Book Review – Living with a Seal by Jesse Itzler


I recently read Living with a Navy Seal by Jesse Itzler

 The author, Jesse Itzler is the founder of Marquis Jets and husband of Sara Blakely the founder of Spanx.  I picked up this book after hearing Jess on Jeff Sanders’ The 5 AM Miracle podcast. A great podcast that I strongly recommend.

Book Summary

Jesse hires a Navy seal to live with him and his family for thirty-one days to transform his physical fitness but actually produces a greater transformation. Seal, as he is referred to in the book, has only one rule – Jesse must do everything he says; no exceptions.  This 251-page book reads like a diary with each chapter a chronological discussion of the thirty-one days Seal spent with Jesse and his family.

 Jesse actually includes the workouts that Seal puts him through and you can clearly follow his progression, however this isn’t a how to workout like a navy seal book.  Rather this book is a description of a deeper transformation.  Jesse is able to subtly describe and take you through the transformation day by day.  Like watching your kids grow you don’t actually notice the transformation as you laugh and admire the daily activities.

 My Takeaways


Respect what you do, where you are, and the environment you are in.  Seal really instilled this in Jesse by continuous demonstration.   Seal never complains or uses anything as an excuse.  He shows you that you can respect something but also not being intimidated or daunted by something.  Acknowledge whatever it is and then get after whatever you are there to do.


I also took away how powerful and useful minimalism can be.  Seal came into Jesse’s home with a small backpack for the month, which was enough and didn’t interfere with what needed to be done or completed.  Seal made what he had irrelevant. It was all about execution.

Total Commitment

Until you totally commit you have no idea about your true capabilities. 

Seal described something called the 40% Rule.  This is Navy premise that once your mind says you should quit you are really only at 40% of your true physical limit.

 “If you want to be pushed to your limits, you have to train to your limits.” Seal

You don’t know your limits until you push and push and push.  This was demonstrated on day one when the Seal had Jesse complete 100 pull-ups.  And they stayed on the gym until they were done. Seal’s approach is the ultimate Getting Things Done approach.

 Great read and highly recommended