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

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BRAND UNDER FIRE

A NEW PLAYBOOK FOR CRISIS MANAGEMENT IN THE DIGITAL AGE

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

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 211

Publisher: Ordnance Hill Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 7, 2018

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Not an easy read but an essential one.

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HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST

Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

SO YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT RACE

Straight talk to blacks and whites about the realities of racism.

In her feisty debut book, Oluo, essayist, blogger, and editor at large at the Establishment magazine, writes from the perspective of a black, queer, middle-class, college-educated woman living in a “white supremacist country.” The daughter of a white single mother, brought up in largely white Seattle, she sees race as “one of the most defining forces” in her life. Throughout the book, Oluo responds to questions that she has often been asked, and others that she wishes were asked, about racism “in our workplace, our government, our homes, and ourselves.” “Is it really about race?” she is asked by whites who insist that class is a greater source of oppression. “Is police brutality really about race?” “What is cultural appropriation?” and “What is the model minority myth?” Her sharp, no-nonsense answers include talking points for both blacks and whites. She explains, for example, “when somebody asks you to ‘check your privilege’ they are asking you to pause and consider how the advantages you’ve had in life are contributing to your opinions and actions, and how the lack of disadvantages in certain areas is keeping you from fully understanding the struggles others are facing.” She unpacks the complicated term “intersectionality”: the idea that social justice must consider “a myriad of identities—our gender, class, race, sexuality, and so much more—that inform our experiences in life.” She asks whites to realize that when people of color talk about systemic racism, “they are opening up all of that pain and fear and anger to you” and are asking that they be heard. After devoting most of the book to talking, Oluo finishes with a chapter on action and its urgency. Action includes pressing for reform in schools, unions, and local governments; boycotting businesses that exploit people of color; contributing money to social justice organizations; and, most of all, voting for candidates who make “diversity, inclusion and racial justice a priority.”

A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58005-677-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Seal Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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