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The Leader's Climb: A Business Tale of Rising to the New Leadership Challenge [Kindle Edition]

Bob Parsanko , Paul Heagen , David L. Dotlich
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $22.95
Kindle Price: $19.99
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Book Description

“Adam was stuck.” And with this simple phrase, The Leader’s Climb introduces the reader to an engaging tale of how leaders often ascend quickly to the top, only to unknowingly slip down a path of decline—until it is too late. In this novel approach to the subject, set against the backdrop of a rock-climbing vacation gone awry, executive coaches Bob Parsanko and Paul Heagen draw from decades of success with business executives to reveal an all-too-familiar path of leadership struggles. The protagonist, Adam, is capable and well-meaning but has confidence bordering on hubris, and blind spots that could be the end of him. That is, until unlikely encounters with a park ranger and a home handyman, who become confidants and mentors, reveal new insights to Adam. Through their wisdom, and the realities of the hard knocks of business, Adam gets “unstuck” and begins to turn around his life and career with three fundamental principles of personal growth: awareness, acceptance, and abundance.

Editorial Reviews


“This is a wonderful story that offers important insights into rising to the challenge of leadership today.” (Marshall Goldsmith, million-selling author of New York Times bestsellers MOJO and What Got You Here Won't Get You There)

 "This is a powerful, evocative, and realistic tale of good leaders trying to climb the next mountain. If more people took this story to heart, they would be better leaders.”  (Ted Nixon, Former International Executive Chair, Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) and CEO, DD Williamson, Inc.)

 “The recommended-reading list for a business leader is extensive, with new books from well-known authors, such as Jim Collins (Great by Choice, 2011, and others), and ones by new writers, such as journalist Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit (2012). Yet business leaders should pay attention here, because executive coaches Parsanko and Heagen have captured an important business trend, the art of listening, which has been noticed by the McKinsey Quarterly. Although that particular lesson isn’t necessarily the one they espouse—instead, they point to going too fast, fighting too much, and forcing too many decisions—it is the heart of fictional CEO protagonist Adam and his almost-fall from glory, literally and figuratively. During his vacation, Adam has a rock-climbing accident, and while recovering, he meets contractor Duncan and trail-guide A. J., who provide teachable moments in the midst of his disagreement with the board of directors about a possible acquisition. Good things to learn here, especially considering that 85 percent of today’s CEOs are new ‘top dogs’ and are expected to remain only about 3.5 years in their positions.” (Booklist)

 "People are not born great leaders. They develop skills over a lifetime that come together into a leadership approach. The Leader's Climb rings with truth, depth, and realism, and will challenge you to grow continually as a leader." (Matthew Kelly, New York Times bestselling author of The Dream Manager)

 “Wow! This may be a tale, but it sure feels amazingly real. The message in this book is powerful and timely." (Mike Monahan, author of Inc. #1 bestseller From the Jungle to the Boardroom)

The Leader’s Climb is a cause for self-reflection and discovery. It is an engaging story that has applications both personally and professionally for those who connect with its message.” (Susan Croushore, CEO, The Christ Hospital, Cincinnati)

 "This book couldn't be more timely or relevant to the challenges leaders are facing. Through an artful story, it makes a powerful case for slowing down to avoid being a casualty of today's break-neck pace of business. I wish all executives would take the time to read this — it is that different and that important." (Jim Anderson, former Director, Executive Education, Kelley Graduate School of Business, Indiana University)


"Adam's story is repeated every day by well-intentioned business leaders trying to get a grip on the never-ending struggles we all face. While the signs of decline may not be obvious, they are insidious. The three key messages in this book identify these signs and the remedies in ways that are personally and professionally meaningful.” (Larry Grypp, President, Goering Center for Family and Private Business, Lindner College of Business, University of Cincinnati)

 “This book is an easy read covering three important and often overlooked elements of leadership.  For more than 20 years Bob Parsanko has helped us build a successful global organizational culture based on these principles and guided our key executives, including me, to become better leaders.” (Mogens Bay, Chairman and CEO, Valmont Industries, Inc.)

