Matt Forney
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Gorilla Mindset by Mike Cernovich

gorilla-mindsetGorilla Mindset is one of the most life-changing books you can buy.

Not wholly, not completely. Mike Cernovich’s handbook on self-improvement and personal psychology cribs from a number of different sources, most notably Dr. Shad Helmstetter’s classic study on self-esteem, What to Say When You Talk to Your Self. But what distinguishes Gorilla Mindset from its predecessors is both its breadth of data and the personal experience that Cernovich brings to the table.

It’s this comprehensive approach that makes Gorilla Mindset a must-buy.

Gorilla Mindset succeeds because Cernovich approaches self-mastery from the very foundation of identity: mindset. The thin red line connecting most self-help gurus, from generic Tim Ferriss clones to pick-up artists, is that their programs are based on faking it until you make it: changing your behavior and hoping that it alters your personality in the process. Gorilla Mindset turns this on its head by having you adopt a mindset of confidence, from which success flows:

No one taught us how to talk to ourselves. It happened through osmosis. We silently repeated the same speaking patterns, words and phrases to ourselves that others had spoken to us out loud. You could spend hundreds of hours on a therapist’s couch analyzing where you learned how to talk to yourself. But where you learned it is not the question you need to answer. Gorilla Mindset is not about blaming your parents, teachers, or other loved ones or authority figures. This is a book about taking action.

I can attest to the power of the self-talk techniques that Cernovich and Helmstetter advocate. Two years ago, my friend Zampano introduced me to What to Say When You Talk to Your Self. While the idea of recording positive affirmations—i.e. “Today, I will do five Turkish get-ups” or “Today, I will approach ten girls”—and listening to them every morning sounds hokey, it really works.

Self-talk works because it simultaneously provides positive encouragement while purging negative habits and thoughts from your mind. Only you can change yourself; while other people can give you direction and motivation, the spark for transformation can only come from within. At the same time, merely thinking about changing yourself doesn’t work.

Much in the same way that writing down a goal makes you more likely to achieve it, recording your goals and dreams in your own voice—and listening back to them—makes you more likely to follow through.

At the time I first discovered Helmstetter’s book, I was in a fairly low period of my life, stuck in a dead-end job in a city I hated with little prospect of escape. While I was making a fair chunk of change off my blog and books, it wasn’t enough to live off of. I was stalled on multiple book projects and going nowhere fast.

As an experiment, I began recording positive affirmations geared towards giving myself a kick in the ass. Within a week of hearing my own voice shouting at me like a boot camp instructor, I started changing my habits. Instead of loafing off after work, I started working again:

The result of all this? I was able to quit my job and become a full-time writer seven months later.

Cultivating a healthy mindset also helped carry me through several major crises. It was around the time I read What to Say When You Talk to Your Self that my article “The Case Against Female Self-Esteem” went viral. For three months after I published that post, my email inbox and social media accounts were a flood of death threats and hate from triggered feminists. I was denounced by everyone from Daily Kos to the Huffington Post.

Meanwhile, my traffic grew exponentially: I got over one million hits in October 2013 alone and got so much traffic one day that my hosting provider had to disable my account.

It would have been easy to wilt in the face of public opposition, to apologize for my views, pull the article or whatever, especially considering that this was around the time that public figures like Pax Dickinson were being roasted alive for un-PC statements. But I stood firm and didn’t back down, mocking my haters and refusing to kow-tow to their temper tantrums. In fact, when I visited New York City during the height of the shitstorm, I actively Tweeted out my location much of the time, making it easier for my enemies to stalk me.

What happened? Nothing.

I was able to stand up to so much public pressure because I was using what Cernovich refers to as “gorilla mindset” techniques. I taught myself that the collective shitfit feminists were throwing didn’t matter. They couldn’t get me fired from my job, arrested for “hate speech,” or even killed. In fact, the public anger over my article on female self-esteem was part of what helped me become financially independent off my writing.

I’ve weathered similar crises—and come out stronger—largely because of the power of self-talk. When hordes of tattooed sluts descended upon me, infuriated at my Return of Kings article on girls with tattoos and piercings, I flipped ’em the bird and laughed. When a jilted male feminist tried to instigate an SJW lynch mob to falsely accuse me of rape (while pressuring his girlfriend—one of my best friends—to go to the police and accuse me), gorilla mindset techniques saved me from having a nervous breakdown.

Gorilla Mindset isn’t simply a clap-happy self-improvement book: Cernovich’s advice can save your life.

Aiding Cernovich’s introductory chapters on self-talk is a wealth of information on health and lifestyle. In contrast to Helmstetter’s laser-like approach to self-esteem, Gorilla Mindset provides a comprehensive, holistic plan on transforming your life. Taking Cernovich’s advice on posture, supplements and other aspects of your life ensures that the gorilla mindset will become a permanent fixture of your personality:

Practicing such body language and mindset can result in them being chronically activated. Therefore, rather than getting a temporary increase from a workout or a victory, such exercises may allow for regulation of testosterone over a longer time frame. After all, the research I discussed in the science of posture and testosterone article, about changes in testosterone levels in men during marriage and divorce, seems to indicate longer-term effects on testosterone due to psychological and social changes (Mazur & Booth, 1998).

Cernovich also backs up much of his writing with citations showing that his advice is scientifically sound.

While it may sound hagiographic to say this, you can’t afford not to buy Gorilla Mindset. Self-talk has had such an huge impact on my life that it’s virtually impossible to imagine where I’d be without it. If you’re sick of pop psychology and generic self-help fluff, Cernovich’s book holds the key to unlocking your full potential as a man. Gorilla Mindset is easily one of the most important books released in 2015 and a must-add to your collection.

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