Book Review: “Discipline Equals Freedom Field Manual” by Jocko Willink

By Adam Jusko,,

Jocko Willink doesn’t want to hear it. You’re tired, you don’t have time, you just don’t have it today.

Uh uh.

Willink, a retired Navy SEAL who served as commander of the most highly-decorated Special Operations Unit of the Iraq War, looks, thinks, and acts like a human battering ram, destroying all obstacles (and self doubt) in his path. But he will tell you, he’s not superhuman. Having the discipline to outperform is a daily struggle, and he wages it just like you do.

Still… he doesn’t want to hear it.

Struggles are made to be overcome. Weakness is a gift that forces you to work harder, get stronger, and lay down a disciplined path where “getting after it” is a habit that you don’t even question anymore.

Willink preaches this gospel in the new Discipline Equals Freedom Field Manual, a book that looks as tough as the words inside:

There is nothing subtle about Jocko Willink’s message here:

  • You’re too tired? Do it anyway.
  • You want a shortcut? There is no shortcut.
  • You’ll do it tomorrow? You’ll do it now!

You can’t control the world, but you can control yourself. Self-discipline is simply doing what you know you should do, instead of letting yourself off the hook over and over again.

The Discipline Equals Freedom Field Manual offers sort of a three-pronged approach to betterment:

  • You need to get stronger mentally.
  • You need to get stronger physically.
  • You need to treat your body properly in order to accomplish the first two.

Willink gives you plenty of mental motivation here, but he also gives very specific instruction on how to get physically stronger, including a lengthy appendix of suggested workouts.

If Willink didn’t have tons of credibility, this book would fall flat. Who is this guy to tell me to be relentless every single day? But Willink led a highly-successful team in the worst possible conditions in Iraq, and he is a physical mountain of a man. He has lived it, and continues to do so (as his over 100K Twitter followers know from his chronicling of daily 4:30AM workouts).

Jocko fans will not be disappointed with the new Field Manual, and the book is sure to attract many more.

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