978-1-85788-211-7 / 9781857882117

Shackleton's Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer


Publisher:Nicholas Brealey



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About the book:

The explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton has recently become the legendary character at the center of a renewed fascination with the early days of Antarctic exploration. Though not the most renowned explorer of his day, nor even the most successful in terms of stated goals, Shackleton's story of adventurous ambition, incredible endurance and heroic survival against all odds is indeed the stuff of legend. And now, thanks to the detailed research and helpful insights of Morrell and Capparell, his story is also the meaty material of lessons on how to lead with authority, integrity, humor and compassion.

A British explorer once summarised the feats of the great Antarctic explorer like this: "For a joint scientific and geographical piece of organization, give me Scott; for a winter journey, give me Wilson, for a dash to the Pole and nothing else, Amundsen; and if I am in the devil of a hole and want to get out of it, give me Shackleton every time." His words set the tone for Shackleton's Way, at once both a travel narrative and handbook of requirements for effective leadership. Shackleton's attempts to reach the South Pole, and his two-year fight for the survival of his entire crew through entrapment and shipwreck makes for exciting reading. Using this story as the centrepiece of their book, the authors have woven in their interpretation of Shackleton's success using celebrity interviews and useful advice points at the end of each chapter.

Morrell and Capparell's excellent use of archival material (especially crew diaries), and their intelligent interpretation of what Shackleton's story implies about good leaders, makes this book both pleasurable and educational. Throughout the thrilling story of the explorer's exploits, the authors have inserted summarising subtitles that succinctly capture Shackleton's leadership style. Occasionally, this seems a little strained: while the explorer's progressive attitudes and actions deserve the praise of fine leadership, some of his misjudgments are also referred to with something approaching reverence. For the most part, however, the authors employ a subtle and effective hand in translating the actions of a man at the helm of a dangerous adventure into advice beneficial to leaders in all areas of life. --S Ketchum

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