Leadership — Teamwork — Resilience — Decision Making — all in the exciting context of polar exploration.

TV, Radio and Webinar appearances


  1. TV Interview recorded Dec 4, 2017, aired on TV30 and PrincetonTV.  Backstory with Dr. Joan Goldstein: Building a resiliency mind-set based on strategies used by Shackleton and the other early Antarctic explorers  … link will be available in Jan 2018
  2. TV interview June 2017 on Backstory with Dr. Joan Goldstein: Launch of a new book: Conversation with Brad Borkan — co-author of When Your Life Depends on It 


1. Two authors interviewed together on Internet Radio. Dec 2017:  Brad Borkan (Antarctica) and Roger Seiler (Alaska)

Challenges, Adventure, and Decision-Making Fraught with Danger, Complexity and Moral Choices.  With Roger Seiler, author of Master of Alaska, we compare the leadership styles between Antarctic explorers and that of Aleksandr Baranov, the charismatic Russian who became the first governor of Alaska in the early 1800s.

2. Decision-Making Lessons from Antarctic Heroes Brad and David talking with award-winning, international radio interviewer Bonnie D. Graham. Click for Replay

Webinar at a Fortune 500 company: Sept 4, 2017 and Oct 10, 2017

Lessons in Leadership, Team Work and Decision Making from the Antarctic Click for Replay.

Media coverage    –  Click to open

2018 book talks

  • Great Minds Lecture Series in Princeton NJ May 31, 2018
    • “Tales from the Antarctic”
  • Present Day Club in Princeton NJ Sept 12, 2018
    • The Present Day Club was founded by Woodrow Wilson’s wife.
    • “Leadership, Team Work and Decision Making: Lessons from the Antarctic”
  • Explorer’s Club in NYC. (date to be determined) 
    • The Explorers Club is renowned for the remarkable accomplishments of  its members including: First to the South Pole – Amundsen; First to the North Pole  – Peary & Matthew Henson; First to the top of Everest – Hillary/Tenzing Norgay; First to the Moon – Neil Armstrong/Buzz Aldrin /Michael Collins.

Recent book talks

  • Princeton, NJ: Princeton PSRC Dec 4, 2017 
    • “More Tales from the Antarctic”
  • Ireland: Antarctic Conference Oct 28, 2017
  • London: Keynote talk at a business conference with 70 attendees, Oct 2017
    • Keynote Talk at the Strand “Customers as Advocates” business conference“Leadership, Team Work and Decision Making: Lessons from the Antarctic” at the Dorchester Hotel, London. Event program.

Our first radio interview, before the book was published:

  • USA internet Radio interview: 
    • Bonnie D. Graham’s weekly Monday night author interviews in NYC. Bonnie invited Brad and David onto her show to talk about the “Decisions Lessons we can all Learn from the Early Antarctic Explorers.”  (link below to listen to replay)

Click to listen to our first Radio interview

by Bonnie D. Graham, host of a Monday night author talk show based in NYC | interviewing Brad and David

International Book Tour - Past events

  • Princeton, NJ:  March 2017 (95 people attended)
    • Book talk: Princeton PRSC Center
  • Devon & Cornwall Polar Society: March 2017 (One of the attendees was Don Kerr — a descendant of Alexander Kerr from Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition. Don’s review of the talk is below.)
    • Book talk at the Devon & Cornwall Polar Society, Duke of Cornwall Hotel in Plymouth, England –  Shackleton stayed at The Duke of Cornwall Hotel the night before the Endurance Expedition sailed South towards Antarctica in 1914. 
  • Norway: May 13/14, 2017
    • Official book launch: South Pole-sium Conference, Fram Museum, Oslo, Norway  – museum housing Nansen’s and Amundsen’s Fram ship – Brad and David co-presented & signed books. The conference dinner took place on the deck of the Fram.
  • Scotland: May 18-20, 2017
    • Book Launch: Antarctic Conference, Discovery Point, Dundee, Scotland – museum housing Scott’s Discovery ship – “Shackleton’s Genius—Reframing the Image of Success, a critical skill for the 21st century”
    • Also in Dundee: David Hirzel, co-author of When Your Life Depends on It, presented his book The Livie Boatworks of Dundee.
  • USA: Book talks July – Sept 2017
    • Hancock Point, Maine –  Public Library. Selected readings by David Hirzel from When Your Life Depends on It.
    • Floreys Bookstore, Pacifica CA  Promotional flyer for event
    • Copperfield’s Bookstore, San Rafael, CA Press release
Brad presenting to a business audience at the Dorchester Hotel in London
Brad presenting to a business audience at the Dorchester Hotel in London
David Hirzel presenting at our book launch at the Fram Museum, Oslo

