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Forged in Crisis

The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times
Narrated by: Nancy Koehn
Length: 16 hrs and 28 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (164 ratings)

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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

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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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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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Practical Business Advice Wrapped in Brilliant Stories

Loved this download. Koehn brilliantly connects the stories of historical figures to the challenges every business leader experiences. I learned so much from the ways in which crisis can shape leaders, and the opportunities that extend from thoughtful reflection and moral conviction. Great listen for any leader!

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  • D M BOYCE
  • Ooltewah, TN, United States
  • 03-19-19

Remarable

Wonderful powerful blend. First class history told well. Leadership connections throughout. Useful and encouraging. listened to and got a hard copy.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

This should be great -

This book chooses several stories to demonstrate "courage under fire," metaphorically speaking. They are good stories and this ought to be a great book. It's not. Somehow, the stories fall flat. The writing is a bit clichéd. The excitement, the tension, somehow just doesn't come through. In the story of Lincoln, for example, the author goes on way too long about Lincoln's childhood. There is just too much background material that is already well-known to Lincoln fans and largely irrelevant to the story at hand.
The stories would probably come across stronger with a better narrator. This book is a perfect example of why authors should generally not narrate their own books. The best professional narrators give the impression they are simply telling a good story. The author here reads very much like a well-read high school student. It's impossible to forget that she is reading. An occasional mispronounced word doesn't help. This book is a disappointment.

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Overall this is a good book.

I enjoyed this book overall. However, it is more of a history book that a leadership book. The leadership lessons are lost in the amount of historical detail. As a history book five stars. As a leadership book 3.5 stars.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Good stories but...

I did not feel comfortable with the way the author read the book. Ts replaced by D's etc

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  • Bebel
  • Ciudad Autonoma de Buenos Aires, Ciudad Autonoma de Buenos Aires
  • 08-11-18

Worth the listen!

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

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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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  • eric
  • United States
  • 07-05-18

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.