Danger And Play Essays On Embracing Masculinity In Crisis

Gorilla Mindset Review

This is a review of Gorilla Mindset by Mike Cernovich, along with my thoughts and additions to some of the key concepts of the book.

I read the book a couple of months ago when it first came out, but I wanted to leave it a little while to see how the ideas stood up once the fanfare around it’s release died down. I see Mike as something of a mentor, we’re very similar personality types and he is 12 years older than me, so definitely someone that influences me and drives me forwards. I’ve read every post on his site and follow his Twitter closely. I respect him a lot for saying what the establishment try their hardest to stop being said and paving the way for others to live a life of freedom like I do.

So, that said, I was looking forward to reading his book.

Gorilla Mindset Review

Gorilla Mindset Review

Nothing that I read in Gorilla Mindset was ground breaking. If you’re around the personal development/mindset/behaviour change industry you probably won’t learn anything new.

So does it have value?

Yes. The wheel rolls perfectly well as it is. Most of the stuff in all books in this genre was written about 100+ years ago. What Mike does, is ties it all together in a very practical and actionable way. It is very easy to read Gorilla Mindset over a weekend, start taking action immediately and your life will be on a better path by Monday morning.

Action trumps theory every time and the book is great for touching on a number of different exercises that all link in together. If you’re new to the scene, then it covers all of the big concepts and is a very easy and actionable starting point to introduce you to self-development and the journey of building the life you want.

Gorilla Mindset Quotes

As I read, I highlighted things that stood out to me (read how I use Kindle to improve learning and fast track progress) or that I thought were especially well written. I will quote them here and then add my thoughts below.

Valuing yourself

Gorilla Mindset shift: Treat yourself like a treasured and trusted friend

Most people talk to themselves like crap. I sure used to. Being your own harshest critic is not necessarily a bad thing, it will drive you towards excellence when used productively. However, most people are not doing it productively. They aren’t trying to produce better work – they are telling themselves why they can’t produce good work.

It’s very different. Learn to treat yourself better. If you like yourself, you will be happy. Whatever anyone else does is pretty irrelevant to your overall level of happiness. If you don’t like yourself, you will constantly be pursuing validation from other people, to make yourself feel better. You will hate your own company and waste your free time with escapism in drinking, drugs, porn, or whatever flavour of addiction you develop.

You will doubt everything you do and tell yourself you’re not good enough to start a business, make that sale, approach that girl or produce that art. How much greatness is lost because people are too scared to take action, for fear of rejection? All because they talk themselves down constantly…

Self talk

Talk to yourself in a mirror
Rather than merely attacking yourself in silence, bring the conversation out of your head. Find a mirror. Look into the mirror. Begin talking. Do not censor yourself. Have the same conversation in front of the mirror that you were having inside your head. As you’re talking, become observant. Look at your facial expressions. Does your brow furrow? Does your face look monstrous? That look you see in the mirror is what your unconscious mind sees when you talk yourself down. It is ugly, hateful, and disgusting.

Ask yourself: Is this person looking at me the person I want myself, my family, and my friends to see?

This is a great exercise. It’s the incredibly simple application of how to stop talking to yourself like crap. Every self-help or mindset book since Napoleon Hill (and probably before) has said it, but I’ve never seen such an easily actionable way of actually doing it.

Talk to the mirror. It will sound ridiculous and you will realize how stupid it is, putting yourself down. Simply extracting the conversation out of your head is 90% of the battle to changing it.

Record those nasty voices
Get a tape recorder or use your computer or iPhone’s record function. In today’s smart phone era, there are many easy ways for you to record yourself. Turn on the recorder. Start talking. As with the mirror exercise, above, do not censor yourself. Be real. Let it all out. Say all of those mean, nasty, angry thoughts out loud. Get it out of your system.

Then, in a day or two, play back the recording. Listen to it objectively. You will realize it sounds ridiculous. When I have coaching clients perform this exercise, they often feel disgust. They simply cannot believe they said those things. Yet before using the recorder, my clients repeated these words to themselves day in and day out. Save the recording. When your self-talk starts to become negative, play it to remind yourself of how ridiculous it really sounds. You’ll probably want to delete the recording a day or two later. It will be embarrassing. You should feel free to delete it: after all, you are learning and growing, and moving on with your life. But if you catch yourself trapped in negative self-talk again, make a new recording. Make as many recordings as you need to remind yourself what negative self-talk really sounds like.

