Book Review: Derailed by Tim Irwin

This week I’ve reviewed a gritty memoir, a heartfelt retelling of a Bible story, a hard-hitting look at trials,  and a radio theater performance. Today I’m reviewing a leadership book. But hang on–it’s not just for business professionals. It digs deep down into the human heart and character and is applicable to everyone.


Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett Packard, is running against Barbara Boxer in the U.S. Senate race in California. I’m a little worried–not about whether or not she’ll win, but whether or not she’s learned from her hostile separation  from H-P just five years ago. I wonder if she’s learned from her past and made changes in her leadership style.

Why do I, a suburban home school mother of four on the opposite coast as Fiorina know about her leadership flaws? Because they were featured in Tim Irwin’s new book, Derailed: Five Lessons Learned from Catastrophic Failures of Leadership, along with the mistakes of CEO’s from four other major corporations we all know.

In the first half of the book (published by Thomas Nelson) Irwin reveals the behaviors and character traits that cause leaders to “run off the rails.” In the second half, he helps us to determine which derailment tendencies we might have and gives us guidance for “staying on the rails.”

Why do I, a suburban home school mother of four who does not run a huge corporation, need to know these things? Because I am a leader–in my home, my church, and my community. Because the same things that are important to a CEO’s integrity are important to mine; the same things that can help a CEO succeed in her job can help me succeed in mine. And the same flaws that lead to an executive’s derailment can lead to my own derailement. Character is no respector of persons or positions.

If you’re still not convinced this is a must-read, check out this informative post on Michael Hyatt’s blog . Or skip right to this free Derailed Online Assessment. If these don’t convince you to run out and buy this book, maybe the fact that it’s part of the NelsonFree program–at no additional cost you get an ebook and an audio version–will convince you.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book as a free gift from Thomas Nelson  Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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