Book Review: Do Hard Things, by Alex and Brett Harris

Recommended. A rigorous look at the popular myth of adolescence and how a movement of teenagers are mobilizing to defy it.

Being familiar with, I was excited when Do Hard Things became available through Multnomah’s Blogging for Books program. There are several reasons why this book will prove to be one of the most important I’ve read this year as a public school teacher.

First, as a teacher who strives to have a wide selection of quality, thought-provoking literature available to my students, it is great to have a book to point the reluctant reader towards by saying, “Hey, this book was written by a couple of teenagers.” Though Alex and Brett Harris defy society’s expectations of teenagers, the tone of their writing will connect well with their age-level peers–and, at the same time, they connect well with adults!

Second, as someone who works with teenagers every day in a high school classroom, reading Alex and Brett’s words were like watching someone put words to the thoughts and frustrations I’ve had for a long time. The Harris’ give compelling examples of teens from history and teens from today who prove that the Toys ‘R’ Us motto of “I don’t want to grow up” is a lie. I am eager to find ways to connect my students with the truth that spending their teen years simply seeking their pleasures and avoiding responsibility will lead to want, rather than any kind of lasting fulfillment or sense of purpose.

Third, Alex and Brett have done an excellent job of refining their ideas into memorable groupings. They spend the bulk of the book explaining and illustrating the “five kinds of hard things.” These chapters were some of my favorites, as I found myself challenged by every kind of “hard.” I also loved Alex and Brett’s three pillars of the rebelution–character, competence, and collaboration. When I read about these, my mind immediately went to work on how to modify the concept for use in the courses that I teach.

Fourth and finally, the Harris’ have clear love for the Gospel. Their book is one illustration of how, indeed, the Gospel changes all of life; that is, that Jesus’ life and death and resurrection in our stead impacts every single aspect of human experience, including the teenage years.

I recommend this book to any and every teenager and teacher of teenagers. Even if you are not a Christian (like this reviewer), there is plenty here to reflect on and implement.

Here are some related books that I’d like to check out (though I haven’t read any of them yet):

Zach Hunter’s Generation Change & Be the Change

Peter Benson’s What Teens Need to Succeed

Sean Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens

Alex and Brett Harris’ Start Here

FCC Disclaimer: A complementary copy of this book was provided by Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for review purposes.


About davestuartjr
Dave Stuart Jr. is a full-time teacher who writes about becoming better, saner teachers at He is a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband to Crystal, and a father to Hadassah, Laura, and Marlena.

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