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The illusion of invincibility

The Rise and Fall of Organizations – Inspired by the Incas of Peru

Andreas Krebs, Paul Williams
286 pages, Paperback
US$ 22,95 / € 22,49
Worldwide Release Date: November 2019

ISBN-10 1642501433
ISBN-13 978-1-64250-143-8
MANGO Publishing, Miami/USA, 2019

About the Book

A glimpse behind the facade of success

In The Illusion of Invincibility, Paul Williams and Andreas Krebs take a no-punches-held look at the stories we tell ourselves about business success. The rags-to-riches tale is tempting, but we don’t have to search far to see that most organizations rise for a time, only to experience a dramatic fall from grace. Just look at some of the companies that used to be household names: Nokia, AOL, Pan Am, Woolworth, Blockbuster, Kodak and Grundig to name just a few. A brief glance at the Fortune 500, Eurostoxx, DAX or family-owned business rankings is enough to see how rarely organizations, large or small, are able to succeed in maintaining their positions at the top for anything more than just a few decades, all of which begs the question: Is the risk of failure an intrinsic part of every great triumph?

Move from good to great: In this book you’ll learn the secrets to clear-eyed, value-driven leadership with stories from top managers from international companies, major family businesses, start-ups, consulting firms, the public sector, and NGOs. They offer lessons on how to be a successful and reflective boss in an age of digitization and disruption. Each chapter includes a “stress test” to help you to take an honest look at your own organization and yourself.

Can leaders today be inspired by the Incas? You may be surprised. When the authors added a few days to a business trip to Peru, instead of relaxing, they found themselves exploring one of the greatest civilizations in human history...with unexpected lessons about successful businesses and great leadership.

The Illusion of Invincibility examines the why of success and failure. It’s a smart, funny, and radical look at how to build and sustain a great organization, inspired by those who have done it ­today’s world and five hundred years ago.


Vorträge und Workshops von Andreas Krebs und Paul Williams

About the Authors

Andreas Krebs and Paul Williams are both are internationally experienced managers and entrepreneurs. Learn more about the authors of the book "The Illusion of Invincibility".


“I've read a lot of management literature in my time – much of it from well-known writers – which pales significantly in comparison to this work. Compliments to the authors! Rarely have I encountered such a challenging set of topics in a single title.” .

Thomas Pester, Owner and Managing Director of pester pac automation GmbH, Wolfertschwenden, Germany

"The many case studies and the very amusing writing style have inspired me. The mirror is held up to the reader again and again in a challenging but appreciative manner: I recognized myself in more than one of the situations. The reference to the Incas is just great.“.


“A must-read for family-owned businesses and their management teams. Bold, challenging, enriching and at the same time highly enjoyable and informative! Essential reading for my leadership team and clients!”  

Prof. Dr. Peter May, Germany’s Leading Family-owned Business Adviser

“Not all that rises must fall. What a comforting and inspiring thought for the reader! Well-informed, entertaining, and chock-full of practical advice, this book is an essential read.”

Christian Velmer, SVP at Pfizer

“The combination of leadership insights and self-coaching whilst using the Inca culture as a storyboard and backdrop is genuinely inspiring!”

Jörg Middendorf, Executive Coach and Management Consultant, Cologne, Germany

“This book is a must-read for both senior-level executives and those who aspire to lead someday. With clever use of a historical perspective, The Illusion of Invincibility offers insightful and innovative impulses in thinking that are firmly grounded in the modern business world.”

Philip Anschutz, Businessman, owner of Coachella, and co-founder of MLS

“Easy to read and very rewarding, even while on holiday! I used it to assess my own performance over the past twenty years. I wish the book had been written sooner!”

Gordon Scholz, Former CEO, Electronic Retail

“The writing style is such that the company leaders to whom it is addressed should feel well disposed to accepting the suggestions and criticisms. That's my hope, at least, and it would be fantastic if the book manages to effect change.”

Simone Gottschalk, Member of the Works Council, Deutsche Telekom

"Through your relaxed and amusing writing style and, above all, by bringing in your own examples of "weaker" moments, you always remain at eye level with your reader, which makes it easy for her or him to take your insightful observations and advice on board. That is the highest compliment I can give to any author!”  

Sara Bouachir, owner of Corporate Trainings, Zurich, Switzerland

"In their book, the two authors have not only succeeded in comparing today's top management behavior with the grandiose Inca culture - a comparison that is both well-researched and unique – but have also produced a genuine opportunity for managers to learn. The extremely positive feedback from the 35 participants of the Masters course in Leadership at the university where I teach confirmed the outstanding content and usefulness of the book.”

Prof. Thomas Maurer, Kronberg, Germany

"Thanks to the attractive, anecdotal style or writing, The Illusion of the Invincibility is a wonderful book from the very beginning, characterized by both a high level of expertise and well-dosed humor. A "must" for all decision-makers".

Dr. Ardeschir Habibi, Entrepreneur, Cologne, Germany

“This book is amusing and at times embarrassing, as you realise that, in spite of all that you have learned, you still continue to fall into the many traps the world of management lays out in front of you! Every manager should read this book!”

Detlef Britzke, Managing Partner, Shanghai, China

"Wow – what a book! A big compliment to the two authors! Andreas Krebs and Paul Williams describe very clearly which factors can contribute to the rise and fall of a company in a well-structured, exciting and informative way, full of graphic examples and checklists. I could hardly put the book out of my hands and the parallels to the Incas really made me think. In short, "The Illusion of Invincibility" is one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read.”

Birgit Brockmann, Editor at Unicepta Abels & Partner, Cologne, Germany

Vorträge und Workshops von Andreas Krebs und Paul Williams

Keynote Speaking

We would be happy to make our know-how available to you in the form of an informative, interactive and entertaining keynote presentation at your company event, meeting, workshop or leadership conference.

Publications, News, Events



The Illusion of Invincibility now in Vietnamese!

Following Germany, the USA and Brazil the book is now available in Vietnam as well, which means it has now been published in Europe, North and South America and Asia.
Four years, four continents … we’re very proud about that!

The Illusion of Invincibility now in Portuguese!

Building on the success of their top title "The Illusion of Invincibility: The Rise and Fall of Organizations - Inspired by the Incas of Peru" launched in the US market in 2019, GABAL authors Andreas Krebs and Paul Williams are now proud to announce the publication of the Portuguese edition.

More Information in the press release of GABAL-Verlag (pdf)

Forthcoming Events

Currently there are no events.

The “Making of” Tour to Peru

First it was just an idea, then friends, business partners and readers became more and more interested in Peru and our very special view of the country. So we decided we should share our experiences of this fascinating country with you “on location”, based on the places, people and experiences that led us to write the book.