The Way of the SEAL (Book Review)

If you are looking to hone yourself: mind, body, and spirit. If you are wanting to be at peak performance at all times. If you want to be focused on what truly matters to you, execute your plans efficiently, and be agile to make necessary changes. Then you need to get a copy of The Way of the SEAL: Think Like an Elite Warrior to Lead and Succeed by Mark Divine.

The author earned an MBA and started a financial career. Unfortunately, while it paid well, it left him feeling like he was missing out. He didn't feel that he was living the life he really wanted to lead. He enjoyed and excelled in martial arts and was a student not only of the physical aspect but of the philosophy being instilled in him. Mark decided he wanted to become a SEAL. After 20 years as a SEAL, he went into business for himself and with partners. Some of the businesses worked and became very successful, while some others flopped.

The Way of the SEAL is the compilation of the lessons Mark Divine learned while going through all of those experiences. It is an interesting combination of martial arts philosophy, SEAL training manual, business acumen, and a motivational, self-help book. This book contains a collection of tools which are designed to help you become the person you want to be and to do it as successfully as possible. This isn't a book that will show you the easy way to do anything. When you decide to follow The Way of the SEAL it is a commitment to focus on doing what needs to be done.

Eight Principles For Guiding Your Life and Mind

The author believes there are eight fundamental principles which are the key to being the man he is. Each principle is explored per section. He explains the principle, gives examples of how that principle is demonstrated in the reader's life, and provides practical steps on integrating these thoughts and habits into the day-to-day life. As one may expect from a former soldier, there are lots of acronyms for the various steps or processes highlighted in the book.

Principle 1: Establish Your Set Point

Before you can change, it is best to know exactly where you are now. Once that is done, you have something to compare yourself to in the future to see how far you've come in your journey. Also, before you start changing, you need to not only know yourself but what it is really really want out of life. By creating your own life purpose, you know exactly what you are working for. You also gain confidence on what you don't want in life and can do what you can to avoid being distracted by such things.

Principle 2: Develop Front-Sight Focus

Once you have your life purpose in mind, you start to see how that applies to your life. You envision your goal and develop missions which will help you reach that goal. These steps lead to what the author calls "front-sight focus"; where you are focused only on the missions and goals you have set and reject and don't let yourself be distracted by other options and temptations in life.

Principle 3: Bulletproof Your Mission

With the second principle, you are aiming to minimize your focus. With this principle, you take measured steps to ensure you aren't blind to items in your periphery. This is done by ensuring you are aiming for the best goals, checking unconventional ways of achieving that goal, ensuring your mission is communicated to all of those on your "team", and finally to get involved in the nitty gritty by being the leader in front learning about all of the quirks with the "frontline" personnel deal with which may not make it up the ladder through management. Many of the items mentioned in this chapter has roots in mistakes and bad business issues Divine has experienced.

Principle 4: Do Today What Others Won't

Basically, this boils down to "try harder/smarter than anyone else". The author encourages the reader to exert more effort than they previously thought was possible, to ensure the struggles further than than they previously though possible, and to take time each day to ensure you can remain in top performance as long as it is needed.

Principle 5: Forge Mental Toughness

While you work on excelling in the last principle, with this one, the reader works on controlling reactions or otherwise maintaining a level head when dealing with difficulty, distractions, and visualizing the future effectively.

Principle 6: Break Things

Sometimes people can get too attached to things. This is bad when you aren't doing what you want to do or when an idea fails. Divine highlights the benefit of being willing to break free from ideas pulling you down or to break up something which isn't working correctly to alter and improve it. This "failing forward fast" approach addresses issues causing problems quickly to keep the good and alter the bad. This also goes into constantly evaluating your business idea's status within the market and shifting to stay ahead of the competition.

Principle 7: Build Your Intuition

Much of this principle is about tapping into your instinct. Not primal emotional reactions, but that feeling deep in your gut that seems to have thought the whole thing through but can only give you good or bad feelings and not explain why that is the case.

Principle 8: Think Offense, All the Time

Gaining confidence that your intuition is right more often than not helps make yourself and your missions agile to deal with the changes around you. This gives you the opportunity to take advantage of situations that come along which other people/businesses would likely need to evaluate or investigate before taking action themselves.


Each principle is presented in a way that describes the philosophy behind the principle, gives examples on what that principle means in the real world, and finishes with some pages of exercises to help you take those ideas and make them a part of your life.

If you want to be a highly focused person, working at peak performance as often as possible, and have the discipline to take these lessons and make them a reality for yourself, please get a copy of The Way of the SEAL and devour it.

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