AT the Helm: Business Lessons for Navigating Rough Waters is a book that applies the sailing principle to business organisations for maximum effect. The book has been co-authored by Peter Isler and Peter Economy. The former is an internationally respected sailor, motivational speaker and author. His homepage says that he has been involved in every America’s Cup since winning it as navigator aboard Dennis Conner’s Stars & Stripes in Australia in 1987. Peter Economy is a best-selling business author and publishing consultant.
The book draws several parallels between the sport of sailing and that of successful business organisations. For one, you must be prepared for every kind of eventuality while sailing. Ditto when running a business. During sailing, you have to be on your guard every instant, taking advantage of shifting winds—which translates into identifying viable opportunities in the business sector—to stay one step ahead of your competitors.
The book contains various anecdotes on sailboat racing by some of the top businessmen who also happen to be sailboat enthusiasts, Ted Turner being one among many. The Turner incident showed him at his bullheaded I-don’t-care-a-damn-what-others-think best-and demonstrated why he became such a hugely successful businessman. The stories illustrate qualities of leadership, team work, ethics, and determination in the face of overwhelming odds, all of which are the hallmarks of successful business leaders.
Insightfully written, the book will be equally indispensable for budding as well as successful businessmen. In its pages are to be found life’s smaller lessons, too often overlooked in our rush to see the bigger picture. In its ultimate analysis the book gently reminds us that perfection is to be found in trifles. Take care of the smaller things-and the bigger ones will take care of themselves.
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