Book Review: Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins

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  • Title: Can’t Hurt Me
  • Sub-title: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds
  • Author: David Goggins
  • About the author: David Goggins is a decorated individual and a retired Navy SEAL. He is the only member of the U.S. Armed Forces to complete Navy SEAL training, Air Force Tactical Air Control Training and U.S. Army Ranger School. He is an outstanding endurance athlete and has competed in over 60 ultramarathons, triathlons, and ultratriathlons. He once completed over 4,000 pullups in 17 hours, which earned him the Guinness World Record at the time. His popularity has become mainstream in recent years as he has shared his story and wisdom through speaking arrangements in person, on TV and radio, and across social media.
  • Pages: 364
  • Published: December 2018
  • Link to book


In Can’t Hurt Me, David Goggins shares his eventful life story. During his childhood he overcame poverty, an abusive father, racism, chronic stress, a learning disability, and so much more.

As a man, the struggles continued. Goggins tried to find his path but kept having his hopes and dreams crushed. During one of his lowest points in life, where he worked exterminating roaches for a living, he came across an ad on the television for the Navy SEALs. It inspired him to make a change in his life.

From then on, he dedicated himself to becoming a Navy SEAL, which didn’t come easy. He had to lose over 100 pounds in 3 months and overcome an ASVAB test that he wasn’t confident about. He ended up defying the odds and completed both of those tasks.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for the story of David Goggins. The point of the book is to share his story and also provide advice and a plan for the reader to develop a “calloused mind” and realize their full potential.

A theme of the book is that we all leave a lot on the table. We give up too soon because of our perceived limitations. Goggins is proof that the mind and body can endure so much more than we think it can. He shows the path for anyone to push through pain and tragedy, eliminate fear, and become someone they never thought they could.

List of badass things Goggins has done in his life:

  • Overcame tremendous childhood stress and trauma
  • Lost over 100 pounds in three months to qualify for the BUD/S training
  • Went through the Navy SEALs Hell Week three times
  • Ran and trained on broken legs
  • Completed Army Ranger School and Air Force Tactical Air Controller training
  • Ran 100 miles with no training or preparation. In fact, he ran 100 miles before ever running a marathon
  • Competed in ultramarathons, triathlons, and ultratriathlons
  • Set the world record in pull ups with over 4,000 in 17 hours
  • Came out of heart surgery successfully
  • Started his wildland firefighting career

This summary doesn’t do his story justice. The story of David Goggins is so astonishing that I couldn’t include everything in this high-level summary. You will have to read the book yourself to understand.


I recommend this book to anyone looking to build up their mental toughness and willpower. And to those who want to unlock their full potential. David Goggins shares his unbelievable life story while also teaching you (the reader).

Goggins is known for his frequent cussing and that definitely shows in this book. That bothers some, but I really didn’t care. I don’t think it took away from the book at all. If you don’t enjoy that, this book may not be for you.

I think the readers of this blog would enjoy Can’t Hurt Me. It’s a hell of a story and can give you the boost of motivation you need right now. The takeaways from David’s advice can be applied to all areas of your life for the duration of your life.

If you like this book, you’ll enjoy these posts:


** In no particular order*

1. Denial is the ultimate comfort zone. People will deny and cover the truth to live as if everything is okay and they are comfortable with their current circumstances.

2. Nobody likes to hear the hard truth. Individually and as a culture, we avoid what we need to hear the most. Use the negativity about the real reason for your limitations as jet fuel.

3. It’s okay to be cruel to yourself as long as you realize you are doing it to become better. We all need thicker skin to improve.

4. The Accountability Mirror is a method to get raw and real on yourself about who you are and what steps you need to take to achieve your goals. You stick Post-It notes of small goals that will lead you to an overarching goal. Once one small goal is achieved, put up another note for the next small goal.

5. If you continue to surrender to your fears and feelings of inadequacy, you’ll allow them to dictate your future forever.

6. Not all physical and mental limitations are real and we have a habit of giving up too soon.

7. The more often you get uncomfortable, the stronger you will become. Consistently do things that make you uncomfortable, even if they are small things. Once the uncomfortable thing becomes comfortable, increase it to the next level again. This is how your comfort zone expands.

