JRB #1 — Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven

This will be the first review of my book series, JimReviewsBooks. Today I am going to review a book based on a commencement speech given by a retired Navy SEAL, Make Your Bed. We will start off with the basics of the book, then get into the 8-point scale, big takeaways, and a summary. This review will be rather short, and is intended to be such.

Link to order on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Make-Your-Bed-Little-Things/dp/1455570249

Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven. He is a former Navy SEAL and gave a commencement speech at the University of Texas-Austin that went viral on the internet.

The Basics

Number of Pages: 104

Time reading per page: 35 seconds

Implied amount of time to read the whole book: Approximately one hour

Chapters: 10

Genre: Self-help, a little bit of everything when it comes to improving your life and overcoming hardship

Intended audience: Everyone

Very Short Summary

This is a great starting point for a review on books, because it is so short that it can give anyone with just an hour to spare a good sense of accomplishment that they have finished a book. The book essentially documents different anecdotes from the life of the author William H. McRaven and at the end of each chapter the lesson about the preceding anecdote is taught in pretty plain language. The author is a retired naval officer who has seen lots of difficult things, be it SEAL training, parachute accidents, you name it.

The 8-Point Scale

  1. Readability (10/10)

The book is incredibly readable, the author does not use any language that is inaccessible and the book takes relatively no time at all to read.

2. Transparency (10/10)

The ideas are clearly spelled out, if somehow you do not have enough time to read the whole book (I find this unlikely), just read the last paragraph of every chapter because that is where you will find the big ideas, or just read the next section of this review.

3. Applicability (10/10)

The title itself is a call to action.

4. Excitement (10/10)

The content of each page is exciting. The author does a good job of giving the highlights of Navy SEAL training in a way that is quite exciting. There’s lots of near-death, near-demise situations that are very captivating for the reader. A good insight into what it’s like going through hell.

5. Importance (10/10)

The ideas present in this book are incredibly important, big ideas are talked about that deal with persevering through various difficult situations. This skill is incredibly important for anybody.

6. Accomplishment (8/10)

After you read this book, you should understand that nothing can break your spirit. It is an easy read, but it inspires me to be better.

7. Integration (8/10)

Most of the ideas present are pretty easy to implement in life, however I will say that some of the ideas, such as being courageous in the face of adversity, are much easier said than done, while something like making your bed is very easy.

8. Idea-Shaping (9/10)

Made me understand that the little things you do matter.


Big Takeaways

  1. Make your bed. The little things can change the world.
  2. Don’t ring the bell. A reference to quitting Navy SEAL training, this phrase just means do not quit. Quitting gives a temporary easement of pain for a lifetime of regret, persevering works through a temporary pain for a lifetime of enjoyment.
  3. Be courageous in the face of a shark. When people smell blood in the water, that is when they attack. It is important to not let people get the best of you, and the easiest way to do that is to have strength of character and to stand up to people who might try to take advantage of you.
  4. Learn to enjoy the situation you are in. Some situations are, unfortunately, relatively out of our immediate control. However, the way you frame situations can still be positive. An example of this in the book is when the SEALs start singing together when they are all neck deep in mud.
  5. Move Forward. The one thing that is definitively out of your control is the past.
  6. Taking risks is the only way to finish first. At one point or another, you have to take a risk if you want to break a record or do something that has not been done. This is spelled out explicitly in the book when the example is given of going down the obstacle course head first.




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Jim Rouse

Jim Rouse


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