If you read The Warrior Ethos by Steven Pressfield and are not inspired, this book was not written for you in the first place. This well written explanation of the mentality behind history’s greatest fighting cultures teaches about the warrior lifestyle and also urges the reader to embrace it. However, for those out there that have answered the call and chosen a life of sacrifice in pursuit of a higher purpose, every page, every chapter, and every story offers motivation and understanding.
Every one of us who puts on a uniform each day, regardless of the camouflage pattern, has been asked at least once the question of why. Why did you sign up? Why are you willing to put your life on the line? Why are you willing to do so much when you don’t have to? Despite getting asked these questions over and over again, they are not always easy to answer. We may fear that the person asking won’t understand or won’t see the meaning behind the words. Sometimes we can’t figure out what words to use. In a way that only Steven Pressfield is capable of, he found the way to express it. Through this book he has done the hard part and explains the passion that our warriors have striven to fulfill.
Pressfield goes beyond just explaining the warrior lifestyle in dictionary terms or lofty intangible language. He uses the greatest warrior societies that history has seen to tell the story. For the warriors in today’s society, the motivation and inspiration that comes from this story telling approach is humbling. To trace our warrior roots back to mainly our Spartan ancestors serves as a reminder to the discipline required become elite.
The book was written to be a quick read as well. He is concise and efficient in his language, which lets the reader embrace the motivation, finish the book, and get off of the couch to immediately begin acting on it.
It is fitting, however, that I read it on a flight New York to San Diego with a backdrop of the “Occupy Wall Street Protests,” a national government locked in a debate about how to correct a debt problem that is only getting worse as the debate continues, a high unemployment rate, and a country that is trying to recover from years of misguided actions. Our leaders, both political and business, are expected to have an element of the Warrior Ethos as part of their character. As Steven Pressfield talks about the creation of Sparta’s Warrior culture, he recites a story about their city outlawing money. The result was that “men no longer coveted wealth, but pursued virtue instead” (Pressfield, 36.) As America fights its way through this economic battle that was created in part by greed and over indulgence, reading Warrior Ethos through a different lens could be the answer our great nation is searching for.
Take a look at his website as well for a number of great articles.
Want to see other books that we have read and recommend? Take a look at our complete reading list for our other suggestions.