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'When In Doubt, Make Applesauce!'

Book Reviews

'When In Doubt, Make Applesauce' Book Reviews: Testimonials

Just finished reading Marc Whitt's "When In Doubt, Make Applesauce!" and I absolutely loved it! With a rapidly evolving PR landscape, there's often a temptation to chase the newest trends or tools. Yet, Marc reminds us of the value of going back to basics. Drawing upon insights from PR maestros globally, he meticulously weaves together habits that encapsulate the very soul of the profession. Beyond the advanced strategies and tools, he emphasises the age-old pillars of trust, character, and integrity as the bedrock of effective communication. The book doesn't just focus on the fundamentals; it dives deep into the intricacies of networking and the art of building long-lasting relationships. It challenges professionals like me to look beyond immediate tasks and embrace 'big picture' thinking, sculpting the future of PR, rather than just adapting to it. This book acts as a compass, pointing back to the timeless values that underpin the PR profession, while also providing a roadmap for navigating its modern complexities. This blend of traditional wisdom and contemporary insights, makes it a compelling read, essential for anyone, be they a budding PR novice or a seasoned expert. Thank you Marc. Thank you.

- Anokhi Popat, Board Director and Head of Public Relations, PLMR, London, England




"Anyone committed to or considering a public relations career will benefit considerably from "When In Doubt, Make Applesauce!" Professor-counselor Marc Whitt's recent winner is a compelling encyclopedia rather than just another book. Packed full of valuable lessons, reminders, hints, and clever stories, he guides readers into a masterful PR professional's world. The practice of public relations too often is misunderstood. It isn't oriented primarily toward media releases, brochure designs, and group event staging. Skilled PR women and men are permanent advisors in C-Suites. While absorbing Marc's anthology, I recalled conversations with three dear friends. Each departed this earth as an icon. The father of modern-day PR, Ed Bernays, stayed active until passing at age 103. He correctly described public relations as 'engineering of consent.' Lt. Col. (ret) John Dillin, founder of our nation's oldest such alliance, the Florida Public Relations Association, viewed becoming a masterful professional as does Marc. Dr. Jay Rayburn, whose notable career brought him national acclaim, stressed the highest ethical/intellectual standards for anyone in this discipline. They would endorse ardently Whitt's latest. I certainly do."

- Tommy Preston, APR, Fellow, PRSA, Founder & CEO of ForeseeNow, LLC, a Preston Global Extension, Nashville, Tennessee


"Public Relations practitioners of all experience levels will appreciate Marc Whitt's work in 'When In Doubt, Make Applesauce! Core Habits of the Masterful Public Relations Professional.' The craft of meaningful and effective public relations work has indeed evolved over time to adapt to the needs of clients and the ever-changing role technology has - and will continue to play - in our lives. With the winds of change in the industry, there have remained many constants. Marc's work here is less of a read and more of a conversation with a seasoned and masterful public relations executive. It takes you on a journey through 8 habits, with the first being the foundation of 'Unquestionable Character and Integrity.' While written for public relations practitioners, this book is a must-read for leaders from all sectors. The 8 Habits Marc lays out are fundamental to effective team building and leadership. Habits define you. They create natural actions, reactions, and behaviors. They become a part of your fabric. The mastery of any skill requires practice, and Marc, through this book and its conversational tone, gives real-life examples and experiences that bring clarity to the topic. Marc provides a great analysis of successful versus masterful. Both are great, but there is a clear distinction in this, and again, while looking at this from a public relations lens, this is indeed applicable to any career. And for the applesauce, that's at the core of all of this. And it's not really the applesauce, it is the understanding of the mastery of something. Marc's mother and her applesauce-making did not come from anything other than a mastery, commitment, and devotion to the craft. What can we learn from this? Everything. I appreciate Marc's passion to keep the craft of Public Relations and the core foundations in which it was built front and center. In a world of convenience that moves at the speed of a click, a post, and the sensation of being viral, the need for masterful and strategic public relations practitioners is as important as ever. And while we don't know what tomorrow may bring, I am confident that these habits will continue to stand the test of time. What's your applesauce?"

