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Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds

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For David Goggins, childhood was a nightmare - poverty, prejudice, and physical abuse colored his days and haunted his nights. But through self-discipline, mental toughness, and hard work, Goggins transformed himself from a depressed, overweight young man with no future into a U.S. Armed Forces icon and one of the world's top endurance athletes. The only man in history to complete elite training as a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller, he went on to set records in numerous endurance events, inspiring Outside magazine to name him "The Fittest (Real) Man in America."

In Can't Hurt Me, he shares his astonishing life story and reveals that most of us tap into only 40% of our capabilities. Goggins calls this The 40% Rule, and his story illuminates a path that anyone can follow to push past pain, demolish fear, and reach their full potential.

366 pages, Audible Audio

First published November 15, 2018

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David Goggins

20 books3,692 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 11,190 reviews
Profile Image for Gareth Otton.
Author 6 books75 followers
December 29, 2018
I'm of two minds about this book.

On the one hand, it's an inspiring story of a man who has overcome a lifetime of struggle and proved that you can do anything if you're willing to push yourself. In the first half of the book especially this was a message that resonated with me and made me think about David Goggins as a man to look up to.

On the other hand, it's a cautionary tale of a man who is so stubborn he can not learn from his past mistakes. He is constantly going into situations underprepared and then pushing his body past the point of sanity in order to accomplish a goal and seemingly expecting applause for that. Were he in some life or death situation then I might just give him said applause, but instead, he is always just trying to prove something to himself which is a really unhealthy way to go through life.

Overall there were two main lessons to take from Mr Goggins story. One is that if you really put your mind to a task you can achieve the impossible. The second is that there is nothing admirable about taking the path of highest resistance just for the sake of personal pride. Yes, Mr Goggins has achieved amazing things, but there are others who have achieved similar results in a more intelligent and healthy way.

In the end, I came in exactly on the halfway mark in regards to how I felt about this book and I have rounded up for the sake of not wanting to give this book a 2-star review.

One final note is a comment on the audiobook. Mr Goggins made the decision to insert multiple interludes that feature the narrator interviewing him. These were interesting at first but soon grew really tiresome. They felt really self-serving as each one went along the lines of the narrator expressing how in awe of David Goggins he was, and David Goggins expressing yet again how hard it was for him to achieve his goals. I could have done without 50% of these as well.
Profile Image for Mehrsa.
2,234 reviews3,657 followers
December 7, 2019
I feel like everyone is going to hate me for this review, but I just don't get the love for this book. I thought the first 1/3rd of this book was fantastic--the part where he is growing up is just striking, but then the rest of the book is just a bunch of really amazing physical feats. I have so much respect for Goggins, but the book is all about domination. Dominate your body. Dominate your enemies. "eat their souls." Don't be a "pussy"! His training guy yells at them at one point to stop being a bunch of "vaginas." I mean, come on! Running on a broken foot is super badass and all, but have you ever seen a "vagina" during childbirth? I know they are not literally saying "vaginas" and this book was written a long time ago when sexism was ok, but it's just hard to feel inspired when your body parts are basically the symbol of weakness.
Profile Image for  Sarah Lumos.
124 reviews99 followers
December 9, 2018
OH MY GOSH!!! DAMN. This book was such an unexpected treasure and I am shocked it does not have more ratings. Guys, you need to read this book. It was one of the best books I have ever read. I would recommend giving the audiobook a try. It is part audiobook and part podcast. In between chapters, Goggins actually gives new insight and commentaries on his extraordinary life.

Goggins was not meant to amount to much. He was supposed to become another statistic. Instead, through sheer work ethic and will power, he became a Navy Seal, motivational speaker, and athlete. This is not your typical self-help book. I love reading self-help books like this because you know they came from a person who has lived through the struggle. He is a living example of everything he talks about in this book.

I love and admire Goggins's passion, grit, and resilience. His ability to push past discomfort to be all that he can be is astounding. I know I am raving about this book like crazy, but it really was life changing. Like, OH MY GOSH!!!

Anybody can benefit from this book. For instance, I was reading this book from the perspective of a student who really wants a career in academia. If I wanted to pursue something like that, it would require great self-discipline and focus. This book helped me see how I can push past discomfort to achieve my goals.

I am serious when I say this book changed my life, and I know I will listen to it again in the future. I want to better absorb all the wisdom Goggins has to offer his readers. A phenomenal, life-changing book that everyone should listen to. I could not stop listening to it and I dreaded it being over. You know a book is good when you want it to last forever. :)
Profile Image for Dr. Appu Sasidharan (Dasfill).
1,135 reviews2,166 followers
February 24, 2023

This is a memoir that shows us the real importance of hard work. David Goggins beautifully portrays how hard work, self-discipline, and mental toughness transformed his life from a depressed, overweight young man to the only man in history to complete elite training as a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller.

