Brothers Forever: The Enduring Bond Between a Marine and a Navy SEAL that Transcended Their Ultimate Sacrifice by Tom Siles and Tom Manion (Da Capo, $25.99, 320 pages)
Brothers Forever is a horrific yet gripping and engaging true story of two American soldiers – two heroes – whose courage on the battlefield was astonishing. Travis Manion, a U.S. Marine, and Brendan Looney, a Navy SEAL, were the best of friends. They wound up dying in service to their country, three years apart. One died in Iraq, the other in Afghanistan. They are buried next to each other in Arlington National Cemetery.
This book details not just their friendship – which made them close and competitive, but also helps the reader understand how it was that each was a role model for the other. It also serves to explain the mindset of those who very willingly elect to go into harm’s way. As Travis said to a civilian friend, “If I don’t go, they’re going to send another Marine in my place who doesn’t have my training.”
Brothers Forever was written by a journalist and by Manion’s father, a retired Marine. A fault is an abundance of military language, but it’s a comparatively minor issue.
In Iraq, Travis wrote that he was “truly honored” to serve beside his fellow soldiers. This memorable account truly and finely honors the bravery of the late servicemen Manion and Looney.
A review copy was provided by the publisher.
Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don’t, and How to Make Any Change Stick by Jeremy Dean (Da Capo Lifelong Books, $26.00, 272 pages)
“…habits are both savior and curse.”
Making Habits, Breaking Habits by Jeremy Dean is an interesting collection of 13 article-chapters. Each chapter would make for an engaging airline magazine article, but the whole simply doesn’t deliver on the promise of telling us how to “make any change (in habits) stick.” Most of what Dean tells us is common sense, such as the notion that bad habits lead to depression and good — what he calls happy — habits lead to self-satisfaction and happiness. Naturally, Dean offers the advice of replacing bad habits with happy habits, something much easier said than done; especially as even good habits tend to become boring and less than enjoyable with repetition.
“One reason habits are so hard to change is that we start performing them without conscious deliberation.”
The notion of what constitutes happiness in our lives just about overtakes the topic of human habits, and it’s no accident that Dean often cites Harvard professor Daniel Gilbert. Gilbert wrote the satisfying survey book, Stumbling on Happiness, which for most people would likely make a better choice than Making Habits.
It doesn’t help that Dean’s an Englishman who writes in a style that’s awkward for Americans to read, and poor editing results in words having been left out: “…Twitter, Facebook… and the rest reward us with little bits information…”.
A look at Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don’t, and How to Make Any Change Stick by Jeremy Dean.