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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Island of the Lost and leadership studies

Island of the Lost is the story of two near-simultaneous shipwrecks on sub-Antarctic Auckland Island in 1865, and the differing fates of the two sets of castaways.

Each was utterly unaware of the existence of the other group, and so they were left entirely to their own devices, completely dependent on the leadership skills of their captains.

One was an abject failure.  Though a competent and well-respected shipmaster, he did not have the flexibility to turn his men into a cohesive group, working together for their joint survival.  Over the next 19 months they all died, save three.  Some turned to cannibalism.  There was one resourceful seaman, Robert Holding -- but he was "just" a seaman, and so the captain and officers disdained to accept his sensible ideas.

The other group succeeded brilliantly.  They built a cabin, foraged for food, had a duty roster, built a forge, made their own tools, and constructed a getaway boat from the timbers of the wreck.  They all survived.

The book, with its demonstration of the crucial difference that leadership makes, is used in course in American schools and universities.  For the first time today, I found that it is being used in Australia and the UK, too.

Very satisfying. Read the whole of this very interesting discussion

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