A highly readable, provocative, and stimulating PR guide.

THE ART & CRAFT OF PR

CREATING THE MINDSET AND SKILLS TO SUCCEED IN PUBLIC RELATIONS TODAY

Relevant insights about public relations from a skilled practitioner.

This fine debut by Stahl, a co-founder of marketing communications agency Jacobstahl, is a concise overview of the PR field that offers a forward-looking perspective on the impact of modern communications technology. With precision and authority, Stahl covers the basics, raising important issues without delving into excessive detail. The book seems primarily intended for those considering a career in PR—the author teaches graduate courses in integrated communications at the City College of New York—but experienced practitioners may learn a thing or two, as well. The book’s 10 PR fundamentals, for example, are more intriguing than similar, more typical lists; they include “Curiosity,” “Message and Motive Integrity,” and “Story Telling.” Similarly, the section comparing “attraction” and “promotion” is intriguing: “attraction operates on a different rhythm than promotion. It feels friendlier, more relaxed. It doesn’t come with either the volume or the urgency of promotion. If orchestrated effectively, it can almost feel organic and inevitable.” Here, the author effectively and clearly associates the more sophisticated and subtle “attraction” with the power of PR. Stahl later uses the interesting term “gentle collisions,” borrowed from Michael Markowitz of Panera Bread, one of her clients, to explain how attraction creates “personal and authentic intersections in the everyday lives of the target audience.” There are specific tips and techniques, as well, as in a bulleted list of “ways to spark creativity,” and suggestions for keeping business objectives front and center when working on a PR strategy. The book closes with a chapter titled “Messages from the Masters,” which ably condenses the wisdom of 17 senior PR executives into digestible interview excerpts. Perhaps recognizing the relative brevity of her book, Stahl helpfully includes a section of additional resources.

A highly readable, provocative, and stimulating PR guide.

Pub Date: March 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9991871-0-4

Page Count: 128

Publisher: LID Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

ECONOMIC DIGNITY

Noted number cruncher Sperling delivers an economist’s rejoinder to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Former director of the National Economic Council in the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the author has long taken a view of the dismal science that takes economic justice fully into account. Alongside all the metrics and estimates and reckonings of GDP, inflation, and the supply curve, he holds the great goal of economic policy to be the advancement of human dignity, a concept intangible enough to chase the econometricians away. Growth, the sacred mantra of most economic policy, “should never be considered an appropriate ultimate end goal” for it, he counsels. Though 4% is the magic number for annual growth to be considered healthy, it is healthy only if everyone is getting the benefits and not just the ultrawealthy who are making away with the spoils today. Defining dignity, admits Sperling, can be a kind of “I know it when I see it” problem, but it does not exist where people are a paycheck away from homelessness; the fact, however, that people widely share a view of indignity suggests the “intuitive universality” of its opposite. That said, the author identifies three qualifications, one of them the “ability to meaningfully participate in the economy with respect, not domination and humiliation.” Though these latter terms are also essentially unquantifiable, Sperling holds that this respect—lack of abuse, in another phrasing—can be obtained through a tight labor market and monetary and fiscal policy that pushes for full employment. In other words, where management needs to come looking for workers, workers are likely to be better treated than when the opposite holds. In still other words, writes the author, dignity is in part a function of “ ‘take this job and shove it’ power,” which is a power worth fighting for.

A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7987-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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