Review: Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…and Maybe The World



“True leaders must learn from their failures, use the lessons to motivate themselves, and not be afraid to try again or make the next tough decision.”

Every year I read a few management or business books and a few motivational books. I also take time to read a few commencement speeches by famous people.This book is both–starting as a viral hit commencement speech, the message is now in book form. It makes a fabulous graduation gift, of course, but it also would be an excellent book for new parents. Keep reading and you’ll see why.

I’ve long been a big fan of the United States military forces. The discipline, structure and career ladder they supply to young people is crucial to our nation’s success–and not just in times of war. Each branch is also a fabulous training organization. Few parts of our armed forces command as much respect as the Navy SEALs (Sea, Air, Land Teams).

Drawing on his own days in SEAL training, Admiral William H. McRaven applies the factors that make a sailor into a SEAL to ordinary, daily life. The title essay, “Make Your Bed,” shows how one simple act–making your bed as soon as you get up–sets the stage for a successful day. Think about it. You just woke up, yet you’ve already accomplished something. What an awesome way to look at a mindless chore!

Using stories of SEAL training, of soldiers and sailors on duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places, the lessons boil down to one important message: You CAN do it, if you don’t quit.

“If you quit, you will regret it for the rest of your life. Quitting never makes anything easier.”

Now, why would I pick a book on Navy SEAL training for new parents? No, not because the first few years are like the mud flats the SEALs trained on! But because today there is too much focus on the child and not enough on the family. Parents have lives, too. Everyone makes a contribution to a family. No one person is the center of it. Parents today seem hell-bent on micromanaging every aspect of their child’s success. This book shows, in essence, how ridiculous that notion is. By empowering the child to tackle everyday tasks, to stand up for him or herself, to help others, to set and achieve a goal,  to do what it takes–that is successful parenting. That is also what gets a SEAL thru training without ringing the bell to quit.


Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven


4 thoughts on “Review: Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…and Maybe The World

  1. This title grabbed me because I’m a firm believer that making your bed when you first get up starts your day off on the right track. I love your suggestion to give this to new parents. Children gain self esteem with self mastery and if parents do everything for them, it robs them of some important development. Intriguing!

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