What I learned from this book
1) The 40% rule
The author tells us that most of us are able to use only 40% of our capabilities. He calls it the 40% rule. He tells us that we should be able to go beyond this 40% by demolishing fear, going with full confidence and hard work to reach our true full potential.
"When you think that you are done, you're only 40% in to what your body's capable of doing. That's just the limits that we put on ourselves. The human body can withstand and accomplish a hell of a lot more than most of us think possible, and that it all begins and ends in the mind."

2) How did David Goggins convert a difficult situation like the winter storm to his advantage?
The author tells us the situation where he faced a winter storm in the mountains during his fortnight field training exercises (FTX's) with minimal protective equipment and food. His colleagues wheezed and coughed with their eyes wide with terror. He feared that someone would die from frostbite, hypothermia, or pneumonia. He found this winter storm as an opportunity to lead by example. He tells us the importance of coming out of the comfort zone. He looked at the winter storm as a platform to become uncommon among uncommon men.
"No matter who you are, life will present you similar opportunities where you can prove to be uncommon. There are people in all walks of life who relish those moments, and when I see them, I recognize them immediately because they are usually that person who's all by himself. It's the suit who's still at the office at midnight while everyone else is at the bar, or the badass who hits the gym directly after coming off a forty-eight-hour op. She's the wildland firefighter who instead of hitting her bedroll, sharpens her chainsaw after working a fire for twenty-four hours. That mentality is there for all of us. Man, woman, straight, gay, black or white. All of us can be the person who flies all day and night only to arrive home to a filthy house, and instead of blaming family or roommates, cleans it up right then because they refuse to ignore duties undone."

3) Kaizen technique
David Goggins is indirectly mentioning the kaizen technique in this book. He tells us the importance of small achievements in life, which will help us achieve big. To know more about Kaizen, please read this book, Kaizen by Suki R. Johns.
"We all need small sparks, small accomplishments in our lives to fuel the big ones. Think of your small accomplishments as kindling. When you want a bonfire, you don't start by lighting a big log. You collect some witch's hair—a small pile of hay or some dry, dead grass. You light that, and then add small sticks and bigger sticks before you feed your tree stump into the blaze. Because it's the small sparks, which start small fires, that eventually build enough heat to burn the whole fucking forest down."

My favourite three lines from this book
“Pain unlocks a secret doorway in the mind, one that leads to both peak performance, and beautiful silence.”

“I thought I’d solved a problem when really I was creating new ones by taking the path of least resistance.”

"It's funny, humans tend to hatch our most challenging goals and dreams, the ones that demand our greatest effort yet promise absolutely nothing, when we are tucked into our comfort zones."

What I didn’t like in this book
There is a lot of swearing in this book, which some people might find offensive. It is true that the author's language might pump you up and motivates you to push forward over the obstacles. But some readers might think his language as inane and will make them indignant and discontent.

4/5 Major portion of this book is dedicated to various exercises and how the author was able to do it despite the difficulties. It will be a great add-on to the book The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding: The Bible of Bodybuilding, Fully Updated and Revised by Arnold Schwarzenegger. It enables you to shape both your body and soul and the people's lives related to you. If you feel indolent in your comfort zone or are currently going through a tough phase in life, this book will help to motivate you and get back on track.
Profile Image for Mindaugas Mozūras.
293 reviews158 followers
May 11, 2019
I hope you’re ready. It’s time to go to war with yourself.

I recommend therapy.
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,113 reviews44.4k followers
August 11, 2022
Second Read - August 2022

I revisited this one because I recently realised my life had gotten far too comfortable and somewhere along the line I stopped challenging myself. Reading it is like getting a pep talk. And it had it's desired effect: I've just entered a rather large ultra-marathon. Time to start training!

First Read - March 2020

“You are in danger of living a life so comfortable and soft, that you will die without ever realizing your true potential.”

The words of David Goggins resonate with me on a level that I cannot quite describe.

I understand what it is to watch people suffer and fail because they did not believe in themselves. I understand what it is to watch people waste their lives and fuck up time and time again. I will not walk that path.

Motivation is not enough to pull us through. It comes and goes, like the wind. Something much stronger is needed for ultimate success. Some would call it an unrelenting drive. Some would call it obsession. Call it what you will, but what it needs to be is a singular pursuit for a goal that never dies. It must continue on the days when motivation ceases to exist. It must continue on the days when you feel like death and the world overwhelms you.

What I love about Goggins is his brutal honesty. He writes from a position from strength and success, but these traits were only born from weakness and a brutal backstory that gave him the drive he needed to take on some massive challenges.

