“The Fearless Executive” by Alan Downs: a quick book review

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Alan Downs is a very successful executive coach who has worked the inside of a large corporation himself. He is even the author of an intriguing memoir of sorts about axing huge numbers of the employees for the corporation. The Fearless Executive rejects the very premise of the title: there are no fearless executives, only executives who face and work through their fears. Fear keeps us limited. By facing our fears about inclusion, the future, and ourselves, we can do more.

As a general coaching for individuals, Fearless Executive works. However, it avoids asking some of the tougher questions about how we structure ourselves in organizations and where our place might be. I found the book more of an encouragement to do what I wanted to do and to admit and face my fears about it. The fears he lists are basic fears, fears that psychologists have talked about at least since Tavistock. An interesting read, if nothing new.

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