Read the heart and the fist the education of a humanitarian the making of a navy seal by Eric Greitens Online


THE HEART AND THE FIST shares one man’s story of extraordinary leadership and service as both a humanitarian and a warrior. In a life lived at the raw edges of the human experience, Greitens has seen what can be accomplished when compassion and courage come together in meaningful service.As a Rhodes Scholar and Navy SEAL, Greitens worked alongside volunteers who taught artTHE HEART AND THE FIST shares one man’s story of extraordinary leadership and service as both a humanitarian and a warrior. In a life lived at the raw edges of the human experience, Greitens has seen what can be accomplished when compassion and courage come together in meaningful service.As a Rhodes Scholar and Navy SEAL, Greitens worked alongside volunteers who taught art to street children in Bolivia and led US Marines who hunted terrorists in Iraq. He’s learned from nuns who fed the destitute in one of Mother Teresa’s homes for the dying in India, from aid workers who healed orphaned children in Rwanda, and from Navy SEALs who fought in Afghanistan. He excelled at the hardest military training in the world, and today he works with severely wounded and disabled veterans who are rebuilding their lives as community leaders at home.Greitens offers each of us a new way of thinking about living a meaningful life. We learn that to win any war, even those we wage against ourselves; to create and obtain lasting peace; to save a life; and even, simply to live with purpose requires us—every one of us—to be both good and strong....

Title : the heart and the fist the education of a humanitarian the making of a navy seal
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ISBN : 11388914
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Number of Pages : 297 Pages
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the heart and the fist the education of a humanitarian the making of a navy seal Reviews

  • Sue
    2019-04-18 12:50

    I have little understanding of the glories of war, and I admit to not understanding those who choose to join the military. Furthermore, warriors are rarely among the people I admire most. So when I heard about this book, I hoped I’d get some insight into what draws people to those choices. Eric Greitens had a first-rate education and several high-powered career options, and he chose to become a Navy Seal. The first half of this memoir showed us a youth devoted to learning and serving, and it was underwritten by his conviction that we, the United States, were often late with our aid to refugees, when force and intervention early on would have done more good. He was an idealistic young man who spent summer vacations working with refugees and victims of violence. His exposure to some of the saddest victim stories of our time – Rwanda and Bosnia – offered a powerful argument for his growing feeling that fighting for good was an honorable choice.But, but, but… I kept thinking. How does a government even with the greatest concern for human rights always know when to intervene? Never mind that usually we are far more concerned with our national interest (meaning — often — oil). His youthful conclusion seemed naïve if well intentioned.But he leaves his youth behind. Cut to his decision to join the Seals after an idyllic period as a Rhodes Scholar. He undergoes brutal training, and he goes to hot spots across the globe. This is no ordinary man. He’s smart, he’s strong, and he’s brave. And the naivete gives way to a more nuanced approach to foreign intervention. He comes to believe that we could not succeed in a place like Iraq, for example, without better understanding of how to relate to the people of the country. He’s the kind of person I want our military to have in troubled places, and today he’s working with war wounded to give their lives new meaning.So do I have a better understanding of those who choose the military? Truthfully, Eric Greitens was always a warrior. Even in college, he wanted to test himself, so he trained as a boxer – not your basic intercollegiate sport. So it wasn’t just a philosophical decision; there was something inside him, driving him to meet physical and competitive challenges. I’m still not sure I get it, but I’ve read a truthful account of a man who cares for humanity and is more willing than most to fight for it.

  • Bruce
    2019-04-17 14:46

    Although the book was rather uneven (at times), the message shone through very clearly. I was just so taken by the author's humanitarian inclinations. Yet, so that he could not easily be categorized, he is also a warrior (Navy Seal), articulate, well educated and well-read. He is truly the prototypical renaissance man, one whom I admired greatly as I made my way through the book. Given his educational background, he could have very easily chosen to make large sums of money in the corporate world upon his graduation from college. Yet he chose the humanitarian path and then, later, to fight for our country. He is currently the founder of an organization that helps to assist our wounded veterans to get back on their feet. When you've had your fill of the type of bad behavior that is unfortunately newsworthy these days, read this book. If you're like me, you will be(and feel) better for the experience. This book is highly recommended.

  • Mary
    2019-04-16 07:32

    I was awestruck by the amount of "phronesis" (practical wisdom), that Dr. Greitens has gained through his rich experiences in his life. Wow! I believe some people are born with great gifts and Mr. Greitens would fall into that category. In my mind, it has always been a difficult tension between the need for humanitarians and those that carry the sword to protect our freedoms. Truth be told, I've learned you can be both. I love the following two quotes from the book:First, "I'd learned that all of the best kinds of compassionate assistance from Mother Teresa's work with the poor to UNICEF's work with refugee children, meant nothing if a warlord could command a militia and take control of the very place humanitarians were trying to aid. The world needs many more humanitarians than it needs warriors, but there can be none of the former without enough of the latter."Second, "The world, I believe is not constructed so that it presents us with perfect choices. I'd joined the military in part, because I saw that to protect the innocent, we have to be willing to fight. It is also true, however, that for all the warrior's discipline, when we pick up the sword, innocents will suffer."Click! After many years of humanitarian work, leadership positions, and concerns about war, I now get "it." Thank you for the epiphany and an awesome read. Best wishes to you and your foundation's future success. Brilliant.

