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Author Gerry McCusker recites a litany of public relations mistakes made by major corporations worldwide. Each mistake is encapsulated in a short chapter, only two to four pages, followed by a "Lessons Learnt" summary that serves as practical advice to PR people. Unfortunately, this choppy format makes the book read more like an encyclopedia or a depository of yarns from years of index cards rather than a cohesive work. It is organized only by an arbitrary alphabetical listing, and the jargon used ("journo," "bods," "squillions") may not translate well with U.S. audiences. However, the book has two big redeeming factors. First, it provides a global view of how major PR firms, such as Burson-Marsteller and Hill & Knowlton, and other corporations operate outside the U.S., often apparently at much lower standards than they use domestically. Secondly, the PR mistakes in this litany drive home the importance of basic common sense. They show how individuals can foster or destroy corporate good will. We can imagine PR professionals flipping through these war stories for entertainment and for warnings about disasters to avoid.
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