"True stories that will sear you to the depth of your soul; decision making lessons that will stay with you for the rest of your life." That's how one person described this book.
When Your Life Depends on It is designed to be a thrilling read.
It is an adventure book that looks at the challenging situations faced by early explorers like Scott, Shackleton, Amundsen and Mawson while they were attempting to conquer the great, icy, then-unknown, Antarctic world.
But this book was written to be much more than that. By looking at the life-and-death decisions that these heroic men often had to make, there is much we can learn from them to improve our own modern day decision making--both at a personal level and at a business level.
Across six major expeditions spanning sixteen years, these explorers from the early 1900s faced extremely hazardous conditions, where sheer environment will kill you and the only communication was as far as you could shout. But what is really amazing to learn is that at times, they made bad decisions, though remarkably, very few people died.
The authors place you in their situations, and encourage you to think about what decisions you would have made. For example, at the start of the book they tell the story about a party of three who have been traveling together for two months on the ice, man-hauling a heavy sledge. Food is extremely scarce and their commanding officer is dying of scurvy. They are seventy miles from base camp, and the officer orders them to leave him behind on the ice to save themselves. Disobeying a direct order is mutiny in the early 1900s. Certainly not an easy choice. What would have done?
Lessons and strategies in decision making are revealed throughout the stories, but the book is not prescriptive. The authors encourage you to think about what lessons you can take away from each story.
People have said that the book is fun to read and that it stimulated their own improved decision making while opening their eyes to an incredible period in history--the heroic age of Antarctic exploration.
By the way, you'll have to read the book to find out whether or not they left their commanding officer on the ice, and whether that matches with what you would have done. The outcome of that story is unforgettable, and one of the many good reasons the book is titled, When Your Life Depends on It.
"A remarkable book."
Sir Ranulph Fiennes, the greatest Polar explorer in our lifetime
"The Polar book of the year"
Jonathan Shackleton, descendant of Sir Ernest Shackleton
"A page-turner with true stories that will sear you to the depth of your soul. It brings to life a time when ordinary people faced extraordinary challenges as they pushed forward the boundaries of human knowledge against powerful forces in a hostile environment. The stories and the decision making lessons derived from them will stay with you for the rest of your life."
David Wilson, world-renowned Antarctic historian and descendant of Antarctic explorer Dr. Edward Wilson
"Absolutely inspiring. To me this should be required life reading."
Jean Bartlett, long-time Arts and Features Correspondent, Pacifica Tribune, Oakland Tribune, San Jose Mercury