Whitney Danhauer

Spin Sucks Question: Your Favorite Professional Development Books

By: Whitney Danhauer | July 26, 2019 | 
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professional developmentWhen I was a kid my family had a tradition of going to a bookstore and out to eat every Friday night.

Rain or shine, my mom, my brother, my grandparents, and I would pack into the car and head to Joseph-Beth Booksellers.

Every single week, I looked forward to that the most because I knew, no matter what, they would buy me a book.

Now, before you start saying, “Has your family ever heard of the library? It’s free…” Yes, we were frequent visitors there as well.

The point is my mom did everything she could to encourage our love of reading.

And it worked!

To this day I read almost anything I can get my hands on.

I love recommendations and suggestions for new books.

So this week, we asked our lovely Spin Sucks community on Slack to recommend their favorite professional development books.

Turns out, they love books as much, if not more than I do, if we go by how quickly they answered this week’s #SpinSucksQuestion.

What are some of the most influential books you’ve read pertaining to your career?

Professional Development Books for PR Professionals

Heidi Foy listed a couple of her favorites:

I really like “High Performance Habits” and on a more personal note, “Present over Perfect”. I am currently reading “American Entrepreneur”—on the history of great American go-getters.

Chris Williams’ focused on copywriting:

“The Well-Fed Writer” by Peter Bowerman. This introduced me to the idea of copywriting, way back in the day.

Lauren Anderson chose one by Malcolm Gladwell:

“The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell. It opened my eyes to the fact something so minuscule can make all the difference in a campaign.

Kelly Goucher’s favorite book is one we may all want to add to our lists:

“The Content Trap”, by Bahrat Anand gave me a totally different perspective on content and really influenced my approach to storytelling.

Ashton Meisner added another to the list of books focusing on the PR industry:

“Pitch Perfect” by Bill McGowan is an incredible read. It breaks down communication/public speaking/PR in a different light and shows how the smallest changes can make all the difference. Highly recommended!

Micah McGuire looked at the community’s suggestions and mentioned how many books she was adding to her “to read” list and we’re sure she wasn’t the only one.

“The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg and “Getting Things Done” by David Allen.

Obviously, I’m skewed to the “productivity nerd” end of the spectrum, but “The Power of Habit” literally changed the way we did business at work and “Getting Things Done” kicked off all of my personal productivity habits.

While Kelly Cutrone actually scared me on America’s Next Top Model, Katie Robbert is a fan of her book:

“If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You” by Kelly Cutrone

Covet the Covey

For professional development, Heather Feimster is a fan of this book by Stephen M. R. Covey.

“The Speed of Trust” by Stephen M. R. Covey. It’s allowed me to take the idea of trust—which can seem very touchy-feely to business-minded people—and make the case for its very real affect on the costs to your business relationships. Highly recommended.

John Wall also likes Stephen M.R. Covey:

Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and “First Things First” are also fantastic. 

Assembling a Library?

Shane Carpenter is getting some brownie points with his answer:

For me, there isn’t one book that stands out above all the others that I can point to and say, “That book completely changed my life.” I learned more from some than others but they are all part of a tapestry.

Some stand outs I highly recommend are:

And our own Dave Johnson chimed in with his list:

Hmm. So many to choose from.

  1. Building Customer-Brand Relationships” by Don E. Schultz, Beth E. Barnes, Heidi F. Schultz and Marian Azzaro
  2. “Putting the Public Back in Public Relations” by Brian Solis and Deirdre Breakenridge
  3. “Spin Sucks: Communication and Reputation Management in the Digital Age” by Gini Dietrich

Let’s Talk Books

Do you have a must-read book about professional development?

If you aren’t part of our Spin Sucks community on Slack and have some suggestions, why don’t you join our community!

It’s free, a really fun group, and we’re always looking for new members. Plus it’s a handy way to meet others in our industry.

Or you can add your choices to the comments down below.

About Whitney Danhauer


Whitney is living in Central Kentucky with her husband, Michael and her daughter, Evie Rose. She's an avid reader, an even more avid movie watcher, and loves nothing more than a well-placed pop culture reference. By day she writes about all things communications for Spin Sucks, by night she writes about whatever she wants. Her first novel, Good Riddance, was released in October of 2015.