Written By: David Goggins
If your an ultra runner you’ve definitely heard of David Goggins but even if your not theres probably a good chance you have. David Goggins went through 3 Navy Seal hell weeks in one year, he’s the only member of the US Armed Forces to complete SEAL training, US Army Ranger School, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller training. Mr. Goggins has also competed and participated in some of the most difficult endurance events on earth such as the Bawater 135 a 135 mile ultramarathon that takes you through Death Valley which has the highest ever recorded temperature in the world of 134 °F (56.7 °C), H.U.R.T 100 another 100 mile ultramarathon that takes you through a very humid, moist, technical & root covered track amongst the jungle in Hawaii, the Western States 100 one of the original and most prestigious 100 mile ultramarathons which takes place on California’s Sierra Nevada Mountain trails, Leadville 100 another prestigious and highly sought after 100 mile ultramarathon which takes you through the heart of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and the Ultra Trail Mont-Blanc arguably the most prestigious mountain ultramarathon in the world which covers 171 km across the Alps in France, Switzerland and Italy and accumulates 10,000m+ of accent. Mr. Goggins also placed second in the Ultraman World Championship Triathlon in Hawaii, a 3 day triathlon that includes a 6.2-mile (10-km) ocean swim and a 90-mile (145-km) cross country bike ride on day one, a 171.4-mile (276-km) bike ride on day two and a 52.4-mile (84-km) double marathon on day 3, he’s competed in the ultramarathon bicycle race Furnace Creek 508 and in 2013 he held the record for the most pull-ups in a 24 hour period (4,030). He completed many of these achievements whilst seriously injured, continuing to go on when most give up. That’s a long resume and not even a quarter of it, David Goggins is one tough dude, in fact that’s what the book is all about. Mr. Goggins shares his story on how he became the man he is today, how he hardened his mind and created the tools that allowed him to get to the edge of human will and endurance. Mr. Goggins became a master of his mind and through the book tries to educate readers on how to master their own minds.
Before I go in depth with this review I should let you know I’m reviewing the audiobook version of the book. It’s important I point this out because Mr. Goggins does something really unique. Within the audiobook Mr. Goggins along with the narrator of the audiobook Adam Skolnick includes podcast like discussions which go more in depth on what happened in the previous chapter. It’s an awesome format that allows the listener to really get a better understanding of Mr. Goggins, what he was thinking, where he was coming from and how it translates to creating a stronger mind.
Ok first of all I loved this book tremendously and as someone who doesn’t need motivation to get going I felt like I could conquer the world everytime I listened to this book. Theres something about Mr. Goggins approach to life and method of becoming stronger mentally that I gravitate towards. His method is a no bulls**t approach that includes suffering and earning your stripes, that everyone no matter your background can work hard and become hard. It’s a self help book I didn’t know I was looking for. The book takes you back to David Goggins beginnings where he along with his mother was violently abused by his father, where his soon to be step father was murdered and where at times David and his mother depended on food stamps to eat. Mr. Goggins admits that this f**ked him up for a time in his life, killed his confidence and self-worth and he admits he adopted the victim mentality. However eventually he started checking himself in his self created “accountability mirror” and didn’t like what he saw, this is what kickstarted the change in Mr. Goggins that would eventually make him the “hardest man alive”. Mr Goggins honesty in this book is refreshing, besides talking about his bedwetting issues as a child he admits even after he checked himself in the accountability mirror it wasn’t all positive changes from there. He still made mistakes and still gave up at times, it shows that becoming the man he is today and and creating a bulletproof mind didn’t just come from a flip of a switch, it took time and many pitfalls of slipping back to old habits, it makes him more relatable and human.
Instead of sugar coating life and telling the readers “you can do it” and “it’ll be alright” Mr. Goggins straight out says life is f**cking hard and that to become harder and mentally stronger you have to go though and do things you f**cking hate. If you hate the cold, you need put yourself in situations where you’re going to get cold, if your scared of water you need to get in the water. This is his what he learnt and is now his approach to life, that being uncomfortable is what makes you a mentally stronger human being, you need to fight the voice of least resistance in your head. It’s simple and 100% true. He also goes on to talk about facing your own inner demons so you can move forward and create a strong foundation within yourself. For Mr. Goggins it was going back to see his abusive father. This is one of the awesome things about the book he doesn’t just tell the reader you have to do this or that. He first takes you through his life, tells you the reader what that part of his life did to him at the time and then later taught him and then shows how he’s applied that lesson he learnt to his life. Then he shares this with the reader/listener and tells us how we can incorporate it in our lives. It’s an awesome format. In the audiobook he expands on these lessons and goes into more detail about the events that took place which creates a stronger message.
I’m going through my second listen of the book as I write this review and the repeated message of do what makes you uncomfortable hits home for me no matter how much times it’s repeated. Theres so many lessons to take away from the book, all of which I agree with and relate to however this one stands out for me the most. Mr. Goggins has such a unique personality and outlook on life and it shines through in this book. He does a fantastic job of recounting his life from the lows of his abusive childhood to the scared failings of a teenager/young adult to the now successful “hardest man on earth” he is now. Everything is included; his bedwetting, his weight loss, his dead end job as an insect exterminator, his abusive relationship with his father, his SEAL training, his military career, his heart surgery, his ultramarathon journey, everything. All of it is recounted with the commentary of the man himself as he draws the lessons his life taught him that created “the hardest man on earth”. I can understand that for some he might come across as too intense and angry or he swears too much or his sadistic, however I feel that people who feel this way may not be grasping the message and don’t fully understand where he’s coming from. In my eyes this book is perfect and the audiobook version is outstanding, adding in the extra podcast clips was an ingenious idea and was the cherry on top. I can’t recommend this book enough to EVERYONE!