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The Hero Code: Lessons Learned from Lives Well Lived

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From the acclaimed, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Make Your Bed -- a short, inspirational book about the qualities of true, everyday heroes. The Hero Code is Admiral McRaven's ringing tribute to the real, everyday heroes he's met over the years, from battlefields to hospitals to college campuses, who are doing their part to save the world. When Bill McRaven was a y From the acclaimed, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Make Your Bed -- a short, inspirational book about the qualities of true, everyday heroes. The Hero Code is Admiral McRaven's ringing tribute to the real, everyday heroes he's met over the years, from battlefields to hospitals to college campuses, who are doing their part to save the world. When Bill McRaven was a young boy growing up in Texas, he dreamed of being a superhero. He longed to put on a cape and use his superpowers to save the earth from destruction. But as he grew older and traveled the world, he found real heroes everywhere he went -- and none of them had superpowers. None of them wore capes or cowls. But they all possessed qualities that gave them the power to help others, to make a difference, to save the world: courage, both physical and moral; humility; a willingness to sacrifice; and a deep sense of integrity. The Hero Code is not a cypher, a puzzle, or a secret message. It is a code of conduct; lessons in virtues that can become the foundations of our character as we build a life worthy of honor and respect.


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From the acclaimed, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Make Your Bed -- a short, inspirational book about the qualities of true, everyday heroes. The Hero Code is Admiral McRaven's ringing tribute to the real, everyday heroes he's met over the years, from battlefields to hospitals to college campuses, who are doing their part to save the world. When Bill McRaven was a y From the acclaimed, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Make Your Bed -- a short, inspirational book about the qualities of true, everyday heroes. The Hero Code is Admiral McRaven's ringing tribute to the real, everyday heroes he's met over the years, from battlefields to hospitals to college campuses, who are doing their part to save the world. When Bill McRaven was a young boy growing up in Texas, he dreamed of being a superhero. He longed to put on a cape and use his superpowers to save the earth from destruction. But as he grew older and traveled the world, he found real heroes everywhere he went -- and none of them had superpowers. None of them wore capes or cowls. But they all possessed qualities that gave them the power to help others, to make a difference, to save the world: courage, both physical and moral; humility; a willingness to sacrifice; and a deep sense of integrity. The Hero Code is not a cypher, a puzzle, or a secret message. It is a code of conduct; lessons in virtues that can become the foundations of our character as we build a life worthy of honor and respect.

30 review for The Hero Code: Lessons Learned from Lives Well Lived

  1. 5 out of 5

    Therese Thompson

    The perfect gift to give a graduate is this book. It is a wealth of inspiration and a compendium of values on being a better and braver human.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ron Wroblewski

    Another great book of wisdom learned by McRaven. 10 items make up the Hero Code: Courage, Humility, Sacrifice, Integrity, Compassion, Perseverance, Duty, Hope, Humor and Forgiveness, With examples of each from his life experience. Definitely a must read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Meaghan McGill

    Another book by a favorite author!! William reminds us all to be heroes, and to take one step forward, at a time. Yes, life can be complicated at times, but we should never, ever give up. Each and every single one of us have our lines in the sand, those fears that keep us from being courageous. Let’s express and reach to be rich in gratitude, in satisfaction and in appreciation. We can all be a hero. We all have something that makes us unique, we just need to find what our talent is, use it to ins Another book by a favorite author!! William reminds us all to be heroes, and to take one step forward, at a time. Yes, life can be complicated at times, but we should never, ever give up. Each and every single one of us have our lines in the sand, those fears that keep us from being courageous. Let’s express and reach to be rich in gratitude, in satisfaction and in appreciation. We can all be a hero. We all have something that makes us unique, we just need to find what our talent is, use it to inspire others, to give hope, and to make tomorrow a better day.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Terri Gill

