Discipline Equals Freedom Field Manual by Jocko Willink

I’m not sure how I feel about this book.


It is truth wrapped in cold reptilian logic tied with a stark monochromatic  bow.

Let me start by saying that the typeface in this book was tough for me. Maybe that doesn’t really bother other people. I struggled. It was too gimmicky. I also struggled with the short clipped sentences that have had all aggrandizement murdered out of them. It written like Jocko speaks, which is likely intentional because it is completely unlike Extreme Ownership (great book and concept) and The Way of the Warrior kid (which I also really liked, probably because it had pictures).

I find Jocko quit difficult to relate to. Maybe its because I don’t see the world in black and white, good guys and bad guys, right and wrong. Maybe its because I am not a warrior.

I realize that may seem contradictory to everything I have done so far. I have trained in boxing and jujitsu almost my entire life. I am a firm adherent of the right to carry a firearm. Plus the time I spent with the Army and police service. Still, I think I would balk at being lumped into a warrior caste. I would be much happier being thought of foremost as a gardener. Which is something I like doing. Considering yourself a warrior first in my opinion, positions you on a slippery slope.

Although perhaps I can postulate another theory for my weariness, in so far as my father is very much like Jocko. In my case however, the apple fell VERY far from the tree. Likely propelled away by some almost imperceptible decline in the genetic topography. And so having landed decidedly downhill and likely upside I really struggle with this type of mindset.

Living your life like this is so alien to me, so completely devoid of whimsy that I find it a little depressing. Academically this book makes complete sense to me. Sure, if you want to succeed… do this. But first I think you need to have a good hard look at yourself and determine what your metric for success is, and what you deem will have been a life well lived.

If you’re looking to maximize efficiency, boom this is your book. Personally I prefer a gentler operating system with smoother edges. Something that allows me to sleep in every once in a while.

That’s not say I didn’t get anything out of this book. I agree with Jocko on quite a lot of what he writes (especially the martial arts stuff) It more that I think you need to be careful about postulating a personal philosophy. It often relies on the premise that your own personal philosophy is somehow inadequate or flawed. We like to emulate people we admire. Chances are your personal philosophy is just fine. Don’t let other people make you feel somehow deficient.

My concern (as well as my own experience) with life hacks is that we adopt other peoples philosophy to treat our symptoms. Instead of getting to the root cause of why we feel the way we do. Don’t fix yourself with someone else’s band-aid.

However. Don’t always read concepts you agree with. Get out of your echo-chamber once in a while. Challenge why you live the way you do. See other peoples points of view. Poke the box.