Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions

Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions

4.1 68
by John Kotter, Holger Rathgeber

View All Available Formats & Editions

A new edition of the classic business parable that has sold more than a million copies since 2006.
Our Iceberg Is Melting is a simple fable about doing well in an ever-changing world. Based on the award-winning work of Harvard’s John Kotter, it is a story that has been used to help thousands of people and organizations.


A new edition of the classic business parable that has sold more than a million copies since 2006.
Our Iceberg Is Melting is a simple fable about doing well in an ever-changing world. Based on the award-winning work of Harvard’s John Kotter, it is a story that has been used to help thousands of people and organizations.
The fable is about a penguin colony in Antarctica. A group of beautiful emperor pen­guins live as they have for many years. Then one curious bird discovers a potentially devastating problem threatening their home—and pretty much no one listens to him.
The characters in the story, Fred, Alice, Louis, Buddy, the Professor, and NoNo, are like people we recognize—even ourselves. Their tale is one of resistance to change and heroic action, seemingly intractable obstacles and the most clever tactics for dealing with those obstacles. It’s a story that is occurring in different forms all around us today—but the penguins handle the very real challenges a great deal better than most of us.
Our Iceberg Is Melting is based on pioneer­ing work that shows how Eight Steps produce needed change in any sort of group. It’s a story that can be enjoyed by anyone while at the same time providing invaluable guidance for a world that just keeps moving faster and faster.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
 “Whether you work in a business or the business of life, everyone from CEOs to high school students can gain from what they take from this story.”
––from the foreword by Spencer Johnson, M.D., author of Who Moved My Cheese?
“. . . companies should buy a copy for everyone from the CEO to the stock clerk.”
––Michelle Archer, USA Today
“I ordered and distributed sixty copies, evaluated its effect on our change effort, and then ordered five hundred more. . . . This is a gem.”
––Heidi King, Department of Defense
“The penguins in this book will not only steal your heart, they’ll make you a smarter person.”
––Mary Tyler Moore, actress, producer, director, and Academy Award nominee
In every facet of life, change is king. But learning to cope with changing situations requires forethought, planning, and cooperation. Our Iceberg Is Melting spins a global warming fable about Antarctic penguins to delineate strategies that any corporate community can use to survive and thrive in a changing business environment. With eight succinct, easy-to-apply steps, author John Kotter sets out the actions most essential to enacting your company's response to evolving conditions. Cool rules for swimming to safe waters.
Soundview Executive Book Summaries
This fable of penguins facing a threat of survival mirrors a business organization facing similar danger. The story is complete with characters such as NoNo and the Professor, whose equivalents might be found in any business. Kotter, a Harvard Business School professor, and Rathgeber, an executive with a medical technology company, define the penguins' eight steps to making a successful organizational change. Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions can help companies face their own icebergs. Copyright © 2007 Soundview Executive Book Summaries

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)

Read an Excerpt

What People Are Saying

“Our Iceberg Is Melting is superb. It embodies powerful messages that can help a broad audience. It covers all the steps to success in a changing world, from finding the substantial issues, aligning with a potent champion, charting the course, getting buy-in, dealing with those who want no change, and so on.”


“Never have I read a parable in a business book that took a complex issue like change management and distilled it down into a simple story for all to understand. This is the ideal follow-on to Leading Change and The Heart of Change. A must-read for anyone dealing with managing change.”


“Our Iceberg Is Melting is fantastic—offbeat, but right on. We should make everyone in Washington, D.C., read it.”


“I came across Our Iceberg Is Melting in May, ordered and distributed sixty copies in June, evaluated its effect on our change effort, and then ordered five hundred more copies in September. This is a gem.”


“This is the easiest-to-read yet most informative book I have ever seen. Setting one of management’s biggest challenges—‘what problem, I don’t see a problem’—in the context of a melting iceberg and a determined penguin was a stroke of sheer genius.”


“I have followed Kotter’s work for years, respect it greatly, use it with my clients, and know its unique power to help people and organizations perform better. This latest effort—this little penguin tale—is, in my opinion, the best and most useful book he has ever written.”


“As a result of the book and my sharing it with a few people in the organization, we have moved quickly on several fronts. We are galvanized to go ahead instead of further studying, more organizing, and so on. It is making a difference for us.”


“It’s a great book. It does an excellent job of communicating in a simple and humorous way the key challenges of leading change. We can easily identify with the characters. It allows a light-hearted discussion of very difficult issues.”