- Joshua Ball, Chief Operating Officer, Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR), Pikeville, Kentucky


"In writing, When in Doubt, Make Applesauce! Core Habits of the Masterful Public Relations Professional, Marc Whitt uses everything and everyone from Granny Smith apples to Rocky Balboa and Michelle Obama to illustrate and emphasize eight vital habits that public relations professionals must learn, adopt, and practice. Utilizing a conversational and effective approach, Marc encourages his readers to adopt these habits that are necessary for success, whether the public relations professional is in the first or 40th year of her or his career. Marc communicates new lessons to the young professional, while doing so in a way that also serves as valuable reminders for those who may be late in their careers. When sincerely practiced and applied, these habits not only benefit the reader but their organizations. Marc, leaning on his almost four decades of professional experience, presents a new habit in each of eight chapters—becoming a model of unquestionable character, being an exceptional networker, mastering the mission and brand, and more. His writing style makes reading comprehension easy, and the new public relations graduate who adopts these habits will build their career on a good foundation, while experienced public relations professionals will notice Marc's ability to communicate important lessons in a straightforward manner. The penultimate chapter featuring public relations professionals from across the industry and the world furthers the reader's understanding of Marc's text as well. Marc clearly 'practices what he preaches,' committing himself to lifelong learning, as well as to relationship building. Over his career, Marc has cultivated an exceptional network of talented peers, and the readers of 'When in Doubt, Make Applesauce! Core Habits of the Masterful Public Relations Professional,' are the beneficiaries, as 36 professionals from six nations contribute their thoughts to the book with short essays. It is my hope, as Marc communicates, that the public relations students and professionals who read this book are encouraged to adopt these habits and embed them in their character. And in doing so, they put them into practice whether they are in the office, at home, or in their communities."

- James P. Coll, Ph.D., Chief Communication Officer, The University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, Mississippi

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"If there's one thing I can count on, it's the fact that Marc Whitt never fails to teach me something new. Whether it be about the PR industry, or simply something about myself, I always find that I am gaining valuable knowledge from his words. These lessons are some that have helped me grow into the individual I am today, especially while navigating the beginning of my long career in sports. This is the perfect book for anyone who is trying to figure out their identity within their professional lives and become truly masterful in their skills. From communication tactics, networking strategies, and so much more, I truly could not put this book down. As someone who is still learning who I am within the PR industry, this is just the book I needed to help give me a guiding light. A must read!"

- Emily A. Fields, M.S., Marketing and Fan Engagement Coordinator, Tennessee Titans, Nashville, Tennessee

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"Marc Whitt's charming wit and professional wisdom shine in When in Doubt, Make Applesauce! For budding public relations practitioners and masters alike, his distillation of the skills, habits, and characteristics of the PR professional reads like a conversation with a friend and colleague. Grab a cup of coffee, and as Marc so clearly puts it: Learn. Practice. Perform. Repeat."

- Dr. Jami M. Hornbuckle, Assistant Vice President for Content Strategy, 3 Enrollment Marketing, Morehead, Kentucky

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"This inspiring read is the prose of a masterful and skilled PR professional, who has expertly balanced the synthesis of practical, and thoughtful lessons, with richly told anecdotes and relatable experiences. In a world typified by the desire for quick wins, and instantaneous gratification, Marc Whitt describes with great credibility the importance of, and processes for practicing habits to achieve success. Whitt has the remarkable ability to blend alertly up-to-date, contemporary PR practices while paying homage to tried and tested fail-safe principles. This book will lead the reader on their own path to development applicable across many fields. Turning the pages leaves the reader hungry for more. It is the literary equivalent of those chance encounters in life, when one unexpectedly strikes up a conversation, with a warm and compelling stranger, only to find, several hours later, the tales, life lessons, and anecdotes have been an unexpected source of inspiration. This will be returned to, and reflected on for years to come. This is the work of a unique and special author who is able to draw on his own experiences and those of others on the importance of building relationships and building communities. This book will be of interest to anyone working in PR and communication management, but its reach spans far greater. It is a must, for anyone who values taking a broader perspective on communication. In this sense, one would be hard pushed to find a more important book at this time. Marc Whitt has truly earned the title of master of his trade, and master of storytelling."

- Poppy Humphrey, Director of Standards and Accountability, LINK Strategic Partners. Manchester, England

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"Want to become a masterful public relations professional? Then learn from one of the profession's best practitioners by reading Marc Whitt's 'When In Doubt, Make Applesauce! Core Habits of the Masterful Public Relations Professional.' The book is full of Whitt's wisdom, humor, and practical advice that will empower you to know and understand the essential core habits for a successful career in public relations. A must-have book in every PR professional's library!"

