Book Review: Derailed

Derailed: Five Lessons Learned from Catastrophic Failures of Leadership by Tim Irwin Ph.D.
I just finished the book by Tim Irwin called Derailed. I thoroughly enjoyed this book but more importantly I was hammered by it. Dr Irwin does a great job of detailing and discussing something that has become very big in the business world: Emotional Intelligence or EQ. Many of of have been tested on IQ but have you ever been tested on EQ? EQ is much more important than IQ in my personal opinion.

Dr Irwin takes a look at several business giants who have scaled the heights of the success ladder only to fall off it in a spectacular fashion. He looks at people like Carly Fiorina and Bob Nardelli who led Hewitt Packard and Home Depot. They were renowed for their business acumen when they entered their job as CEO but left with a cloud of angry and frustrated people behind.

The whole premise is that if they would’ve used the five lessons from Dr Irwin they would’ve avoided the collapse. Everybody told me that you had to read the last two chapters because that was were the gold was and they were right. So many books spill it out in the first two but you really need to read these last two to get to the meat of what they are saying.

Quickly the five lessons that we all need to learn to have EQ are:

  • Openness: Listen to the feedback of others
  • Self Awareness
  • Develop Early Warning Systems: Look for blind spots
  • Cultivate Accountability: Find a mentor, and a peer who are willing to work with you
  • Resiliency: When you do blow it admit it and work to get better

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