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Strenuous Life

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  1,060 ratings  ·  73 reviews
Teddy Roosevelt lived a full and accomplished life and shared many of his beliefs in this book, in which he tells how to live life to its most productive and fullest.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published January 1st 1970 by Applewood Books (first published 1899)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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Mark Gowan
Theodore Roosevelt needs no introduction. However, much of his writings do. This collection of essays, including the Strenuous Life, is a good starting point for getting to know the Roosevelt that stated: "speak softly and carry a big stick". His essays here do not speak so softly, but they do carry a big stick. I wish that I could say that I enjoyed them, but the essays primarily extol military might, "clean and healthy lives", righteousness and duty to country.

While these concepts are not in
Gregory Rothbard
Oct 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Theodore Roosevelt encouraged me to get off my butt and get the dishes in the dishwasher, to start the washing machine, and to start my car to run errands.
Aug 31, 2014 rated it it was ok
Unfortunately, this speech was somewhat weak in articulating the virtues of "virility" and "the strenuous life" and was also weak in clear-headed, unsuperstitious reasoning; instead, it preached quite intolerably the collectivism and typically modern superstition of nationhood, complete with such tripe as the "honors" and "duties" intrinsic therein, and necessity for nations to expand and conquer or else be destroyed within and without. In short, it is a sort of softer and less racially oriented ...more
Stephen Williams
Jan 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Roosevelt must be taken as a man of his time and — by virtue of his accomplishments and sheer willpower — one of the greatest men of his time. His energy, discipline, and zeal were admirable, even though their ends were not always wise or right. He is at his best when applying the philosophy of the strenuous life to the individual, rather than to the nation, and there are portions of this speech that I wish I could put into the hearts of every middle school boy I teach.

However, it is interesting
Jul 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fully expected this to be longer. Didn’t expect this to be as chock full of wisdom, that a glance seemed dated. Upon further reflection the things he calls for and warns against are absolutely worth thinking about.
Mohammad Ali Abedi
“Nations that expand and nations that do not expand may both ultimately go down, but the one leaves heirs and a glorious memory, and the other leaves neither.”

I admire Theodore Roosevelt only to the extent that he is had a strong character and was able to achieve his goals by strengthening and pushing himself to his own limits.

However, this does not mean I subscribe to any of his philosophies. In many ways, if lines were drawn, my side and Roosevelt’s would be opposite. Reading his speeches, Ro
Oct 08, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So as it turns out, everything Roosevelt ever said was done for the purposes of training men for manliness. At least that's how it seems. Is it a little ridiculous and a lot sexist/jingoistic? Yep, but it's also the most inspiring stuff you'll be likely to read from the mouth of an American president. No other orator has made me want to punch a wildebeest in the face or subdue barbarian cultures more. (Hmm, that second bit is a little unsavory, isn't it?) Nevertheless, Roosevelt paints a very ap ...more
John Shelton
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anyone considering public life—whether as a politician, a pastor, or any other leader of people—ought to study Teddy Roosevelt. “Latitude and Longitude Among Reformers” is the most worthy speech in this collection, a speech that extols the twin dangers of inefficiency and unrighteousness. Expediency should never come at the cost of unrighteousness, TR warns, but an untethered idealism that despises the compromises and small victories of public life is the sign of a deficient man.
Carolyn Page
Jan 23, 2019 rated it liked it
So I somehow got the idea that this was Teddy's autobiography. It's actually a hard-cover copy of a brief speech he gave. It's a good speech, and essentially encapsulates his personal philosophy. ...more
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Strenuous Life is a must read for everyone and anyone. It is the text of a speech given by President Theodore Roosevelt in which he preaches the "doctrine of the strenuous life." He argues in the speech that it is only through a life of honest work and labor can we reach the highest form of success. In an age where a life of leisure calls to us, this book is a reminder of the greatness in mankind which is only realizable through a strenuous life. ...more
Casey Harbison
Well written and inspirational but just wasn’t a page turner for me. I’m glad I read the book and it provided me an opportunity to learn about the social and political cultural of that time.
Matt Leiv
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spiritswho neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory of defeat" ~Theodore Roosevelt

Not so much book as it is speech (given 1905 in Chicago), this is a great little read about the emphasis on Americans remaining hard working. Or at least that they should remain hard working, even though a life of luxury was m
Willow Redd
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A series of essays and speeches from Theodore Roosevelt, mostly focusing on having a strong work ethic, Christian fellowship, and the greatness of the American people in the aftermath of two wars; the Civil War and the Spanish-American War, which Roosevelt fought in.

In the various speeches and essays included here, Roosevelt's main points revolve around American leadership and what makes for a great citizen in the republic. This, unfortunately, is at the disservice of Native Americans and anyone
Jan 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Theodore and I have a strange relationship because I disagree with most of his politics and views but I still find him a fascinating historical figure. Strenuous Life is the text of a speech TR gave which as some highlights such as encouraging people to take risks, to not be afraid of defeat, to have convictions, and not to settle for mediocrity. But at the same time, these encouragements are directed toward bolstering expansion of the American Empire, increasing "manliness," and promoting war. ...more
Lovely Fortune
Jun 30, 2020 rated it liked it
For America in World Civ III

I read this a while back, but if I remember correctly this is about imperialism. I love Teddy, but some of this stuff is wild; however, I can see the justification and I think the best way to look at this from the present is to acknowledge that conquest is just human nature. It's not that it's a good thing or a bad thing; though, some of the things Teddy tries to defend in here are quite awful, but there should be room to recognize that many of the civilizations we ha
Daniel Allen
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No book wants to make you go into the woods and wrestle a moose more than this collection of essays and addresses. While not all of them are necessarily pertinent to living a good life, and deal more with the skills of a politician and diplomat, there are a few gems within the book which make this a worthwhile read. Being one of the most skilled orators of our time, it is unsurprising that many of his essays read incredibly well -- though they are quite long and certainly dense. A recommended re ...more
Elwin Kline
Feb 05, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I've heard this reference numerous times and wanted to expose myself to the actual content coming from the speaker himself. This was just a short ~30 minute audio clip of President Roosevelt giving a very inspirational speech.