  • Michael Cogdill
    2019-04-16 12:52

    Eric Greitens, I pray the narrative of your life shadows and inspires mine until my final day. Readers, harvest the wisdom of this book. Feast on it. Eric Greitens transcends the jingoism and railing identity politics that tend to invade our national discourse. Instead, he proves that an unimpeachable heart for humanity and the stoutest mettle of a serviceman are not merely compatible, they are essential to one another. This is the writing of a Rhodes Scholar and a great American warrior and a humble soul at once. To a world of those who preen themselves with tiny accomplishment, vaunting the self rather than serving another, Greitens sounds out a reminder that our legacies are made of great sacrifice, endurance, radical kinds of love, all cloaked in a humility that continues to call that legacy downward, as long as we're drawing breath, to find still more struggling human lives we can better with our own.Read this expecting to be changed, elevated at the spirit (and in the gym by the time you get halfway through his recollection of Hell Week). Greitens is a transformative American truth teller who has seen some of the hardest parts of the world. His experience of humanity's ability to drill into poverty and despair and find greatness is on the clearest display.Gift this book. To the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States, give it as a gift from a man who chose to endure the toughest training in the U.S. military to make himself an even more extraordinary American servant to the world. To college students, grant this book as an inspiration to the heart and mind. To the despairing, the cynic, the railing pessimist, give this book as an antidote. I believe it holds power to treat the affliction of believing and assuming that defeat is inevitable, that nuture of the self is our calling, and that service is for someone else.And then there's the gratitude narrative, quietly woven into the prose. To read this book is to bow in thanksgiving for the American ideal and the full potential of the American experience in lives around the world. The book is a calling, a chiming to our souls, leading us beyond our comfort to the full and ironic happiness that breaks out in serving the world, with intelligence, the sharpest insight and a warrior's love that wins hearts and minds. It reveals how truly well a life can go, and that each of us carries a greatness within, a greatness in waiting, eager to make itself the writing instrument that marks our legacies on hearts and minds.Greitens, thank you! I salute you for your service, as a SEAL and as an American who stands for the highest American, and deeply human, ideals. Thank you for all you're doing to inspire the world to live magnanimously.

  • Daniel Namie
    2019-04-21 07:44

    "The Heart and the Fist" is interesting thus far. A different read from other book about Navy SEALs. Eric Greiten was Rhodes Scholar turned Navy SEAL--that's like a nun turning "tricks' for a living.

  • Owen
    2019-04-03 15:46

    I read Eric Greitens book, The Heart and The Fist. He is cooler than anyone you know. He has lived a better life than most people you know. Worse for me, my path now seems like a poor imitation of his- he got his PhD from Oxford, on a Rhodes Scholarship after years of going to terrible places and doing wonderful things. Then he joined the Navy SEALS and did some hella-cool stuff (though as a Marine, you would expect me to like the SEAL stuff more than the humanitarian aid. Or just as a boy). To borrow from Bill Simmons, I am the homeless man's Eric Greitens. I mean, the guy is impressive but it did demoralize me. He did lots of cool stuff, though.He did talk at length about why people quit SEAL school. He remembered that the largest amount of people quit while they were waiting for training events. he also said he thought it was easier to go through as an officer because you had so much to do, you didn't have time to worry about how much longer Hell Week would be. While I did not (and never will attempt to) do Hell Week, I understood. At OCS (Marine OCS is apparently significantly more intense than Navy OCS judging by his description) it was the waiting that broke people. the guys who couldn't physically cut it were gone by week 5 (of 10). After that is was all mental. I actually used the same strategy as him- meals. Just survive to the next meal. It worked very well for me. I thought it was because I really liked to eat. He said the largest amount of people who dropped did it while they were waiting to do something in the water at night. They had to wait for the sun to go down, so they stood on the beach. And people quit, terrified. They were watching a sunset on Coronado Island! Sure, things were about to get much worse than almost any human could endure, but they'd already done worse. His point was that letting fear take control is what finishes people, what breaks them. his method was to survive small pieces and not get overwhelmed. Great idea... but the big things look awfully scary sometimes. I guess it's nice to know that Navy SEALs sometimes survive training the same way I do.This is a good book by a singularly incredible human being. Well worth the read.