“I thought I’d solved a problem when really I was creating new ones by taking the path of least resistance.”

The truth is, we will only ever get anywhere in life through hard work and even then life might surprise us and leave us in the gutter. But we don’t know unless we try, we don’t know if we don’t give this game everything we have and all that we are. We have one life, so why not spend it trying to become the best version of yourself and trying to help as many people as possible on the way?

I listen to clips from Goggins every morning to keep me sane. I listen before every training run I do. I listen because Goggins has found a method that works and he wants you to try it to.


You can connect with me on social media via My Linktree.
Profile Image for Jarrod.
15 reviews5 followers
January 22, 2019
Pain =/= gain.

This book is only about pushing past pain, taking pain meds, and constantly being in unbelievably stupid situations purely because he thinks "Pain" = gain.

There are multiple times where if others were not around to save him, he would have died.

I gave the first 25% of the book a benefit of the doubt that Goggins would get smarter, but as the book and his life progressed what you're reading is a story about someone who is never prepared, and always just pushing through pain even to his own detriment. It feels like he never actually learns.

Goggins will never not take the opportunity to say that he was the first to do something.

Never winning, never being the 1/40 warrior that he talks about and that's all because he does not see anything more then having to constantly push past pain as his only ability.

I'm sure others will think that what he pushed through and have achieved are amazing feats of mental toughness. His pain tolerance is impressive, I won't disagree there but the fact that there's multiple times that he would have died if others had not been there for him just baffles me as to why that's a good thing?

I think there are some good techniques and things that this book teaches about pushing through pain and being tough but those are not unique to this book and are better found elsewhere.
Profile Image for Kelly.
92 reviews
March 6, 2019
I'm divided on whether or not I like this book.

I'll preface this review with acknowledgement that Goggins survived a brutal, abusive childhood, and that kind of upbringing will certainly mold the choices a person makes as an adult. Through all of the audiobook, I kept thinking to myself that Goggins consistently sought pain, and not necessarily because I felt he needed to prove himself to... his peers, himself... God. I think he was unwittingly drawn to pain because that's what he grew up with and it was familiar and comfortable to him. I know that sounds like an oxymoron - pain being comfortable. But that's all he knew. He knew how to cope with it and handle it.

His being drawn to pain certainly pushed him to excel in painful situations - most specifically physical. I'd be interested in hearing more about his life on the emotional side, as the majority of the book is spent talking through how he overcame physical barriers and pain (many of which, after childhood, were voluntary choices he made.) As he's divorced twice, there's something going on back there on the emotional side that he clearly wasn't comfortable with sharing with his audience, and I'm sure he's probably still working that out for himself.

Really the best part of the book for me was towards the end when he finally saw a small shimmer of humility when he was thinking he may be dying. I saw full re-emergence of his ego, however, when he turned his stretching routine into yet another physical challenge he had to master.

Everything is an internal fight with him. And for some people, that's fine, and maybe that's the only way they can push through life. And I agree that comfort zones kill. Maybe not physically, but they can certainly kill a person's spirit. I don't think we're meant to live our lives in comfort 100% of the time. There's a drive in all of us that wants us to test our boundaries and do something more. He's got a lot of great advice on how to nurture that drive instead of put it back up on the shelf.

However, I'll disagree with the mindset that we're here on this planet to compete and battle - either other people or ourselves. Goggins is a type A personality which means everything has to be a competition with him. He's discontent unless he knows he's "better than". He's never "enough" in his heart. At least not at the point of his finishing the book.

I disagree with his view on a punishing higher power, as well. But that's another story, and he only dedicated perhaps .02% of this book to anything spiritual. But I feel that view of a punishing higher power feeds his "I'm not enough" mindset and fear.

Being a woman, I'll put it out there - I found the constant derogatory insults towards women highly distasteful, and I just about ceased listening to the rest of the book altogether when I heard him use the phrase "I need to hem my vagina." Goggins, you have no clue there. I can deal with all the rest of the cursing - that's life for our amazing, hard-working soldiers, but it's still disappointing even in this day and age that men still need to describe feminine traits and feminine body parts as points of weakness. I'm not sure if your nod to the women wildfire fighters was enough to take away the overall disdain you seem to feel towards women that was sprinkled throughout the rest of the book.

So, this is a good book, to me, if you're specifically looking how to push yourself past painful physical barriers (and physical can mean actual athletic sports, or writing a book.) I don't think this is a great read, however, if you're wanting to learn how to love and accept yourself and handle life on life's terms. Acceptance of not always getting your way and being willing to let go takes some real mature thinking.
Profile Image for Faye Zheng.
144 reviews8 followers
November 13, 2019
Fascinating man who overcame a lot (to put it lightly) to achieve insane physical feats. However, I cannot abide by his extreme mentality and largely found his approach to be awful advice to live by. I struggled to get through this book.

