Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Shackleton's Way

It's month four of my Book a Month reading challenge, and I've just finished another great one Shackleton's Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer by Margot Morrell and Stephanie Capparell.  I'm not generally someone who reads leadership books, but this one intrigued me because of who it profiled, one of my heroes, Ernest Shackleton.
Source: Amazon.com
My dad introduced me to Shackleton and the story of the ill-fated Endurance when I was a teenager.  Through the years, he's introduced me to many incredible men who fought valiantly against their circumstances: King Leonidas at the Battle of Thermopylae, Lewis and Clark on their trek through the uncharted lands of the Louisiana Purchase, and Sir Ernest Shackleton who brought home all of his men after being stranded on the ice floes outside of Antarctica for two years.

In Shackleton's Way the authors do a nice job of retelling the key events in Shackleton's life, focusing on his exceptional leadership skills that carried his men through the trial of losing their ship, the Endurance. There are so many leadership lessons to be learned, but the one that impressed me most is how well Ernest Shackleton understood his men and how well he cared for them throughout their entire ordeal.  Part of what made him such a phenomenal leader was the trust and respect his men had for him, which came in large part from the way he related with them.

For anyone interested in leadership, this is a short and interesting read.  It's both practical and offers examples of modern leaders who have applied principles they've learned from reading about Shackleton.  And even if you're not particularly interested in the topic of leadership, like me, there is still so much to learn from a man like this who overcame some pretty incredible odds.

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