Since the pace of summer seems to be slower and more relaxed, it's a good time to catch up and get some reading done while sitting on the porch in the evenings or at the pool while the kids splash away.
In writing this column, I get to interact with some of the best and brightest professionals in the fields of public relations, marketing and social media, and many of them have written helpful books. There are a lot of good business books out there right now, and below is a list that shares insights into public relations and marketing. There's no special order to the list.
Humanize by Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant (Que, $24.99): Humanize takes the principles underlying social media's growth and applies them to the way organizations are led and managed from the company's culture down to individual behavior. The method makes management more effective and human.
Grant, chief social media strategist of consulting firm SocialFish, says she is reading Social Gravity: Harnessing the Natural Laws of Relationships by Jason Lauritsen and Joe Gerstandt (Talent Anarchy, $14.95). Social Gravity looks at networking in the modern age and how to utilize it to improve all areas of your life. In addition, she is reading Grouped: How Small Groups of Friends Are the Key to Influence on the Social Web by Paul Adams (New Riders, $29.99). Grouped brings together the latest research to describe how people are connected and how brand messages spread through social networks.
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Marketing in the Round: How to Develop an Integrated Marketing Campaign in the Digital Era by Gini Dietrich and Geoff Livingston (Que, $24.99): This book provides tools to create a flexible marketing network that includes sales, public relations, advertising, customer service, human resources, social media and the executive team. It then shows how to use each piece of the group to speak cohesively with customers.
Dietrich is reading Small Town Rules: How Big Brands and Small Businesses Can Prosper in a Connected Economy by Barry J. Moltz and Becky McCray (Que, $24.99). The book explores how the world is now one "global small town" and how your business must differentiate itself by establishing personal relationships with customers. She is also reading Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $30). The book takes the reader on a tour of the mind explaining the two systems that drive the way we think.
Dietrich's Marketing in the Round co-author Livingston is reading Digital Vertigo: How Today's Online Social Revolution Is Dividing, Diminishing, and Disorienting Us by Andrew Keen (St. Martin's, $25.99). Digital Vertigo argues the social media transformation is weakening, disorienting and dividing us rather than establishing the dawn of a new egalitarian and communal age. Livingston is also reading Good Works!: Marketing and Corporate Initiatives That Build a Better World ... and the Bottom Line by Philip Kotler, David Hessekiel and Nancy R. Lee (Wiley, John & Sons, $27.95). The book is rich with advice on ways to combine marketing and corporate social initiatives into broader business goals.
The Like Economy: How Businesses Make Money With Facebook by Brian Carter (Que, $24.99): The Like Economy provides a practical and proven plan to use Facebook to effectively reach your business goals. Right now, Carter said he is taking time for some pleasure reading after finishing a book on LinkedIn. He is reading Ernest Hemingway and books about writing jokes. He says he did read some good sales books while writing his new work. Those include Mastering the Complex Sale: How to Compete and Win When the Stakes are High! by Jeff Thull (Wiley, John & Sons, $24.95) and The New Strategic Selling by Robert B. Miller and Stephen E. Heiman with Tad Tuleja (Grand Central, $16.95).
The Social Media S trategist: Build a Successful Program From the Inside Out by Christopher Barger (McGraw-Hill, $25). The book provides real-world examples of companies integrating social media into their business. Barger is reading Marketing in the Round.
All of these are available in print and e-book formats.