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Firing Back: How Great Leaders Rebound After Career Disasters
Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld and Andrew Ward

Retail Price: $35.00
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Format: Hardcover, 320pp.
ISBN: 9781591393016
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Pub. Date: February 8, 2007

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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

Is it possible to rescue your career and restore your reputation after a major professional setback? In an age rife with press accounts of disgraced CEOs, politicians, and celebrities—as well as courageous but beleaguered whistleblowers and victims of rivals or envious colleagues and bosses—this question has grown more important than ever.

In Firing Back, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and Andrew Ward answer the question with a resounding "Yes." They go on to lay out a practical and an important five-step process for actually recovering from setbacks. Following these steps will help guide you through the difficult circumstances, rebuild your reputation, and chart a new future. The authors also explore strategies for surmounting common barriers to career recovery, including tricky corporate cultures and psychological stresses.

Anchored in decades of research and scholarly studies across multiple fields, this book is packed with engrossing stories and first-hand accounts from humbled but restored CEOs and executives from firms as diverse as General Electric, The Home Depot, Morgan Stanley, Apple, Staples, and Hewlett-Packard.

Firing Back offers a clear plan for anyone who needs to recover from a career setback and reclaim lost prestige and reputation - whether the setback stemmed from his own actions or forces outside her control.


"Sonnenfeld and Ward show how to rise Phoenix - like from the ashes. Their account of the psychological and behavioral foundations of that important quality - resilience - is important reading for everyone who will ever face a reversal of fortune."
—Jeffrey Pfeffer, Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University

readers index
Reader's Index 
Send us your favorite quotes or passages from this book.

• "Indeed, for many people, the failure to come back successfully is caused by an exclusive focus on the immediate problems of dealing with downfall—often practical and financial constraints that consume the person’s energy and will." Pg. 260

About the Authors

Jeff Sonnenfeld is currently the Senior Associate Dean for Executive Programs & Lester Crown Professor in the Practice of Management. He is also the founder and president of The Chief Executive Leadership Institute, a non-profit educational and research institute focused on CEO leadership and corporate governance. Andrew Ward is a member of the management faculty at the Terry College of Business, University of Georgia, and a research fellow and former Research Director of the Chief Executive Leadership Institute.

Table of Contents
1The Disappointment of Defeat or the Defeat of Disappointment1
2Tragedies Failure and Setback—The Nature of Adversity27
3Society Barriers to Recovery53
4Corporate Culture as Barriers to Recovery79
5Departure Causes as Barriers to Recovery113
6Psychological Stresses as Barriers to Recovery135
7Fight not Flight—Facing Up to the Issue163
8Recruit Others Into Battle—Social Networks and Collateral Damage185
9Rebuilding Heroic Stature205
10Proving Your Mettle225
11Rediscovering Heroic Mission241
12Creating Triumph from Tragedy—Lessons Learned from Legends and Losers259
About the Authors305

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