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Our Iceberg is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions
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Our Iceberg is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  11,507 ratings  ·  999 reviews

This charming story about a penguin colony in Antarctica illustrates key truths about how deal with the issue of change: handle the challenge well and you can prosper greatly; handle it poorly and you put yourself at risk. The penguins are living happily on their iceberg as they have done for many years. Then one curious penguin discovers a potentially devastating problem

Kindle Edition, 160 pages
Published July 25th 2013 by Macmillan (first published 2005)
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  11,507 ratings  ·  999 reviews

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I knew it was time to leave the corporate world when our vice-president, a friend who had been a truly smart woman when we first started to work together, bought 300 copies of this trendy 2006 business fable* (involving penguins and melting icebergs) for the entire division.

Not entirely coincidentally, the day that the invitation to the offsite meeting for an all-day training exercise based on the book showed up on my calendar, was the day that I gave notice.

I got out of there just in time. Ano
Dirk Grobbelaar
Oct 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction

For such a short book this was a surprisingly tedious read.

I know that change is inevitable and that people are more often than not resistant to change, hence the need for change management. This little book sets out to make it a bit easier to relate to, and to highlight the importance of change and the pitfalls of change management. It also attempts to discuss the dangers of not changing in a dynamic environment.

The problem is, there’s nothing really new here.

As to whether this book will actu
K.D. Absolutely
Nov 07, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: Company visitors from the USA
Enjoyable easy read. It is hard not to like this book especially if you read only one or two books in a year. You will like this book if you are working in a corporation that believes in continuous improvement driven by the desire to be the best leader and world-class. You will take this as a work bible if you want to be part of a big change and that your contribution is being desired and valued. Why not? Change is the only thing permanent in this world. When there is a change, we need to recogn ...more
Oct 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At first I wondered how this book was different than "Who Moved My Cheese?" The answer is that this book deals with organizational or social change, while WMMC? deals mostly with personal change.

The book accurately "types" people in a creative way, and subtly offers real tips for persuading large groups of people. Sadly, some people who read this book will not be swayed by it - not because the information is untrue, but because people are unaware of what they are doing and how they are feeling.
May 29, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Good grief! This was being touted as the "go-to" book for organizational learning and dealing with change. Yes, the premise is cute and readable, and contains John Kotter's excellent business sense of operational strength and leadership. But the true brilliance of this book is that it costs $26.00 and businesses will be buying it by the bucketful and subjecting their teams to yet another interminable day or weekend long work retreat to identify their inner penguins. I suggest you go to the books ...more
Jon Nakapalau
Our iceberg is melting...we are a group of penguins living on the iceberg...should we work with each other to find a solution or just do what we want to do by ourselves? Excellent book on how to manage change.
Nov 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's not about global warming!
What would you do if you found out the community you live in and had been lived in by your ancestors for years was suddenly going to be non-existant? How would you handle it? What if you found out that the company you worked for had to undergo a major redesign? What if you had to implode all that you have known? Could you handle it? How would you handle it? This books give you 8 simple steps to make it through this process/this journey of change by telling a fable.
Mar 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Forced to read this by work. Cute little fable about penguins who are facing environmental changes and how only by changing themselves they can keep their colony alive. Super quick read.
Blake Norby
Jan 15, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is not only poorly written, it is extremely condescending and sexist. Of course the one leader that is female is a nagging, self-important bitch who has no patience for anyone else. The only other female characters even present are a mentally unstable and overly emotional kindergarten teacher and a small penguin child. The authors continuously try to be cutesy or funny, but it is painfully obvious that this story was written by two middle-aged businessmen trying to be cute. The idea th ...more
Louis Prosperi
Jun 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun and interesting fable using the story of a colony of Emperor Penguins as a metaphor for how an organization can go about making a needed change.

I enjoy business books in general, but among my favorites are the "story"-based books, such "The One-Minute Manager", "Who Moved My Cheese", "Inside the Magic Kingdom", "The Go-Giver", "It's Not About You", and others. These books take complex and sometimes fear-inducing subjects (like change) and present them in friendly ways to help readers under
Nicole Mostofa
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
explains change management/leading change with such simple stories. funny and refreshing
Christopher Safieh
Our iceberg is melting

I give 4 star to this book, I liked it. It was a story about a penguin colony whose iceberg was melting. All the things that they had to go through to overcome this challenge, and all the steps that they went through to succeed. This book was written as fable, so it was entertaining and at the same time you were learning. This is a book that is easy to read.

I think that this book, will help me in my heros journey. This book, taught me many things that will help me dur
James Johnson
Mar 31, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

I'm not sure what to say about this book. We were given copies of this book by our management team at work in connection with a pending divisional restructure. I think the book was intended to help us adapt to change but I don't really see a parallel between the fabricated and factually flawed fable of penguins on a melting iceberg and what we are facing at work.

