I was age eight when I stumbled upon a book about the early Antarctic explorers. Their stories immediately captivated my imagination. “𝘞𝘩𝘺 𝘸𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦 in the early 1900’s struggle so mightily to get 𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘳𝘦𝘮𝘰𝘵𝘦 𝘴𝘱𝘰𝘵𝘴 𝘰𝘯 E𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘩?!” – this question kept coming to my mind. It’s just a location… with a bunch of snow, isn’t it? Why would anyone risk his or her life to travel to this place? The more I thought about it, the more intrigued I became.
It was from that moment that I developed a deep interest in polar and Antarctic history, and also a curiosity about why people make the decisions they do. What is that motivates people?
This fascination from my childhood helped to shape my career as a writer. I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, in Decision Sciences. In my entire career, I have been working for large software companies, helping businesses making better decisions. But even then, Antarctic expeditions were always at the back of my mind.
I was also always interested in technology and desired to be part of something new and hi-tech. This made my 27 years of career as an IT professional exciting and fun.
Yet, somewhere I was missing a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction. While on the job, I started questioning my career goals and success. I deeply felt that my IT career was insufficient as I couldn’t reach the goal I wanted to. I always envisioned the Antarctica explorers working towards their passion and this made me feel the void in mine. I realized that my goal of reaching a certain level in the company was not possible to achieve and I started relating this to Sir Ernest Shackleton’s experience. I felt that just like him I can’t reach my destination, my own South Pole but I can reach somewhere… do something I had always wanted to do.
All these events finally led to my decision to write a book about the Antarctic explorers. There were hundreds of books on the explorers and their expeditions, however, not a single one of them focused exclusively on the life-and-death decisions they made on the ice and why they took that particular decision at that moment. So, it became the base of my idea. I took up this task to tell the story which no one had told till now. This book was in me as I was always interested in decision-making skills and the Polar explorers.
Working remotely with my co-author, David Hirzel, (I was in London and he was in California) we spent the first months of our collaboration deciding on the contents and layout of the book. After two years of working days, nights and weekends, in 2017 our book – 𝘞𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘠𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘓𝘪𝘧𝘦 𝘋𝘦𝘱𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘴 𝘰𝘯 𝘪𝘵: 𝘌𝘹𝘵𝘳𝘦𝘮𝘦 𝘋𝘦𝘤𝘪𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘔𝘢𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘓𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘈𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘳𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘤 – was born. The book has been endorsed by Sir Ranulph Fiennes (the world’s greatest living Polar explorer) and, amazingly, the audiobook narrated by Dennis Kleinman, was a finalist in the prestigious Voice Arts Awards for “Best Audiobook- History Category” which landed Dennis and I at a red carpet event in Hollywood! We didn’t win, but it was an experience of a lifetime.
I thought I’d share the secret I used to make my book a step closer to perfection… I had to come up with a strategy to make my ‘author’ time as productive as possible. My trick was quite simple – to read my writing over and over again… for 2-3 times in a week, before I went to bed. Regular practice helped me to let my brain process information subconsciously even while I am sleeping. This surprising method helped a lot in saving time and effort.
My goal in writing the book was to put the reader in a position to think about the explorer’s life-and-death situations and to consider what their own course of action in those conditions would have been. I believe the book reveals valuable lessons about leadership, teamwork, and sheer grit and determination that can help all of us to make better decisions in our day-to-day life.
The entire journey – beginning from ideation to finishing the book, was not easy. Yet I enjoyed my time! It required a lot of research and checking the credibility of our ideas, to put together a ground-breaking non-fiction book. It may seem hard to believe, but at times it took over 2 hours of research just to write one sentence! The biggest challenge I faced while writing was a shortage of time as I had a hi-tech full-time job and a family to look after. On the other hand, not all the records from the diaries of the early explorers doing the expeditions fell in sync. Deciding on the elements to include and not to include in the book was challenging. Thanks to a great co-writer, we pulled this off! It was truly a team effort.
After the success of our first book, David and I are hard at work towards our new book –
𝘈𝘶𝘥𝘢𝘤𝘪𝘰𝘶𝘴 𝘎𝘰𝘢𝘭𝘴, 𝘙𝘦𝘮𝘢𝘳𝘬𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘙𝘦𝘴𝘶𝘭𝘵𝘴: How an Explorer, an Engineer and a Statesman S𝘩𝘢𝘱𝘦𝘥 𝘖𝘶𝘳 𝘔𝘰𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘯 𝘞𝘰𝘳𝘭𝘥.
This new book reveals the mind set of three extraordinary people who were instrumental in six epic achievements that greatly influenced the entire world, one of which was the building of the Panama Canal. I hope again to land at the Voice Arts Awards with my audiobook narrator, Dennis Kleinman, and this time, perhaps this time we will win.
I truly hope that my story inspires others to write books, as well as to learn more about Antarctica. It’s a very special and wonderful place!
Total Work Experience : 25 Years (Oracle, SAP)
Brad’s Book is now available on Amazon : 𝘞𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘠𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘓𝘪𝘧𝘦 𝘋𝘦𝘱𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘴 𝘰𝘯 𝘪𝘵