Who is Mike Cernovich? What is Gorilla Mindset? Is it worth ten bucks and two hours of your time? This review will answer these questions in reverse order, starting with the last.
To wit: yes, you should order Gorilla Mindset (Amazon). If you’re in a rough spot, Mike’s ideas might save your life, just like they saved mine.
More importantly, Gorilla Mindset is an important milestone in the ideological development of the Post-Post-Modern Neoreactionary Neomasculinist Manosphere Traditionalist Anti-SJW Western Renaissance, or PPMNNMTASJWWR (admittedly it’s time for a re-brand).
But we’ll get to all that. First, an answer to the most important question:
What Is Gorilla Mindset? How Can It Help You?
Gorilla Mindset is a guide to self-mastery, written primarily for young men, with a specific focus on mindset. From the Amazon description:
Gorilla Mindset is an entire system that, when coupled with specific mindset shifts and habits, will change the way you think, feel and live your life.
Gorilla Mindset is not a book of theory. These are all practical steps – mindset shifts you take or habits you form – that will change your life.
There are chapters on routine, self-talk, frame, focus, state/mood, mindfulness, and body language. Each chapter contains techniques, mindset shifts, and habits that can be applied to your life.
Gorilla Mindset is classified as Self-Help, but it could be more accurately described as Meta Self-Help. While it occasionally teaches you how to change, the book’s real strength is its ability to teach you how to want to change. Gorilla Mindset has a good amount of practical nuts-and-bolts advice, but its real purpose is to teach you to re-wire your brain. It’s full of full of small, subtle mental exercises and re-frames that will re-orient your thoughts and behaviour toward virtue:
On reframing self-talk, and becoming a good friend to yourself
Imagine that a friend of yours came to you for some advice. Perhaps he had lost his job or his wife left him. Imagine he was facing a real crisis and turned to you for help. What would happen to your relationship with this friend or loved one if your response was, “Your life is over!” You probably wouldn’t have that friend for long, would you?
On mindfulness and good workouts
I later realized boredom is the result of not being in the present moment. Turn off your cell phone. (Even better, leave it in your car or gym locker.) Get on a treadmill, exercise bike, or stair climber. As your body starts moving, focus on having good posture. Begin at a slow to moderate pace. Ask yourself, “Why am I here? What do I expect to accomplish today?” Begin to feel your blood circulating, your respiration increasing, and sweat forming. Tell yourself that you are at the gym as you will feel better after the workout, and that going to the gym benefits you, as it improves your clarity of thinking.
On mindfulness and social interaction
Notice the eye color of every person you interact with. Most people are either too busy looking at their computer screens or they lack the self-confidence to make eye contact. 2. Count the forehead wrinkles someone has in his or her forehead Humans make facial expressions, leading to wrinkles. You can also tell how much time someone spends in the sun and whether they wear sunscreen. 3. Watch a person smile. Do the cheeks move or does the area around the eyes crinkle (the so-called “crow’s feet”). 4. Look at the person’s shoulders. Do they slump? Do they protrude forward? 5. Look at a palm reading chart. Read your own palm. Is this arbitrary? Sure. There is nothing magical about reading your palm. There is something magical about learning how to start noticing details others don’t see.
The strength of Gorilla Mindset’s practical advice is not a single revolutionary new ‘life hack’, but rather a hundred old ones, explained in a way that makes them easier to apply. For example, there is no practical difference between the two pieces of advice ‘make better eye contact’ and ‘note the eye colour of people you talk to’ but the latter is much more powerful than the former, and more likely to lead to actual behavioural changes.
Unlike many books that aspire to teach you self-mastery, Gorilla Mindset is difficult to read. While the prose is clear, efficient and conversational, the content is hostile to any reader expecting a passive feel-good experience. Instead, it guides you through frequent exercises in self-reflection, forcing you to retain and implement what you’ve read. The book presents information, but it places greater emphasis on helping you act on it.
Lack of information is not holding you back
Most of life’s problems are not particularly complicated, and solving them requires no great hidden knowledge. Consider the topic of health and fitness.
You don’t need to be an expert in training and nutrition to be in better shape than the vast majority of your peers. In fact, here’s everything you need to know to develop a great physique:
- Lift heavy weights with intensity
- Eat animal protein and vegetables
Follow these three steps consistently and I guarantee you’ll look and feel great. Don’t stress over the best foods, exercises, or supplements. Just do the basics, and do them right.
But everyone knows this already. So, why is actually doing it so difficult for the lost young men of this generation?
Similarly, why do men struggle to implement other basic good habits like talking to women, studying for their classes, working hard in their careers, and reading great books instead of playing video games? Why does our generation of men find it so difficult to actually do the things they know they should be doing?
The problem goes deeper than a lack of information; it is a failure of will. It is a spiritual deficiency, a lack of Thumos, and it will not be cured with a new e-book or blog post about training splits or Tinder text game. If you’re fat, poor, antisocial, easily distracted, or suffering from the myriad other self-governance failure modes afflicting this generation of young western men, you will not change your life by learning more about the areas of life in which you want to improve.
Using myself as an example: readers of this blog will know that I have spent many hours reading and synthesizing the best information I can find on topics like men’s health, making money, and attracting women. I am stuffed to overflowing with ideas about men’s lifestyle design. For the most part, this knowledge helps me live a better and more productive life. But I’ve also gone through periods of mediocrity, spending months idling in akrasia while life and opportunities passed me by.
