Book Review: Derailed: Five Lessons Learned from Catastrophic Failures of Leadership

This accessible and engaging book should be required reading for middle- and upper-level managers seeking to stay on the track to success. Tim Irwin, an authority on leadership, profiles six well-known corporate executives whose careers derailed, and analyzes the factors that led to these spectacular downfalls. These include Robert Nardelli (Home Depot) and Carly Fiorina (Hewlett-Packard). It becomes clear in reading these cautionary tales that flaws of character, not competence, are most likely to lead to premature derailment. Specifically, Irwin describes four dimensions key of character 9 authenticity, self-management, humility, and courage) and how their “dark side” can stall a career. By referring to the six profiles as well as examples from his own life and career, Irwin outlines the key characteristics of strong leaders and provides advice for executives who wish develop these “habits of the heart.”

Irwin writes in an appealing and straightforward way, and while a quick read, the book offers sage advice and counsel. Irwin also provides a free online personalized risk assessment at and other resources including free teleseminars. In addition, purchase of this hardcover also includes access to the e-book AND the audiobook, simply by emailing a copy of your receipt to the publisher. Great additional value!

I have provided this review as a Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogger!

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