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Make Your Bed

Author: William H. McRaven

Reviewer: Zachary Koziol

Main Takeaway (Quote): “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another”.

Details about the Author

  • William H. McRaven is a retired US Navy seals officer. He was a 4-Star admiral that worked for various Special Operations groups. He proudly represented this country for 37 years.

  • McRaven is an extremely decorated veteran, receiving honors such as The Presidential Service Badge and The National Intelligence Award.

  • McRaven is credited with leading the operation that resulted in the assassination of Osama Bin Laden.

  • McRaven attended the University of Texas and served as the school’s Chancellor from 2015-2018.

  • During a 2017 speech at the University of Texas, McRaven delivered this iconic line: “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed”. This speech set the framework for his now NY Times best selling Novel.


Five Key Takeaways

  1. McRaven elaborates on the title of his novel in chapter one. Life is hard. New challenges will be thrown at you day in and day out. However, if you start your day off on the right foot, you can accomplish anything. Life requires a sense of structure, and making your bed can help you feel the pride and motivation you need to power through the day.

  2. The second chapter of the book talks about the importance of teamwork. Nobody can get through life alone, so it's important to find a partner to do it with. McRaven hammers home the following points: make friends with others, find someone to spend your life with, and remember that your success depends on other people.

  3. Chapter four discusses a principle that we’re all too familiar with: life isn’t fair, get used to it. Just because you work hard doesn’t mean that you will be rewarded. Sometimes no matter how hard you try, you'll still fail. Try not to complain in situations like this. Rather, continue to work, and your efforts will pay off in the future.

  4. The optimistic principles of chapter five complement the ideologies discussed in chapter four. McRaven encourages readers to embrace failure, rather than fear it. Nobody is immune to failure, and at the end of the day, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

  5. Chapter seven features my personal favorite principle from the book: stand up to the bullies. Your bully from grade school is the same person today as he was back then; thriving from terror, and feasting on intimidation. If you show weakness to a bully, it’ll only fuel their fire. Dig deep within you and find the courage to stand up to bullies. McRaven promises that every reader has this courage within them.


My Two Cents

William H. McRaven’s Make Your Bed is an excellent novel for anyone looking for a pick me up in life. Each chapter educates you on ways to be a better person, and ultimately become the best version of yourself. The novel is rather short, and can realistically be read in a single sitting. I would highly recommend this book to people searching for structure or looking to make a change in their life. Since reading this novel, I have made my bed every morning, and I can honestly say that McRaven is right. Even the most simplistic task makes me feel productive, and kick starts my day in the best way possible.


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