Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins

There's good advice in this book, clouded by a lot of senseless drama.

The story of how Goggins survived his childhood abuse, got through his military training, and accomplished so many athletic goals is impressive enough. The challenges he makes to the readers and the explanation of the battle in his mind, the description of what it takes to run 100 miles, that's interesting and useful.

But to me, it is made much less impressive by his deciding to run on broken legs, push through kidney failure, and work out while in arrhythmia the morning of heart surgery. The absurdity of running marathons on a whim, after injury and having previously decided to recuperate; of doing a glacier run without the proper shoes, the masochistic convenience of his crampons breaking in the first mile, of his camelbak going to shit in the first 15 minutes, of his bike throwing him over the handlebars in the final stretch.

There's, ironically, a military idiom that goes: Proper Planning and Practice Prevents Piss Poor Performance, and yet Goggins seems to want you to know he's above that. He doesn't need to plan. Better are the stories where he's trying something impossible and fails because of his impulsiveness, but too often you get this peppering of needless nonsense and ball grabbing.

This latter kind of crap seems pointlessly desperate and self-destructive. If the goal of the book is to inspire the reader and not promote the author, as Goggins explicitly hedges half a dozen times in the book, then why is he going out of his way to tell me about such stupidity. Maybe an editor wanted to make the thing more of a blockbuster, more appealing to knuckle-draggers. Maybe Goggins really thinks running ultras and breaking world records isn't enough, and that those things need to be embellished to really drive the point home. I don't know. I found myself having to weed through this kind of stuff to get to the rich ethic underneath, which is:

Pushing yourself is useful and it's a skill you can hone way further than you think. Goggins is a rare, inspiring, and dedicated human being. His accomplishments are incredible and yet verified. You can't deny he's won the medals he's won. And this book can teach you some practical methods for doing the same. For that alone, it get's four stars from me. But don't be like this dude, too much. You can push yourself consistently and gratifyingly until the day you die without putting yourself on the fast track to death. Not to mention the failed marriages and kid that go nearly unmentioned.