Recent Unsolicited Book Reviews
Barry Cardoza, CBCP
I have to admit that when I first read the (somewhat less than humble 🙂 title, “The ULTIMATE Business Continuity Success Guide,” I chuckled a bit. Now that I have read the book, I have to think that the title is totally accurate. I have never read a BC book that touched on so many topics, both on the business and IT sides of the house, with so many great insights in each.
And, you write beautifully. Unlike so many BC books I have read that included a lot of valuable information but were somewhat laborious to read, yours is actually fun to read! Additionally, your book combines excellent prose with what basically amounts to a lot of very valuable “checklists.” While I would hope that people would read your book cover-to-cover to keep everything in context, even those who do not could focus on particular chapters that happen to be topics/concerns that are very timely regarding where they are today and their current priorities.
I was surprised by how much we think alike on a great many topics. Most particularly, the great importance of using what we learn in the BC process to provide tremendous value to an organization outside of BC goals. I am amazed by what I believe is the great majority of BC managers who only “focus internally” and do not even think about that. I loved your observations that tied BC and the BIA to Risk Management. And, like you, I am a huge fan of the power of relational databases and being able to normalize data to greatly reduce redundancy, and also to be able to import information from other systems into them, as well as being able to export data out of them for use in other tools.
I certainly do not have your extensive IT experience. And, I read many things that certainly would have helped me both during my system development days and after I transitioned to become the Manager of Business Continuity for a large corporation. For example, it would never have occurred to me to examine the use (and/or non-use) of the company’s “800” phone numbers and also how they might be more effectively regionalized. Wish I’d had your book many years ago:-) And, I would very much like to see every BC professional in the world become aware of your book. Barry Cardoza, CBCP
Laura Mosley, MBCI, MBCP, CBCLA, SCRA
To my surprise and delight, this business continuity book was fun to read and really does contain a lot of very informative and educational tidbits and stories. There’s a lot of content, but the good news is I can also see the book being a good reference book if you don’t necessarily want to read from cover to cover. I did though, and have to say it’s very refreshing to finally see a business continuity book written by an expert that isn’t ridiculously dry or lacking applicable lessons and suggestions!
Charlie Maclean Bristol, Training Director, FBCI, FBCS
I am always happy to review a new business continuity book, especially a physical version, for no other reason than to have another BC book to add to my bookshelf! When Marty Fox asked me to review his new book and offered to send me a copy from the USA, how could I resist!
Reading the first few pages of the book, it is everything a reserved British person hates; written in an overenthusiastic tone, as only an American can, with the zealousness of an overenthusiastic salesperson, who wants you to know everything about their product and a tendency to write in capitals (we know which American often does this in their tweets)!
I was wrong, the more I read and got into the book, the more I realised Marty was rather like me, someone who is really enthusiastic about business continuity and desperately wants to share their knowledge with others. This book is not to promote himself in a big ‘I am’ way, with a mission to change the BC profession with great new ideas, but instead he just wants the reader to learn from his experience.
I would describe this book as if Marty has tried to download his years of experiences to share with others, and simply written almost everything he knows, has thought about and learned, into 392 pages. The book structures around the BC lifecycle and is divided into 12 parts, starting with preparing to succeed and setting up your programme, through to crisis management, BIA to plans, testing and on to building your BC career. All the time the book is filled with personal experiences, checklists and good practical information. There are also an abundance of tips and lessons from Marty’s experience.
I especially like the checklists and tips on everything from dealing with pets in emergencies, to putting your In Case of Emergency (ICE) emergency contact details on your mobile phone. I think the information in the book would be really useful for someone who is new to the profession and knows the theory of BC, but wants some reassurance that they are doing the right thing when they are implementing business continuity. It is also beneficial if you are approaching a subject, such as cyber or exercise, for the first time. Even if you have knowledge in the subject of the chapter, there is always something you can learn from Marty’s tips.
I also like that Marty follows conventional approaches to BC and puts forward mainstream techniques. In discussing BIA, he discusses not using critical activities, calling them time critical activities instead. This is in line with the Good Practice Guidelines 2013. There is a danger in this type of book to try and get the reader to adopt maverick techniques, but I found very few parts of the book I disagreed with technically.
If I was to criticise the book, in some places there is just a little too much detail. A useful bit of information included is to go out and meet your organisation’s ‘business process/department owners’ and take them out to lunch. Marty advises to avoid eating spaghetti due to the mess you might make whilst eating it, which is perhaps a tip too far. There are also lots of website links in the book which I fear will go out of date quickly. I don’t agree with all of the content of his checklists, but I think within our profession we could never agree on them anyway.
Personally, I think readers of this bulletin should go out and buy this book, as it is useful for BC professionals at all levels of experience. I suggest you dip in and out of it, making use of the information, checklists and tips for whichever subjects you are working on. There will always be something in the book to learn from. So, give yourself the Christmas present you really wanted and go out and buy a copy of Marty’s book, you will not regret it
A leading business continuity professional proclaimed, ’I highly recommend this real-world, fun and super informative book. Pass it onto peers in your organization’s, it is fantastic and very funny as well!’
A Business Continuity and Emergency Planner messaged, ‘I just bought your book on Amazon… it reads really well. Thank you!‘
A BC/Emergency Tool Vendor – ‘Your book is the only one that provided us information on how a Business Continuity Professional thinks and what is important to them. That will enable us to make some quick but important improvements. Thanks for putting us in your head.’