Books that shape thinking on communications

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Why Read it


Leadership: Giuliani***

For his emphasis on the importance of communications as Mayor of New York.

Why Should Anyone be Led by You, Goffee & Jones**

Perceptive and thoughtful book about how to lead and demonstrate ‘authentic’ leadership

Strategic Public Relations Leadership, Anne Gregory***

Terrific guide to how to lead a comms function and the attributes for success.

HBR 10 Must Reads On Leadership*

Good summary in 10 essays of the desired attributes for managers and leadership


Good Strategy, Bad Strategy, Richard Rumlet*

Explains how strategy should and should not develop for businesses and organisations

Successful Strategy Execution, Syrett**

Clear and concise Economist guide to how to build strategy, measure success and lead change

Strategic Social Marketing, Jeff French & Ross Gordon** 

Comprehensive guide to the practical and theoretical aspects of public service marketing

Audiences and Society

Nudge, Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein***

The core text on theories of behaviour change

Connected, Christakis & Fowler**

Explains how the advance of social media and changes in society are connected.

The Second Machine Age

Sets out the detail and impact of the technological forces driving change in society and the implications

Bowling Alone, Robert Puttnam**

Forceful argument for how civic society has changed, and what contributes to human happiness

The Small Big, Steve J. Martin, Noah J. Goldstein and Robert B. Cialdini***

100 ways to influence people through simple and largely free comms actions

The Political Brain, Drew Westen*

Assessment of the development of US polktical campaigns with a focus on the attributes of compelling campaigns

Tipping Point, Gladwell***

Demonstrates how ideas spread and shows who will spread them

Choosing the right communication tools

The Social Media Bible: Safko/Brake – Clear guide to social media**

A great guide to the principles and tools of social media

Risk Issues and Crisis Management in Public Relations, Regester & Larkin (CIPR)**

A clear theoretical and practical approach to crisis management.


Campaign It, Barnard and Parker***

Textbook on developing coherent campaigns

The Unfinished Revolution, Gould*

Classic guide to the development of a political communication approach based on communication and research

COI – How public service advertising works, Judie Lannon**

Guide to public service marketing campaigns over 1990s and early 2000s. Highlights interventions that work.

Public Relations


Kill the Messenger, Bernard Ingham**

Basics guide to the role of as media officer and media relations. Pre-social media but still relevant.

Public Relations, Jim MacNamara**

Textbook on public relations in the round, its use and the theories underlying its application.

Live from Downing Street, Robinson**

History of government/media relations, with a particular focus on the BBC. Useful on lobby system and 24/7 news.

Internal Communications


The Presentation Coach, Davies**

Challenging and innovative approach to giving presentations that will stay with the audience

The Culture Builders, Jane Sparrow***

Great guide to applying internal communications, setting out the approaches that different manangers can take.

Communicate to Inspire, Kevin Murray ***

Definitive guide for managers and leaders who want to communicate and lots of stories about the consequences of this not happening well.

Websites worth reading

Government Communications Service: Best practice, guides and campaign examples from the GCS

Engage for Success: The theory and practice of successful staff engagement

Reputation Institute: The study of the factors that mould brand and reputation.

The ICSpace: The GCS resource for internal communication.

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