• Do Hard Things

  • Why We Get Resilience Wrong and the Surprising Science of Real Toughness
  • By: Steve Magness
  • Narrated by: Mike Chamberlain
  • Length: 8 hrs and 53 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (688 ratings)

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Do Hard Things

By: Steve Magness
Narrated by: Mike Chamberlain
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Publisher's Summary

"Steve Magness is one of the giants of modern thinking about high performance across domains. . . . Real Toughness is a crucial read for anyone who cares about delivering their best when the stakes are highest."—Alex Hutchinson, New York Times bestselling author of Endure

From beloved performance expert and bestselling author of Peak Performance comes a revolutionary science-based new definition of toughness—one that focuses on assessing a challenge on a physiological and psychological level.

Toughness has long been held as a fundamental key to achieving peak performance. For generations, we've been taught toughness means bulldozing through—pushing to the point of breakdown—and that showing any sign of weakness is failure. This model of toughness has long been glorified and celebrated. But the truth is, it doesn't work.

Steve Magness, a performance scientist who coaches Olympic athletes, now offers a new kind of toughness—real toughness—that can help anyone navigate adversity and challenge. Grounded in the latest sports science and psychology, real toughness is about paying attention to your physiological, emotional, and psychological responses (from pain to anger) and working with them to overcome a challenge. Real toughness works with our biology and psychology; fake toughness fights against them.

Real toughness is based on four core pillars which cultivate genuine inner strength:

  • Pillar 1—Ditch the Façade, Embrace Reality
  • Pillar 2—Listen to Your Body
  • Pillar 3—Respond, Instead of React 
  • Pillar 4—Transcend Discomfort

Like Endure and The Talent Code, Real Toughness flips the script on what it means to be tough, pointing to new research that shows how our understanding of resilience—one that ignores discomfort—is wrong. Magness draws from mindfulness, military case studies, sports psychology, neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy to show how real toughness makes us more successful, happier, and better people.

©2022 Steve Magness (P)2022 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Do Hard Things

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Warning: Author Has Inverted Mainstream Views

I knew this author was lost when I heard him make the dichotomy between a "healthy" salad and a juicy steak, as if the steak is the unhealthy version. If the steak is unhealthy and the salad is healthy, consider this thought experiment.

If you were in a famine and you were on your last leg, and you were presented with a plate of leaves (salad) or a juicy steak as your only meal before you die, what would you choose? Would you truly trust the leaves to give you more sustenance and health over a steak?

Now if the author is this wrong about something SO obvious, it would be foolish to listen to his other thoughts as if he has any authority.

17 people found this helpful

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Left leaning lectures

It doesn't matter which way you lean. If this was a book where I would want to entertain a biased mindset I would understand. However, when you belabor you views as empirical or as it's a common consensus vs a perspective red flags go off. The book started out like we were going to uncover and explore things, then it just fizzles out.

He talked about the military and comprehensive soldier program, however, what he left out is that it was not a total success. In fact it's an initiative that has been applied to varyingly to other US Forces. Many argue that part of the reason for a lower military readiness. Love the narrator and was intrigued by the summary, however, this is a waste of a credit on this low level biased work.

12 people found this helpful

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Starts alright, but ends up going nowhere

Didn’t find it useful or helpful at all. Some chapters felt plopped in to fill up space and sell the book.
Really wanted to like it and went in expecting to.
Left very much disappointed.

4 people found this helpful

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Meh

I gave it an honest listen. Has some good points that I think help build resilency and self motivation , but mostly a soft squishy view of toughness. Maybe I'm just over self help/motivational books.

1 person found this helpful

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I wanted to like this book

I was hoping for more substance from this book. It really started out with a decent outline but got repetitive and ventured into name dropping anecdotes pretty quickly. It could have used more substantive research, data and it could have been more compelling.

The narrator was awful.

1 person found this helpful

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I've never felt such an urge to recommend a book!

Society would be greatly improved if the contents of this book were general knowledge. However it's a direct attack on the ego of many people who got lucky and were successful with macho toughness and external confidence. Many of those people will blindly oppose what's in this book.

1 person found this helpful

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a new look at old things

I love the ideas in this book. it's s true look at being tough. I recommend reading this book

1 person found this helpful

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Disappointing...it's ok at best

I've heard so much about this book and was very interested in the topic, however I'm left disappointed. There's some good topics and applications however it just goes too long on the ideas---could've have been about half as long with the content presented. The worst part is the narration. I admittedly don't like it when an author doesn't read their own work--but this narrator was the worst I've ever heard. It eventually became almost unbearable to listen to. Very whiny noice....terrible fit for a book on "toughness".

1 person found this helpful

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Best sports psychology book I’ve ever read

Practical info, easy to understand with logical metaphors for the layperson. Really helpful for helping to guide my own kids and those I coach. I feel like it should be required reading for all parents and coaches.

1 person found this helpful

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Concise and actionable

Good collection of research and accompanying anecdotal stories, many of which I've read/heard elsewhere but not put into a compact format like this. I've long subscribed to the old version of toughness Steve talks about and while I mostly agree with him, I do think there is more merit to it than what he gives it credit for, Scott Jurek and Theodore Roosevelt come to mind. Overall, we'll put together, clear and actionable tools for the mental toolbox.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ryan Jones
  • 07-28-22

Rubbish

This is not as described
Can’t believe I wasted a credit on this
Suppose it appeals the PC gang. But this is not a motivating book. Far from it actually

3 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 07-08-22

Fantastic, deep, insightful work as always by Steve!

This book really dives into the meaning of true toughness and dispels the old school ‘macho’ version. It’s deep, insightful and backed by science, as well as detailing plenty of real life examples. It’s easily one of Steve’s best books to date and a must-read for high performers who want to exercise true toughness, grit and resilience - in any field, not just athletics.

1 person found this helpful

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  • D P Dickinson
  • 07-02-22

Do the easy thing & read this awesome book…

There’s so much in this book that it’s hard to know where to start, which is quite ironic being that is about doing hard things. Anyway, I digress.
This book really made me think about me as a parent, a husband, a coach and as a designer. It’s a must read or listen for everyone who has the desire to know more about themselves, the choices we make and the nuances around our lives.
Fantastic stuff Steve, brilliant.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jonathan T
  • 06-26-22

Fascinating and well researched

Steve Magness has a strong intellectual grasp of his subject. It's a scholarly rather than emotion based read. Well narrated.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Henry j s Dr
  • 11-16-22

A well balanced presentation o the psychology of

The book builds through example a picture of the techniques that work and those that don't. By the end I wished I could pass it on to all the dictatorial coaches and bosses I've met in my life.

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  • djones
  • 07-29-22

A good listen

I am firm believer that the author should narrate their own work. I think it brings more meaning and authenticity. I didn’t enjoy the narrator’s voice and did find it hard to persevere with this book. That’s just a personal opinion and nothing against the narrator. The content is very good and is completely opposite to some “get tough” books. It throws light on a whole new approach to resilience which I enjoyed. I would probably buy the printed book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-07-22

Fascinating

Alot of very interesting insights here ... actually based on some evidence ... as opposed to much of our precious approach ...Bravo.