The best books on self-reliance for achieving success and fulfillment

Greg Everett Author Of Tough: Building True Mental, Physical & Emotional Toughness for Success & Fulfillment
By Greg Everett

Who am I?

As a coach of elite weightlifters, a lifetime athlete, an outdoorsman, and a passionate advocate for self-reliance, I’m continually searching for quality sources of information that teach, inspire, and drive us to improve our abilities—physical, mental, and emotional—to not just enrich our own lives and bolster our capacity to achieve what’s meaningful to us, but to become better contributors to the world at large and help and inspire others in turn.

I wrote...

Tough: Building True Mental, Physical & Emotional Toughness for Success & Fulfillment

By Greg Everett,

Book cover of Tough: Building True Mental, Physical & Emotional Toughness for Success & Fulfillment

What is my book about?

True toughness is a genuine command over ourselves and an ever-increasing mastery of the elements that define us and determine the course of our lives. It gives us the fortitude, mindset, and tools to not simply survive adversity, but to thrive through it and in its wake; gives us a broad and always expanding array of capabilities that create self-reliance and confidence, and give us access to new opportunities and experiences; ensures we understand who we truly are, and that we ultimately determine that identity and reinforce it daily with our choices and habits, and allows us to remain committed to our chosen path to achieve what we intend no matter what it is or how difficult the process. 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why

Why did I love this book?

Gonzales has a way of providing information in a compelling manner, managing to use stories to present ideas rather than approaching them clinically. Deep Survival is a fascinating look at how people interact with the world as influenced by their unique and our shared human psychology and experiences. This book provides insight, but also inspiration to pay more attention and learn from our own experiences, creating a mental foundation for further exploration and growth. 

By Laurence Gonzales,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Deep Survival as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With its mix of adventure narrative, survival science and practical advice, Deep Survival inspires readers on how to take control of stress, learn to assess risk and make better decisions under pressure.

Book cover of Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life

Why did I love this book?

Seligman pioneered work in “learned helplessness”, which provides invaluable insight into we different people respond so differently to similar challenges or experiences. With his interpretations of this work and more, Seligman creates a guide for changing the way we interpret our circumstances, learning how to create a sense of control, and consequently how to not only enjoy our lives more but to determine their course effectively. 

By Martin E. P. Seligman,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Learned Optimism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • The father of positive psychology draws on more than twenty years of clinical research to show you how to overcome depression, boost your immune system, and make yourself happier.

"Vaulted me out of my funk.... So, fellow moderate pessimists, go buy this book." —The New York Times Book Review

Offering many simple techniques anyone can practice, Dr. Seligman explains how to break an “I–give–up” habit, develop a more constructive explanatory style for interpreting your behavior, and experience the benefits of a more positive interior dialogue.

With generous additional advice on how to encourage optimistic behavior at school,…

Book cover of Man’s Search for Meaning

Why did I love this book?

This book is a fascinating look at a type and degree of adversity few people will ever come close to experiencing as communicated with a psychiatrist’s understanding of the mind, and a remarkable person’s insight into how we discover meaning, determine the nature of our experiences even when external control is impossible, establish and preserve personal freedom regardless of physical suffering and restraint, and live a life worthy of the gift it is. 

By Viktor Frankl,

Why should I read it?

36 authors picked Man’s Search for Meaning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the outstanding classics to emerge from the Holocaust, Man's Search for Meaning is Viktor Frankl's story of his struggle for survival in Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps. Today, this remarkable tribute to hope offers us an avenue to finding greater meaning and purpose in our own lives.

Book cover of Tom Brown's Field Guide to Wilderness Survival

Why did I love this book?

Survival books these days tend to be more flash and gimmicks than qualify information, just selling an author’s image rather than providing practical, valuable tools that can be immediately put to use by any inquisitive and motivated reader. Brown not only eschews such silliness, but he also provides the information in a tone and with an attitude sadly unusual in the genre and at large, inspiring curiosity, awe, and respect for the world around us rather than a clumsy attempt to dominate it.

By Tom Brown Jr.,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tom Brown's Field Guide to Wilderness Survival as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A fully illustrated wilderness survival guide perfect for seasoned and novice outdoors enthusiasts alike.

Here, in one essential volume, are the basics of wilderness survival. The most ancient and important skills, preserved for generations, are presented in a simple, easy-to-use format with clear illustrations and instructions. A complete must-have companion to the great outdoors.

• How to build natural shelters in plains, woods, or deserts
• How to get safe drinking water from plants, trees, the sun, or Earth Herself
• How to make fire without matches and maintain it in any weather
• How to find, stalk, kill, and…

Violence of Mind

By Varg Freeborn,

Book cover of Violence of Mind

Why did I love this book?

Violence of Mind is the only book I can remember immediately reading a second time upon finishing it. While the title is somewhat misleading and will likely dissuade too many people from picking it up, the content is straightforward, intelligent, and far more insightful than any other book in the genre I’m familiar with. Freeborn delivers succinct but critical lessons in self-defense from a philosophical perspective—this isn’t tough guy fantasies squeezed into ill-advised recommendations, but a quest to help us understand how to successfully navigate dire situations in ways that align with our values. 

By Varg Freeborn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Violence of Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A book covering the topic of self-defense from a shocking, first-hand perspective. The subjects of criminal violence, self-defense, lethal force, mindset, firearms training and concealment have never been introduced so comprehensively in one place. Having successfully sold world-wide in its independently published and distributed paperback form, it is now available on Kindle. "A powerful, gripping, and self-reflective roller-coaster that's part cautionary tale, part how-to book on building the counterpart to the high-order predator, Varg makes no apologies for it being an in-your-face look at real violence from the perspective of that rare someone who can speak from deep personal experience,…

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