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Chop Wood Carry Water: How to Fall In Love With the Process of Becoming Great
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Chop Wood Carry Water: How to Fall In Love With the Process of Becoming Great

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  946 ratings  ·  119 reviews
Guided by “Akira-sensei,” John comes to realize the greatest adversity on his journey will be the challenge of defeating the man in the mirror.

This powerful story of one boy’s journey to achieve his life long goal of becoming a samurai warrior, brings the Train to be CLUTCH curriculum to life in a powerful and memorable way.

Some things you will learn…
—No matter how it feel
Kindle Edition, 112 pages
Published December 14th 2015 by Lulu Publishing Services
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4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  946 ratings  ·  119 reviews

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Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood to read 100 pages of axioms and trite motivational phrases?
Feb 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you overlook the sloppy editing and occasional typographical errors, there's some good - but not necessarily groundbreaking - advice on the process of "becoming great" buried in these pages, wrapped in the trappings of the motivational story of a young man who journeys from America to Japan to become a Samurai Archer.
Jackie B. - Death by Tsundoku
I appreciate what this book is trying to do. But it doesn't work for me. Endless typos and grammatical errors in this edition. As someone who knows quite a bit about Buddhist teachings (you know, for a non-practicing American) I found this dull, disquieting, and in some cases, distasteful. This is a confusing book which allows a modern day American boy to attend a 10-year long Samurai archery school (why, who knows?) and uses sports, pop-culture, and Buddhist references to teach him discipline. ...more
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I learned a lot of lessons I am capable of inputing in my day-to-day life. I think that's really important because a lot of people focus on long term goals and what will happen. This book focuses a lot on what you can do now. What will change your life now. I like that, I'm very interested in changing not only my life but my everyday BAD habits. I thank this book for giving me the ideas and motivation to do that. Also this book helped me climb 6,800 ft!
Cole Hession
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joshua conveys a compelling story of a man named John, who’s childhood dream is to become a samurai archer. Through the mundane work of “chopping wood and carrying water” as well as the many struggles of “beating on his craft” John preserves time and time again. A brilliant story of what falling in love with the process looks like and how to become a master of your craft.
Southey Blanton
Sep 22, 2016 rated it did not like it
I saw this book, it didn't have a ton of pages so I picked it up, really have never tried any sort of Self-Help, motivational type book before and this one hammered home the point about why I haven't.

I'm not sure if the author actually did any research on Samurai culture as halfway through the main advice giver Akira-Sensei expounds on the lord and his love and it made me think, wait didn't these men practice Buddhism or the native Japanese religion of Shinto? Overall this book just seems like a
Kira Karlblom
Dec 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Joshua Medcalf does a great job of explaining overcoming adversity and life's challenges in his novel Chop Wood Carry Water. This novel is a quick read and is very relatable to young athletes because it provides helpful advice when coming upon a challenge. At the climax of the novel one of the main characters (John) was training to be a professional fighter, but had multiple setbacks along the way. Some include- injuries, losing hope, or motivation. The reader can relate to John because he is a ...more
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My good friend Ian R. loaned this book to me. Ian pushes me to read positive, inspiring books that challenge me to be better physically, mentally, and spiritually. This one did just that. It's a simple read broken into 2-3 page chapters, each of which contains a thoughtful parable related to the story as a whole (young American travels to Japan to become a samurai). The central theme of the book is learning to be process-focused instead of goal-focused. It's the kind of book I'd like to read alo ...more
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great and easy read! Wonderful stories and lessons to apply in your daily life.
Feb 06, 2019 added it
Great book full of life lessons
Feb 07, 2019 added it
Great book to learn life lessons.
Julie Steinbarger
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my new favorite books. I will be buying all my nieces and nephews this book for Christmas. I will also be giving this book for graduations. Such great advice for everyone.
Stacie Luizzi
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A must-read!
Amy Moritz
Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
I saw a tweet from Candace Parker about this book so of course I went to find it. Because, well, that's how I roll sometimes. And of course she did not steer me wrong. This was a great read -- easy with lots of flow and an interesting story (a young man who went to train to be a samurai archer) to present life a host of life lessons. Many of them I had heard and thought about before but life is about learning not perfection and I enjoyed being able to think about them again. The meat of the book ...more
Alex Adkins
Jul 22, 2018 rated it liked it
In a succinct, sometimes even terse, Medcalf is able to encapsulate what it means to Chop Wood and Carry Water. The path to essentially loving the process and understanding we are all running our own race's are at the core of the concept. I liken this novel to the image of an iceberg and how at face value, we see only what's above water when in reality, all of the foundations are unseen, much like the accomplishments in our own lives. This novel is a good reminder to find your why in life withou ...more
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: personal-reading
This book is a great quick read. It provides many opportunities for reflection and thinking about the journey we call life. I loved the analogies in the book. Here is one of the great pieces of advice---True Mental toughness--Have a great attitude, give your very best, treat people really really well, have unconditional gratitude--regardless of your circumstances.
Nathan Holm
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is great read and resource for anyone who serious and intentional about maximizing their life.
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book Chop Wood Carry Water is about the main character named John. When John was little John and his brother, Jordan, begin their admiration for samurai warriors specifically archers. John and his family visited different countries in Asia and he and his brother made sure to explore each one. Unfortunately John and his family are in a car accident which leaves Jordan unable to walk, talk, and unable to feed himself for the rest of his life. When John turns 18 he still hasn’t given up on his ...more
Neil Tenney
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Beth Peninger
Jan 28, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

