Generally, I am in the business of writing books, not reviewing them. Now and again, however, one encounters an opportunity that must be seized. This occasion was one such.
I was privileged to receive a copy of “Unbreakable: A Navy SEAL’s Way of Life” for the purpose of this review. Essential bordering on vital, the title fulfills its promise of providing insight into the process of cultivating a mental state that allows building up some of our most effective special operators.
I have known a number of such men, and more who earned their stripes in the arena of law enforcement. They are, to a man, preternaturally capable specimens. Their capability results in a level of confidence not normally encountered in day-to-day life, because such a life does not raise up an outlier. That level of confidence is sometimes taken for arrogance by the unfamiliar. In some cases, the presumption may be correct, but for most I sense only a spirit of command and control whose unshakable nature is unsettling in those used to uncertainty, trepidation, and the usual overarching desire to avoid conflict.
The aura serves as a warning as well; these men—and in many cases, women—are dangerous. It is a benevolent danger: a sword that is sheathed unless it is called to draw the blood of the unrighteous. It is a danger that an enemy of gentle people must bring with him. It is a conviction acknowledging that he who would set aside his humanity loses the consideration of civilized folk.
Highly decorated Naval Special Warfare veteran Thom Shea, in assembling a set of motivational lessons and memoirs for his children, has produced a handbook for the mastery of what he terms Internal Dialogue. He richly illustrates applicability of each precept through relating portions of his own war story.
His writing style reflects its source. In the no-nonsense cadence of a seasoned instructor, Senior Master Chief Shea lays out the framework of an Unbreakable mind and sets each component with enough validating mortar to grant his theories a universal relevance.
Anyone with more life experience behind them than before them will recognize and appreciate the wisdom herein; anyone on the upslope of a life will find applying Chief Shea’s adamantine philosophy worthwhile, interconnecting, and even transformative.
I am glad I encountered “Unbreakable.” It is a philosophy of excellence, self-control, and commitment to individual responsibility. If only it were adopted without fail, the result in each adherent would be a quality of character in whom tares of social exploitation—the soft bigotry of low expectations, dependence, and fearmongering—would find no place to sink their barbs.
I highly recommend this title, and rate it five stars on merit. It is the writing of a warrior and a teacher, not a wordsmith. Necessarily, it is a book about Thom Shea: his story, and how he got there and back again. Regardless, everyone, especially those responsible for producing the generation that will follow our own, should absorb and apply the treasure of deliberate thinking that is the bounty of this book.
Choose to love. -DA