell. He also shares valuable inside information, insight, and understanding of how to keep your business moving forward.


for immediate release pr book - marketing public relaitons

For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations, by Ronn Torossian – 2011

Yes, I am serving my own interest – but my book is awesome… and is the only book on the subject written by the owner of a top 25 PR firm. You can find out more about it – or order it here.


There are many other wonderful PR books out there, but this list offers a great start. Please leave your favorite’s in the comments below – I love checking out new takes and insights into PR and marketing.

About Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations. He is an experienced leader in the public relations industry with over 20 years of experience. Ronn Torossian has been named as Public Relations executive of the year by the American Business Awards, and has run countless award-winning Public Relations programs.

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