I never would have run across this book, I don't think, if someone had not sent it to me. And I'm so glad they did. It's a great parable of perseverance, dedication, and endurance.
John flew one-way to an ancient city in Japan to train to be a master samurai archer, it had been a dream of he and his brother, Jordan, for a long time. But now John was living the dream for both of them, in a sense. Jordan physically cannot do it. As John begins his training he is excited by all the hours h
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A great short story teaching the principles of success

Not necessarily to be the hardest worker with a burning desire to win at all costs. More to enjoy the process, keep taking consistent daily actions and be the best you can be.

You would be happier if you lost but did the best you could and became a better person in the process than won and then wondered what next.

Whether you win or lose, you will still be there, still have life to live, people to meet and things to do. The better you are the b
Chris Fisher
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is what it is, a cheesy parable used to pass on nuggets of wisdom. If you come to it looking for knowledge on samurai culture, you’ll be disappointed. No, Samurais aren’t Christian and don’t talk about the Lord in terms of Jesus. (It’s only a couple of paragraphs where the author attempts to inject his faith into the book awkwardly.) As with any self-help parable style book, getting sucked into small details like that can derail your enjoyment. Look past it and focus on the message. Pa ...more
Dec 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I could not stop reading this once I started. This has a lot of great insight into building your house. (Once you read the book, that reference will make sense!:) ) I actually do the journaling the way this book mentioned and my perspective on the day is more optimistic! However, if I do not stay consistent then my pessimistic ways return, and my world becomes gloom and doom. I keep highlights of this book in my phone for those moments I just need a strong quote to re-energize my day.
When my lov
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
I feel like I owe this book a rating explanation. I listened to it on the long drive picking up my daughter from camp. It does have some great points/teachings. The insights are good. The two stars comes from my inability to feel authenticity in the writing. I was intrigued by the concept of taking samurai principles and relating them to current cultural lifestyle issues but the connection came across awkward and forced. In addition, at the end of the audio book was a long advertisement for the ...more
Melissa Hindermann
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-help
“Everyone wants to be great until they realize what it takes to be great.” Isn’t that the truth?? Sooo many great life lessons to be learned from this book. The amount self growth and “if you want to be successful” lessons packed into this novel... I can’t even begin to describe how amazing this is. This is the kind of book I can read over and over because there’s no way anyone can take it all in after one read. I’d recommend this to anyone who wants success in their life no matter what their ca ...more
David Neff
Sep 20, 2017 rated it did not like it
Though it came highly recommended by a fellow coach, it was just too simple I think to add value. I just didn't see it or get the lay out. However, I would rate it higher, maybe like a 3 for a very young reader. I will actually have my 8 year old daughter read this as I think it offers a simplified version of Carol Dweck's mindset book and a young reader might benefit from some of the anecdotal lessons.
Melissa Barnard
Feb 01, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book for the most part, even though it wasn't as well written as it could have been. I tried to overlook that for the message itself. I agree with others that this would be super for a younger audience hearing these things for the first time. I also could have done without the last chapter or so that seemed to just turn into an advertisement. Still, for as short as it is, one can take the short amount of time it takes to read it and come away with something good.
Jan 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018-2019
I liked how this book motivates me and teaches me life lessons. It taught me so many things like how to fall in love with the process, to try new things, and that you don't have to be perfect at everything. However, I REALLY didn't liked how the author wrote this book. The chapters are very short and the book never goes in depth about the characters and the plot isn't very good. In this book the author tells more than showing us the lessons the main character learned throughout this book.
Randy Daugherty
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was recommended to me and so glad it was. John wanted to become a Samurai Archer, this is his story.
He learns so much more than archery, he learned to enjoy the process, to evaluate himself as he went.
He learns to be grateful for the small things that success is not reserved for those special people.
This book offers valuable life lessons and I could relate to much of it, I will re visit this one I am sure
Lynnluis Colon
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great fable about how it takes time to get better at things. This tale reminded me that patience is a virtue. I particularly enjoyed the practice of writing down success as a reflection. There is so much focus on the negative that this practice will be a great reminder of the goods things happening. Additionally, this book highlights the importance of a mentor, someone that can push you to be better every day.
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“Everyone wants to be great, until it’s time to do what greatness requires.” 5 likes
“Dream BIG. Start small. Be ridiculously faithful.” 0 likes
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