A former Navy Admiral and Navy Seal had a lengthy, decorated career before speaking at the University of Texas commencement in Austin on May 17, 2014. The book Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World by Admital William H. McRaven took the premise of that commencement speech to share with the world a series of life lessons surrounding discipline and strength of character that McRaven wished to share that day and perhaps longer.
(McRaven at the University of Texas 2014 commencement in Austin)
McRaven is a military hero with leadership qualities commensurate with a distinguished, yet not perfect calculated, leadership career. The book presents the ten points of McRaven‘s speech, as taken through lessons of being a Navy Seal in the US Navy, to the graduating class of 2014. McRaven’s final chapter reviews those lessons in a rather compact and succinct format.
The ten chapters preceding that final repetition was to offer extended tales of that last chapter to his audience one chapter at a time. It was through the respect for this man’s service that kept me engaged and interested through the story of life lessons. For example, the first lesson gets echoed in the book title. Military discipline teaches you to make your bed, thus coming back to your life with one little accomplishment gained. One little accomplishment leads to another, and another. Eventually, you make bigger accomplishments, urged on by military efficiency.
The book does respectfully well explaining Navy Seal training, a respectably lengthy career in military leadership, and the maturity of lessons taught through resilience, perserverance, and loyalty. Lessons aimed at gaining maturity and perspective were the messages I heard McRaven offer.
The message of Make Your Bed was clear, succinct, and will be understood by many. The strength rests in this as well as the quality person sharing the tales. That the stories themselves were new is good and refreshing. That the lessons of leadership and life were not new to me made it hard to rate the book higher than 3.5-stars out of five (5).
Matt – Thursday, May 17, 2018