Audacious Goals, Remarkable Results

How an Explorer, an Engineer and a Statesman shaped our Modern World

3 Extraordinary People. 6 Extraordinary Achievements. 

“Bullets, blizzards, fires and floods were all part of a day’s work.”


  • The great polar explorer: Roald Amundsen
  • The greatest engineer the world had ever seen: Isambard Kingdom Brunel
  • The cowboy turned statesman: Theodore Roosevelt

As exciting as any adventure story, get ready to be awed by the out-sized risks they faced in their larger-than-life endeavors.

  • The harrowing digging of the Thames Tunnel
  • The Great Western Railway
  • The National Parks
  • The Panama Canal
  • The  Northwest Passage
  • The South Pole

Incredible and daring examples of the mighty human spirit — showing all of us how to overcome those who exclaim, “It can’t be done!”

  • Winner: Wishing Shelf Book Bronze Award for Non-Fiction.
  • Finalist: Chanticleer International Book Award for I&I Non-Fiction.

Paperback and Kindle: all Amazon sites worldwide: Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, UK, USA

Audiobook: AudibleChirp, Google Play, iTunes, Kobo, Libro.FM, Nook, Scribd, Walmart, and others. Download the Audiobook supplemental PDF.

A well-deserved five stars.

Olivia Spring

Best-selling author

I enjoyed this book immensely.

Geoff Hudson-Searle

Executive and expert in Leadership

Deeply fascinating.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes

World's greatest living explorer

Audacious Goals, Remarkable Results is a gripping work.

Wiliam Myers, Jr

Best-selling author

A fast read, and a good one.

Dr. Peter Bauer


Co-written by award-winning authors Brad Borkan and David Hirzel, Audacious Goals, Remarkable Results is packed with stories about three unstoppable people who undertook incredible endeavors. 

Their work proves that imagining the impossible, and planning while accepting failure as part of the process, can lead to remarkable, and literally earth-changing, results. 

If you enjoy books by Malcolm Gladwell, you will love Audacious Goals, Remarkable Results. Play the two minute video to find out why. 

Paperback and Kindle: available on all Amazon sites worldwide: Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, UK, USA

Audiobook: available on Chirp, Google Play, Kobo, Libro.FM, Scribd and Walmart. Coming soon to Audible, iTunes and others.

Chanticleer Finalist Award


Chanticleer International Book Award: I&I Non-fiction

Gold Medal Winner - Wishing Shelf Awards

Winner - Bronze Award

Wishing Shelf Literary Award: Non-Fiction

Audacious Goals, Remarkable Results is a gripping work. One of the great things about this book is how it brilliantly employs storytelling to bring the reader into the fray. The work didn’t merely gloss over the great achievements it highlights, but pulled me down from a mile-high view to ground level (and in the case of the railway tunnels, below ground level),  making me feel like I was striding next to Amundsen, Brunel and Roosevelt, struggling with them. Conquering with them.

The second noteworthy feature of the book is that it draws lessons from the stories and achievements that can be used today by anyone looking to achieve great things. A man or woman looking to follow in the tracks of great people of the past has to learn how they did it, and Audacious Goals, Remarkable Results delivers on that front. Hats off to Borkan and Hirzel.

William Myers, Jr.

Best-selling Author, Philadelphia, PA

I wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying the new book. The subject matter is absolutely fascinating and I think it will garner a lot of interest. I'm a little more than halfway through - really great stuff

Dennis Kleinman

Los Angeles, CA

Audacious Goals, Remarkable Results achieves an unusual feat of 'comparative history'- finding unifying themes among three dynamic individuals in different fields of endeavor from three different countries. The authors discover new insights into the characters of the three subjects of the book and draw intriguing parallels between them. A fast read, and a good one.

Dr. Peter Bauer

Washington, USA

Audacious Goals Remarkable Results is shot through with what is rapidly becoming the authors’ trademark - high octane excitement in learning lessons from great people.

Stephen Scott-Fawcett

Historian, Summited Everest twice, trekked to the South Pole

Epic achievement begins with us - the humans who make it happen.

Fascinating to read about Brunel, Amundsen and Roosevelt — three people whose vision was extraordinary and whose tenacity changed our planet

Dave Coplin

CEO and Founder, The Envisioners Ltd

The individual stories in Audacious Goals, Remarkable Results are well written and serve as powerful examples of the capability of people to achieve great and influential things. For me, perhaps the most striking of all the lessons in the book is the knowledge that none of us are confined to just one life goal, there is no limit to what we can pursue and achieve, if we are only prepared to think audaciously.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has the audacity, or desire, to think big and change the world!

