Harder Than I Thought: Adventures Of A Twenty-First Century Leader

Product image 1Harder Than I Thought: Adventures Of A Twenty-First Century Leader - Leadership Books
Product image 2Harder Than I Thought: Adventures Of A Twenty-First Century Leader - Leadership Books

Regular price $30.00

Meet Jim Barton. He’s a newly minted CEO, rising leader of a firm in transition, and manager of massive complexity—thanks to our incredibly networked and increasingly unpredictable world of business. What if you were in his shoes?

If you’re a top executive today, you probably are.

Harder Than I Thought is a fictional narrative that puts the increasingly complex job of Chief Executive in a very real context. It serves as a practical guide by allowing you to walk alongside Jim as he takes on his new role and all its attendant challenges. Jim’s story—developed in collaboration with seasoned, real-life CEOs—includes crucial lessons for anyone hoping to master the new-world skills required of successful business leaders today.

As the narrative unfolds, Jim grapples with an array of business crises, some he inherited and some of his own making. As events push this new leader to the edge of his abilities, he seeks counsel from a panel of advisers—resulting in a wealth of teaching moments bound to keep you captivated.

Experts agree that many twentieth-century leadership practices won’t work in the turbulent twenty-first century. This engaging book gives you the insights you’ll need to navigate in a fast-changing business landscape.


Robert D. Austin is dean of the faculty of Business Administration at the University of New Brunswick and Professor (on leave) of Management of Innovation and Creativity at Copenhagen Business School. Richard L. Nolan is the William Barclay Harding Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus, at Harvard Business School and professor emeritus of Management and Organization at the Foster School of Business, University of Washington. Shannon O’Donnell is a PhD fellow in the Department of Management, Politics, and Philosophy at Copenhagen Business School. Together they authored The Adventures of an IT Leader (Harvard Business Press, 2009), which introduced us to Jim Barton as he entered his previous role as CIO.


“the authors offer a very readable story of the challenges and tribulations of the Chief Executive role.”
— Graziadio Business Review, Pepperdine University

“If you want to prepare yourself for the incredibly difficult and complex job of CEO, read this book. Using their extensive knowledge of top-level management, the authors weave an excellent and engrossing fictional account of the challenges faced by Jim Barton as he takes charge of an aerospace company facing significant business problems.”
— Michael Beer, Professor Emeritus, Harvard Business School; Chairman, TruePoint

Harder Than I Thought is both entertaining and edifying—a rare combination for a business book. A delightful and instructive blend of fact and fiction, this book is essential reading for any aspiring executive.”
— Frank McKenna, Deputy Chairman, TD Bank Group

“Finally! The long-awaited new episodes of Jim Barton, IT leader turned CEO. Although the reader’s industry or country context may be different from Barton’s, the fundamental leadership challenges are the same. I highly recommend this book for any aspiring leader anywhere in the world, especially newly appointed CEOs and CEO candidates.”
— Hisashi Imai, Dean, Nomura School of Advanced Management, Tokyo

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