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

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Lead your business to survival and success by following the
example of legendary explorer Ernest Shackleton

Sir Ernest
Shackleton has been called "the greatest leader that ever came on God's
earth, bar none" for saving the lives of the twenty-seven men stranded
with him in the Antarctic for almost two years. Because of his
courageous actions, he remains to this day a model for great leadership
and masterful crisis management. Now, through anecdotes, the diaries of
the men in his crew, and Shackleton's own writing, Shackleton's
leadership style and time-honored principles are translated for the
modern business world. Written by two veteran business observers and
illustrated with ship photographer Frank Hurley's masterpieces and other
rarely seen photos, this practical book helps today's leaders follow
Shackleton's triumphant example.
"An important addition to any
leader's library." -Seattle Times

Average Ratings and Reviews
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4.20

1760 Ratings

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Ratings and Reviews From Market


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

3

September 16, 2001

Leadership as a Flexible, Fatherly and Caring Role Model
Leadership is all about character, determination, consideration, vision, and fidelity. Under horrible circumstances, leaders usually become much better or worse. Even the harsh Captain Bligh found himself fulfilling a hero's role as a leader after the mutiny. Sir Ernest Shackleton was a fine man who became even finer under pressure.
If you don't know the story, let me outline a few details. During World War I, Sir Ernest led a small expedition to Antarctica from England in an attempt to cross that continent through the South Pole. The pole itself had already been reached by Amundsen and Scott. En route to land, the expedition's ship, Endurance, became locked in the pack ice. The crew drifted with the ice for over 10 months before the ship was crushed by the ice. Pulling lifeboats over the ice, the men reached open sea more than five months later. They reached a small island, Elephant Island, where most of the men remained while Sir Ernest and a few men made an 800 mile three week sea voyage to their starting point, South Georgia Island. Arriving there, they faced a horrible trek over almost impassable terrain to get to the settlement. Sir Ernest immediately left to rescue the men left behind on Elephant Island. All those on board the Endurance survived.
Throughout this rescue, Sir Ernest proved himself to be resourceful, flexible, considerate, and indomitable.
Shackleton's Way recounts Sir Ernest's life, and summarizes key points about his leadership style. Each chapter ends with a commentary by someone who learned from Sir Ernest's experiences to be a better leader.
As a leadership book, Shackleton's Way has a number of weaknesses. First, leadership and management are not separated. The bulk of the points made in the book relate more to management than to leadership. I think the book would have worked better if it had narrowed down to leadership, rather than including management. Sir Ernest seemed to be a fairly ordinary manager, while being an outstanding leader. With the two messages combined, the lessons are diluted.
Second, Sir Ernest is treated with kid gloves in the book. That may no be warranted in all cases. For example, if he had abandoned the expedition before the Endurance became stuck in the pack ice, all of the suffering would have been avoided. Clearly, he may well have made some errors in judgment that led to the crisis.
Third, most people can tell you what they would like leaders to do. The same people find it very difficult to do those things, even under good conditions. Under horrible conditions (as occurred here), the average person becomes a below-average leader. What were the things that Shackleton did in his mind to maintain the self-discipline to be a good leader? The book provides little insight into that critical point.
Fourth, the key lessons are not elaborated on nearly enough. Flexibility is critical, for example, because leaders often misperceive the real situation, or find that their forecasts are wrong. An effective leader then must be looking for improved information, and be thinking about what actions could be taken should circumstances shift or be shown to be different than perceived. A whole book could be written about the significance of this point. Very little more attention is paid to this critical element than is to the idea of being optimistic, as a way to keep the mind and spirit resourceful.
Fifth, the end of chapter examples of others being inspired by Sir Ernest are often pretty trivial and disconnected. This was particularly true about the Jim Cramer, Eric Miller, and Mike Dale. If all of these sections had been left out, the book would have been stronger. Or alternatively, leadership experts could have spoken about examples that they thought supported Sir Ernest's principles.
As a result, Shackleton's Way ends up being too simple to be a good adventure saga or a good leadership book. To me, it seemed like a book that was aimed at young teenagers rather than at adults. If you want to read about Sir Ernest as an explorer, you will probably prefer Sir Ernest's own books. As to leadership books, there are many fine ones. You could read any of the best leadership books (such as Managing Change), and then draw your own lessons from what Sir Ernest wrote.
What qualities of leadership would you like to see in those who lead you? In this time of national trial in the United States, what lessons from Sir Ernest should be applied by political leaders?
4

October 27, 2013

Leadership Explored!
Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- "Shackleton's strategy is the antithesis of the old command-and-control models. His brand of leadership instead values flexibility, teamwork, and individual triumph. It brings back some of the gentlemanliness and decorum of the past, but without the hidden agenda of an exclusionary inner circle. It's business with a human face."

2- "SHACKLETON'S V WAY OF DEVELOPING LEADERSHIP SKILLS: -Cultivate a sense of compassion and responsibility for others. You have a bigger impact on the lives of those under you than you can imagine. - Once you make a career decision, commit to sticking through the tough learning period. -Do your part to help create an upbeat environment at work. A positive and cheerful workplace is important to productivity. -Broaden your cultural and social horizons beyond your usual experiences. Learning to see things from different perspectives will give you greater flexibility in problem solving at work. -In a rapidly changing world, be willing to venture in new directions to seize new opportunities and learn new skills. -Find a way to turn setbacks and failures to your advantage. This would be a good time to step forward on your own. -Be bold in vision and careful in planning. Dare to try something new, but be meticulous enough in your proposal to give your ideas a good chance of succeeding. -Learn from past mistakes—yours and those made by others. Sometimes the best teachers are the bad bosses and the negative experiences. -Never insist on reaching a goal at any cost. It must be achieved at a reasonable expense, without undue hardship for your staff. -Don't be drawn into > public disputes with rivals. Rather, engage in respectful competition. You may need their cooperation someday."

