• Innovative
  • Applicable


Consultant and mountaineer Patrick Hollingworth’s compact book will win your attention. He explores “alpine style” mountaineering and relates its important lessons to managing your organization. Hollingworth shows how mountain climbers can inspire you when you have to deal with “black swans” and “volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity” (VUCA) situations. He encourages you to embrace complexity and ambiguity as a way to develop your leadership abilities. getAbstract recommends Hollingworth’s mountain-meets-business manifesto to current and aspiring leaders who dare to challenge the status quo so they can thrive in the 21st century.



Nordwand – German for “north face” – is a two-kilometer vertical rock and ice stretch of Switzerland’s Eiger Mountain, which is famous for its inaccessibility and for the high death toll among those who attempt to climb it. At least 64 people have died on the Nordwand. In 1938, a group of four young men from Austria and Germany became the first climbers to reach the summit. It took them 96 hours. They came close to death – but prevailed.

In 2008, Swiss alpinist Ueli Steck embarked on a solo climb of the Nordwand. Dressed warmly but lightly and equipped with only the most essential technical equipment – a rope and a pair of ice axes – Steck applied a new technique: Climb “light and fast” and adapt quickly to the mountain’s challenges. He ascended the Eiger in less than three hours by applying the strategy of “extreme alpinism.” The Nordwand stands as a metaphor of today’s business world, which is beset with avalanches, falling rocks and nasty storms. Steck’s alpinist approach can transform businesses and how they deal with “volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity” (VUCA).

“The VUCA World”

Many people use the term “VUCA” to...

About the Author

An experienced mountaineer who climbed Everest and other 8,000-meter peaks using the alpine-style approach, Patrick Hollingworth is a long-time business consultant who helps individuals, teams and companies deal with the VUCA world.

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