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High Altitude Leadership

What the World's Most Forbidding Peaks Teach Us about Success

by Chris Warner, Don Schmincke

Product Details:
  • Pub. Date: November 2008
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Format: Digital
  • Pages: 240
  • ISBN-13: 9780470450482
  • ISBN: 0470450487
  • File Size: 3148 KB



Leadership is often a risky, lonely role possessing nearly unbearable lows and fleeting highs. Despite this emotionally and intellectually draining roller coaster, a handful of leaders deliver stunning results, with great consistency. They push past current leadership trends in order to achieve the most extremely challenging goals. They don't fall prey to the platitudes or cliches we see so often see in leadership theory. Instead, they succeed by recognizing and surviving the dangers that challenge them as they take themselves and their teams to higher levels. These rare individuals are those that Chris Warner and Don Schmincke call High Altitude Leaders. In High Altitude Leadership they show how to become that kind of leader.The authors present a new approach to leadership development, based on ground-breaking scientific research, field-tested under the most brutal conditions on the most difficult summits, and successfully applied in the training of executives, management teams, and entrepreneurs throughout the world. 

Editorial Review

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Warner is a mountaineer and entrepreneur (founder of mountaineering outfitter Earth Treks); Schmincke is an author (The Code of the Executive) and leadership consultant, though he's an MIT-trained scientist and engineer at heart. Having met on a charity climb in the Andes, they discovered similar opinions on human nature and management techniques, from which they developed the concept of "high altitude leadership."

Warner and Schminke identify eight psychological mindsets that paralyze organizations and individuals, undermining productivity: Fear, Selfishness, Tool Seduction, Arrogance, Lone Heroism, Cowardice, Comfort and Gravity. Each is discussed in its own chapter, beginning with an often tragic example from Warner's mountaineering life that shows pointedly how similar behavior can lead to workplace catastrophe. Schmincke prides himself on being a "mad scientist" rather than a management guru, focused on practical observation and common-sense application; he employs a deliciously sarcastic tone when discussing typical, ineffective managerial "magic cures" like Mission Statements and Codes of Values.

The final chapter is devoted to caring, highlighting the importance of courage, moral code, efficacy, social responsibility, honor, patriotism, virtue, valor and sense of group identity. As much a life guide as a business primer, this book sports a helpful, engaging and positive plan for working together effectively and honestly.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Meet the Writer


Name: Chris Warner

Name: Don Schmincke


Chris Warner is a climber, educator, entrepreneur, and an Emmy-nominated filmmaker. He has led more than 150 international mountaineering expeditions (from K2 to Kilimanjaro). Chris has been teaching leadership and group development for more than twenty-five years. In 1990 Chris founded Earth Treks, whose chain of climbing centers serve over 100,000 customers a year.

Don Schmincke is a dynamic keynote speaker and mad-scientist turned provocative management sage. From CNN to the Wall Street Journal, his use of anthropology and evolutionary genetics to remedy the high failure rates of management theories established him as a consultant renegade and leading global authority. In 1990 Don founded The SAGA Leadership Institute. Each year over one thousand CEOs find his work refreshingly irreverent and revolutionary for bottom-line impact.


Table of Contents




1. Danger #1: Fear.

2. Danger #2: Selfishness.

3. Danger #3: Tool Seduction.

4. Danger #4: Arrogance.

5. Danger #5: Lone Heroism.

6. Danger #6: Cowardice.

7. Danger #7: Comfort.

8. Danger #8: Gravity.

9. The Journey Begins.



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