  • Camille
    2019-03-31 08:35

    {July 2016 book club selection} I was really impressed with Eric Greitens and his attitude and accomplishments. It was interesting to read about his varied experiences in humanitarian work, in Navy SEAL training (I can't believe people voluntarily put themselves through that!), and in his active-duty deployments. He obviously has a really good heart and seems to have great leadership capabilities. I was especially touched by his focus on service and action--the way he always sought to get to know those around him and help them focus on their strengths and being the best they could be. I see great value in this observation offered towards the end of the book: "I knew from my experience working with Bosnian refugees and Rwandan survivors that those who found a way to serve others were able to rebuild their own sense of purpose, despite all they had lost. I knew from my time in refugee camps and my time working with children of the street that to build a new life in the face of great challenge, what mattered was not what we gave them, but what they did." Of course, this doesn't mean that we can't or shouldn't help people, just that we should keep in mind that what helps them the most is finding their own strength and sense of purpose. That kind of aid (helping people find strength and purpose) sometimes takes more time and effort on our part than giving food or money, but it's what seems to be the most effective in the long run. Greitens applied this principle in starting his foundation for wounded veterans, looking for ways to help them find new purpose so they didn't focus solely on what they had lost. In the preface, Greitens talks about what he learned from both humanitarians and military co-workers around the world. He says, "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." I think Eric Greitens is a great example of how one person can make a difference. He has inspired me to try to be better.

  • Jacqueline
    2019-03-29 14:42

    A very worthwhile read. This is not a gungho description of military action but is the story of a man's personal experience as a humanitarian and a US Navy SEAL. The gist of his story was not so much an autobiography but a story of a journey to understanding. The author as a young man travels the world doing humanitarian work and begins to understand that helping after the fact is not the answer but that the horrible acts of man that lead to the necessity of humanitarian aid need to be stopped before they happen. That is the reason that he becomes a SEAL. The author explains his philosophy of ways that humanitarians and the military alike could make changes and be better at both ends of the dilemma. During the course of the book, he also illustrates what it means to be a man whether he intends that message or not.This is a book that anyone who is searching for some way to serve, to have an impact on the world, to achieve something important with their life would benefit from reading. I believe that a person searching for such meaning could come away from this book with a reinforced commitment to finding their personal mission and following after it.As to the book itself, it was well written and easy to read. Each episode was interesting and full of details that made the episodes easy to visualize. It did not bog down anywhere and the reader got a very broad view of the different types of humanitarian efforts that go on in the world as well as a very good overview of what the SEALs and other special operations soldiers do.This book was provided for me free for review from the publisher.

  • Winnie
    2019-04-20 08:42

    Eric Greitens’ The Heart and the Fist in an autobiography of his humanitarian work around the world, life-changing events that shaped him into the man he is today. Beginning with his freshman year at Duke University, the book is set in a number of places in chronological time periods when he discovered his passion for helping people in need. Initially wanting to make a difference in the world through various volunteer works, Greitens traveled to places like Bosnia, Rwanda, and Bolivia, where he heard and witnessed firsthand accounts of the horrors people faced, yet he saw they still had hope. However he soon came to realize that the change he envisioned would never be achieved through simply coming to peoples’ aid after a tragedy had struck, and therefore found himself enlisting to become a U.S. Navy SEAL. His book discusses a life of learning through service, which teaches the most powerful yet simplest of life’s lessons. One of the most memorable moments was when Greitens traveled to Rwanda to help as a volunteer during the genocide. In a refugee camp, Greitens took a young boy with a badly infected cut in his ankle, who had already been turned down once by the camp nurses, back to the medical tent. He was appalled by the fact that after enduring so much to get to the camp, the boy could not receive the most basic help and was even turned away. After the nurses cleaned the wound, the boy returned back to his friends, and then they all began to dance around Greitens and sing. A Rwandan aid worker explained to him, “They are singing ‘thank you’ for what you did.” It was a simple act of thanks, yet the raw genuineness of it was incredible in such a cruel situation. If it weren't for Greitens the boy probably would have died from the preventable cause, like many others in the camp. Through The Heart and the Fist I learned a lot about some of the many global problems affecting the world, from the genocide in Rwanda, to the terrorism in Kenya and Afghanistan, and to the effects of Communism in China. It really broadened my view of the world and made me realize just how disconnected I was with the life outside the little bubble I call home. I became educated about the insane, rigorous training to becoming a Navy SEAL, and also the various organizations set to improve the lives of the suffering in third world countries. This is one of those extraordinary books that leave you feeling that there is hope for a better future. Initially, I was appalled by the brutal reality that was described, thinking that the situation was beyond saving. However during these hardships it was touching to see people offer their hands to help, volunteers, humanitarians, soldiers, and in spite of everything, the victims of these horrors still had hope, signifying the prevalence of humanity through times of dread.Ultimately, the story of Eric Greitens’ life teaches us the importance of caring for others, staying true to yourself, and never losing hope even when the situation seems unsalvageable. It all adds up to a tale of compassion and duty, a powerful story that teaches us the morals of a true warrior. The Heart and the Fist tells the story brilliantly, inspiring us to live our lives with a truly meaningful purpose. This book was hands-down amazing, from his witty, humorous remarks to his honorable decisions, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone. Greitens’ story teaches you incredible life lessons to live by and truly inspires you to strive to do positive things. He had seen and experienced so much at such a young age, and it’s interesting to follow the evolution of his view on the world as he matures throughout the book. With each story filled with adventure and sentimentality, he keeping you wanting to know more about his travels and his work, both as a volunteer as well as a Navy SEAL, demonstrating the delicate balance between the heart, and the fist.