K. Carpenter

Leadership Coach, UK

There are in the world today many leadership books, but very few that combine an explorer, an engineer, and a statesman. Audacious Goals, Remarkable Results is a book of perspectives, one that will arm you with a path of wisdom.  It is very comprehensive, well written and articulates many subjects that affect today's new world.

It is really hard to distinguish which section of the book was my favourite chapter or verse as I am a history buff and love adventure. The book will really charge and challenge your thinking, but possibly chapter 10, 'A Legacy of Conservation.' The detail across Theodore Roosevelt's conservation was immense and resonated with me.

I enjoyed the book immensely because it touched so many subjects in today's world that we do not necessarily address, with in-depth knowledge and supported by measured research. I am sure I will find myself returning to the book for a second read. Whether by chance or clever distinction the authors have captured the essences of most of the changing world we live in and importance of resiliency, an incredibly interesting read, even for the most modest of readers.

Geoff Hudson-Searle

Executive and Best-selling author of Business & Leadership books

Audacious Goals, Remarkable Results is one of those rare books you will remember long after you have read it. 

It is totally fascinating, and filled with the most incredible historical stories. 

What this book does so well is it draws parallels between these ventures and the people involved.  It is insightful, and peppered with the most jaw-dropping facts, making it fun to read, but more important than that is it teaches you how to use passion and perseverance to achieve your goals just like Brunel, Amundsen and Roosevelt did. I highly recommend it.

S. Armstrong

Executive in High-Tech

I was blown away by the wonderful detail in this book and wowed by the stories of the past. Brunel’s journey resonated with me the most. If an engineer with far less resources than today can find workable solutions, and change the rigid minds of politicians, then why can't we? How could you not find inspiration in that?

Kate Gallagher

Dublin, Ireland

Today many of us strive for high levels of achievement whether as students, business owners, or employees of great organizations. The more we learn from history the more we can benefit from it.

In Amundsen, Brunel, and Roosevelt we may or may not know their stories, but their achievements are legendary. Back in the day they were pioneers with amazing accomplishments: digging the Thames Tunnel; building railways; establishing National Parks; deploying the Panama Canal; and exploring the South Pole.

What skills, attributes, and BOLD ideas enabled these pioneers to succeed while others fell short? How can we apply these success stories to TODAY, and allow them to inspire us to think BIG. and make our mark in our daily lives, professions, and volunteer activities?

Having read their first book, When Your Life Depends on It and now with the new one, Audacious Goals, Remarkable Results just purchased and in my hands, I'm excited to go beyond the cover and first few pages, to dig into these remarkable feats. Looking forward to learning how these adventures shaped the modern world, and HOW we can do the same.

Rich Blumberg

CEO, World Sales Solutions, LLC | Drexel University Alumni Board of Governors Emeritus

I rarely read non-fiction books, but after enjoying the authors’ first book, When Your Life Depends On It, I thought I’d give it a try. And I’m glad I did. This book captivated me from the very first page. The stories are packed with drama and tension, which made the book really exciting to read and I found myself not wanting to put it down! The accounts of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the challenges he faced and how he overcame adversity were my favourites.

Well written, easy to read, inspiring, motivating - there are many adjectives I could use to describe Audacious Goals, Remarkable Results, but don’t just take my word for it – read it for yourself. A well-deserved five stars!

Olivia Spring

Best-selling Author, London and Madrid

Five Stars. Definitely a fascinating, enjoyable and thought-provoking book. It really captured my attention, so much so that I read it in two days. The stories were compelling and well written. The book is well-designed and the photos add a valuable visual touch.

While I was generally familiar with the accomplishments of Theodore Roosevelt and Roald Amundsen, I had known absolutely nothing about Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the third focus of the book. I was struck by how much of an innovator he was in the construction of railways, tunnels, bridges and ships. He may not be well known in the US, but in his native UK he finished second to Churchill as the greatest Briton of all times in a BBC poll.

David Goldfarb

Princeton, NJ, USA

Audacious Goals, Remarkable Results is a deeply fascinating book. I found it gripping, exhilarating and inspiring.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes

World's greatest living explorer

Borkan and Hirzel’s impeccable and extensive research shine on every page of Audacious Goals, Remarkable Results. As an editor and reader, it was engrossing to learn about the lives of these ingenious and bold creators—and how their contributions continue to reverberate in the world we enjoy today. These inspiring stories will live with you long after the last page of the book is closed. 

Lisa Fitzpatrick

New York

I am deep into your book, Audacious Goals, Remarkable Results, and I want you to know I am loving every bit of it…. you are an amazing writer and the subjects are so fascinating.  