    Another book as great as the man who wrote it. Life lessons and a code that we can learn from and make it a goal to live by. Inspiring, motivating and pulls on your heartstrings. Thank you Bill for another great read and all of your service to our nation.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    For me this was not as good as his book on making your bed but it is still worthy to be read. I cannot imagine many of the stories he tells about those who make the military their lives. So I appreciate hearing about them and the way they have decided to lead their lives.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Colleen Martin

    2.5 stars. Mildly inspiring but not earth-shattering. Interesting anecdotes.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Smith

    Short, succinct books with 10 virtues of being a hero, or just simply, a better person.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Larka Fenrir

    Be the hero we need you to be - live the Hero Code. This book is only gained two stars, probably biased, for two reasons. • military issue: first thought that comes to mind reading the problem is probably “No sh*t Sherlock”, considering the background of William H. McRaven, who served in the army. The fact is, picking the book up I didn't look at the author background if not when I started reading it. And of course it was bound to have an impact, but THIS much? H3ll I though I was on training Be the hero we need you to be - live the Hero Code. This book is only gained two stars, probably biased, for two reasons. • military issue: first thought that comes to mind reading the problem is probably “No sh*t Sherlock”, considering the background of William H. McRaven, who served in the army. The fact is, picking the book up I didn't look at the author background if not when I started reading it. And of course it was bound to have an impact, but THIS much? H3ll I though I was on training grounds most of the time, but the instructor yelling at me why joining the army and going to war is the sh*t. I can understand the examples coming from a world close to the author, but the blind praise is unsettling. For real. • religious issue: his willingness to cite the Bible, to put some (far too many for my taste) religious views get old really fast, and in my case makes me roll my eyes. It's well known that only religious people have the willingness and the audacity to make something good for others, the atheists as myself usually laughs at people's misfortune while taking tea with Satan. That being said, I've bumped the starts from one to two, and the reason is for the nature of the book itself, and for the ray of hope the author lives behind. The following is an excerpt of the book, in which the author explains the very early origins of his moral code, in what he calls epiphany: If you can have an epiphany at eight years old, well then, this was mine. If Superman wasn’t real, then who was going to save the world? If Superman or Batman or Spider-Man weren’t coming, then how would we stop the criminals, the Nazis, the Soviets, the aliens from outer space, and all the violence and destruction? The answer was clear. It was up to us. Over time I became fixated on real-world heroes: astronauts striving to reach the moon, doctors creating vaccines to save millions: Civic leaders marching for the rights of the underrepresented. Political leaders forming new governments where the people had a voice. Decorated soldiers returning from Korea and then Vietnam. Sports figures who transcended the color barrier. Adventurers who were climbing higher, diving deeper, sailing farther, and exploring the unknown. Visionaries who were trying to clean the air, save the oceans, and protect the fragile ecosystems. I marveled at each of these remarkable men and women, but in the back of my mind, I knew that I was nothing like them. They were smarter, stronger, braver. They had all the attributes I lacked. They had superpowers that I just didn’t possess. That’s why they were heroes, and that’s why they were the only people who could save the world. But I was wrong. I can dislike the author background, and I can found the force-feeding of the religious part cringy, but I want to praise the good nature of this book. The Hero Code is a really simple idea 1. I will always try to be courageous; to take one step forward as I confront my fears. 2. I will work to be humble; to recognize the limits of my intellect, my understanding, and my power. 3. I will learn to sacrifice by giving a little of my time, my talent, and my treasure to those in need. 4. I will be a person of integrity; every decision I make and every action I take will be moral, legal, and ethical. 5. I will be kind and compassionate to at least one person every single day and expect nothing in return. 6. I will never give up on matters that are important to me, my family, my country, or my faith. I will persevere. 7. Whatever job I am given, whatever duty I am bound by, I will do it to the best of my ability. 8. I will use my unique talents to inspire others and give them hope that tomorrow will be a better day. 9. I will use humour to comfort others, and never be afraid of laugh at myself. 10. No matter how great or small the offence against me, I will try to forgive. I will be the victor, not the victim. but maybe if we cherry pick (I really can't wash the military and religious after-taste that shows clearly even in this list), independently of our believes in life, we could make the world a more gentle and hospitable place. I hope that you will find the stories in this book and these lessons of character to be of value as you build your own life, worthy of the respect of others. The hard truth is that Superman is not coming to save the day. Each of us will have to do our part. Each of us will have to find the hero inside and bring it forth. So, grab a towel, hop on a chair, and let’s take that leap! [...] Being a hero won’t be easy. It wasn’t meant to be. Being a hero can be filled with pain and disappointment. It is dangerous at times. If you stand your ground or stand up for what you believe in, you are likely to suffer the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” But we call people heroes for a reason. Their actions rise above the crowd. They separate themselves from the weak-kneed, the bench-sitters, those who lack the moral fortitude to do the right thing, and, in the end, the heroes make us better people, a better society, and a better world. As much as I hoped the Man of Steel would be around to save the world, he is not. It is up to us. It is up to you. Rating: ★★ Other Books by the Author • Spec Ops: Studies in Special Operations Warfare: Theory and Practice • The Journal of International Security Affairs, Fall/Winter 2012 • The Chosen Few: A Company of Paratroopers and Its Heroic Struggle to Survive in the Mountains of Afghanistan • Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life... and Maybe the World • Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations • Make Your Bed: A Daily Journal • Perfectly Wounded: A Memoir About What Happens After a Miracle

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bill Tress

    This book should be read by everyone, beginning as early as possible in life. In an ideal world, parents would continuously deliver these values to their children around the dinner table and in private discussions. The Hero Code would be lived by the parents for their children to mirror. In an ideal world, the Hero Code would be part of our education system, taught by teachers and practiced by teachers and administrators to provide examples of living by a Hero Code. When we fail to practice the l This book should be read by everyone, beginning as early as possible in life. In an ideal world, parents would continuously deliver these values to their children around the dinner table and in private discussions. The Hero Code would be lived by the parents for their children to mirror. In an ideal world, the Hero Code would be part of our education system, taught by teachers and practiced by teachers and administrators to provide examples of living by a Hero Code. When we fail to practice the lessons of this book, the failure should be pointed out and an unemotional discussion should take place pointing to what should be done in the future. Unfortunately, we do not have an ideal world! The ten principles of the Hero Code are non-denominational; our author states they are the lessons learned from observing lives well lived. I agree with his assessment and he provides excellent examples to prove his points. I believe they also speak to the humanity of man. The control of emotions and the ability to moderate those emotions are part of this Code. The examples he refers to are not easy to achieve. McRaven says, perform these actions daily even in small ways and when the big decision must be made you will be prepared. A few of these lessons are particularly difficult for instance, forgiveness. The example of the man who lost his daughters because of our military’s errors and his ability to forgive made him a great man in contrast to his humble existence. The example of the families of children killed by a mass murder forgiving him was powerful and difficult, yet when forgiveness is given, it releases the anger and frees the victims to become victors. The example cited regarding John McCain was amazing and extremely hard to accomplish unless a lifetime of effort had been made to be ready when called upon to act. I will pass this book on and hope that I and other recipients will profit from its lessons.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    The Hero Code is an excellent short read and a good follow-up after Make Your Bed. McRaven shares stories, lessons of character, and qualities that make and mold us into everyday heroes: Courage, Humility, Sacrifice, Integrity, Compassion, Perseverance, Duty, Hope, Humor, Forgiveness. There is a hero in all of us, and we can all live the hero code. An overall lesson in the book is that perfecting the small things can allow you to achieve the bigger things. The Hero Code Values: ‣ Courage: I wi The Hero Code is an excellent short read and a good follow-up after Make Your Bed. McRaven shares stories, lessons of character, and qualities that make and mold us into everyday heroes: Courage, Humility, Sacrifice, Integrity, Compassion, Perseverance, Duty, Hope, Humor, Forgiveness. There is a hero in all of us, and we can all live the hero code. An overall lesson in the book is that perfecting the small things can allow you to achieve the bigger things. The Hero Code Values: ‣ Courage: I will always strive to be courageous, to take one step forward as I confront my fears. ‣ Humility: I will work to recognize the limits of my intellect, my understanding, and my power. ‣ Sacrifice: I will learn to give a little of my time, my talent, and my treasure to those in need. Every day. Without fail. ‣ Integrity: I will be a person of integrity; every decision I make and every action I take will be moral, legal, and ethical. ‣ Compassion: I will be kind and compassionate to at least one person every single day and expect nothing in return. ‣ Perseverance: I will never give up on matters that are important to me, my family, my country, or my faith. I will persevere. ‣ Duty: Whatever job I am given, whatever duty I am bound by, I will do it to the best of my ability. ‣ Hope: I will use my unique talents to inspire others and give them hope that tomorrow will be a better day. ‣ Humor: I will use humor to comfort others, and never be afraid to laugh at myself. ‣ Forgiveness: No matter how great or small the offence against me, I will try to forgive. I will be the victor, not the victim.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    I picked up this book because I enjoyed both Admiral McRaven's book, Make Your Bed, and a graduation speech I heard him give. I don't think anyone could argue with the ten qualities presented as essential to the character of a hero, and the stories selected to illustrate their importance were captivating and poignant. I always enjoy hearing "life lessons" and pieces of advice, and I find them even more fascinating when the background or life experience of the advisor is very different from my ow I picked up this book because I enjoyed both Admiral McRaven's book, Make Your Bed, and a graduation speech I heard him give. I don't think anyone could argue with the ten qualities presented as essential to the character of a hero, and the stories selected to illustrate their importance were captivating and poignant. I always enjoy hearing "life lessons" and pieces of advice, and I find them even more fascinating when the background or life experience of the advisor is very different from my own. In this case, as with Make Your Bed, the lessons and advice result from a MUCH different perspective than my own, and from experiences where certain actions and decisions carry the weight of life and death. This book asks that you look at your values and at the consequences of living those values. It asks that you look at your consistency with respect to your beliefs, and it asks you to be honest about your level of integrity. While this book does not judge you for being wherever you are, it does challenge you to do better. I've already bought a copy to give as a gift, and I'm looking forward to listening to the audiobook of Admiral McRaven's Sea Stories, read by the author.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Steve Bullington

    When I hear the word "HERO" the first image that appears in my mind is Captain America. Here is an average guy that was given superpowers by the Army. But the reality is that we all already have the superpowers to be heroes if we choose. In his newest book, Admiral William McRaven outlines the 10 superpowers that each of us can choose to employ in our lives: Courage, Humility, Sacrifice, Integrity, Compassion, Perseverance, Duty, Hope, Humor, and Forgiveness. He shares stories of everyday people th When I hear the word "HERO" the first image that appears in my mind is Captain America. Here is an average guy that was given superpowers by the Army. But the reality is that we all already have the superpowers to be heroes if we choose. In his newest book, Admiral William McRaven outlines the 10 superpowers that each of us can choose to employ in our lives: Courage, Humility, Sacrifice, Integrity, Compassion, Perseverance, Duty, Hope, Humor, and Forgiveness. He shares stories of everyday people that demonstrate these superpowers and the impact that they had on those around them. By committing yourself to live up to and employ your superpowers, you too can be a Hero in your family, your company, and your community. And if you want to give a great graduation gift, this is a great recommendation. We need more heroes. Will you be one?

  13. 5 out of 5

    Michael McCormick

    FYI I checked this book out from the NYPL and now, after reading it, I definitely want to own my own copy. Therefore, among many things, Admiral McRaven has reinforced my commitment to capitalism. And right after I finish here, I am going to call the bookstore to see if they have a signed copy for sale because getting a signed copy would be really cool. All of this great book reading is turning me into...what? Perhaps I have not yet fully evolved into someone that has done so much reading that h FYI I checked this book out from the NYPL and now, after reading it, I definitely want to own my own copy. Therefore, among many things, Admiral McRaven has reinforced my commitment to capitalism. And right after I finish here, I am going to call the bookstore to see if they have a signed copy for sale because getting a signed copy would be really cool. All of this great book reading is turning me into...what? Perhaps I have not yet fully evolved into someone that has done so much reading that he is now beginning to re-read books. I have a feeling that I will be reading that summary at the end of "The Hero Code" often enough, though. Once again, thank you, Admiral McRaven.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Evelyn

    This self-help book sets forth 10 rules for people to live by. Each rule is accompanied by a short essay including one or more anecdotes illustrating its successful application in a real world situation. This inspirational book is the perfect gift for the new high school or college graduate. It is short, to the point, and upbeat about doing the right thing and as a result achieving success in future endeavors. It rates 3.5 stars which have been rounded up to 4 stars due to its potential use as an This self-help book sets forth 10 rules for people to live by. Each rule is accompanied by a short essay including one or more anecdotes illustrating its successful application in a real world situation. This inspirational book is the perfect gift for the new high school or college graduate. It is short, to the point, and upbeat about doing the right thing and as a result achieving success in future endeavors. It rates 3.5 stars which have been rounded up to 4 stars due to its potential use as an inoffensive and inspirational gift for the new graduate.

  15. 5 out of 5

    John Maurer

    “Being a hero is a learned experience.” Like his previous book, “Make Your Bed”, “The Hero Code” by Admiral William H. McRaven is a short, empowering, uplifting book that should be on everyones coffee table! This book is filled with inspiring life stories of individuals instilling 10 different values McRaven affectionately calls, “The Hero Code.” Loved every minute of this read and I hope to incorporate these values the best I can in my own life. Highly recommend!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    Admiral McRaven wrote the book "Make Your Bed" which is an excellent book for graduates or any one starting out in adulthood or beyond. This book is equally as good. It goes through the qualities of TRUE HEROES, not those of fiction, movies of athletes. Courage, humility, sacrifice, integrity, compassion, perseverance, duty, hope, humor and forgiveness. He has also written a book called Sea Stories which I want to read. There are wonderful quotes in Make your Bed and The Hero Code. Admiral McRaven wrote the book "Make Your Bed" which is an excellent book for graduates or any one starting out in adulthood or beyond. This book is equally as good. It goes through the qualities of TRUE HEROES, not those of fiction, movies of athletes. Courage, humility, sacrifice, integrity, compassion, perseverance, duty, hope, humor and forgiveness. He has also written a book called Sea Stories which I want to read. There are wonderful quotes in Make your Bed and The Hero Code.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Michael Gagliardi

    Another short read by Admiral McRaven, similar to “Make Your Bed”. This was a great read, as he tells a variety of stories he has encountered and people he has met that are heroes. He breaks down the ten qualities we must practice and strive for every day in order to be a hero: courage, humility, sacrifice, integrity, compassion, perseverance, duty, hope, humor, and forgiveness. A great personal code of conduct to follow to be as David Goggins would say, “uncommon amongst the uncommon”.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Carl

    Admiral McRaven takes ten strong characteristics of human behavior such as humility, compassion, humor and duty and weaves stories of people he has met during his life and historical figures that exemplified these attributes. The over riding theme throughout is the vast majority are ordinary people that step up in their lives to make a difference. I have read all three of Admiral McRaven's books and honestly belief he is man whose core values hold true to what he writes. Admiral McRaven takes ten strong characteristics of human behavior such as humility, compassion, humor and duty and weaves stories of people he has met during his life and historical figures that exemplified these attributes. The over riding theme throughout is the vast majority are ordinary people that step up in their lives to make a difference. I have read all three of Admiral McRaven's books and honestly belief he is man whose core values hold true to what he writes.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mars Cheung

    I missed the chance to see the admiral speak in person about a year ago and it’s something I regret. Having seen several of his speeches on YouTube and knowing some of his personal stories, there’s a remarkable gravity to his words he conveys in his writing and manner of speech. His books are a great source of inspiration for me.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ed Beczynski

