Book Review: Gunny’s Rules How to Get Squared Away Like a Marine
This is a book every young man should read after graduating, in my opinion. That doesn’t go to say that it’s not a book for everyone else, it’s just that Gunny (Staff Sergeant R. Lee Ermey) writes it with young men in mind. His advice regarding health and fitness, overcoming adversity, and attitude towards success can be applied to everyone.
You might recognize the author from his role as the Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, the Drill Sergeant in Stanley Kubrick’s Vietnam film Full Metal Jacket, from where he gets his nickname. Gunny explains how he upgraded his role in the film from being a technical advisory to a main character based off of his experience, confidence, and preparedness and explains how you can do the same.
This isn’t a self help book written by some big city academic who spent his entire life inside a classroom telling you what you want to hear or how life should be, this is a lifestyle book written by a man who’s lived one of the toughest lives imaginable, served in one of the greatest fighting forces the world has ever seen, and tells you how it is and how you can take your life back into your hands to improve your situation.
Some of the language he uses and the way he criticizes modern lifestyles might come off as abrasive to you, but part of his message is to have thick skin and he wants you to overcome your “major malfunctions” as he says, such as inactivity, unhealthy eating, smoking, etc. Based on Gunny’s statements about how much organic milk he drinks each day, I can see him doing his groceries at the Co Op (he probably wouldn’t want to talk to anyone there though). He can be considered the antithesis of an extremely stereotypical “Hanover” person.
Don’t get me wrong, he definitely mixes his opinion with the advice, but with all of the experience he mentions living through, one should be inclined to take what he says into serious consideration. Gunny also dedicates a chapter on why you should join the USMC, but doing so isn’t necessary to do all of what he suggests.
Some particularly good chapters you should check out:
3. “Holy Jesus! What is that? A Jelly Doughnut?” The Gunny Manifesto on Fitness and Health
4. “Go the Extra Mile” Humping It beyond What Is Expected of You
5. “Major Malfunctions” Nobody Said It Would Be Easy
8. “Point Man” The Gunny’s Views on Leadership
A favorite quote of mine, from chapter 9 “The Gunny is Pissed” is: “It’s rant time, and to hell with political correctness. The Gunny will spare no sacred cows as he calls your attention to cleaning up the mess we’re in and getting life squared away.” This chapter might be more controversial, knowing my audience.
As I said earlier, this isn’t a self help book that will make you feel like a winner; this is a lifestyle book that will teach you how to be one. I’m glad I read this. I’m not the type to tell people what they should or shouldn’t read, but this is the exception. If you would just get off facebook or netflix for 5 or 10 minutes each day and read a chapter you’d learn how to improve your life in just about a week.
I feel that the most appropriate way to end this review is with a word from the Gunny himself: