Leading at the Edge……Leadership Lessons from the extraordinary saga of Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition.
By Dennis N.T. Perkins

Reviewed by Martin Byrne – LMI Ireland

In 1914, the intrepid explorer Ernest Shackleton boarded The Endurance with his team of seamen and scientists, intent upon crossing the unexplored Antarctic continent. What happened in the two years between their departure and their final, improbable recue has rarely been matched in the annals of survival: a ship crushed by an expanding pack of ice….a crew stranded on the floes of the frozen Weddal Sea…..two perilous journeys in open boats across a raging Southern Ocean….a team marooned on the wild forlorn Elephant Island, stretched to the limits of human endurance.

However, through each phase and each day of this harrowing expedition, Shackleton led his crew with unsurpassed vigour, creativity and insight. It’s a leadership story that resonates in the world of business today where cut throat competition, rapid change and constant demands for innovations have forced even prosperous companies to the edge of survival.

Leading at the Edge translates this remarkable story through the lens of business to reveal 10 lessons on what it takes to be a great leader. Complete with gripping survival accounts, contemporary business case studies of the principles in action and practical guidelines for implementing the strategies, these powerful lessons will help you reach new heights in individual and organisational performance.

Perkins searches for the critical factors that determined the success of all leaders at the Edge. What were the core elements that made the outcome of the Endurance expedition so different from other failed expeditions?

There were a number of factors that affected the outcome including weather, ice conditions and even luck. Shackleton’s luck however was not limited to good fortune. He had a boatload of bad luck as well and it started at the outset of the adventure.

Perkins suggests that Shackleton’s safe return can be attributed to more than good luck. He probes the leadership strategies that enabled Shackleton’s crew to beat the odds and survive the most unimaginable obstacles. The results of this analysis which Perkin’s suggests lead to the ultimate triumph and survival of every member of the party.

Each strategy is reviewed in detail linking it with modern examples from the world of business.

For any manager working on the edge, this book is a book of priceless insights which will help you turn adversities into triumphs. Enjoy it!