Based on a Navy SEAL’s inspiring graduation speech, this #1 New York Times bestseller of powerful life lessons “should be read by every leader in America” (Wall Street Journal).


If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.

On May 17, 2014, Admiral William H. McRaven addressed the graduating class of the University of Texas at Austin on their Commencement day. Taking inspiration from the university’s slogan, “What starts here changes the world,” he shared the ten principles he learned during Navy Seal training that helped him overcome challenges not only in his training and long Naval career, but also throughout his life; and he explained how anyone can use these basic lessons to change themselves-and the world-for the better.

Admiral McRaven’s original speech went viral with over 10 million views. Building on the core tenets laid out in his speech, McRaven now recounts tales from his own life and from those of people he encountered during his military service who dealt with hardship and made tough decisions with determination, compassion, honor, and courage. Told with great humility and optimism, this timeless book provides simple wisdom, practical advice, and words of encouragement that will inspire readers to achieve more, even in life’s darkest moments.
“Powerful.” —USA Today

“Full of captivating personal anecdotes from inside the national security vault.” —Washington Post

Superb, smart, and succinct.” —Forbes

undefined Biography

McRaven was born on November 6, 1955, in Pinehurst, North Carolina. His father, a career Air Force officer, was stationed at Pope Air Force Base, now known as Pope Field, part of Fort Bragg. He has two older sisters. His family moved to Texas while he was in elementary school and settled in San Antonio. He attended Theodore Roosevelt High School where he took part in track. He is the son of Anna Elizabeth (Long) and Col. Claude C. “Mac” McRaven, a Spitfire fighter pilot in World War II who played briefly in the NFL. McRaven attended the University of Texas at Austin where he was a walk-on member of the track team, and was a member of the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps. He graduated in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Additionally, McRaven holds a master’s degree from the Naval Postgraduate School, where he helped establish and was the first graduate from the Special operations/Low intensity conflict curriculum.

In 2012, McRaven—along with former First Lady Laura Bush, Charles Matthews, Melinda Perrin, Julius Glickman and Hector Ruiz—was named a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Texas.

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