3- "SHACKLETON'S WAY OF SELECTING AND ORGANIZING A CREW. -Start with a solid core of workers you know from past jobs or who come recommended by trusted colleagues. -Your No. 2 is your most important hire. Pick one who complements your management style, shows loyalty without being a yes-man, and has a talent for working with others. -Hire those who share your vision. Someone who clashes with your personality or the corporate culture will hinder your work. -Be a creative, unconventional interviewer if you seek creative. unconventional people. Go deeper than job experience and expertise. Ask questions that reveal a candidate's personality, values, and perspective on work and life. -Surround yourself with cheerful, optimistic people. They will reward you with the loyalty and camaraderie vital for success. -Applicants hungriest for the job are apt to work hardest to keep it. -To weed out potential slackers, choose workers who show a willingness to tackle any job, and will take a turn at the unpopular tasks. -Hire those with the talents and expertise you lack. Don't feel threatened by them. They will help you stay on the cutting edge and bring distinction to your organization. -Spell out clearly to new employees the exact duties and requirements of their jobs, and how they will be compensated. Many failed work relationships start with a lack of communication. -To help your staff do top-notch work, give them the best equipment you can afford. Working with outdated, unreliable tools creates an unnecessary burden."

4- "SHACKLETON'S WAY OF FORGING A UNITED AND LOYAL TEAM. -Take the time to observe before acting, especially if you are new to the scene. All changes should be aimed at improvements. Don't make changes just for the sake of leaving you mark. -Always keep the door open to your staff members, and be generous with information that affects them. Well-informed i employees are more eager and better prepared to participate. -Establish order and routine on the job so all workers know where they stand and what is expected of them. The discipline makes the staff feel they're in capable hands. -Break down traditional hierarchies and cliques by training workers to do a number of jobs, from the menial to the challenging. -Where possible, have employees work together on certain tasks. It builds trust and respect and even friendship. -Be fair and impartial in meting out compensations, workloads. and punishments. Imbalances make everyone feel uncomfortable, even the favored. -Lead by example. Chip in sometimes to help with the work you're having others do. It gives you the opportunity to set a high standard and shows your respect for the job. -Have regular gatherings to build esprit de corps. These could be informal lunches that allow workers to speak freely outside the office. Or they could be special holiday or anniversary celebrations that let employees relate to each other as people rather than only as colleagues."

5- "SHACKLETON'S WAY OF DEVELOPING INDIVIDUAL TALENT. -Create a work environment comfortable enough to entice professionals to spend the greater part of their waking hours there. Allow for some personal preferences. -Be generous with programs that promote the well-being of your staff. Healthy bodies and minds are more productive. -Make sure each employee has challenging and important work. Even the lowest-ranking workers must feel they are making a valuable and appreciated contribution to the company. -Match the person to the position. Be observant of the types of people who are working for you and what jobs might best suit their personalities as well as their experience. -Give consistent feedback on performance. Most workers feel they don't get nearly enough words of praise and encouragement. -Strive for work relationships that have a human as well as professional element. No matter how large your company, get to know as many employees as possible. Memorize their interests so you can chat about something other than work. -Reward the individual as well as the group. Public acknowledgment of a job well done—a birthday or a work anniversary—will make an employee feel appreciated. -Be tolerant. Know each employee's strengths and weaknesses, and set reasonable expectations. Occasionally indulging individuals, even if you think they're being too needy, can have a powerful effect, especially in high-stress situations."

6- "SHACKLETON'S WAY OF GETTING THE GROUP THROUGH A CRISIS. -When crisis strikes, immediately address your staff. Take charge of the situation, offer a plan of action, ask for support and show absolute confidence in a positive outcome. -Get rid of unnecessary middle layers of authority. Direct leadership is more efficient in emergency situations. -Plan several options in detail. Get a grasp of the possible consequences of each, always keeping your eye on the big picture. -Streamline supplies and operations so they won't slow you down. -Give your staff an occasional reality check to keep them on course. After time, people will start to treat a crisis situation as business as usual and lose their focus. -Keep your malcontents close to you. Resist your instinct to avoid them and instead try to win them over and gain their support. -Defuse tension. In high-stress situations use humor to put people at ease, and keep your staff busy. -Let go of the past. Don't waste time or energy regretting pa? mistakes or fretting over what you can't change. -Ask for advice and information from a variety of sources, but ultimately make decisions based on your own best judgment. -Let all the people involved in the crisis participate in the solution even if that means doling out some work that is less than vital. -Be patient. Sometimes the best course of action is to do nothing but watch and wait. -Give your staff plenty of time to get used to the idea of an unpopular decision by leaking early details."

7- "SHACKLETON'S WAY OF FORMING GROUPS FOR THE TOUGHEST TASKS. -The best way to handle the biggest tasks is often to divide the Staff into teams. Create units that are self-sufficient, but understand they won't all be equal. It is more important that the teams are balanced when considering the big picture. -Make sure you have some cracker-jack groups that can handle the toughest challenges. They can also help others, to ensure mo team falls far behind. -Give the tedious assignments to the workhorses who don't complain. Let them know you are aware that you are giving them an outsized task and that you count on their goodwill and exceptional fortitude to get the job done. -Empower the team leaders so they have the authority to handle their own group, but keep an eye on the details. Never let yourself be surprised by problems down the road. -Don't be afraid to change your mind when you see your plan isn't working. You won't look indecisive if you show the logic of your changes. -Be self-sacrificing. Give whatever perks it is in your power to dispense. -Give a show of confidence in those acting in your stead. It's important that your support staff maintain in your absence the same level of competency you set. -Never point out the weaknesses of individuals in front of others. Often, it's better to let everyone share in a remedy aimed at a few. Chances are, even the strongest will benefit from it."