Pushing himself to the point of kidney failure, stroke, broken bones, extreme pain and suffering, is Goggin’s way of proving that he’s “a hard motherfucker” and the ultimate “uncommon among the uncommon”. That’s great and all, but there is chapter after repetitive chapter on how he shows up to seriously grueling endurance races completely underprepared and predictably suffers the consequences. I quickly lost patience with this. The man chases pain for the sake of pain, and has no concept of training smart.

The tone of the book reeks - REEKS! - of toxic masculinity. Of an unwillingness to show weakness or vulnerability, of needing to constantly be chasing displays of machismo. Sprinkled throughout are degrading comments like “I knew I was being a whiny bitch, but I knew I had to hem my vagina” and many references to “pussy” to mean “weak”.

I understand that the man has serious demons, but he’d be better-served nurturing himself with therapy, instead of stuffing those demons under situations of extreme physical and mental suffering that he voluntarily constructs for himself.
Profile Image for Brandice.
855 reviews
March 6, 2023
Roger that. Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds is powerful. David Goggins is a former veteran, a Navy SEAL, and an army ranger, who overcame many obstacles in life and is now known for his incredible athleticism, competing in endurance events worldwide. He shares his life story in unapologetic detail and I was hooked.

Goggins had to endure a hellish childhood with an abusive father. He witnessed awful things at such a young age. After school, he joined the military, holding many impressive positions over several years. He retired and now competes in grueling athletic events, including long-distance runs of 100+ miles. His story about BUDs training for the Navy SEALs was intense. As a listener, I was exhausted just thinking about the rigorous intense physical activities required day in and day out. It was a very real example of mind over matter.

Goggins shares lots of his own experiences throughout the book. The biggest themes are holding yourself accountable, to the highest standard on a daily basis; maximizing your potential; and stretching your mind, to its limitless bounds. A large portion of the book focuses on physical fitness improvement. While undoubtedly inspiring, you don’t have to complete BUDS training or even want to run marathons to implement these principles — They can be applied to many facets of life. A couple of favorites:

- Know the terrain. Know yourself. And know your adversary, in detail.

- Abandon the path of least resistance and do not let your desire for comfort rule you.

Adam Skolnick did a good job as the audiobook narrator, and Goggins chimes in frequently as well. Initially, I personally didn’t care for their added discussion, though I didn’t feel it detracted from the book. Over time, it actually grew on me. I enjoyed the blunt, informal tone throughout the book too — It kept things relatable and the message is motivating. Can’t Hurt Me is a book I’ll think about for a long time, and one worth revisiting for a solid dose of self-discipline and inspiration.
Profile Image for Peter Yock.
177 reviews13 followers
June 11, 2019
This book should be called ‘How I got famous for making really stupid decisions that ruined my relationships, body, and mental health.’

This book can be very entertaining. Especially the behind-the-scenes brutal accounts of navy training. But seriously, Goggins’ story is one of seemingly ignorant PTSD and extreme inconsistency. His only consistency is hyper selfishness. What kind of fool runs on broken legs? This one. What kind of guy says ‘don’t let me motivate you’ or ‘I’m not an example’ and then spends the rest of the book trying to get you to emulate his steps? This guy. What kind of guy says he lives for nobody but his own opinion, but then clearly makes so many huge decisions on the basis of what others will think of him? Goggins.

Can’t believe where the book ended up - so close to an accurate portrayal of judgment before God. Yet so far. He’s a man desperately in need of healing and forgiveness. But he doesn’t seem to know it at all.

I went through waves of being entertained and annoyed the whole book. If you want to be entertained by extreme physical and relational folly, this book’s for you. But it seems pretty clear to me that he’s a model fool.
Profile Image for Swrp.
662 reviews
November 3, 2020
"The Can't Hurt Me" mentality!

"From the time you take birth, you become eligible to die... You also become eligible to become a warrior. I hope you are ready! It's time to go to war!!"

Can't Hurt Me is all about, as the subtitle of the book states, mastering the mind and defying the odds. This book is the inspiring story of David Goggins - his struggle during childhood, hardwork and perseverance to become a Navy Seal and Army Ranger, faith and belief in himself while overcoming severe health challenges - and many more life lessons.

Just a heads up : this is a straightforward and raw account, hence be prepared for multiple usages of the f*word.

A should-be-read memoir.

"The most important conversations you have are the ones you have with yourself."
Profile Image for Ginger.
753 reviews371 followers
September 11, 2020
Do you have a 5k run or a marathon that you want to run?
Are you overweight, obese and trying to lose weight?
It can be done but it’s not easy!

