Your team has faltered at a critical moment. A key member says he can’t
continue, requiring you to make a snap decision: Do you write him off? Or do you
risk the whole venture by trying to get him back on his feet?
It could be a scenario straight from the business world.
Yet this one occurred high on the slopes of the world’s deadliest mountain, K2,
where lives, not just livelihoods, depended on the leader’s choice.
Decisions don’t get much starker. That’s why mountains—though seemingly a world
apart from business—hold unique and surprising insights for managers and
entrepreneurs at any altitude. More than just symbols of our upward strivings,
they are high-altitude management laboratories: testing grounds where risk,
fear, opportunity, and ambition collide in the most unforgiving of settings.
Upward Bound brings together a remarkable team of nine writers equally at
home among the high peaks and in the corridors of corporate power, including
Good to Great author Jim Collins, legendary climber and outdoor clothing
entrepreneur Royal Robbins, and Stacy Allison, the first American woman to
summit Mount Everest. Their riveting, often harrowing accounts, reveal
• Why rock climbers’ distinction between failure (giving up before reaching the
edge of your abilities) and what they call “fallure” (committing 100 percent and
using up all your energy and reserves) can help companies transcend their
• What happens when a leader abdicates responsibility in the Death Zone of Mount
Everest—and how a similar vacuum at sea level can corrupt corporate purpose
• How large climbing expeditions use exquisite organization and “pyramids of
people” to place just two climbers on top, making heroes of some from the
sacrifice of all
• What “ridge-walking” between deadly avalanches and the lure of Mount
McKinley’s summit taught a venture capitalist about nurturing risky high-tech
• How a simple insight—using “proximate goals”—propelled a faltering climber up
El Capitan in a seemingly undoable solo ascent, a ten-day lesson that would
later jump-start a business
• Why more accessible peaks like Mount Sinai can exert a pull every bit as
powerful as Mount Everest
• How to think like a guide
While most people will never find themselves in the thin air of the world’s
highest places, Upward Bound brings those places down to earth for anyone seeking the path to his or her own summit. Whether it’s up the career ladder or toward a creative peak, Upward Bound addresses the fundamental question of why we climb, while capturing the power of mountains to instruct as well as inspire.
"This book will appeal to hard-charging, type-A readers who are dedicated both to their professions and to their individual athletic pursuits. The essays preach essentially the same message about teamwork, loyalty, hard work and commitment, though, and the mountain climbing stories compel far more than the business lessons."--Publisher's Weekly