Book Review: Gorilla Mindset by Mike Cernovich

Gorilla Mindset

Mike Cernovich is a madman. Whether you know him from his free-speech activism, his podcast, his documentary Silenced: Our War on Free Speech, or his journalism and political punditry, Cernovich does everything at one speed: full-blast.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that he has one of the best Twitter accounts around.

But believe it or not, Cernovich first made a name for himself by writing about mindset at his blog Danger and Play and and in his book Gorilla Mindset.

Mike Cernovich head shot
Mike Cernovich

People either love Cernovich or loathe him, but I’m here to review Gorilla Mindset on its own merits. I’m not alone in finding this book highly inspirational and thought-provoking. More importantly, it’s useful.

Let me tell you what I mean.

I first ran across Cernovich in the summer of 2015. I had just gotten a job 400 miles away from home after a long and depressing bout of unemployment. Believe me, as a husband and a father, there is no worse feeling than not being able to provide for your family.

I found the writing on Danger and Play to be unique and motivating, even a bit edgy. Reading Cernovich made me want to get up and do stuff, stuff that had laid dormant within me for so long as I moved from unfulfilling job to unfulfilling job, stuff like music, writing, art, fitness . . . I wish I had this book years ago.

And like me, Cernovich is an attorney. I felt a bond with him, which underscores the power of writing. A common criticism of Cernovich is that he’s a phony, but he’s never comes across as one to me. In fact, he seems like a guy who genuinely likes and cares for his audience. I know people who have met him, and they’ve all said much the same.

And so I read Danger and Play regularly and followed Cernovich on Twitter, and before I knew it the message that he had been trying to impart started to sink in. We make our own destiny. The world is fun and is there for the taking. There is always opportunity, especially in hardship. You’ve just got to keep moving. And perhaps his most important point of all:

You are in control.

I started to get excited about life again.

So yeah, maybe it was just a marketing gimmick to get me to buy his book. But it worked, and I don’t regret it for a second.

Cernovich defines “mindset” as “‘a set of assumptions, methods, or notations,’ which are so powerful they force you to ‘continue to adopt or accept prior behaviors, choices, or tools.'” A large part of the focus of Gorilla Mindset involves changing these “assumptions, methods, or notations.”

I’m not going to give a summary of what’s in the book–otherwise, why would you buy it? Instead, I’ll highlight parts of the book that struck me as the most useful or the most interesting and inspirational.

Before I do that, I need to address a common criticism of Gorilla Mindset. Some argue that all Cernovich did was gather a bunch of pre-existing information and put it into book form.


To me, that’s the best part of Gorilla Mindset. Cernovich takes a bunch of topics like self-talk, fitness, money, body language, and lifestyle, and shows how they’re all connected. Even better, Gorilla Mindset isn’t just mental masturbation, showing off how much Cernovich knows about a variety of topics: At the end of each chapter he provides practical steps you can take that second to start positively influencing your mindset, your emotions, and ultimately your life.

I cannot recommend this book enough for both men and women. Cernovich is proud of what he’s done with Gorilla Mindset, and rightly so. For a dose of inspiration and a swift kick in the ass, check this book out.

My Favorite Takeaways from Gorilla Mindset:

Cernovich’s take on mindfulness. Instead of viewing mindfulness as being a passive, non-judgmental state of awareness, Cernovich uses mindfulness as a chance to check in with one’s surroundings, to regain focus, and to tamp down anxiety. After all, as he points out, you can’t focus on two things at once, or it’s exceedingly difficult despite the fact that we’ve tricked ourselves into believing that we can “multi-task.” So if you’re checking-in with yourself, you will be less aware of what is making you anxious.

The importance of posture. Slouching not only looks bad, not only is it bad for your body, it has a negative impact on your mood. Don’t ignore it!

Abundance versus scarcity mindset. Whether it comes to money or your own skills and abilities, it’s far healthier to view the pie as ever-expanding instead of fixed. Don’t accept that this is all there is, or that you will never be able to improve your skills and abilities. Go make some money and make yourself.

Self-talk. Our inner dialogue with ourselves has more of an effect than we think. As Cernovich puts it, we wouldn’t have any friends if we talked to them the way we talked to ourselves. So why abuse yourself? Plenty of other people are more than happy to do that for you.

Visualization and affirmations. It sounds goofy, but successful people from businessmen to athletes use these mental techniques to stay focused and hungry and to get into a flow state. Visualizations and affirmations aren’t magic words that conjure your dreams out of think air, but they put you in the proper mental frame to take action. I’m also a big fan of the mental warm-up on page 107.

This passage:

Turn off your cell phone when playing with your children.

They are the most important people in your life. Mindlessly checking email and being distracted is something they will notice and remember. Turn the phone off.

Gorilla Mindset, pg. 98

If you liked this, check out my review of Mike Cernovich’s most recent book MAGA Mindset here.

Follow me on Twitter @DaytimeRenegade and @DaytimeRenegade

And check out my Instagram here.

8 thoughts on “Book Review: Gorilla Mindset by Mike Cernovich

    1. The Daytime Renegade says:


      Great to hear from you again, and thanks for the comment!

      Yes, this book is definitely written to be applicable and not just theoretical, which is one thing I like about it. As I wrote in the review, a criticism is that it’s not “new” information per se, but Cernovich ties it all together and makes it useful.

      I’m looking forward to checking out more of your reviews!


  1. EA says:

    Just started reading this Alex, it is very good (and I say that as an agnostic, moderately liberal British person who should have a knee jerk reaction to his views 😉

    I liked the section about saying “No” – I have slightly overstretched myself this year (trying to balance a physical job, studying and starting rowing (an awesome, but heavily time consuming sport which I couldn’t continue).

    I have just taken a month to say “No” to anything outside of work/studying and am currently currently cutting down my training to 3-4 hrs a week total (I went through the whole “gym/fitness as an identity” thing that loads of guys in their teens/twenties go through)

    Maybe its my age (late 20s), my MBTI (ISTJ if you think it means anything!) or just a sliver of maturity but the one thing I am taking away from it so far is that I need (In my personal life) people who want what’s best for me – that’s not license to be an asshole and cut myself off, more just ridding myself of obligations which detract from working, family, friends or personal education and development.

    Would welcome your thoughts as a man with a family and a little more life experience (if you don’t mind that me saying) under his belt!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Daytime Renegade says:

      Glad you’re liking the book! I know what you mean about Mike, but he is spot-on when he says that this book is politics-free. It’s nothing revelatory, but I like how he integrates a lot of different things concisely.

      Saying “No” is huge, and let me tell you, as a family man with limited time, it helps. If there are people that do nothing but complain and drag you down and never accept when you try to help them, they are not worth spending time with.

      Don’t be a jerk, like you say, but if someone is in the same place 1, 5, 10 years later, complaining about the same things, you sure aren’t going to change them.

      Better to replace them with those who want what’s best for you, like you say, and those who are where you’d like to be. Those who spur you on as opposed to drag you down. That’s helped me a lot: Hanging with people whose very presence gives you the kick in the pants that you need.


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