8- "SHACKLETON'S WAY OF FINDING THE DETERMINATION TO MOVE FORWARD. -Go-for-broke risks become more acceptable as options narrow. Sometimes the potential rewards at the end of a daring venture justify the risk of suffering a spectacular failure. -Seek inspiration in enduring wisdom that has comforted or motivated you or others in times of crisis. It will get you through the most physically and emotionally draining times and help you to keep your perspective. -Congratulate yourself and others for a job well done. A pat on the back or a sincere handshake is an expression of personal thanks and gratitude that has never gone out of fashion. -Motivate your staff to be independent. If you have been a good leader, they will have the determination to succeed on their own. -Let your staff inspire you. At times, an overwhelming workload may force you to consider lowering your standards. Remember that the final product must represent the best efforts of the entire group. -Even in the most stressful situations, don't forget that you are part of a larger world that might benefit from your expertise. In turn, participating in community and family activities can give you skills useful on the job. -Make sure the whole job is done. Your staff may be able to call it quits after the heavy lifting is over, but you are responsible for seeing the work through to its successful completion."

9- "SHACKLETON'S THOUGHTS ON LEADERSHIP. -'There are lots of good things in the world, but I'm not sure that comradeship is not the best of them all—to know that you can do something big for another chap." -"Optimism is true moral courage." -"Leadership is a fine thing, but it has its penalties. And the greatest penalty is loneliness." -'A man must shape himself to a new mark directly the old one goes to ground." -'The loyalty of your men is a sacred trust you carry. It is something which must never be betrayed, something you must live up to." -"I have often marveled at the thin fine which separates success from failure." -'You often have to hide from them not only the truth, but your feelings about the truth. You may know that the facts are dead against you, but you mustn't say so." -'If you're a leader, a fellow that other fellows look to, you've got to keep going."
1

January 3, 2002

Leadership Lite
On one of the last pages of "Shackleton's Way," the authors state, "This book attempts to provide what Shackleton wished to explain about his experiences and achievements." This refers to Shackleton's fascination with "the mental side" of leadership. This self-congratulatory pat on their collective backs ignores the simple fact that they failed badly in their attempt. Shackleton was by all accounts a great adventurer. He successfully assembled a group of kindred spirits and had a great adventure. He may well have been an equally great leader who practiced the art of leadership brilliantly. Unfortunately, you won't read about it in this book. A more appropriate title for this book might be, "Leadership Lite" or "The Hardy Boys Go to Antarctica."
The authors crammed about 25 pages of story into 238 painfully puffed out pages, including pictures; appendices; introductory remarks by the subject's granddaughter; bibliography, with a glaring omission of any literature on the subject of leadership in any form; three pages of acknowledgements; and, an exhaustive index which is probably the best written part of the entire book. They also include lengthy asides describing how various others have used the Shackleton story to help them in their efforts to lead others. Finally, as if their writing might overwhelm the reader with its "subtlety" they provide a laundry list of homilies summarizing each chapter. That these nuggets of leadership lore might well be included in a remedial course in management clearly escapes the authors as they present them in a manner suggestive of Moses' tablets of stone.
Finally, they mention in passing that Shackleton was a philandering womanizer who couldn't seem to get and hold a real job so he decided to go on a grand adventure. This suggests an obvious candidate for their next book, a recent resident of Washington DC and one of their new neighbors in New York.
2

August 29, 2001

Great leader, not so great leadership book
Ernest Shackleton accomplished arguably superhuman things. He was good at selecting, cajoling and inspiring men. How he brought his crew back alive from such a frozen, forbidding world, is one of the amazing miracles of the past two hundred years.
Yet a close, hard look suggests that the leadership lessons to be learned are limited for most readers. The authors try too hard to take each Shackleton episode or act as a lesson tobe learned and applied yet these lessons are not as clear as the authors might want to suggest nor are the lessons necessarily generalizeable to modern life or commerce. After reading the entire book, little remains to explain Shackleton's theory or practice of leadership, just a lot of anecdotes and incidents. Shackleton and his leadership remain inscrutable.
An amazing story, yes. An amazing leadership book, I think not.
2

January 14, 2001

A Very Dull Book for an Important Subject
I guess you can derive as much pleasure from reading this book as you would from The Joy of Cooking. I am sure there is a great deal to be learned about leadership skills from Shackleton's expeditions, as is evidenced by the italicized and boldfaced summary statements throughout the book. These are great ingredients of leadership success, but somehow Shackleton the leader fails to leap out of the pages of the book as a living hero. I have never read a book about a great leader written in such dry prose. Maybe the project was doomed by the authors' objective of culling some neat points from various accounts of the great explorer's adventures for today's self-improvement book market. Has anyone been inspired to be a great culinary artist by reading The Joy of Cooking?
1

September 10, 2001

More platitudes on leadership
The authors have taken a potential exemplar of effective leadership and obscured the lessons to be learned with a farrago of trite and banal exhortations. Add this book to the swelling number of leadership publications that offer no deep insight into leaders and the leadership phenomenon.
1

November 11, 2008

Really bad story telling weaved with really poor leadership examples
I found this to be an impossible read. The story telling is horrible IMHO. I know this is a remarkable story but the authors butchered it. And the attempt to weave in leadership lessons further ruined the story telling. The authors hit you over the head with obvious leadership lessons rather than focusing on telling a good story. I'm amazed at the positive reviews here. I almost never stop reading a book without finishing it, but this was one exception. My time was too valuable to waste on this.
4

Jul 10, 2013

Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- "Shackleton's strategy is the antithesis of the old command-and-control models. His brand of leadership instead values flexibility, teamwork, and individual triumph. It brings back some of the gentlemanliness and decorum of the past, but without the hidden agenda of an exclusionary inner circle. It's business with a human face."

