Forged in Crisis: The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times

Scribner. Oct. 2017. 528p. maps. notes. index. ISBN 9781501174445. $35; ebk. ISBN 9781501174469. BIOG
Koehn, a Harvard Business School historian, premises this new book on the observation that in the present day there is a dearth of great leaders. She looks back in history and identifies five individuals she believes embody great leadership—Ernest Shackleton, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Rachel Carson—and investigates how they came to be pioneers. The author makes clear that she thinks that leaders are made, not born. There is not a predetermined checklist of characteristics that a leader need possess; instead, leaders are formed through crises. Such a belief is reinforced by the apparent disparity among her chosen individuals. Koehn provides biographical information for each person as well as a summary of the crisis or challenge they endured in order to become successful. Most of the historical and biographical information comes from previously published biographies, or published writings by the people involved; as a result, there is little new to be learned about any person or event in the book.
VERDICT For readers looking to investigate leadership or improve their own leadership abilities, this book will prove useful and perhaps offer a new appreciation for the historical figures featured here.
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