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The Death of Spin (History) [Hardcover]

George Pitcher
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

29 Oct 2002 History
Charts the rise and fall of the spin culture of the last two decades... Every decade has its own identity, key values and needs. The 1990s were the age of spin, when the materialism of the 1980s, the desire for instant communication and soundbite democracy came together in the spin culture. This spread throughout society from business and politics even to charities and the church. Somewhere in these polished communications the message was lost. In this fascinating and highly readable work George Pitcher tells the story of the rise and fall of the spin culture, predicting its final death in the early years of the twenty first century. He examines methods of communication as a reflection of and within the context of the values of society and the process of democracy, before drawing on his considerable experience both as the giver and receiver of spin, to examine how we can move beyond the age of spin. ∗ A zeitgeist work that captures the quest for meaning in the current age and a desire to progress beyond the heady days of spin culture. ∗ Charts the history and rationale of spin throughout society from the early days of Margaret Thatcher to the death of spin in the hands of the masters of the spin culture. ∗ Interspersed with the author′s own diary entries as a journalist covering major events of the past twenty years ∗ Discusses methods of communication, how they reflect the values of the age and the relationship between business and politics ∗ Discusses the way ahead: how politicians, businesses and institutions can communicate with the general population in the post spin age. ∗ Author offers a unique perspective with insights both as the giver and receiver of spin.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (29 Oct 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470850485
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470850480
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,278,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"…the prize for ponderous pap this week goes to George Pitcher, author of The Death of Spin…" (The Guardian (City Diary), 12 November 2002) "…Pitcher writes knowledgably and persuasively on the financial and political dimensions of PR practice…reminiscent in its breadth of fellow former Observer journalist Anthony Sampson’s Anatomy of Britain, it also shares some of the moral questioning characteristic of the management writer Charles Handy…"(www.writeeffect.co.uk 22 November 2002) "…The author of this incisive volume is a former spin doctor…his comments on vacuous Late review–style criticism are worth the cover price alone…" (Scotland on Sunday, 15 December 2002) "…a fine book, from a man who has not only seen spin…but thought about it too…" (Management Today, January 2003) "…this small book, big on ideas, is the best survey of our business I’ve read in years…" (Profile (Institute of Public Relations), February 2003) "…Help, and an antidote, is at hand in the shape of George Pitcher’s important new book…lively, witty, and thoroughly entertaining…" (Accounting & Business, March 2003) "…important book on public relations…" (The Write Effect, 23 June 2003) "…a very interesting book on a fascinating subject…" (M2 Best Books, 25 March 2003)

"…the prize for ponderous pap this week goes to George Pitcher, author of The Death of Spin…" (The Guardian (City Diary), 12 November 2002) "…Pitcher writes knowledgably and persuasively on the financial and political dimensions of PR practice…reminiscent in its breadth of fellow former Observer journalist Anthony Sampson’s Anatomy of Britain, it also shares some of the moral questioning characteristic of the management writer Charles Handy…"(www.writeeffect.co.uk 22 November 2002) "…The author of this incisive volume is a former spin doctor…his comments on vacuous Late review–style criticism are worth the cover price alone…" (Scotland on Sunday, 15 December 2002) "…a fine book, from a man who has not only seen spin…but thought about it too…" (Management Today, January 2003) "…this small book, big on ideas, is the best survey of our business I’ve read in years…" (Profile (Institute of Public Relations), February 2003) "…Help, and an antidote, is at hand in the shape of George Pitcher’s important new book…lively, witty, and thoroughly entertaining…" (Accounting & Business, March 2003) "…important book on public relations…" (The Write Effect, 23 June 2003) "…a very interesting book on a fascinating subject…" (M2 Best Books, 25 March 2003)  

From the Inside Flap

Spin–culture, the Zeitgeist of the last two decades of the twentieth century, is finally dying in the early years of the twenty–first. Far from being just a political phenomenon, spin–culture has infected the way we do business, how our media work and our institutions, from the Church to the Royal Family. It is both a product of the society in which we live and a replacement for engagement with real issues – a triumph of presentation over content, that values how we are perceived rather than how we behave or what we believe. George Pitcher, who has operated at senior levels on both the receiving and transmitting sides of spin, traces the roots of spin–culture in the Thatcher years, identifies where it all went wrong in the Nineties and predicts how our attitudes to communication in all walks of life have to change for the future. Writing from the inside about serious commercial and political issues with a lightness of touch and with amusing and enlightening extracts from contemporary notes and diaries, George Pitcher has produced a thought–provoking work not just for anyone in the business of communications but for everyone who wants to communicate.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Things could only get better in 1997, or so the triumphant supporters of the UK Labour Party believed as they celebrated their first election victory for nearly 18 years. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Anatomy of spin 7 Nov 2002
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Spin has entered the lexicon in the last twenty years. This book is our guide to the trends in business, politics and society that have led to the culture of spin.
New Labour offers the author his best (and most obvious) examples, but he detects great changes in attitude to spin between the last two parliaments. Indeed, he views the year 2000 as the high water mark of the culture of spin.
At the height of the dot-com boom early that year, Martha Lane-Fox explained the high stock market valuation of her company Lastminute.com in these words. 'It's all hype'.
The author, a former industrial editor, is scornful of the dot-com boom that fuelled the culture of spin. But as a present PR practitioner, he is not about to undermine his business.
His point is that the spin culture has led to a lack of engagement in politics and a mistrust of big business. His way forward is to engage in debate on the issues that concern consumers, investors and the electorate.
The impending debate on Britain's entry into the single currency will be a defining one in this development, he argues. And companies need to demonstrate belief in coroporate community involvement (CSR), not just mouth platitudes.
It's not all good news for those in public relations. Many of their agency functions are disappearing in the internet age - but communicators who can understand and be understood by audiences as diverse as shareholders, politicians, customers, employees and activists ('Crusties' in his word) have an important part to play.
He conculdes that we're a bored generation. We lack belief. Spin played its part in this, but proper management of issues that matter can make a difference.
Perhaps the culture of spin will come to be seen as a moment of millennium madness. If so, this moment has found its chronicler in George Pitcher.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
The death of spin is an excellent eulogy to the black art of spin, it's rise over the years and it's death in the early years of the 21st century as everything it stands for becomes an object of distrust and ridcule.
George Pitcher's narrative is fast paced and entertaining covering a subject that many have tried to tackle with wit and humour as well as great insight, and let's face it someone often called a spin doctor himself at London's strategic communications firm Luther Pendragon he should know all about the black art that is spin and where it's going in the 21st Century.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's prophetic! 13 Sep 2006
Format:Hardcover
When I first read this book, Iraq had its indefatigable leader, we had a seemingly impervious Prime Minister and the government had the constant 'benefit' of Alastair Campbell's advice. George Pitcher's predictions, which at the time seemed fanciful and somewhat bizarre bearing in mind his career path, have largely come true.

Four years on, it reads as a fascinating 'memorial to spin' which possibly explains why George has now tranferred his gifts to the Church of England! Punchy yet insightful, this is well worth the price!
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring Book 6 April 2006
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I bought this book in the hope of getting insight into the British PR business and the methodology of spin. Poorly structured, interceded with out of context excerpts, this book makes it hard even to the most dedicated reader to follow the yarn. Absolutely not worth the money.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great insider account 1 Dec 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I loved this. Amusing anecdotes from someone who seems to have been there for most of the big developments in spin, combined with some deep thinking about what it all means. Provides a new way of thinking not just about political and corporate PR but about the Royal Family, the church and modern society.
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