Bright Triumphs From Dark Hours: Turning Adversity into Success
248pp. November 2009
Bright Triumphs From Dark Hours: Turning Adversity into Success
Author: Heenan, David;
The dark hours: They occur when we find things spiraling out of control, when we feel most vulnerable and incapable of finding a solution. In a world often turned dark and cold, more and more people seem to be trapped in nightmarish circumstances. Americans, the world's optimists, when faced with an intractable situation, are taught to believe that through hardwork and will power they can "beat the odds." Yet, according to David Heenan, keeping one's nose to the grindstone may actually make things worse.

Bright Triumphs From Dark Hours examines the lives of ten extraordinary people who overcame great adversity in their personal or professional lives by applying winning strategies that guided them out of the darkness of near-defeat and into the light of success. From New York City school chancellor Joel Klein taking on the monumental task of overhauling the city's embattled public school system to renowned scientist Shirley Ann Jackson breaking down barriers to become the first African American woman to receive a doctorate from MIT and head a major research university to retired U.S. Navy Commander Scott Waddle reshaping his life after the Ehime Maru disaster--in these inspiring stories Heenan identifies key strategies that helped each person stay upbeat in the swirling vortex of tough times. The final chapter outlines these practices in greater detail and explains how they can be used to create personal roadmaps to negotiate life's darkest hours--from which come its greatest successes, its brightest triumphs.

12 illus.

A Latitude 20 Book
"Anyone can prosper when anything is going well, it takes the truly exceptional to succeed when everything is going against you. Bright Triumphs From Dark Hours: Turning Adversity into Success tells the story of ten exceptional individuals who flourished under pressure and against all expectations and odds. From pulling a school system out of the pits of worthlessness to military men reshaping their lives after disasters change the course of their lives, David Heenan shows 10 inspirational individuals that will reiterate the wisdom to never give up. Bright Triumphs From Dark Hours is a choice and very highly recommended read that should not be overlooked." —Midwest Book Review (13 April 2010)

"The triumphs of each individual are more keenly felt by the reader because ofHeenan’s dedication to background research and meticulous detail. . . . [His] quickforays into childhood anecdotes . . . make these incredibly successful people relatable to the average self-help reader. Overcoming adversity, after all, is a universal wish, and anyone looking for inspiration and insight will find the tenets of success this book espouses truly valuable." —Foreword (January/February 2010)

"David Heenan’s fascinating stories of overcoming adversity make Bright Triumphs both a timely and inspiring read." —Spencer Johnson, M.D., New York Times best-selling author of Who Moved My Cheese? and Peaks and Valleys

"This is an inspiring book. All of us, if we honestly look into our hearts, we know that there have been moments when we have failed. Failed ourselves, failed our family, and failed our communities. This book tells you that failure should not be the cause and reason for your demise." —U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye

"Adversity can inspire greatness and this book shows you how. Get ready for an exciting read." —Jim Bouton, former New York Yankees star and best-selling author of Ball Four

"What does it take to effectively deal with adversity? Dave Heenan skillfully guides you through the lives of several extraordinary individuals and identifies the key approaches each used to master their extreme challenges. We all go through tough times and can use some wise advice on how to deal with them. Bright Triumphs provides it!" —Jerry I. Porras, Lane Professor Emeritus of Organizational Behavior and Change, Stanford Business School, and co-author of Built to Last

"Thought-provoking, inspiring, and useful insights for moving forward when problems seem intractable. Bright Triumphs made me want to get up and do something!" —Kent M. Keith, CEO, Greenleaf Center on Servant Leadership, and author of The Paradoxical Commandments

Author: Heenan, David;
David Heenan, a former senior executive with Citigroup and Jardine Matheson, is a trustee of the Estate of James Campbell, one of the nation's largest landowners, and a visiting professor at Georgetown University. He has served on the faculties of the Wharton School, the Columbia Graduate School of Business, and the University of Hawaii. In addition to articles published in the nation's leading newspapers and business journals, he is the author or coauthor of six other books, including Flight Capital, Co-Leaders, and Double Lives.
For more information on Bright Triumphs From Dark Hours, visit

Read the introduction (PDF)





Part I. Crusaders
1 Joel Klein: Making the Grade
2 Shirley Ann Jackson: Aim for the Stars
3 Bill Snyder: Miracle in Manhattan
4 Joanne Boyle: Hoop Dreams

Part II. Combatants
5 Gary Guller: Shattering Stereotypes
6 The Frozen Chosin
7 Sacagawea: The Legendary Bird Woman

Part III. Comeback Kids
8 Scott Waddle: Lost at Sea
9 Pattie Dunn: Boardroom Brouhaha
10 Steve Case: Second Act
11 Strategies for a Bright Triumph