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Our Iceberg is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions [Unabridged] [Hardcover]

John Kotter , Holger Rathgeber
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Sep 2006

This charming story about a penguin colony in Antarctica illustrates key truths about how deal with the issue of change: handle the challenge well and you can prosper greatly; handle it poorly and you put yourself at risk. The penguins are living happily on their iceberg as they have done for many years. Then one curious penguin discovers a potentially devastating problem threatening their home - and pretty much no one listens to him. The characters in this fable are like people we recognise, even ourselves. Their story is one of resistance to change and heroic action, confusion and insight, seemingly intractable obstacles and the most clever tactics for dealing with those obstacles. It is a story that is occuring in different forms around us today - but the penguins handle change a great deal better than most of us.

Based on John Kotter's pioneering work on how to make smart change happen faster and better, the lessons you can learn from this short and easy-to-read book will serve you well in your job, in your family, and in your community. And these lessons are becoming ever more important as the world around us changes faster and faster.

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Our Iceberg is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions + Fish!: A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results + Who Moved My Cheese: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; Unabridged edition (1 Sep 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747562121
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230014206
  • ASIN: 0230014208
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 22.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Harvard Business School Professor John Kotter is widely regarded as the world's foremost authority on leadership and change.

His is the premier voice on how the best organizations actually "do" change. Kotter's international bestseller 'Leading Change' - which outlined an actionable, eight-step process for implementing successful transformations - has become the change bible for managers around the world.

Professor Kotter is the author of seventeen books, a collection that has given him more honours and awards than any other writer on the topics of leadership and change. His latest is 'A Sense of Urgency' and in it Kotter shows what a true sense of urgency really is, why it is becoming an exceptionally important asset, and how you can create and sustain it within your organization - starting today.

He has been praised by BusinessWeek, Fortune, The Financial Times, and by managers around the globe as one of our most important voices on leadership and change. In 2009 The Times ranked him amongst the 50 most important business thinkers in the world. Kotter is also author of 'The Heart of Change' and 'John P. Kotter on What Leaders Really Do'.

Product Description


'It promotes the idea of in-depth thinking...in business it is
important to listen to different strands of thought'
-- Robin Geffen, Financial Times Magazine

About the Author

John Kotter has been on the faculty at Harvard Business School since 1972. He is the author of 11 books that have won awards, honours, or been business bestsellers. Professor Kotter gives speeches and seminars at Harvard and around the world. Holger Rathgeber works for Becton Dickinson, one of the world's leading medical technology companies.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile and accessible read 13 Oct 2006
I've just finished reading this short book. It explains Kotter's Eight Step Process for Change that he first described in more conventional form in Leading Change and then Heart of Change. It tells the story of a colony of penguins who eventually commit to abandoning the iceberg they have inhabited for generations.

Whilst it won;t make the Man Booker shortlist next year, I found the fable subtle, realistic and rich enough to keep me reading, and it didn't take long to read the 147 pages of large type, several of which were devoted to some very attractive colour illustrations of points in the story. The story illustrations of Kotter's model were good, and the penguin characters had some familiarity, particularly NoNo the influential saboteur, who did all he could to oppose the change.

This is designed as a more accessible format for the type of manager who would rather freeze on an ice floe than read a research-based management book such as Kotter's original Leading Change. The authors researched how some of the key messages of Kotter's work could be better communicated through story-telling and enhanced by good pictures.

And I think the authors have pulled it off. I can see this book going down well in certain team contexts or change management training courses. Well worth checking out, and it won't take much time to read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
After reading this book you will want to explore Kotters other work:

* Leading Change and

* The Heart of Change.

