As I was preparing what I wanted to tell the audience that I believe will be key to “The Future of PR in Washington“ as part of the PRSA-NCC panel this week, a list of books came to mind. That’s because what will be critical isn’t knowing the ins-and-outs of the ever-changing array of new social media tools, but rather understanding how the human mind works, how people decide what to believe, how they process information and how they make choices.
The “father of public relations”, Edward Bernays, was adamant that public relations is “applied social science”. He was a nephew of Sigmund Freud and understood that planning campaigns, tailoring messages and choosing the right message delivery method can all be better done if you understand the ways emotional responses and unconscious thought patterns work.
What books did I recommend? Some big and some slim, but all with something of value on how to motivate and understand human behavior:
- The Engineering of Consent, Edward L. Bernays’ classic
- The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell,
- Drive, by Daniel Pink
- The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
- Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman