Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Warrior Ethos” as Want to Read:
The Warrior Ethos
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Warrior Ethos

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  3,254 ratings  ·  209 reviews

We are all warriors. Each of us struggles every day to define and defend our sense of purpose and integrity, to justify our existence on the planet and to understand, if only within our own hearts, who we are and what we believe in. Do we fight by a code? If so, what is it? What is the Warrior Ethos? Where did it come from? What form does it take
Kindle Edition, 112 pages
Published (first published March 11th 2011)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Warrior Ethos, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Warrior Ethos

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,254 ratings  ·  209 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Warrior Ethos
Jul 28, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military
My review of this book will differ markedly from most. To start, I am not a fan of the Spartans, in fact, I find it inconceivable that an ethical individual count find a single redeeming feature in their society. Sparta was a militarily oriented state bereft of art, science, culture, and, for that matter, commerce. Their society survived only by a reliance on a fascist form of government that ruthlessly exploited and terrorised a subject population and its own citizens.

The most indicative examp
Annabelle Dorion
Mar 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military
I only picked up this book a year ago, because my coworker, a Major in the U.S. Marine Corps and an instructor for NROTC, told me that this book has a lot of practical insight not just on the archetype of a warrior, but on life in general. I figured "why not", and the fact that it was less than a 100 pages was attractive. This is my second time reading this book as I'm going through some major decisions in my life right now.

Not only does this book look into the mindset and drive of a warrior, bu
Simon Salt
Sep 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
Short and to the point. I read this book in a couple of hours. But in that time Steven Pressfield manages to encompass more than a decade of my life. As someone who served in the military this was a wonderful exposition on why so many choose to serve.
But this book is not meant only for members, past and present, of the military. It is for everyone who has ever fought a battle, against any obstacle. Whether you fight your weight, your boss, your spouse, your own creativity. This is a book you wa
Jun 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-read, war
This is a slender, concise book on warriors by Steven Pressfield, a man who has spent much of his life studying and writing about their ways. It is slanted toward the West and the Spartans in particular, whom are a brutal, dysfunctional bunch, albeit highly effective. This was a quick, enlightening read, but I wish Pressfield would have widened his lens to include the Samurai, Kshatriya, and the East-- cultures that embrace the spiritual path alongside a martial one. But, as his novels attest, h ...more
Feb 01, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Sure parts of the values and ideas presented in this book can be useful if applied wisely. But at the same time what Pressfield presents as the “Warrior Ethos” is the thinking that is responsible for vast amount of human suffering. To uncritically celebrate it as done by Pressfield is just totally vulgar.
John Lewandowski
It was a brief book. It started out good and strong saying that courage/bravery could be applied to all things in life, but the book quickly shifted to praising the never ending wars for oil. Mr Pressfield glorifies those who fight in these conflicts, elevating them to strange noble tiers. It was an ok book, but thats all im going to say.
Kent Winward
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Pressfield finesses the warrior ethos into personal development by turning the battles into battles with yourself. Kind of a self-help fight club.
Ryan Kirk
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every once in a while, a book comes along and kicks you in the pants at exactly the time you need it. I think this book caught me at exactly the right time.

In this short book, Pressfield examines famous warriors and warrior cultures, such as Alexander the Great and the Spartans. He pulls out specific passages of historical texts to make his points (which certainly aren't subtle - one short passage is entitled "The Lord of Discipline," another is called "The Purity of the Weapon").

I suspect most
Mar 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
Background: My USMC Sergeant recommended this book since I was due to be promoted soon. He said this book would put me into the proper mindset and that it was an easy read - I agree with the latter, it's almost more of a pamphlet than a book.

I would assume most Marines who go through MCMAP would be familiar with the question, "what is the warrior ethos?" This question usually trips people up because it really is sort of a vague notion and hard to define - I guess that is this book's greatest st
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why this book:
I lead a volunteer reading group for young men early in the pipeline to become SEALs or SWCCs (Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen). We pick relatively short books related to the profession they are entering, and we meet and discuss them. I had read several of Steven Pressfield's books, and followed a couple of his blogs and assumed correctly that this short book would fit well in the "curriculum" I am creating for these young men.
Summary in 3 Sentences:
Pressfield uses the exte
Dec 22, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's important to note that Pressfield specifically states he wrote this short book for "men and women in uniform" and hopes that it can extend to those readers, like myself, who haven't experienced armed conflict.

I imagine for those readers who have fought in wars there is a certain knowing to much of what Pressfield pens about the warrior code, much of which I found enlightening to read. His references, in no great detail, to many of the warrior civilisations like the Spartans were both entert
Max Nova
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: war, cultures
Full review and highlights at

In "The Warrior Ethos," Pressfield plucks a few gems from a variety of ancient sources but adds little new. The book seems to be the result of calculated marketing acumen - "How can I recycle ancient wisdom to create a tiny book that will sell well with the military crowd?" Heavy on Alexander and the Spartans, Pressfield tosses in a few sayings of the Pashtun warriors of Afghanistan to stay relevant for his target audience. Fo
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: success, 2018, masculinity
What is a warrior and what are the qualities that we admire in them?

Pressfield presents a poignant discussion through historical examples of the warrior ethos.

In the west we have lost the sense of honor; we are obsessed with the superficial and abandoned the importance of the character in individuals.

How can we learn from our past and apply the lessons of warrior cultures and their stories? How can we embrace the warrior archetype within ourselves when there are no great battles to be fought?
Mar 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The most famous Spartan mother story is also the shortest

"A Spartan mother handed her son his shield as he prepared to march off to battle. She said, "Come back with this or on it."

That's pretty bad-ass. This book is motivating, inspiring, and thought provoking. You have to pick it up.
John Veon
Jun 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great book for combat veterans to read and to remember. The ethos of the tribe is impossible to remove once you have it - Pressfield clearly distills the essence of the warrior mentality. There is no Rambo.
Dallas Blackburn
Extremely Inspiring and Life Changing Read
I strongly believe that this book is worth reading, simply because of how many life lessons it reinforces. Throughout the book, ancient warrior societies are referenced a lot, but every person can still relate to the book in some way. The idea that everyone is fighting their own battles internally or externally is constantly reinforced throughout the book. This book is inspiring, helpful, and absolutely fascinating while reminding you of how much the War
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Gather round peeps. Steven is going to tell us the history of our people. Get more wood and somebody grab the marshmallows.”

And so, he does. The Warrior Ethos like religious texts points at something that cannot be necessarily related, however it can be understood. Steven takes examples, famous quips, acts of selflessness and heroism and paints a picture for us. I feel that even civilians here can catch a glimpse of what he’s talking about.

At the same time, I can hear another civilian takin
Dennis Murphy
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-war
The Warrior Ethos by Steven Pressfield is something of a collection of maxims that demonstrate by parable the proper behavior of a warrior. This is a book that really shouldn't be read in a day, or in a single hour. It is something to be sampled over a period of time, so that it can be digested more easily if you wish to take it as an instructor. There's not a lot of argumentation, there is simply the assertion that what is being expressed and conveyed from the past is valuable. Most of it is no ...more
Stiltzkin Vanserine
The Spartan way of life has always fascinated me.

Sparta, known for its military prowess, was a nation built on strength, courage, discipline, honor, and sacrifice. Ironically, the old teachings of Sparta are incredibly relevant today—especially that discipline part—because we live in a world flooded with distractions. The sickness of the modern world stems not from scarcity, but from overabundance. People have been doing "dopamine fasts" lately exactly for this reason.

A major key to maturity is
At the beginning, the book was really intense with a code of conduct that seemed so extreme.
Truly warrior like, in terms of honour, putting the group before self. Honestly I felt it was not applicable to my life.

As the book went on, the tone did soften more with acknowledgement that there is a difference in how society views are today. I could see the significance of the writings to me.

Although it is written in the application of a warrior, I see how being selfless, honour, integrity, having a p
Melissa Hevenor
Jun 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Warrior Ethos by Steven Pressfield is very thought provoking particularly, given that we are facing a world pandemic and civil unrest . The book reveals a historical perspective on the warrior mentality giving understanding perhaps to what code of ethics can help mold a brighter future for one and all collectively. This book is not only useful for someone who may seek greater insight as to why they are driven to be in the military or a civil service worker but also to each of us who have fac ...more
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military
Inspirational to a point. As a former soldier and aspiring writer I often find Steven Pressfield writes directly to me, and that was certainly the case in this book. That said, I found it more useful in dialogue with Junger's "Tribes" than as a standalone explanation of how I should continue to adopt a warrior ethos to drive my day to day life. I think Pressfield has lots of important things to say in all of his non-fiction works (and lots of his fiction books too!), I'm just not quite sure this ...more
May 12, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The Warrior Ethos can be finished in the span of an hour or two as a result of it's brevity and lack of in-depth immersion. Paragraphs are virtually non-existent and the books appears to have been designed for people with low attention spans. The concepts of the so-called Warrior Ethos are reptititive, name honour, pride and some other stuff I don't care for. Most of the examples used are the Spartans and the excerpts are taken from Plutarch's book "On Sparta". Despite the extensive success and ...more
Colby Rice
Not my thing, but still enjoyed it. I actually bought this book by accident because I thought it was a part of Stephen Pressfield’s “war of art” series. While “the warrior ethos” definitely harks to a lot of the principles in pressfields artist inspiration books, it doesn’t directly deal with our struggles as artists. However, that does not mean that this book is valueless for artists or writers. I personally used this book to gain a deeper understanding of many of the “warrior“ characters that ...more
I enjoyed the content and it is something that I will reread shortly. The book itself is short and is something that can be read in one sitting. It does a very western few on what the warrior ethos is and shows some of the authors bias from being a former marine.
That being said it does offer some interesting concepts and ideas that I want to reflect further upon.

