Sunday, July 25, 2021

The Ad


    When making plans for the Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914, Ernest Shackleton was already an established and savvy explorer who knew the tastes of both victory and a demoralizing defeat. He has been beaten by Amundsen to be the first person to reach the South Pole, and he set his sights on completing the feat of being the first to cross the continent of Antarctica, from the Weddell Sea, through the pole, all the way to the Ross Sea. He understood that the expedition will be extremely hard and dangerous, and did not obscure that fact in his newspaper advertisement that called for perspective members. And this stroke of his leadership genius might be what allowed all the men to survive, sans one foot of poor Blackboro. 

If Shackleton picked his men based on their intellectual merit or skills, who knows if there would be enough motivation and spirit between them to power through what seems like 17 months in the frozen hell. Shackleton's decision to choose men driven by the spirit of adventure rather than monetary or personal gains might have been the most important one, and the now famous newspaper ad allows us a glimpse into how leadership genius can express itself in just a few words.


  1. While reading the conditions the crew were living in, I was amazed at how unshakable their hope and positivity was. Even as they battled food shortages and below freezing temperatures, they still managed to create an enjoyable atmosphere with plays, music, and holiday celebrations. Their ability to find joy is due to their initial desire for the spirit of adventure. I completely agree with you that if the crew had been selected due to money or skill that they would not have been able to make light in such difficult conditions. This quality of the crew makes the story even more likable and enjoyable.

  2. How the crew was able to go so long without giving up hope is amazing to me. I agree with you that Shackleton's choice in making a crew of men driven by the spirit of adventure was one of the most important ones that he made for the voyage. If he were to go with a crew of men who were qualified by the books, and lacking that sense of adventure, the whole trip would have gone differently. I believe that if they were to get stuck in the same situations that the original crew did, they would not have bonded together as much, and that bond is something that was important to them, especially when they were stuck waiting on the Endurance and while on the ice.