Book Review of Discipline Equals Freedom Field Manual

Welcome back all! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. Today, I am going to discuss Jocko Willink’s new book, Discipline Equals Freedom Field Manual. It was written in 2017 and is broken down into 2 parts.

  1. Thoughts
  2. Actions

Inside the section on actions are the three subsections:

    1. Fuel
    2. Repair and Maintenance
    3. Appendix-  which includes workouts in three stages: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.

You realize how unique this book is when you open it because the pages are actually black with white lettering. This structure is strange at first, but very simple to read.

In the first section of the book, Jocko goes into thoughts. He writes in almost a blog format, which I will attempt to show you when I quote pages 2 and 3 on the ways of discipline.

“The ways of discipline. People look for the shortcut the hack and if you came here looking for that you won’t find it. The shortcut is a lie. The hack doesn’t get you there. And if you want to take the easy road, it won’t take you where you want to be: stronger, smarter, healthier, better, free. To reach goals and become the best version of you possible will not happen by itself. It will not It will not happen cutting corners, taking shortcuts, or looking for the easy way. There is no easy way. There is only hard work, late nights, early mornings,  practice, rehearsal, repetition, study, sweat, blood, toil, frustration, and discipline. Discipline. There must be discipline. Discipline, the root of all good qualities. The driver of daily execution. The core principle that overcomes poisonous lethargy and excuses. Discipline defeats the infinite excuses that say ‘not today’, ‘not now’, ‘I need a rest’, ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’. What’s the hack? How do you become smarter, stronger, faster, healthier? How do you become better? How do you achieve freedom? There’s only one way. The way of discipline.”

And that is exactly what this book is about. Covers all kinds of topics from overcoming procrastination to regret, to death, to negative talk, and negative people.

Part 1 is written like a set of blogs, but Part 2 is all about physical training, called Getting After It. To give you a little example, I’ll highlight page 93.

“There are all kinds of benefits from physical training. You want to learn how to get smarter? I’m going to tell you. You will be healthier, this is a fact. By working out you will increase your endorphins, testosterone, growth hormones, cardiac volume, insulin sensitivity, and natural killer cells. Those changes will help prevent or treat the following issues: high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, insomnia, and depression. BOOM. Still not convinced? Working out will make you smarter. Yes, smarter. (I told you I would tell you) It improves blood flow to the brain. It boosts growth hormones that promote growth of new neural cells. It improves synaptic plasticity, the ability for neurons to send and receive messages. It releases brain chemicals which increase cognition, like dopamine, glutamate, neuro phosphine, and serotonin. It also boosts the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor BDNF, a protein that helps with mental processes. But don’t just take my word for it. Go. Do. Get some exercise done and pay attention to your mental state. You’ll feel more aware, sharper, and smarter. This is real.”

Jocko manages to cover a lot of topics in this section as well,  including when to workout, sleep, talks a lot about Martial Arts (in 3 forms  Grappling, Striking, Weapons). He talks about how the key to self-defense is to escape. The most critical form of self-defense is the mind. He means being smart and aware, being able to avoid exposing yourself to danger. He recommends starting your defense training with Brazilian jiu-jitsu. This fighting style handles fighting from the ground because usually in a surprise attack, you will be taken down to the ground and begin to fight up from there. He then goes into feeding the machine: fuel, what to avoid, fasting.

Lastly, he goes into workouts. They are broken into three different levels, but I will warn you, they’re all pretty difficult. Even the beginner workouts are challenging. I’m going to wrap up by reading page 199 at the end of the book. This part is Jocko’s call to action.

“Don’t just read this book. Don’t just listen to the podcast. Don’t just watch videos online. Don’t just take notes. Don’t just study them. Don’t just share them with your friends. Don’t just plan. Don’t just mark your calendar. Don’t just get motivated. Don’t just talk. Don’t just think. Don’t just dream. No, none of that matters. The only thing that matters is that you actually do. So do.”

As I have mentioned, great book, great author. If you need help to plan for your life or my new 8 Week Coaching Program on The Art of Living Life Out of Balance go to  contact me at or my website  Remember to Be Great!


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