In a world flooded with books about leadership, this book is not from the same mold. Where most leadership books tell you how to be a leader, how to influence people, or how to be all you can be, Eric Alexander (get to know him here) takes you on a leadership journey...quite literally. You journey to the peak of Mount Everest. But you do not travel alone; or, just with him. You travel with a group determined to ascend the peak with a blind man.
The Summit is full of thought-provoking experiences. The descriptions of the climbs leave you breathless in thin atmosphere and shivering from the bone-chilling cold. You also feel the excitement when the summit is reached, the ice-flow is crossed, and when Erik Weihenmayer (the blind climber) successfully reaches the bottom of Mt. Elbrus after skiing the 9500-foot descent from the summit. But mostly the life lessons from the climbs are what impact you most.
You are faced with the question: "What defines success?" In mountain climbing, most (including me initially) would think that reaching the top defines success. Alexander gives pause to think when he defines success as returning safely to the bottom--even if the summit was NOT reached. My favorite quote from the book details this thinking:
For success, we need to seek the extraordinary, but learn to find joy in the ordinary. It may sound like an aim-low strategy, but what I am trying to understand and apply in my life is I can't walk only on mountaintops. Life is lived in the valleys, and for moments we are able to reach the heights and look out. But these places are inhospitable for the long term.
This book is as much about living life as it is about leadership. But when you think about leadership, it is really about how you live your life. As John Quinncy Adams said:
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.
This book was sent to me by New Leaf Publishing Group. It is not a book that is in my usual categories of books to read, but since I love books, I read it nonetheless. It is the account of Eric Alexander as he trekked to the summit of Mt. Everest, along with a team that included blind climber Eric Weihenmayer.
Weaving together personal experiences of climbing mountain peaks around the globe, his faith in Christ, and his trek to the summit of Mt. Everest with climbers from the National Federation of the Blind, the Summit: Faith Beyond EVEREST'S Death Zone is part auto/biography, part leadership lessons, part faith lessons, part adventure, part documentary...
Alexander's account provides vivid descriptions involving the preparation for such a climb, team dynamics, and the challenges one faces when climbing such extreme mountains. This book reveals the passion climbers have for their sport, and the faith, trust, and dependence needed to climb not just Mt. Everest, but your own personal mountains as well. It would also be a great book for those interested in climbing, extreme sports, or overcoming perceived disabilities. In fact, it might serve well as a book to share with a non-Christian who has some of those interests and be a bridge to sharing the gospel with them.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from New Leaf Publishing Group as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
I am so excited to have the chance to read and review The Summit by Eric Alexander. When I found out I'd be doing this, I was fortunate enough to catch Eric being interviewed by Ryan Dobson. That got me even more interested in the book!
Eric Alexander has such an amazing story. This isn't normally the type of book I tend to go for, but knowing that Eric has done some work with Colorado School for the Blind made me more interested. In fact, I nearly drove to town the day of the Dobson interview to see him at a local climbing store working with local blind students.
We have been using this book as a family read-aloud, and I have to say that I highly recommend this for boy-heavy families like mine! One idea is that everyone has their own Everest -- what is yours, and what is your plan to conquer it? I cannot begin to tell you what a wonderful message this is for my teen/tween boys right now. And I am enjoying it far more than I expected to as well. Because although this is a story about climbing mountains, it is way more than a story about mountain climbing. It's a story of life, of faith, of conquering obstacles.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from New Leaf Publishing Group. No other compensation was received. The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.
If you want the experience of a lifetime, read Eric Alexander's book, The Summit, his account of climbing Mt. Everest while guiding his blind friend, Erik Weihenmayer. Only thing better would be to do the climb yourself!
Eric's book is full of the excitement, dangers, health issues, blinding snowstorms, etc., all while out on the ledges of Mt. Everest and other mountains, either walking, climbing, or tented down in camp. This experience is not for the timid, faint-of-heart, or those terrified of heights.
Eric talks about the trial run the team goes through, feeling out the abilities, shortcomings, disappointments, and camaraderie of each team member to see if they are compatible for the trip. Team members have to work as a team or fail. They find themselves a fit!
As treacherous as it is climbing Mt. Everest to the highest point of 29,035 feet, there are "Everest's" in everyone's life. The goal of the â€˜Everests' in your lives is to focus on what God is trying to teach you through it all-trust, faith, prayer, depending on God, and perseverance.
Eric helps you achieve these goals through his Deadpoint Reflections: 1) the Crux (struggle examples), 2) the Hold (an answer to the Crux), and 3) the Anchor (the Support, should the Hold fail). These sections are at the end of each chapter with the purpose of supplying you with the â€˜how-to' applications to your own life's "Everests."
Climbing mountains-what a high-test way to teach us Spiritual truths! Yet this is Eric's goal as a believer in Jesus. It's not enough just to climb the mountains, it's to learn to trust God for our lives here on earth and eternally, attaining the likeness of His Son.
Eric's book is a wonderful tool to inspire leadership teams, men's groups, youth, and anyone who wants to grow in their faith and conquer what seems impossible with the help of Christ. Eric addresses commitment, priorities, vision, and servant leadership in the book.
Just as a climb to the top of Mt Everest is a step-by-step process, I've found that walking with the Lord is a similar step-by-step process, one I need to keep learning until my life here is over. The main goal is trusting the Lord for each step.
The photography is exhilarating, somehow making me wish I could do this, as I love hiking and climbing. It's that snow, ice and steep, almost vertical climbs that make me think otherwise! How about you?
This book was provided by New Leaf Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review.
"The Summit" is a memoir by a man who has climbed some of the tallest and most difficult mountains in the world...and usually with a blind person on his team. His vivid descriptions of the various climbs gives the reader a good idea of what climbing extremely high mountains is like (both the good and the bad) and the special challenges created by climbing with a blind climber.
The author gave details about his climbs up Mt. Ama Dablam (including blind Eric W.), Mt. Everest (up to base camp, including 3 blind men & a quadriplegic; up to summit, including blind Eric & a documentary crew), Mt. Elbrus (including blind Eric; both Erics skied down), Mt. Cook (including blind Eric), Mt. Pisco (including 3 "at risk" teens), Inca trail to Machu Pichu (including 9 blind teens & 9 sighted teens), Mt. Kilimanjaro (including 4 blind teens), Mt. Aconcagua, and Mt. Denali.
Between the stories of his mountain climbs, the author described the training, dangers, and doubts he had at home in Colorado and talked about meeting his wife. There were some spectacular full-color photographs from the mountain climbs in the center of the book.
However, I'd expected the book to include a bit more from the blind climber's perspective. There were a few quotes from Eric W. (mostly about incidents involving the author) and the author explained how he and the other team members helped to guide Eric W. on a climb, but it was in terms of what the author did for Eric W. rather than from Eric W.'s perspective.
The author also didn't use a linear time-line and this sometimes made things confusing. In fact, he split his account of the Mount Everest climb in two and told about a variety of other climbs in between. Personally, I would have enjoyed the overall story more if it had been told in order. This also would have allowed the reader to better see his growth as a person and a climber.
The author did talk about his Christian faith and how it helped him on the various climbs. He ended each chapter with a reflection section about what the climb taught him that related to the Christian faith.
Overall, I'd recommend this book to those interested in what it's like to climb Mt. Everest and other tall mountains.
I received this book as a review copy from the publisher.