October 23, 2003

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - Upward Bound

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 8:52 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Upward Bound: 9 Original Accounts of How Business Leaders Reach Their Summits by Michael Useem, Jerry Useem and Paul Asel, Crown Business, 250 Pages, $24.00 Hardcover, October 2003, ISBN 1400050480
Michael Useem has written two books about leadership that I really liked. His son, a senior writer for Fortune, has joined him along with Paul Asel, a VC investor and an advisor to start-up businesses, in writing this new book. They have compiled nine fascinating and scary stories that relate mountain climbing, business leadership and management. It was surprising to me the number of business leaders who are climbers. For example, Arthur Sulzberger, Chairman and Publisher of the New York Times, describes himself as a rank amateur adventurist in the foreword. But I think Sulzberger explains very well why climbing and business can be looked at together. He states:
Dramas that may take months or years to play out in business can come to fruition in days, hours, or minutes, when you take on the planets greatest climbing challenges. Its in this very compactness of that time that essential leadership lessons most easily can be seen, dissected, debated, and understood by those of us who may never see the view from the top of K2, or even from its base.
Each of the nine writers discusses experiences they had and how those experiences relate to the business world. It really works because of what Sulzberger states above: Everything is so compacted and intense. It is about life and death and it relates perfectly to the business world. Also, I must say, that Jim Collins section is great, he is a fantastic storyteller. This guy has to write a novel. If you dont believe me, go into your local bookseller and start reading from page 38, and tell me you were bored reading his story. The other eight stories are also very much worth your time. Good stuff.