2- "SHACKLETON'S WAY OF DEVELOPING LEADERSHIP SKILLS: -Cultivate a sense of compassion and Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- "Shackleton's strategy is the antithesis of the old command-and-control models. His brand of leadership instead values flexibility, teamwork, and individual triumph. It brings back some of the gentlemanliness and decorum of the past, but without the hidden agenda of an exclusionary inner circle. It's business with a human face."

2- "SHACKLETON'S WAY OF DEVELOPING LEADERSHIP SKILLS: -Cultivate a sense of compassion and responsibility for others. You have a bigger impact on the lives of those under you than you can imagine. - Once you make a career decision, commit to sticking through the tough learning period. -Do your part to help create an upbeat environment at work. A positive and cheerful workplace is important to productivity. -Broaden your cultural and social horizons beyond your usual experiences. Learning to see things from different perspectives will give you greater flexibility in problem solving at work. -In a rapidly changing world, be willing to venture in new directions to seize new opportunities and learn new skills. -Find a way to turn setbacks and failures to your advantage. This would be a good time to step forward on your own. -Be bold in vision and careful in planning. Dare to try something new, but be meticulous enough in your proposal to give your ideas a good chance of succeeding. -Learn from past mistakes—yours and those made by others. Sometimes the best teachers are the bad bosses and the negative experiences. -Never insist on reaching a goal at any cost. It must be achieved at a reasonable expense, without undue hardship for your staff. -Don't be drawn into > public disputes with rivals. Rather, engage in respectful competition. You may need their cooperation someday."

3- "SHACKLETON'S WAY OF SELECTING AND ORGANIZING A CREW. -Start with a solid core of workers you know from past jobs or who come recommended by trusted colleagues. -Your No. 2 is your most important hire. Pick one who complements your management style, shows loyalty without being a yes-man, and has a talent for working with others. -Hire those who share your vision. Someone who clashes with your personality or the corporate culture will hinder your work. -Be a creative, unconventional interviewer if you seek creative. unconventional people. Go deeper than job experience and expertise. Ask questions that reveal a candidate's personality, values, and perspective on work and life. -Surround yourself with cheerful, optimistic people. They will reward you with the loyalty and camaraderie vital for success. -Applicants hungriest for the job are apt to work hardest to keep it. -To weed out potential slackers, choose workers who show a willingness to tackle any job, and will take a turn at the unpopular tasks. -Hire those with the talents and expertise you lack. Don't feel threatened by them. They will help you stay on the cutting edge and bring distinction to your organization. -Spell out clearly to new employees the exact duties and requirements of their jobs, and how they will be compensated. Many failed work relationships start with a lack of communication. -To help your staff do top-notch work, give them the best equipment you can afford. Working with outdated, unreliable tools creates an unnecessary burden."

4- "SHACKLETON'S WAY OF FORGING A UNITED AND LOYAL TEAM. -Take the time to observe before acting, especially if you are new to the scene. All changes should be aimed at improvements. Don't make changes just for the sake of leaving you mark. -Always keep the door open to your staff members, and be generous with information that affects them. Well-informed i employees are more eager and better prepared to participate. -Establish order and routine on the job so all workers know where they stand and what is expected of them. The discipline makes the staff feel they're in capable hands. -Break down traditional hierarchies and cliques by training workers to do a number of jobs, from the menial to the challenging. -Where possible, have employees work together on certain tasks. It builds trust and respect and even friendship. -Be fair and impartial in meting out compensations, workloads. and punishments. Imbalances make everyone feel uncomfortable, even the favored. -Lead by example. Chip in sometimes to help with the work you're having others do. It gives you the opportunity to set a high standard and shows your respect for the job. -Have regular gatherings to build esprit de corps. These could be informal lunches that allow workers to speak freely outside the office. Or they could be special holiday or anniversary celebrations that let employees relate to each other as people rather than only as colleagues."

5- "SHACKLETON'S WAY OF DEVELOPING INDIVIDUAL TALENT. -Create a work environment comfortable enough to entice professionals to spend the greater part of their waking hours there. Allow for some personal preferences. -Be generous with programs that promote the well-being of your staff. Healthy bodies and minds are more productive. -Make sure each employee has challenging and important work. Even the lowest-ranking workers must feel they are making a valuable and appreciated contribution to the company. -Match the person to the position. Be observant of the types of people who are working for you and what jobs might best suit their personalities as well as their experience. -Give consistent feedback on performance. Most workers feel they don't get nearly enough words of praise and encouragement. -Strive for work relationships that have a human as well as professional element. No matter how large your company, get to know as many employees as possible. Memorize their interests so you can chat about something other than work. -Reward the individual as well as the group. Public acknowledgment of a job well done—a birthday or a work anniversary—will make an employee feel appreciated. -Be tolerant. Know each employee's strengths and weaknesses, and set reasonable expectations. Occasionally indulging individuals, even if you think they're being too needy, can have a powerful effect, especially in high-stress situations."

6- "SHACKLETON'S WAY OF GETTING THE GROUP THROUGH A CRISIS. -When crisis strikes, immediately address your staff. Take charge of the situation, offer a plan of action, ask for support and show absolute confidence in a positive outcome. -Get rid of unnecessary middle layers of authority. Direct leadership is more efficient in emergency situations. -Plan several options in detail. Get a grasp of the possible consequences of each, always keeping your eye on the big picture. -Streamline supplies and operations so they won't slow you down. -Give your staff an occasional reality check to keep them on course. After time, people will start to treat a crisis situation as business as usual and lose their focus. -Keep your malcontents close to you. Resist your instinct to avoid them and instead try to win them over and gain their support. -Defuse tension. In high-stress situations use humor to put people at ease, and keep your staff busy. -Let go of the past. Don't waste time or energy regretting pa? mistakes or fretting over what you can't change. -Ask for advice and information from a variety of sources, but ultimately make decisions based on your own best judgment. -Let all the people involved in the crisis participate in the solution even if that means doling out some work that is less than vital. -Be patient. Sometimes the best course of action is to do nothing but watch and wait. -Give your staff plenty of time to get used to the idea of an unpopular decision by leaking early details."

