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Publisher's Summary

An enthralling historical narrative filled with critical leadership insights that will be of interest to a wide range of listeners - including those in government, business, education, and the arts - Forged in Crisis, by celebrated Harvard Business School historian Nancy Koehn, spotlights five masters of crisis: polar explorer Ernest Shackleton, President Abraham Lincoln, legendary abolitionist Frederick Douglass, Nazi-resisting clergyman Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and environmental crusader Rachel Carson.

What do such disparate figures have in common? Why do their extraordinary stories continue to amaze and inspire? In delivering the answers to those questions, Nancy Koehn offers a remarkable template by which to judge those in our own time to whom the public has given its trust.

She begins each of the book's five sections by showing her protagonist on the precipice of a great crisis: Shackleton marooned on an Antarctic ice floe; Lincoln on the verge of seeing the Union collapse; escaped slave Douglass facing possible capture; Bonhoeffer agonizing over how to counter absolute evil with faith; Carson racing against the cancer ravaging her in a bid to save the planet. The narrative then reaches back to each person's childhood and shows the individual growing - step by step - into the person he or she will ultimately become. Significantly, as we follow each leader's against-all-odds journey, we begin to glean an essential truth: Leaders are not born but made. In a book dense with epiphanies, the most galvanizing one may be that the power to lead courageously resides in each of us.

Whether it's listened to as a repository of great insight or as exceptionally rendered human drama, Forged in Crisis stands as a towering achievement.

©2017 Nancy Koehn (P)2017 Simon & Schuster, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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5 Great Stories

Well written, and spoken. Seems well researched too. From a Harvard historian who spent years completing it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Authors are not always the best narrators

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Listen to the available selection first before buying the book. If you don't enjoy the narrator's voice, don't buy it. I liked the text, but not the narration. Sorry, but not every author has a pleasant speaking voice.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Forged in Crisis?

Shackleton's rescue of all his men, including the last group, who had given up hope.

Would you be willing to try another one of Nancy Koehn’s performances?

No way.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. The five separate components each made for an interesting history.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Worth the listen!

Clear, researched and inspiring. Also liked the narration of it. I do highly recommend it!!!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Beautiful book cover to cover

I liked both the written and spoken narration about the lessons taught by deep reflection on life’s journey of five leaders. I listened to the biographies of Lincoln and Shackleton. Now I want to catchup by listening to the remaining three discussed in this book. Special thanks to Nancy Koehn for this inspirational book with so many lessons.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Leadership?

This book is LONG on history, short on leadership. You will be subjected to an hour of history, interesting as it may be, to hear a few sentences of leadership wisdom.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Kind of falls flat

I was really disappointed with this book. Each profile reads like an undergraduate research paper. The leadership lessons seem artificially tied together. In fact this isn't a leadership book at all, it's more like five Wikipedia articles put together in book form.

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Very disappointing

Great selection of powerful leaders, but treated to a most superficial analysis. Pablum at best.

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Inspiring

'My message is my life'. This book is about truly powerful messages leaders have made, and the change they have brought about, in the face of unimaginable adversity. They are an inspiration and worthy of being emulated.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Book

Great leadership book. You will be impressed by the writing and history contained within the book.