The 10 Best Communications Textbooks

video play icon 10 Best Communications Textbooks

This wiki has been updated 16 times since it was first published in July of 2018. Regardless of which profession you're in or considering pursuing, the ability to communicate clearly will be key to your success. These textbooks can help teach you the basics of effective messaging, whether on a one-to-one basis or over mass media. They are all written to help you interact with friends, family, clients and coworkers in a clear and easy-to-understand manner. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Interpersonal Communication

2. The New Rules of Marketing and PR

3. Media & Culture

Editor's Notes

June 08, 2020:

Communications is a wide-spanning discipline that has never been more important in the digital age. Whether it's within your business, across organizations, or by way of mass media, effectively conveying a message is a surprisingly nuanced task. We've curated a range of textbooks to speak to a few aspects of the discipline, with some focusing on professional situations while others home in on the benefits of social media marketing. Our goal was to collate relevant selections that speak to a variety of needs. If you're looking for more tomes that focus on the business end of things, look to our list of business communications textbooks.

It's difficult to approach the topic of interpersonal and global communication without speaking of social issues and conditions, which makes author bias a common issue in many texts in this field. We decided to cut Identities in a Global Community for this reason, as it's needlessly prejudiced at points without being open about the author's intentions, which is misleading and can impart concepts students have to unlearn down the road. We also said goodbye to The Dynamics of Persuasion due to similar complaints and a lack of ethics questions surrounding chapters on guilt-based persuasion tactics, which can be confusing to future marketers. Finally, we removed Principles for a Lifetime, which can still be helpful in many instances, but contains outdated information.

To fill the gap, we brought on Effective Crisis Communication, which is increasingly helpful in an age of data hacks, PR missteps, and natural disasters. Many modern consumers want the oganizations and companies they interact with to be open and transparent, and this textbook will help outline how to effectively manage issues when they arise, both with employees who depend on steadfast leadership and patrons who need information. You'll also find Understanding Human Communication joining the ranks today. This one takes a progressive approach, so be aware of that at the outset. It doesn't do this to push an agenda, but rather inform the reader on how best to communicate with people of certain values.

For digital marketers, we thought The New Rules of Marketing and PR would be useful, as it's a solution manual for communicating with potential customers and creating a following. It's easy to read and full of relevant, recent information on a host of topics to be of interest to a wide readership.

Special Honors

Coursera Communications Courses If you're looking to gain additional knowledge outside of school or are an autodidact picking up a textbook to learn at home, a class with Coursera can help broaden your understanding of your chosen field. They offer comprehensive introductory courses as well as highly technical and niche ones, touching on everything from social media marketing to successful negotiation.

United Nations Department of Global Communications If you're a student of intercultural or international communications, then it's worth looking at how the United Nations Department of Global Communications operates. They employ a broad range of tactics to amplify information across the world, including producing multilingual content, using the latest technology, multimedia, and social media platforms, carrying out communications campaigns on priority issues, and conducting outreach activities with a variety of diverse partners.

4. Understanding Human Communication

5. Business Communication Essentials

6. Interplay: The Process of Interpersonal Communication

7. Business Communication

8. Effective Crisis Communication

9. Communication: Making Connections

10. Technical Communication

Gia Vescovi-Chiordi
Last updated by Gia Vescovi-Chiordi

Born in Arizona, Gia is a writer and autodidact who fled the heat of the desert for California, where she enjoys drinking beer, overanalyzing the minutiae of life, and channeling Rick Steves. After arriving in Los Angeles a decade ago, she quickly nabbed a copywriting job at a major clothing company and derived years of editing and proofreading experience from her tenure there, all while sharpening her skills further with myriad freelance projects. In her spare time, she teaches herself French and Italian, has earned an ESL teaching certificate, traveled extensively throughout Europe and the United States, and unashamedly devours television shows and books. The result of these pursuits is expertise in fashion, travel, beauty, literature, textbooks, and pop culture, in addition to whatever obsession consumes her next.

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