Book Summary: Discipline Equals Freedom – Jocko Willink

Discipline Equals Freedom

What are you willing to do for your Freedom and the Freedom of those you love?

Discipline Equals Freedom.

Are you willing to do whatever it takes? Sacrifice? Wake up at 4:30am?

Discipline Equals Freedom is a book all writers, copywriters, and entrepreneurs should read.

This book is incredibly powerful.

Don’t let it’s simplicity fool you.

How Did I Find Out About This Book?

I came across Jocko sometime ago on either a Youtube Video of his Extreme Ownership Ted Talk or a Youtube Video of His Podcast.

It might have been a derivative of reading Tim Ferriss’ book Tools of Titans.

Maybe it was this video where he was whispering into the subconscious mind of every overweight police officer and binge eater about their overindulgence in doughnuts… or many others.

Nevertheless, Jocko started his Ted talk with: “War is a nightmare… war is awful… it is indifferent, and devastating, and evil. War is hell.”


To say the least, when you are going through a tough time, listening to a man who has spent his entire life to face and conquer enemies in war…and was victorious… you listen.

It’s wise to listen to a man who has been through war as a Navy Seal, and lived to tell about it.

Hell, it might just be what a psychotherapist might order!

Humans, the wonderful creatures we are, love goals, but we struggle to achieve them.

Our brains are psycho-cybernetic missiles, reticular activating systems, seeking our new self-image, better relationships, better health, more money, and Enlightenment.

So why do so many of us fall short of achieving all these wonderful things?

Well, Jocko’s answer is simple: “You lack self-discipline.”

Hence his mantra, “Discipline Equals Freedom.”

And for Jocko, Discipline is not a game… or a casual phrase that sounds cool.

It’s a way of life.

He dedicates everything he does to his comrades who died in war.

That by itself inspired me.

I lost my cousin to Cancer 5 years ago – if you’ve ever lost a loved one to a terminal illness or tragic accident you know how difficult it is – and that inspiration alone is worth reading the book.

“Get after it” he says, “for those who touched our lives and lost their’s too soon.”

Yes Sir! Done.

It’s a true matter of life and death for Jocko, and you can hear it in every fiber of his being, and every word of his book.

What is this Book’s Premise

Jocko describes this book as a Field Manual for Discipline.

Basically, this is a book you read, to remind yourself that you can accomplish anything in life….as long as you exercise relentless and consistent self-discipline.

I imagine this book is all over the world by now on muddy backseats of Military Hummers, at the bottom of bloody and sweat stained lockers of MMA Fighters, and stashed in the backpacks of martial artists, digital nomads, as well as corporate CEO’s.

Not only is this book a Test of Manhood/Rites of Passage book that challenges any man to be a better man, it speaks to women, and anyone who wants to be, do, and have more in life.

It can challenge any man or leader to “Hold the Line” when you are lying to yourself…and “Being a little Bitch” as Grant Cardone calls it; it’s also a masterful piece of writing.

I consider this to be a masterfully crafted Sales Letter written by the Conscious mind of man to the Subconscious mind of man.

In it, he presents logical, emotional, and compelling, gut wrenching statements that cause you to wake up about what it takes to achieve your goals.

Reading it for the direct response copywriting style alone is amazing.

Why Read This Book?

The reason you should read this book is because you are human.

You will fuck up.

As humans, we need other humans who have defied all odds to remind us what we are capable of greatness, while we fuck up, after we fuck up, and before we fuck up.

Secondly, far removed from war, combat, hunting, and gathering, most of us in modern society are not in tune with how to operate our human form into a limitlessly performing machine.

Jocko is, and he’s telling you, “Discipline Equals Freedom.”


How Can This Book Help you?

Jocko has this book outlined in a classic Navy Seal operational plan. It consists of four cut and dry no nonsense sections:

  • Part 1: Thought

  • Part 2: Action

  • Fuel: Feeding The Machine

  • Repair and Maintenance: Injury Prevention And Recovery

Right off the bat, you know you are not reading chicken soup for the teenage soul.

You are reading instructions for war, whatever that war might be for you?

Obesity. Poverty. Depression. Cancer. Bullying. Entrepreneurship. Eviction.

According to Jocko, these instructions, if followed produce Freedom.

Make no mistake about it, Jocko sees the human mind and body as an integrated machine one must consciously use to systematically build a life of Freedom.

What does Jocko suggest you do with anything or anyone who doesn’t comply or support your plans for Freedom of health, love, awareness, abundance, and joy? What should you do about enemies, excuses, haters, naysayers, critics, pain, regret, fears?

Destroy them or Outperform them. Period.

Sound harsh?

Ok… just roll over in shitty mediocrity, and waste away into a slimy pool of laziness until death.

Jocko and other like minded Freedom Fighters will not be looking back to find you.

For Jocko, it’s that cut and dry, there are 3 options he implied, but didn’t explicitly write. Here’s what I gathered from this book…. Either…

  1. You do read this book, do exactly what this book says, and gain Freedom.

  2. You don’t read this book, don’t do what this book says and self-destruct.

  3. You do read this book and don’t do what this book says and self-destruct.

As you can see the odds are that most people will self-destruct.

But in reality, with obesity, cancer, heart-disease, diabetes and many other illnesses on the rise killing millions of people every year… self-destruction is what people are doing anyway.

Why not try Freedom for a change?

The brevity, and exactitude of this book is brilliant.

It’s everything I would expect from a Navy Seal level of standards.

That’s why they are Navy Seals!

So for those of you that think “Yeah, Yeah, I’m already self-disciplined, I’m too cool, or too successful, to read another book on self-discipline…”

By the time you finish reading Discipline Equals Freedom, you will be doing your laundry, laying out your workout clothes for tomorrow, planning your meals, reading through your goals for the next day, and setting your alarm clock for 4:55am (or 4:30am) if you are a true overachiever.

That is… if you want Freedom.

Do you want Freedom? True Freedom?

We all have times where we don’t feel that we are living up to our highest potential.

We all have struggles, worries, problems, losses, and grief that test our resolve.

Without spoiling the book for you…. or stealing Jocko’s thunder, I will conclude with this…

Discipline (Reading this book & Doing what it says) Equals Freedom.

Point blank period.

What makes Discipline Equals Freedom so powerful is that Jocko distills 20 years as a battle tested Navy Seal War Survivor into pages you can read in one afternoon.

His bio reads, “He was in combat in Iraq during the Battle of Ramadi, a conflict that resulted in numerous medals for his efforts”.

I don’t know about you, but Freedom is so important to me, I’m willing to do whatever it takes to maintain, preserve, and protect it.

Just read it… more importantly… do it… You’ll thank me later.

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