Ann Murphy

A reader in California

I loved Audacious Goals, Remarkable Results. I learned so much about Roosevelt that I never knew before and now I’m fascinated by the Panama  Canal. And Brunel I knew NOTHING about. 
I look forward to your NEXT book now! 

June Ballinger

Actor, Playwright, Director

We know who Theodore Roosevelt, Roald Amundsen and (at least the Brits) Isambard Kingdom Brunel were, and what they did, right? Wrong ! Told in accessible and exhilarating style Brad Borkan and David Hirzel, these "supermen" come to life in all their astonishing glory. Audacious Goals, Remarkable Results is a fabulous read, a page-turner, and one that stays with you the next day, and the next, and well into the future.

Jan Chojecki

Managing Director - PBL Technology

About the authors

Brad Borkan has always been fascinated with how people and businesses can make better decisions. With a graduate degree in Decision Sciences, this London-based Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society has presented at business and Antarctic conferences, appeared on US-based cable TV, and on numerous historical and business-focused podcasts. Brad’s expertise lies in the themes of leadership, teamwork, and winning against the odds.

David Hirzel is a maritime historian and author. His passion is early Antarctic exploration, expressed in his books such as the Sailor on Ice series about Tom Crean, one of Shackleton’s hardiest men. When not writing or sailing in San Francisco Bay, David pursues his career in residential architecture. David is a popular guest lecturer for Viking and other cruise lines.

Read Sample Chapter

Sample Chapter

Opening Chapter

It’s Your Call

Audacious Goals, Remarkable Results

Imagine yourself, just twenty-one years old, in charge of one of the most talked about projects in the world: digging the first-ever tunnel beneath a free-flowing river. Not just any river, but one of the greatest rivers in the world, running through one of the most vibrant and populated cities in Europe.

This tunnel is a vast undertaking. It isn’t just the length of the tunnel that is daunting, or that all previous attempts have failed. It is also the sheer magnitude of the project: the risk, danger, and hard work required to achieve something monumental.

The height and width of the tunnel is large, even by today’s standards. Putting it in perspective, even with all our latest technology, the aperture would be greater in diameter than almost every tunnel ever built, including the Channel Tunnel connecting Britain to France.

Except the year is 1827, and this particular tunnel is being dug by hand, with pickaxes and shovels, through 1,200 feet of the shifting, treacherous, water-sodden sand, silt and gravel of the Thames riverbed in London. Nothing of this magnitude has ever been attempted before. The iron frame within which you and each of the workmen stand is based on a new, never-before-tested building technique. Success rests on your shoulders alone.

The world is watching, fascinated by the sheer scale and audacity of the project. If this tunnel is successful, it will prove the way for similar tunnels to be dug beneath rivers in the world’s other great cities, ultimately improving trade, commerce, and the movement of people.

The exact thickness of the riverbed mud above your head is unknown, but it is not much, at times no more than a few feet at best. An accidental penetration into the river’s channel will flood the tunnel in certain disaster. This is not clean, clear river water but Thames water, which for over 1,000 years has been the sewer of London, toxic beyond belief.

Already, seepage from above is responsible for the workmen’s sickness, blindness, and is even causing death. You are in charge of the digging, and it is affecting your own health as well. The dangers are further compounded by the presence of many visitors paying admission to enter the recesses of the tunnel and watch the work.

Your greatest fear is that the tunnel face will edge too far into to the thin layer of riverbed overhead and penetrate through into the channel above, and that an unstoppable flow of water will pour into the tunnel. If that happens everyone in it—tourists, your workmen, you—will perish. The greatest public works project of your era will, in a matter of minutes, come to a tragic, ignoble end.

On one evening, luckily without the usual paying visitors in the tunnel, the first breach happens. Thames river water begins to drip, then flows—then surges full force—into the tunnel. Louder than a locomotive, the roar of it is literally deafening. You and the other workers run toward the open end of the tunnel leading to the riverside, desperately climbing the stairs there to safety. You follow them up, but stop.

This is your tunnel.

These are your workers.

One of the older workers who didn’t make it to the staircase in time is thrashing about in the fast-rising water, struggling to keep his head above the flood. Ignoring your own instinct to save yourself, you grab a rope, slide down to the rising water on an iron pole, tie the rope around his waist, and hoist him up.

Remarkably, all of you survive the crisis. Will you be so lucky next time?

You know for certain there will be more breaches. The next one will happen when the tunnel is longer, when you and your workers will be even farther away from safety. The next breach will be deadly for certain.

Do you continue the work? It’s your call.

This was a real event faced by a real twenty-one-year-old engineer. What he did next may surprise you.

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