This is a new edition of a highly popular book that many communicators have been raving about for the many years. It has been thoroughly rewritten with four new chapters and 80 more pages. This is not really a "how to do it" book. It is more an in depth "how to understand it" book, so internal communicators can work out for themselves how to "turn strategy into action".
A strength of the book is the first section (of three chapters over 100 pages) linking communication to organizational strategy. It painstakingly explains how business operates (including globally) and what communicators need to do to contribute to business success. The themes are familiar and include: stakeholders, planning, leadership, trust, innovation, communication as a process, information v communication, changing attitudes and behavior, measurement; as well as business issues such as brand, strategy, structure (including matrices and the corporate centre), and culture.
Part 2 (four chapters over 150 pages) covers "leading change": leadership and engagement, making change happen (including the richness of media), face-to-face communication, and communicating projects and initiatives.
Part 3 (three chapters over 100 pages) is on "pulling it together": planning and managing communication, a wonderful chapter on "repositioning the role of the internal communication function" (which Quirke believes is vital if communicators are to add value), and measurement.
Quirke has a vast knowledge of both business and communication and the content is solid and reasonably easy to read. There are half a dozen long, informative case studies (e.g. BMW, Starbucks). The writing style is quirky (e.g. "information can travel over wires, but communication happens between the ears", "clutter kills", "cycle, not cascade", and both cascades and managers "leak meaning"). There are some excellent diagrams although I would have liked more.
This book is great but not perfect. There is the odd spelling error and missing reference (e.g. a great Jack Welch paragraph). I could find no discussion of social media except a brief mention of blogging, nor any mention of communication with remote workers. Some statistics quoted probably apply only to the UK (e.g. MORI norms) and a knowledge of UK companies (e.g. Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury, Tesco) will help but is not critical to understanding.
Certainly if you don't have the first edition you should get this one, and read it carefully. But should you buy it if you have the first edition? The answer is probably "yes", if only to get the brilliant new section on the "roles" of communicators. In this Quirke expands on his earlier descriptions of the communication roles of post office, travel agent and consultant, to a new set: distributor, craftsman, technical advisor, consultant, and coach. Strongly recommended.