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An essential resource for those involved with and affected by crisis management.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

A guidebook for organizations in times of crisis.

Disasters can occur at any time in a large business, government, or nonprofit organization—everything from a fatal accident to a sex scandal that captures national attention. Such occurrences can have an immense impact on how the public views an institution, notes PR expert and debut author Hunt, and managers should not take them lightly. The question is not how to avoid a crisis, but what can be done when something unexpected arises. Hunt (with debut co-author Leavenworth) presents answers in this terse and highly readable guide. In modern times, he notes, companies must not only answer to traditional media but also to the instantaneous and unpredictable sway of social media: “Local stories can rapidly become global stories,” he points out. What is one to do in such an environment? The book offers a range of real-world examples on what has and hasn’t worked for organizations in the past. In 2010, for instance, when the Deepwater Horizon accident occurred, British Petroleum had a public relations nightmare on its hands. As bad as the situation was in the aftermath, the author points out that it was made worse by a CEO who complained, “I want my life back.” Hunt argues that, instead of projecting such a lack of empathy, BP could have followed a path like that pursued by the Tokyo Electric Power Company following the nuclear meltdown at its Fukushima Daiichi plant, less than a year later. Although TEPCO initially received criticism for its reaction to the disaster, the company was able to show that employees who’d stayed behind to tend to the plant were heroic in their efforts. In this way, Hunt notes, TEPCO was able to associate itself with heroes, instead of a whiny executive. The book is full of such examples, and it comes across as an indispensable primer for business managers and their equivalents in other organizations. Although the book is dotted with full-page quotations that are sometimes more obvious than helpful (such as “Create content so strong that people want to share it with their friends”), the advice is varied and succinct. Penn State University, Blue Bell Creameries, and Volkswagen are just a handful of the brands mentioned, and Hunt tells readers just enough information about their struggles to be useful. The advice is very clearly presented, as when the author asserts that a company must not go silent in the wake of a fiasco, as doing so is “almost always a losing strategy.” The book will also hold value for those outside of public relations. After all, the general public may never truly know whether a corporation in hot water is actually sensitive to what’s happened, or if it’s merely constructing a narrative to woo the public. But the information in this book effectively gives the average reader a look behind the curtain to show how organizations handle (and mishandle) times of big trouble.

An essential resource for those involved with and affected by crisis management.

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2018


Page Count: 211

Publisher: Ordnance Hill Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 7, 2018


If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998


The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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