Recommended Reading

What We’re Reading

At the Center for Management Communication, we’re often asked for recommendations about the best resources on communication. We have some suggestions that have aged gracefully and remain evergreen, regardless of when these titles first appeared. And we also have specific books that address particular challenges our students frequently struggle with.

Our current recommendations include:

  • Robert B. Cialdini, Influence: Science and Practice. Fifth Edition. New York: Allyn & Bacon, 2009.
    Cialdini’s book remains the veritable bible of persuasion, examining the way that we remain highly vulnerable to certain types of appeals. Once you understand the automatic response that accompanies the word because, you may never hear a request in the same way ever again.
  • Chip and Dan Heath, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. New York: Random House, 2007.
    In their first book, the brothers Heath use an easy-to-remember formula for ensuring your ideas hit their mark and acquire some longevity: Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, Stories or SUCCESS. If this acronym sounds a bit contrived, the book is anything but, brimming with examples of how to ensure your next proposal, big idea, or modest press release gains an attentive audience likely to share it.
  • Paul Ekman, Emotions Revealed: Recognizing Faces and Feelings to Improve Communication and Emotional Life. 2nd edition. New York: Holt, 2003/2007.
    Ekman’s work forms the basis of the TV series Lie to Me and remains a touchstone for everyone from law enforcement to airport security screeners. Ekman, an anthropologist, initially proposed that some expressions are universal during an era when anthropologists insisted that all culture was intensely local. Based on decades of empirical research, Ekman’s work categorizes basic facial expressions, enabling you to understand that the minute lift of your interviewer’s nostril signifies contempt for the interview answer you just gave.
  • Richard Davidson with Sharon Begley, The Emotional Life of Your Brain: How Its Unique Patterns Affect the Way you Think, Feel, and Live—and How You Can Change Them. New York: Hudson Street Press, 2012.
    A long-time researcher in affective neuroscience—like Ekman, a voice in the wilderness for much of his career—Davidson replaces with a more sophisticated set of criteria the conventional “Big Five” personality traits: extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism, conscientiousness and openness to novelty. Instead, Davidson provides six distinctive traits that rely on continua to create emotional styles. The six traits include resilience, outlook, social intuition, self-awareness, sensitivity to context, and attention and also map nicely onto the “Big Five” personality traits, while providing greater insight into how individuals can change their emotional styles. Davidson’s work provides superb insight into not only which types of careers and scenarios work best with certain emotional styles but also into how individuals with dramatically different emotional styles can work compatibly in the workplace.
  • Winifred Gallagher, New: Understanding Our Need for Novelty and Change. New York: Penguin, 2011.
    Whether you can’t tell a gerund from a participle or actually know your pronoun cases, Rhetorical Grammar has an abundance of material to teach you. If you’re hopelessly confused about how to understand grammar, the book serves as an excellent primer to help you identify, understand, and write using basic grammatical tools. However, even a seasoned grammarian or writer can benefit from Kolln and Gray’s explanations of the way certain sentence configurations can influence our readers’ perceptions of the ideas we express. The same content, expressed in different types of clauses, can yield dramatically different shades of meaning. For anyone who has ever struggled to ensure that her proposal or his memo conveys precisely the right message and tone, Kolln and Gray’s work is remarkably useful, even for seasoned writers.
  • Martha Kolln and Loretta Gray, Rhetorical Grammar: Grammatical Choices, Rhetorical Effects. Boston: Longman, 2003/ 2010.
    Whether you can’t tell a gerund from a participle or actually know your pronoun cases, Rhetorical Grammar has an abundance of material to teach you. If you’re hopelessly confused about how to understand grammar, the book serves as an excellent primer to help you identify, understand, and write using basic grammatical tools. However, even a seasoned grammarian or writer can benefit from Kolln and Gray’s explanations of the way certain sentence configurations can influence our readers’ perceptions of the ideas we express. The same content, expressed in different types of clauses, can yield dramatically different shades of meaning. For anyone who has ever struggled to ensure that her proposal or his memo conveys precisely the right message and tone, Kolln and Gray’s work is remarkably useful, even for seasoned writers.

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Warrington College of Business Administration
100 BRY
PO Box 117150
Gainesville, FL 32611-7150
Phone: 352.392.2397
Fax: 352.392.2086

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