Book Reviews

Book Review: Can’t Hurt Me

can't hurt me

Title: Can’t Hurt Me
Author: David Goggins
Genre: Biography

What it’s about: David Goggins grew up with a screwed up childhood.  After his mother left his abusive father with David and her older son, he grew up in a small town of Indiana, where he dealt with prejudice, and poverty growing up.  He almost flunked out of school, until he realized that he wanted a dream bad enough he decided to work for it.

He became a US Navy Seal, worked as a recruiter reaching out to people of color on behalf of the armed forces, and became an endurance athlete (running ultramarathons, and beating the record for the most amount of pullups in 24 hours). He’s apparently the only man in history who had completed elite training as a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller, and attempted several others (Green Team, Delta Force). He currently fights wildland fires, and keeps looking for the next thing to challenge himself with.

In this book, alongside his story he shares the details of how he overcame his circumstances to achieve all that he has, which consists of: accountability mirror, the 40% rule and having a calloused mind.

My Verdict: The book was good and brought up so many memories, while at the same time had me hitting my face with my palm. It was really funny and raw, but it has a lot of curse words (so if you’re not a fan of that kind of language, stay away).

I could relate to young David Goggins, as he grew up in Indiana because of the prejudice he faced for being “the only” in class and school. When he becomes accountable for his actions, he talks about how he used his anger and hatred to FUEL himself to do better, be better, and achieve in his last year of high school so that he could go to the armed forces.  A lot of that was so familiar because I was “the only” hard of hearing kid in school, and got bullied because of that.  There are a few such examples or comments in the early part of his life that got me thinking about my own, and reminding me of how much I used to be like him, and what I did to do and be better (I certainly had no accountability mirror, but I did callous my mind).

The middle portion of the book, as he speaks about “Hell Week,” the US Navy Seals, the Delta Force, Army Ranger School and all the military stuff was funny, and kept me at the edge of my seat. I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen, and I loved learning about the armed forces, and what it takes to be a part of each one of them.

Then, he got to the point about running, and being an ultrarunner. That’s when the “facepalm” worthy moments came. He kept making the same errors over and over and over again, with every run.  It’s like he couldn’t learn from his mistakes, and didn’t bother to do additional research to find out what it takes to do all of these races. He didn’t prepare himself at all. Every page of these portions of the book started to sound the same–a broken record–of the same mistakes. Instead of pacing himself with every race, he’d start out strong in first place, and then because he’d waste all of his energy on a burst of speed, he’d be so exhausted that he wouldn’t even come in the top three.  You would think that after the first race that would have been in the After Action Report (“AAR” as he calls them) as a negative–especially when he saw the way the other runner easily passed him. Yet the next race, and the one after that, and the whole Delta Force description was the same thing. He’d start strong, lock in, and then lose out. He also always came so unprepared to some of these marathon and triathlons and running events. He began to come off as if he couldn’t be bothered to do research to get prepared and ensure his success, and that he thought that just because he had been a US Navy Seal and survived Hell Week, he could do anything.

It was at this point that I realized that he is egotistical, and just wants to power through no matter what the damage is to himself.  He’s like an MMA fighter who has explosive power that wows people in the ring, but when that MMA fighter comes up against another one who is lithe, he or she fails because he or she is not fast enough. A brick can’t change direction in mid-flight no matter how hard the wind (not hurricane level) blows.  Any amateur runner, or even someone who does any type of exercise that involves your legs knows that keeping a pace is the real deal and oh so absolutely necessary to finish strong.  At this point, David’s arrogant attitude had begun to wear thin, and sound like just another excuse in his arsenal.

Aside from that, the book did motivate, and is a good read if you want to know one way to achieve you goals.  It had plenty of good parts that reminded me of my roots.


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