If Insecure D*%K Measuring Contest Was a Person (Book Review on Can’t Hurt Me)
I have never been a fan of military biographies. I always found them to be a watered down version of the truth. Every single one of them. As a veteran, regardless of what branch of service or the rank of the subject there are things you just don’t talk about. Details that are missed and in some cases, especially for general and flag officers, the content is not relevant to the ever changing climate and social construct. What worked for them 20 or 30 years again doesn’t apply today. So when it comes to military genre nonfiction it’s a hard pass. I will admit I judged the cover harshly.
When Audible recommended Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins last year I dismissed it. Even as I read the synopsis I shook my head like “oh great, another Black Servicemember talking about the racial challenges of surviving an elite military school and career. Ok and?” This isn’t anything new or different if you are a Black servicemember. Racial bigotry in the military is the invisible service ribbon every person of color receives. This is nothing special so I passed on it. A year later a very good friend of mine who shares his monthly reading reviews on social media read it and gave it some positive reviews. Again I passed just judging the cover alone. I saw no value at all in spending a credit and listening to some Vet talk about his life story.
Two months ago the same friend sent me a video on my Facebook of a guy running in the sun cussing out some folks who commented negatively regarding his knee surgery with a note “I think I found your spirit animal.” Amused, I responded, “who is he?” My friend told me that he was the author of the book I was opposed to reading. I scrolled to the main facebook page and saw multiple videos and then I decided why not give this book try. Maybe I might find some value in his crass, in your face approach to resilience and perseverance.
Listening to “Can’t Hurt Me” felt more like a Podcast than an audio book. Disclaimer — the audio book pauses at several parts in each chapter for Goggins to discuss observations with his ghost writer in a strange audiobook / podcast hybrid. As I progressed through each chapter, the breakdown of what I can take away from this biography was more like “hmm a guy with his background and his “Issues” made me suspicious.” So I researched him beyond the jacket cover of his book. My biggest take away was that Goggins is a 45 year old, self centered, narcissist who gets paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to talk about still unresolved trauma he suffered throughout his life.
By the time I got to chapter three I became annoyed. If insecure dick measuring contest was a person it would be David Goggins. This guy is a walking poster child of someone who acknowledges he has emotional and mental issues yet instead of resolving his pain with mental health treatment he compounds it with physical pain — lots of it . He knows he has a problem yet he refuses to seek professional help. Judging by his social media posts he’s insecure as well. Many people who are secure in themselves won’t even acknowledge trolls who can’t relate to rehabilitation recovery from major surgery. Seriously who cares? Why concern yourself with a troll?
The fact the reviews on Amazon and Audible praise him for his resilience make me question and go WTF. I see an emotionally unintelligent, extremely insecure, socially destructive masochist who at best is just a mediocre sailor playing Navy SEAL. There is no way he was a committed SEAL and had the time to go off on his own to train for and run ultra marathons. He was a terrible husband who had a baby with a woman he clearly wanted nothing to do with but fell into familiar territory because he’s at best emotionally dependent and damaged. There is a big difference between quitting because you can’t make it and quitting because it’s going to kill you. Talk about misplaced priorities. Peeling back his pathology he’s an individual who pretty much failed in life and needed to achieve something no matter the cost. In order to accomplish something, anything outside of his lack of seeking real professional help.
David Goggins is not a team player at all. But with the kind of personality he has, he was a perfect fit for the Navy SEALS. Think I am being a hater? Google Scandals in the Special Operations community. The results show up with Navy SEALS more than any other component. What was left out of his book screamed louder than what was actually in it. His workout schedule and repeated attempts at extended schools was among the many red flags. The military is a team organization yet Goggins operated as a solo act. He was Beyonce and the Navy were the backup members of Destiny’s Child.
His unhealthy relationships with people in general was a textbook definition of an egocentric narcissist. Quite frankly I am surprised no one saw past the loud mouth poo. As I progressed into the chapters it got more difficult to listen. All I could think about is “how is this man still alive and what permanent physical damage has he inflicted on himself as a result of being a Jackass?” I really thought he had gone into renal failure when he barely finished his very first Ultra. Mind you he didn’t properly train for it. This wasn’t a 26 mile marathon. Sure enough he is dealing with some health issues after a quick google search.
My biggest issue with the book and what I took away from it is the fact he’s lecturing, most call it motivational speaking, without any background or reasonable credibility on the subject. Almost all of his social media and speaking highlights focus on being tough and pushing past the pain with more pain. So at $500k per speaking engagement I guess it’s a motivational speech. That’s like telling a person who struggles with substance abuse or addiction to cure it with the very thing they are struggling with. Taking resiliency advice from someone who hasn’t fixed his own issues is insane. Most may argue broken people fix other broken people. This briefs well but the reality is something different in its entirety.
I am going to be brutally honest. I had a serious problem with this book. It validated why I don’t like reading military genres. It’s a self serving hero complex. While he mentions imposter syndrome and how he fights through it, in reality he is an imposter. I found this book to be very dishonest as it enables a false hero complex. The ability to withstand pain at a high threshold doesn’t make you strong it makes you dumb and dangerous. Telling someone to push past the pain when clearly it may pose some lasting physical damage is the worst thing anyone could say. Taking advice from him is going to get you killed from stupidity. Judging off what I see on social media he won’t even own it because he doesn’t grasp the implications of being an influencer is. We live in a society where folks are looking for heroes to worship. We have to tell people over the age of 10 not to eat detergent. Where half the population are screaming bloody murder for wearing a simple mask to prevent a highly contagious disease with a five percent fatality rate. I’m disappointed I wasted my time reading a damaged book about a damaged man.
Mental health issues, all forms of trauma, and learning disabilities need to be addressed and treated by a licensed professional. Ignoring it and faking the funk while covering it up is the worst thing anyone can do. I highly recommend that you pass on reading this book. In my opinion, it is the biggest fraud I have read in 2020. But with a net worth of an estimated 4 million dollars, I’m sure my critical opinion of this imposter of a book is not going to affect his bank account.