Wild Success: 7 Key Lessons Business Leaders Can Learn from Extreme Adventurers, written by Kevin Vallely and Amy Posey, is an unusual book. The writers frame the book’s seven lessons within profile pieces of extreme adventurers and their most notable achievements as a way of illustrating the common ground they share with enterprising business leaders willing to take chances more timid professionals avoid. Posey is a respected management consultant and leadership expert with twenty years experience, founder and current CEO of the neuroscience based management company SUPER*MEGA*BOSS as well as former CEO of The AIP Group. Her co-author Kevin Vallely is a world record holder who reached the geographic South Pole in record time, registered architect, author, and sought after keynote speaker. Their confluence of experience and skill is essential to making Wild Success one of the year’s notable books.
They organize the book around seven themes, or “lessons”, they deem essential for any extreme adventurer and successful corporate leader. The profiles of each individual included in this work are gripping narratives often featuring retrospective comments from the people involved and their perspectives are critical for understanding what motivated them to pursue such ends and how they coped with adversity along the way. The authors’ observations are, likewise, key to comprehending the lessons contained within each chapter. Each chapter features an “overview” of sorts in the form of lists that bring the lessons home for readers. Vallely and Posey possess considerable storytelling powers they bring to bear in each profile.
The prose has a condensed quality that never tests a reader’s patience or attention. It helps give Wild Success a brisk tempo carrying the reader through with a breathless sweep that never glosses over any point. Posey and Vallely alike add a great deal of research as well to buttress each chapter. The research never threatens to overwhelm readers and the authors present it in a way comprehensible for any reader. There are a handful of pictures contained in Wild Success, two per chapter, and their dramatic quality underlines the risk each adventurer faced in their respective endeavors. These photographs are superb.
Some readers may wish the book possessed a more personal touch but, outside of the introduction, the writers afford us only brief glimpses into Vallely’s personal experiences as an explorer and extreme adventurer. They bring the individuals behind each profile to vivid life, however, and it helps give the book breadth it might have otherwise lacked in lesser hands. This nonfiction study of how business leaders can adopt lessons from extreme adventurers to sharpen their leadership skills explores a popular theme of such texts from an angle many readers will find unfamiliar. Amy Posey and Kevin Vallely’s Wild Success: 7 Key Lessons Business Leaders Can Learn from Extreme Adventurers isn’t an especially long book, less than three hundred pages, but it contains a wealth of information. It’s a book you can open at any point and gain a lot from but, even better, you can revisit many times and discover new insights.