“When I was a child in France, I was first introduced to the French classic The Little Prince. I reread this marvelous book while in college and many times since as an adult. It is a book that keeps me growing and thinking. I can see Our Iceberg Is Melting becoming The Little Prince for the twenty-first century.”

Meet the Author

John Kotter,Professor Emeritus at Harvard Business School, is the world’s foremost leadership and change guru. He is the author of more than eleven bestselling books, which have been honored globally. Dr. Kotter is the founder of Kotter International, a change leadership company that helps organizations drive large-scale transformation to achieve dramatic results today and build change capability into the cul­ture for the future. For more information, please visit www.kotterinternational.com.
Holger Rathgeber has spent most of his career in management roles with Fortune 500 compa­nies before collaborating with Dr. Kotter on various publishing projects, executive education programs, and advisory engagements. At Kotter International he is instrumental in helping complex global organizations transform themselves to become more innovative and agile, while building upon Dr. Kotter’s principles and processes for organizational leadership and change.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 68 reviews.
tBunnyMan More than 1 year ago
The message and idea's behind this book are potent and important. However the presentation of the book is painful to digest. The focus of a "Leadership Fable" is to try and present important management concepts in a real world situation, also adding an amusing twist to the whole learning ordeal. I feel this book fails miserably at that. Judged as a work of fiction I would hesitate to use this for torture for risk of cruel & unusual punishment. It's obvious this book was written after having had read "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and "The Giving Tree" to his child one too many times before bed. Every character is a cartoonish caracture with obscenely obtuse behavioral patterns. For example, the "brains" of the operation behaves more like an autistic child than an intelligent council member. Lencioni's books are far better at telling a story using real people in a way that doesn't incessantly insult the intelligence of the reader. I'd read this to my child when he is old enough but I was shocked this was required reading for my management training program.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As an educator, amidst the many changes, I found this extremely motivating and reconfirmed the fact that only working together with everyone on board can changes happen and be effective.
Robert Burton More than 1 year ago
great story to illustrate change in the workplace. excellent book
Kevinaom More than 1 year ago
Professor Kotter continues to amaze me at how clearly he articulates the need for change and the steps to execute change. This book tells the story in an innovative way by using a fable of sorts. "Create a shared desire / need for change", the "power of the quick win", "Don't be complacent and always have urgency" are just a few of the items brought to light in this book. The question we all must ask is that if this is such "common sense" (I hear that all the time in business) then why do so few companies do this (i.e., change) well? An example of a company which executed it at least once is IBM (move from hardware to services) but those types of examples are few and far between. The next question is even if you can pick a company that changed dramatically once, why do so few of those companies make it a "culture of change". In the IBM example, will their services model keep up with "cloud computing and software as a service (SaaS)? Probably will but again, even when companies get it right once they rarely get it right two three or four times. Of course we all know now that business IS the business of change. In a "copycat" economy, if you are going to stay in front and not get bogged down in a commodity style price war you have to keep changing. If nothing else, reading from Professor Kotter's books keeps your mind thinking of change.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is a very good book to use in order to take a look at your organization or learning community. I am an educator and our department was given this book for our book study. It reads a little slow, but it gets you to take a good look at the issues by using penquins.
D-Style More than 1 year ago
Great book, kept you on you sit, did not won't to put it down.
tlhosig More than 1 year ago
Written as a fable this is a very quick read with a lot of information - read it twice for the impact of the lessons that are being taught. There are a number of personalities in the book who will seem familiar and that helps to make it "real". I used it for a presentation in a master's level leadership course and the Executive Director of a nonprofit I am involved with has used it to help the staff through some challenging times recently.
jwott More than 1 year ago
John Kotter has proven again that he knows how to take a complex subject like change and put it into an easily understandable tail.
jrsedivy More than 1 year ago
"Our Iceberg Is Melting" is a fable which deals with the subjects of change management, human behavior, and team building in similar form as "Who Moved My Cheese". Some interesting insights may be drawn concerning human behavior - specifically how people react to change, differing personalities, and the challenges that one may encounter when working in a small team environment. There are at least a couple disturbing techniques (at least in my opinion) that encourage crowd behavior and lessen independent thinking. Not my cup of tea but may be a good fit for someone seeking guidance in a corporate environment.
Bic47 More than 1 year ago
This book stresses the ability (and necessity) of changing one's functioning in one's life to changng circumstances in which one's finds him/herself. This adaptability is critical for one to maintain his/her lifestyle or place in the community, in business (owner or employee), or family (parent, child, sibling, etc). It is very worthwhile in that it presents coping behaviors one needs to incorporate in order to meet the challenges one may face on a daily (or otherwise) basis.
Jason_Ball More than 1 year ago
In the current economy, it's easy to feel as if things are slipping away from underneath your feet. For many industries, they probably are. Either way, we can all use a good wake up call for thinking about change, and taking a proactive approach at making things better. Our Iceberg is Melting does just that.

