Spartan Up! Book Summary - Spartan Up! Book explained in key points
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Spartan Up! summary

Joe de Sena

A Take-No-Prisoners Guide to Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Peak Performance in Life

3.8 (126 ratings)
12 mins

Brief summary

'Spartan Up!' by Joe de Sena is a motivational book that explores the Spartan lifestyle. It teaches how to conquer obstacles by developing mental toughness and doing hard physical work.

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    Spartan Up!
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    Avoid comfort, challenge yourself and stay disciplined.

    The people of Sparta, the ancient Greek city-state, defended their homeland through intense physical and mental preparation. It might be thousands of years later, but you can still learn from their legendary abilities and become a Spartan yourself.

    Life’s comforts make our existence predictable and boring. They disconnect us from our true passions and goals, but you can overcome that lethargy by taking a real jump into life.

    That jump could be extreme sports, for instance. Joe de Sena, the author, organizes various extreme sports events, such as the Death Race. Death Race isn’t just an over-the-top name – participants actually sign a waiver certifying that they know they could die during the challenge.

    The Death Race contains several events, such as diving for pennies in cold water, walking 50 kilometers and lifting rocks for hours. Afterwards, de Sena often gets grateful messages from participants who say it changed their lives for the better.

    However, you’ll only be able to handle physical challenges like this if you have strong endurance skills. So build your endurance through self-discipline and by delaying your own gratification.

    It’s easy to get quick satisfaction in the modern world, but resisting instant gratification is an important part of personal development; Walter Mischel’s famous marshmallow experiment does a good job of illustrating this.  

    In the experiment, Mischel presented children with a marshmallow. The children were told that if they waited to eat it, they’d get another. Mischel then left the room to see what the children would do when left alone with the treat. Years later, Mischel follows up on the lives of these children.

    The study showed that the children who had the self-discipline to resist the marshmallow grew up to be wealthier and healthier than those who didn’t. Challenges in adulthood are similar: you have to resist immediate gratification and hold out for something better.

    At any given time, life can be easy or challenging – but it’s up to you to make life fulfilling. You never know when hard times will hit, so keep building your endurance skills. You’ll be more prepared for challenges and more adventurous, too.

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    What is Spartan Up! about?

    Spartan Up! (2014) is an in-depth guide to living life to its fullest by challenging yourself and being the best person you can be. The “Spartan” way of life draws inspiration from the Spartans of ancient Greece; implement their philosophies in a modern context to live a healthier and more fulfilling life.

    Best quote from Spartan Up!

    Low-income households had more free time in 1999 than in 1965. Unfortunately, most of this new free time was spent watching TV.

    —Joe de Sena
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    Who should read Spartan Up!?

    • Anyone interested in extreme sports
    • Anyone looking to challenge themselves and try something new
    • Anyone fed up with the boredom and mediocrity of modern life

    About the Author

    Joe de Sena is the CEO and co-founder of Spartan Race, a series of obstacle courses held throughout the world. He was born into a wealthy family but lost everything in the stock market crash of the 1980s, before working his way back up to the top by co-founding and growing his own multi-million-dollar business.

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