Victor Ndukwe
3 min readJan 14, 2024


Beyond the Sheets: A Review of Admiral McRaven’s "Make Your Bed".

Study haven's design for make your bed


Kicking off the year, I set out to read more, and I stumbled upon Study Haven—a community for readers where we read selected books per month and review it together.

Our inaugural pick was Admiral McRaven’s 'Make Your Bed,' and oh boy, what a gem! This book is, for lack of a better term, pure distilled awesomeness. It’s like McRaven took all the wisdom he gleaned from years of kicking doors (figuratively and, I’m sure, literally) and crammed it into a bite-sized, action-packed self-improvement manual.

Admiral McRaven’s "Make Your Bed" goes far beyond crisp pillow corners and fluffy duvets, it was like a shot of espresso for my soul. A surprisingly potent cocktail of military grit, heartwarming anecdotes, and a surprisingly sharp wit that leaves you both invigorated and introspective.

Now, full disclosure.

I’m not a fan of self-help genres. In fact, I usually avoid them like trouble on the streets of Lagos. But something about a Navy SEAL telling me to straighten my sheets just… resonated. Maybe it was my great admiration for uniformed men, or maybe it was the gruff yet oddly charming voice in my head as I listened to the audiobook… who knows? Whatever it was, I dove in.

The core premise, as deceptively simple as it sounds, is a masterstroke. Making your bed becomes a potent metaphor for tackling life’s challenges with purpose and discipline. McRaven doesn’t preach; he cajoles, using his own experiences, from the grueling SEAL training to the quiet heroism of everyday people, to weave a tapestry of wisdom that is both relatable and deeply affecting.

Each chapter unfolds like a campfire tale, crackling with humor and raw honesty. You'll find yourself nodding along (and maybe wiping away a tear) as McRaven reminds you about the importance of:

Taking Ownership: It’s not about who messed up the sheets, it’s about fixing it yourself. Responsibility, accountability, and a healthy dose of "See it. Do it. Own it" – these are the cornerstones of McRaven’s philosophy.
Facing the Inevitable Suck: Life is messy, unpredictable, and often downright unfair. But instead of whining about the mud, McRaven teaches you to embrace the suck, build resilience, and keep moving forward.
Never Quitting: From dragging buddies through Alaskan muck to surviving hypothermia in the Bering Sea, McRaven paints a vivid picture of unwavering determination. His message: no goal is too audacious, no obstacle too great, if you never, ever give up.
Lifting Others: Life isn’t a one-man show. McRaven emphasizes the power of community, of looking out for your fellow travelers in the journey of life. Be a beacon, a helping hand, a reminder that we’re all in this together.

Make Your Bed isn’t without its flaws. Certain sections feel repetitive, and McRaven’s brand of humor, while undeniably effective, might not resonate with everyone. But these are minor quibbles in the face of the book’s overall impact.


This isn't just a book about making your sheets crisp; it's a call to action, an invitation to take control of your life and become the best version of yourself. Whether you're scaling corporate ladders or just trying to get out of bed on time, McRaven's lessons offer a timeless blueprint for navigating life's inevitable challenges with strength, humor, and a good dose of bed-making discipline.

So, pick up this book, straighten your metaphorical bed, and get ready to conquer your own mountains.