David Hirzel presenting at our book launch at the Fram Museum in Oslo

Click on images to enlarge

Brad Borkan presenting in Princeton NJ
Brad Borkan presenting at Princeton event
Book talk description - click to enlarge

From Baz Gray — a modern-day Polar explorer’s feedback on Brad’s presentation to the Devon & Cornwall Polar Society

Brad Borkan is a well spoken, confident and inspirational speaker. A man that clearly knows his subject and whom has done his research thoroughly, which in turns gives an air of confidence that leaves the audience relaxed and wanting more. Brad is not a one way speaker, he wants to engage the audience, make them think, ask them questions and draw them into his talk. The whole audience becomes engaged and from the best Polar scholar to the relative novice, everybody will leave feeling completely satisfied.

Don & Val Kerr attended one of our book talks. Don Kerr is a descendant of a member of Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition. 

“Quite simply, if it wasn’t for Shackleton’s leadership skills, I would not be here today. My grandfather, Alexander Kerr, was one of the youngest members of the Endurance Expedition led by Sir Ernest Shackleton.

All 28 men became stranded in Antarctica with no hope of rescue after their ship was trapped and crushed in the ice; their whereabouts and predicament unknown to the rest of the world. Once a landfall was eventually made on Elephant Island some 497 days after leaving South Georgia, Shackleton made the decision to attempt the 800 mile return boat journey in the 23 foot James Caird with just five others. Alexander Kerr was one of the 22 men left under Wild’s command on a desolate Elephant Island awaiting rescue.

I was lucky to know my grandfather and hear his stories first hand. 

My wife Val and I both have a passionate interest in the Heroic Age of Exploration and the characters of that era, attending Antarctic conferences and lectures, reading original and new accounts of expeditions. We recently had the pleasure of attending Brad Borkan’s highly entertaining book talk at the Devon & Cornwall Polar Society

Brad and his co-author David Hirzel bring the life or death decisions of those often ‘ordinary’ men of the Heroic Age right up-to-date, breathing a whole new life into their adventures. The stories are no longer just my grandfather’s history, but now a living part of decision strategies that everyone can use in their own lives.”

Don Kerr

Business Decision Workshops

Brad Borkan and David Hirzel are both experienced public speakers. We can give presentations, and lead workshops, on the decision topics from our book. Focus can be on business or personal decision making, or both.

Our workshops and book talks include:

Unforgettable true adventure stories about the challenges and decisions faced by the early Antarctic Explorers – Scott, Shackleton, Amundsen and Mawson – presented with historic photographs.

Come away with powerful techniques to improve your own decision making — at a personal, as well as business or team, level:

  • Confronting adversity
  • Building effective teams
  • Succeeding against all odds

Please email us at info@extreme-decisions.com for more information.

Articles and Books by the authors

Article: Top 10 Polar Decisions by Brad Borkan and David Hirzel. Nimrod Magazine, Oct 2016

Books by David Hirzel

  • A Brief History of the Livie Boatworks of Dundee,
    David Hirzel, (Terra Nova Press, 2016)
  • Antarctic Voyager: Tom Crean with Scott’s Discovery Expedition 1901-1904,
    David Hirzel, (Terra Nova Press, 2015)
  • Hold Fast: Tom Crean with Shackleton in the Antarctic 1914-1916,
    David Hirzel (Terra Nova Press, 2013)
  • Sailor on Ice: Tom Crean with Scott in the Antarctic 1910-1913,
    David Hirzel, (Terra Nova Press, 2011)
Books by David Hirzel

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