Frank Floor Talk: Book Review — Make Your Bed

June 25, 2024 8:00 AM
Photo: Shutterstock
  • Buddy Frank, CDC Gaming Reports
June 25, 2024 8:00 AM
  • Buddy Frank, CDC Gaming Reports

Make Your Bed
By Admiral Wiliam H. McRaven
130 pp., 2017, Grand Central Publishing

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Last month I talked about some resources related to training and included a few book recommendations. Unfortunately, I left off one small work that I consider one of the best. The title is simple, and the subtitle says it all: “Little Things That Can Change Your Life… and Maybe the World”.

That may seem like a publisher’s boisterous claim, but it is quite fitting considering McRaven’s accomplishments. He served as a U.S. Navy SEAL for over three dozen years. As a four-star admiral, his final position before retirement was as commander of all U.S. Special Operations Forces. He also has a background as an educator and chancellor at the University of Texas in Austin.

There are 10 basic concepts listed in this book. What gives each one of them credence is that they were conceived during McRaven’s time training to become a Navy SEAL and/or from lessons earned during his personal combat experiences on battlefields around the globe. That is credibility that few can match.

While not everything in the military, or from the world of warriors, seems appropriate for the board room or the casino floor, you’ll quickly appreciate how these simple credos from the admiral are applicable universally.

I must confess that this book has some personal relevance. I spent over two years of my military career stationed at the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado, California. Each day I would see dozens of young sailors and officers struggling to survive the training program known as BUDS (Basic Underwater Demolition School). Many of McRaven’s lessons were born from this rigorous program.

While the physical demands of that training are epic, it always seemed to me that the mental game was what really made the difference in who survived and who didn’t. Whether carrying waterlogged telephone poles, doing buddy swims, or linking arms to survive the cold surf, the training course consistently emphasized teamwork.

That strategy produces the country’s best warriors. And as McRaven notes, it’s also a great way to achieve business success. The book is short and sweet; so there’s little reason not to give it a try.

The internet is full of dozens of reviews about this wonderful book. Here are just a few excerpts:

  • So, pick up this book, straighten your metaphorical bed, and get ready to conquer your own mountains.”
  • “Who knew that such a seemingly mundane task could be the launching pad for a day filled with triumphs and victories?”
  • “The standout insight for me is the sheer impact and power of disciplined consistency in our lives.”
  • “Not only do I recommend it, but I’ve also started buying it and handing it out as gifts!”
  • “If I could say only four words about this book they would be: Add to cart, people.”  

This book (new) is ridiculously cheap on Amazon at just $7.40 in hardback. That is a price that’s hard to beat even on the used market.  There’s an associated “workbook” if you want to make this a part of a casino training program. There’s also a children’s version with “Skipper the Seal” at just $5.79.

The original book was published in 2017, but these lessons are timeless. Last year, McRaven did another management work called “The Wisdom of the Bullfrog: Leadership Made Simple (But Not Easy)”.  It is also highly recommended, but I’d start with “Make Your Bed” first.

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