Military Mindset – My 2017 Book Reads

In 2017, I slacked with the libros. Especially reading books related to health and wellness. I’m usually good at keeping up with the latest research and trends.

But for some reason, most of the books I did read were Military related. It was not intentional. It just happened that way. Maybe I needed it with the year I had. I’m happy I did though; I learned a lot.

“Be your very best in the dark moments”

I’m sharing my favorite Military-related books I read in 2017 because of the common motivation themes to get off your a$$ and do SOMETHING – especially as we are into our new year.

By the way… these principles and messages apply to all of us. Just because they are military based, does not mean you need to be in the military to understand.

This could be applied toward a weight loss goal, getting over an emotional loss, preparing for competitions/races or just looking to move up in your career. These books really put a perspective on life that can change behavior and motivate you to reach your goal. Quite simply, they help.

“SEAL training was always about proving something. Proving that size didn’t matter. Proving that the color of your skin wasn’t important. Proving that money didn’t make you better. Proving that determination and grit were always more important than talent.”  – Admiral William H. McRaven 

These books in particular were based on real Navy Seals. They did a good job offering insight into their mindsets, how they were trained, their routines and how they approach challenges. They all were really helpful.  Give them a read and let me know what you think. They are also easy reads if you are worried about that.

Thank you all who serve and protect our country. 

Victory – by Brian Tracey

9780399183867KEY  LEARNING: Don’t just GO to battle. Strategize for battle.

This book is about applying military tactics and strategies to everyday and professional life. In particular, there are 12 principles. Each are important for success.

“By the yard, it’s hard; but inch by inch, anythings a cinch” 

Why was it good? 

In a nutshell, this book makes you think like a Military General plotting for a major battle. Except the battle is your own personal one. A lot of what is written has to do with business leadership. For example, in “The principle of the Offensive” he say’s

“Business Leaders are proactive rather than reactive. They think, plan and act decisively. They do not wait for things to happen – they make things happen. They seize the initiative whenever it is necessary, and they never stop until they achieve their goals.”

It’s not all about business and career growth. The author outlines a lot of helpful life nuggets as well: “We live life by the years, but we experience it only in the moments. The most precious moments in your personal relationships come unexpectedly and unbidden. And they only come when you create large blocks of relaxed time that allow those wonderful moments to occur.” 

100 Deadly Skills: Survival Edition – Clint Emerson



This book was very fun but a little on the scary side, with plenty of graphics. You can probably read this in a day and it is super useful. Clint Emerson provides a guide to surviving in the wild, natural disasters or really, any potential dangerous situation that any one of us can fall victim to.

The situations get pretty extreme as well – which I enjoyed even more. His situations range from collecting Arctic drinking water to surviving a pirate attack.

Think of an even more prepared Bear Gryles (hard to imagine).   I still pull it out every now and then just to make sure I’m keeping my guard up.

Why was it good?

The defensive mindset. He really thinks of everything. I appreciate the approach to, “take control of any dangerous situation or challenge, don’t let the situation take control of you”. I would HIGHLY recommend this for anyone really but especially for families. It’s important we know how to protect ourselves and loved ones. For example,  the author shares considerations on how to fortify your home security and how to control and command a home invader.

The book offers 100 situations to survive, however, here are just a few worth noting:

  • Outsmart a virtual kidnapper
  • Spot a suicide bomber
  • Handle a bomb threat
  • Counter a purse snatcher
  • Escape a Tsunami
  • Escape a flooding vehicle
  • Treat a gun shot wound

Make Your Bed – By Admiral William H. McRaven


KEY LEARNING: Pay attention to the little things.

Truly motivating. If you haven’t heard his speech, do yourself a favor and watch here. This was given to the University of Texas Class of 2014 and this book basically represents details into the core tenants of his speech.

In the book, Admiral McRaven goes into vivid accounts of near-death experiences, challenges and lessons from his training… including making your bed. I liked this book because it provides motivation for when you think times are tough. Well, just like Admiral McRaven states, “Life is a struggle and the potential for failure is ever present, but those who live in fear of failure, or hardship, or embarrassment will never achieve their potential.”

Why it’s Good?

I’m all about short and to the point and this book not only is that but each chapter has such a strong message within it. The overarching message applies to all of us – the little things that can change your life and maybe the world.

“Start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud.

Living with a Seal – By Jesse Itztler 103125150-book.530x298

KEY LEARNING: Get Busy Pushing Your Limits.

My good friend John B. sent me this book. Definitely the most fun read. This book is a good combo of entertainment + motivation.

“Life is about staying out of your comfort zone.”

Those that watched MTV in the good old days might remember Jesse from his rapping days. I was most impressed by his entrepreneurship skills and drive for health and wellness. For example, I had no idea that he was a large partner for a product that I’ve been a big proponent of for years, Zico Coconut Water.

If I could give a really dumbed down summary, I would say its about this guy, who does a lot of endurance sports, is in a rut. He’s doing everything on autopilot and unmotivated. He runs into this bad a$$ navy seal (his name in the book is “Seal”) and asks him to live at his house for a while. The book is a journal of what happened while the seal was living with him and the stuff he learned.

Why I liked it?”

“This isn’t piss time. It’s run time.” 

In this book, “Seal” taught me a lot of life lessons and because Jesse was training for a race in this book, I was able to relate a lot of it to my training as well.

“If you want to be pushed to your limits, you have to train to your limits.”

This book also has a lot that translates to our professional goals and anytime we are dealing with tough situations.

“I like to sit back, and enjoy the pain. I earned it.” – Seal.

I really dig Seal’s, “go hard, no. B.S., to-the-limit mindset. It just reminds me of some of the old school coaches. A mindset that I miss from my competitive sport days.

So What Books Did you Read?

Well, now I want to hear from you. What books did you read in 2017 that you can recommend for me in 2018? I’m always on the lookout for a good read and I intend to be better at feeding my brain useful knowledge.

Other Notable books:

  • The Mindbody Code
  • The Power of When
  • Deep Work

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