  • Jeff
    2019-04-21 10:38

    Let us assume about The Heart and the Fist's author, Eric Greitens, what he would have us assume: That he is a courageous and worthy warrior for American values abroad, just the sort of person we want to be "the tip" of the American "spear" in the world. The question, obviously, is whether we want our "tip" pointed in the world's direction, and here we're reminded that, fashioning himself a classicist, the Rhodes Scholar Greitens invokes the value of phronesis to the effect it "allows soldiers to fight well and leaders to rule well." Socrates critiques Athenian democracy, that is, for its educating citizens in a mishmash whereby rulers don't study the good, soldiers defend the state who have been allowed to read Homer, and farmers cultivate needs greater than the land that sustains them. Greitens is the warrior would-be politician, unfortunately, but that's not this book's problem. His resume (four summer fellowships from Duke to the world's crisis zones; Oxford PhD; SEALS; tours in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Kenya, Iraq) is a spear pointed at the soul's target; yet his family circumstances are modest, a middle class Creve Coeur (St. Louis) upbringing. His talent gave him opportunities, and it's in his interpretation of himself and his unmarked privilege that he's a bother. The bother is complex. Greitens reads himself as an innocent, American exceptionalism shining happily on his optimism, his idealism, those things his grace allowed him. At the "heart" of this book's title, a coeur of his family and himself, America extends its privileges. These aren't unreal, just so no one of them hasn't its own logical matrix, its own circumstances, material conditions, misery. "I love American idealism," he writes, "I love the hopeful spirit of Americans endeavoring to shape the world for the better. A lot of times, though, many Americans -- especially those in senior positions in government and the military -- who have never spent a day working with people who suffer, can be blinded by the bright shining light of their own hopes" [emphasis mine]. This is one of the rare places in the text where, phronesis be damned, the soldier tells the philosopher-ruler off. But in autobiography, working outside the framework of his military and goverment bosses, Greitens can come to seem as if he's saying "because I work with them, they must be suffering." Such is the nature in his sense of his own grace. Its atmosphere of vaunted self-idealization is suffocating to the autobiography -- a mode of writing that emerges, after all, from confession. This book is a self examination-free zone.

  • Tony Taylor
    2019-04-19 12:40

    What a great book! I love it when I can go from one great book to another, and so it happens again as I read Eric Greitens' "The Heart and the Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, the making of a Navy SEAL." This guy is the best of the best in many ways... he knows how to live a great life and he does it... he has been doing it since he was a kid.Here is a guy who pretty much knew what he wanted to do since college. As a young man he was already traveling the world ready to give something of himself and of his time while working with refugees in trouble-spots in Aftica and in Croatia, and later as a volunteer in Mother Teresa's home in Calcutta, India. He worked with lost children in Bolivia and gave them hope, and, along the way, he became a Rhodes Scholar where he had the time to study and read within a unique academic environment while he considered his options as to "what's next?". In the end he had the option to stay on at Oxford to teach, or to make a bundle of money working for a Fortune 500 company. But instead he took a totally unexpected turn: he joined the Navy and became an officer with one purpose in mind: to become a Navy SEAL. He describes in well-written detail his six months of basic SEAL (BUD/S) training and how he became one of only 21 men out of the initial 220 men to complete the course and to go on to become a Navy SEAL. He served in Afganistan, in the South Pacific, in Africa, and in Iraq, and when his time as a SEAL was over he was ready to accept even greater challenges. He wanted to help fellow wounded and disabled warriors serve thier country again; this time using thier military leadership skills as civilian leaders in their own communities. Eric went on to establish his own humanitarian agency for these warriors: The Mission Continues. So as I said above, what a great story! How can you help but to admire a man such as this who not only keeps himself in top physical condition (he was also a boxer before he was a SEAL), but who also excelled in academics and in life... a man of great inner strength who still continues to be focused on everything he does whether to better himself or the help others?

  • Maureen
    2019-03-30 11:49

    3.5 stars. This book started off a little slow - talking about the author's early years and introduction to/ awareness of the the scale of global problems. While the writing felt a little clunky at times, overall this was a fascinating look into the world of Eric Greitens. I think his background as a humanitarian aid worker and academic before becoming a Navy SEAL brought a deeper level of philosophical exploration than one would expect in a military memoir. I think the arguments he makes for strength and caring combined is certainly a thought provoking and compelling one. How can a humanitarian really help improve the lives of the poorest of the poor if warlords or terrorists are waiting around the corner to rob, rape and pillage? How can military alone support the rebuilding of lives and communities, when they lack the relationship building skills and local knowledge necessary to such efforts? These are hard situations without good solutions, but the author's thoughtful exploration of his own story and motivations was inspirational and at times, heartbreaking. Recommended for anyone interested in global aid work, Navy SEALs, military ethics

  • Andrew
    2019-04-19 11:49

    This book isn't and doesn't attempt to be a great work of literature, but it's far more about content than form. It resonated very strongly with me personally and has a lot to say about questions I've grappled with on war, peace, justice, aid, violence, and the impact one person can make through their choices. The author is a pretty incredible guy - boxer, Duke grad, Rhodes Scholar, aid worker all over the world, Navy SEAL, founder of a nonprofit that asks wounded veterans to continue serving their community and country, rather than merely asking them to accept our thanks and charity. It's all in the balance -- he asserts that doing the right thing requires both titular body parts -- and it's inspiring.

