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 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, the strong are weak. GLASS JAW is a manifesto for these times, written by crisis management warhorse Eric Dezenhall who has spent three decades inside of some of the most intense controversies in recent memory.

In the digital age of 24/7 news, information is easily acquired and quickly spread, and this has changed the fundamental nature of controversy, rendering once mighty organizations and individuals powerless against scandal. Think Toyota, Susan G. Komen, Paula Deen, Tiger Woods, Penn State and Joe Paterno, BP, the Duke Lacrosse players, Lance Armstrong, Manti Te'o, and Anthony Weiner. Here Dezenhall defines this new reality where information moves at the speed of light and reputations are tarnished ever faster. In GLASS JAW, he analyzes controversy and scandal from the perspective of the truth-telling crisis management veteran to demystify the paper tiger "spin" industry, offering lessons learned, crucial corrective measures, and counterintuitive insights, such as:

  • How there really is no getting ahead of a bad story
  • The art of the public apology
  • Why a crisis is not an opportunity and Hemingway's The Old man and the Sea is the I Ching of crisis management (because the old man survived and nothing more)
  • The problem with "getting it all out there" and The Nixon Fallacy: if only he had just said "I screwed up," the whole thing would have gone away-not a chance
  • Why you are the enemy: the self sabotage of technology, cameras, tweets, and emails

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Product Details

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

About the Author

Eric Dezenhall is the founder and CEO of Dezenhall Resources, Ltd., one of the nation's leading crisis management firms. He is also a published author of fiction and nonfiction books, a frequent media commentator, and a sought-after speaker. Eric has written numerous articles written on damage control in publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, New Republic, Daily Beast, Daily Caller, Ethical Corporation and Huffington Post. He co-produced documentary on organized crime for the Discovery Channel and appears as organized crime historian in forums including the History Channel. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College. He lives near Washington, D.C., with his wife and two children.

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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