Book Review: Shackleton's Way
As promised, here's a book review I did way back in 2001, followed by my present-day review of my review.
"Shackleton's Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer
Margot Morrell and Stephanie Capparell
On the face of it, Sir Ernest Shackleton is an unlikely hero. He failed not once but three times at his stated goal - reaching the South Pole.
Yet he is indeed a hero, simply because he never lost a man, even on his disaster-stricken 1914-1916 expedition. When a member of his crew was later asked how they survived the long months of deprivation, severe cold and boredom, he answered with one word: "Shackleton".
This book looks at Shackleton's life and translates it into leadership lessons for the 21st century business world, including interviews with more recent crisis leaders such as Apollo 13 astronaut James Lovell.
Find out about teamwork, people-centred leadership, getting the best out of people and more. I love the way this is presented - a story that gives its own lessons.
Shackleton's Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer is available from Amazon.com."
I pretty much agree with my view then that true success is not necessarily reaching a distinct goal, but looking after people in the best way possible.
But I also learnt something about Shackleton and other remarkable people like him - the whole 'work/life' balance just doesn't work for people like this.
Shackleton was like a father to his men, but to his own family he was a well-meaning but absent husband and father. He was unfaithful to his wife. While not detracting from his good points, these other things about him show an unbalance.
And it made me think: is this the case for many great leaders?
Recently I mentioned I'd been reading "The Battle of Long Tan As Told by the Commanders". It was good to see the commanders not just in the heat of battle but right up to the present. The CO of Delta Company, whom I expected to have the most promising future, had a series of disasters: injury, disagreement with his superiors, two divorces. I read these things with a slightly hollow feeling.
Perhaps those who shine most brightly are actually burning out.