Following on from the previous quote, this will work very well not only to change the conversation at the time – like the mirror exercise – but to change it permanently. Listening back when the emotion has subsided and you can assess it with a cool mind, you will see how ridiculous it really sounds and be in a position to create better thoughts. Thoughts that are actually true.


Gorilla Mindset shift: Reframe the issues. Choose to focus on how the difficulty you’re facing will make you stronger, more intelligent, more emotionally complex, or more resourceful.

Everyone goes through shit. Look at any successful person, anyone who ‘has life easy’ and I guarantee they have their own problems in life. The only difference is, they don’t let their problems rule them. They use them to grow, so they can up-level to better problems.

Trust me, the tax-man looking to take half of your earnings from you is a very real problem…but it’s a better problem than having to beg for enough pennies to get a hot meal and shelter for the night. Nobody in the world doesn’t have problems. You can let them hold you back, or let them drive you forwards.

Instead of calling something a “problem”, reframe it as a “challenge”. That seems cliche, but it really works.

It does. Once you have your life on track and have some stability, you actually start to relish ‘problems’ because it makes you stretch. It challenges you to be creative, to become better. You soon get bored of comfort.

Overcoming problems is fun and rewarding.

Being in nature

We love mountains, oceans, and sunsets as they ease our anxiety by making us feel connected with something bigger. It’s much easier to be in the present moment when ocean waves are crashing.

This is a huge thing for me. I feel so much happier when I am in nature. I’m at my most resourceful and creative when I am around nature. When I used to work in the City of London (concrete and steel metropolis) I’d go and eat my lunch next to a water fountain. Just the sound of the running water was therapeutic.

Now that I’ve traveled outside Europe and seen different landscapes, I’ve come to appreciate the nature at home more. How often did I get out in to the country side in England? Almost never. Yet it is beautiful, and only half an hour away.

You don’t have to go to the other side of the world like I did. Just go outside your city and walk through the woods for an afternoon, breathe some fresh air. It will have a profound effect on your mood.

Natural beauty in the mountains of North Thailand

Becoming present in your body

Gorilla Mindset shift: Check in to your body by using self-talk to talk about what your body is doing and feeling in the present moment.

This is how you learn to meditate. By focusing your mind on your body (or commonly your breath) it empties your head of all the other thoughts. Practice it in a nice comfortable environment such as laying on your bed.

Soon, you will be able to do it on demand…like when shit hits the fan and you need to control your emotions in a crisis.


In short, he makes careful use of his limited self-control to maximize success.

Willpower is a limited resource. To be successful you should use your willpower to put in place systems and habits that make things run as smoothly as possible so you don’t need to use willpower to achieve things on a daily basis.

Save the willpower for when someone/something throws a spanner in the works and you have to deviate from the system/habit you have established. This allows you to stay on track when shit happens – instead of doing what everyone else does – and getting thrown off course, feeling bad/guilty/disheartened and quitting. Only to come back again a few weeks later because the original need/desire has still not been met.

Tracking data to learn what works for you

Keep track of everything when starting off. It’s tedious at first, but eventually you’ll be able to eat more instinctively. As with everything else, eating well becomes more automatic the more you practice it. I don’t monitor my food at all anymore, as I have a good sense of what my body’s needs are. When I started off, I weighed myself daily, weighed my food, and logged everything. Now I can coast, but that is only because I put in the hard work early on.

Exactly this. Dieting down to being very lean is the quickest way to fast track this learning. When I did it, I learnt more in those 10 weeks than I had in 5 years of doing all the right things, and seeing good progress, but not making the effort to actually track everything.

Same goes for sales, and other business markers, and probably anything else you want to achieve.

Make time to look after yourself

Make time taking control of your health today or your body will force you to make time to recover from illness and disease in the future.

To add to this, if you don’t spend the time looking after your health; your productivity, focus and energy divebomb anyway.

Not spending an hour in the gym and an hour cooking your food for the day, because you can’t spare the time…for all the scrolling your Facebook newsfeed, while feeling guilty that you are procrastinating, and not actually getting any work done…is retarded.


Does the research support my claim that better posture can naturally increase testosterone levels?
Dr. Nicholson: Yes.

Posture is a huge deal. I definitely was totally unaware of it, then aware but thought my posture was fine because I worked out (it wasn’t), and then eventually figured out I needed to do something about it. So, check your posture.

It has a huge effect on your mood and how people react to you, and it works in both directions. Walk around with slumped shoulders, looking at the floor and you will feel crappy. When you feel crappy, you will walk around with slumped shoulders and look at the floor.

