Talks, Media and Events

Seeking a speaker for an event, conference or cruise ship? Contact us

Brad presenting to a business audience in London

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’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

Our talks include:

  • Unforgettable stories about the challenges facing the early Antarctic Explorers – presented with historical photographs.
  • Audiences learn techniques to improve their own decision making:
    • Confronting adversity
    • Building effective teams
    • Succeeding against all odds

To discuss an event, please click here for contact details or email

Brad presenting to a business audience in London

TV and Radio appearances


  1. TV interview Sept 11, 2018: Sword and Pen with William L. Myers Jr. The bravery and heroism of the early Antarctic explorers compared with the great bravery and heroism of the 9/11 rescuers, recorded on the anniversary of 9/11
  2. TV Interviews on Backstory with Dr. Joan Goldstein: 
    1. Dec 2017 Building a resiliency mind-set based on strategies used by Shackleton and other early Antarctic explorers  
    2. June 2017 Launch of a new book: Conversation with Brad Borkan — co-author of When Your Life Depends on It 

Internet Radio

1. Decision Making in Cold Climates — what we can learn from leaders working at opposite ends of the Earth: Alaska’s First Governor and the early Antarctic Explorers.  An interview with two authors: Brad Borkan (Antarctica) and Roger Seiler (author of Master of Alaska)

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

Replay of Seminar – recorded live in front of a 200 person business audience:

Lessons in Leadership, Team Work and Decision Making from the Antarctic – webinar for a Fortune 500 company

2018 Talks

  • Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge England, Oct 11, 2018 – completed
    • Guest lecture on When Your Life Depends on It.

A highly engaging presentation set in the historic surroundings of the Scott Polar Research Institute theatre.

Brad Borkan delivered a talk filled with a series of captivating, high-risk, hostile environment story lines to the audience, setting the scene and asking the audience ‘what they would do’? What made the diversity of responses even more fascinating was that the scenarios had actually occurred during early Antarctic expeditions, with Brad explaining the outcome of each situation.

His final summary contained ‘Seven lessons from the Antarctic’, an invaluable framework of strategies employed in the heroic age of polar exploration. Brad described each one detailing how they were used 100 years ago, and how they have timeless relevance in improving decision making processes, in either the most challenging of circumstances, or everyday life. Lesson #5 (‘Never ever give up’) is the one that has resonated throughout my life, especially during my personal experiences in the high Arctic and in the military.

I would highly recommend both Brad’s presentation and the book that he co-wrote. They are both suitable for people from all walks of life who want to improve their decision-making processes, their own leadership, or to develop those within their team.

Kevin O’Brien

  • B2B Marketing Leaders Forum, London, Sept 19, 2018 – completed
    • “Developing a Resiliency Mind-set for Modern-Day Business Leaders: Lessons from Scott, Shackleton and the Heroic Age”
    • Conference attended by 150 CMO’s (Chief Marketing Officers)
    • Testimonial from B2B Marketing provided above
  • Present Day Club, Princeton NJ Sept 12, 2018 – completed
    • “Leadership, Team Work and Decision Making: Lessons from the Antarctic”
    • Private members club was founded by Woodrow Wilson’s wife.
    • 116 in the audience. Testimonial from Club President provided.
  • Credit Suisse Investment Bank, London July 12, 2018 – completed
    • “Disruptive Innovators and early Antarctic Explorers” 
    • 370 Credit Suisse employees attended from 16 different countries.

Feedback from Credit Suisse employees:

  • “So inspiring. So true. So much we should derive from it.  One of the must have seen presentations”
  • “Great stories from South Pole & great extreme decision-making lessons. Thank you!”
  • “The session gave me insights into different and important perspective to the bigger purpose, goals, the zeal to achieve them beyond the perceived limits of human capabilities at a personal and professional level.”

From Irene and Sam Goldfarb, who attended the Princeton book talks

We thoroughly enjoyed the two lectures on Antarctica, which were both informative and entertaining.

Brad Borkan’s enthusiasm for the subject shone through and the excellent photographs added drama. Your tie-in with decision making, which is so much in the current interest thanks to Daniel Kahneman, added a unique touch to the subject. Compared to the explorers, our own decision making seems mundane.

We are looking forward to more of your stories of Antarctica.

Thank you so much for your talk tonight. Really passionate and inspiring…. exactly what I needed to help my own decision making.

S. Lawrence, London, UK

2019 book talks & events

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 to replay below)

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 (In the audience was Don Kerr — his Grandfather was on 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
  • London: Keynote talk at a business conference with 70 attendees, Oct 4, 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.
  • Ireland: Antarctic Conference Oct 28, 2017
  • Princeton, NJ: Princeton PSRC Dec 4, 2017 
    • “More Tales from the Antarctic”
TV interview: Brad talking with Dr. Joan Goldstein

TV interview

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

David presenting at book launch, Fram Museum, Oslo

Brad presenting Antarctic Lessons in Leadership at the B2B Marketing Conference

Presenting to 150 business leaders in London

Book talk description - click to enlarge

Testimonial from the Present Day Club, Princeton, NJ (click to enlarge)

From Chris Page, Business Conference Producer

… an enthralling and engaging session, packed with insights and thought-provoking points.

Brad Borkan presenting in Princeton NJ

Event in Princeton, NJ

From Baz Gray — a modern-day Polar explorer

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

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 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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