Forged in Crisis

The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times
Narrated by: Nancy Koehn
Length: 16 hrs and 28 mins
4.3 out of 5 stars (204 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.

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What listeners say about Forged in Crisis

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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.

4 people found this helpful

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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 person found this helpful

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A very good book!

I always enjoyed listening to Nancy Koehn on WGBH with Jim and Marjorie. This book is a culmination of years of enjoying her work and theirs. Well worth the time!

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Relevant and captivating examples of leadership

I enjoyed all five case studies narrated as stories yet historically correct and fascinating. Nancy Koehn makes references/comparisons throughout of our leadership needs in the 21st century and convincing links the stories at the end to show common characteristics of inspiring leaders in crisis.

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  • RJ
  • 04-29-20

Just the facts please.

The sacrifice of people like Lincoln and Bonhoeffer to Rachel Carson doesn’t seem to click unless there is an agenda to promote. While it is uplifting to learn about people from different walks of life, this book just didn’t seem to mesh with the expected narrative of the title. Consequently, it was hard to get through this book and I had to force myself to listen.

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stellar storytelling!

Nancy Koehn draws you in and keeps your attention with each historical story. the parallels drawn from history to today's leadership needs is fascinating and thought provoking. highly recommend this for anyone who is interested in leadership and how to succeed quietly in being a leader.

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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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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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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.