Decision making lessons from Antarctic exploration. A book review of: When Your Life Depends On It by Brad Borkan & David Hirzel

Posted by rebekah on 3 July 2017, in News, Recommendations

Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone reviews When Your Life Depends On It co-written by Byte the Book member, Brad Borkan and David Hirzel.

Antarctic exploration of the early 1900s, before radio communications and technical modern equipment, has been deemed the heroic age. Explorers like Scott, Shackleton, Amundsen and Mawson faced an extreme and isolated environment. Their decision making abilities, and those of their teams, were pivotal; life depended upon the choices they made.

Brad Borkan and David Hirzel use these decisions and the lessons learned from them, to provide inspiration for modern decision-making and leadership both personally and professionally.

In some ways, it sounds like a strange idea. How can such a wonderfully bleak, cold environment offer any parity with the world of today? But the stories of these expeditions are not only riveting and well-told, they contain the key strategies needed for all decision making.

In the end When Your Life Depends On It gives you exciting tales of adventure alongside a healthy dose of advice about how to prepare for and achieve your own goals. Alongside having a clear purpose, one of the central strategies is flexibility: if something goes wrong and your original goal can no longer be achieved, what else can you achieve in the circumstances?

I really enjoyed the book. Though it won’t be for everyone - not everyone likes to imagine they are stuck down an ice crevice with only a rope to help them, or facing a solo 35 mile hike with Antarctic winds, no tent and only three biscuits to sustain them - if you like exploration and adventure and you want to revisit your decision making process, this is the perfect book for you. It includes a foreword by noted Antarctic historian, Dr. David M. Wilson and a list of recommended reading if you catch the Antarctic history bug, which you probably will once the book has asked you to imagine yourself stepping onto the frozen tundras of the Antarctic, moving simply to keep your clothes from freezing.

You can find out more about ordering the book through Amazon and other retailers here.

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