June 5, 2012
FAILURE: What can we learn from Shackleton and The Endurance?

Ernest Shackleton led a polar expedition from 1914-1916 that attempted to be the first to cross the continent of Antarctica. It failed. Yet, Shackleton’s leadership skills and lessons from The Endurance are now being taught at MBA schools across the country. Why?

Despite abandoning their ship after failing to cut through the pack ice and being stranded for more than a year, none of the 28 men from the expedition died. To Shackleton’s credit, they didn’t lose their minds either. He kept the men focused on the new task at hand now that Antarctica was out of the question: surviving.

“Shackleton can serve as a role model even though his expedition, judged by its initial objectives, was a colossal failure,” writes Nancy F. Koehn in this New York Times article.

The Endurance mission was a failure, but it carries many lessons. Perhaps the most important one: Don’t ever give up.

Additional resources:

Book: Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, by Alfred Lansing (your book club can request this through Novel Conversations)

Video: Endurance, Shackleton and the Antarctic

Pictures: KODAK: The Endurance

Posted In: Miscellaneous

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