  • Whassan
    2019-04-02 07:48

    The Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden also left the American public captivated by the unknown men who did the deed and the elite fighting force to which they belong.With the participants in the raid shielded from the media and unable to tell their own stories, one possible beneficiary is a book about the SEALs that hit the market just ahead of the May 1 action in Pakistan.Debuting in April, Eric Greitens' "The Heart and the Fist" tells the story of a Rhodes Scholar with a PhD in politics turned Navy SEAL.It had been doing well, but sales doubled and tripled after the May 1 raid, according to its publisher. That increase was enough to take it from not even registering on the New York Times bestseller list, to being in the top 10 last week.While Greitens knows many of the sales come from the jump in public curiosity after the raid, he says readers are also responding to the deeper message of a book that insists compassion and courage are two sides of the same coin."It's a story about service on the front lines," Greitens told Reuters in a telephone interview while crisscrossing the country in support of his non-profit work with disabled veterans, and publicizing his book."The big idea of the book is that everyone has a frontline in their life, whether that frontline is a Navy SEAL going through training or serving in a combat deployment, or doing humanitarian work overseas."Public service -- which for Greitens certainly includes military service -- is central to his idea of what it means to live a flourishing life.In that sense, Greitens, 37, has written a work outlining a modern philosophy through his story of an impressive and accomplished life that was influenced in turn by others who lived their lives well.He wrote his doctoral dissertation on the history of humanitarianism, worked with Mother Teresa's nuns, and earned the Purple Heart and Bronze Star as a Navy SEAL in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the book.His philosophy, the belief that what is needed most in modern life is a commitment to continued excellence in every domain, draws on Greek philosophers and other writers.Greitens' development as a SEAL also reflected this mindset, and emphasized, like the Greeks, that excellence and virtue are not givens but are developed through action."One of the things that was impressive to me about the SEAL training was that it was training not just in physical and tactical skills," Greitens said."But it was also training in the kind of mental and moral excellence you need to be a warrior. There were these ideas around how you develop a full and complete life."His work includes examples of both kinds of training. Even as a champion boxer and a marathon runner, he said that what took him to his physical limit was something called log training.A team of about seven men have to complete tasks with a log that weighs a few hundred pounds and leaves them with constantly searing muscles."You're body gets pushed past any normal limit of your strength," Greitens said. For those who are successful, "they recognize that their physical strength has run out and they are pushed past the envelope of their talent to the core of their character.""It's not physical training," he concluded. "Its actually spiritual training by physical means."American society as a whole would do well to recommit itself to those ideas of moral, intellectual, and physical excellence, creating citizens and warriors who live those values on the front lines of both war and peace, Greitens said.But what might be most important for the country to do, according to Greitens, is to diminish the gap between citizen and warrior.On the one hand, "we have to have people who are thoughtful in the United States military," Greitens said. At the same time, "you just have to have those people who have served.""They also have to play roles in our intellectual life, engaging in those questions and adding to those questions about what it means to be an American and what it means for us all to live well."People have always approached Greitens about becoming a SEAL. Now, more young people than ever are asking his advice."The SEAL teams are not the right choice for everyone," he said. But "I do tell everybody that there is a way for everyone to be of service."

  • Connie Faull
    2019-03-29 09:45

    The Heart & the Fist is a book written by Eric Greitens. The author went to Duke University and then as a Rhodes Scholar spent three years at Oxford. During his humanitarian travels he realized that sometimes you have to use force in order to stop violence from happening. Because of that he chose to join the Navy and become a Navy SEAL. It was very nice to read a book like this by someone in the military who has many thoughtful and thought provoking ideas. Not just a Hooyah, I love the SEALS mentality.At one point in the book, when commenting on his time in Afghanistan he said: “So what makes us different from the Taliban? What distinguishes a warrior from a thug? Certainly it’s not the quality of our weapons or the length of our training. Ultimately we’re distinguished by our values. It would have been easy to abuse a prisoner, but any act of wanton personal brutality is not only unproductive to defeating a group like the Taliban, but on a personal level, it degrades the warrior and turns him into a thug. Any man who tortures a prisoner, who shoots an innocent person, might escape formal justice, but he can never escape his own self-knowledge.”The author spent a short amount of time in Afghanistan and then later was sent to Africa – a country where, while in college, he had spent a few weeks on a humanitarian mission in Rwanda. While in Africa, he noted that while the United States may have good intentions, many times our lack of understanding of different cultures tends to diminish our abilities to truly form good relationships with the citizens of the very countries we are trying to help. He noted that we constantly want to build things, a new school, a playground, a democracy. And that instead…“We’d be far better off paying for the quality training of quality teachers and then even paying some teachers’ salaries…By investing in people, we could build pro-American ambassadors to teach the next generation of schoolchildren and those teachers would feel personally connected to the United States. They would be in the classroom every day. If we were investing in projects to make friends, why wouldn’t we invest in people? It’s hard to be friends with a building.”I enjoyed reading this book, it moved quickly and he described his SEAL training in a more personal way than I’ve read of other books about SEAL training. It was an interesting, informative and entertaining read.

