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Rachel Carson | From Calm Leadership, Lasting Change

by on October 29, 2012

By  Nancy F. Koehn – New York Times

Published: October 27, 2012

She was a slight, soft-spoken woman who preferred walking the Maine shoreline to stalking the corridors of power. And yet Rachel Carson, the author of “Silent Spring,” played a central role in starting the environmental movement, by forcing government and business to confront the dangers of

Carson was a scientist with a lyrical bent, who saw it as her mission to share her observations with a wider audience. In the course of her work, she also felt called upon to become a leader — and was no less powerful for being a reluctant one.

As a professor at Harvard Business School, I encountered the great depth of her work when I was creating a course on the history of leadership. I was amazed to learn she wrote “Silent Spring” as she battled breast cancer and cared for a young child. After the book was published, 50 years ago last month, she faced an outburst of public reaction and a backlash from chemical companies. Yet throughout her personal and public struggles, she was an informed spokeswoman for environmental responsibility.

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