The blending of autobiography and clear, forcefully thoughts on how to navigate one’s way through the various catastrophes upsetting our lives makes Jason Redman’s Overcome: Crush Adversity with the Leadership Techniques of America’s Toughest Warriors one of the strongest non-fiction works in recent memory. Including such material is an integral part of the book’s structure – Redman uses those sections to setup a following observations about overcoming and gaining strength from life’s ambushes. He lays out a clear path for interested parties to follow if they want to find a way out of the wilderness of their own ambush and the writing finds its mark from the first page.


The book opens with an introduction recalling the ambush Redman survived in Iraqi. Redman is a highly decorated, a Purple Heart among many others, former member of the Navy SEAL team gravely wounded during combat operations.  It sets the stage for everything that follows because, for newcomers to Redman and his story, for those unfamiliar with its details, give his thoughts a level of believability similar works from other authors do not share. When he discusses the need to move off the X, the need to draw from reservoirs of courage and resolve when facing life’s ambushes, he is never anything less than convincing.

Pairing his experiences with focused looks at his ideas proves an effective strategy. He makes many comparisons between combat and real life – the comparisons obviously end at definite point, but are nonetheless valid and a good way to accomplish two ends – one, they better reveal the underlying reasoning of his ideas and the comparisons give the real life ambushes he refers to a sense of added urgency. It is a dramatic device, though it serves other purposes.

There is a clear structure to the book reinforcing its merits. One does not plan a book such as this the same way you do a work of fiction, a play, a poem – wise practitioners of this form assemble their work in the same way a carpenter builds a home. The book’s four parts have a good flow from one section to the next and Redman’s experience as a writer is important to the book’s ultimate success. I am especially impressed by his ability to bring such a strong storytelling aspect to the book.


Readers pressed for time will find this a quick read. There are no pointless digressions and Redman wisely keeps the book at a manageable length though I am sure he could have written much more. It wouldn’t surprise me if, in the future, Redman offers up a much longer work – he certainly has the chops and the stories to sustain a longer work in the same vein. The richness of his ideas on this subject seems barely broached, but he does an nice job incorporating as much as he can into Overcome: Crush Adversity with the Leadership Techniques of America’s Toughest Warriors. It is one of the best non-fiction books I’ve read in recent memory and has a message many people need to read and take to heart.

Cyrus Rhodes