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Derailed: Five Lessons Learned from Catastrophic Failures of Leadership

Derailed: Five Lessons Learned from Catastrophic Failures of Leadership

Tim Irwin

Retail Price: $24.99
LS Price: $16.99
You Save: $8.00 (32%)

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Format: Hardcover, 240pp.
ISBN: 9781595552747
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Inc
Pub. Date: November 3, 2009

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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

Derailed chronicles the collapse of six high-profile CEOs, the factors that drove their downfalls, and the lessons that we can learn to avoid derailing our own lives and careers.

The story of the fallen CEO has become a cultural fixture: veering off course with the force of a train careening off its tracks, leaving fiery wreckage and devastating injury throughout the organization. These executives are often the smartest and most respected individuals in their industries, with glittering resumes and histories of successful leadership. Yet they astonish us by driving the train dramatically off course, blinded by unchecked power and arrogance.

Dr. Tim Irwin believes that these leaders suffer from failures of character that are common to each of us--even the most capable individuals. Deficits in authenticity, humility, self-management, and courage become more dangerous as we take on more leadership, and can cause us to ignore glaring signals that might otherwise save us from catastrophic demise. Derailed chronicles the collapse of six high-profile CEOs (Robert Nardelli, Carly Fiorina, Durk Jager, Steven Heyer, Frank Raines, Dick Fuld) and the factors that drove their downfalls, finding that derailment actually happens long before the crash and can be avoided. Tim Irwin explains the character qualities that are essential for successful leadership and tells us how to cultivate them so that we can avoid derailing our own careers.


"CEOs are the new royalty. Sometimes these anointed kings are generous, insightful and use their power wisely. Other times they fall prey to the same hubris and tone deafness that felled the kings in the golden ages. There are useful lessons here for everyone, crowned or not."
—Seth Godin, Author, Tribes

“The character principles outlined in Tim?s new book Derailed are foundational to developing and sustaining great leadership in life and business. A must read for leaders or aspiring leaders at all levels. Tim presents these lessons in a way that allows the reader to relate with real life examples and the consequences that ensue when key principles are ignored.”
—Michael L. Ducker, President, FedEx Express International

"CEOs are being scrutinized at this time in history like never before. This increased level of scrutiny is the direct result of a number of very public and expensive miscarriages of leadership. Irwin does a favor for CEOs and all leaders interested in navigating a more successful career by reminding us that extremely competent and capable people can “derail” when they ignore a disabling weakness, a blind spot or even a strength taken to an excess. We ALL have this innate potential to derail!”
—Carlos Sepulveda, President & CEO, Interstate Batteries

"As someone who has worked with high performers my entire career Tim Irwin's book is a powerful tool. I have seen many successes and also many failures and Tim's four reasons for either success or failure are right on target. Tim emphasizes character, and humility is a close second. Whether in sports or business character and humility are usually the determining factors. I strongly recommend this powerful book not only to my friends, but anyone who wants a primer on how to succeed in life or business."
—Dick Schultz, Executive Director, National Collegiate Athletic Association (ret), Executive Director, United States Olympic Committee (ret)

“This book is not only great, but it is also timely. Tim Irwin takes ancient wisdom about character and brings it to bear on the most up-to-date challenges facing leaders today. We all ignore these lessons at our peril. I highly recommend this book.”
—Dr. Tim Keller, Senior Pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City

“Derailed is a compelling, practical and readable book that will make you a better leader, a better person, and someone who can rise above.”
—Marshall Goldsmith, New York Times bestselling author of Succession: Are You Ready? and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

“Derailed – Five Lessons Learned from Catastrophic Failures of Leadership is thought-provoking, and insightful. In it Tim Irwin skillfully examines several real-life case studies of leadership gone wrong. The author also artfully illustrates key principles to help those already in leadership, or those aspiring to it, avoid the pitfalls that can easily ensnare executives along the way to the top. Compelling and incisive, this is a great handbook on how to avoid those perils.”
—Mac McQuiston, President/CEO, The CEO Forum, Inc.

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About the Author

J. Timothy Irwin, Ph.D., for more than twenty years, has consulted with many of America's most well-respected organizations and top Fortune 100 companies. He also served in a senior management post for a US-based company with more than three hundred offices worldwide. He is a frequent speaker on leadership development, organizational effectiveness, and executive selection. Presently, he is managing partner of IrwinInc, psychologists to business.

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