a good read

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I realize that 95% of my posts are about my baby, so to prove that there is more to me than worrying if my baby will ever nail down a sleep schedule, take to heart this book review.

I first heard an interview with Eric Greitens on my favorite radio station, NPR. Eric wrote a book entitled "The Heart and the Fist," where he shared his life memoir on his education at Duke and Oxford and his current life as a Navy Seal. I know, sounds kinda dull, right? But after hearing him talk about his travels over seas, his intense military training and his innate desire to be a humanitarian, I was astounded that one person could make such remarkable and genuine contributions to the world. I immediately went home and recommended the book for the library to add to its collection. I got the book at the beginning of the week and I haven't been able to put it down since.

Shoot, I wish I could adequately describe how exceptional this man is. From Iraq to Bosnia, Rwanda to Bolivia, Greitens describes his encounters with destitute places across the world - people who have suffered poverty, drug abuse, genocide, starvation, sexual assault, political upheavals and more. After touring the world and receiving his Ph.D as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, he turned down a job as a professor at Oxford and a job at a fortune 500 company to make a measely $27,000 starting salary as a Navy SEAL so he could change the world. He then takes the remaining two thirds of the book describing his grueling training and his life as an officer.

Before you know it, this book has you changing the way you view your own life. If there is a person who knows anything about self-worth and self-mastery, it's Greitens. He had me motivated to be a better person by page 3. His ability to learn from every situation he was placed it was incredible, and he took it to heart. Like when he learned to box, he had a coach named Earl. Here's what he says about him:

"God, in Earl's view, had invested every person with strength, and it was our duty to develop that strength. 'What did my father give me muscles for? What did he give you brains for? Now look here, I may not be the strongest man on the block, not the smartest man on the street, but I know that my Father didn't give me what I have for me to waste it.' The logic train went like this: every person had strength. Therefore, every person had a duty to develop their strength. Therefore, every person had the duty to use their strength in the service of God. Sometimes that meant skipping rope properly. Sometimes that meant helping a young kind lost in the world... You honored God by using your time wisely."

I'm a religious person and I've read countless scriptures that testify of the same truth to make use of the time God has given you, but just to have it put out there in such elementary yet honest terms felt refreshing. In no way do I perform at such a magnitude each day as a Navy SEAL. My time and energy is spent with things like paying parking tickets. But I'll tell you what - as I was getting lazy and putting off paying it for no reason, in all seriousness, my mind jumped to all the things Greiten did during his day and I thought "La-de-frickin-da, I'm going to pay this dang parking ticket today!" If there's anyone who is stopping me from living up to what I am able to be, it's me.

I should be a newspaper columnist after that long review! BUT, now that I am reaching the end of my wonderful journey with my Navy SEAL, I need something else for my little eyes to read. I'm kinda on this biography/memoir kick. Any good suggestions?


  1. You MUST read The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. Seriously it's one of my favorite books. I think you'd really like it. Also, Bonds That Make Us Free is incredible. It's not a biography, but a compilation of many people's stories. It's kind of a self-help book but very recommendable.

  2. Jordan has a great idea- The Hiding Place- one of my favorites actually. Also, my brother and mom swear by this book called "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" by Amy Chua. Apparently it is really good and is about a mother raising her children to be musicians or something like that. Starting it tomorrow when finals are over. Sure love you and hope youre doing well!

  3. That looks excellent! I don't really have any advice for you. I have been wanting to read the hiding place. My current readings are in a completely different genre. I just started water for elephants and finished Cutting For Stone (which was an interesting read, but very different and I wouldn't recommend). However, thank you, I always love book ideas!

  4. Reading Lolita in Tehran. The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio. Under the Tuscan Sun.

  5. I just finished Uncle Tom's Cabin. Talk about a good book. I'll have to try this one next. PS NPR is great!

  6. Oh that book looks right up my alley of enjoyment.

    When reading your post, I realized the past 12 books I have read have all been biographies/autobiographies and here are some of my favorites:

    Moutains Beyond Mountains- Tracy Kidder (best book I've ever read

    Strength in What Remains- Tracy Kidder

    Glass Castle- Jeanette Walls

    Boy and Going Solo- Roald Dahl (i loooove roald dahl and his life is soo fascinating)

    All Buy My Life- Ellie Weisel

  7. After you read The Hiding Place, read the sequel: Tramp for the Lord. It's A-Maze-Ing.

  8. Sounds like a good read. If you get the NAVY SEAL bug again (those guys are STUDS), I would suggest:

    Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of Seal Team 10

    The goal of Operation Red Wing was to stake outside a village and capture or kill a leading Taliban member thought to be allied with Osama Bin Laden.

    Jared and I read it together. He would read it out loud to me. I cried through the whole thing. I can't even BEGIN to comprehend such courage.