I do believe however the authors parallels between "tribalism" and the "warrior ethos" are very basic at best. It shows the opinions of
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding. The title speaks for itself even as Pressfield acknowledges that these are his views. His views are shaped by an extensive bibliography here and by his other writings. One either does or does not understand the concept, whether one internalizes the ethos or does not. Who “understands?” As Torrii Mototada once wrote “men of understanding,” by which he means those who know and live the ethos. As Pressfield notes “The language of the Ethos…speaks warrior to warrior…doesn’t care if outs ...more
Nikolay Genchev
May 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When he returned to the grandstand, the officers cheered him wildly, while Philip came forward with tears in his eyes and took his son into his arms. "Look you for a kingdom greater than ours, my son. For Macedonia is plainly too small for you!"

Read it in one sitting and for that I hate myself, for it is the equivalent of binge-watching a brilliant Netflix series. Makes me want to die in battle, haha.
Sam Stamos
May 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Where this book really succeeded for me is in its application of ancient philosophy into modern day conflicts. Pressfield definition of terrorist tactics really drove home to me how the battle is not just a physical one but also a moral one.

Something else that I found to be very provocative was Pressfield's understanding of courage. Courage is inseparable from love and leads to selflessness. This is a universal principle.

I really enjoyed reading this book and revisit it again.
Jul 20, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, this is an inspiring brochure. ;)

TL;DR: it's not as revolutionary as "Do The Work" or "War of Art", it's more like appendix for "Do The Work" that tries to deepen the theme of hard work/being a warrior.

It's not so deep, it's more like a set of inspiring quotes and overview of Spartan's/Greek's/Roman warrior culture (other cultures have almost no coverage at all). It's shallow, and there are much better positions about the topic.
David Cuatt
Sep 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this book, Pressfield describes what he calls the Warrior Ethos and its principal qualities like loyalty, discipline, honor and selflessness. Is there still a place for this code of behavior in modern society? Filled with stories and anecdotes, this book would make a good bedside companion to remind us of qualities which have neglected by many, but can add much to out human experience. Highly recommended.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Welcome and Salutation 1 4 Feb 21, 2019 05:12AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Becoming a Barbarian
  • A Message to Garcia
  • A More Complete Beast
  • The Way of Men
  • The Last Stand of Fox Company: A True Story of U.S. Marines in Combat
  • On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society
  • Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead
  • The Spartan Way: What Modern Men Can Learn from Ancient Warriors
  • Improv Wisdom: Don't Prepare, Just Show Up
  • Warfighting (Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication 1)
  • Black Hearts: One Platoon's Descent Into Madness in Iraq's Triangle of Death
  • A Book of Five Rings: The Classic Guide to Strategy
  • Infantry Attacks
  • The Dichotomy of Leadership: Balancing the Challenges of Extreme Ownership to Lead and Win
  • Limitless: Core Techniques to Improve Performance, Productivity, and Focus
  • Masters of Command: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, and the Genius of Leadership
  • The Patrol: Seven Days In The Life Of A Canadian Soldier In Afghanistan
See similar books…
I was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, in 1943 to a Navy father and mother.

I graduated from Duke University in 1965.

In January of 1966, when I was on the bus leaving Parris Island as a freshly-minted Marine, I looked back and thought there was at least one good thing about this departure. "No matter what happens to me for the rest of my life, no one can ever send me back to this freakin' place a

Related Articles

There's a crisis for writers these days. No more book reviews. Newspapers have cut back drastically. How can a writer get the word out that his...
6 likes · 2 comments
“The hardest thing in the world is to be ourselves. Who are we? Our family tells us, society tells us, laws and customs tell us. But what do we say? How do we get to that place of self-knowledge and conviction where we are able to state without doubt, fear or anger, “This is who I am, this is what I believe, this is how I intend to live my life”?” 8 likes
“Let us be, then, warriors of the heart, and enlist in our inner cause the virtues we have acquired through blood and sweat in the sphere of conflict—courage, patience, selflessness, loyalty, fidelity, self-command, respect for elders, love of our comrades (and of the enemy), perseverance, cheerfulness in adversity and a sense of humor, however terse or dark.” 7 likes
More quotes…