Summary of Talespin

Public Relations Disasters-Inside Stories & Lessons Learnt

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Talespin book summary
Companies, governments and consultants make big, costly, career-ending PR mistakes. You can avoid the flubs. Here's how.


6 Overall

6 Applicability

8 Innovation

4 Style


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 goodwill. getAbstract can imagine PR professionals flipping through these war stories for entertainment and for warnings about disasters to avoid.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Specific case studies of major public relations mistakes and what caused them; and
  • How the success or failure of any public relations campaign is often due to minor, as well as major, missteps.


Good Judgment and Attention to Detail
A well-constructed public relations campaign has many working parts that determine the level of its success or failure. The PR professional can make the campaign or break it with errors in judgment or poor attention to detail. PR blunders can unravel...
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About the Author

Gerry McCusker has more than 20 years of experience in public relations and advertising. He operates his own firm, Generation Text, in Australia, and is also a media trainer.

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