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Leading at The Edge: Leadership Lessons from the Extraordinary Saga of Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition Paperback – March 28, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Although their experiences may sometimes seem torturous, most managers aren't facing dangerous or life-threatening conditions. Even so, argues consultant Perkins, they would do well to learn from both triumphant and failed expeditions. A former Marine lieutenant, Perkins introduces 10 key concepts he believes are essential to productive leadership with lively anecdotes from the adverse but ultimately successful expedition to the South Pole led by Ernest Shackleton in 1914 (his entire crew survived on the ice with almost no supplies or hope for rescue after their ship drifted off course and was crushed), which he contrasts with a disastrous Canadian expedition launched at almost the same time. Among the principles in the book's first half: "Minimize status differences and insist on courtesy and mutual respect"; "Take care of yourself, maintain your stamina and let go of your guilt"; "Set a personal example with visible, memorable symbols and behaviors." He also suggests that managers can benefit by keeping an "expedition log" in which they write about their current work situations. The second half of the book consists of four business case studies, including one of Malden Mills, a family-owned company that remained open despite fires that virtually shut down its operations. General readers are likely to find these studies less compelling, though experienced executives may identify with some of the management issues. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"After having read a dozen or two leadership books over the past decade, this book stands out...The author does an exceptional job…” --Suite101



“…interpretation of Shackleton’s strategies is relatable to today’s leaders showing that leadership skills transcend time.” --Yahoo Voices



"The lessons are powerful, the real world examples revealing and the book worthy of much discussion and thought." --Hike Bike and Travel

“… tells the story of survival, and along the way points out how Shackleton's leadership made a difference.This is what makes this book such a compelling read.” --Mindconnection



“…succeeds in crafting a true leadership guide for the 21st century.” --Risk Mangement magazine



“The lessons are not just about leadership, but about life, persistence and the extraordinary resilience.” --A Slice of Leadership



“…book will change the way you think about and approach leadership in a crisis situation…” --Blog Business World



"… there are many leadership lessons to be learned from Shackleton’s amazing adventure.”--ABA Banking Journal

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: AMACOM; 2 edition (March 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814431941
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814431948
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #228,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the most exciting books I have read in recent years. In collaboration with others, Perkins briefly reviews the key details of the "Shackleton Saga" before shifting his attention (in Part One) to ten leadership strategies which, he correctly suggests, have direct, indeed compelling relevance to the contemporary business world. They are:
1. Never lose sight of the ultimate goal, and focus energy on short-term objectives.
2. Set a personal example with visible, memorable symbols and behavior.
3. Instill optimism and self-confidence, but stay grounded in reality.
4. Take care of yourself: Maintain your stamina and let go of guilt.
5. Reinforce the team message constantly: "We are one -- we live or die together."
6. Minimize staff differences and insist on courtesy and mutual respect.
7. Master conflict -- deal with anger in small doses, engage dissidents, and avoid needless power struggles.
8. Find something to celebrate and something to laugh about.
9. Be willing to take the Big Risk.
10. Never give up -- there's always another move.
Examine any of today's great organizations and you will encounter an abundance of evidence of these ten lessons' effectiveness.
In Part Two, Perkins provides four case studies based on Business Communication Systems (AT&T/Lucent Technologies), Rice Health Systems, Weyerhaeuser Company, and Malden Mills. The material in Part Three suggests how to "lead at the edge" and then, in an Epilogue, Perkins provides his "perspective" on success and failure.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
This is simply one of the finest, most fascinating, and most instructive leadership books I have ever read. Dr. Perkins and his co-authors have succeeded in clarifying the universal leadership principles and practices as they exist in the real world. Using the incredible true story of Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition as backdrop, and interweaving modern business examples to further illustrate the critical leadership lessons, Dr. Perkins has captured the heart, soul, and guts of leadership for the modern leader. Rather than stopping there, he also gives us the benefit of leadership lessons learned through his own intense experiences "leading at the edge" as a Marine Corps Infantry Officer in Vietnam, and as an organizational leadership consultant. It doesn't get any better than this extremely well-written work. If you, like me, are tired of the "leadership cookbooks" which crowd the bookstore shelves, search this one out. Read it. Discuss it with your family and your colleagues, and truly grow from the experience. The lessons are powerful, the stories are inspiring and instructive, and they work at the level of both metaphor and real-world example of what is possible in any organization when authentic leadership is present. Sean M. Georges, JD, LLM, is a former Marine Corps Officer and now serves as Vice President, Human Resources for a publicly-traded corporation.
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Format: Hardcover
I found this to be truly engaging. A great storyteller, Dennis Perkins interweaves the drama of the polar expedition with the urgent demands of today's executives, as they grow and transform organizations at Internet speed. He shows that Shackleton's central challenges are the same ones faced by business leaders pursuing their own survival struggles: vision-setting, building and mobilizing the team, resolving conflicts and nurturing. Then, he translates the explorer's instinctive behavior into understandable lessons for people aspiring to master the complexities of leadership.
Perkins' admiration and affection for Shackleton are palpable. He puts the reader in touch with his own sense of heroism and the high--but very human--standards to which he holds true leadership. Thanks!
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Format: Paperback
I gave this book 5 stars (which I rarely do) because my imagination is captured by the Shackleton story. I love Endurance - the original story and may have found Leading at the Edge more captivating because of it.

Leading at the edge - Leadership Lessons from the Extraordinary Saga of Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition. Subtitles tell a lot these days.

At the same time Endurance set off to conquer the south pole, the Karluk set off to conquer the North Pole. Both ships were stranded in ice. Both sets of explorers had to endure unbelievable hardship. But, Shackleton's group pulled together. It was a story of sacrifice, teamwork and loyalty. The Karluk explorers drifted into theft, deception, lying, and mutiny.

This book delves into the why. How did Shackleton do it? From this, they derive the following 10 leadership lessons.

1. Never lose sight of the ultimate goal, and focus energy on short-term objectives.

2. Set a personal example with visible, memorable symbols and behaviors.

3. Instill optimism and self-confidence, but stay grounded in reality.

4. Take care of yourself: Maintain your stamina and let go of guilt.

5. Reinforce the team message constantly: "We are one- we live or die together."

6. Minimize status differences and insist on courtesy and mutual respect.

7. Master conflict- deal with anger in small doses, engage dissidents, and avoid needless power struggles.

8. Find something to celebrate and something to laugh about.

9. Be willing to take big risks.

10. Never give up-there's always another move.
Comment 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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