If you think you’re a badass, I’m pretty sure you’re not David Goggins badass!

I did a buddy read with my husband for Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds.
We’re trying to eliminate the excuses for being lazy and not working out during the day.

Well, this book did the trick! After listening to the audiobook, I can now admit that I am a soft bitch and need to be more mentally tough to get to my goals!

Who is David Goggins?
He's a Navy Seal and ultra-marathon runner that makes us mere mortals look like lazy slobs. If there’s a tough race or competition in the world, this guy has done it!

Do you have to be as extreme as this guy? No, you don't but you'll get something from this book on being more mentally tough. He has tapped into his mind and body to become extraordinary. He shows you that your excuses and being mentally tough is a challenge, but it can be done.

The athletes and competitors that can do the impossible are just like you and me. They just have the mental toughness to go out when it’s 4am, pouring buckets of rain and run 10 miles.

Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds is part audiobook and podcast. The narrator, Adam Skolnick will read the chapter and then he will talk to Goggins about the chapter while getting more insight on his life and details to becoming more extraordinary.
I really liked the format!

The only thing that might concern you on picking this book up is the language. Lots of cussing in the book but it wasn’t a problem with me. If you have a trucker mouth like I do, you’ll not have an issue with the colorful language.
Profile Image for Liong.
131 reviews81 followers
November 1, 2022
Yes, I agree with David to master our minds and defy the odds.

Not easy but not impossible.

A book to learn about tough minds facing any obstructions and problems in our life.

Control our minds, control almost everything!
Profile Image for Bibliovoracious.
339 reviews28 followers
January 23, 2019
A gripping memoir, and I LOVE it when authors swear up and down like they would in conversation, but I suppose we can give Adam Skolnick credit for preserving that authenticity in the voice.

I'm not down with the philosophy, though. This is the story of an elite athlete and a man who has tempered his mind to endure extreme pain, but it read like a horror story or cautionary tale to me. I don't want to do those things, be like that, think like that, and I sure don't want to be in a relationship with someone who does (seems neither did his wives). I don't want to be at war with myself, have a calloused mind, and certainly not to have an "unrelenting voice in my head". I just have different goals, and they include mental peace and human connection.
January 4, 2023
An unexpected treasure. Baron Muenhausen has nothing, nothing at all on David Goggins. This guy's pure distilled awesomeness.

What makes him so much more relatable is how he's brutally bonest about not being a one-track success story but a person Who, WHO, W H O went about stuff with mixed success. I think one of the most precious lessons the reader gets bere is that fuckups occasionally don't make one a gross failure - giving up does. Also, that it's ok not to be perfect - no one really is. Even such magnificent and inspiring people as David. I think he's gonna be one of the pantheon of my personal heros for all time.

We only can hope that the brilliance of his spirit doesn't fade. Ever.
Profile Image for Theresa Alan.
Author 10 books1,017 followers
July 7, 2019
“The only way to guarantee failure is to quit right now.”

This book will make you feel extremely guilty for skipping your workout. Ever. I think people who run the 26-mile marathons are out of their minds. I had no idea what levels of athletic lunacy are out there, like running on broken legs or running 100 miles in 36 hours in the hottest place on earth in July. David Goggins, after losing 109 pounds in three months, managed to become a Navy SEAL. After that, he just kept looking for new ways to challenge his body as a way to harden his mind.

He spent his first few years of life with a father that beat him and his mother. They escaped that to move in with his grandparents in a small Indiana town where he was the only black kid in school and both kids and adults spewed the “n” word at him. He grew up angry and cheated his way through school until he wanted to join the military and realized he’d be tested, and he needed to pass high school. His senior year he got his academic life in order and, with the help of a tutor, went from having a third-grade reading level to the reading level where he should have been.

This book is extremely heavy on the mastery of the mind to do physical things that the majority of us will never even want to do. Goggins really glosses over his marriages and the fact he became a father. It’s great that he can run a zillion miles up a mountain, but, to me, success has a heck of a lot more to do with your personal relationships with others than whether you can run 100 miles in a short time without keeling over dead.

I agree with him about getting your mind in the right place, regardless what goals you have. “Everything in life is a mind game!” If you have negative people in your life with power over you like a bad boss, he advises to take their negativity and feed off of it, turn it on its head, don’t let their negative thoughts infect yours. Don’t be a victim. Avoid indulging in negative self-talk. People who are bullies are bullies because they are insecure.

Visualize your goal and potential challenges to achieving that goal. Know clearly why you are trying to achieve something because you will hit obstacles and want to give up. However, “Visualization will never compensate for work undone.” It takes relentless self-discipline to schedule suffering into your day.