7- "SHACKLETON'S WAY OF FORMING GROUPS FOR THE TOUGHEST TASKS. -The best way to handle the biggest tasks is often to divide the Staff into teams. Create units that are self-sufficient, but understand they won't all be equal. It is more important that the teams are balanced when considering the big picture. -Make sure you have some cracker-jack groups that can handle the toughest challenges. They can also help others, to ensure mo team falls far behind. -Give the tedious assignments to the workhorses who don't complain. Let them know you are aware that you are giving them an outsized task and that you count on their goodwill and exceptional fortitude to get the job done. -Empower the team leaders so they have the authority to handle their own group, but keep an eye on the details. Never let yourself be surprised by problems down the road. -Don't be afraid to change your mind when you see your plan isn't working. You won't look indecisive if you show the logic of your changes. -Be self-sacrificing. Give whatever perks it is in your power to dispense. -Give a show of confidence in those acting in your stead. It's important that your support staff maintain in your absence the same level of competency you set. -Never point out the weaknesses of individuals in front of others. Often, it's better to let everyone share in a remedy aimed at a few. Chances are, even the strongest will benefit from it."

8- "SHACKLETON'S WAY OF FINDING THE DETERMINATION TO MOVE FORWARD. -Go-for-broke risks become more acceptable as options narrow. Sometimes the potential rewards at the end of a daring venture justify the risk of suffering a spectacular failure. -Seek inspiration in enduring wisdom that has comforted or motivated you or others in times of crisis. It will get you through the most physically and emotionally draining times and help you to keep your perspective. -Congratulate yourself and others for a job well done. A pat on the back or a sincere handshake is an expression of personal thanks and gratitude that has never gone out of fashion. -Motivate your staff to be independent. If you have been a good leader, they will have the determination to succeed on their own. -Let your staff inspire you. At times, an overwhelming workload may force you to consider lowering your standards. Remember that the final product must represent the best efforts of the entire group. -Even in the most stressful situations, don't forget that you are part of a larger world that might benefit from your expertise. In turn, participating in community and family activities can give you skills useful on the job. -Make sure the whole job is done. Your staff may be able to call it quits after the heavy lifting is over, but you are responsible for seeing the work through to its successful completion."

9- "SHACKLETON'S THOUGHTS ON LEADERSHIP. -'There are lots of good things in the world, but I'm not sure that comradeship is not the best of them all—to know that you can do something big for another chap." -"Optimism is true moral courage." -"Leadership is a fine thing, but it has its penalties. And the greatest penalty is loneliness." -'A man must shape himself to a new mark directly the old one goes to ground." -'The loyalty of your men is a sacred trust you carry. It is something which must never be betrayed, something you must live up to." -"I have often marveled at the thin fine which separates success from failure." -'You often have to hide from them not only the truth, but your feelings about the truth. You may know that the facts are dead against you, but you mustn't say so." -'If you're a leader, a fellow that other fellows look to, you've got to keep going." ...more
5

December 31, 2004

Fantastic Leadership Read!
Knowing of my interest in leadership, a friend recommended that I read Shackleton's Way. When I first viewed the picture on the cover of the book and glanced at the subtitle, I thought, "What on earth would this book have to do with leadership?" The answer is an unqualified, "Absolutely plenty!" The cover picture shows several men who appear to be playing some type of a game on snow and ice. The complete subtitle is "Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer." The authors of Shackleton's Way, Margot Morrell and Stephanie Capparell, skillfully combine a sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat story with legendary lessons on leadership.

Very briefly, Shackleton's Way is the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton and the 27 men stranded with him in the Antarctic for almost two years in the early days of the 1900's. Everyone survived, but probably only because of Shackleton's outstanding leadership abilities and practices. Margot Morrell and Stephanie Capparell, skillfully weave lessons on leadership throughout the pages of the adventure-filled book.

The thorough research from various diaries, letters, books and other documents is evident on every page of the book. The authors certainly did their homework! Each chapter tells of a portion of the trip, while illustrating the leadership lessons Sir Ernest utilized in maintaining hope, working with diverse folks in an often-adverse environment, working as a team, creativity in problem solving and many other traits a good leader uses. Near the end of each chapter, bullet points clearly and succinctly illustrate pertinent points in that chapter. Finally, each chapter ends with a section called "Working It In," in which contemporary leaders demonstrate how Sir Ernest Shackleton's leadership lessons were of value to them.

Not only will you find the lessons in Shackleton's Way useful with co-workers and employees, but you'll also find them helpful with your family. Even though these principles and lessons about leadership were illustrated nearly a century ago, they are timeless; if anything, they are more valuable now than at that time. Sir Ernest Shackleton was a servant leader; we would all do well to learn leadership lessons from Shackleton's Way.
3

March 10, 2012

Good But Not Great Leader
I have been a great fan of Ernest Shackleton for many years. This book is just one of many I have read about his Antarctica voyage from 1914 to 1916. In fact, if I ever get to the UK, going to Dulwich College and seeing the whaling boat the James Caird is on top of my list. I have thought and dwelled on his leadership skills during this horrific event and believe as most that Shackleton was a good leader but with a caveat.

After finishing Shackleton's Way which concentrates on his leadership, it caused me once again to reflect on Shackleton's management and overall governance of this expedition. As the other well written reviews have pointed out, the preponderance of evidence clearly states that leadership was involved. This entailed crew selection and placement, morale, big picture and the ability to remain calm. He also excelled at seeming to make the right decision in a timely manner.