These give you the depth and breadth that is obviously missing here. I have found other books that I thought had the edge, over Kotters work these include:

*Strategic Organization Change - Pub 2005. It is based around a comprehensive organization model and linked change processes, that leads you to what I think is a more realistic view of how to proceed, that is easier to digest than some aspects of Kotters work which has been around for a while now. (see my other reviews)

*Tool kit for Organizational change, by Thomas Cawsey - Pub 2007. This is the product of 10 years work, the result is a very useful, readable and pragmatic guide to organizational change.(see my other reviews)

Stan Felstead - Interchange Resources - UK.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Adapt or Perish 10 Nov 2007
By Robert Morris TOP 500 REVIEWER
Although fables have been written and shared for many centuries dating back at least to Aesop (said to have lived as a slave in Samos around 550 B.C.), it has been only in recent years that the business narrative in the form of a fable has become popular, notably with the publication of Who Moved My Cheese? By Spencer Johnson who wrote the Foreword to this volume, co-authored by John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber. I was amused when noting its subtitle, "Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions," having seen the Luc Jacquet's documentary film March of the Penguins, co-produced by Bonne Pioche and the National Geographic Society, in which the Emperor Penguins and those who filmed them endured (and most of the penguins survived) temperatures around the French scientific base of Dumont d'Urville in Antarctica that fell to -80° Fahrenheit. How many human enterprises could function under such conditions?

Kotter and Rathgeber offer a fable in which the central character, an Emperor Penguin named Fred, struggles without much success to convince his colony's Leadership Council that his research statistics indicate "the shrinking of the size of their home, the canals, the caves filled with water, the number of fissures, causing by [their iceberg's] melting." If they do not relocate to another iceberg soon....

What happens next is best revealed by Kotter and Rathgeber within their narrative. They are brilliant storytellers who first introduce their lead characters, and create a situation, then identify conflicts that build tension as the plot develops, until its conclusion (sort of). As with George Orwell in Animal Farm, their primary purpose, however, is not to entertain but to instruct.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I was recommended this book in a Change Management course I went on recently. A quick 1 hour read on the train back from London, this book isn't intended to be a Change Management bible, but it is a cute fable that does introduce you to Kotter's 'Eight Steps To Transformation Change' - I would recommend this as a great book to give out to a team undergoing change.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another management book....... 22 April 2013
By enemcee
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought this because my company were doing a change leadership course. The story is a simple way of getting a message across. It reads very easily and quickly. The whole thing can be condensed into a single A4 page of bullet points as an aide memoire - in fact if you are feeling lazy - just go to the summary at the end - if youve done lots of other management courses you will recognise a lot of it already.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Patronising 1 Aug 2013
By Steve
Utter patronizing twaddle force fed to the working masses by corporations that think a fable about penguins will change the behavior of the entrenched. The entire book can be summed up as `the world is changing, get over it'
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simple yet Profound 8 Feb 2009
As a "Change Agent", and as someone charged with the development of others, I should be comfortable with change management theory, - but Prince project management leaves me cold and I've been looking for something that puts the human being back at the centre of change; after all, a project never reaqlly change anything, - it's people that do that; and by the way, it's people that stop most changes from happening effectively too!

This little book can be absorbed in a couple of hours and, speaking personally, has provided me with a fantastic framework for managing change projects and for explaining change to others.

Kotter's 8 stages are well known, - but this brings them to life!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, met all my expectations
Great book, met all my expectations. I had some knowledge of the book as a friend had suggested it to me.
Published 22 hours ago by Mary-Lee Mallinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Change management book
Love this book - I keep dipping into it and finding more gems.
Published 17 days ago by Diana
5.0 out of 5 stars You wil recognise all the characters!
Kotter's eight phases of change encapsulated in an easy read and short fable. Provides a quick and easily understandable summary of change management. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Paul
4.0 out of 5 stars Accessible and interesting.
Cleverly written. Clear and accessible.
Published 1 month ago by Gemma
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 books to read
Penguins or humans? See which you are
Published 1 month ago by Val Ellis
5.0 out of 5 stars Change management by stages
A light but nonetheless effective parable about managing change in a group. Not over-explained or patronising... thought-provoking for work in a range of contexts. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Angelsoft
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
Excellent book
Published 1 month ago by vp
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by Vincent Parker
1.0 out of 5 stars Our Iceberg is Melting - don't waste your money. Zero stars
Our Iceberg is melting...............do not waste your money.

What utter patronising twaddle. I read it from cover to cover in one day. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sparkly Star
5.0 out of 5 stars Great introduction to change
Excellent fable which illustrates very accessibly the challenges of managing change. I have used it successfully to help junior and inexperienced teams on change projects to... Read more
Published 2 months ago by DavidL
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