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

Margot Morrell , Stephanie Capparell
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

31 Jan 2003
In 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton led 27 men, for almost two years, through a harrowing fight for their lives after the wreck of their Antarctic vessel, Endurance, left them stranded on an ice floe 1200 miles from civilization. But every man survived. And every man ascribed it to Shackleton's superb leadership. Nearly a century later, this once-overlooked explorer is riding a wave of 'Shackleton mania'. Yet nowhere have the secrets of Shackleton's leadership success been fully analysed. Shackleton's Way draws on anecdotes, crew diaries, contemporary material and interviews with some of today's leaders to illustrate Shackleton's tactics. Here readers will learn how to manage crises with limited personnel and resources, how to create order out of chaos, how to hire good workers, how to support and inspire employees to do their best, and how to lead by personal example with optimism, egalitarianism, humour, strength, ingenuity, intelligence and compassion. Shackleton's Way is a fascinating and practical case study of a leader who triumphed by putting people first and striving for the seemingly impossible.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Nicholas Brealey Publishing (31 Jan 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857883187
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857883183
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 101,444 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Reading this book is a must… Shackleton's Way for the first time analyses Shackleton's skills in leadership in a way that is entirely relevant to every businessman today."
Sir John Harvey-Jones

"A leadership handbook that reads like an adventure story. Margot Morrell and Stephanie Capparell... show how successful military leaders, dot-com entrepreneurs, investment bankers, educators, corporate executives and even an astronaut have patterned themselves on the incomparable Antarctic explorer. Better yet, they have neatly codified his winning strategies for the rest of us."
Dava Sobel, author of Longitude
... --...

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
WHEN ERNEST SHACKLETON WAS AT THE ZENITH OF HIS popularity as an explorer, he was invited back to his boys' school, Dulwich College in London, to present some academic honors. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If more 'leaders' learnt lessons... 2 Feb 2004
A fantastic book and inspirational lessons; I have read many books on both leadership, exploration and Shackleton and was inspired by Shackleton's Way as I was the first time I read about him.
The 'lessons' at the end of each chapter are excellent and allow the book to act as a direct, useful reference.
Anyone who is or is striving to become, or already is, a 'leader' of an organisation should read this. It will inspire and provide you with thought from day one.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some great leadership insights 14 Feb 2009
The subtitle to this book is `Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer'. I have to confess that I knew very little of the life and exploits of Ernest Shackleton but my interest was stirred by a conversation some months ago with a friend Richard Coles who extolled Shackleton's strengths as a leader. When I came across this book it seemed the perfect opportunity to find out more about a real explorer and I was not disappointed.

Ernest Shackleton is less well known than his contemporary Scott perhaps because his greatest achievement was a failure, but it's how he dealt with the situations that the failure threw at him that mark him out as an extraordinary leader, in many ways ahead of his time. The book tells the story of the Endurance expedition to Antarctica which set sail in August 1914. By January 1915 Endurance had come within one days sailing of its planned landing spot when it became frozen in. At first the team holed up in the Endurance to live out the Antarctic winter, itself not a particularly attractive proposition but when in October 1915 the shifting Ice began to crush and eventually sink their ship the story changes from one of exploration to one of survival on the floating ice. The men were more than a thousand miles from any other human beings and hundreds of miles from terra firma.