  • Bonnie
    2019-03-29 16:00

    I read this book a little begrudgingly (not really the best word choice, but too lazy to search my brain or heart or wherever my emotion resides--some cultures think it's in the liver, which I think is as likely as a place as anywhere else from which feelings to emit (or is it, emote?) for a better word.But wow! what a book, or perhaps better said, what a guy, this author is. And if his resume/bio weren't something that packs a punch--(put in fancy word here for award of superhuman Duke scholar), a Rhoades and Truman Scholar, masters and doctorate from Oxford University and add to that a Navy SEALS to boot, and then he even tops that as a first-rate humanitarian. And how about a sentence or two from his wife's bio?: she is (sourced in May 2011) a PhD candidate in political science at Harvard; she is to become a fellow at both the United States Institute of Peace, a research institute in Washington, and the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. She graduated from Stanford and received a master’s, as a Marshall scholar, in international relations from the University of Oxford in England. There are some scary brainiac genes in this dynamic duo. (By the way the wife has nothing to do with this, but when googling the author, who wouldn't click on "eric greitens marriage" before "eric greitens bio"?)But thank heavens for book clubs that take you out of your comfort zone and toss a book at you that you might never come across without the diversity of age, life experience and book reads for a fellow club member to recommend a stellar book such as this to grace your life.Compassion seeps from the author's pores as much as sweat and grit while boxing, fighting, training, leading and living. Besides the obvious that war would not exist if all believed in the Supreme Being and in laws 1 and 2--love God and your fellowmen--war would have a hard time starting or continuing if the soldiers were men of heart and fist as this man is. I highly highly recommended this book--by far the most inspiring book I’ve read in a long time and I read a whole bunch.

  • Michael Flanagan
    2019-04-24 07:31

    It's not very often that I call a book inspiring but this one deserves the accolade. This book delivers a story I was not expecting. It is a story of one man’s journey through volunteer work in war ravaged countries to serving his nation as a Navy seal. All through this book its message is clear, to truly serve one has to give something to those he serves. Here is a man that could have had taken the easy road as a Rhodes Scholar and lived the easy life. Instead he chooses to challenge himself and in turn learns what it truly means to lead.The book is in three parts the first follows the author as he finds his place in the world and takes his first steps down the road of being a humanitarian. We follow him as he matures and takes along hard look at the world he lives in.The second part of the book looks at his Navy Seal training and what he learnt during his time in service. If you are looking for a gun-ho action read this is not for you. Why this book does not dance around the cruel reality of war it concentrates more on the other side, the human side.The third part looks at what he does after finishing serving. He did not want those who died defending their country to be forgotten statistics. Nor did he want those who returned injured to be left behind to struggle to find their place in a new world from them. He creates a non-profit organisation that asks the questions of returned injured serviceman, what service can you now do for your country. His organisation supports these people in their endeavours to give back to society and by doing so honour their fallen brothers and sister. It all so inspires these people to overcome their injuries and to get as much out of life that they can. I have much respect for this author for here is a man that has already left a positive imprint on all around him.

  • Lisa
    2019-03-27 14:44

    I very much enjoyed reading of Greitens experiences and was intrigued that his humanitarian experience preceded his military experience. I have always been interested in humanitarian aid, much of it necessitated by war, but also in need of war, because it seems that some aid cannot come without using force to remove horrible dictators or the lack thereof. Greitens seems to highlight, that with both issues there is a need for focusing on the one and that thought he, or any of us, might not be able to bring down a regime or overthrow a government, the real wars are fought individually. If we can help individuals fight their own wars of feeling important, valuable and viable, then whatever situation we live in can be endured and even triumphed. One of my favorite quotes that emphasized this thought came from his chapter about Hell Week in Navy Seals training: "This was not really "physical training" at all; it was spiritual training by physical means." Grietens exemplified his teachings regarding the importance of individuals as well as yourself and that helping others is helping yourself:"Once I came to know these men, leadership in BUD/S wasn't really that hard at all; it became easy because I had no place for my own pain, my own misery, my own self-pity. The test wasn't about me; it was about them."Using this theory, he has established a origination called, The Mission Continues, to help wounded and disabled vetoers to rediscover who they are by helping others and serving communities again. I'm sure there is a lot more to Mr. Grietens, but his life's theory and work is impressive and well worth reading about. I am more appreciative of the military, those who serve in humanitarian positions and those who care about individuals. Very inspiring!

