Will making your bed every morning help you change the world? Perhaps not, but it does have the potential to improve your life. In this little book, Retired Admiral William H. McRaven, of Saddam Hussein-catching fame, makes a pretty convincing case for starting your day this way. As a Navy SEAL trainee, making his bed every morning became a deeply ingrained habit and a hallmark of a disciplined life. McRaven recommends it because he believes in the power of beginning each day “with a task completed.”

Other lessons include “you can’t go it alone” and “stand up to bullies,” that are, sure, just as simple and non-earth-shattering as making your bed. But it’s the context of the lessons, McRaven’s personal experiences as a “frogman” in training and later as a full-fledged Navy SEAL, that make this book worthwhile. Each chapter starts off with a blurb,usually a tantalizing hint about some mystery of frogman initiation, and you may find yourself wondering, “What could he mean by getting over being a sugar cookie?”

Readers who enjoy reading inspirational nonfiction will find much to savor here. It’s in the same vein as other short-and-sweet wisdom books like Tuesdays with Morrie, Mother Teresa’s In My Own Words, and the more recent The Gift of Anger written by Gandhi’s grandson, Arun Gandhi. McRaven’s advice is simple, yet deep, and most winning of all is the personal and humble way he tells these stories. You’ll forget that it’s a four-star admiral who’s telling them.

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