The hottest book in our community this year is Gorilla Mindset by Mike Cernovich. Mike’s well known in “manosphere” and “alt-right” circles as the creator of Danger & Play, one of the leading blogs on this corner of the internet. Mike gained additional fame for his involvement in GamerGate last year and became one of the champions on the “pro-GG” or anti “social justice” warrior side. He and Danger & Play got much more exposure in the episode, going toe-to-toe with the SJW former NFL player Chris Kluwe and even landing the front page of Gawker.
Proving himself as an embodiment of antifragility, Mike vaulted his newfound attention to another plateau when he released his book Gorilla Mindset in the summer of 2015.
As the title reveals, Gorilla Mindset is a book about how to cultivate a dominant and successful mindset, but Mike notes that “mindset” is one of those cool-sounding words that’s been making the rounds in our cultural talk without much thorough analysis or guides on how to harness it. Mike seeks to correct that with Gorilla Mindset.
I will say at the outset that none of what Mike writes in this book is entirely new or original. If you’ve been part of this corner of the internet for a while (men’s self-improvement, pickup, and the “alt-right”) you will have encountered most of these concepts and will have familiarity with them. The service that Mike provides is to systematize them in a concrete, step-by-step fashion with specific guidelines and habits on how to master your mind.
I’ll highlight some compelling passages below.
Your Inner Judge:
Don’t judge yourself. Mindfulness, after all, is about perception rather than judgment. Use self-talk in the present moment. You might say “I am sitting on the couch reading a book. I’m rushed and feel like I don’t have enough time to finish it. The concepts are a bit esoteric. I don’t know if this stuff will work for me. Where are the scientific studies?” In other words, right now, you’re judging the book. You’re judging the experience.
Try this instead. “I am [insert where you are, what you are wearing in a non-judgmental way] reading a book to help me grow. I may not agree with everything in the book, but even not agreeing with someone can help me discover the truth, as disagreement allows me to experience my own deep inner beliefs and core values.” (pg. 52)
Mindfulness, Mike says, is learning how to control this inner judge instead of allowing it to control you.
I’ve written about this kind of concept before. This inner judge is more powerful in some than in others. Judging types like me will have strong inner judges, as you might imagine. One friend of mine is a perceiving type and he always seems to be at ease with himself, never under stress and just enjoying every moment, whereas I am always trying to systematize and plan ahead with more urgency than him. In short, he sees life as an experience, while judging types like me are more prone to seeing life as a series of tasks.
Now, neither is good or bad, as each has their own use. A task-oriented vision allows you to plan far ahead and get things done in furtherance of your goals, more so, I would say, than the experience-oriented vision. But viewing life as a series of tasks will undoubtedly also make you more prone to anxiety and anger. The trick is to find the proper balance. You don’t want your inner judge to be judging you, but judging what has to be done.
Mike, in Gorilla Mindset, allows you to more easily attain that balance by outlining steps to tame your inner judge. Some of the things he says are as simple as walking (and paying attention to each movement as you do so) and counting the number of colors you can see in your immediate vicinity. You also tell yourself consciously that your inner judge is trying to come out.
I found Gorilla Mindset’s nutrition guide very helpful. Even though I’m quite fortunate in that I can largely eat anything without gaining body fat, there is no doubt that eating certain foods will make you feel overall better or worse mentally (if you don’t know what I mean, it’s something you just need to try for yourself – cut out sugars for a while).
What floored me about the chapter on nutrition and fitness was that Mike mentioned that there are actually neurons (ie: brain cells) in your stomach! In effect, the stomach is something of a second brain, and what you put into it will affect your mind as well as your body.
Mike lists 20 foods to base your diet around in Gorilla Mindset, and surprisingly, many of them are a staple of my own:
The 20 best foods to base your diet around are: chicken, salmon, white fish, lean beef, kale, carrots, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, rice, eggs (whole eggs are great; eat those yolks), blueberries, brussel sprouts, arugula, red peppers, romaine lettuce, broccoli, asparagus, spinach, tomatoes, and oranges. Of course you can eat a wide variety of food. Yet a person who has built his diet around those 20 foods would have a high level of health and an aesthetic physique. (pg. 129-30)
Though I eat too much sugar (I was glad that Mike mentions dark chocolate as a healthy snack in the chapter, as it’s something I also know), I also eat many of these 20 foods several times a week, particularly chicken, lean beef, white potatoes, rice, oranges, whole eggs, and broccoli. I’m currently at 8.9% body fat and my shoulders are 1.47 times wider than my waist. Though I don’t gain fat easily, I would imagine that this diet has at least partially to do with my good health.
An appearance by neurosurgeon Dr. Brett Osborn in the chapter adds further credibility to what Mike is saying. In fact, Gorilla Mindset has several guest-appearances by medical professionals to further let you know that what Mike is writing is the real deal. It was a nice touch.
The Money Mindset:
Towards the end of Gorilla Mindset, Mike devotes extensive passages to making, and more importantly, managing money. Some of these “mindset shifts,” such as regarding yourself as a personal brand, I have already known. What’s most creative about this chapter however, are Mike’s ways to reduce your taxes.
I’m sure that as a lawyer, he’s somewhat familiar with the incomprehensible tax code, and he does his readers a valuable service by giving some easy ways to reduce their tax burden. This accomplishes three things:
- It will reduce how much you pay out.
- Most importantly, every cent you don’t pay out now is multiple times more money you’ll keep in the future due to the time value of money.
- As an added bonus, you will be doing what you can to starve the corrupt, retarded beast that is the United States government.
To save the most on your taxes, you need to become self-employed. It’s possible to become self-employed even while working at a regular, salaried job. Many successful workers and employees operate a business on the side.
Who is self-employed? If you’re in the United States, the only answer that matters comes from the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS, of course, has the answer:
- You carry on a trade or business as a sole proprietor or an independent contractor.
- You are a member of a partnership that carries on a trade or business.
- You are otherwise in business for yourself (including a part-time business).
If you need to spend money to run your business, then it’s a business expense. (pg. 189-191)
It’s this “business expense” deduction that allows you to get real creative. The amount of money you spend on a computer can be counted as a business expense. If I spent money on Mailchimp automation, that could also count as an expense. Same with renewing your website, etc.
What Mike allows you to do in Gorilla Mindset is creatively think of all the ways you can save by giving you an outline of business expenses in this chapter.
The Bottom Line:
Many other miscellaneous things are covered in Gorilla Mindset, such as Mike’s breathing exercises which allow you to overcome anxiety and “check back into the moment.” The concept of reframing, such as thinking of problems as challenges (which does work, by the way) is also covered.
These exercises are both physical and mental, and emphasize fully the mind-body connection and how one can lead the other. They are found all throughout the book.
One inexplicable negative is that there are frequent typos and grammatical errors, which I would have thought Mike would not allow. This makes me wonder whether the book was professionally edited, but even if it was not, Mike showed that you don’t need to have a professional editor to have a successful book!
Gorilla Mindset is a book that will be especially helpful for beginners just discovering that they can unplug from the consumerist-corporate-politically correct-beta male matrix and get the life that they wanted, but it is also a helpful book for veterans on this “circuit,” who can now recognize little things that might be holding them back. Gorilla Mindset is especially useful for judging types who need to slow down and get perspective.
Overall, you’re missing out if you don’t read Gorilla Mindset. I have no doubt that we’d be living in a better world if just one twentieth of the population applied its principles consistently.