Review: Discipline Equals Freedom Field Manual

Discipline Equals Freedom Field Manual was written by Jocko Willink – a retired Navy Seal and former commander of SEAL team Three’s Task Unit Bruiser during the Battle of Ramadi. He is the founder of consulting firm Echelon Front, author of several books including Extreme Ownership and Way of the Warrior Kid and hosts a weekly podcast called the Jocko Podcast. He is known for getting up early and posts a picture of his watch most days at 0430 hours on his twitter feed, along with photos of the aftermath of his workout sessions – even if you don’t read his books or follow his podcast, at the bare minimum you should follow his Twitter feed @jockowillink

Like a lot of the books on here, I was introduced to them during their promotional tours by the Tim Ferris Show. But this introduction was different. This introduction was brutal, motivating and quite frankly a kick up the backside.

Now I’m not someone that most people think need motivating, but there are times when I may find myself saying “enough” – Jocko would counter that by saying the enemy never sleeps, so why should you?

In hardback format this book is epic, brilliantly crafted, dark and full on motivational. On kindle its like a bible to dip into when you find yourself needing affirmation, and on the iTunes album (yes its an album not an audiobook) it provides the kind of motivational talk that most coaches dream of giving. Rarely have i owned a book in so many formats!

Part one of the book focuses on “thoughts” – a how to guide for those that just want to get things done

The book starts by hitting the reader with the cold hard truths about discipline, that there is no “hack”, there is no “easy way”, there is only the way of discipline – of hard work, late nights, early mornings, practice, rehearsal, repetition, study, sweat, blood, toil, frustration and discipline.

Discipline – the root of all good quality and the driver of daily execution.

In short, this is a book that helps you unplug from the lies of the hack, the short cut and the easy way and adopt a warrior’s mindset, one that wont let obstacles stand in the way, that wont be dismayed or distracted. It helps you find the path, helps you stick to it, and find it again if you stumble away from it,

For those wanting to lose weight, the chapter Sugarcoated Lies is a must read. For those wanting to improve how they deal with failure and bad situations, the chapter Good is a revelation – the video below gives you a taste of what I mean.

Part two is all about “Actions” how to feed “the machine”, prevent injury and recover.

And then comes the Appendix, and perhaps my favourite part of the book. Now I train 5-6 times a week and some of these workouts are brutal – and they all use a minimum amount of equipment so they are perfect for doing when you are traveling and limited to the equipment available in a hotel “fitness centre”. Be warned, Jocko’s definition of Advanced probably comes close to the level of fitness needed to compete in the CrossFit regionals, while the intermediate sessions are mostly challenging but doable.


The back of the book is probably the best way to sign off this little review:

“There is no shortcut, there is no hack, there’s only one way, so get after it.”

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