The Heart and the Fist

The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy SEAL
by Eric Greitens | Mariner Books © 2011 · 313 pages

Eric Greitens is pretty much a superhero. Part humanitarian and part warrior, he's an integrated man committed to serving profoundly. In this book, he shows us how to combine strength and compassion, find our purpose through service and cultivate practical wisdom. 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.

“This is a book about service on the frontlines. I’ve been blessed to work with volunteers who taught art to street children in Bolivia and Marines who hunted al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq. I’ve learned from nuns who fed the destitute in Mother Teresa’s homes for the dying in India, aid workers who healed orphaned children in Rwanda, and Navy SEALs who fought in Afghanistan. As warriors, as humanitarians, they’ve taught me that without courage, compassion falters, and that without compassion, courage has no direction. They’ve shown me that it is within our power, and that the world requires of us—of every one of us—that we be both good and strong. I hope that the stories recounted here will inspire you, as these people have inspired me. They have given me hope, and shown me the incredible possibilities that exist for each of us to live our one life well. For each of us, there is a place on the frontlines.”

~ Eric Greitens from The Heart and the Fist

Eric Greitens is a truly extraordinary human being.

I recently did a Note on his newest book, Resilience. After reading that book (one of the best I’ve read), I immediately picked up this book. I’m glad I did. (Get a copy here.)

Eric’s experience as a humanitarian serving refugees in Croatia and Rwanda following those horrific genocides led him to realize that someone needed to stop the violence BEFORE hundreds of thousands of people were killed and millions affected.

So, after getting his Ph.D. at Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship (his dissertation was on the importance of humanitarian work focused on the *strength* of those being served rather than their perceived weaknesses) Eric became a Navy SEAL so he could also serve in that capacity.

As a humanitarian and a warrior, Eric embodies his belief that we must be both good AND strong. Compassionate AND courageous. To lead with both a heart and a fist.

I’m deeply inspired by his integrity, humility, and profound commitment to service. Tom Brokaw called Eric his hero. Steven Pressfield tells us he represents all that is right with our country. I completely agree on both counts.

I’m excited to share a few of my favorite Big Ideas. Let’s jump straight in!

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About the author


Eric Greitens

Leadership. Purpose. Innovation.