Just launched on Amazon worldwide - a new book...

providing ways to improve your modern-day decision making ...

based on epic, true stories from the heroic age of Antarctic exploration


The harrowing life and death decisions made by early Antarctic explorers reveal insightful ways —

not just for surviving in extreme environments —

but for improving 21st century personal and business decision making.

When Your Life Depends on It examines unforgettable, epic stories from the days when Scott, Shackleton, Amundsen and Mawson battled the most isolated environment on earth.

By placing you in their life and death situations, the authors encourage you to assess how you might have responded.

Would you obey a command from your dying officer to leave him behind, to further your chances of a safe return? Would you handpick your crew based on gut instinct and personality only, when there was a very real chance your own survival would depend on them?

Filled with compelling lessons in team work, leadership, camaraderie and sheer grit and determination that are as useful today as they were 100 years ago, this book reveals methods that you can immediately put to use in your personal and business life.

About the Authors

Brad Borkan, David Hirzel

The authors have a life long passion for Antarctic history.

Brad Borkan has a graduate degree in Decision Sciences from the University of Pennsylvania where he co-authored two books on decision making with a Wharton professor.  His 20 years with leading software companies has focused on helping large organizations improve their decision processes.

David Hirzel has written a three-part polar biography of the Irish explorer Tom Crean, a key player in Scott’s and Shackleton’s expeditions.  The final book of this series, Antarctic Voyager, was launched at the South-Polesium conference in Scotland (May 2015).  Sailor on Ice: Tom Crean with Scott in the Antarctic has been optioned for a documentary due for release in 2017.

Both are experienced public speakers and available to give presentations and lead workshops on the topics in their book.  


“A wonderful book.  It is an entertaining, fun read, especially if it speaks to you as it did to me. The key messages are simple yet very powerful.

I felt really positive and motivated after reading each chapter.  As a hiker, myself, I was fascinated by the adventures told in this book. This not only came alive through the maps, pictures provided by the authors, furthermore, it was the very precise words chosen throughout this book that made it so special.

Even though the authors use the term “extreme decision making lessons from the Antarctic” on the cover, I feel I can use the key messages in my everyday life as well in business settings. A fantastic investment in myself!”

J. Engelhart, Bath, England
Antarctic sea

“I’m recently back from the 16th Shackleton Autumn School …  We had some very interesting lectures on numerous polar-related topics as well as news of forthcoming books.

“One which intrigued me particularly is When Your Life Depends on It …

Fiona Brijnath, Director, Arcturus Expeditions

“This book brings to life a time when ordinary people faced extraordinary challenges as they pushed forward the boundaries of human knowledge against powerful forces in a hostile environment.

The stories and the decision making lessons derived from them will stay with you for the rest of your life.”

Dr. David Wilson, descendant of Dr. Edward Wilson

“I have just finished reading your book in sunny Portugal — where despite the heat I have found myself shivering while following the travails of the frostbitten and half-starved …

I think you’ve got a great book. It’s really well-written, keeping a good pace and bringing home the realities of the situations you’ve described. I think people will love it.

I have been telling my family about the most amazing stories: depots prepared but never even used; risking lives for emperor penguin eggs…They are now looking forward to reading it themselves once published!“

Kate Walters – London, UK

“Incredibly engaging …

… immerses you into the amazing world of polar exploration—full of larger-than-life adventures.

The stories—and the settings—are gripping, exhilarating and inspiring.

But this book is also about something much larger—the deep, true, higher nature of all human beings. These men displayed highly heroic and compassionate morality in countless situations where supreme sacrifices were required. They made difficult decisions based on core values such as loyalty, devotion, commitment, friendship, love and more.

Along with being an immensely enjoyable read, When Your Life Depends On It will inspire you to contemplate your own values, and help you to shine an inner light on how you make decisions. We can all learn a lot from these heroic men, and in turn can incorporate these precious lessons into our own much-more-simple everyday lives.”

Lily O’Brien – San Francisco


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Excerpts from the book

Antarctic explorers encountered crevasses like these

It may seem like a hyperbole to say that men would follow these leaders to the ends of the earth, but in fact, they did.

… an impossible task, an unbreakable commitment, and with many lives in the balance, including their own, all depending on the decisions they made.

… it was a massive roll of the dice; the dangers were tremendous. But they never gave up believing they would survive. Despite all the bad luck, they never gave in. They never said, “We can’t do this.” They believed they could do the impossible, and they actually did.