Thriller or filler? Masters of Disaster: The Ten Commandments of Damage Control

This month's book review features a crisis management bible by Christopher Lehane, Mark Fabiani and Bill Guttentag.

Published by Palgrave Macmillan

Don't try to blag your way out of a crisis. This is my only real take from more than 200 pages of Masters of Disaster: The Ten Commandments of Damage Control.

The authors start by trying to provide some context for why the book is important now, but the claim that "crisis is a state of nature" seems slightly obvious - you only need to watch a David Attenborough documentary to realise that. Their claim that "crisis has become the new normal" seems a rather absurd way to underline the book's current cultural relevance.

This book reads as if it has been written for people with limited knowledge of the media in general and PR in particular, and it is riddled with hackneyed phrases such as "anyone with a smartphone can break news" and "in the information age, know-ledge is power" alongside predictable references to Watergate, the BP oil spill and the Arab Spring.

This book is not smart enough to grant me new knowledge for my professional life, its anecdotes are not good enough to provide an entertaining read and there has been a weak attempt to tap into pop culture by starting each chapter with a movie reference.

There are a few interesting process points, but these could easily be distilled into a 30-minute training module, while some of the commandments feel pedestrian. For example, "Commandment 4: Details Matter". Really?

If you want to learn more about crisis management, the PRCA's beginners' training module might be a better use of your time.

Warren Johnson, CEO and founder, W

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