 “The Leader’s Climb carries an elegant, useable message for all leaders who care to be the best they can be while creating great and enduring organizations.” (Al Stuempel, Master Chair, Vistage International, Inc.)

About the Author

Bob Parsanko, president and founder of Executive Insights, is a personal coach, confidant and advisor to presidents, CEOs, senior executives, and executive teams throughout the United States, in Asia, Europe, and South America. His intimate understanding of senior executives and executive teams serves as his platform for global leadership development and drive for improvements in organizational effectiveness. He is affiliated with The Center for Creative Leadership and speaks at client leadership conferences and for groups such as the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO).

Paul Heagen, president and founder of Defining Moments Consulting, is an executive coach who guides executives through crucial events and phases of their careers and personal lives. His belief that reputations, purpose, and even destiny are shaped by how leaders capitalize on such “defining moments” has distinguished his work for more than 30 years with clients ranging from Fortune 500 corporations to high-growth start-ups. He is an instructor with the Cincinnati-based Goering Institute and is a high-ranked presenter at conferences and workshops across the country.

David L. Dotlich is Chairman of Pivot Leadership and author of Leading in Times of Crisis.

Product Details

  • File Size: 281 KB
  • Print Length: 197 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1937134210
  • Publisher: Bibliomotion, Inc.; 1st edition (September 18, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009D97XZO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,256,713 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story about openness in the age of transparency September 8, 2012
The Leader's Climb eloquently engages us to rethink our black box for problem solving, decision making and being an open leader. The simple story of Adam, a CEO living through a climbing fall and a high stakes board room drama, provokes key questions: Do we create better options through better sensing? Does accepting obstacles open us up to better decisions? The story is engagingly told. If you ever searched for "what do you want", you'll find profound insight here. A reminder to "manage complexity by mastering simplicity". I inhaled this book. Get yourself a copy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for business executives September 15, 2012
A must read for leaders at any level...all of us have at least a bit of Adam in us (some more so than others). The authors' assertion is spot on: the best solutions rarely come from the ones stuck in the moment attempting to drive progress with their nose to the grind stone.

High praise for the style and content - Parsanko and Heagen take what could be a highly contentious theme for executives to break through what dooms many to failure, and they make it absolutely obvious through a great story with riveting characters.

Very well done!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of both worlds September 16, 2012
When selecting a book, we typically choose between reading to learn and getting lost in a good story. In The Leader's Climb we get the best of both worlds - great leadership concepts weaved into a compelling story that's fun to read. And it reminds us that life events can teach us as much about leadership, and ourselves, as what happens during the work day. Parsanko and Heagen find a clever way to share their coaching insights through A.J. and Duncan and give us some pragmatic ways to get "unstuck".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless lessons September 11, 2012
I found it to be a fresh new story that reminded me of some timeless lessons I desperately try to hold onto in this hectic life. One of my favorite lines buried in a book Schopenhauer wrote is, "The most finished man of the world would be one who was never irresolute and never in a hurry." The book helped bring that back to life for me. I hope the book is a great success.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Substance for Leading September 20, 2012
The Leader's Climb was a gift. Avoidance was my first reaction to another parable that will further clutter the literature on leadership. What a pleasant surprise - substance triumps over gimmicks! A book worth giving. A gift containing substantative insights that will be valued.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If You Like Og Mandino's Books, You'll Love This Story September 7, 2012
I was only a few pages into "The Leader's Climb" when I was reminded of the wonderful books written by Og Mandino. "The Greatest Salesman in the World," "The Greatest Miracle in the World," "The Return of the Ragpicker," and so many other wonderful books are written in the form of a story just like "The Leader's Climb."

And, like Mandino's books, Bob Parsanko and Paul Heagen have succeeded in creating a classic story that, if you are in the business world, will force you to pause and think about your own life every few pages. There are so many small lessons in this wonderful book with tremendous potential for changing your life for the better that I'm only going to mention a couple here. These all made me take stock in my own business dealings and life.

"Hard to see where you want to go when your view is taken up by old stuff. Removing what does not matter is the first step in figuring out what does." -Duncan

"Self-reflection is a good thing, Adam, but not everyone has the stomach for it," -A.J.

