After its release on January 1, 1956, Profiles in Courage became a best seller. The book won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1957, even though it was not one of the finalists forwarded to the Pulitzer Prize board from the selection committee. Kennedy's father Joseph asked columnist Arthur Krock, his political adviser and a longtime member of the prize board, to persuade others to vote for it.
The book returned to the bestseller lists in 1961 after Kennedy became president and 1963 after he was assassinated.
Profiles in Courage was made into a television series of the same name that aired on the NBC network during the 1964–1965 television season.