Relentless by Tim S. Grover
Sit Down and Read
One Line Summary
In case of emergency, read Tim S. Grover
Why it’s Awesome
If you want a book that’s going to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, move along. Relentless isn’t for you. This is a book that examines in the most honest way possible the psychology of those who are the best at what they do. And you might not like what you’re going to hear.
Tim Grover is a professional athletic trainer and what he calls a full time “cleaner”. He’s trained the best of the best, from Michael Jordan to Kobe Bryant to Dwayne Wade. So he’s a guy that knows exactly what it takes to get to that level where you’re not longer just “great”, but unbeatable.
Grover advocates what I’m going to call “dark improvement”. His focus isn’t on growth, passion, happiness or helping people. Read Tony Robbins or Steven Covey if you want that. Grover is about a 100% commitment to results. If that means fear and intimidation, fine. If that means going into that internal dark place where you’re 100% selfish and you’d cut your neighbor’s throat to survive, fine. But get the job done.
And don’t think you don’t have this side of you. Your genes didn’t survive millions of years in the harshest external conditions by playing “nice”. The question you should ask yourself is, what happened to it?
This 100% mental commitment to results is what Grover defines as a cleaner. Cleaners are the people that everyone looks for when no one else can get it done. They’re the people who would rather be respected than liked. They’re the people that are already working on the next season after just winning a championship. They study everything about their craft but act on instinct.
You’d trust them when everything is on the line. They trust no one but themselves.
I don’t want you to get the image that a cleaner can’t be “nice” or cooperate with other people. A lot of times cooperation is important. It’s just that “shoulds” are irrelevant to a cleaner. If being the “nice guy” is the right move, they’ll be nice. But if they have to scream in your face and raise hell, they’ll do that too. Complete indifference.
Being a cleaner isn’t inherently better than anything else. You could also be what Grover calls a “closer” or a “cooler”. And that’s fine. The world needs those people too.
But if you’re still reading this, you have a desire to be a cleaner. Someone who was content with being a cooler would have quit reading this post at the “cut your neighbor’s throat” line. Even if it’s buried from years of people telling you “you should be like X”, on some level you’re resonating with this.
This is another key tenet of the book: anyone can be a cleaner.
Yes, a cleaner’s psychology is light years apart from the average person’s psychology. But anyone can develop that same mental toughness and work ethic. You just have to make the commitment.
As Grover would say, born relentless. Taught to relent.
Why Does It Suck
If you don’t have an appreciation for sports, this might be a tough read for you. Grover relates everything back to his experiences as a professional trainer. Don’t expect any sort of step by step plan or funky exercises either for becoming a cleaner. That isn’t Grover’s style.
Grover has a fundamental understand of what positive thinking is and why it’s useful. Positive thinking isn’t “let’s all be nice and hold hands”. Positive thinking is knowing what you want and knowing that it will be yours. Complete confidence and trust. Grover does this and instructs his athletes to do this without even realizing it.
Lastly this book promotes a mindset that is neurotic to the core. As Grover freely admits, this desire for success is an addiction more than anything else. But they’re not actually addicted to success. They’re addicted to the brief time period after they achieve success where they finally feel content. That’s what they really love. But like with any addiction, this is a fleeting feeling that can’t last. And so the cycle starts again.
The Wrap Up
If you’re a cleaner or have a desire to be a cleaner, you’ll love this book. To everyone else it will just sound like noise. They won’t get it.
Speaking of noise, I know I rated this book Sit Down and Read but actually get the audiobook version. Sean Pratt is fantastic as the narrator and really adds an extra effect to the book.
Overall, the good in Relentless outweighs the bad. Yes, it’s neurotic and probably overly cynical. Even Grover himself mentions at the end of the book that he’s not sure if this kind of lifestyle is really how someone should want to live. It’s draining, addictive and probably not healthy.
But if you feel like you’re a sleeping cleaner who needs some help lighting that fire, Relentless can be exactly the kick in the ass you need. Let Grover rewire all your pathetic excuses and victim mindsets about why you can’t have exactly whatever it is that you want. That’s what a cleaner does.