make your bed book summary

Book Summary: Make Your Bed by William H. McRaven

The Book in Three Sentences

Make Your Bed is based on an uplifting graduating speech from a Navy SEAL. In this summary of Make Your Bed, you’ll learn the principles that allowed Admiral William H. McRaven to face challenges in life. Ever since the commencement speech was made available for everyone to watch, it has inspired millions of people to have more determination, courage, honor, and compassion.

Make Your Bed Summary


This book is based on a commencement speech Admiral McRaven gave to a graduating class from the University of Texas on May 17th. The speech resonated with the class for its universal appeal and it was based on ten lessons McRaven learned from his Navy SEAL training.

Chapter One: Start Your Day with a Task Completed

Making your bed is the first task of the day and it’s important because it shows discipline and attention to detail and it’s a reminder of a job well done at the end of the day. The simple act of making your bed can be motivating.

Chapter Two: You Can’t Go It Alone

Relying on someone else to help you with certain tasks is important. When you’re too tired, you need someone else who can work a little harder than you. When the situation comes, you should return the favor. No one’s immune to tragedy, so we all need someone to believe in and someone who sees our potential too. You can’t go through life alone. Your success depends on others.

Chapter Three: Only the Size of Your Heart Matters

One of the most important lessons you can learn is that size doesn’t matter. Likewise, the color of your skin doesn’t matter and money doesn’t make you better. Always remember that determination is more important than talent.

Chapter Four: Life’s Not Fair – Drive On!

Life isn’t fair. Sometimes you’ll be rewarded and sometimes you won’t. Whether you’re rewarded or punished, keep moving forward. How you deal with life’s unfairness defines you and it doesn’t depend on how you were raised, how you were treated as a child, or where you were born. When you’re punished and you don’t deserve it, don’t complain and don’t blame anyone, just move on.

Chapter Five: Failure Can Make You Stronger

A series of failures makes most people quit, don’t. A series of failures will make you stronger, faster, more confident, and better. Those who quit are unable to handle failure and pain. They learn nothing. The pain and suffering that failure brings pay off eventually. Failure prepares you for life’s most difficult moments. Failure strengthens you and teaches you. Never forget that no one is immune to mistakes. If anything, mistakes are lessons you can use to motivate yourself.

Chapter Six: You Must Dare Greatly

Obstacles can beat you unless you take risks. To overcome problems, tackle them directly and trust yourself. Despite what most people think, risk is calculated and thoughtful, even when certain decisions are taken in the spare of the moment. In life in general, there’s always the chance of failure, but those who live in fear never get to their full potential. To push your limits, face your greatest fears and the obstacles that stand in your way.

Chapter Seven: Stand Up to the Bullies

As long as your goal is noble, you’ll get the courage you need to keep moving forward. You need courage to forge your own path, fight bullies, achieve goals, and defeat evil. Everyone has courage, but sometimes we have to dig deep to find it.

Chapter Eight: Rise to the Occasion

Try to be your best in the darkest moments. At some point in life, we all have to face these bad moments, moments when you wonder how to move on. When those moments arrive, try to be your best.

Chapter Nine: Give People Hope

One person’s enough to bring people together. One person can inspire everyone around him. One person shows that if he or she can, anyone can. Hope is a powerful force because it inspires others. Someone with hope can make a difference.

Chapter 10: Never, Ever Quit

To conclude this summary of Make Your Bed, quitting is something you’ll regret for the rest of your life because quitting doesn’t make things easier. There will be times when quitting seems acceptable and rational, but it never is. Life is longer and more difficult when you complain and blame others for your problems, so don’t. Life is what you make of it, so make it great.

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