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What Makes an Exceptional Leader?
A Comparison of Historic Antarctic Expedition Commanders

By Dennis N.T. Perkins,
Author of Leading at The Edge, Leadership Lessons from the Extraordinary Saga of Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition, Second Edition

"For scientific discovery give me Scott; for speed and efficiency of travel give me Amundsen; but when disaster strikes and all hope is gone, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton." -- Sir Edmund Hillary

On December 14, 1911, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and his team made history as the first expedition to reach the South Pole. Thirty-five days later, on January 17, 1912, British explorer Robert Falcon Scott reached the South Pole, with five exhausted men. None survived the brutal journey home. Another noted British explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton, never reached the South Pole. While failing to achieve the first overland crossing of Antarctica, Shackleton succeeded at bringing all 27 members of his expedition party safely home, after 634 days of unbelievable hardship, and winning their cooperation, commitment, respect, and admiration.

Some one hundred years later, fascination with the race to the South Pole continues. And so do debates over which of the three Antarctic commanders was the best leader. To gain deeper insights into one of the most exciting and controversial chapters in the history of leadership under adversity, Dennis N.T. Perkins devoted a decade to research, including traveling to the Antarctic to study the trailblazing paths of these famed expeditions. As he shares in his book, LEADING AT THE EDGE (AMACOM; March 29, 2012), the polar adventures of Shackleton, Scott, and Amundsen provide fundamental leadership lessons for any leader -- no matter what race must be run:

Adapted from LEADING AT THE EDGE: Leadership Lessons from the Extraordinary Saga of Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition, Second Edition by Dennis N.T. Perkins, with Margaret P. Holtman and Jillian B. Murphy (AMACOM; March 29, 2012; $15.00 Paperback; 978-0-8144-3194-8).

Copyright © 2012 Dennis N.T. Perkins, author of Leading at The Edge: Leadership Lessons from the Extraordinary Saga of Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition, Second Edition

Author Bio
Dennis N.T. Perkins, Ph.D.,
author of Leading at The Edge, Leadership Lessons from the Extraordinary Saga of Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition, Second Edition, is Chief Executive Officer of The Syncretics Group, a consulting firm dedicated to effective leadership in demanding environments. A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, he served as a Marine company commander and later a faculty member of the Yale School of Management. He has taken his passion for The Edge to Antarctica, where he retraced Shackleton's journey, and now resides in Madison, Connecticut.

Margaret P. Holtman and Jillian B. Murphy are consultants specializing in leadership, coaching, and team development.

For more information please visit http://www.syncreticsgroup.com and http://www.amacombooks.org