The book reveals the astonishing story of how Shackleton led his team of 27 men on an incredible journey to safety. It gives a sense of the incredible hardships faced by the men in a truly inhospitable environment.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece on Leadership 5 Sep 2005
By A Customer
What makes a leader? Reading this book will not give you a "final answer" but will get you quite close....
Indeed, no-one (or book or otherwise) could claim to have a comprehensive and concluding view of the leadership conundrum. Leadership is part of the essence of humanity, as much coming from innate character as acquired by learning and experience.
Shackleton's way gives us a "phenomenological" representation of leadership: a view of a leader in action from which we can take our own lessons.
There are indeed many checklists in this book, conveniently at the end of most chapters, to summarise "Shackleton's Way" to Leadership. Yet the best and most enduring lessons will be learnt by going through the book, trying to get into the shoes of Mr Shackleton and his people stranded on the Antarctica ice pack, with their misery, their pain and their joys for their infrequent - but crucial! - successes. Their journey offers one of the best testimony of what Leadership is all about.
Get through this book, and I will be very hard pressed to believe it will not make a lasting difference in your way of understanding Leadership in the future.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great story - but a bit rose-tinted 22 Sep 2006
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book - it zips along with the famous "escape from the ice back to safety" epic. Shackleton was clearly the perfect man for such a desperate trek to safety. We can only stand in awe of his achievements, so much so that we almost forget that he never actually reached the south pole in his life-time.

There are many helpful insights into Shackleton's leadership style, which any young "leader" (in business or in any team structure) would find helpful - BUT - and it is a big but - We are fools to imagine that all of life is like Shackleton's adventure down south!!! This is where the book is a bit simplistic and seems to offer us too much. We must remember that Shackleton was famous as the man who escaped from death in an incredible situation. The other sad aspect of the book is the cartoon cut-out caricature it makes of Robert Scott. I imagine this book draws heavily on the Scott as tyrant, failure myth created almost single-handedly by Roland Huntford (1979 book). Sadly, this pathetic image of Scott has been circulated around the world by Huntford's vitriolic and pathological hatred of Scott, put down in print in his book. So in The Shackleton way, Scott is terrible at just about everything and Shackleton is brilliant! This gets more than a bit galling after a time. So sometimes one feels the book is a bit simplistic.

Having given that caveat, I imagine that almost anyone interested in either team-work, leadership or antarctic exploration will not enjoy this book - just keep thinking as you read and don't fall for the "Shackleton is the greatest ever" spin!

PS - If you want an excellent biography of Scott - Ranulph Fiennes, "Captain Scott," is 1st rate.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
really good read
Published 1 month ago by Dave
5.0 out of 5 stars A management development favourite of mine
This book is so easy to read and gain the insight from. The story of Shackleton is unbelievably inspirational and uplifting and the lessons we can take from it in relation to... Read more
Published 7 months ago by G. Todd
5.0 out of 5 stars Bought as a gift
I haven't read this myself, although I was tempted, as it was bought as a Christmas present. One of several requests, I understand my grandson has really enjoyed this... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mazda
5.0 out of 5 stars Read This!
A must for anyone interested in leadership. The book explains what he did, how he did it, and why. And the results. A true hero is dismantled and examined . Read more
Published 7 months ago by Roger D Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars Leadership and adventure
I loved the book. Analysed a true story and provided an insight of the thinking mechanics that les to such an achievement in a hash environment.
Published 13 months ago by Dimitris
5.0 out of 5 stars Tired of the usual leadership books? Read this!
I've been reading a lot of different leadership books recently and they're so dry and theoretical. Here's a book that not only brings the subject to life and is a gripping read,... Read more
Published 14 months ago by J CASSIDY
2.0 out of 5 stars Not about Shackleton
Don't buy this if you want stories of daring-do and adventure from Shackleton; it's more civilian management speak about trying to relate tales from the great adventurer to... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Gentos
5.0 out of 5 stars a must read for anyone involved in people management
Those who know the thrilling story of the Shackleton expedition called "Endurance" already understand the exceptional leadership qualities of this interesting person. Read more
Published on 5 April 2012 by jorisleo
3.0 out of 5 stars Look elsewhere to avoid an insult on your intelect.
What started off as a superbly detailed account of this legendary explorers life soon became a tedious 'this is how some bloke who owned a PLC achieved success using Shackleton's... Read more
Published on 7 Jan 2012 by wesley meredith
4.0 out of 5 stars great little book
This is a great little book about an amazing episode in antarctic exploration, with a little bit of management theory-into-practice analysis thrown in. Read more
Published on 18 Jun 2011 by yggybob
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