Book Review: Do Hard Things

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I named Peak Performance as one of the top books I read in 2018. Steve Magness co-authored that book, so I expected any book he produced to be high quality. That’s one reason that I bought Do Hard Things: Why We Get Resilience Wrong and the Surprising Science of Real Toughness. The title intrigued me, too.

Gertrude Stein once said of Oakland, “There is no there there.” You could say something similar about this book. There’s no book there.

There’s lots of good content. The problem is that all that content does not seem to be rowing in the same direction. You can get value from individual pieces, but those pieces don’t reinforce each other. At the end of the book, the whole is not greater (and may be less) than the sum of its parts.

After reading the whole book, I still wasn’t sure how we supposedly got resilience wrong. If I was supposed to learn the principles of “the surprising science of real toughness” I didn’t find that, either.

I never really figured out what “real toughness” is. It seemed to me that most of the examples in the book were examples of self-awareness and flexibility.

In a Nutshell

I don’t think the author delivered on the promise of the title. I don’t think there’s enough substance here to be worth your time or your money.

You can check out some of my highlights and notes from this book on GoodReads.


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