Leadership is often a risky, lonely role possessing nearlyunbearable lows and fleeting highs. Despite this emotionally andintellectually draining roller coaster, a handful of leadersdeliver stunning results, with great consistency. They push pastcurrent leadership trends in order to achieve the most extremelychallenging goals. They don't fall prey to the platitudes orcliches we see so often see in leadership theory. Instead, theysucceed by recognizing and surviving the dangers that challengethem as they take themselves and their teams to higher levels.These rare individuals are those that Chris Warner and DonSchmincke call High Altitude Leaders. In High AltitudeLeadership they show how to become that kind of leader.Theauthors present a new approach to leadership development, based onground-breaking scientific research, field-tested under the mostbrutal conditions on the most difficult summits, and successfullyapplied in the training of executives, management teams, andentrepreneurs throughout the world.
About the Author
Chris Warner is a climber, educator, entrepreneur, and anEmmy-nominated filmmaker. He has led more than 150 internationalmountaineering expeditions (from K2 to Kilimanjaro). Chris has beenteaching leadership and group development for more than twenty-fiveyears. In 1990 Chris founded Earth Treks, whose chain of climbingcenters serve over 100,000 customers a year.
Don Schmincke is a dynamic keynote speaker and mad-scientistturned provocative management sage. From CNN to the Wall StreetJournal, his use of anthropology and evolutionary genetics toremedy the high failure rates of management theories establishedhim as a consultant renegade and leading global authority. In 1990Don founded The SAGA Leadership Institute. Each year over onethousand CEOs find his work refreshingly irreverent andrevolutionary for bottom-line impact.
Table of Contents
1. Danger #1: Fear.
2. Danger #2: Selfishness.
3. Danger #3: Tool Seduction.
4. Danger #4: Arrogance.
5. Danger #5: Lone Heroism.
6. Danger #6: Cowardice.
7. Danger #7: Comfort.
8. Danger #8: Gravity.
9. The Journey Begins.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The book opens on K2, the world's second tallest and most dangerous mountain. In the first few paragraphs some one falls thousands of feet to their death. As a reader, I was hooked. As a leader I was blown away. The authors outline 8 dangers that every leader faces. From fear to selfishness, cowardice to comfort, and more. Each danger is introduced with a gripping mountaineering story (Chris Warner is incredible), followed up by their research into high performing teams, combining for very practical solutions to the very problems I've faced in my career.
This book is very different from the many leadership books I've read: for one it reads like a novel. I devoured the book in a few hours. Secondly it debunks so much of the politically correct solutions that consultants recommend. If you lead a team, of any size, you will benefit from reading this book.
Chris Warner's theories go beyond pen and paper. His concepts erupted over time and during hardships where leadership was key to survivability. These hardships consist of over 150 international mountaineering expeditions to include reaching the summit of Mount Everest and K2 (Warner & Schmincke, 2009). This is remarkable given that 1 in 50 climbers die attempting Everest and 1 in 4 on K2 and Warner is one of only nine American climbers to have summated both peaks (Warner & Schmincke, 2009). In addition to personal conquests, Warner owns three indoor climbing gyms in the Washington D.C. region and provides leadership development seminars for the Wharton School of Business (Warner & Schmincke, 2009). After over 25 years of adventure, Warner teamed up with Don Schmincke and published his leadership theories in a book called High Altitude Leadership. Warner's Leadership and Organizational Theory Does summiting a mountain translate to leadership? According to Warner and Schmincke (2009) it does. Warner's theories revolve around eight dangers of high altitude adventure which include "fear of death, selfishness, tool seduction, arrogance, lone heroism, cowardice, comfort, and gravity" (Warner & Schmincke, 2009, p. xxvi). Teamwork, communication, adaptation, and a common goal are the crux to Warner and Schmincke's (2009) High Altitude Leadership theory. When climbing Everest, the teams mission is clear and without teamwork and a common goal reaching the peak becomes impossible. In corporate America, however, employees often behave like members of an orchestra warming up. They work independent of one another, without a common goal, and create illogical noise. Warner and Schmincke's theory puts a conductor at the podium, transforming this unorganized group into a harmonious team where individual talents produce harmony while reaching a common goal. The descriptive details related to High Altitude Leadership alone make the book a great read; the theories on how they apply to everyday life make this book a gem. I recommend this book without any hesitation. References Warner, C., & Schmincke, D. (2009). High altitude leadership : what the world's most forbidding peaks teach us about success (1st ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Chris Warner certainly is not the first mountain climber to chronicle harrowing journeys and near-death experiences scaling the high peaks of the Himalayas. What makes Warner unique is his ability to extract critical lessons from his adventures and shape them to be relevant for business leaders at sea level. Warner and Don Schmincke have produced a fascinating book that pinpoints the qualities managers need to not just survive, but thrive. Bravery, teamwork and decisiveness, they say, are just as important in the conference room as on the Khumbu Ice Fall of Mt. Everest. getAbstract recommends the authors' sage advice. You'll find yourself on solid footing as you negotiate the higher elevations of leadership.
Finally, someone saw the wisdom in combining the world of high peak mountaineering with the corporate career. Indeed, the analogy goes way beyond just our working lives and can (and should) extend into the other - more important - areas of our life.
As a corporate human resources director, I seek books that will inspire me and prod me to think in different ways. Far too many of the books on the business book conveyor are viewed by me as "one-trick ponies". That is, they deal with a singular problem in a very limited sense. On several of my listmania's I have recommended Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why and The Crystal Horizon: Everest - The First Solo Ascent as "management" books that for me, teach leadership far better than the run-of-the-mill business leadership materials. This book is vastly different due to its scope and ability to establish a completely new mind-set. I find it to be a perfect fit between my desires and needs.
Chris Warner and Don Schmincke are to be congratulated on hitting the right cord with this book. This book's Oct '08 release is perfect timing as our American industries and organizations are in great need of a "different" leadership.
I hope you find this review helpful.
Michael L. Gooch, Author of Wingtips with Spurs: Cowboy Wisdom for Today's Business Leaders.