- Lee Insko, Partner, 5 Degrees Branding, LLC, Lexington, Kentucky

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"Marc Whitt's book, 'When in Doubt, Make Applesauce! Core Habits of the Masterful Public Relations Professional,' is a win-win for all PR professionals. It should be required reading for working professionals and students alike. Marc knows how to communicate in a way everyone can understand and work toward their goals. I highly recommend his new book!"

- Joan C. McKinney, Director of University Communications, Campbellsville University, Campbellsville, Kentucky

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"Through a combination of personal anecdotes and hard-earned wisdom, Marc carefully outlines the habits needed by anyone looking to develop mastery of the public relations profession. Written in an easy and relatable tone, When In Doubt, Make Applesauce! is chock full of valuable lessons for PR professionals at all stages of their careers. I highly recommend this book to anyone in the communications industry who wants to take their professional development to the next level."

- Emma McKinstry, Founder & CEO, 418 Communications, Lexington, Kentucky

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"Marc Whitt has written a mesmerizing guide filled with strategic, down-to-earth, Southern wisdom that should be a must-read for every public relations professional from novice to senior practitioner. His childhood anecdotes of life lessons taught to him, and his nearly four decades of experience, will inspire current and future generations to strive to become masterful public relations professionals."

- Jared Meade, MPS, APR, CMPRCA, Founder & Principal, Rayne Strategy Group, Berkey, Ohio

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"'When In Doubt, Make Applesauce! Core Habits of the Masterful Public Relations Professional' is an essential resource for PR practitioners at any level - from those just graduating from college with their shiny new PR degree to seasoned professionals who have been around the PR block a few times. Written in a down-to-earth, conversational tone (as the author suggests to speak!), Marc Whitt shares his public relations expertise of nearly four decades through a combination of personal storytelling and humorous anecdotes meant to make both the reader chuckle while learning (or perhaps refreshing) eight essential core habits of a masterful public relations professional. Although all eight essential core habits are valuable, the two that stood out to this reviewer (a seasoned professional herself) were Habit 7 and Habit 8; A Masterful Public Relations Professional is a Servant Leader; and A Master Public Relations Professional is Resilient, respectively. In Habit 7, we are reminded of the value of a grandfather's wisdom, that one can be a servant leader at any job level by simply believing in a cause and serving others first. Plus, practical advice we should all use as a gut check: if it doesn't support the mission then don't do it. In Habit 8, Whitt gives advice on resilience, with the key message resilience is applicable for any age. This chapter presents a nice little pep talk anyone at any stage in their career can use, with a special nod to PR practitioners who had to be resilient during the throes of Covid. The chapter wraps up with tips on how to strengthen one's resiliency. Overall, When In Doubt, Make Applesauce! is an enjoyable read, with each chapter proffering practical stories and tips to master the eight core habits cited by Whitt - not a bad apple in the bunch."

- Amy Preske, Public Relations Manager, Buffalo Trace Distillery/Sazerac Company, Frankfort, Kentucky

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"Whether you are new to public relations or an experienced manager or practitioner, you will find something in this book to help you set new goals to form, or reform, your journey to practitioner success. This is a highly useful guide to achieving professional mastery of public relations, which will serve as an inspiration to readers, encouraging them to aim high and extend their public relations capabilities for the benefit of their own practice, but also of the industry in general. Marc Whitt provides eight easy to follow habits that can be revisited, and dipped in and out of, whenever we are feeling the need to reinvigorate and improve our public relations practice. The habits give the public relations professional at any stage of their career a framework for reflection and continuing professional development, whilst the stories and anecdotes bring these ideas to life. In addition to this, Whitt has cleverly captured and articulated the essence of what really makes a truly effective public relations professional by identifying typical characteristics, behaviors and skills exhibited by those who succeed. In a digital age, when the focus can be too much on the mechanics of content and platform formats, Whitt reminds us that the fundamentals of honest and authentic conversations, relationships, story-telling and brand-building underpin all forms of effective communication. The accessibility and readability of the prose belies the book's deep and meaningful message which guides practitioners and public relations leaders towards authentic and ethical communications methodologies. It is an inspiring read which articulates the kind of public relations practitioner, and indeed, person or leader we would all like to be."

