Mini review: Masters of Disaster

Reading time: About 1 minute

Here is a mini-review of the book Masters of Disaster by Christopher Lehane, Mark Fabiani and Bill Guttentag…

If your company is facing a disaster, no book will be enough to help you. You’ll need a real live person to make a plan, thrash out the key messages, handle the media calls and keep everyone focused.

But if you’re smart, you’ll read about crisis communications before a crisis actually occurs. If you’re looking for that kind of reading, here’s a good choice: Masters of Disaster by Christopher Lehane, Mark Fabiani and Bill Guttentag. Over the years the authors have represented Goldman Sachs, Lance Armstrong, Andrew Cuomo and, during the 1990s, the Clinton-Gore Administration. As you can imagine, they know disasters.

The book offers plenty of practical advice based on real-life situations. Here are the 10 communications commandments the authors promote:

#1: Full disclosure
#2: Speak to your core audience
#3: Don’t feed the fire
#4: Details matter
#5: Hold your head high
#6: Be straight about what you know, what you don’t know, and what you are going to do to fix the problem
#7: Respond with overwhelming force
#8: First in, first out
#9: No swiftboating
#10: They dissemble, you destroy

I don’t have the space to expand upon their commandments here but I can say this: If there is any chance that you will have any responsibility for “crisis communications” in your company, then read this book.

As Benjamin Disraeli put it, it’s good to hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst.

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