Captain Geoff Abbott, U.S. Coast Guard (Retired), Hits Four Amazon Best Seller Lists With First Book, “Unauthorized Progress-Leading From The Middle”

Captain Geoff Abbott‘s (U.S. Coast Guard, Retired) recent release, Unauthorized Progress – Leading from the Middle: Stories & Proven Strategies for Making Meaningful Impacts took top ranking on four Amazon best seller lists on May 26, 2020, climbing all the way to number one in the Knowledge Capital and Strategic Management categories. The book also appeared on four new release lists, including Business Systems and Planning and Business Management and Leadership.

Unauthorized Progress highlights inspiring stories of ordinary heroes leading from the middle to achieve extraordinary results in the midst of serious crises … saving lives from rooftops after Hurricane Katrina, protecting communities from raging wildfires, operations in the mountains of Afghanistan, and many more. During a 30-year Coast Guard career, including command of the Research and Development Center during the 9/11 terrorist attacks and chairing the Commandant’s Innovation Council, Captain Abbott observed hundreds of new ideas, initiatives and innovations, and analyzed why they succeed or fail. Unauthorized Progress reveals strategies successful change agents use to effectively lead from the middle and a step-by-step process for leading change. Readers can adapt these strategies to effectively initiate or influence positive change from any level. 

In response to the success of the book launch, Captain Abbott shared, “I’m truly grateful and humbled by the amazing response to my new book. Unauthorized Progress encourages, inspires, and empowers people at all levels to contribute and act on their ideas to improve their piece of the world, to make a difference through meaningful impacts. The concept of leading ’from the middle’ resonates with many, especially given these challenging times as people ask, “What can I do to make things better?”

“The biggest takeaway for readers is that each of us can lead from wherever we are and make our world a little better. The inspiring stories are not about superheroes, but ordinary people who challenged the status quo because they had a better idea – to improve a situation, solve a problem, or seize an opportunity – and then acted on their idea and implemented it. Become a ‘pro-spirator’ – let others know your good ideas, build support, implement your ideas, learn from setbacks, and keep trying until you succeed!”

Unauthorized Progress – Leading from the Middle is a timely and invaluable resource. To resolve serious and challenging issues, great leadership is needed now more than ever and can come from many sources. Captain Abbott points out that anyone can lead from any level by suggesting and following up on good ideas. In addition to the book’s inspiring stories, recent examples of meaningful impacts ‘from the middle’ include COVID-19 news stories of medical professionals adapting CPAP machines (for sleep apnea) into life-saving ventilators and an 8 year-old collecting 500 facial masks from local hotels as personal protective equipment for at-risk frontline workers.

Unauthorized Progress is a must-read for leaders and anyone unsure of how to implement good ideas, struggling to put suggestions into action, or stymied as to why talented people don’t share great ideas. This book also caught the attention of military and civilian leaders:

“… no one has a corner on the market of good ideas. The superior leader encourages idea generation from the troops actually doing the work and rewards those who identify a better way to accomplish the mission.”

   – James Loy, Admiral, former Coast Guard Commandant, TSA Administrator and Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security

“… a template for action for those seeking to achieve success and make a difference at any level. … will help you recognize opportunities to take charge even when you are not! … This is a must-read book for anyone who truly desires to break out of the ordinary and become a transformational leader.”

    – Donna Barbisch, Major General, U.S. Army (Retired)

The book is available in both paperback and Kindle versions on Amazon


Dr. Geoff Abbott is the senior faculty member at the Securities and Exchange Commission’s College of Leadership Development (CLD), and prior to CLD, had a distinguished 30-year Coast Guard career. As an Excellence in Government Senior Fellow, Abbott led several workshops on leading change from the middle and served as a facilitator, speaker and guest lecturer on leading change, innovation, and crisis leadership. Abbott holds a Doctorate in Business Administration, earned two graduate engineering degrees from MIT, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

Abbott’s personal mission includes helping people achieve their leadership potential through encouragement, inspiration, and empowerment to make meaningful and positive impacts in the world. As part of this mission, Abbott is currently in discussions with the Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association to gift Unauthorized Progress to 248 Coast Guard Academy graduates of the Class of 2020.

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