Ever read the right book at the right time and the message strikes home just that much harder? That’s what Cameron Hanes’s book Endure: How To Work Hard, Outlast, and Keep Hammering did for me. For a while now, I’ve been deep in the querying trenches, trying to find a literary agent for my new novel. Turns out the publishing world is a tough nut to crack and when your network of industry professionals is six dudes you’ve only met on Twitter, it can be hard to get an agent to even open your submission. It’s easy to get discouraged, to wallow in your imposter syndrome, shame-eat a couple dozen donuts, and start contemplating throwing in the towel or spiking your laptop in the driveway. This is where I was, right before I read Endure and Cameron Hanes gave me the metaphorical slap in the face I needed to get my head right and, as Cameron says, “keep hammering.”
If you don’t know who Cameron Hanes is, let me fill you in. He’s a bad mama-jama from Oregon who’s made his name as one of the world’s foremost backcountry bowhunters and as one hell of an endurance athlete. What makes Cam unique (can I call him Cam?) is that he combines his two passions and uses his insane physical fitness to get him further into the backcountry than most bowhunters could ever dream, affording him opportunities to harvest game that most hunters will never even see. All of this has resulted in Cam smashing the curve on success rates in elk hunting and ruining it for the rest of the class. Thanks, Cam.
Throughout Endure, Cam drives home the fact that he’s just a regular guy. But regular guys don’t have 1.3 million Instagram followers, so what gives? Cam explains further that he’s just a regular guy who has built every inch of his success through perseverance and dedication to the activities he loves. He gives the reader a full-disclosure view of his average Joe (no offense, Rogan) upbringing, his angst-filled teenage years, and his humble beginning as a novice hunter and bowhunting writer. Cam doesn’t really talk about any big breaks. He just talks about how he kept going. How he kept his nose to the grindstone and carved out his place among the greats one arrow and one run at a time.
Another aspect of this book that I enjoyed is that Cam doesn’t tell you what you have to do to be successful, he just tells you what worked for him. He doesn’t tell you that you need to wake up every day at 4:30 am and run a marathon. He doesn’t tell you that you have to hit the gym for four hours daily and then eat 5 pounds of protein powder, dry, between handfuls of organic, homegrown kale. He doesn’t tell you to eat the raw heart of a bull elk to harness its power. He just tells you to keep hammering. To zero in on your goals and never let up, whether it takes 5 years or 50. And then once you’ve reached those goals, set new ones and keep hammering.
What sets this book apart from most in its genre is that Cam uses his platform to give credit where credit is due. He talks at length about the people in his life who have helped him and built him along the way, from his father to his family to his lifelong hunting partner Roy Roth. Cam rarely takes credit for his own success, which is a rare trait in itself.
Endure resonated with me because, like Cam, I too am a bowhunter. Unlike Cam, I kinda suck at it. I’ve been shooting archery since I was 8 years old, but I’ve just recently started hunting and I haven’t seen a lot of success yet. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a bad shot, there are just other factors in play: time available, location, my inability to sit completely still for more than three seconds, etc. Also like Cam, I’m a runner and though I’ve never completed an ultramarathon, I do have a few regular marathons under my belt, and I do get up every morning at 5 a.m. to workout so it doesn’t hit as hard when I shame-eat a couple dozen donuts. But here’s the great thing about Cam’s book Endure: you don’t have to be either of those things to enjoy it and benefit from it.
The only criticism I can offer of this book is that some parts are repetitious in their message, but I guess that’s not really even a criticism. Mantras are meant to be repetitious, right? And that’s what this book is at its heart, one long mantra to building a better you through the historically proven method of muscle-grinding, mud-eating, hard work. Read this book if you want to learn a little about bowhunting. Read this book if you want to learn a little about ultramarathoning. But mostly, read this book if you want a good jolt of motivation to get you moving or keep you going. Recharge your batteries with Endure. And keep hammering.
Here’s a link to where you can get a copy of Endure: How To Work Hard, Outlast, and Keep Hammering