  • Tony Bertauski
    2019-03-24 10:59

    Too often a real man is defined by the baser elements of machismo. By his ability to annihilate his enemy. By the number of notches on his bedpost. Eric Greitens clarifies the litmus test of a real man. His story starts out in a liberal attempt to help humankind, detailing humanitarian trips to third-world countries when he was 19 years old to aid the abandoned, the hungry, the homeless. While we were spending summer on the beach, he was helping the people in this world with a tattered past and an empty future. Greitens's epiphany is a result of these selfless acts. People need food and shelter, yes, but they also need protection from tyranny. His journey leads him to the military's most challenging test, the Navy SEALS. He details the unimaginable training where cadets are drowned and driven into the sand. Where even the most physically fit human is often happy to quit. But Greitens does so without egotistic style, without chest-thumping. His journey is spiritual. "Hell Week tests the soul, it doesn't clean it."The writing is good. And why not, he's a graduate of Oxford that, given the option to live a life of academic freedom and comfort. A life he eschewed for a higher calling that wasn't necessarily religious, but spiritual. The dialogue keeps the scenes from becoming overly dry, but often reads clunky and contrived. Unnatural. Sometimes reads like a squeaky clean sitcom, more Beaver Cleaver than Nickelodeon. However, Greitens changes the perspective of a kill-first military. Some soldiers are on a spiritual journey. They are real men. Real women. Real warriors.

  • Kyle Peets
    2019-04-16 13:48

    This book was one of the best books I've ever read. I'm not interested in going into the military but this book almost made me want to join. All of the things this guy, Erik Greitens, went through was amazing. He is almost my hero. I want my personality and character to be just like this guy. During the toughest week for BUD/S, Hell Week, he is cracking jokes. And if it's too easy for him, he tries to make himself better by making it harder for himself. For me, when I walk into baseball try outs in March, or when I walk into the weight room, I'm going to try to have the attitude of Erik. He is on my list of five people I'd love to sit down and have a conversation with. This book is about Erik, going to different countries, like Bosnia, Rwanda, and Bolivia, to volunteer at interment camps. And he was so smart he went to Oxford. He also went to China for schooling but while he was there someone told him to try karate, so he did. And then he tried boxing. So he ment one of the most wisest men I've heard of, Earl Blair. At the time, Earl was training a pro boxer, Derrick Humphrey. So Erik gets to train with a pro. Everything Earl says is something to remember. On one of his missions, Erik decides that all the work he's doing isn't enough so he signs up for the Navy to become a Seal. So he leaves for the Army. Anyone who wants to find a new hero, read this book. Anyone who likes Navy Seal things, or wants to find out how to become one, read this book. Anyone who likes to read at all read, read this book. Anyone who wants to find motivation, read this book. I am going to remember this book for the rest of my life. That's how good it is.

  • Christina
    2019-03-26 15:56

    This book really got me thinking.I think the book can best be summed up by the following quote:"I expect to pass through this world but once. If, therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do any fellow human being let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I will not pass this way again."This is an excellent book about our call to service and how we choose to answer the call. I'm so impressed with the journey this author decided to take. The book is his story about how, as an undergraduate at Duke University who majored in Public Affairs, he chose to volunteer and the various countries this brought him to. Then it follows him to Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and of his travels there. Then, it follows him as he debates his next call to service and really backing up what he feels should be done, which is serving in the military. The book chronicles the training the Navy SEALs go through and the rigor and sheer discipline requires to overcome it. The books ends with his active duty service in the SEALs and various countries he visited. His opinion/viewpoint about our military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq is very interesting to me. He has started a wonderful foundation for injured veterans, allowing them to give back to their communities and find meaning in their lives.If you like books about public service - I recommend it!

  • Steve
    2019-04-13 13:59

    OK, Eric Greitens convinced me he's a smart and good guy with unique ambitions. It sure seems that he impresses those he comes into contact with. In his telling he comes across so uniformly awesome that at times I wished to read accounts from some of his critics, just to get an alternate and more nuanced view. Speaking of nuance, I was surprised to find so little of it in this book from so smart a man with so many diverse experiences. It all just seemed too smooth and shiny. The book has a stories-from-the-front format that above all entertained because of the many truly unusual things Greitens has done, in poor neighborhoods as a humanitarian and in war zones as a military officer. It feels much like the better GoPro camera footage dispersed across the internet. And if you want to get an idea of what Hell Week is like for those trying to become Navy SEALS - here you go. HOOYAH! But after the action and entertainment, the themes and philosophy Greitens espouses struck me as rather unassuming and simplified. In the end, I didn't find myself inspired or enlightened by some revealed truth - which was clearly Greitens' intent. What I might have found more interesting than his plug at the end of the book for his nonprofit organization would be to know why Greitens left the Navy.

  • Jeff
    2019-04-17 13:33

    If Eric Greitens ever runs for President, he has my vote! This guy's a stud. Some take-aways: 1. Without action, thought never ripens into truth. - Emerson. 2. "I have come to realize that it's not enough to fight for a better world; we have to live lives worth fighting for." 3. "The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." 4. On surviving Hell Week in Navy Seal training: "Others simply didn't let fear come to rest in their minds. They'd learned to recognize the feelings and they'd think, 'Welcome back fear. Sorry I don't have time to spend with you right now' and then they'd concentrate on the job of helping their teammantes. 5. "Never fight unless you have to, never fight alone, never fight for long.' George Marshall. 6. Hard decisions are best made by good people, and the best people can only be shaped by hard experience.7. As a leader, you must embrace reality and be brutally honest about the harsh facts of your situation. At the same time, you must maintain hope. -- Admiral James Stockdale. Vietnam POW for 7.5 years. 8. If not me, then who?

