on September 3, 2000
The intensely focused, macho like posture of the author on the cover of this book may likely suggest to the casual browser, that this book is about combat or martial arts (the author is an ex-Navy Seal). It may lead one to judge it was written for those that want to learn how to better kick butts, cultivate an intimidating attitude or be trained in how to become an action star. Actually it could help kick butts (figuratively speaking).
As the subscript to the title suggest, it is about using "the principles (seven of them)of combat to achieve your goals." The axiom, which states that to accomplish most things in life one must set goals, create a plan, then follow through, will probably not be news to most readers. There exist myriads of materials and advisers prepared to guide us onto bigger and better things.
In this reviewer's opinion, what makes this book different is its focus on the details about how to accomplish one chosen goals. It never patronizes us with lectures about self improvement. As Machowicz points out, the SEALs spared no expense acquiring the best training available on the planet. When carrying out a mission, they simply do not have the option of failure from a preventable mistake or lack of focus. This technology can easily be translated and applied by us civilians in our everyday quest to accomplish the things we want.
Feeling overwhelmed, not sure what you should do next? There's help in getting started through a priority exercise called CARVER. You would begin by listing all of the things on your plate and analyze what you have based on six factors using a scoring method. This would help identify and set up targets, the things in your life which are the most critical, important, and feasible for you to accomplish. This little exercise assists one in getting one focused. It may also bring out awareness that some things are less important than originally thought. There are chapters on dealing with one's own fears (the SEALS aren't exempt), the role of information, practice and attitude. Again, Machowicz's target always seems to be on turning information into practical exercises.
There is a fascinating description of an actual SEALs mission during which each recommended principle is described as it applies "in the moment" while the story unfolds.
This book is recommended to anyone who wants to become highly skilled and proficient in the art of mastering the technology of achievement. It has earned a valued place in my library.
on August 9, 2006
I have to admit, I never expected much from this book. I bought it on a whim because it was cheap and because I like military stuff. Then I read it, and I was amazed at just how useful it has been. Machowicz doesn't waste a lot of time telling you WHY to go after goals in your life. He leaves that up to you to decide. He just gives you combat-tested tools and strategies for HOW to do it. And if you think the combat metaphor is silly, don't. The mental process of overcoming obstacles in civilian life is really not that different from that of military personnel overcoming their obstacles. Most civilians just don't apply their minds in the same way elite soldiers do. In this book, Machowicz shows you that way.
I applied the strategies in this book to the task of finding a new job. I approached it in the same way a Navy SEAL would, with rigorous research, careful planning, and preparation. When it came time for the interview, I had no fear, I was prepared in every possible way, and my performance was nearly perfect. When it was over, I never second-guessed myself because I knew I had mastered the interview. I conquered a second interview with the same level of preparation, and was offered the job a week later. Now I make substantially more money, in a position with much greater prestige and potential than I had before.
I achieved my new position because I used the tools and strategies in this book, and I continue to use them every day. I used a CARVER grid to prioritize my tasks for today. I'm spending time preparing for a meeting so I'm 110% ready when I get up to speak. I'm devoting blocks of time to training in the software I use rather than learning it "on the fly". By approaching work in this way, I feel like I'm at the top of my game because, well, I AM at the top of my game.
So the long and short of it is, this book is much, much more than a feel-good rah-rah you-can-do-it cheerleading manual. It doesn't claim to cure you of any problems. There are no miracles here. But if there's a goal that you want to kick the [...] out of, Richard Machowicz will show you how to get it done.
on July 13, 2003
I'm a middle aged woman whose biggest battle in life has been with my weight. I don't care for the testosterone-laden metaphors for business and life, and have little interest in martial arts. Yet this has to be one of the most powerful and helpful books I've read in a long time.
MACHOwicz (can you believe that name!!!) fills the book with very practical steps on how to identify the "targets" in your business and life, and how to approach them with the mindset of a Navy Seal. I did that and have accomplished more in the past two months than I have in the last couple of years put together.
The only weakness in the book is that some of the analogies to military action are difficult to apply to non-military "targets" and I wish he had given a few more examples, particularly of the CARVER procedure.
Still, that's such a minor complaint that I couldn't bring myself to lower the rating by even one point.
By the way, if you like this kind of book, check out Michael Janke's "Take Control" and "Power Living." Janke is also an ex-Navy Seal and his books are written in the same vein.
on October 30, 2001
When deciding the merits of a self-help book, the very first thing one should do is look on the back cover and read the author's credentials. When I see terms like "consultant", "motivational speaker" or "owns own business" immediately the caution flag goes up. Store bookshelves simply are too full of books that conspire to tell us how to run our lives but are written by con men or Ivy League graduates with little or no real world experience.
