Book Review – De-Railed

When I graduated from college, I knew I wanted to work in “Corporate America”. There is something about the business world that just drives me. It was with that in mind that I decided to review the book “De-Railed : Five Lessons Learned From Catastrophic Failures Of Leadership” by Dr. Tim Irwin. This book really hits a point with me on two fronts. First, I am responsible for an entire division within our organization. It was created from scratch 5 years ago, and I took the wheel of a newly created position 3 years ago. Leadership of something so critical to our organizations success is something I take very seriously. Second, I report directly to our CEO. Due to that, I have intimate knowledge of the challenges that he faces to produce, succeed and grow our organization.

De-Railed” is a breakdown of five very public and critical failures from CEO’s in the last 5 to 10 years. Each one had a different form in which they became De-Railed. From failures of ego to questions regarding moral behavior and conduct, Dr. Tim Irwin does a very good job of describing their failures while not demeaning their character. He actually closes most of the chapters with a positive word about “where they are now” and how they can avoid those same mistakes in the future.

The rest of the book is dedicated to outlining the key character traits that will prevent all of us from becoming de-railed. There are assessments and suggestions as to how to analyze your “Character Quotient”. It is an excellent resource for anyone in leadership. With the current challenges of the economy and continued pressures that accompany expectations, it is a good reminder that we must stay on track and character matters.

As I read “De-Railed“, I found myself very appreciative of our CEO. So much so that my internal alarm prompted me to email him with a note of appreciation. In my experience, CEO’s are often the guy that, no matter how quality they are, have to make a tough decision. I have also seen that even when the decisions are the right thing to do, the field never sees it that way. No matter how it’s presented, the CEO can often be the loneliest position in the organization. Our CEO responded and asked he could read the book as well. I ordered him a copy last week.

While not the typical kind of book I review here, “De-Railed” is a very good read for anyone in leadership or Corporate America. It will give you perspective on the man or woman that is sitting in the CEO chair of your organization. It might also give you some ideas as to how to support or approach that same individual.

I give De-Railed a 4 out of 5.

*I would like to thank Thomas Nelson for allowing me to review this book for free on this blog.

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