Glass Jaw: A Manifesto for Defending Fragile Reputations in an Age of Instant Scandal

Glass Jaw: A Manifesto for Defending Fragile Reputations in an Age of Instant Scandal

by Eric Dezenhall


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In an age when scandal can destroy a company's brand or anyone's reputation in an instant-GLASS JAW is an Art of War guide to modern crisis management.

In boxing terms, a tough-looking fighter who can't take a punch is said to have a "glass jaw," and so it is these days with targets of controversy. Down the rabbit hole of scandal, the weak are strong and the strong are weak. Just consider this slate of recent reputational body blows: Toyota, Susan G. Komen, Paula Deen, Tiger Woods, Joe Paterno, BP, the Duke Lacrosse players, Lance Armstrong, and Anthony Weiner. GLASS JAW is a manifesto for these times, written by crisis management veteran Eric Dezenhall, who has spent three decades dealing with some of the most intense controversies, both known and . . . handled with discretion.

In the current digital age, the fundamental nature of controversy is viral, rendering once-mighty organizations and individuals powerless against scandal. In GLASS JAW, Dezenhall analyzes scandal and demystifies the paper tiger "spin" industry, offering lessons, corrective measures, and counterintuitive insights, such as:

  • How there really is no "getting ahead" of a bad story (and other clichés from the media)
  • The perils of navigating the "Fiasco Vortex"
  • The art (and transaction) of the public apology
  • Why a crisis is not an opportunity
  • The Nixon Fallacy: if only he had just said "I screwed up," the whole thing would have gone away (not a chance)
  • How you are the enemy: the self-sabotage of selfies, tweets, emailing before thinking, technology creep, the privacy vacuum, and the industrialization of leaking.

From the boardroom to the parenting messaging board, scandals erupt every day. GLASS JAW explains this changing nature of controversy and offers readers counterpunches to best protect themselves.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781455582976
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 10/07/2014
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 919,498
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Eric is the author of nine books, including three non-fiction texts on crisis communications and corporate witch hunts, entitled Damage Control: How to Get the Upper Hand When Your Business is Under Attack (Portfolio, 2007) and Nail 'Em! Confronting High Profile Attacks on Celebrities and Businesses (Prometheus Books, 1999), both of which have been widely cited in business, media and academic circles. He is also the author of six novels: Money Wanders (St. Martin's, 2002), Jackie Disaster (Minotaur, 2003), Shakedown Beach (St. Martin's, 2004), Turnpike Flameout (St. Martin's, 2006) and Spinning Dixie (St. Martin's, 2007). His sixth novel, The Devil Himself (Thomas Dunne, St. Martin's, 2011), deals with the collaboration between the U.S. Navy and organized crime during World War II to secure American ports from Nazi attack.

As an investigative writer, Eric wrote articles about the newly discovered diaries of the late mobster Meyer Lansky, which appeared in the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, the Baltimore Sun, The New Republic, and Ethical Corporation. A documentary he co-produced on organized crime aired on the Discovery Channel.

Eric is a graduate of Dartmouth College, where he studied political science and the news media. He serves as a Trustee of the Institute for Responsible Citizenship, an organization devoted to fostering educational and career opportunities for outstanding young African-American men. Eric was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. He lives near Washington, D.C., with his family.

Table of Contents

Section I How Scandal Has Changed (and How It Hasn't)

Chapter 1 The Fiasco Vortex 3

Chapter 2 When Scandal Went to Sleep 23

Chapter 3 "Monetizing Humiliation" 37

Chapter 4 Brittle-Why and How Goliath Became David (Part 1-The Syndrome) 56

Chapter 5 Brittle-Why and How Goliath Became David (Part 2-The Mindset) 80

Chapter 6 Social Media Is the Problem, Rarely the Solution 96

Section II Who Do You Think You're Spinning?

Chapter 7 The Eight Most Baseless Crisis Management Clichés 111

Chapter 8 The Three Apologies 133

Chapter 9 The "Spindustrial" Complex 143

Chapter 10 The Myth of Reputation Management (Whatever That Means) 158

Section III The Physics of Controversy

Chapter 11 Controversy Shortcuts and Cascades 173

Chapter 12 The Ingredients of Scandal 199

Section IV Redefining What It Means to Win

Chapter 13 The Controversy "Iceberg" 219

Chapter 14 Fewer Gurus, More Grown-ups 232

Acknowledgments 263

Index 265

About the Author 273

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