But the ironically surnamed Richard Machowicz ain't no Bob Patterson- he is a Navy SEAL, a member of one of America's elite special forces. And that impressive designation on someone's resume alone makes one immediately sit up and pay attention.
Machowicz has taken his intense Navy SEAL training and has created a combination self defense and self-improvement system called Bukido. And within this book are some of the concepts of Bukido that are a breath of fresh air.
Especially useful are Richard's chapters "The Dynamic Elements of Combat", "Crush the Enemy Called Fear" and "Guarantee the Win". Drawing on examples from his combat and training experiences, as well as student examples, one learns organizing tasks into primary and secondary targets, recognizing and "walking through" fear, and a truly "winning" concept known as "Advantage Stacking". Richards' treatise on fear, and his theory that most negative human reactions can be traced to it, is nothing new but a concept well worth taking from the book.
Richard's honest style is fun. Unlike other gurus who present themselves as these happy go lucky people with great families and perfect lives, Machowicz readily admitted to his trouble with women. He also describes one encounter as a mall with a student who dropped out. Instead of telling us in glowing terms how he motivated this ne'er do well to give Bukido another try, he realizes it's a lost cause, and shakes his hand to wish him well.
Unfortunately, "Warrior" gets a little lost in acronyms and sometimes Machowicz gets too deep into his concepts, or not deep enough, without showing the reader useful practical tools to truly make them work in our everyday lives. There are some exercises, but they didn't all seem to do much for me. I found the middle of the book extremely hard to get through. The "Verbal Command Request" comes across an amateur neuro-lingusitic programming, and ACTE (I won't get into what this means) was pure drudgery. The chapter entitled "Master Your Weapons" is something so basic and heard before, that I frankly found it very boring.
But to his credit the author wraps things nicely at the end of the book, describing a SEAL mission and using every concept described in the book as an example. The concluding chapter on complacency is simply inspiring.
And to me, that's what the book seems to be missing: inspiration. The reader walks away with a few tools, and the germs of some great ideas. But I still get up in the morning after reading the book, and turn to caffeine for motivation. Maybe I need to attend a Bukido class.
That does not mean the book is not worthwhile, and I especially hope Machowicz writes some followups. It almost seems as if he was trying to squeeze an entire volume on "Fear" into one chapter; perhaps an entire book on this concept would be a welcome read in the over saturated self help field.
In the meantime, Richard please don't track me down and beat me up for giving your first book only 3 stars!
on February 27, 2000
your money on this book. If on the other hand, you have a desire to go beyond the ordinary, you would have a hard time NOT gaining some valuable insights and motivation for achieving your goals from reading this book.
I have trained in Bukido with Richard as a student for over a year, and without sounding like some fawning admirer, I can say it has changed my life. I run a small business and lead a fairly balanced life that, by most peoples standards, would be considered very successful and fulfilling, but the principles of Bukido, which are the basis of this book, have enabled me to propel myself to much higher levels.
"Unleashing the Warrior Within" lays out the principles of goal achievement and the impediments to goal achievement with a profound simplicity and clarity I have not seen anywhere else. His principles are simple yet powerful and while rarely 'easy' (big difference between simple and easy) are extremely effective.
Just last week while reading the chapter 'Crush the Enemy Called Fear', I thought to myself 'I've got to call that VP of Marketing get his business - ok I'll do it after I finish this chapter'. And I realized it wasn't about not knowing what to do, but about handling my fear. About a paragraph later I thought to myself 'NO, not later, I need to make this call - NOW'.
I walked into my office, thought briefly about what I wanted to accomplish with him, picked up the phone and ended up having the VP of Marketing of a 2 billion dollar telecommunications company asking me to send him a proposal to do work with them. Not bad for a ... book.
If you are into more than just walking through life, if you are out to achieve some extraordinary things, then you know goal achievement is a process of continual learning, application and reexamination - and there are many steps along the way. Reading "Unleashing the Warrior Within" maybe one of the most important, valuable and rewarding of those steps you can take.
on March 18, 2004
This is one of a very few books I have read in one sitting. As someone who has read all the self-help books I can get my hands on, I had identified self-discipline, organization, and a plan of action as lacking in my efforts to achieve my goals.
