Healthy Aging Magazine Book Review: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Tool Kit for a Meaningful Life

Arnold Schwarzenegger's Tool Kit

Let’s face it. We all need help sometimes. Whether it is to build confidence, build a career, or just to get motivated. There are plenty of places to find help, from therapists to life coaches. And more than 15,000 self-help books are published yearly with all kinds of ideas to help you.

Imagine, more than 80 million copies of Think and Grow Rich have been sold. There’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad with 26 million, and even Norman Vincent Peale’s 1952 tome, The Power of Positive Thinking, continues to inspire. The number of copies sold shows there are a lot of people searching for answers.

One of the newest books and perhaps one of the most motivational ones to be published is by an unlikely self-help guy: Arnold Schwarzenegger and it’s titled, Be Useful. Seven Tools for Life.

Arnold Schwarzenegger book

Why would the man known for such notable roles in over 40 films like The Terminator with his catchphrase, “I’ll be back,” Predator (“Stick around!”), True Lies (“You’re fired”), and Kindergarten Cop (“It’s not a tumor!”), write a self-help book?

Why A Self-Help Book Now?

The truth: Everyone faces adversity or calamity in their lives … some more catastrophic than others. Schwarzenegger is no exception.

“I had dramatic losses in my bodybuilding career, I had movies that went in the toilet … but I wasn’t even close to rock bottom. And it wasn’t the recession that brought my world crashing down. I did that to myself,” Schwarzenegger said. “I blew up my family. No failure has ever felt worse than that.”

Don’t look here for the gory details of his fall from grace. This book is not about recounting his biggest life failure. As he says, you can Google it to find out the details. Nor is it a memoir of his many accomplishments, although he draws upon them to point out how he overcame setbacks or succeeded in reaching the next level.

“I was at the bottom. I’d been here before. But this time, I was facedown in the mud, in a dark hole, and I had to decide whether it was worth it to clean myself up and start the slow climb out or to just give up,” Schwarzenegger said.

Schwarzenegger shares his rise from what he describes as rock bottom, even though he had accomplished more than most mere mortals do in a lifetime.

And, as he would say in his 1984 role in The Terminator, “I’ll be back.”

Well, he’s back, and this time with his new book, Be Useful. Seven Tools for Life released on October 10, 2023 in hardcover, Kindle and audio versions (Penguin Press).

With millions of people falling into depression, wondering how to move forward, the time is perfect for Schwarzenegger to offer a tool kit for others to rescue themselves.

“I Am Not a Self-Made Man”

Schwarzenegger will tell you he is a product of many experiences and people.

“I have a rule. You can call me Schnitzel … you can call me Schwarzie, but don’t ever call me a self-made man.”

He believes that anyone can reach their goal. And that no one does it on their own. Everyone is surrounded by others who influence them – for better or worse.

Arnold Schwarzenegger - Healthy Aging Magazine

Arnold Schwarzenegger before defending his title for his fifth Mr. Olympia contest in 1974. Photo: COMMONS.WIKIMEDIA.ORG

Who is the Real Arnold Schwarzenegger?

Schwarzenegger is considered one of the world’s greatest bodybuilders, highest-paid, and well-known movie stars. His impressive trajectory from modest means in a rural Austrian town to the Mr. Universe title at age 20 and the Mr. Olympia title seven times is extraordinary in itself.

He said his success was fueled by how he learned to dream big at an early age and came to the United States to fulfill it as a bodybuilder and an actor. Bodybuilding was always a part of his life even as he forayed into the world of on-camera star. Who can forget the infomercials that preceded many of his films where he would say: “If you exercise, you energize!”

Why would a successful actor like Schwarzenegger, who reached what most people thought was the top of his game, keep pushing for more? He notes he killed 283 people in his movies by the end of 1987 in eight films.

Seven Rules Are in Schwarzenegger’s New Book

Schwarzenegger lays out his seven rules in seven chapters. His rules form a tool kit he outlines in his new book. No spoiler alert here — you’ll need to grab the book to follow his plan. In the meantime, intertwined within his tools are excellent tips such as:

Healthy Aging Magazine Fall 2023 - Arnold Schwarzenegger

Photo: Michael Schwartz

Learn more about Schwarzenegger’s new book in Healthy Aging® Magazine here.

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