The author actually did a good job of covering known facts about Emperor Penguins (e.g. their diving depth, lung capacity, and relianc
Mark Steed
Fables have a deceptive power. On the surface they read like the stories of our childhood employing simple vocabulary to describe everyday contexts to which we can all relate. Their narrative structure lulls our adult brain into a false sense of security, disabling the rational analytical faculties that usually protect our cherished world view. We uncritically play along with the story until we reach the point where the fable's inner truth is unavoidable. So it is with John Kotter's Our Iceberg ...more
Bilal Anis
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
A good book about change management narrated in a very simplistic language and in the method of storytelling. The book helps businesses and communities move from old to new territories to cope with their own environment. The main theme of the book is how change can be very difficult and it should be worked out with good planning and team effort. The 8 phases of change management according to Kottler are:


Help others see the need for change through a bold, aspirational
Jul 26, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who can not think explaining it to those who can not lead.
Shelves: below-average
They need to stop killing trees for these kinds of books, even if they are used in 'board rooms and leadership committees'.
With the rise of the jejune, it makes me wonder if people who received MBA's in grad school are those who changed degrees after they failed basket weaving classes.
A note for those in US board rooms and leadership committees who initiate cruel and unusual punishment by forcing others to share in your literary high wierdness:
If there are a number of elementary school level b
Katy Krumbach
May 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A group of penguins find themselves on ice which develops cracks. When the alarm is raised that the group needs to move to a more stable piece of ice the others in the group respond in very familiar ways: denial, admitting the problem but refusing to discuss consequences, panic and fear, and those who seek a solution.

The situations and reactions to the iceberg melting are clear, identifiable, and are easy to relate to the personal experiences. Kotter invites the reader to imagine how others are
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A story that helps people to handle any unexpected situations in a much calmer way. A note at the end suggests reading the book as many times as possible. I agree with it. If you have not gotten an opportunity to practice the recommended framework, then reading it multiple times would help to recap. Each time you may be quicker to go through than the previous time.

The fable form makes it a good choice of book for young children.
Jonathan Noble
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A simple tale, with hidden depth, outlining what is required to lead effective change. I wish I'd read this book years ago!
Nathan Albright
Jul 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: challenge-2019
If you are fond of penguins (I am) and are interested in the difficulties of change management and how it can be successfully managed, this short audiobook containing an amusing fable has a lot to offer.  To be sure, fables are generally contrived and this book certainly is contrived in a way that reality is more complex, but all the same this is an enjoyable fable in large part because even though the agenda of the authors is obvious it is not unappealing.  There is a certain degree of toleranc ...more
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the leading expert of organisational change and leadership comes an endearing fable that undoubtedly will – in fact it already has, since 2019 marks the tenth anniversary of its publication – stand the test of time. John Kotter in tandem with Holger Rathgeber takes his readers on an extraordinary journey involving a colony of threatened penguins.

Fred, a penguin who is intrepid by nature notices that the iceberg which his colony calls ‘home’ is in peril. Caves of water formed deep within the
Tõnu Vahtra
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
That's a very quick read (about one gym session) thus it doesn't make sense to expect too much from it from depth of the story or theory perspective. It may serve as a good case for making a point in reference to specific need for change or difficulties in change initiative.

Story is based on following change model from Kotter:

*Set the Stage
1. Create a Sense of Urgency- Help others see the need for change and the importance of acting immediately.
2. Pull Together the Guiding Team- Make sure there
Teresa Raetz
Apr 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
Meh. There is some good stuff here about managing change, I suppose, but nothing that will rock your world. The fable format is a very quick read, and is easily accessible by almost any audience, but that also means it's extremely lightweight. I found it to be unintentionally funny in some places (e.g., a leadership group gives a child a broken bottle as a reward -- a bottle that has special meaning to the adults, but a broken bottle nonetheless) and gag-worthy in others. For example, a leadersh ...more
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Changing and Succeeding
Work together for a needed change! They were skeptical of a nomadic life but when tried there was more food, prosperous environments and more resources. To keep a program successful strive harder and have faith. Page 123 "1- Created a sense of urgecy in the colony to deal with a difficult problem 2- put a carefully selected group in charge of guiding the change 3- found the sensible vision of a better future 4- communicated that vision so others would understand and accep
Sumit Singla
The shy, unassuming Fred is worried. The home of the Antarctic penguins, their iceberg is melting. But of course, the powers-that-be doubt him and think he's plain delusional.

How does Fred go about convincing them? How does he adapt to the styles of various senior penguins and convince them? This fabulous fable is powerful because it offers real-life ideas on how to convince different types of people.

The illustrations help in explaining the 8 principles that help in bringing about change, using
Julie (jjmachshev)
Three and a half stars. Yet another work read and this one sticks in my mind. Probably as much for the entertainment value as the educational one. How to identify and work with those resistant to change (for whatever reason) without letting them, yourself, or your work get sidetracked.
Adam Alexander
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the HBR article on the same concept by Kotter. I teach this a lot in class, and handing out the article isn’t as effective at explaining the concepts behind the 8 steps. Although a little simplified, this book puts the 8 steps across in a way that makes it easier to digest.
Sep 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simple and powerful.
Sep 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic, very easy book to read. Some clear messages coming through regarding change management.
Jul 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: work
Good book to illustrate the change process. Very good to give to managers to help their employees through.
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John P. Kotter, world-renowned expert on leadership, is the author of many books, including Leading Change, Our Iceberg is Melting, The Heart of Change, and his latest book, That's Not How We Do It Here!. He is the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership, Emeritus at the Harvard Business School, and a graduate of MIT and Harvard. He is co-founder of Kotter International, a change management an ...more

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“Empower Others to Act. Remove as many barriers as possible so that those who want to make the vision a reality can do so. Encourage others to remove barriers and make true innovation happen.” 1 likes
“reducing complacency and increasing urgency they had taken exactly the right first step in potentially saving the colony.” 0 likes
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