Sir Ranulph Fiennes:
“Powerfully written and compelling. A must-read for anyone with an interest in adventure.”
"A raw and honest account. In Search of Sisu touches on key elements of human psychology, overcoming adversity and difficult decision making on an intensely personal journey.”
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In Search of Sisu is about climbing, overcoming adversity and personal struggle.
The book covers my successful attempt to become the youngest Briton to climb the Seven Summits – the highest mountain on every continent. Aged 17, despite no climbing experience, I read a book about Everest and became obsessed with achieving this ambition. Four years later I stood on top of the world and concluded this dream.
In Search of Sisu covers my intensely personal and raw feelings about my transition from teenager to adulthood and personal struggle on and off the mountains. The book records the lonely, and sometimes futile, path of pursuing a goal that most people thought impossible.
In 2010, aged only 21, I was alone, scared, without a radio and a mere 150m from the top of the world. In a fatigued and focused daze, I continued upwards until making the tough decision to turn my back on the mountain a matter of hours from the summit. A period of despondent introspection followed but I adjusted my negative mindset to concentrate on completing my Seven Summits ambition. After extraordinary climbs to the pristine beauty of Antarctica and the wild rainforests of Indonesia, I concluded it by standing on the summit of Everest in 2011.
What is Sisu?
Sisu is a Finnish concept at the core of their culture and has a unique meaning. It can roughly be translated into English as grit, perseverance and resolve. It is about inner courage and determination. For me it represented overcoming adversity, struggling through personal anguish and finding contentment.
What makes it different from other climbing books?
In Search of Sisu is a self-reflective analysis of the psychology of mountaineering and the intense vulnerabilities of teenagers. It shows the spectrum of human moral failings as well as remarkable examples of friendship, selflessness and courage. The brutality of high altitude reveals the lengths humans are willing to go and suffer to achieve their dreams.
The real aim manifested in those seven mountains was not climbing glory or breaking records but rather an unconventional path to contentment. According to Lao Tzu, “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present." In Search of Sisu is my journey to find inner peace.
After the book is launched in June, it will only be available in paperback in black and white. With your support, my aim is to have a limited edition set of colour copies. I will include some of my remarkable photos inside from far-flung places such as the jungles of Western Papua, the wild beauty of Alaska, the sheer majesty of Antarctica and, of course, from the top of the world.
Below is the book cover and preview of the Prologue.
Risks and challenges
This is my first book and one that was challenging to write. It was an intense and quite emotional experience putting my thoughts down on paper.
I decided to self-publish the book for a variety of reasons. One of the key ones is to be able to tell my honest account of what happened. I wanted to express the unfiltered challenges I met along the way and the remarkable people that were alongside me.
Self-publishing does have associated costs that would usually be paid for by a publisher if an author goes that route. These include a structural editor, a copy-editor, a proofreader, a cover designer, a formatting programme, an ISBN, and sales/marketing. It all adds up which is why I turned to crowdfunding.
The book is almost complete and is currently in the final phase. It’s almost there which is incredibly daunting and exciting.
I now just need your help to make this project happen!
To give you, the reader, the chance to understand the spectrum of human emotions that take place when the stakes are high and a chance to think about what sisu means to you.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)