“We all start off as children with an abundance mindset and genuine fascination and curiosity about life. Somewhere along the way, it was lost. Mindset is a choice.” – Mike Cernovich
I just finished Mike Cernovich’s excellent book, Gorilla Mindset. For those who don’t know, Mike has recently emerged as a philosophical powerhouse: self-improvement guru, political commentator, etc. I figured I would read his most popular book to get a better idea of who he is and what a “Gorilla Mindset” is.
Here are my takeaways…
His Advice is Practical
Mike covers a lot of ground in the book—everything from taking cold showers to stock market tips. The book is useful. It starts with the general, talking about the importance of your mindset. Then it moves into the specific, making this more than just a generic, self-help manual.
One nice piece of advice was on body posture. Mike argues that there is a link between body posture and personal success. At first it sounded corny, but I then did a mental rundown of the various people I know. Sure enough, the people I know that are successful have better posture: they walk more upright, hold their heads high, etc. Mike includes some personal photos in the book on how to improve your posture, which was a nice touch.
Another nice bit of practical advice was on diet. Needless to say, most Americans are looking to lose a few pounds (myself included). Mike is in pretty good shape, so his advice has some validity. He goes into detail about various types of foods, vitamins, exercise, etc. He even gives a recipe for making a kale shake, which I thought was helpful.
Another concept I liked was “framing.” Mike discusses how mindset involves a reframing of various topics. He provides a real-world example of this, citing his experience as a lawyer:
When lawyers speak of framing, they are talking about the key issue or legal question that matters in a case. That is, what question do you ask a judge or jury to decide?
It’s important that Mike brings up his professional experience here. By doing this, he avoids the trap that many self-help books fall into; they become a series of platitudes, divorced from real-world examples.
His Style is Clear
Mike uses simple analogies and clear language to make his point. This is a sign of strength in my opinion. I despise the ambiguity of many “great” thinkers. The more incomprehensible they are, the more praise they receive from academia—Noam Chomsky, James Joyce, etc. Mike is able to avoid this trap.
Here is one of my favorite excerpts:
Imagine a computer. The monitor, keyboard, and processor are the hardware. Without any software to run it, your computer would be worthless. Your body is your hardware and your mindset is your operating system.
This is a good example of Mike’s writing style. He uses simple language, short sentence structures, and effective analogies. I’m sure he could use complex jargon if he wanted (he was a lawyer after all). But that would be defeat the point, and it would reach less people.
Note: the book, according to Mike’s Amazon page, “Gorilla Mindset was the most successful non-fiction book launch of 2015, immediately hitting best-seller status.” So his writing style is working!
His Formatting is Effective
I like how Mike has centered and bold-texted information in the middle of the page. I don’t think I have seen this style before, but it works. It’s a nice way to laying out the important points in a clear way. I’ve noted that he also does this on his website, which works well.
Today’s writer is part content producer, part graphic designer. He has to make sure that the content is displayed in an aesthetically appealing way. Technical writers, for example, need to display information with a variety of visual aids: bold-text headings, photos, different colors, etc. They are writing to people than have a diminished attention span.
So the modern writer has to implement some effective formatting, but not TOO much. This is, after all, about the content. Mike’s layout is able to hit that sweet spot—enough formatting to illustrate the content well.
For me, the best part of the book was in Chapter 10. Mike describes a trip he took to the East Coast as a child, where he developed a passion to be rich. There is a great excerpt in that chapter:
“People ask me how they can find their life purpose or motivation. They don’t like my answer, but it’s the only one I’m capable of giving. If you feel unfulfilled, stop what you’re doing. Walk the streets until you’re exhausted. Repeat this everyday. When you finally see what you want, your life will change.”
As Mike points out, finding one’s passion is not easy. For many it is elusive, and they die without ever finding it. I have written about the same idea in a previous post. That being said, we have to commend somebody like Mike Cernovich. He is challenging people to become more, to do more, and to be more.
He’s challenging them to have a gorilla mindset.
To purchase Mike’s book, go to the following link: Gorilla Mindset.