8. Taking souls is a concept to help you find your own reserve power and second wind. Use it as a tool to win competitions and overcome any obstacle. Turn the tables on the competition or obstacle through excellence. Make the opposition watch you achieve something they could have never done themselves.

9. Life experiences, especially negative ones, help callous the mind. Instead of seeing yourself as a victim of your bad circumstances, view life as the ultimate training ground.

10. You can leverage a calloused mind to fight through pain and push past your limits.

11. The only way to guarantee failure is to quit right now.

12. Use the cookie jar concept to remind yourself of who you are and what you are capable of. The cookie jar is a concept that represents a container holding all of your accomplishments and what you have overcome. Just like a kid that reaches into a cookie jar for a treat, you can reach into your cookie jar when times are tough to remind yourself of what you can do.

13. We are all leaving a lot of money on the table and we don’t even realize it. We habitually settle for less and that ripples within society as a whole.

14. The human body is like a stock car. The car has a governor that places a ceiling on performance. It may not allow the car to go over 100 mph even though the car is capable of going 130 mph. The mind is similar in that it will stop you and make you think you have reached your limit. However, this is just the governor. When you overthrow the governor, you can realize all the untapped potential past your perceived limits.

15. The 40% rule means that when we feel that we are at our limits, we are only 40% there. There is still 60% left of potential.

16. Most of use are motivated to do anything and pursue our dreams until those around us remind us of the danger, the downside, our limitation, and all the people before us that didn’t make it. We need to silence that noise.

17. Everyone nowadays has become hooked on the quick fix, life hack, and efficiency. There are no shortcuts and if you want to master the mind, you will have to become addicted to hard work. Goggins says his work ethic is the “single most important factor” in all of his accomplishments.

18. The biggest excuse people give is that they don’t have time for things. Evaluate your life in totality and eliminate waste. We all waste so much time on meaningless BS.

19. A lot of people think that once they reach a certain level of status, respect, or success, they’ve made it in life. You will always have to find more and never be satisfied. To be uncommon amongst the uncommon, you will have to stay in constant pursuit.

20. Most wars are won or lost in our own heads. It’s not the external voices that will break you down. It’s what you tell yourself.


Goggins has a tremendous story

The story of David Goggins is one that will captivate you as a reader. I don’t think you could make a greater story of triumph if you tried.

I knew a lot about his story prior to reading the book, but there was a lot more that was exposed to me in Cant Hurt MeIt’s truly incredible what Goggins had to overcome. At the end of every chapter, I wanted to keep on reading to find out what happened next in his life.

You can’t help but be inspired

It might be impossible to read this book and not feel inspired by it. Reading through David’s life story inspired me to be more and endure more to become stronger and better. Every time I read about his ultramarathon races, it made me want to lace up my shoes and go on a run.

Whenever I am feeling stuck and unmotivated, I will revert back to reading this book to light that fire in me again.

No sugarcoating in the book

Goggins did not stray away from his true self in this book. In his interviews he is straight up with people. He curses a lot and doesn’t sugarcoat anything. The book was the same way and I appreciated that.

The book tells a lot of the harsh truths of life and doesn’t try to paint a better picture for the audience. Being in denial and acting like everything is okay can be a recipe to live a comfortable but mediocre life.

If you wish to realize your full potential, you have to be honest with yourself on where you are lacking. Goggins made this apparent in his book.

Guides the reader throughout each chapter

The book tells the story about David’s life, but is also an instructional book for the reader to learn how to “unshackle the mind.” The book helps the reader own all the aspects of their life and build an unbreakable foundation and mindset.

As Goggins tells his story, he guides the reader with wisdom and actionable steps to take. At the end of each chapter, there are challenges for the reader to participate in.


The book will inspire you to take action

If this book doesn’t make you want to take action then something is wrong with you. Everyone can use some inspiration and motivation every now and then. This book can help with that.

The things that Goggins went through can make your circumstances seem like a cake walk. After reading how Goggins lost 100+ pounds in under 3 months, maybe it can motivate you to lose 20 pounds in 3 months.

Or, if you are having a hard time balancing school and work, you can draw inspiration from how Goggins went through three Hell Weeks for the Navy SEALs.

Use him as living proof of what can be accomplished and use that to fuel your own accomplishments.

