Dr. Seuss’s way of seeing the world was so cleverly creative that kids couldn’t help but want to read, something that no other author before him could persuade them to do.
More importantly, his books always came with some kind of lesson or understanding of the world. These lessons aren’t lost on me. In fact, most are still applicable.
Dr. Seuss had an unusual way of communicating, no doubt, but he also seemed to talk about how we should communicate and live as we communicate.
Here are five Dr. Seuss books that demonstrate important, fundamental lessons of PR.
Summary: Seuss teaches kids to count and understand colors with his array of interesting creatures grouped according to size and color.
How this helps a PR pro: Understanding numbers and segmentation is key to your job.
Only by knowing the difference between whether there is one fish or if there are two, and whether they are red or blue, can we ever tell which bait reels in the most fish in the first place.
Summary: Seuss brings his magical world to life with a series of imagined creatures and places.
How this helps a PR pro: Public relations is a creative job. While there is some structure to what we do, imagination is still the king of communication. It is our responsibility to come up with new ways to convey ideas.
Summary: A tiny bug sneezes, creating a butterfly effect that ripples through a town and leads to uncertain outcomes.
How this helps a PR pro: Whenever we implement a strategy or tactic, we don’t necessarily know what the outcome will be. We must always consider our actions in a broader context. Even if we are a little bug, a whole town—or blogosphere or organization— may be at stake.
Summary: The Zooks and the Yooks get into a cold war over how to butter toast, leading them to an indefinite brink of mutually assured destruction.
How this helps a PR pro: “The Butter Battle Book” is a great way to introduce the stupidity of cold war threats to a young person, but it also teaches PR pros to never get into a scenario of heightened tension and mutually assured damage. There is too much at stake to ever force people to hold such a consequence against one another.
Summary: Yertle is the lowliest turtle in all the land. The King decides to stack his turtle subjects on top of one another until he is the highest thing in the universe, suggesting that this will expand his territory.
All is well for the king—but not so well for the turtles—until Yertle, the bottom turtle, sneezes. This causes the tower made of his fellow countrymen to tumble, leaving the king in a pile of muck.
How this helps a PR pro: There are a couple of points to take from this story. You are only as strong as your weakest link. Keep only top-notch professionals beneath you in your organizational structure.
The real moral of this story, however, is to not be greedy; treat your fellow turtles with respect. Rigid, top-down organizations tend to end up with the king in the muck.