But there are a couple of areas of concern when we try to place the wreath of great leader upon his crown. 1) He never accomplished his goals. 2) He failed in other very important areas in his life such as business and family. Furthermore, the deeper my knowledge becomes (and this book helped) the more I arrive at the conclusion that luck played a much greater role than leadership. Luck combined with the strong survival instinct was the reason not a single member of the party lost their life.

This is not meant to distract from the bravery, skill and toughness of Shackleton and his crew. They are to be extoled and certainly deserve our highest respect and praise. And maybe combined with other leadership lessons this book could play a vital part. I just strongly believe that if you remove providence and flukes, you are left more with a survival lesson than one of leadership.

Maybe I will check out a fellow by the name of George Washington. I hear he was a great leader.

I hope you find this review helpful.

Michael L. Gooch, SPHR - Author of Wingtips with Spurs
4

May 8, 2017

Review for college course
This book was really good for many reasons. While this book is teaching lessons about leadership it is also telling a great story. Other books (especially the ones I've read for my class) often give advice or a lesson and then give examples, but in this book it gives readers a story to follow allowing people become more engrossed with the characters, setting, etc. It's easier to put yourself in this perspective. It also help me realize that you don't have to be in a position where you're in charge of other people to be a leader. You can be a leader just by the small decisions you make everyday and the influence/impact you leave on people. I would suggest for people to read this book.
5

Jun 15, 2018

I generally do not like historic tales and was hesitant at first to give this book a try. A little ways into the book I was about to call it quits, but given how short it was I decided to continue. This turned out to be a great decision.

The story is told from the perspective of many people that were on the failed (if you can call it that) voyage. Bits of personal journals, interviews, etc. all combine to tell an incredibly fascinating story of personal triumph in the most dire of situations. I generally do not like historic tales and was hesitant at first to give this book a try. A little ways into the book I was about to call it quits, but given how short it was I decided to continue. This turned out to be a great decision.

The story is told from the perspective of many people that were on the failed (if you can call it that) voyage. Bits of personal journals, interviews, etc. all combine to tell an incredibly fascinating story of personal triumph in the most dire of situations. Intertwined with this story (which could make an exciting Hollywood movie), are various leadership skills/qualities that ultimately saved many lives.

Although the story is told chronologically, each chapter is still somehow able to focus on a specific leadership lesson, which is rather impressive. Each chapter also contains a brief 1/2 page summary of these lessons.

If you're looking for a book about leadership, while also telling a riveting story, this is a must read. I particularly enjoyed the fact that these leadership lessons were not based in a business setting, but one could easily find the parallels.

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4

Nov 10, 2014

Shackleton was an amazing man and I appreciated how this book wove his personal accomplishments and leadership qualities with the biography of his life.
4

March 28, 2017

Sure there are connections and skills you can apply to make a team better within your organization or personal life
Shackleton's Way is an engaging and inspiring story of a team of gentleman struggling to survive in harsh temperatures and fihting through obstacles nobody would ever imagine. The book tries to compare a dangerous and unexpected nightmare to modern day struggles. Personally, I do not think that could be possible. Sure there are connections and skills you can apply to make a team better within your organization or personal life. However, there are several flwas consediring that Shackleton's team spent over a year together compared to most groups a regular person encounters stays together less than a year and are not in a life threattening experience. Nonetheless, Shackleton's Way teaches some core leadership values that can be applied on a daily basis, but perhaps not to the extreme. Furthermore, Shackleton's Way demonstrates what to do in a crisis situation, which again can be applied on a daily basis. Overall, Shackleton's Way has its flaws, but it is a great read and story. Do NOT watch the movie!
4

Oct 14, 2018

Shackleton is my new hero! Great book uncovering a new-to-me legend using the lens of modern leadership theory. Practical lessons for anyone working on a team of any kind.
5

Jan 13, 2016

Took me 6 months to finish this, but Shackleton is definitely worth studying. It doesn't matter so much that you read this cover to cover, but at the very least read the end of chapter summaries with applications of how executives/leaders today are applying the model of leadership Shackleton set. Lots of nuggets to remember; my favorite quote is, "Optimism is true moral courage." The last two paragraphs of this book really drove the whole point of how well Shackleton led: He never achieved many Took me 6 months to finish this, but Shackleton is definitely worth studying. It doesn't matter so much that you read this cover to cover, but at the very least read the end of chapter summaries with applications of how executives/leaders today are applying the model of leadership Shackleton set. Lots of nuggets to remember; my favorite quote is, "Optimism is true moral courage." The last two paragraphs of this book really drove the whole point of how well Shackleton led: He never achieved many of his goals, yet he is admired today because of his relentless drive to push forward, remain optimistic, be energetic and courageous and prioritize camaraderie. I would recommend to start learning about Shackleton by watching the short Netflix documentary series called Chasing Shackleton, and pursue your study of him from there if your interest is piqued. ...more
4

Jul 01, 2017

one of the rare books that explains leadership under extreme crisis with real example that is not just anecdotal. most recommended.
4

Jan 19, 2019

Great book about a harrowing historical episode, and a compelling read for anyone who wants to be inspired to rise above and tap into their ability to lead and inspire others to follow them.
5

Aug 02, 2017

Outstanding book. ties Shackleton's behavior to leadership skills that everyone can use.
5

Mar 29, 2012

Over the years history has come to regard Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton as an explorer of the first rate, eclipsing both Roald Amundson - who may have made polar exploration look too easy when he achieved the South Pole without incident in 1911, and Robert Falcon Scott - who for reasons only the British can explain, was celebrated for reaching the South Pole in 1912, a month after Amundson, and then dying of scurvy, privation, and exposure with his entire party on the return trip.

