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An excellent book to read on leadership is “The Leadership Moment: 9 True Stories of Triumph & Disaster & Their Lessons for US All” by Michael Useem.  It is a great read of nine very fascinating and diverse true stories that bring out different lessons and principles of leadership.

  • Merck’s Roy Vagelos commits millions of dollars to develop a drug needed only by people who can’t afford it
  • Eugene Kranz struggles to bring the Apollo 13 astronauts home after an explosion rips through their spacecraft
  • Arlene Blum organizes the first women’s ascent of one of the world’s most dangerous mountains
  • Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain leads his tattered troops into a pivotal Civil War battle at Little Round Top
  • John Gutfreund loses Salomon Brothers when his inattention to a trading scandal almost topples the Wall Street giant
  • Clifton Wharton restructures a $50 billion pension system direly out of touch with its customers
  • Alfredo Cristiani transforms El Salvador’s decade-long civil war into a negotiated settlement
  • Nancy Barry leads Women’s World Banking in the fight against Third World poverty
  • Wagner Dodge faces the decision of a lifetime as a fast-moving forest fire overtakes his firefighting crew

The author also provides thoughtful analysis to the lessons of leadership that allow the reader to explore application in their own life.

One of my favorite leadership stories is the Antarctic exploration voyage of Ernest Shackleton as told by Caroline Alexander in The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition. What comes through in the story is the amazing people, leadership and crisis management skills that Shackleton possessed. One of my great fortunes was visiting Shackleton’s grave on South Georgia Island as well as the incredibly exposed site on Elephant Island where his men camped for months while Shackleton and his small crew sailed over eight hundred miles to find a rescue. Plenty to be learned from this book.