Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life
by Eric Greitens | Houghton Mifflin Harcourt © 2015 · 301 pages

Resilience. As Eric Greitens tells us, it's not so much about bouncing back as it is about moving through. And this former Navy SEAL, Rhodes Scholar, boxing champion and humanitarian who's been recognized as one of the greatest leaders in the world, knows a ton about how to cultivate it by embracing failure, forging our purpose and living with virtue. Note: We’re keeping our Notes on Eric’s books up on the site as a powerful reminder of a) how hard it is to truly live these ideas and b) how important it is to trust OURSELVES as our ultimate advisors.

“For a few years I’d had a bunch of thoughts—based on my humanitarian work overseas, my time in the military, and my work with veterans—about how people move through hardship to happiness, through pain to wisdom, through suffering to strength. Our phone call brought them to the surface.

It was late when I got home, but when I did, I put some of those thoughts in a letter to Walker. He wrote back. One letter followed another. We talked a lot. We kept writing.

This book is an edited set of those letters. They are letters to my friend. But while his story is unique, what he’s up against—loss, fear, a search for purpose—is not. In fact, what he’s up against is universal. So, with my friend’s blessing—but with his name changed to protect his privacy—I’ve collected these letters on resilience in the hope that they might benefit you too.”

~ Eric Greitens from Resilience

Eric Greitens is an extraordinary human being.

He’s a former Navy SEAL, Rhodes scholar (with a Ph.D. from Oxford), and boxing champion. Eric’s also a humanitarian who Time magazine recognizes as one of the 100 most influential Americans. Fortune puts him on their list of the 50 greatest leaders in the world.

Eric writes with the same simple, direct, and disciplined language he admires in Hemingway and reminds me of a modern-day cross of Marcus Aurelius and Seneca. Aurelius wrote private notes to himself—never intending to publish his thoughts into what became his classic book Meditations. Seneca’s most famous work is the compilation of his letters to a young friend.

This book is a collection of letters Eric wrote to his Navy SEAL buddy who had fallen on hard times—struggling with alcohol and finding purpose after his active duty. The book is so well written it commands a certain quiet, calm reverence as you read it. At least it did for me.

In addition to giving us wisdom on how to cultivate our resilience, this book is really a field manual for virtuous living and flourishing. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. I highly recommend it. Get it here.

I’m excited to share some of my favorite Big Ideas and I hope you enjoy. Let’s jump in!

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About the author


Eric Greitens

Leadership. Purpose. Innovation.