Another parable I strongly recommend is Squawk! - How to Stop Making Noise and Start Getting Results.
mike-v More than 1 year ago
So on a day when I was setting up the business section in the new store, hating life and my job in general, I saw this book sitting on the shelf. I read the title and thought to my self "Hey...MY iceberg is melting! In fact, it's already gone." I was so interested that, rather than wait until the store is open, I drove to the library after work and checked it out.

It's like 120 pages, with giant print, and full of pictures--you can read it in a long night easily. It's a story of a colony of fake penguins who discover their iceberg is melting and they have to do something about it. I was a little disappointed [hence the -1 star:] that the message is geared more towards large organizations than individuals, but the bottom line is almost the same.

I didn't even really need to read this book--I just had to see the title--to realize that my own personal "iceberg" was in danger of melting. It's helped me realize I need to keep looking for that next opportunity. And to think I never thought I would fall for one of these cheesy business books! :-)
M_L_Gooch_SPHR More than 1 year ago
My daughter gave me a copy of this book. As a corporate human resources director, she believed I would enjoy the subject. I can truly say that she underestimated the enjoyment I derived from these penguins.

This book is a must read for anyone that manages people with all of their quirks and baggage. While the book is largely common sense, it opens your eyes to various tools to stimulate discussion and engage in effective communication.

There is no better way to teach a topic than to build an interesting story around the topic. This empowers the subject in a way that straightforward narrative and lecture style can never achieve. Keep writing John Kotter. It is a great book. Michael L. Gooch
Guest More than 1 year ago
Kotter's book is unlike any business parable I've seen (except for one, I'll get to that in a minute). It uses animals (penguins on an iceberg) as a metaphor for the challenging environment in which corporations operate today and their resistance to organizational change. Unlike the over simplified WHO MOVED MY CHEESE, these animals have far more human characteristics that pose challenges like those you face in your work and they'll remind you of people you know. Hard to fully explain how it works so well, but, believe me, it works. Highly recommended. The only other book I've seen do this so well is SQUAWK!: HOW TO STOP MAKING NOISE AND START GETTING RESULTS, which uses a seagull manager to illustrate the problem managers are having these days with swooping in at the last minute, squawking up a storm and dumping orders riddled with formulaic advice upon their people. Highly recommended as well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read John Kotter's previous work on leading change so I was curious as to whether his concepts could be effectively conveyed in fable form. To my delight, I discovered that Kotter put his own findings about the power of stories to work to create an engaging story that conveys his principles about organizational change more powerfully. By reading this book, my staff and colleagues remember the steps and continue to be guided by them as we transform our work group and help to transform our company. I highly recommend this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Made no sense to talk about a bunch of penquins on a melting iceberg. If someones ship is sinking, their job or business is failing, or any number of assorted persoal disasters is looming, just talk about it directly. What is the matter with people for heaven's sake? What's penquins got to do with it?
JDBrink More than 1 year ago
My first impression of this book was that the authors/publishers *really* wanted to be able to sell this as an expensive hardback, so they spread out the page count as much as possible.  And while this is no work of literature and its authors are definitely businessmen rather than poetic writers, I have to admit that I became more enamored with (hmm, that's way too strong a word, but I guess it'll do) the book as I went on.  I read/skimmed this entire thing in about an hour, and only because I was required to for a course at work.  And despite my early feelings as described above, the tale of the penguins and the purpose behind the "fable" grew on me.  It really is a nice way of illustrating the author's structure of integrating change, if it is a bit drawn out.  And it certainly keeps the reader's attention longer than an official business report of statistics would. Overall, an innovative and effective way to relay what might normally be a boring business book.  (Though it could really be a very thin paperback.)  3.5 stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nightstar can we talk?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago