Cover detail of Be Useful: Seven Tools for Life by Arnold Schwarzenegger

Be Useful: Seven Tools for Life by Arnold Schwarzenegger

Do not adjust your sets folks, that IS a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger staring back at you. Now, this might seem a bit of a departure from the usual books read here on the blog, and I believe I have alluded to this before, but I am slightly obsessed with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

This all started after I watched Terminator 2, which is still one of my favourite films today, and I caught Arnie riding on a Harley whilst helping Sarah and John Connor avert Judgement Day. I asked for and was lucky enough to receive a copy of his autobiography when it was published a couple of years back and I find the man utterly fascinating.

This is a man, who turned a no into a yes. He went from a skinny teen to the world's most successful body-builder. He became one of the world's most recognisable and successful actors after being told his accent was too strong and he was too muscly. And he became Governor of California when he was told he had no hope, becoming a respected leader not just in the States but across the world. Arnie's autobiography provides a glimpse into the mindset that leads a man from a small Austrian town to conquer the careers he turns his hand to and so it is no surprise that this book explores this further. So how was it? Let's find out shall we?

The Plot

The seven rules to follow to realise your true purpose in life - distilled by Arnold Schwarzenegger from his own journey of ceaseless reinvention and extraordinary achievement, and available for absolutely everyone.
Written with his uniquely earnest, blunt, powerful voice, Be Useful takes readers on an inspirational tour through Arnold's tool kit for a meaningful life

My Thoughts

I've been thinking about the different types of readers who may be tempted to pick this up and the reasons why. And I will start by saying that this will appeal to a good cross-section of people. I picked the book up because I greatly admire Mr Schwarzenegger, his mindset, his drive and focus and because I am a fan. And I think there is much here for people like me. It is definitely written by Arnold, you can hear his voice throughout every page and he does not sugar coat his words. Instead he rationalises the consequences of negative behaviours or inactivity to change and grow.

Of course, all of this information is peppered with many anecdotes about his 3 careers. His famous connections, the people who have inspired him along the way. And of course those 7 lessons he believes have stood him in good stead.

For anyone who is just looking for something inspirational to read, whether you are a fan or not, then this book also ticks that box as well. The book is well laid-out, structured. Each chapter introduces an idea, Arnold explores this further , calmly explaining the concept and goes deeper into the rule by providing anecdotal evidence.

The message ultimately comes from Arnold's father, to just go out and be useful. Be useful in society, learn, grow, so you can continue to be useful.

The book is extremely well-written, and provides a peek behind the curtain of what drives and motivates a man who has become a lead in 3 differing fields of achievement. It speaks to us all, to anyone who has a goal however small or large. Very much enjoyed this. This book will sit very nicely on my bookshelf next to the great man's autobiography.