MY FIRST BOOK REVIEW..! I just finished reading the book, “Can’t Hurt Me” by retired Marine David Goggins. It is an inspirational story (of sorts) of the author’s methods of motivating himself and changing his life. I am not a fan of “self-help” titles but I have long felt that was due to my own arrogance and prejudices. The book was relatable, not only from my own nod at the military but from how he went from an overweight restaurant exterminator to a decorated Navy Seal, serving on missions, not to mention his qualifications not only as a Seal but in both as an Army Ranger and as an Air Force Tactical Controller. He has also competed in many triathlons, at the world-class level. I also found it relatable based on what he did not linger on, especially in his personal life.
Solving for my skepticism, I found that “Can’t Hurt Me” was an inspiring read. While I am too cynical to become a “fanboy” of the author, I do admire him for his walk, from barely being able to read and pass the ASVAB Miltary exam, to becoming a decorated member of the Armed Forces. He did leave enough of a hint at some of the personal darkness that he had to overcome in his family. But because he did not go in that direction, eschewing the sad home life trope, so I could only speculate on what I saw in his domestic life as a young man and as an adult. Anyway, a reader could definitely understand that nothing came easily for him and that it was his conscious choice to BE, that is taking full responsibility for himself, that he could take full charge of his life to remake himself into the person that he would become.
If you are looking for a expose on dealing with racism, classism, and all the conflicts that have been dominating headlines recently, this is not that kind of book. In fact, the refreshing part of his story is how little he cites things that could be perceived as disadvantages as reasons for anything at all. He does not spend a lot of time talking about how few African-Americans go on to become Navy Seals… in fact, there is very little discussion about race. There is no sense of his ever being a victim, even in his childhood, which is of itself quite admirable. Even when he describes episodes where his health wavers, or even his childhood in Buffalo, it is done very matter-of-factly. David Goggins does not pause for complaining or hand-wringing. He looked into the same mirror where he found a problem deep enough until he saw the solution, standing in the same mirror, looking back at him.
As I mentioned earlier, I do not find much use of the self-help genre. Looking back at my young adulthood, I tried to make sense of “How To Be A Millionaire” by Napoleon Hill. Even now, as I recently revisited “...Millionaire”, again found it to be pedantic, and it seemed like a rehashing of things you already know. And I guess that is where the allure of self-help lies… that “other voice” that encourages and reaffirms your goals and hopes. Some authors have an “authentic voice” that reaches beyond the doubt that people have of themselves. Besides, all of us could use another person who adds to their confidence. So I get where people who have read “...Hurt Me” have gotten stoked. I may as well add myself to that group, as I was impressed by his achievements and how he overcame the internal enemy inside of himself.
Finally, one of the primary things that I find problematic about these kinds of stories, this book answered, at least, partly. Goggins overcame the only real enemy, the one within. He never takes the easy way out, he always takes full responsibility for what goes down. Perhaps that is part of what makes his journey so admirable. I never got the feeling that he was handed anything that he did not earn and his hard-charging life philosophy kept his circle of people around him tight, but that seems to be part of the price for nearly all of us.
I think that I would give the book a solid “4” stars out of 5. There are some holes that when I reflect upon what I took from the book that are asking to be filled. And his military career was also pretty vague. Overall, the message that you need to harden and “callous” your mind to deal with the ups and downs you face in life was pretty clear.
This is going to be my first You Tube book review! I have long been envious of Beth’s book reviews! Reading, for me, has to become just like working out… it is something that I do out of habit. My tastes may have to change (more contemporary works and culturally relevant) but if my daughter actually comes out west to live with me, it could be a father/daughter thing as she is a reader as well! Additionally, I am studying up on scriptwriting, as there is a script or two for movies somewhere around in my mind.
Work has been going well and I feel like I get along with most everyone at the Recreation Center. When things begin opening up after the holiday, I expect the place to get PACKED!