Build on small accomplishments to achieve big ones. Ignore friends and colleagues who tell you you can’t accomplish whatever goal you set out for yourself.

“If you want to master the mind, you’ll have to become addicted to hard work. Because passion and obsession, even talent, are only useful tools if you have the work ethic to back them up.”

Identify and accept your weaknesses. We all like to do things we are good at. He recommends finding our weaknesses and working on what make us uncomfortable. If we’re doing great at work and are healthy physically and with our personal relationships, learn a new language or something else to continue to grow.

Before Goggins became a SEAL he was living life like a zombie and had accepted his fate. “When depression smothers you, it blots out all light and leaves you with nothing to cling onto for hope. All you see is negativity.”

“Very few people know how the bottom feels, but I do. It’s like quicksand. It grabs you, sucks you under, and won’t let go. When life if like that it’s easy to drift and continue to make the same comfortable choices that are killing you, over and over again. . . . We all make habitual, self-limiting choices.”

“Human beings change through study, habit, and stories.”

There is some inspirational stuff to draw from here. He uses the “f” word a lot, which is not a word that bothers me, but it is a little jarring to see in a memoir/self-help kind of book. Still, this was a very fast read for me, and I’ll keep his thoughts in mind when I want to skip a workout or don’t want to push myself because it feels too hard.

For more reviews, please visit http://www.theresaalan.net/blog
Profile Image for John.
47 reviews1 follower
December 15, 2018
Amazing life story. I've been soaking up all I can about David Goggins since I first saw him on Joe Rogan in August 2018. The audiobook is great: part book, part podcast... There are some extra stories in the audio version that are not in the printed book, which comes out on Dec. 4.

Thank you, David!

Profile Image for Jonathan O'Neill.
160 reviews323 followers
May 12, 2023
4 ⭐

“Brb, I’m off to drop a log!” - Goggins (citation needed)

David Goggins is ”uncommon amongst uncommon” men. His story is one of abject adversity overcome with a level of mental fortitude and physical resilience that he has had to fight tooth and nail to achieve but of which, he claims, we are all equipped, deep down.

Goggins overcame an abusive father, systemic and personally targeted racism, a positive diagnosis of sickle-cell trait and severe self-doubt, and went on to complete United States Air Force Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) training, BUD/S training (3 Hell weeks) and graduate Army Ranger School. He has completed over 70 endurance races, regularly finishing in the top 5 and taken home 1st place several times and, after multiple attempts, gained the Guinness world record for the most pull-ups, clocking 4030 pullups in 17 hrs. I didn’t read this for motivational purposes, I became interested in Goggins through another podcast and just wanted to hear more of his story but, nonetheless, I am inspired! The proof is in the pudding (or lack thereof in this case) as they say; I hadn’t done a minute of intentional exercise since before COVID (I had all sorts of excuses, Injuries being the main one) and my diet was… Well, Grill’d burgers and cinnamon sugar pretzels mainly, but in the last week I’ve run 15km, have re-started strength training and stopped eating like a pig (mostly). Just, in general, less satisfied with the effort I’ve been putting in! Goggins claims that even when we feel like we’re giving something our all, we’re usually only giving about 40%. This guy (*points at self*) is exhibit A. Anyway, make of all that what you will; the fact is, I’m experiencing a positive influence on my mindset in a very tangible way and if that all sounds a little self-helpy, then so be it!

You’ll want to listen to this one rather than read it. Goggins and his ghost writer/audiobook narrator, Adam Skolnick, have gone experimental on the audiobook format and kind of mashed it up with a live podcast which they switch over to regularly during the reading to cover and expand on interesting (read:mind-blowing) points. You’ll be missing a huge amount of content by going with a physical copy. While this format works excellently, it was a royal fuck up not to have Goggins doing the reading. Skolnick does an admirable job of trying to convey another man’s experiences but he simply doesn’t have the energy or the charisma, let alone that inimitable intimacy that comes with having lived the experiences of which one speaks. Goggins is also a raw, foul-mouthed motherfucker and Skolnick sounds like Kevin Arnold from ‘The Wonder Years’. It’s kind of like getting Simon and Garfunkel to do a cover of Lil John and the East Side Boyz’ ‘Get Low’.

Oh! Just between you and me, Goggins has been on the Joe Rogan podcast 3 times (Episodes #1080, #1212 and #1906), and if you listen to all 3 of those, you’ll have heard about ¾ of the anecdotal material in this book. That’s not to say this audiobook isn’t still worth buying but, you know… Just saying! :)
Profile Image for Jean.
1,707 reviews742 followers
January 28, 2019
The reason I read this book was to learn what drove a man to successfully complete the rigorous, elite training of the U.S. Navy SEALS, U.S. Army Rangers and the U. S. Air Force Tactical Air Controller (TACP).

