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Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton: Six Characteristics of High-Performance Teams Hardcover – May 15, 2013

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Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton: Six Characteristics of High-Performance Teams + Defiant: The POWs Who Endured Vietnam's Most Infamous Prison, the Women Who Fought for Them, and the One Who Never Returned
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"In addition to the co-authors' combined qualifications, including meticulous research and writing in a lucid, easy-to-grasp narrative style, "Lessons From the Hanoi Hilton" is a tome, the forerunner of future research into the nature of un¬yielding courage and its application to strategic leadership principles."

-- Leatherneck

"What is your 'tap code'? Any leader or organization should ask that question about the way they communicate. Peter Fretwell and Taylor Kiland lay this out for us as they describe the leadership characteristics of true American heroes. Honor and mission focus should be embedded in everyone's 'tap code.'" --Vice Adm. Cutler Dawson, USN (Ret.), president/CEO of Navy Federal Credit Union



"I can think of no better lens on leadership than the lessons of Adm. Jim Stockdale and how he built a sustainable high-performance culture in the most extreme circumstances. Stockdale epitomized the very highest levels of integrity, honor, discipline, and love; I continually draw strength, resilience, and practical guidance from his inspired example. Learn his lessons, employ them, and you will be better." -- Jim Collins, author or coauthor of six books, including international bestsellers Good to Great, Built to Last, and How the Mighty Fall

"I have had experience in a range of public and private sector organizations. In every case a handful of leadership qualities were critical to the success of the organization, and the qualities displayed by the POWs were similar: culture, sustained focus, teamwork, adaptability, and communication. These qualities were evident in the Hanoi Hilton and integral to high-performing commercial organizations everywhere." -- Philip Odeen, former CEO of TRW and member of the board of directors of AES Corporation and Booz Allen Hamilton

About the Author

Peter Fretwell is the general manager of The Classical Network, based in New Jersey. During his MBA studies in strategic leadership, he became convinced the lessons the POWs brought home could benefit other organizations and spent more than seven years researching the topic. He lives in Robbinsville, NJ.

Taylor Baldwin Kiland, a former naval officer, is a management consultant with a large technology and strategy consulting firm and lives in Alexandria, Virginia. She is the author or coauthor of three books, including Open Doors: Vietnam POWs Thirty Years Later.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (May 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612512178
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612512174
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #810,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Richard A. Stratton on June 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is almost as if the authors were there beside Jim Stockdale while he was in the Maison Centrale (Hanoi Hilton). There are a few figures in each generation that rise above the norm to show the way by word and deed - who walk the walk as well as talk the talk. CAG (Carrier Air Group Commander) Stockdale was one of the rare few you would see at Thermopylae, Rorke's Drift, Omaha Beach or Amarageddon leading the charge or holding the line.

This work would have been enriched by including as an appendix CAG's remarks to his Air Wing prior to his shoot-down:

"Commander Jim Stockdale was the archetypal air wing commander. He commanded Carrier Air Wing 16 during the 1965 cruise, and set the stage for the air wing's accomplishments during Rolling Thunder. Stockdale took command of the air wing in April 1965, after commanding VF-51, a fighter squadron on the USS Ticonderoga. As the Ticonderoga was already on station in the Tonkin Gulf, Stockdale had a wealth of experience concerning operations in Vietnam. He had been airborne as the on-scene-commander during the Tonkin Gulf Incident. He also took part in several of the reprisal raids in the rapidly escalating air war. These experiences made him uniquely suited for command of the Oriskany's air wing as she departed for her first Vietnam War cruise.

"As the Oriskany sailed west across the Pacific Ocean, Stockdale overheard pilots of his squadrons talking about their role in what was already being recognized as a war of limited aim. He called for a mandatory meeting of all his pilots. While there, Stockdale delivered a two hour speech that included the following guidance concerning the officer's obligations:

". . .
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John Ensch on November 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Authors Taylor Balwin Kiland and Peter Fretwell have done a remarkable job of researching, documenting and presenting how superb leadership in the unique setting of a POW environment made such a decisive difference and sustained us Vietnam POWs throughout our ordeal.

Effective leadership under the conditions experienced in the North Vietnam prisons is undoubtably the most demanding task a leader could ever have been expected to accomplish. Leading even under normal circumstances is a daunting enough task when one can physically see, talk to, email, phone, text, etc. those being led. So, imagine the difficultly of effectively organizing, communicating with and leading a widely dispersed group of over 500 individuals when the only resources available are tapping on walls, flashing hand signals, clandistine note passing, etc. And, all the time under the threat of being caught and subjected to harsh pyhsical punishment. Under such conditions it could have been tempting to just be passive and wait out the war. However, that's not what the POW leadership did. And because they actively led from the front - not from behind - they made it possible for all of us to board those C-141s in Hanoi 40 years ago and return home with our honor and dignity intact.

Throughout the history of the US military there have been leaders who seem to have been destined to step forward at just the right time to fill a leadership void under extraordinary circumstances. Think of Gen. George Washington, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower to name but a few. The "right leader" at the "right time" in the POW camps of North Vietnam was VADM Jim Stockdale - known to us POWs simply as "CAG" (his position as Carrier Air Group Commander when he was shot down).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Doug Cabarle on July 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Lessons From The Hanoi Hilton is a rare gem as it transcends the leadership bridge between business and military fundamentals. Incorporating the code of "service before self" of the plight of the POW's, the book readily translates into 21st management lessons. I found the leadership and organizational principles of our service members while in the Hanoi prison motivating - including the explanation of using these techniques to apply in today's cultural & business climates. This is a must read for both business majors and those choosing to serve in our military!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By W.C. Davis on September 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover
As a grammar school student in working class suburb of Pittsburgh I was afforded the opportunity of a great education. I was very lucky and had many role models such as my mother and many of my teachers but some of my best role models came from the school and local library. Great things are achieved every day by people that work hard and inspire others through their passion and dedication. Knowing these role models like JFK in PT 109, and General Douglas MacArthur in Reminiscences as a youth was a big part of my childhood. I often share modern day heroes with my own children and peers.

Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton captures the spirit and heroism of Commander James Bond Stockdale and the men held prisoner in Vietnam. Through an inner passion and desire to serve others at the highest level Commander Stockdale created a culture of honor, courage, and sacrifice for the good of the group. I have shared this book personally and with several CEO's that understand culture and have received many thanks.

I would like to thank the authors for bringing another role model Commander Stockdale into my life and the lives of my friends and family.

Sincerely,
W.C. Davis
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