Resilience, by Eric Greitens

September 13, 2020

Rating: (all out of 5 stars)

Quality of the writing: 5 / 5

Prior to joining the Navy and becoming a Navy Seal, Eric Greitens was a Rhodes and Truman Scholar. While at Oxford he earned Master’s and Doctoral degrees.
His writing is clearly that of someone who is well educated and well read. It struck me as more eloquent, while approachable, than anything I have ever read.

Quality of the content/organisation/research: 5 / 5

See the prior comment. His writing, his examples, his Stoic quotes, it is absolutely impressive and awe inspiring to me.

Impact on my perspective: 5 /5

I have read on Stoicism for a fair period of time now and I am driven by a certain internal code; however, I have never codified that code in writing.

Eric Greitens codified how I feel on a myriad of subjects and codified it in a way that I don’t know I would be able to do.

While it may not necessarily change my perspective, it is a book that I can hand to my Sons, to my friends, to family, to colleagues and say you want to know what makes me tick. How I think. How to get ahead in life. How to live life. Then read this.

Personal resonance: 5 /5

This book resonates with me more than anything that I’ve read.

Recommendation potential: 5 /5

I was recommending this book to people before I finished it.

One of my close friends, an avid reader, a person with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and
self-improvement, picked it up off of his to read shelf and dove in.

Within days, he messaged me and said I have never highlighted a book so much in my life. I felt the same. It is a work of art on how to live the right life today.

This will be one of the most recommended books that I have ever read, alongside:

– Feeling Good: the New Mood Therapy
– Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

These are all books that change your perspective on life. Books that help you take a step to a higher level.

Overall score (averaged and rounded): 5/ 5


Why I read Resilience:

I have a long-term life goal of pivoting into personal and career coaching.

Focus areas of my reading that will assist in driving my eventual practice are:

• Stoicism
• Buddhism
• Mindfulness
• Men’s Work
• Shadow Work
• Emotional Intelligence

Resilience, by Eric Greitens, was on a list of recommended books on Stoicism that I used to purchase ~ 30 books on Stoicism, which I am slowly working my way through.

Context of reading:

I purchased the thirty books on Stoicism a number of years ago and have slowly been working my way through them.

I also purchased a number of books on emotional intelligence, via the Harvard Business Review Emotional Intelligence Series, and have been working my way through them.

I read this book during covid, during quarantine, when a healthy dose of resilience was warranted in life.

At the same time, I was reading a book on resilience in the HBR emotional intelligence series.

Where I heard about it/who suggested it:

As noted above, Resilience was in a recommended list of Stoicism readings, which I believe I either picked up through Farnam Street or the Daily Stoic, both great sites that provide a lot of solid learning for readers.


A summary of the book:

This book is based off of a series of letters between Eric Greitens and a friend from his days in the Navy Seals.

Eric’s friend is going through a rough stretch on his return to America after serving overseas. He’s fallen into Alcoholism and is spiraling out of control. Knowing this, he reaches out to Eric for help, for a lifeline.

Eric responds with a chain of correspondence between the two men over time that helps his friend out of the death spiral. Helps him remember who he is and what he’s capable of.

Eric draws on the tenets of Stoicism, amongst many other philosophies, through the course of the letters he writes. Each letter has one to two take-aways for the reader.

From Why Resilience –>What is Resilience –> Taking the first step –> on happiness –> role models –> identity –> habits –> responsibility –> philosophy –> vocation –> practice –> pain –> reflection –> friendships and more

Reading this should help anyone who is aimless in life. Who doesn’t know what their next step, their first step, should be. Someone who doesn’t believe in themselves and wants to know how to move forward in life.

My feelings/assessments of it:

This book resonated with me more than any book I have ever read and will become one of the most recommended books for me in the future, alongside Feeling Good: the New Mood Therapy, which the book discusses and the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Interesting titbits:

Some interesting tidbits are:

The best philosophies solve some of the problems of life, not only theoretically, but practically. We can tell a philosophy is working if it produces a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity and trust.

We all need something to struggle against and to struggle for. The aim in life is not to avoid struggles, but to have the right ones; not to avoid worry, but to care about the right things; not to live without fear, but to confront worthy fears with force and passion

The first step to building resilience is to take responsibility for who you are and for your life. If you’re not willing to do that, stop wasting your time.

The essence of responsibility is the acceptance of the consequences – good and bad – of your actions. You are not responsible for every thing that happens to you. You ARE responsible for how you deal with what happens to you.

We become what we do if we do it often enough. We act with courage, and we become courageous. We act with compassion and we become compassionate. If we make resilient choices, we become resilient.

You can develop resilience, anyone can do it. No on can do it FOR YOU. YOU and YOU ALONE have to do the work.

It is possible to build virtues. It is possible to change your character. It is possible, therefore, to change the direction of your life.

Start copying what you love. Copy, copy, copy, copy. At the end of the copy, you will find yourself.

Copy day after day. One day you’ll take stock and find what started out as copying, whether it’s your writing or your way of being a dad, or your way of facing up to a loss, has become something uniquely your own.

-Identity -> Action -> Feelings
-You begin by asking who am I going to be
-You then act that way
-The way you act will shape the way you feel
-If you want to feel differently then act differently

Those are enough tidbits, for more, read the book.

Thank you Eric Greitens for sharing such an inspiring book with the world.

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