This book was incredible. Each new chapter had me almost not believing what I was reading. The way that Lansing tells the story make you almost feel the extreme cold temperatures with the crew.
I don't know how these guys survived out there. I am in awe of the challenges they overcame and the points where they could have easily given up, but instead they kept going.
I found myself talking about this story for days after I finished reading the book. I highly recommend this one.
Anyone who is looking for inspiration to overcome challenges in their life.
Anyone who is interested in exploration and the strength of the human spirit, this book has both of those themes constantly on display.
How my life / behavior / thoughts / ideas have changed as a result of reading the book.
In fact, the abiding (and unrealistic) dream of his life—at least superficially—was to achieve a status of economic well-being that would last a lifetime. He enjoyed fancying himself as a country gentleman, divorced from the workaday world, with the leisure and wealth to do as he pleased.
For scientific leadership give me Scott; for swift and efficient travel, Amundsen; but when you are in a hopeless situation, when there seems no way out, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton.
The ship had been named the Polaris. After the sale, Shackleton rechristened her Endurance, in keeping with the motto of his family, Fortitudine vincimus—“By endurance we conquer.”
There was even a trace of mild exhilaration in their attitude. At least, they had a clear-cut task ahead of them. The nine months of indecision, of speculation about what might happen, of aimless drifting with the pack were over. Now they simply had to get themselves out, however appallingly difficult that might be.
those that burdened themselves with equipment to meet every contingency had fared much worse than those that had sacrificed total preparedness for speed.
And yet they had adjusted with surprisingly little trouble to their new life, and most of them were quite sincerely happy. The adaptability of the human creature is such that they actually had to remind themselves on occasion of their desperate circumstances.
Though he was virtually fearless in the physical sense, he suffered an almost pathological dread of losing control of the situation. In part, this attitude grew out of a consuming sense of responsibility. He felt he had gotten them into their situation, and it was his responsibility to get them out. As a consequence, he was intensely watchful for potential troublemakers who might nibble away at the unity of the group.
“Really, this sort of life has its attractions,” Macklin wrote. “I read somewhere that all a man needs to be happy is a full stomach and warmth, and I begin to think it is nearly true. No worries, no trains, no letters to answer, no collars to wear—but I wonder which of us would not jump at the chance to change it all tomorrow!”
In some ways they had come to know themselves better. In this lonely world of ice and emptiness, they had achieved at least a limited kind of contentment. They had been tested and found not wanting.
This indomitable self-confidence of Shackleton’s took the form of optimism. And it worked in two ways: it set men’s souls on fire; as Macklin said, just to be in his presence was an experience. It was what made Shackleton so great a leader.
But at the same time, the basic egotism that gave rise to his enormous self-reliance occasionally blinded him to realities. He tacitly expected those around him to reflect his own extreme optimism, and he could be almost petulant if they failed to do so. Such an attitude, he felt, cast doubt on him and his ability to lead them to safety.
Unlike the land, where courage and the simple will to endure can often see a man through, the struggle against the sea is an act of physical combat, and there is no escape. It is a battle against a tireless enemy in which man never actually wins; the most that he can hope for is not to be defeated.