This new book by Australian PR practitioner Gerry McCusker is a useful and entertaining look at 79 relatively recent - and high-profile - PR disasters.
Most of these disasters, if not all, have been generated or exacerbated by that peculiar tendency towards hubris, arrogance and deception that seems to grip organisations, CEOs and, too often, their PR advisers when faced with an emerging crisis.
So often their collective actions make things worse rather than better.
At the end of each brief case study, McCusker offers some 'lessons learned'. These have the feel of lived experience and will offer sensible guidance, particularly to people new to the profession.
Overall, I was struck by just how frequent (or depressingly predictable) PR disasters occur. This is particularly surprising given that the solutions are common sense and, to many people, the obvious thing to do.
After all, when we stuff up saying sorry and promising not to do it again and offering to pay for the damage is the stuff that we are taught is the essence of good manners.
The problem is that CEOs and their organisations often move to the beat of a different drum. Egoism gets in the way as does a fear of the consequences of admitting error.
A good PR adviser is often the person who has to explain that ego-driven behaviour is going to make things much worse.
Fortunately, when a CEO has had an 'oh, shit' experience and they are facing the immediate immolation of their careers in a firestorm of media and public condemnation they are more likely to listen to common sense.
Still, PR is an art and the heart of that art is human interaction, understanding how people react and in PR the crisis is the moment in extremis when you either earn your stripes or get revealed as a charlatan (often in a horribly public way).
If you're new to PR this book will help you prepare yourself for the inevitable first crisis.
If you've been there and done that, reading about (other people's) crises is, I must admit, a damn lot of fun.