Motivational talks, presentations and a book

The life-and-death decisions made by the early Antarctic explorers like Scott, Shackleton, Amundsen and Mawson.

Exciting stories about the challenges and decisions the explorers made on the ice.

While our focus is Antarctica in the early 1900s, our work has modern relevance – revealing valuable lessons in leadership, team work, and sheer grit and determination that can help all of us make better decisions in our lives today.

Co-written by Brad Borkan, a decision scientist, and David Hirzel, an Antarctic historian, in When Your Life Depends on It  you will discover:

  • 11 of the greatest survival stories in the history of exploration

  • How to make decisions fast without feelings of doubt or guilt

  • How to succeed against all odds

The stories are unforgettable. The decision lessons are timeless.


Brad Borkan and David Hirzel, co-authors of When Your Life Depends on It, are available for conference speeches, book talks, and media appearances.  Click to contact us.


“A remarkable book”

Sir Ranulph Fiennes --

the greatest explorer in our lifetime

“Polar book of the year”

Jonathan Shackleton --

lecturer, author, and descendant of Ernest Shackleton

Absolutely inspiring. To me this should be required life reading.”

Jean Bartlett --

Arts & Features Writer for California newspapers

“Absolutely riveting… I can’t praise the talk highly enough. If you ever get the chance to hear Brad speak, seize it.” 

Claire Jones

Attendee at the HULF Literary Festival

“Brad delivered a terrific, fascinating and extremely motivational session at the B2B Marketing Leaders Forum this year.

His passion and knowledge about the great age of exploration is extraordinary, and this made for an excellent addition to our agenda.

The 150 marketing directors in attendance hugely appreciated hearing from one of their peers, and there was a lengthy queue of people looking to get a copy of Brad and David’s book, When Your Life Depends on It, signed at the end of the event. I’d thoroughly recommend him.”

Joel Harrison --

B2B Marketing - Editor in Chief

Book Awards

Finalist: Wishing Shelf Literary Awards
Non-fiction category

Brad Borkan, David Hirzel

Brad Borkan — has a graduate degree in Decision Sciences from the University of Pennsylvania and has a fascination in how people and businesses can make better decisions. Brad has presented at business and Antarctic conferences, appeared on cable TV in the US, and on Internet talk radio programs. His motivational talks focus on leadership, team work, and winning against the odds. He is based in London and was recently made a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society.

David Hirzel is a maritime historian, author, and small business owner living in California. His polar books include a 3-part polar biography of the Irish explorer Tom Crean, a key player in Scott’s and Shackleton’s expeditions.  David’s book Sailor on Ice has been optioned for a documentary. David is a guest lecturer for Viking and other Cruise Lines.

Seeking a speaker for an event? Brad and David talk on the themes of leadership, teamwork, resiliency, and decision making all set in the exciting context of Polar history. Click for more information and testimonials, or contact our speaker’s agent, Diana Boulter:

1 min Audio Promo for Podcast or Documentary Film series

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