You’ll realize you have a lot of unrealized potential

Can’t Hurt Me will open your eyes to the potential the human body and mind have.

David Goggins is all the proof you need. His stories and his 40% Rule will convince you that you can push far past the limits you think you have.

This will allow you to dig deep to help yourself in your life and career. You’ll embrace challenges and obstacles as a way to level up and unlock potential. You can’t find out what you are capable of without being tested to your current perceived limits.

A calloused mind can be applied to anything challenging

Developing a calloused mind will result in a bulletproof mindset that can withstand the hardships and challenges a life and career will throw at you. This mental toughness can be applied to anything.

If you have a 100-hour workweek ahead of you, you’ll accept the challenge and lean on your calloused mind to get you through it.

If you just lost your job and a family member in a short period of time, you can either fold or overcome the tragedies. A calloused mind will help. When you are mentally tough in one area, you’ll have an easier time being mentally tough in all areas.

You’ll learn how to be honest with yourself and quit wasting time

A lot of time is wasted being in denial.

You deny that you don’t need to start that business (that you once dreamed of doing) since you have a decent paying job. You deny that you don’t need to hit the gym (like you’ve been wanting to) since you aren’t obese.

Being honest with yourself could look like this:

  • I haven’t started a business because I don’t have the skills yet
  • I haven’t started a business because I am afraid to fail
  • I don’t want to work out because it’s difficult and I am lazy
  • I don’t want to become healthier because I don’t know where to start

Can’t Hurt Me can teach you how to be honest with yourself. Once you are honest with yourself and your deficiencies, you can work on those deficiencies.

You can learn how to start a business, build up the motivation to work out, and learn what steps to take to live a healthy life. Rather than settling for where you are at now, you can be honest and attempt to achieve the goals you set for yourself.


1. Ditch the victim’s mentality. Instead of acting like you are a victim of the hand you’ve been dealt by life, flip the script and turn the tables to push back and conquer it. Don’t let your circumstances define you. You may have it harder than others, but you can still achieve more than you think you can.

2. Take inventory and write down a list of all the cards life dealt you for a “bad hand.” These are the challenges and limitations you have to deal with and overcome. Write down all the reasons why you shouldn’t succeed and amount to anything. Use that all to fuel your success.

3. Create your own Accountability Mirror at home. Break down your goals into smaller goals. Make a sticky note for each small goal. Stick the first one on your mirror. Once that goal is achieved, remove the note and post the next one. Repeat this until your ultimate goal has been reached.

4. When raising the bar, aim to do something 5% more than you did previously. For example, if you run for 100 minutes, run 105 minutes next time. Then once you become comfortable at 105 minutes, increase it by 5% again. Make small and consistent gains. Your body and mind will adapt to the new workload.

5. Write down all the things that you don’t like to do or that make you uncomfortable. Go out and do one of those things. Through time, do other things as well. This will get you outside of your comfort zone on a regular basis. Avoid the impulse to seek comfort.

6. Practice visualization. Countless entrepreneurs, leaders, athletes, and powerful minds have mentioned visualization being a key to their success. Visualize your success. Think of the obstacles that can come up before they happen and prepare for them. Visualization and preparation will take you far.

7. Create your cookie jar. Write down all of your accomplishments and the obstacles you had to overcome. The idea is to create a collection of your big moments to remind yourself of what you are capable of and what you can withstand. Tap into this reserve in future moments when you are tested.

8. Make sure every hour of your week is dedicated to something that you intend it to be dedicated for. Stop wasting time and focus 100% on each task. People always use time as an excuse. You can create more hours in your day by stripping away time-wasting activities.

9. Schedule rest days and when you schedule them, fully take a rest day to allow your mind and body to relax.

10. Whenever you feel complacency rising, squash it and stay in a constant pursuit to get better and become more. Continue to put obstacles in front of yourself because that is how you will grow stronger.


Can’t Hurt Me can be found on Amazon at this link here if you are interested in reading.

About Post Author

Brandon Hill

I'm Brandon Hill with Bizness Professionals. We serve content to help young professionals develop personally, professionally, and financially. Well-rounded improvement is a theme we live by. As such, this website will cover a variety of topics aimed to help you have a successful life and career.

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