- Sian Rees, Ph.D., Head of School Culture and Communication, Swansea University, Swansea, Wales

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"Marc Whitt's timeless recipe for becoming a masterful public relations professional is chalk full of thought-provoking ingredients, equally valuable to seasoned professionals looking for growth as it is to students interested in learning the principals of PR. Marc not only offers readers priceless perspective from his own extensive experience in the field; he also shares testimonies from dozens of renown public relations professionals from across the globe. Owning this book is like having your own team of PR consultants sitting on your bookshelf that you will reference time and time again."

- Kristen Rencher, Marketing and Development Professional and Arts Executive, Washington, DC

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"Having studied journalism in college, I didn't have as much of the traditional PR training, so a lot of what I carry with me is from experience working with and observing masterful public relations professionals of high regard, including Marc Whitt. Some of those lessons would be a lot easier if they were in book form to brush up on every so often. That is why When In Doubt, Make Applesauce! is a perfect follow up to PR Lessons Learned Along the Way, in that it dives deeper into lessons learned and provides a reflective view on the experiences that can help a mid-career professional or aspiring young leader to exactly where they want to be career-wise through authenticity, integrity, resilience. We are in the business of providing service and embodying accountability. To achieve in these roles, you can operate by strategic, superficial interactions or you can earn it through genuine, sincere communications, the spirit of being a servant leader and backing up your words with actions. These lessons and so many more are expertly shared in this book. Marc's second book is a critical piece of reflection, looking back on a career that has influenced so many stories, campaigns, branding initiatives, process shifts and more. Perhaps the most important aspect of the look back is the reminder it is okay to not have all the answers and to learn from those circumstances to be better the next day. It will not always be easy or feel good, but it can and should be a guiding force for a career as a masterful communications professional. Without completely spoiling the message, this book provides an important reminder and useful steps to take when it is time to make applesauce. Sometimes it is best to shoot for simple, knowing that when in the midst of a crisis you have to get the job done and go with what you know. And when you do the job well, stay diligent, practice good habits and execute consistently, you will find yourself on a journey you can be proud of. The anecdotal stories and proverbs Marc uses to describe his journey perfectly summarize why it matters to be a thoughtful communicator, as well as why having deeply rooted ethics system is essential to being a masterful PR professional. Let this book serve as a reminder: You do not have to be a disingenuous jerk to be good at your job as a PR professional. Go forth and #makeapplesauce with the wisdom Marc imparts and learn from the perspective of a caring, compassionate professional who brings substance and style to every undertaking."

- Wesley Robinson, Press Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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"Marc C. Whitt's latest book does an excellent job preparing the next generation of PR masters to excel during times of unprecedented change. With cultural and communication shifts likely to only intensify, it's the practices and habits of professionals that create the foundation a PR executive will need to allow them to flourish. Historically, people look for formulas to solve business problems that they can repeat or rely upon their past experiences to handle challenges the same way, but this doesn't work because the circumstances of the past are no longer relevant and often are a disadvantage, even if only from a year or two ago. To be agile and take on every situation openly to provide the necessary counsel as a masterful PR specialist, you must have a foundation of integrity and intellectualism, and the right skills in communication, creativity, and leadership that this book teaches beautifully. These valuable principles are presented in a fun and effective storytelling style, alongside meaningful advice from other top PR professionals of today."

- Samantha Stark, Executive Vice President, 160over90, New York City

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"Marc Whitt's new book When In Doubt, Make Applesauce! Core Habits of the Masterful Public Relations Professional grabs with a sincere and energetic tone from the very first words, declaring to the reader that they hold in their hands the most valuable professionally inspiring pages of their life. When the communication profession is concerned about ethics, fake news, and rapid digitalization processes, every representative of the PR industry needs fate and inspiration to bring us back to the core professional qualities formulated by a verbally rich and dedicated author. With the skill of a storyteller who lifts the curtain on his world and the deep expertise of a long-time practitioner, Marc gives an exact structure and in-depth analysis of the skills that are the foundation of our work and provides the reader with a unique practical toolkit, current examples, and real stories, which inevitably affect not only the clarified perception of the PR profession but can be put into action today and now. The book is not only an inspiration but helps you set your watch and think about the basic principles of our work. I would strongly recommend the book to my students and colleagues. I am confident that current and future practitioners who are blessed to read it and those with a passion for the field of public relations, will look in the mirror and acknowledge that they are equipped to build a better world for the benefit of society with the lessons learned."

- Manuela Toteva, Ph.D., Marketing Project Manager, Studio SAP and Visiting Lecturer, Institute of Media and Communications, Technical University, Ilmenau, Germany

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