  • Don Shelby
    2019-04-24 13:00

    True story of Greiten's life. He is a midwest kid who became an aid worker in humanitarian causes, was a boxing champion, a Rhodes scholar, PhD from Oxford. He worked on humanitarian projects in Rwanda, Cambodia, Albania, Croatia and more. In his humanitarian work he concluded that humanity was worth fighting for, particularly in protecting the defenseless and began to see the value in fighting for humanity. He resigned his humanitarian posts and joined the military, becoming a Navy Seal officer with four tours in Iraq and other theaters of war. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. He now heads The Mission Continues, which he originated, giving wounded and disabled veterans an organization through which they continue their service in humanitarian causes. If you are looking for "great literature," this is not the book. If you are interested in a compelling, gripping and emotional true story, this is the one. It touches the part of me that has always believed that protecting the least of us is worth fighting for. He learns, through his work, that somebody has got to stand up to those who would harm others. Powerful and very motivating.

  • Denise
    2019-04-05 11:41

    I saw the author on the Colbert Report, and originally thought this would be a good book for the boys. I'm still hoping they will pick it up, but I have enjoyed it myself. The author, Eric Greitens, first describes volunteer trips to many different places including the Congo, Bosnia, and Bolivia. He does what he can to help people there, but comes to the realization that much human suffering is preventable. For example, earlier international intervention in Rwanda, a country he also visited, could have prevented much of the genocide that took place there. After the completion of his time as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, when it came time to decide between a position at Oxford, a lucrative consulting job in the private sector, or the challenge of becoming a Navy Seal, he chose the latter. He goes on in the book to describes what that took, and how he served after training. It's truly amazing what these guys have to go through, and how many of them don't make it. Greitens' main premise is that a blend of strength, along with the willingness to fight if necessary, and compassion is needed in both countries and individuals.

  • Jenny Stringham
    2019-04-03 11:43

    Loved it-so interesting! I listened through audible at 1.25% (perfect speed). The author read it and so it was like listening to a cool navy seal talk about his life up to joining the military, his training, and missions and what he learned along the way. Found myself hitting the rewind 30 second button so I could here a life inspiring phrase again and laughing out loud in other parts. Very enjoyable.

  • Lisa
    2019-04-03 13:57

    Like 3 Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, The Heart and the Fist tells the story of a man trying to help his fellow man. For whatever reason, 3 Cups never rang true to me, but this story is different. I never felt like author Eric Greitens was tooting his own horn. He did tell some funny stories, and he did a great job of reading the audiobook.

  • Brianna da Silva
    2019-04-24 11:49

    If you're a pacifist, or just any nonviolent person wanting to understand warriors, pick up this book. ❤️As someone with a close relationship to warriordom, I deeply identified with so much of this book. It shows why someone might choose to be a soldier, and why - so long as aggressors exist in the world - we will always need warriors to protect the weak, the vulnerable, and all those who cannot or will not fight for themselves.The heart of a true warrior will be made of the same stuff as humanitarians, but with that restless drive for adventure that gives them the boldness to face danger on behalf of others. Compassion. Honor. Gentleness. Resilience. Empathy.This is one of those rare kinds of books that took me on a personal journey. I wrestled with it. I ached with it. I put it down for months, trying to sort out my beliefs, my convictions, my feelings about so many things it touches on.There are problems with the U.S. military. So many problems. But this book highlights the things that are good about it. It captures the heart of what our military should be, can be, and in many cases, has been.And more importantly, it captures the heart of what it means to be a true warrior. The kind we need more of in this world.The kind I deeply hope to be.

  • Juliana Philippa
    2019-04-13 08:44

    Really wonderful book - educational and inspirational, without being at all preachyI greatly enjoyed this book. I was excited to read it from the summary, not only because my personal/professional interests are that of a humanitarian, but I have also always been interested in the dichotomy of the humanitarian and the soldier. I've also volunteered for many, many years with a support-the-troops organizations, and that really opened my eyes to how our standard black and white castings of people are unjust in so many ways.Greitens writes of his experiences in a cohesive and effective way; the book is well-planned out and does justice to his story. One of the things i really appreciated was that at no time does he seem at all preachy or self-righteous. I found him to be very humble, both in his writing and in his exchanges (I heard some interviews with him on NPR).Because Greitens' experiences are so varied, the book is educational in that it gives you insight into so many different parts of the world, so many different conflicts and cultures, and so many different ways of living. It is a truly inspirational book and definitely one that I would recommend.This is an Amazon Vine Customer Review of a free product from

  • Jennifer Barnes
    2019-04-06 10:39

    I enjoyed this! Writing isn't blow your mind spectacular, but that's not the point. It was interesting reading about the author's trips and assignments, how he made it through SEAL training, his interactions with those he worked with. The best part about the book, though, is the author's hopeful attitude and ability to inspire service. I loved what he said in the afterword about service with purpose matters and is meaningful. You can read through quickly or bounce from other books and back to this one without a problem.