Shackleton made Over the years history has come to regard Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton as an explorer of the first rate, eclipsing both Roald Amundson - who may have made polar exploration look too easy when he achieved the South Pole without incident in 1911, and Robert Falcon Scott - who for reasons only the British can explain, was celebrated for reaching the South Pole in 1912, a month after Amundson, and then dying of scurvy, privation, and exposure with his entire party on the return trip.

Shackleton made several Antarctic forays. Shackleton was invalided home after falling ill during Scott's unsuccessful attempt to reach the South Pole in 1903. Leading his own expedition in 1909 Shackleton turned his team back from the Pole with only 97 miles to go, knowing his party could reach its goal but that they would almost certainly perish on the way home. Once Amundsen succeeded in his technically adept attack on the Pole, Shackleton set his sights on traveling across Antarctica from the Weddell Sea to the Ross Sea. Before reaching the starting point his ship, the Endurance, was trapped in the pack ice in 1914 and then sunk in 1915. He led his 27 men onto the ice for several more months, then into the ice-clogged sea in lifeboats, before reaching the relative safety of barren Elephant Island. Chances of accidental rescue on Elephant Island were nil so Shackleton and a small party sailed the lifeboat "James Caird" 600 miles to South Georgia Island. Every one of his Endurance team survived this harrowing adventure.

Authors Margaret Morrell and Stephanie Capparell have reimagined Shackleton as an example for corporate leadership. To do so they gloss over his failures as a businessman between expeditions as well as his shortcomings as a husband. A ten year old dustcover blurb comparing Shackleton to Jack Welch and Michael Dell is ironic now.

As a leader in challenging circumstances Shackleton did in fact have many admirable traits and the authors do a fine job of illuminating the leadership skills evident in Shackleton's career, particularly during the voyage of the Endurance. Shackleton was a tough man, a gifted leader, and an interesting character. Shackleton's Way draws parallels between his short life and our 21st century challenges. Examples are given of the effect Shackleton's story has had on modern business leaders but the most compelling are those offered by military leaders and Jim Lovell, Commander of the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission, another successful failure.

Apsley Cherry-Garrard, who served under both Scott and Shackleton, is most famous for having said "For a joint scientific and geographical piece of organization, give me Scott; for a Winter Journey, 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". ...more
3

Nov 25, 2012

This story is about a well known Antarctic Explorer named Ernest Shackleton. He was born in 1874 and died in 1922. He was well known for his leadership skills, being able to the life of the crew and always kept his shipmates happy. Many said Shackleton was the greatest leader that ever lived. He loved going on expeditions. The main expedition he always wanted to accomplish was to travel across the Antarctic and go to the South Pole.

As a child Shackleton he was second of the ten children and This story is about a well known Antarctic Explorer named Ernest Shackleton. He was born in 1874 and died in 1922. He was well known for his leadership skills, being able to the life of the crew and always kept his shipmates happy. Many said Shackleton was the greatest leader that ever lived. He loved going on expeditions. The main expedition he always wanted to accomplish was to travel across the Antarctic and go to the South Pole.

As a child Shackleton he was second of the ten children and was always in his books, learning new things. But the odd thing was he had a hard time with his studies. Many teachers commented saying “He could do better” But as Shackleton was getting older he didn’t want to be like his father, he didn’t want to become a doctor. He loved poetry and the sea. At the age of 15, he left his home to be on the seas. He didn’t like being in a routine, doing the same thing over and over again each day. In the beginning of being on a ship, he was homesick the first four years.

Shackleton was a leader of 3 ships the names were, The Nimrod, The Endurance, and The Quest. Each ship he commanded, he wanted to travel across the Antarctic and reach the South Pole. On the Nimrod, his crew started to call him “The Boss” they felt safe with him being the leader and he always put his crew first before anything else even himself. Also on the Nimrod he located the Magnetic South Pole and he was also the first to find coal in the Antarctic. His greatest failure was the Endurance expedition, he lost his ship before it even touched the Antarctic, but he fought for their lives for 2 years and brought them back to safety, which made him a great leader. Many of his crew said he was the life of the ship always keeping everyone entertained and making them a family.

I didn’t like the book much, but it’s a great leadership book to read and learn about the great Antarctic Explorer. Also if you want to learn how to be a leader it’s a good book to learn how to handle tough situations and handle them easily.
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4

Aug 30, 2007

The book combines one part leadership guide and one part adventure biography! The authors did a great job of intermixing the two, building suspense during the narrative moments, then bringing the "lesson" in leadership themes back into focus.

A great Navy reading list selection that isn't very long--about 220 pages. Definitely able to read it and jot notes in the margins while on a long TDY or PCS trip! I kept a pencil handy throughout reading it so I could underline good passages and put stars The book combines one part leadership guide and one part adventure biography! The authors did a great job of intermixing the two, building suspense during the narrative moments, then bringing the "lesson" in leadership themes back into focus.

A great Navy reading list selection that isn't very long--about 220 pages. Definitely able to read it and jot notes in the margins while on a long TDY or PCS trip! I kept a pencil handy throughout reading it so I could underline good passages and put stars next to great advice.

For those unfamiliar with the story, Sir Ernest Shackleton was an Antarctic explorer in the early 20th Century. In those days the Arctic/Antarctic/African/Himalayan explorers were THE celebrities of their day. Film and photos captured many of their deeds when moving pictures and explorer publications like National Geographic were rising in popularity. In all that, Ernest Shackleton was actually a failure. While he was an explorer, he NEVER achieved any of the goals he set out to do. Yet he was admired in his day and by his peers for his passion, tenacity and ability to LEAD. His books and those written about him by his men later on served as inspiration for leaders and business-people, astronauts and even military men...and why? For SAVING his men in the most excruciating and challenging environments over two years in the Antarctic-era. This was simply unbelievable to me. To be gone for over 2 years--right on the onset of WWI, then be lost, stuck in the ice for months and months surviving on what they brought, but having to dump more and more to only keep what they absolutely need to survive. Alone with a couple dozen men. I think my deployments away from home are tough!!