The waxing and waning of my thumos does not correlate with my level of knowledge. Whether I’m in the gym at six AM every day, or I skip every workout for a month, I always know that I should be lifting weights. Information doesn’t help us, unless we also have the will to act on it.
Gorilla Mindset is a self-development book that surpasses the casual trivialities of what you should do, and instead leads you along a personal journey of figuring out why you want to do it.
Take a moment right now and think about all the challenges you currently face in life. Now answer this question honestly: is there a single one that you don’t already know the solution to? Is there any goal for which you don’t already know the way forward? Once you answer this question, you’ll know the precise value of all the life hacks in the world, compared to the value of actually achieving self-mastery.
The true product of the men’s self-help industry
The Men’s Self-Help genre has exploded in recent years. Almost all of it is garbage, from fitness bloggers pretending they aren’t on PEDs, internet get-rich-quick pyramid schemes, and pick-up artist bootcamps that sell dreams to the weak and gullible.
Why are young men spending hundreds of millions of dollars on six-pack ab programs, make-money-online information products, and weekend pick-up boot camps taught by broken men?
All of this comes from a vast social and spiritual vacuum, a gaping hole where nations, churches, tribes, civic organizations, and strong fathers used to exist. We’re a generation of men with no purpose, no one to follow, and no great crusade to pledge ourselves to. The opportunity to live and fight under a worthy banner is a natural masculine impulse, and it’s been denied to a cohort of young western men indoctrinated to hate their nation, their blood, and their ancestors’ traditions. The result is a broken generation, scrambling for purpose.
This has been a golden opportunity for scam artists adept at parting young men from their money by creating short-lived personality cults, strong-sounding online personas, and the illusion of easy riches, women, and six-percent body fat. But such men are not actually selling solutions: they’re selling the opportunity to feel, briefly, like your dreams are realistic; like you’re destined for a better life than you currently live; like you’re part of something larger than yourself.
What man, confused and alone in a world he doesn’t understand and which seems to hate him, could possibly say no to that offer? Such a man doesn’t truly need to learn the easy specifics of weight training regimens, internet marketing, or basic social skills. But if you can make him feel like a loved and included member of your tribe for as long as it takes to enter his credit card information, he’ll consider it cheap at any price.
This is the current state of the larger masculine self-improvement internet subculture: the blind lead the blind, and the cynical lead the callow. Some do it for money, others for the status thrill of writing in an authoritative tone and watching others treat their words with reverence. A few are cynically self-aware, but most deceive themselves with delusions of their own righteousness.
Who Is Mike Cernovich?
The vast majority of self-proclaimed internet self-help gurus are frauds or scam artists. They want money or attention, and don’t care who they have to rip off to get it.
If you’ve only recently came across Mike Cernovich, you might be wondering: Is this guy for real? Or is he just another opportunist, profiting off the spiritual void in the hearts and souls of young western men?
I can’t reach through my computer screen and convince you of anything. From where you’re sitting, I’m just words on a screen.
But if it’s worth anything to you, here’s my opinion: In the fetid landscape of halfwits, sell-outs, frauds, and cynical profiteers, all seeking to lead the lost sheep amidst the gathering chaos of a decaying society, Mike Cernovich is truly a rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cygno – a man motivated by empathy, virtue, and the pursuit of truth. A man worth following, in a world where few such exist. Gorilla Mindset is a worthy introduction to his works, and it is the first book you should read on your personal journey of growth.
The Next Step
Neoreactionaries have some interesting ideas about the end game of the internet samizdat community. Relevant reading is here and here.
Basically, they believe that we are in the process of creating an alternate source of trustworthy information, an institution that will eventually challenge and defeat The Cathedral for ownership of the western democratic mind. They call this hypothetical institution The Antiversity.
I’m fond of the Neoreactionary community, but its present incarnation (re-hashing examples of progressive idiocy, mixed with insular nattering about the finer points of political design theory) is a dead end. It’s not without value, but neither is it the stuff revolutions are made of. Real political change can only come from a strengthened and weaponized cohort of Europe and America’s best and brightest, successful as individuals, and loyal to each other as a tribe.
The Manosphere (i.e, the explicitly anti-SJW men’s self-improvement community, call it what thou wilt) is the most important arm of the crude extant Antiversity prototype, because it has the greatest potential to recruit new talent and improve the quality of its existing human capital. The Manosphere is what attracts ambitious young men, forges them into useful weapons, and opens their minds to the possibility of doubt.
The publication of Gorilla Mindset is a historically important milestone, because it marks the day the Manosphere went from a loose collection of like-minded blogs with a smattering of good information, into a true Red Pill that any man can use to immediately start down a path towards becoming the best possible version of himself. Gorilla Mindset is a mind-virus with the potential to spread rapidly through the western consciousness. It is a sophisticated entry point for young men who’ve never before considered rejecting their liege gods of political correctness, and it will transform them from obedient slaves, into strong-minded masters of their own souls.
Such men will be free to ask the forbidden questions; free to recognize that just because something exists doesn’t mean it has to exist forever; and free to devote their lives to a cause larger than themselves, and so perhaps cause all sorts of mischief.