This “engaging, unusually rewarding book…[which] will foster a new appreciation for effective leadership and prompt many readers to lament the lack of it in the world today” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), by celebrated Harvard Business School historian Nancy Koehn, examines five masters of crisis: explorer Ernest Shackleton; Abraham Lincoln; abolitionist Frederick Douglass; Nazi-resisting clergyman Dietrich Bonhoeffer; and environmental crusader Rachel Carson.
What do such disparate figures have in common? Why do their extraordinary stories continue to amaze and inspire? In her “enthralling…fascinating look at a varied group of heroes” (Publishers Weekly), Nancy Koehn offers a remarkable template by which to measure our aspirations and, also, to judge those in our time to whom we've given our trust.
Featuring “five stand-alone case studies that are well-written and interesting” (The New York Times), Koehn begins each section by showing her protagonist on the precipice of a great crisis: Shackleton marooned on an Antarctic ice floe; Lincoln on the verge of seeing the Union collapse; escaped slave Douglass facing possible capture; Bonhoeffer agonizing over how to counter absolute evil with faith; Carson racing against the cancer ravaging her in a bid to save the planet. Readers then learn about each person’s childhood and see the individual growing—step by step—into the person he or she will ultimately become. Significantly, as we follow each leader’s against-all-odds journey, we begin to glean an essential truth: leaders are not born but made. In a book dense with epiphanies, the most galvanizing one may be that the power and courage to lead resides in each of us.
Providing both great insight and exceptionally rendered human drama, Forged in Crisis is “a highly engaging (and well documented)…book that quietly surpasses many so-called leadership tomes” (Booklist, starred review).