"I was raised to take care of others before tending to my own needs." Duncan leaned back on the picnic table. "That's admirable, Adam, but in reality you have to take care of yourself if you ever expect to take care of others. People want to know you, and you want to get to know them. That can't happen when you're too wrapped up in making sure that others get what you think they need." -Adam & Duncan

Finally - "Nothing's authentic when you try too hard." -Duncan

Do yourself a favor and buy a dozen copies of this book. Read one and keep it to refer to when you stray from what you really want. Give the other copies to people you care about in your family, business, and life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A business parable September 12, 2012
This compact book delivers a clear and relevant message wrapped around an easy-to-read, believable story. The business-centric plot is engaging enough to pull the reader along, and delivers simple yet valuable insights as the pay-off for the time invested.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the read September 3, 2012
This is a business leadership book worth reading. It follows the case study approach of telling a story and presenting lessons within the story. But this is not just another case study. The story is engaging, and the lessons are substantive. Paul Heagen is a very good writer. He uses verbs. He doesn't use made-up words. And he writes excellent dialogue. The dialogue between the characters comes across as real, not wooden or stilted.

The result is a tale of business leadership that can be used to effect real improvement in one's management of a business. The book does not claim to map out an easy, trendy way to the top. As Heagen notes at the end, the "Climb" leadership principles are contrarian. The business leader has to choose to use them. This is not a book about getting on the latest bandwagon of business thinking and using the latest buzz words. It's serious, original thinking about how business leaders, and CEOs in particular, can improve their job performance and attain success on all fronts in life.

Because the book addresses how the CEO can improve his or her ways of thinking, the book indirectly raises an important question: what is the optimal education for a business leader? What kind of schooling, what kinds of classes, what kinds of personal experiences, and what kinds of workplace settings best provide the kind of education a business leader needs? "Climb" has something to say to those in business school, not just those in management.

If you're looking for a frank, substantive analysis of how to improve your business leadership, read this book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Story with a Messge
Leader's Climb is a fiction story of a CEO who has challenges and struggles. The story line moves through those struggles helping to provide insights the reader can use. Read more
Published on March 27, 2013 by Jim Estill
4.0 out of 5 stars For leader's at the top of their game
Like other reviewers, my initial thought was 'not another business parable', but given the strong endorsement of several whose opinions I respect, I stayed with The Leader's Climb,... Read more
Published on January 29, 2013 by Whitney L. Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read!
In the tradition of Patrick Lencioni and Robert H. Thompson, the authors leverage a powerful metaphor within a fictional framework to share some very real lessons on leadership. Read more
Published on January 28, 2013 by Leo
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read!
Great read! Becomes increasingly intriguing as story unfolds.

The epilogue accurately summarizes the story. Read more
Published on January 15, 2013 by Michael P. Boland
5.0 out of 5 stars The Leader's Climb
Hurry up! Faster! Now, now, now, is the mantra we all live with in the business world today. But as The Leadership Climb has clearly and succinctly demonstrated in this parable,... Read more
Published on January 4, 2013 by Kim P
5.0 out of 5 stars When you are looking for a fresh perspective...
Do you sometimes feel that you are going to fast?
Do you occasionally feel that you are fighting too much?
Have you been prone to force too many decisions? Read more
Published on January 1, 2013 by Mark Faust
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for the business executive
Anyone can identify with at least one of the characters in "The Leader's Climb" which makes this read universally appealing. Read more
Published on December 16, 2012 by Jim
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story telling
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I loved the characters and felt the majority of them were well developed and I wanted to know more about them as individuals (a good sign). Read more
Published on December 9, 2012 by Rhino
5.0 out of 5 stars The Leader's Climb
Rarely is such a powerful message presented so clearly. This book will help any "overworked" person to clear away the clutter of the urgent but unimportant to focus on the truly... Read more
Published on November 27, 2012 by Glenn Bitzenhofer
5.0 out of 5 stars Never too late to learn
At age 55, I had just about decided that I knew "enough" to keep at my work using the same method that has been successful for over 30 years. Read more
Published on November 26, 2012 by Mark Harrison
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