This book addresses all of concerns, as though it were written especially for me. I can't thank the author enough for the additional tools he has given me to achieve my goals. Only 189 pages, but the author has made each one count. Easily one of the 5 favorites in my library of over 1,000 books.
on February 10, 2002
I thought I would easily knock this book out on a recent cross-country flight. After all, it is less than 200 pages. But Machowicz packs more useful, tactical methods for effective living in these 200 pages than in the thousands of pages I've read in dozens of books on the subject. What surprised me most was the wisdom behind his words. Honestly, I had some preconceptions about what an ex-Navy SEAL would have to say about how to live successfully -- hard work, discipline, "just do it" -- and those elements have a place, but they are balanced with a deeper attitude reflected in Machowicz's statement: "I truely believe there are two root emotions to everything a person experiences. You are either moving toward fear or you're moving toward love." Through anecdotes of his days as a SEAL and by his explanation of how to apply the 7 principles of combat to one's life, Machowicz shows that underneath it all is the human spirit. What I thought would be a quick read has turned out to be a long study, and well worth it.
on April 6, 2000
I have read the book twice and have done the exercises, all I can say is... THIS STUFF WORKS!
When a friend of mine gave it to me as a gift for my birthday, my first thought was that it looked a little to extreme for me. I then thanked my friend appropriately, as any good friend would do. I really had no intention to read it; my plan was to put it on my bookshelf with all of the other books I had no intention to read. But, I forgot it in the car when my wife and I cleaned out the other presents. So two days later, I take my wife to the mall. I get bored (as men tend to do when women go shopping, I think this is due to our limited decorative attention spans) and decide to go back to the car and listen to a ball game on the radio. No luck, no game, still bored, find book, begin to read book.
I said all that to say this: I nearly miss a chance to read a book that has changed the way I look at my life. It helped me address fears I never knew I had, but it was done in a way that never made me feel as though I was a screw-up. I can't believe that I'm saying this, but this was a self-help book that was exciting to read. That is why I had to read it twice, because I barely absorbed a lot of important ideas on my first pass. I called my friend and thanked him again for his wonderful gift and his amazing good taste. I came to Amazon.com to buy the book for him.
Please don't buy this book because of this review; buy it because you want to find out more about yourself.
on December 18, 2004
While this book promises to help you "develop the focus, discipline, confidence and courage you need to achieve unlimited goals", perhaps its greatest gift to readers is the road map to conquering the biggest obstacle of all -- fear.
Ten-year veteran Navy SEAL Richard Machowicz uses a number of tools from his recent military career to help everyone -- and I mean everyone -- prioritize, organize and attack the most crucial and important parts of your life.
The writing style the author and his editor picked is perfect. It's straightforward and to the point in a conversational way. And that is another strength of this book, Machowicz talks to you as if you're sharing a beer together. He offers his thoughts, his foibles and his small victories along his way to become part of a highly coveted team in the world's most advanced military. The tales he shares about BUD/S and how he learned some of the lessons he shares in this book are a good hook to illustrate what he is talking about. I'm particularly intrigued that he is a relatively recent SEAL, so the stories and points are relevant to us now -- instead of rehashed stories about WWII or Vietnam.
For those who have previous experience, acronyms and organizational models like CARVER will be familiar. For others, he offers simple tools that continually help you focus on what's important and then how to attack the problem.
Despite the obvious military references and stories, a large portion of the real-life examples he uses come from his students -- people who are engaged in the kind of civilian jobs, families and problems that most can identify with.
Perhaps the best gauge of the readability of this book is it's perceived length -- it seemed too short! Although it comes in at 186 pages, you sense that Machowicz easily has more information to share and you're left thirsting for more.
on March 15, 2000
If you're reading this review right now, you might be thinking about buying this book. More than likely, you'll read my comments, form your own opinion, and decide whether or not you'll "double-click" your way into buying still another "self-help" book, right?
Well of course, categorically, "Unleashing the Warrior Within" is certainly another "self-help" book to achieving your goals. And it's still another point of view with another set of principles to follow. . .sure. But what makes this book unique from the others is the author himself. Machowicz breaks all the rules and tells it like it is.
In chapter II, "Crush The Enemy Called Fear.", he doesn't try to over-analyze how or why the fear is there, he simply offers solutions to get through it. He'll motivate you to ask some penetrating questions about yourself, and about the things you desire. Your answers will dictate your plan of attack, and you'll come to see how easy it is to set-up your targets and move toward them.
Machowicz doesn't proclaim to be the second coming, nor does he claim to have all the answers to mans' dilemmas. Quite the contrary ---- he's just a guy who's discovered for himself the tools to overcoming some of life's most personal challenges. And he's willing to share these simple truths with us. Now it's up to you to make the same commitment to yourself, and discover what he's found.