Persuasion and Power

The Art of Strategic Communication

James P. Farwell
Foreword by John J. Hamre

"Farwell offers a sophisticated analysis, richly illustrated with examples and anecdotes."
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Now more than ever, in the arenas of national security, diplomacy, and military operations, effective communication strategy is of paramount importance. A 24/7 television, radio, and Internet news cycle paired with an explosion in social media demands it.

According to James P. Farwell, an expert in communication strategy and cyber war who has advised the U.S. SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND and the Department of Defense, and worked nationally and internationally as a media and political consultant, this book examines how colorful figures in history from Julius Caesar to Winston Churchill, Napoleon to Hugo Chavez, Martin Luther to Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan, have forged communication strategies to influence audiences.

Mark Twain said that history doesn't repeat itself, but rhymes. In showing how major leaders have moved audiences, Farwell bears out Twain's thesis. Obama and Luther each wanted to reach a mass audience. Obama used social media and the Internet. Luther used the printing press. But the strategic mindset was similar. Hugo Chavez identifies with Simon Bolivar, but his attitude towards the media more closely echoes Napoleon. Caesar used coins to build his image in ways that echo the modern use of campaign buttons. His "triumphs," enormous parades to celebrate military victories, celebrated his achievements and aimed to impress the populace with his power and greatness. Adolph Hitler employed a similar tactic with his torchlight parades.

The book shows how the US government's approach to strategic communication has been misguided. It offers a colorful, incisive critical evaluation of the concepts, doctrines, and activities that the US Department of Defense and Department of State employ for psychological operations, military information support operations, propaganda, and public diplomacy.

Persuasion and Power is a book about the art of communication strategy, how it is used, where, and why. Farwell's adroit use of vivid examples produce a well-researched, entertaining story that illustrates how its principles have made a critical difference throughout history in the outcomes of crises, conflicts, politics, and diplomacy across different cultures and societies.

Table of Contents

John J. Hamre



1. Psychological Operations
2. Propaganda: The Resonance of Emotion
3. Public Affairs: Concept versus Reality
4. Public Diplomacy

5. Words
6. Images and Symbols
7. Deeds

8. Do Authoritarians Care?
9. Is Success about Leadership or Communication?
10. The Marks of Leadership
11. Campaigns of Influence
12. Defining Winning or Losing
13. Strategy
14. Tactics

15.Television as a Weapon
16. Radio as a Weapon

17. Change that Would Matter
18. Conclusion


About the Author



"The strength of Persuasion and Power is its exhaustive research, reflected in numerous vignettes and research that compellingly illustrate successful concepts, benefits, and failures of strategic communication. Scholars and strategic communicators alike will be impressed with Farewell’s research and proposed solutions to enhance strategic communication. Persuasion and Power is a must-read for those with an interest in strategic communication."—Military Review

"Farwell offers a sophisticated analysis, richly illustrated with examples and anecdotes."—Survival

"If you're involved in politics, public affairs, business or marketing, I highly recommend you read this book and hope your competition doesn't."—Councilman Todd A. Kinsey

"This book is thorough, scholarly, informative, and well written."—Choice

"Persuasion and Power is an informed, informative, thoughtful, thought-provoking, and an absolutely recommended addition to professional, NGO, governmental, academic, and community library Political Science and Communication reference collections."—Midwest Book Review

"A top expert on strategic communication, James Farwell combines superb scholarship with concise, vibrant writing in this riveting study of how leaders from antiquity to today have employed the principles of communication. It's a great read, sharply insightful, and immensely informative."—Ambassador Gilbert A. Robinson (ret.)

"Again James Farwell connects today's dots with the perplexing challenges of strategic communications. Every kinetic strike must have a strategic message. So much so that the message is more powerful than the strike. That is the insight that Farwell provides along with so many others. A must read for public relations officers, military information officers, and all of today's and tomorrow's leaders."—Lt. Gen. Dell L. Dailey, USA (Ret.), former director, Center for Special Operations, US Special Operations command; former ambassador-at-large and coordinator for counterterrorism, State Department

"A timely examination of contemporary American strategic communication, Persuasion and Power draws on case studies ripped from the headlines of the last decade. No other book on the strategic communication shelf so clearly lays out the approaches, jargon, tools, and techniques used by State Department diplomats, military officers, and aid workers one finds on the ground in almost every foreign country."—Amb. Brian E. Carlson, defense and diplomacy specialist, InterMedia Research Institute

"There is an art to effective communication, to be sure, but art without a strategic objective is of dubious merit. In this intelligent and sweeping book, James P. Farwell provides profound insights into how different countries, cultures, and institutions use words and deeds to inform and shape the ideas, values, and actions of others."—William S. Cohen, former Secretary of Defense


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About the Author

James P. Farwell is an expert in communication strategy and cyber war who advises the US Department of Defense and the US Special Operations Command on a range of global initiatives and actions, including strategic communication. He is also a senior research fellow in strategic studies at the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies in the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. He is the author of the highly acclaimed The Pakistan Cauldron: Conspiracy, Assassination, and Instability.

304 pp., 6 x 9
1 figure
Nov 2012
Not for sale in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan

304 pp., 6 x 9
1 figure
ISBN: 978-1-58901-942-3
Nov 2012
Not for sale in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan

304 pp.
1 figure
ISBN: 978-1-58901-943-0
Nov 2012
Not for sale in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan

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