Book Review: One Is Too Many
Workplace violence is a topic that resonates to some degree with anyone who works in any aspect of security. Today, that term can prompt the vision of wanton destruction and death in any of several settings: the suburban office park, the urban industrial plant, and even schools and college campuses. While workplace violence can and often does produce such images, this societal issue escapes easy quantification or ready solution. As Sollars notes in this ebook, workplace violence “can happen anywhere, for any reason, at any time to anyone.” With such a broad charter, Sollars addresses the challenge of workplace violence by establishing a scope, then defining warning signs, and closing with detailed suggestions for prevention tactics and strategies. This e-book is both unique and a bit quirky.
I have grappled with how to best describe this reading experience, and concluded that reading One is Too Many is analogous to an afternoon conversation with a crusty, yet wise, older uncle. To appreciate the wisdom to be found in such a conversation, one must overlook the uncle’s little foibles and idiosyncrasies. In this book, readers will also encounter formatting issues, a nonstandard approach to citations, and a mysterious tendency to cite unusual statistics. That said, if readers maintain a focus on the important issue of workplace violence being addressed by a well-qualified security professional—instead of annoying formatting and grammar issues— they will be rewarded with serious servings of practical advice and grounded knowledge. Sollars has claimed the title of “the blind security guy” and asserts “I may be blind but I still have vision.” In regards to workplace violence, that vision includes his assessment that “Preventing Workplace Violence, contrary to what many experts will tell you, is not complicated. What it is, is time consuming and [detail] oriented…a matter of gathering facts, sorting details, planning, and connecting the dots.”
Sollars highlights the impact of domestic violence as a precursor to much workplace violence and argues for greater awareness by coworkers and supervisors alike. He acknowledges the ongoing impact of bullying in many forms as an early warning sign for workplace violence. His discussion of policies and procedures is especially insightful—noting that security is the biggest element of policy you will confront when actively seeking to prevent workplace violence. Aware of the tendency to overwrite policy and procedures he warns, “you have to be able to use your own common sense, as well as the policies and procedures when dealing with employees.” The net assessment of One is Too Many is this: It is worth your while to spend some time with the blind security guy. The visit requires a reader to be forgiving of minor irritants, but Sollars shares credible advice on a topic that is of continuing concern.
Reviewer: Thomas E. Engells, CPP, CPM (Certified Public Manager), is the chief of police at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. He is a member of ASIS.