Reading List (Update):  12 Lessons

[July 1, 2021]  I’ve been reading my notes from 2003 to 2005 on my first combat tour in the Iraq War.  Mostly these five notebooks are filled with to-do lists, but they also have poignant messages to me about what I saw and what I thought and felt.  Despite this, I am humble enough to know that those experiences pale beside others who fought in World War II or similar wars.  The common foot soldier faced the Nazi or Japanese threat, knowing that their life could very quickly end at any moment.  It was real.  Today, I’ll be reviewing a book by a Holocaust survivor and her 12 lessons.  It’s not a book so much about the horrors she witnessed but about how to save your own life.  Below, I list a summary of them, but her book goes into what it takes to implement her guide to saving your own life.

The Gift: 12 Lessons to Save Your Life, Edith Eger, 2020.

Dr. Edith Eger is a strong woman.  I can tell by reading the book; otherwise, how could she have survived the Auschwitz Concentration Camp.  Others have written about her describing how her emotional strength gave them the motivation to pull themselves up to be better people and get out of the dangerous cycle of victimhood.  Dr. Eger answered her own question of “Why me?”  Her answer deserves the full quote:

“Perhaps I survived so I can choose what to do with what happened and how to be here now. So I can show others how to choose life, so my parents and all the innocents didn’t die in vain. So I can turn all the lessons I learned in hell into a gift I offer you now: the opportunity to decide what kind of life you want to have, to discover the untapped potential lying in the shadows, to reveal and reclaim who you really are.”

For someone like me or anyone else alive today, it would be impossible to imagine the tragedy and sorrow that Dr. Eger experienced as a young teenager.  She watched her parents sent to their deaths, forced to dance before Josef Mengele, and endured abuse at the hands of the Nazi guards. Thus, I was particularly taken by the chapter titled “The Nazi in You.”  Dr. Jordan Peterson speaks about this as well.  Interestingly, both Dr. Eger and Peterson are clinical psychologists.

Here are a few of her lessons to save our life:

  1. Our worse experiences can be our best teachers.
  2. It’s not what happens to us that matters most; it’s what we do with our experiences.
  3. The most damaging prison is in our minds, and the key is in our pockets.
  4. Suffering is universal; victimhood is optional.
  5. What comes out of you doesn’t make you sick; what stays in there does.
  6. You can’t heal what you don’t feel.
  7. When is enough, enough?
  8. May you be more and more you every day.
  9. Time doesn’t heal. It’s what you do with the time.
  10. Love isn’t what you feel. It’s what you do.
  11. We’re all victims of victims. How far back do you want to go, searching for the source?  It’s better to start with yourself.
  12. We’re born to love. We learn to hate.  It’s up to us what we reach for.

This book is highly recommended.

To go to the complete Professional Reading list, click on this direct link:

Side Note: Please remember and take a look at Tom Copeland’s reading blog.  His website, which I highly recommend, can be found here:


Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

17 thoughts on “Reading List (Update):  12 Lessons

  1. Willie Strumburger

    I’m not much of a book reader. I prefer to read articles because they are more up to date on the topics I enjoy the most. However, I will say with confidence that the few books that Gen. Satterfield reviews that I have never been disappointed when I read them. Now, like most I just check them out of the library. Fortunately there is a good one nearby my house. So, please read his book reviews carefully and learn.

    1. Doc Blackshear

      I agree and regularly read these books as well.

  2. Lynn Pitts

    Good book review, thanks Gen. Satterfield. I enjoyed today’s review.

  3. Jeff Blackwater

    We all gotta wake up and not be like the university snowflakes that continue their childhood into their 20s. Just wait until they are forced to adopt responsibility. Failure is on their horizon and they will blame everyone but themselves for it.

    1. rjsmithers

      — and they are still wearing their covid masks while driving. What a bunch of sissies.

      1. Wendy Holmes

        ha ha, you got that right rj. I see people jogging, driving cars, walking alone, all wearing their masks. What is going on here. I stopped a lady yesterday to ask her why she was wearing a mask (we were all vaccinated) and she said it was a show of solidarity. Solidarity? For what?

        1. Big Al

          You sure do run into some weirdos, Wendy. I try to avoid them when I can and am successful. 😊

  4. Max Foster

    Once again, Gen. Satterfield, you have reviewed one of the better books out there. While this book is not about senior leadership, it is about how to improve our personal lives by adhering to some simple, but effective strategies of life. Dr. Egan has done us good by writing the book. I will also note that I too noticed that much of what she writes is similar to Dr. Jordan Peterson, also a clinical psychologist. Is there a pattern here? Maybe more should listen to them both.

  5. corralesdon

    My favorite, 4. Suffering is universal; victimhood is optional.
    Too many young people believe that victimhood gives them a moral leg up on us. Nope, it destroys you.

    1. William DeSanto

      I agree. THe next best is No. 2, “It’s not what happens to us that matters most; it’s what we do with our experiences.”

  6. Yusaf from Texas

    Gen. Satterfield, we are your fans – of course – and we do appreciate these book reviews. I would suggest, respectfully, that you create a new tab on your site and do more book reviews. Perhaps make it a weekly feature instead of approx monthly.

  7. Joe Omerrod

    Looks like another book I need to read. Thanks Gen. Satterfield for your review. I’m a regular reader of your blog and the reading list has been a godsend to me. I’ve enjoyed each of them. Mostly I use my local library. We can learn so much. But, so many books are just pure junk so I reference this blog often for great reading material.

    1. KenFBrown

      Yeah, Joe. I do the same by using my library. Now, my library has a feature where I can “check out” a book virtually and read it on my iPad. Don’t even have to leave home.

      1. Greg Heyman

        This is a great website and boy do I learn a lot. My library is okay, but not that great. I will continue to buy the books and have started a book collection….growing every week.

  8. Billy Kenningston

    Looks like a good book. We often write about how to learn from our own mistakes. This book is about learning how to cope from the mistakes of others and not blame them for our suffering.


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