You can easily hack your mood by changing your posture and build your overall confidence by changing day to day body language.

Working out is only part of the posture equation

Why Gorilla Mindset is better than similar books, by more established authors

Why is Mike a better person to learn from than Tony Robbins?

Because you can see him living his life in this way, every single day.

Read his blog, follow his Twitter and watch how much he is achieving. Mike is absolutely blowing up right now. He is everywhere and getting bigger each day.

Of course, Tony Robbins is wildly successful, and is an amazing guy; but you can’t watch him doing it in real time. You don’t see him applying the stuff he recommends. The guy never has to do anything useful ever again, and he will have unlimited opportunity until the day he dies. Whatever he is working on nowadays is not visible to the public.

Mike is. You can not only use the concepts taught, but also view how he is using them. How he actions things. The best way to learn abstract concepts is to see them actually being applied and actioned, and then do the same yourself.

If you need proof that this stuff works, it’s right there for the world to see.

If you want to get a copy of Gorilla Mindset it’s available here. (Amazon)

Mike has also – just today – released a new book, ‘Danger & Play: Essays on Embracing Masculinity’ available on Amazon.

We are at a historic moment in gender relations. The women’s movement can move ahead with the active support, involvement and encouragement of men, or fall behind as men—especially young men—take up arms behind the quiet, but active, angry men’s movement. This conflict is playing out in politics right now.

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are tapping into what I’m calling a “Lean Out” generation of young, discouraged and angry men—men who are feeling abandoned by the thousands of years of history that defined what it meant to be a real man: to be strong; to be a provider; to be in authority; to be the ultimate decision maker; and to be economically, educationally, physically and politically dominant. A growing percentage of young men are being out-earned by young women, as women capture 60% of the higher education degrees required for success in today’s economy.

We have the window right now to redefine what a good man—a “real man”—is in the 21st century. As a society, we need to elevate the standards to which men are being held and no longer accept the outdated mantra that “men will be men, and boys will be boys.” We must have zero tolerance for the destructive brotherhood that occurs when men of all ages gather and depend on sexism and misogyny as their common bond.

These are the tools of the patriarchy; they are the rituals of hazing that signify a boy’s entry into manhood. They can be discarded if we create a new narrative that welcomes young men into a truly gender-equal society. We should beware of falling into the trap of believing that the future of men is an “either, or” confrontation with the women’s movement.

The future of men is women.

I believe women and the women’s movement can be at the center of a new narrative and national conversation focused on developing positive male role models for future generations. Focusing on better men, dads, husbands, boyfriends and sons does notcome at the expense of the rightful attention to women’s rights and equality.

The challenge is that there is no foundation on which to build a movement of support, guidance and respect for men who are confronting outdated notions of masculinity. A hopeful and positive future for men and women living in a gender-equal world requires that we also acknowledge the crisis that many young men are facing, and that we invest in solutions.

  • As a society we need to be more supportive of paternity leave, stay-at-home dads, and men entering traditionally “feminine” careers, such as nursing or teaching. Just as we encourage girls to be strong and confident, to enter STEM careers, and to be anything they want to be, we need to similarly encourage our sons to embrace female-dominated HEAL careers (health, education, administrative, literacy)
  • We need media messages, commercials and TV shows that portray men as responsible, competent and caring husbands, sons and fathers, instead of idiots and/or misogynists. We need feminist leaders to call attention to destructive media messages that negatively portray men, just as they call attention to messages that are destructive to women’s self-image and self-esteem.
  • We must invest in an educational redesign that better serves both boys and girls. Overwhelmingly, researchers point to classroom environments and curriculums that are designed for girls to succeed and boys to fail. We should be introducing gaming and online learning into the classroom and expanding recess and co-educational physical education.
  • We need to enhance relationships and family life by inviting young men into women’s support programs to equally educate and support both men and women, fostering open and honest conversations.

If we fail to focus on redefining men’s roles alongside women’s, we are in danger of fostering a culture of hostility among men who are feeling left out in school, in the job market, and in relationships. These men will be less likely to accept gender equality, less likely to advocate advances for women, and less likely to foster healthy relationships and families. For the sake of a healthy society, we need to redefine a positive and appropriate form of masculinity.

Just as it’s no longer acceptable to educationally, economically and politically restrict women, it is no longer acceptable to disregard men’s issues. When we bring men into the conversation, we further gender equality for everyone.

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