Can’t Hurt Me – David Goggins – Book Review (audible)

cant hurt me review

David Goggins (Audible) Book Review

I liked this book, but not in the conventional way. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed reading it, but it did have a massive impact upon me.

I found myself rolling my eyes quite a lot whilst reading the book, when he spoke of  “running on broken legs” and having “double pneumonia”. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, but at the time, I thought these were exaggerations; the type of thing my mum would say if she stubbed her toe and had a chesty cough.

To be fair to the author however, he is recognised as one of the greatest endurance athletes in the world, with a world record in pull ups to his name. So maybe he did actually run on completely broken legs.

As he would (probably) put it – ‘he’s one bad mother f*cker’ – and the only man to have ever to have completed the training in Army Ranger School, Navy SEALs ‘buds’ and the Air Force Tactical Air Controller program.

I would add however, that he really should learn go into situations better prepared!

I don’t want to add any spoilers, but if you read the book – you’ll see what I mean!

The book introduces us to David’s early life, working at his dad’s bowling alley. He talks about how abusive his dad was and how he was racially abused during his school days in Brazil, Indiana.

There’s some fairly traumatizing and horrific things that happened to him, but the takeaway message is that he managed to get ‘better, not bitter’.

He’s also had some major health scares, including having a heart-problem that he describes as a “hole in the heart” and sickle-cell-trait.

A big chunk of the book talks about “buds” the Navy Seal selection & training, and then training for different elite forces in the Navy and the Army.

There’s a few tasks at the end of most chapters, with bits to share on social media – I didn’t bother doing this, but perhaps I should have to get more out of the book (I was afraid of the pretty harsh banter I would get from my friends on Facebook if I was sharing posts with the hashtag #canthurtme!)

There’s some interesting stories about ultra-marathon running – not something I’ve been motivated to do! and of course his pull-up world record – here’s the state of his hand after his second attempt:

David Goggins Pull Up Hand Image:

David Goggins hand

David Goggins Before & After:

david goggins 300lb

I think great men/women think alike. I read this quote from Napolean Hill and thought about Goggins’ 2 failed pull up world record attempts (he succeeded on his 3rd attempt)


Despite my cynical attitude towards some aspects of the book initially, mr Goggins has definitely had a positive impact upon my attitude since reading it.

In Stoic philosophy they speak of how suffering is the only way to build character.

I love Stoic philosophy, so when David speaks of callusing the mind with suffering and feats of endurance, I found myself nodding my head along with him.

Some of my favourite concepts taken from the book include:

“1 second decisions”

– deciding to carry on, each time your mind wonders and you consider giving up or getting distracted

“The path of most resistance”

– we automatically take the path of least effort and of least resistance.  Seeking the path of most resistance and getting out of the routine(s) we’ve been stuck in for years, is a sure way of changing your life.

“Most people give up at 40%”

– when I’m exercising, or even having an ice bath, I try to remember this. When I start feeling like I want to give up, I remind myself that I’m only 40% near my maximum.

The guy is tenacious too. He failed his pull up world record attempt not once, but twice. The guy is 6ft 1 and 200lbs, completely the wrong body type for bodyweight exercises – but that didn’t stop him. Amazing guy. Nuts, but amazing.

I always look at any kind of suffering as training now too. Man flu, being cold – it’s all part of developing character.

The Accountability Mirror (David Goggins’ Phrase)

The accountability mirror is about taking ownership. Not blaming anyone else, but also looking in the mirror at the end of the day and making sure you are proud of what you did that day.

In my mind, I can look in the mirror and be proud of what I did that day – as long as I remained positive and did my best as a dad. It’s not always about running 100+ miles.

This is definitely a life changing book, even if I didn’t fall in love with all the macho-ness of it.

I’d recommend it though, although you may have to take it with a pinch of salt.

I like to mix up my reading material. Some hippy stuff from Ram Dass, some Stoicism and now and again, a modern book like this. I hope it will eventually make me quite well-rounded!

Can’t Hurt Me Book Summary & Final Review

Review Score – 5/5

Based on the fact that I’ve started training hard in the gym again and I’ve taken several of his concepts and integrated them into everyday life.

I would not try and copy David Goggins’ path however, I still feel he has a way to go on his ‘journey’. Training and exercising to the point of nearly killing yourself (in some instances) it’s just stupid. In my opinion. But you can still learn so much from the author, even if 5% of his toughness rubs off on the reader.

You can buy the book from here

Can’t Hurt Me Summary

  • African American kid, gets brought up in a largely racist place called Brazil Indiana
  • His dad is a womeniser and works his kids day & night to make money out of the family business
  • He runs away with his mum
  • His mum’s new partner gets shot
  • He struggles in school but works hard eventually
  • He gets a job as a business pest controller
  • He watches a documentary about Navy Seal training
  • Decides to join the Navy Seals & loses a 100lbs in 3 months
  • He manages to pass the ‘theory’ written test by studying hard
  • He eventually gets into ultra marathon running as a way to earn money for his Killed-in-action friends’ families
  • He runs a 100 mile race after virtually no training and nearly kills himself
  • He breaks the 24 hour chin up world record, but failed twice first
  • Accountability Mirror – Own your actions and be proud of yourself but don’t give youself any slack
  • 1 second decisions – override those impulses to stop the second they arise.
  • The path of least resistance – don’t do what is easiest like everyone else. Learn to take the hard road to build character
  • Most people give up at 40% – when you feel like you can’t go on – you have 60% left to give


It would be great if there was an option to skip the discussions between David & the narator.

Interesting at first, they get annoying if you listen to the book more than once…”Goggins man…”

David Goggins BJJ

There’s been a lot of people coming to the post via an online search for “David Goggins BJJ” – but I’m afraid I can’t find anything relevant online, so it looks like he doesn’t actually train BJJ.

This was the closet thing I found:

Incidentally – if you like David Goggins, I’m pretty sure you will like Jocko Willink too.

He’s a bit more easy for me to relate to anyway.

Here are 3 of my favourite Jocko videos, they literally changed my life (especially the Extreme Ownership one)

About Drew

MMA, Fitness & Marketing enthusiast from North Wales, UK. A Stoic Hippy with no hair. Not to boast but - 1st Class Degree in Sports Science from Loughborough, MSc in Nutrition from the University of Liverpool. 20 years experience of weight & fitness training.
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1 Response to Can’t Hurt Me – David Goggins – Book Review (audible)

  1. Reece Morgan says:

    I love this book!🙌🏻

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