As a teen Goggins failed the Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery of tests twice. He tells about having to loss one hundred pounds to qualify for the SEALS’ training. He tells about using mental and physical discipline to reach his goals. First by turning his life around as a teenager to achieve his goal of joining the military. Second in achieving his goals in the military of being the best of the best. In some ways this is almost a self-help book rather than a memoir. A caution to readers the language can be a bit raw at times.

I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is thirteen hours and thirty-seven minutes. Adam Skolnick does a good job narrating the book.
Profile Image for Fergus, Quondam Happy Face.
969 reviews17.6k followers
November 26, 2022
By mastering himself, much-decorated Navy SEAL David Goggins MASTERED HIS WORLD. Because he now UNDERSTANDS the entire world.

Sound Utopian to you?

It’s NOT…

Because your Understanding is DANGEROUS to your enemies. They’ll respect you for it.

But Continue in a loud voice and they’ll kill you. They killed Socrates for less! You’re right, there.

So: continue Sotto Voce… and write BETWEEN THE LINES - as David does - and they’ll stay clear of you…

As he says “(Now They) Can’t Hurt Me.”

David’s not only extra BRAVE among the cream of the crop in the HOME of the Brave.

He’s Extra GOOD.

Now, your church may be too timid to invite a trained killer like David to a K of C Q&A kick-around-some-ideas session.

But I think I’ve said enough.

I’m a respect-the-masses populist, after all. Though the masses may in their modern woke fashion diss him. A prophet is NEVER respected in his own country!

But if you sincerely wanna do yourself a Real Favour you'll read this book.

And if it makes you see that the silent majority doesn’t quite cut the mustard -

Change YOURSELF sotto voce, as David did, and Live out Loud.

And No One Will Hurt You anymore.

Profile Image for Mario Tomic.
159 reviews309 followers
January 27, 2019
This book was amazing and captivating. It was hard to stop listening to it. I'm glad I picked up the audiobook version because of the format and the extra bits. The story is a real-world example of the hero's journey. Don't get intimated by the length, time flies when you're listening about all the crazy inspiring stuff David Goggins has been through in his life so far. I 100% recommend this book to everyone. 10/10
Profile Image for Helga.
887 reviews125 followers
January 15, 2023
The most important conversations you’ll ever have are the ones you’ll have with yourself. You wake up with them, you walk around with them, you go to bed with them, and eventually you act on them. Whether they be good or bad. We are all our own worst haters and doubters because self doubt is a natural reaction to any bold attempt to change your life for the better. You can’t stop it from blooming in your brain, but you can neutralize it, and all the other external chatter by asking, What if?
Profile Image for Lloyd.
561 reviews33 followers
March 21, 2021
I’m happy that the author, Goggins, has found his happiness through constant physical challenge, but this book provides an unbalanced self-improvement philosophy. What are life’s successes if you don’t have loved ones to share them with? How many great missions can be achieved as a lone wolf?

It is incredible what Mr Goggins has overcome and this would make an amazing autobiography. Instead it is presented as the genesis for a system that others can implement. There is no system here. Worse, the careless guidance can lead to injury, poor relationships, and emotional trauma.

A friend seeing that I wasn’t getting what he loved about Goggins shared his School of Greatness podcast interview with me. That Mr Goggins lives from “scratch” out of a backpack had me feeling that he is lost. That “scratch” bag speaks to him not having the emotional tools for the complexity of life. We saw this throughout the book where he tortured himself by not having the correct shoes or other equipment for each challenge. He is possibly emotionally unable to deal himself a good hand.

This podcast reinforced my feelings of sadness. Him working as a forest fire fighter had me feeling society has failed to provide him the resources for growth in other dimensions. I hope he finds the resources, coaches, and mentors that he needs to enjoy the other facets of life.

What I can’t get beyond though is how disrespectful the author, Mr Goggins, is to his SEAL brothers: “... one thing that surprised my about military special operations, some of the guys lived so mainstream, they weren’t trying to push themselves every day of their lives and I wanted to be around people that thought and trained uncommon 24/7 not just when duty called.”

That sentiment is throughout the book and philosophy, life as a personal solo completion. But life is not, it’s a team sport and we fight because it’s necessary to protect who we cherish.

Aside, every other soldier has told me the hard training is the easy part.

He takes a piss at the SEALs regularly in the book. Acting like SEALs mostly have ivy college degrees and that army Rangers are where it’s at.

