Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C., have a lot to learn from the past, says Harvard Business School historian Nancy Koehn.
When she started writing a book about leadership, Harvard Business School historian Nancy Koehn knew that she had a bit of an uphill battle: Books about leadership are legion, and often “eyes-glazingly cliche.”
“I was determined, as a historian, to say, ‘Can I figure out something gritty and serious and accessible to say about leadership?’” Koehn said on the latest episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher. “That took me to this new book, which took forever and a day to write.”
“Forever and a day,” in Koehn’s case, refers to the 10 years she poured into “Forged in Crisis,” which profiles five leaders from history who had to overcome major hardships, many of them life-threatening. Her subjects include President Abraham Lincoln, abolitionist Frederick Douglass and author Rachel Carson, who raced to finish her iconic environmentalist book “Silent Spring” while battling breast cancer.