Review: Tough: Building True Mental, Physical and Emotional Toughness for Success and Fulfillment by Greg Everett

If you have been following my blog for any length of time you will know one thing—I do not review and/or read self improvement books. I have nothing against self improvement or motivational books I just simply don’t read them. They aren’t really my thing…..if they are yours, that’s awesome. They just aren’t typically for me. I like reading for escape and distraction not necessarily for self betterment if that makes sense.

So why this book and why start now? Many of you know that I also do competitive weightlifting. The last couple of years I have invested a lot more time, resources, and intension into the sport. It is a very mentally taxing sport which is one of the reasons why I love it. Anyone who is into weightlifting knows that Greg Everett is the guru when it comes to the Olympic lifts and training.

Currently I am trying to work on some mental obstacles with my lifts and my coach suggested that I read Everett’s book Tough as a way to help my examine and work on some of my mental challenges with the sport. Rather than hard pass and say no I don’t read self improvement books, I decided to give it a try. I downloaded the audiobook so I could listen to it at work and Everett is the narrator which was awesome. I have been in a bit of a reading rut lately so I was excited to try something completely different as my first book of the new year.


True toughness involves far more than what most of us believe and has far greater influence on our success and fulfillment than we imagine. Toughness is defined by four interdependent elements: Character-who are you and are you secure in your identity? Capability-what are you able to do? Capacity-what are you able to withstand? And Commitment-what are you willing to do?

Being truly tough is a genuine command over ourselves and an ever-increasing mastery of the mental, emotional and physical elements that define us and determine the course of our lives. It gives us the fortitude, mindset and tools to not simply survive adversity, but to thrive through it and in its wake. It gives us a broad and always expanding array of capabilities that create self-reliance and confidence, give us access to new opportunities and experiences, and allows us to contribute more than we consume. It ensures we understand who we truly are, and that we ultimately determine that identity and reinforce it daily with our choices and habits. And true toughness allows us to remain committed to our chosen path to achieve what we intend no matter what it is or how difficult the process.

This is not a chest-pounding call for “manly” activity, emotional sterility, and self-flagellation, but a guide to discover and develop our ultimate capacity to withstand adversity, to collect and build the mental and physical tools to accomplish the challenging and incredible, to find security in our identities and the confidence and resilience it engenders, and to become an active and positive contributor to the world at large.

Tough is an inspiring look deep into what makes us tough and why it matters, and provides the practical tools and steps to achieve genuine change in your life. (summary from Goodreads)


Knowing that Greg Everett is a weightlifting coach made me think this book would be more weightlifting specific—-it is not. Sure it has some examples of how to apply mental toughness to weightlifting and general body wellbeing but the overall message was more geared toward larger concepts and areas of toughness and wellness. I really appreciated that more than I was expecting. I loved some of the more random examples too which I thought really illustrated how important and versatile mental toughness truly is. For example, there are quite a few survival examples like knot tying and the importance of being prepared and knowledgeable in many areas. I loved that. It might not necessarily apply to me but I loved how it all tied by to the central concept of the book.

This was a fantastic read. It’s totally out of my comfort zone but I loved it. I made many notes and bookmarks in the audiobook and started a daily journal. A lot of the material in the book can be applied in sports, daily life, survival, and the work place. I really enjoyed listening, analyzing and applying the different concepts. It did force me to think deeply about some things and while accomplishing all the book outlines and brings up—-it gives readers a massive amount of content to wade through and consider.

Since I don’t read a lot of self improvement books (at last count like 2-3 in my lifetime) I am not sure how this one stacks up to others but for me I got a lot out of this one and it felt vastly different from the majority of the other self improvement books I have read. It felt honest, realistic, and not fluffy. In my mind I think of all self improvement books as fluffy and I am NOT a fluffy person in that regard. I loved Everett’s no nonsense approach to this book and the content. There were zero excuses and zero f’s given and I am so here for it. I loved this book and I would encourage anyone to read it if you are looking to improve your mental state and toughness. It’s a wonderful read and not just for ‘weightlifters’ or sports/athletes. This is a book that anyone can apply to their daily lives. I am also signing up for some survival classes because I’m intrigued now and want to know more! Great read!

Book Info and Rating

Format: Kindle, 250 pages

Published: February 16 2021 by Catalyst Athletics

Review copy provided by personal collection. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.

Rating: 5 stars

Genre: non fiction

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