David Goggins writes his life story starting from his start in a horrendously abusive childhood home to becoming an aimless young adult and then finally a full transformation into a hard military warrior that pushes the envelope of what we perceive is even possible by a human. The book concludes with his continuing adventures in post-military life.

This book has been out for a while and it’s been extremely popular and acclaimed by many in different circles. Yet, I only just picked it up and read it last month. Why? Mainstream American society has been bombarded with so much around the US Navy SEALs (a topic I’ve read up on decades ago before their newfound fame and pop-culture glorification) and also since I had watched Goggins on some long-form online interviews — it all went to restrain any large urge for me to go run down this book.

Having now read it, I found value in it for me in terms of his take of going through SEAL training and his numerous trials and tribulations. It’s a good story and also provided some unique insights that I found interesting.

As an aside, when I went to order this book at Amazon, I noticed the reviews were filled with some people who couldn’t handle his use of expletives in the book. Even more amusing was that there’s actually a “Clean” version of the book that is available with the strong language removed. I suppose it’s good to give people what they want and sell more books. Yet, I find it ridiculous to want to hear a man’s story, but not have him express it in his own way.

(you can click the image below to purchase the book from Amazon)

David Goggins Can't Hurt Me book cover

Between the Lines

Reflective of my overall score of this book, I found it worthy of my time. That being, a powerful and honest personal life story, interesting views into the US military special operations branches , and motivational energy around what is possible when putting in the work to cultivate excellence on an extreme level.

There was a time probably about 1/3 into the book where I questioned why I was continuing to read as it gets tiresome in spots. As I stuck with it, it became more useful, and ultimately I felt it was a worthwhile read. You may find some aspects of it highly motivating and, for that, there’s good value in it. You may also find the military details of interest. His childhood and coming of age period also had some interesting insights into our society.

Ultimately, I question some of the central messaging from Goggins that seemingly is — “you can simply just keep pushing yourself”. He proves you certainly can or, at least, he did. But, as you’ll read about some of the prices he paid for his extreme achievements, I do wonder about his messaging taken by a large group of people and the negative impacts it will certainly have. Goggins himself verbalized this in his story about his fear of going too far when he faces some serious repercussions. Yet, he’s seems to still giving advice to folks to just keep pushing because — simply that they can.

The book does present a useful structure of his motivational concepts in terms of chapter themes, which give the reader some bite-size and tangible steps they can take in following some of lessons that Goggins learned.