Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton

Six Characteristics of High Performance Teams
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Binding:Paperback
Published:August 15, 2017
Why were the American POWs imprisoned at the "Hanoi Hilton" so resilient in captivity and so successful in their subsequent careers? This book presents six principles practiced within the POW organizational culture that can be used to develop high-performance teams everywhere. The authors offer examples from both the POWs' time in captivity and their later professional lives that identify, in real-life situations, the characteristics necessary for sustainable, high-performance teamwork. Taylor Baldwin Kiland and Peter Fretwell show readers how to apply these principles to their own organizations and create a culture with staying power.
 
Originally intending their book to focus on fighter pilot James Stockdale's leadership style, the authors found that his approach toward completing a mission was to assure that it could be accomplished without him. Stockdale, they explain, had created a mission-centric organization, not a leader-centric organization. He understood that a truly sustainable culture must not be dependent on a single individual.
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Product Details
  • Subject: Leadership
  • Paperback : 192 pages
  • ISBN-10: 1682472175
  • ISBN-13: 9781682472170
  • Product Dimensions: 5 X 8 in
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 oz
Praise
  • “a short but meaty book that examines what was behind “the surprisingly positive outcome that pervaded this group of men, the longest-held group of POWs in our nation’s history and one that remained unified and strong throughout years of torturous captivity.” —HistoryNet
  • “There is no better example of high-performance leadership than in the incredible story told in Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton. The heroes in this story demonstrate how communication, honesty, courage, and a hyper focus on mission can enable any team to overcome any odds to complete the mission.” —Rear Adm. Tony Cothron, USN (Ret.), former Director of Naval Intelligence
  • “[Jim Stockdale’s] servant leadership under duress likely will be studied and emulated for generations to come. He was a one-of-a-kind American war hero who made his country proud.” —Rep. Sam Johnson (TX), former POW
  • “I’m inspired by Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton. It’s succinct and deep. It’s logical, yet it will touch your heart and lift your spirits. If you incorporate these lessons into your own style and life story, you will be greatly blessed at work and at home.” —Col. Lee Ellis, USAF (Ret.), author of Leading with Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton, former POW
  • “Reading Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton reminded me that adverse experiences affect individuals in different ways but we can all learn from what they endured. Fretwell and Kiland's book offers up lessons in leadership that we all can use. When I first saw the book, I assumed that it would be like so many other books written about gleaning leadership lessons form the military experiences. However, once I started reading it, I recognized the authors highlighted the relationship between mental health, social connections in teams, and resilience. These lessons apply to teams in most situations and the six characteristics are attainable. The POWs who are the focus of this book are an amazing group who taught us that even in daily life we can act with honor and compassion.” —Susamma Seeley, Certified Emergency Manager, Executive Director, ProBonoEM & Past Chairperson, International Association of Emergency Managers–USA Conference Committee, 2013–2016  
  • "Let this sink in for a minute: approximately 30 percent of Vietnam veterans came home with PTSD; this same percentage is true for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Yet, only 4 percent of Vietnam prisoners of war returned with PTSD. What if I told you that PTSD may be a leadership problem? Don’t take my word for it. Read this book and others and if you want to be a great leader, hone your emotional intelligence!" —Ken Falke, CEO of Shoulder 2 Shoulder, Inc.
  • "When we came home from the Vietnam prison camps, the psychiatrists had our families ready to institutionalize us for the rest of our lives. Instead, we've produced Admirals and Ambassadors, Generals and Governors. Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton shows how the techniques we used to grow through adversity can be used in business and industry, families and schools." —Navy Captain Charlie Plumb, former Vietnam POW (1967–1973) and motivational speaker
  • “I served under Stockdale, Denton, and Risner and with many of those mentioned in this wonderful book. As the authors explain, our courageous leaders demonstrated a rare combination of competitive ambition with a humble appreciation of others. They were good men, but no doubt, their brokenness and isolation helped them actualize the power of affiliation. By applying these great lessons, we can all elevate our humanity and leadership to a higher level.”—Colonel Lee Ellis, USAF (Ret.), President, Leading with Honor in 2017, author of Leading with Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton and Engage with Honor: Building a Culture of Courageous Accountability, former Vietnam POW (1967-1973)
  • "When we came home from the Viet Nam prison camps, the psychiatrists had our families ready to institutionalize us for the rest of our lives. Instead we've produced Admirals and Ambassadors, Generals and Governors. Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton shows how the techniques we used to grow through adversity can be used in business and industry, families and schools." —Navy Captain Charlie Plumb, former Vietnam POW (1967-1973) and motivational speaker
  • “Let this sink in for a minute: approximately 30 percent of Vietnam veterans came home with PTSD; this same percentage is true for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Yet, only 4 percent of Vietnam prisoners of war returned with PTSD. What if I told you that PTSD may be a leadership problem? Don’t take my word for it. Read this book and hone your EQ!” —Ken Falke, Founder and Chairman, Boulder Crest veterans’ wellness retreats

Taylor Baldwin Kiland is a writer and ghostwriter who specializes in military non-fiction. She has written, co-authored, ghost-written or edited thirteen books, including Open Doors: Vietnam POWs Thirty Years Later; the children’s books The U.S. Navy & Military Careers and Oz, Dog of the Del; and A Walk in the Yard: A Self-Guided Walking Tour of the U.S. Naval Academy.

A former naval officer – the third generation in her family to serve in the Navy, Taylor spent twenty years in the private sector as a marketing communications professional before starting her writing career. She holds a master's degree in Marketing Communications from Northwestern University and a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Southern California. She lives in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, with her husband and their four-year-old daughter.

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Peter Fretwell is a former radio news anchor and talk show host. He currently manages a classical radio network. While in graduate school, he began researching the remarkable resilience and performance of the Hanoi Hilton POWs. The research led him to Taylor Kiland’s first book on the POWs, which began their collaborative work on Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton.  He holds an MBA with an emphasis on strategic leadership.  He and his wife live in New Jersey.

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