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Shit Doesn't Just Happen II by Bob Mayer
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Shit Doesn't Just Happen II

by Bob Mayer

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Sequel to Shit Doesn’t Just Happen by New York Times Best Selling Author and former Green Beret Bob Mayer, Shit Doesn’t Just Happen II: the gift of failure delves into the cascade events that lead to a disaster. The book discusses in detail disasters such as Pearl Harbour, the sinking of the Russian Kursk submarine and the failure of the St. Francis Dam.
Sections are logically set out, but the format does become repetitive at times and some information is repeated in different sections.
This is not an academic text and some conclusions are not well supported, but it was an enjoyable read. The last third of the book appears to be copied and pasted from Book 1 of the series and feels disjointed.
This book may appeal to managers, leaders and those with an interest in history or disasters.
  JamieRedmond | Jul 12, 2017 |
Sequel to Shit Doesn’t Just Happen by New York Times Best Selling Author and former Green Beret Bob Mayer, Shit Doesn’t Just Happen II: the gift of failure delves into the cascade events that lead to a disaster. The book discusses in detail disasters such as Pearl Harbour, the sinking of the Russian Kursk submarine and the failure of the St. Francis Dam.
Sections are logically set out, but the format does become repetitive at times and some information is repeated in different sections.
This is not an academic text and some conclusions are not well supported, but it was an enjoyable read. The last third of the book appears to be copied and pasted from Book 1 of the series and feels disjointed.
This book may appeal to managers, leaders and those with an interest in history or disasters. ( )
  JamieRedmond | Jun 30, 2015 |
Interesting book, and the author's approach to technology-related disasters is worth reading and thinking about. But on my opinion this method is not applicable to political or financial events, because in opposite to "classical disasters" in such events there are usually some beneficiaries who gain profit out of that happened. So the analysis of Russian Revolution and Tzar Nickolay fall seems very superficial and probably even naive. Probably the same is applicable to the Kursk tragedy which has some still unclear political motives, and even the Pearl Harbor battle. Nevertheless, the book of course is worth reading, and then agree with author or probably make your own conclusions. ( )
  SlonBaton | Mar 2, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is the second book of a series by former Green Beret and current novelist Bob Mayer. The theme of the series are disastrous events pigeonholed into his "rule of 7" -- a series of cascading episodes including at least one human failure that led ultimately to disaster. This volume includes the space shuttle Challenger explosion, the sinking of the Russian submarine Kursk, the sinking of the steam ship Sultana, the attack on Pearl Harbor, the failure of the St. Francis Dam in Los Angeles, the deposing of the last Russian Czar, Nicholas II, and the survival ordeal of the plane crash that resulted in a rugby team eating their dead in the Andes mountains.

Mayer's "rule of 7" comes off as a contrivance -- these disparate events just happen to fit his model, but sometimes he stretches and other times perhaps he omits another notable event or two. However, it works well enough for illustrative purposes, the point being these singular catastrophes are a culmination of lesser events, many that don't seem important at the time. Hindsight is 20/20, though; and I think Mayer's ultimate goal of teaching something about disaster preparedness is somewhat buried by the epic outcomes of his chosen events.

As I mentioned, this is the second book of the series. I did not read the first, but it appears a full quarter of this book was literally cut-and-pasted into this manuscript. He includes a lengthy excerpt from another book, a survival guide he had published -- complete with references to other chapters in that other book. After the last of the illustrative examples (the plane crash incident), the rest is obviously lifted from his other book. At one point the text reads "in this first book of the series," and subsequent references go to events covered in his first book, such as the Titanic or the Donner party incident. He also tells us "why we should listen to him" and spends a chapter dictating his resume -- something better suited to the dust jacket or, even better, to his website. I've never seen such self-aggrandizing in the middle of a text before.

Finally, I rather disagree with his conclusions. Mayer apparently pimps himself out as a disaster preparedness consultant. I've been involved in a fair amount of that myself. Mayer advocates having a plan for specific events, then sleeping soundly. Having participated in disaster exercises, I can assure you the best laid plans will be derailed the moment something unexpected arises. It is far better to have a fluid plan that can adjust, focus on thinking on ones feet, and practice not only fixed procedures but the entire incident management process. It's one thing to make sure your data is being backed up nightly, it's another to be assured you can restore this data and restore systems to full functionality within an acceptable time frame. ( )
1 vote JeffV | Jan 22, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Mayer is a popular author of military/scifi thriller novels, but I'm familiar with him only through his co-authored romance/thriller works with Jennifer Crusie (Agnes and the Hitman was particularly amazing). Shit Doesn't Just Happen (II) is a nonfiction departure from all that. Mayer pulls from his background as a military professional to examine and discuss certain historical catastrophes, as in why they occurred and what knowledge should be taken away from their occurrences. I found the premise to be quite promising, but the book as a whole was a miss for me.

Most of the mismatch was simply to my aversion to Mayer's writing style. The book kind of takes the tone of a business textbook for leadership in management, which is a far cry from the historical review of infamous events I had been expecting, and Mayer cites himself as a source in a lot of his discussions, when he never convinced me of his expertise in these matters. The book's formatting would have been fair as an ARC publication, full of odd layouts and the unusual choice to preface every term definition with the word 'Definition,' even in the glossary, but as far as I'm able to tell, this is a finished printing.

And then, oh god, the title. No. Look. I don't have an issue with profanity -- for or against, thanks -- but I do have an issue with censorship, and Mayer's choice to inconsistently render the profanity in the title into the coy spellings of 'Sh!t,' 'SH!It,' and 'IT,' rather than just simple, clear 'Shit' was both inexplicable and seriously irking to me. I can't imagine what Mayer's rationale was for those alternative spellings; it's not like his target audience is in middle school.

Two stars. Worth looking into if the subject appeals, but not particularly recommended.
  MyriadBooks | Jan 19, 2015 |
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