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A Review of ‘The Ultimate Business Continuity Success Guide’ by Marty Fox CBCP

Author: Charlie Maclean Bristol, Training Director, FBCI, FEPS

This week Charlie shares his thoughts on ‘The Ultimate Business Continuity Success Guide’ by Marty Fox.

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! 

Buy your copy here: https://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Business-Continuity-Success-Guide/dp/1973856506

You might be interested in the following stories

'Adaptive Business Continuity: A New Approach' by David Lindstedt and Mark Armour - A Review and Critique

Business Continuity Learning - Where do you start?

The Role of the Business Continuity Manager

You may be interested in the following course

CBCI Certification Course (GPG) course

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