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Mark Fabiani — Masters of Disaster: The Ten Commandments of Damage Control

June 11, 2013

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

This timely survey of recent PR crises (which even draws on the July 2012 Louis Freeh report on Penn State) will likely stand as the go-to manual for the foreseeable future. Lehane and Fabiani are well positioned to distill the lessons of the baseball steroid scandal, Tiger Woods’s infidelities, and Anthony Weiner’s obscene tweets into clearly articulated principles of crisis responses (e.g., full disclosure; don’t feed the fire); they served on the “rapid-response” team for the Clinton White House. With filmmaker Guttentag, Lehane and Fabiani contrast thoughtful and effective responses with ineffective ones, noting, for example, how Eliot Spitzer quickly rehabilitated himself after resigning as New York’s governor for patronizing prostitutes, and how John Kerry’s presidential campaign made a fatal error in not moving promptly to rebut the Swift Boat campaign. The authors also make plain how much things have changed in the age of Twitter, where negative stories can spread electronically around the world in a microsecond, necessitating contingency plans that can get the responses out as soon as possible. Agent: Mel Berger, WME. (Dec.)

From the Publisher

“Masters of Disaster is the perfect playbook for how to respond when you’re under enemy fire…a vital and fun read full of back-room tales for those who want to learn from America’s greatest corporate and political scandals.”—The Huffington Post

“A how-to brought to you by the guys who defended Clinton on impeachment.”—The National Journal

“The go-to manual…Lehane and Fabiani are well positioned to distill the lessons of the baseball steroid scandal, Tiger Woods’s infidelities, and Anthony Weiner’s obscene tweets into clearly articulated principles.”—starred review, Publishers Weekly

“If you are a public figure, or even a private citizen who might engender controversy, read this book and put its authors on your speed dial.  These guys are truly the masters not only of avoiding or minimizing disaster, but of dealing with the kind of crises faced by ordinary people when they first encounter the media, the law or the blood sport we call politics.”—Alan M. Dershowitz, author of The Trials of Zion

“In a hostile climate where reputations and markets can be capriciously destroyed in seconds, the old chestnuts about crisis management don’t apply.  What’s needed is perspective from the seasoned  Masters of Disaster who understand that damage control is a temperamental art, not grade school science.  A valuable addition to the modern crisis canon.”—Eric Dezenhall, CEO Dezenhall Resources, Ltd. and author of Damage Control: The Essential Lessons of Crisis Management

“Every board, every manager and now almost every individual now faces the possibility of being swept up in a firestorm of media and mangled message.  Masters of Disaster provides both sound rules and great examples of both the positive and negative kind to guide us all through to the best possible outcomes.  The only danger is that you won’t read it in advance. I recommend it to all my board colleagues and CEO friends.”—Howard Stevenson, Sarofim Rock Professor Emeritus, Harvard Business School

“Today crisis is common, and news of scandal, whether large or small, spreads rapidly. Through detailed case studies that focus on both those who have successfully overcome a crisis and those who have failed, Masters of Disaster offers essential insight into crisis management.”—Ted Leonsis, owner of the Washington Capitols and Washington Wizards

“Managing the world’s most famous sports franchise is never dull, and there are times when I’ve turned to and found valuable tactics from this crisis management playbook.”—Jeanie Buss, president, Los Angeles Lakers

“Think if you are not in the public eye, this book does not apply to you? Think again. Disaster will happen to all of us, when we least expect it. And if you are in the public eye — this is mandatory survival reading!”—Guerrino De Luca, CEO of Logitech

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