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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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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