    I am so glad I saw Admiral McRaven on Fox news one morning talking about his book The Hero Code. I pre ordered it and in two mornings while drinking my coffee I read it. Was by far the first book I couldn't put down and did not want it to end. As a veteran I understood many parts. And as a business man I also understood many parts and learned so much. Great job Admiral!!! I am so glad I saw Admiral McRaven on Fox news one morning talking about his book The Hero Code. I pre ordered it and in two mornings while drinking my coffee I read it. Was by far the first book I couldn't put down and did not want it to end. As a veteran I understood many parts. And as a business man I also understood many parts and learned so much. Great job Admiral!!!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ben Savage

    It was a real short read. But a powerful read. Adm. McRaven lays down some simple things to live your life by, and illustrates it with stories from his time as commander of US Special Forces, and the Chancellor of Texas School systems. Well recommended to anyone who likes his previous writing and may be in need of some guidance for his life.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jan Dunlap

    I want everyone to read this book to be reminded of what's truly valuable in life - a moral compass and a code for becoming the best person you can be. In our self-absorbed culture that makes all truth subjective and relative, McRaven's Hero Code is the antidote that calls every person to step outside of themselves to find and respond to a higher purpose. I want everyone to read this book to be reminded of what's truly valuable in life - a moral compass and a code for becoming the best person you can be. In our self-absorbed culture that makes all truth subjective and relative, McRaven's Hero Code is the antidote that calls every person to step outside of themselves to find and respond to a higher purpose.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Hcmchotjob

    I think it's a great book, but I could recommend If you are looking for the best content marketing company in Vietnam, Check out THIENTU's Content writing services. I think it's a great book, but I could recommend If you are looking for the best content marketing company in Vietnam, Check out THIENTU's Content writing services.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Beththena Johnson

    3.75 - I enjoyed some of the stories shared in this short book. I am biased because of the UT connection but it is a good little inspirational book to have on hand. However many of these lessons are your typical points of encouragement with a different flare when you look at them from the lens of the people in this book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    Admiral McRaven gives several principles and examples of how heroes live. Why I started this book: Needed a short, feel good audio. Why I finished it: Navy SEALs are more idealistic than they realize and it's lovely. It's nice to be reminded that their are people dedicated to saving the world... and that I can and should be one of them. Admiral McRaven gives several principles and examples of how heroes live. Why I started this book: Needed a short, feel good audio. Why I finished it: Navy SEALs are more idealistic than they realize and it's lovely. It's nice to be reminded that their are people dedicated to saving the world... and that I can and should be one of them.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    As always, Admiral McRaven is insightful and inspirational in his storytelling. This book is one that needs to be read by every parent and grandparent then shared with every young person today. The values taught, the lessons to be learned could go a long way in solving many of the problems of our day.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kerri Willis

    Reminder you are capable In these polarizing times Admiral McRaven reminds us just to be human. One you can be proud of who serves others and the greater good. A quick read that left me hopeful we can be a better world.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    I love both of Admiral McRaven's books. They're both uplifting and positive. I recommend this book and Make Your Bed to everyone. I have a copy of Make Your Bed on display in my bedroom and I make my bed every morning to start my day out with a positive. I love both of Admiral McRaven's books. They're both uplifting and positive. I recommend this book and Make Your Bed to everyone. I have a copy of Make Your Bed on display in my bedroom and I make my bed every morning to start my day out with a positive.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nova

    A collection of The Hero Code broken down into stories/experiences from ADM McRaven. A much-needed quick read for today's challenging times. He uses his platform to be able to energize what some of us feel but can't say. A must-read for everyone! A collection of The Hero Code broken down into stories/experiences from ADM McRaven. A much-needed quick read for today's challenging times. He uses his platform to be able to energize what some of us feel but can't say. A must-read for everyone!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Francesca Pohlman

    The Hero Code is a short read by a 4-star retired navy general. Military stories are not a favorite genre of mine, however, McRaven has a casual style to make them interesting. Good inspiration to grow in character.

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