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The collected podcast conversations with Alan Arnette

img_2535Below you find the links to the pod-conversations I have had with the mountaineer and chronicler Alan Arnette. We discussed a lot of things but examples include leadership, risk, experience, team dynamics and the importance of celebrating success to mention but a few. With Alan´s experience in the corporate world there is also plenty of references to such experiences and lessons for anyone that is not only directly interested in mountaineering and other adventures.




Recommended books on mountaineering

picture1This post include a bunch of books and movies about mountaineering that have been recommended by mountaineers I have come across in my research. Without going into details about the names it is some of the more renown climbers that have poured their thoughts into this list. While the books are about mountaineering it should be remembered that there is lessons for business hidden in them. This includes lessons for leadership, team cohesion, achieving the impossible. For example, Touching the Void by Joe Simpson is the book that made me look into expeditions as a way to understand project organisations. What I took away from it included e.g. how the seemingly impossible became possible by breaking down the goal into “work packages” with SMART (Specific, Measureable, Assignable, Reasonable, and Time-specific) goals.

My suggestions = MH. More academic stuff = *. PM = Project management relevance


East of Kathmandu – Tom Weir
Touching the void – Joe Simpson
Into thin air – Jon Krakauer
This Game of Ghosts – Joe Simpson
Annapurna – Arlene Blum
Breaking trail – Arlene Blum
Pscyhovertical – Andy Kirkpatrick
The Hutbuilder – Lauren Fearnley
Alpine warriors – Bernadette McDonald
The keeper of the mountains – Bernadette McDonald
A slender thread – Stephene Venebles
The Shining mountain – Peter Boardman
Starlight & storm – Gaston Rebuffat
Conquistadors of the useless – Lionel Terray
The mountains of my life – Walter Bonatti
The white spider – Heinrich Harrer
A walk in the sky – Nicholas Clinch
The white tower – Ullman
Everest the hard way – Sir Chris Bonnington
MH K2 The savage mountain – Charles S Houston & Robert Bates
MH The last steps – Rick Ridgeway
MH Going up is easy – Lydia Bradey & Lauren Fearnley
MH Buried in the sky – Peter Zuckerman & Amanda Padoan
MH, * Life and death on Mt Everest – Sherry Botner
MH The Ledge – Jim Davidson & Kevin Vaughan
MH Touching my father´s soul – Jamling Tenzing Norgay & Broughton Coburn
MH The Climb – Anatoli Boukreev & Weston DeWalt
MH Annapurna – Maurize Herzog
MH Above the clouds – Anatoli Boukreev & Linda Wylie
MH, * Mountains of the mind – Robert McFarlane
MH, *, PM Goal pursuit – the Mount Everest disaster – Christopher Kayes
MH, *, PM Leading up – Michael Useem

I hope you enjoy the list! If there is one book I would personally highly recommend it would be “Touching the Void”. It is of course of special importance to me but it is also an amazing story of survival.

Learning from extreme contexts

2b7f6376595a8ffb33570af2c2621a08-pngThey say that experience is the best teacher. This is however a luxury that not every organisation and its people can afford because the consequences of learning from the experiences are simply too high. Take for example a nuclear power plant, one do not want its operators to play around with the controls in a trial and error manner and learn from their experiences. Instead one wants them to know exactly what they do in order to avoid melt downs as a worst case scenario, and nuclear fallout as a minor consequence.

Whereas these organisations and people are exposed to risk on a regular basis their survival is also a testament to their ability to remain resilient and able to cope with unexpected events despite limited experiences of such.

From my research with people involved in extreme contexts their jobs and experiences is about living life to its fullest, keeping people safe, or providing a central service to society. In this podcast, and on this website I will explore what they have learned in their line of work and what they can teach us when operating in other more “traditional” organisations. Doing this I will initially explore context by context, and then start to tie the proverbial sack together – interjected by academic and practitioner reflections.

If you have suggestions on who I should talk to, please fill in the contact form.

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