If this was the 1940's when he originally spoke it, I am sure it would have been even more impactful. I feel like a few things within the speech haven't aged well, but overall it is an amazing speech and I can't remember in my lifetime of hearing any presidents say anythin
Kevin DeLong
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I think it's cool how this is a small portable book that can be referenced anytime. A reminder of how action is more important than anything else in life. How To Do or Not To Do something greatly affects our futures as individuals and as a country.

I always want to make the most of my time. This book is a nice kick in the butt when I pull it off the shelf from time to time during periods when my plans and thoughts exceed my productivity and accomplishments.

I will have this the rest of my life.
Jacques Defraigne
Apr 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Theodore Roosevelt has clearly read a lot of roman history as in the back of all his practical proposals there is a reference to some form of Stoicism and the manly ideals of Roman virtues. I found particularly the two essays "Manhood and statehood" and "National duties" of great value. Some essays have a focus that is too preoccupied with the effort of war. My reading advice for this book is therefore to browse through some essays, while spending more time on others while pondering their signif ...more
Joe Richardson
Nov 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Well, this was a mixed bag.
First half is a genuinely thought provoking and inspirational speech about the values of hard work, which go far beyond the typical platitudes, and is worth reading.
Then in the second half it takes a hard turn. Roosevelt compares his philosophy to world politics, specifically about how the US has a duty to imperialize smaller weaker nations. Some quotes: "A man has a duty to his race." "India has been improved by Britians occupation." Yeah this part of the philosophy h
Definite reread. Roosevelt's tactics and opinions on social and political ideas stand out in stark to those of our day, and I believe are better and more sustainable. The vocabulary was frequently beyond my comprehension, so it took me a great deal of time to process what he was saying, but it was of absolutely worth the time and effort spent to understand his words. I will read again in the future, and will, I am sure, glean even more value from doing so. ...more
Gary Parker
Oct 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Roosevelt was a great man, and all men who wish to live honorable lives would do well to study his life and his words. Some of those words are in this collection of speeches and articles. Though over a century old, the lessons they hold are as relevant today as the day the were first written. Given the chaos of our current world, a revival of the spirit of Roosevelt would go a long way toward renewing the nation and her people.
Lib DM
Jun 08, 2017 rated it liked it
As much as I absolutely respect and admire Roosevelt, I can't hide from the fact that he was very much at obsessed with battle. This passage does spark the question "if a savage, unruly nation run by corrupt leaders are taken over and governed by another and do very well, does the ends justify the means?" ...more
Christina Packard
TR writes very well, or I wonder how much is his writing on his speeches and other essays? Listening to this book what he has to say makes a lot of sense, but it is a bit of a snooze fest. I do not see people today sitting and listening and then absorbing all he is saying. This was a different read for me where I normally would not have read this book except that it was on a major book list.
Kevin Hawkins
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I found this book truly inspiring book. I purchased this book at the Theodore Roosevelt home on East 20th street in New York as a souvenir. I am glad I bought this book as opposed to whatever I had in my hand. And because it is so small, I can keep it in my briefcase. The only drawback is the formatting of the book.
a fairly limited selection (pretty much 1899 to 1901) but some good speeches/essays here. TR could be very inspiring at times, but also super jingoistic (plus warlike) and casually sexist. so if you separate the wheat from the chaff, you at least get some good quotes among all the outdated rhetoric.
Jan 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
The first half of this I was nodding my head saying "Yes!" Whole heartedly. But the second half I was just confused. I didn't really know where Teddy was going, or what his main point was. Overall a really good read. ...more
Devin Voorsanger
Great companion to his biography

An amazing accompaniment to reading biographies of Theodore Roosevelt and the other great men of the time stoney a sense for what he was actually saying to people and putting a more mutli-dimensional flair to the the man. Highly recommend.
Devonne West
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-help
A short treatise by Teddy Roosevelt extolling & encouraging the virtue of hard work. It is good for the individual and the nation. A short, easy read but definitely a should-be-read book for everyone.
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I found this an inspiring excerpt in a time when we need more rugged individualism. While some of his thoughts lean sexist, I found it more a sign of that time. Omitting that, I think there is great value in the embrace of mental toughness for all.
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Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., also known as T.R., and to the public (but never to friends and family) as Teddy, was the twenty-sixth President of the United States, and a leader of the Republican Party and of the Progressive Movement.

He became the youngest President in United States history at the age of 42. He served in many roles including Governor of New York, historian, naturalist, explorer, autho

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“We must hold to a rigid accountability those public servants who show unfaithfulness to the interests of the nation or inability to rise to the high level of the new demands upon our strength and our resources.” 10 likes
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