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Summary: 'Nelson's Way'

Nelson's Way
Title: Nelson's Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Commander; Authors: Stephanie Jones and Jonathan Gosling; Publisher: Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2006; ISBN-13: 978-1857883718; 224 pages

Review: 'Nelson's Way'
By Rolf Dobelli, Chairman, getAbstract


In an age where true heroism seems dead, it's no surprise that modern leaders feel compelled to look to history for suitable role models. The British war hero Admiral Horatio Nelson is such a figure, although his brand of heroism wasn't as perfect as you might hope. Stephanie Jones and Jonathan Gosling, unabashed Nelson fans, analyze his life, finding both inspiration and ambiguity in his exploits. Nelson was a great leader, true, but also a reckless one who sought glory and flouted convention.

This intriguing study of his life offers advice and examples that remain useful two centuries after his death. getAbstract recommends this swashbuckling biography and guide to leaders and would-be leaders who want a fresh look at management theory in practice.

Book Summary

A History Book Hero with Modern Management Tendencies

Horatio Nelson is one of the great military figures of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. His daring strategies and gritty style brought him victories and glory, and secured Britain's place as the ruler of the seas at that time. While his era might evoke images of straight-laced, by-the-books management, Nelson was anything but an old-school, order-barking leader. He was ahead of his time in employing management techniques that work as well today as they did 200 years ago. Nelson owes his success and his lasting legend to a larger-than-life management style you can study by looking at his actions in eight areas:

1. "Heroism"

Nelson took to the seas aboard naval ships as a teenager, and he quickly showed a flair for tackling outsized tasks. At age 14, while on an Arctic voyage, he ran across the ice to kill a polar bear, but his gun misfired and he fled. In 1777, when Nelson was 19, a ship he was on disabled an American schooner. A sudden storm created huge waves, making it nearly impossible for the British sailors to board their captive prize.

Nelson volunteered to brave the massive swells and sailed the captured ship to Jamaica. He continued to use daredevil tactics throughout his career, fighting in more than 100 battles, and losing an eye and an arm. His heroic feats helped him gain greater responsibility and inspired his men. Nelson's life teaches several lessons about heroism:


  • Heroism demands dedication and bold action.

  • Volunteer for difficult tasks where the risks and rewards are high.

  • Toot your own horn. Nelson wasn't too shy to boast about his achievements. He knew a reputation for boldness would help his career.

  • Back up your boasts. Nelson bragged, but he also accomplished a great deal.

  • Opportunities for true heroism are rare; the rest of the time, the hero must focus on being a competent manager.

2. "Vocation"

At a young age, Nelson dedicated himself to learning his craft. He understood that technical knowledge would advance his career. In the short run, he needed to study navigation, seamanship and vessel handling to pass the naval lieutenant's exam. In the long run, he knew that the savviest officers were the most likely to be consulted on strategic decisions. So Nelson threw himself into assignments...

Please click here to read on and receive a free summary of this outstanding book courtesy of getAbstract, the world's largest online library of business book summaries. (Available through May 2, 2010.)

By getAbstract

 |  April 23, 2010; 12:32 PM ET |  Category:  Books Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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