It’s all pretty immature.
Profile Image for Brian.
71 reviews
June 25, 2019
Title should be, “How to flunk out of life to succeed physically.”
Profile Image for بَرسا.
32 reviews6 followers
October 1, 2019
دیوید گاگینز امروزه به عنوان سخت جان ترین مرد جهان شناخته می شود.گاگینز در طول زندگی اش با آسیب های روانی و جسمی زیادی دست و پنجه نرم کرده.در کودکی پدرش فرد خشونت طلبی بود و او و مادرش را به طور مرتب کتک میزد.در مدرسه به او برچسب اختلال یادگیری(ADHD)زده شد و در جوانی به علت سیاهپوست علاوه بر طرد شدن به علت رنگ پوست به طور مرتب او را کاکا سیاه صدا می زدند.بعد از نرسیدن به آرزویش به خاطر ترس،به چاقی مفرط دچار شد.اما گاگینز بعد از چند سال نیمه تاریک و شکست هایش را در آغوش گرفت.او ۴۸ کیلو را در ۳ ماه کم کرد،هفته جهنمی رادر یک سال ۲ بار تکمیل کرد،شروع به دویدن کرد و بیش از۶۰ اولترا ماراتن(بیش از ۱۶۰ کیلومتر) را دوید و رکورد دار بیشترین بارفیکس جهان در ۲۴ ساعت (۴۰۳۰ بار) و ... به بسیاری از کارهای دور از ذهن دیگر
پرداخت.گاگینز معتقد است همه چیز از “جنگ ذهنی”شروع می شود.می گوید اگر مسئولیت هر قدم از راه خود را قبول کنید و در مواقعی که سوال های کوچکی مثل ”چرا من اینجام؟” به ذهنتان خطور می کند جواب مناسب و قانع کننده ای داشته باشید قطعا برنده بازی هستید.در این کتاب او به شما می آموزد که شکست ها صرفا درس هایی حاصل از راه های غلط هستند.و از شما می خواهد ۹ چالش را تکمیل کنید که باعث تغییر نگرش شما به زندگی و تغییر اساسی شما می شود.نام کتاب«نمی توانی به من آسیب بزنی»حاصل گفت و گوی ذهنی اش در هنگام مواجهه با درد و برخورد با مشکلات است.اما انتقادم نسبت به گاگینز این است که هر چند که گاگینز هدفش شناخت محدودیت های خود و فراتر رفتن از محدودیت هایش است اما از جایی به بعد این تلاش ها رنگ خود آزاری به خود میگیرند.مثلا در حالی که آماده نبوده برای اولین بار در مسابقه ی اولترا ران ۲۴ ساعته می دود و در آخر با خطر از کار افتادن کلیه هایش و کنده شدن تمام ناخن های پایش و... مواجه می شود فقط برای این که بفهمد چقدر
توانایی دارد.
اگر میخواهید از گذشته خود و شکست هایش به عنوان سوختی برای حرکت رو به جلو استفاده کنید و تغییری اساسی در زندگی خود ایجاد کنید،این کتاب مناسب شماست.
عنوان فارسی کتاب با نام«نمی توانی به من آسیب بزنی» از نشر میلکان چاپ می شود.
Profile Image for Claire.
41 reviews
May 14, 2019
I listened to this in bits and pieces because I couldn't take more than a chapter or 2 at a time. Much of the time I was thinking "just get over yourself!". Also, as an ultrarunner, I cringed at how poorly prepared he was. Early on, sure, I get that inexperience and a "can do" mindset as well as a driving urge to get into Badwater lead to his choices and experiences, but even as late as 2016 when he surely knew better, it was clear he was still doing events with inadequate preparation.

I agree with the notion that we are all capable of far more than we expect of ourselves, and that when it comes to physical activities, the governor is strong until one learns to push past or through it.

This might have been a case for reading rather than listening as I didn't like the format where there were conversational breaks.
27 reviews4 followers
November 30, 2018
This book is the epitome of "pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps".
A decade ago when he burst onto the ultra racing scene I found Goggin's story a powerful paradigm shift in my own life. It's a testimony to what's possible, an assault on absolutely ANY excuses you can invent, and a challenge to do likewise!
Don't just read this book, but when you put it down, apply the same mindset! Use it to fight your own battles and overcome your own limitations...
Profile Image for Sadaf Matinkhoo.
58 reviews22 followers
April 28, 2020
I hate leaving books unfinished, but I hate this book more. Frequent use of the word pus*** in sexist context! Need I say more?
Profile Image for Winter.
344 reviews49 followers
November 11, 2022

If this isn't the most Motivating, Hooah, books of the year then I don't know what is.

If this book doesn't compel you to move your ass, then I'm not sure what can.

Giving this one to my boys in the Army.

Goggins comes straight, with that no holds barred, military pride.

Excellent book!

This is a definite must read for all, so damn inspiring. Stayed up all night reading this, that's how good this book was.

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