cover image Masters of Disaster: 
The Ten Commandments 
of Damage Control

Masters of Disaster: The Ten Commandments of Damage Control

Christopher Lehane, Mark Fabiani, and Bill Guttentag. Palgrave Macmillan, $31 (256p) ISBN 978-0-230-34180-7

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.)