Endurance

This particular book had been recommended to me several times. It is quite popular in the outdoor recreation community and also in the business leadership community. To tie it into LabVIEW a little: I saw Scott Kelly speak at NI week last year. I was quite impressed, so I bought his book, also called “Endurance”. Inside the jacket cover is a quote from Shackleton. I thought before I read the Scott Kelly book, I would read this one first.

First of all, as someone who likes travel and adventure, this book is just awesome! I can really see why the outdoor community likes it. The whole thing is just one big adventure. The whole premise of crossing the South Pole just seems bold and audacious.

I’m not that into sailing or watersports so that part wasn’t as exciting for me. The author did a really great job with those sections though. Even though the nautical terms got me lost at a few points, I was really caught up in the drama of it all.

Being a mountaineer the part I really identified with was the shared suffering and the dealing with the cold. I’ve had more than share of that so it was definitely relatable. The crossing of South Georgia Island was also really interesting to me. I was particularly amazed at the speed that they made. Their lack of equipment and climbing experience and their undernourishment make it even more amazing.

More than just a study in adventure, it is also a great study in leadership. Twenty Eight men stranded for sixteen months in some pretty awful conditions and no mutiny or insurrection. Some grumbling and disagreements, but generally they all came together as a team. That in itself is pretty amazing. Add to that given the conditions and perilous situations no one died. One person even survived having their foot amputated due to frostbite. It’s all a rather amazing story.

Reading this during the Corona Virus added another dimension to it. It made it much easier to embrace the sense of isolation. Yes there were 28 of them, but they had zero contact with the outside world. Imagine being in the group that got left on Easter Island, sitting there waiting for 4 months without having any idea if anyone was even coming for you.

I thought it was a great book. Very entertaining. I highly recommend it.

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