Those parts of the book were tremendously exciting. My only criticism was that I wanted to read more!! However, I had to remember this was a guide book on leadership! Ugh! The lessons are good, though, and I found myself jotting a few down I know I need to keep reminded of at work. Should be required reading for all Navy leaders...or any military leaders!

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2

Sep 19, 2012

The best thing about this book was the font in which it was printed. Versailles. It was beautiful and so airy and easy to read. But enough about that.

Shackleton's Way is about the famous Antarctic explorer at the beginning of the 20th century. He goes down in history as a great leader and is often referenced in leadership talks and seminars. This book acts as both a biography and a leadership book. It fails at both.

The book is set up like this: (1) leadership lessons as headings such as The best thing about this book was the font in which it was printed. Versailles. It was beautiful and so airy and easy to read. But enough about that.

Shackleton's Way is about the famous Antarctic explorer at the beginning of the 20th century. He goes down in history as a great leader and is often referenced in leadership talks and seminars. This book acts as both a biography and a leadership book. It fails at both.

The book is set up like this: (1) leadership lessons as headings such as "Shackleton matched personality types with work responsibilities" and "Shackleton never pointed out the weak links in his crew;" (2) a short vignette demonstrating that lesson; (3) a list of the lessons learned for each chapter; and (4) a section titled "Working It In" at the end of each chapter that discussed how a present day leader was inspired by Shackleton. The problem with this format is that it breaks up the story. It would've been much better if the story had been told and reflected upon rather than broken into such little chunks. It was disruptive. Then there were the lessons themselves. The authors were so concerned with making everything Shackleton did a leadership lesson (because they were constricted by their own formatting) that they got a tad trite.

There is a great story here. There are also some great lessons to be learned. This format accomplished neither particularly well. And by the authors' account, Shackleton did everything perfectly; he had been a god among men. It got a little tiring reading a story about a man with no flaws. ...more
5

July 14, 2019

A book well written
I have recently been intrigued by the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. It started in 2018 reading about the men of the Terra Nova Expedition. It then progressed to the life of Ernest Shackleton and the ship Endurance soon afterwards. I was very curious to read this book after stumbling upon it here on Amazon. I was very drawn to the heroism, sacrifice and fortitude that all these explores from the Heroic Age displayed. I was intrigued and so jumped into this book almost straight away.

The book is presented as a part biography, part contemporary account of Shackleton and how his methods of leadership have helped modern day business people to thrive and tackle adversity in the same vein Shackleon conquered the seas at the bottom of the world. For those who want an introduction to Shackleton and the story of the Endurance, this is a great book to start with. You finish the book with not only admiration for the Endurance crew, but also to gain perspective on how you can possibly use the "Shackletonian Method" to aid in you own management techniques. You don't even have to be a CEO or a manager of a business to appreciate the tips and apply them to perhaps other areas of life.

I'm so glad I added this wonderful book to my library. If you want insight into what made men conquer in one of the most harshest environments in the world and how you can use the Shackletonian psychology to aid you in life, please give this a well-deserved place in your library.
5

July 30, 2017

Chapter 4 shows how Shackleton drew out the best of each individual crew member and how he helped ...
Shackleton’s Way is not your traditional book on leadership. Instead of offering the generic advice of most works on leadership, this book provides practical and in-depth examples of how Sir Ernest Shackleton lead his crew to survive a life and death voyage in the Arctic between 1914 and 1916.

Divided into 8 chapters, the book begins by chronicling Shackleton’s path to leadership, delving into his family background, upbringing, and how his early career laid the foundation for his leadership. Chapter 2 explores how Shackleton selected and vetted his crew for his voyage aboard the Endurance. Chapter 3 discusses how Shackleton created a spirit of camaraderie aboard his ship and how he was progressive in how he broke down the traditional hierarchies aboard ships to build that camaraderie. Chapter 4 shows how Shackleton drew out the best of each individual crew member and how he helped each crewman reach their potential. Chapter 5 reveals how Shackleton effectively lead in the midst of crisis and created a spirit of optimism during the worst of times. Chapter 6 examines Shackleton’s expertise at forming teams for challenging assignments and situations. Chapter 7 demonstrates Shackleton’s ability to take charge and take calculated risks to save his crew and overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Chapter 8 concludes the book with a look at Shackleton’s legacy as an explorer, as a leader, and as an inspiration to his loyal crew and modern day leaders.

Each chapter weaves together the harrowing adventure and tales of Shackleton’s exploration aboard his ship the Endeavor to the Arctic, punctuating each incident with examples of his leadership style. Each chapter connects the story and uses aspects of each stage of his journey to highlight different aspects of Shackleton’s leadership style and highlight lessons that can be learned from the examples he set. At the end of each chapter is a bullet pointed list that highlights the strategies and style of Shackleton’s leadership. Following each of these lists is a modern day example of someone who was inspired by Shackleton and modelled their leadership after his example, such as Jim Lovell of the failed Apollo 13 mission.

For me, the best part of this book was the repeated theme that, although Shackleton’s voyages as an Arctic explore were largely unsuccessful, his ability to inspire and lead by example continued to breed optimism into his crew and, ultimately, saved the lives of everyone on the Endurance. His optimism and preparation were boundless and allowed him to be a great leader who was a master of crisis management. Modern day leaders can learn from Shackleton’s examples of how to lead with loyalty, discipline, unselfishness, courage, optimism, and intelligence.

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