Book by Eric Greitens
Review by Jessica L. Hollstein
Graduate Student
Bridgewater State University

Greitens grabs the reader’s attention with exciting stories of war and acts of humanity from the beginning of this book. Speaking of his time as a Rhodes scholar, experiences at Oxford University and training to be a Navy SEAL, Greitens shows what it means to follow your passion and do what makes you satisfied with your life. By working towards his mission of helping others and doing something bigger than himself, Greitens has shown courage, strength, and wisdom through his actions.

Each chapter of this book is dedicated to a place that Greitens spent time in while
doing humanitarian work, attending school, training for the Navy or in combat. Walking through those he met, the actions he performed, and his insights about it all, the reader is able to see his passion come to life and how he met his goals. Learning of the tough time he endured becoming a Navy SEAL, the reader is able to appreciate his strength and persistence to reach his goal. Though his path was untraditional in becoming a Navy SEAL, he was able to accomplish getting an education, serving his country and serving others in need across the world. Through his passion of helping others, Greitens founded The Mission Continues, an organization that “empowers wounded veterans to serve again here at home and brings communities together to honor the fallen through service” (p.1).

While this book is not directly tied to advising, it can be applicable to advisors working with the veteran population or with students who may mention school is not for them at the moment and they have something else that they want to accomplish in their lives. Greitens was a Rhodes scholar and did well academically, but he wanted more; advisors can have students in similar situations in their offices who may not understand why they want to leave academia to pursue something else. This book gives an example of just that and shows that it was the right decision for Greitens. He recounted feeling “lied to” after being on campus for a short time (p. 15) and felt there was more out there for him. This book would be recommended as more of a pleasure read for an advisor to apply to practical use than a guide to something in the field. It is worth reading if you are looking for a good adventure and are looking for inspiration about following your dreams.

I highly encourage advisors working with veterans or students who may decide they want to take an alternate path than the traditional one to read this story. It tells some of what someone in the military endures both as part of their training and when in combat, which can help give perspective to where the student sitting in front of you is coming from.

The Heart and the Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy Seal. (2011) Book by Eric Greitens, Review by Jessica L. Hollstein. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 320 pp., $27.00, (Hardcover), ISBN # 978-0-547-42485-9

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