Earle de Blonville
Bear Books, 2016.
Paperback, 416 pages.
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About the Book
Savage Coast reaches the peak of its storytelling power in the Arctic wilderness as winter storms descend and plans are swept away. As a masterpiece of exploration by a poet of action, this modern Odyssey for the 21st century has the mythic power of an archetypal hero’s journey.
This is a true story of leadership in action. It is full of memorable and extremely hard won leadership insights that should be valuable for all those involved in enterprises.
Expeditions appear romantic, but in practice they are like all other businesses with budgets and shortfalls, staff and conflicts, good plans and unexpected failures.
On this expedition, everything that could possibly go wrong did so, meaning this story offers some exceptional insights into the critical role of leadership in times of great turbulence and complexity. Because everything in life is unexpected, and life is not lived to a script, so it is impossible to train for leadership.
Drew Hansen, writing in Forbes magazine, said: “Leadership is not learned in a classroom, but in the crucible of life.” He’s right. Leadership is not what is taught by Business School academics who have never led anything. And if you hear them talk about ‘leadership skills’, shoot them. Leaders are not carpenters needing skillsets, but beautifully complex human beings with strengths, weaknesses and great timeless qualities that can only be discovered in the heat of Hansen’s Crucible.
In the end, leadership is all about courage: it is a matter of the heart. Without heart, there is no leadership, but instead just La Mettrie’s 'L’homme machine.'
“Timeless insights into the hidden dimensions of leadership”
- Sir Ranulph Fiennes, world's greatest living explorer
“Fully captures the reality of leadership.”
- Dr Iain McCormack, Polar Psychologist
“Deep insights into complexity and unpredictability.”
- Sir Gustav Nossal, Emeritus Professor
“Reveals that leadership cannot be taught, no leader is infallible and there is no single recipe for success.”
- Richard Gilmore, Executive Director
About the Author
Earle has over 40 years of practical leadership experience at many levels. In 2012 he was selected as one of Australia's top leadership thinkers. He is committed to helping develop tomorrow's leaders who face futures of great complexity and uncertainty. Leader of Australia's first Arctic expedition, he has explored more than half of Greenland's navigable coastline by yacht and sea kayak. In 1984 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and in 1988 he was Director of the Tall Ships spectacular, leading a team of 500 volunteers, where the Prime Minister officially opened Australia's Bicentenary to a global TV audience.
Earle was founding President of a regional Chamber of Commerce, focused on leading economic recovery, and CEO of a multi-million dollar business that transformed adventure recreation in the UK. He is an innovative leadership consultant and inspiring executive leadership coach. Earle's Doctoral research has developed the world's first completely natural and fully integrated approach to leadership development.
"There is a vast contrast between the hardships of polar travel and the stories that people tell afterwards. I recall very well the stark difference between the harsh reality of a long overland traverse of Antarctica and the post-hoc heroic rationalisations of some of my expedition members. Earl de Blonville has convincingly captured the reality of expedition life. He is refreshingly honest and direct. The book also provides fascinating insights into the personality of someone who would willingly embrace danger and great hardship. Described as pig-headed and an unrelenting bastard, de Blonville is inclined to agree with much of the description. A great read and fully captures the reality of leadership and adventure."- Dr Iain McCormack. Polar Psychologist
"In a word, this book is literally 'un-put-downable'! The author disarms us with his self-deprecatory style, the lightness of the atmosphere, the ready admission of mistakes and even a questioning of his own capacity to bring it all off! The book is a rollicking adventure, the descriptions of nature in all her beauty and ferocity are entirely compelling. The human side of the drama emerges with deep insights into the complexity and unpredictability of reactions and relationships."- Sir Gustav Nossal AO, FRS. Emeritus Professor, University of Melbourne