Book notes: The Decision by Kevin Hart

The Decision by Kevin Hart book summary review and key ideas.

The Decision: Overcoming Today’s BS for Tomorrow’s Success by Kevin Hart


“In this follow-up to The New York Times best-selling memoir, I Can’t Make This Up, Kevin goes all-in on getting you mentally fit by skillfully breaking down and sharing the same tools and rules he’s developed to elevate his own life, to inspire and help transform yours. Candid, raw, and authentic to the core, The Decision is filled with vision and the practical steps you’ll need to track and reach your goals. Join “Coach” Kevin as he puts you through the paces of what he dubs the Kevin Hart Mental Fitness Bootcamp. Learn the ins-and-outs of “What-is-ness.” Find out what “Cowboying up” is all about. Get cozy with “Teddy bearing.” Discover why your comfort zone is just about the worst place on earth to be. Find out how to keep your b%llsh#t detector running smoothly, and just why your ugly-ass feet are nothing short of a blessing in disguise.

Hear this, and an entire treasure trove of deeply insightful life-changing advice from the only dude out there who can make you cry like a baby from both laughter and self-reflection at the same time. The time to power-up those earbuds and get after the life of your dreams is now. Kevin Hart is hyped and ready. Are you?”

~If you enjoy my summary, please consider buying me a coffee via my Ko-Fi link (click the button below) or become a recurring donor as a YBC Scholar! 📖 🎓

I appreciate every donation as it goes directly to the maintenance costs of my blog and creation of new content. 😊

Buy Me a Coffee at

Opening thoughts:

I bought this book because Audible advertised it to me on their homepage one day when I logged in. It was on pre-order because it hadn’t come out yet but I knew I had to pick it up. His first book is hands-down one of my top five favorite audiobooks ever, so there’s no question I would pick this one up immediately as it came out. I have no idea what this is about, but i’m sure it’ll be good.

Key notes:

Part I: The “Fuck Yes” Moment

  • An invitation to a special event
  • Book reference: I Can’t Make This Up
    • He says that book was all about taking the positive from a negative
  • His mom laid the foundation for him to have a good work ethic
  • Sometimes you don’t see the immediate lesson thats attempting to be taught
    • Sometimes you can look past the moment because your frustration and anger doesn’t allow you to see the win that’s in your future
  • Life is a constant series of decisions
    • The mental strength you bring to making them will be the single defining factor in your health and your happiness
  • The inside work is more important because it’s your mental, your mindset

The art of thriving

  • It’s easier to get successful than to stay successful

Mental strength training

  • Mental strength is about knowing who you are, getting your thinking down to work for you instead of against you, and staying cool, balanced, and positive no matter what comes your way so you can keep making the decision to stay on track

Part II: Know Before You Go

  • What to leave at home before entering the program
  • 11 things to throw away in your mind
    1. Jealousy
      • You can’t want what someone else has because it might not be good for you
    2. Perfectionism
      • Perfection doesn’t exist, perfect people don’t exist
    3. Comparison
      • Comparison by looking up or down takes the focus off of where it needs to be, on you
        • All that matters is your best, your path, your skill level
      • Ask yourself:
        • Do you need the approval?
        • Without the approval, does life go on?
    4. Unhealthy fear
      • Anybody who says they’ve gotten rid of fear is a jackass
      • Unhealthy fear is when you get worked up about things that are not life-threatening
        • It clouds your thinking and freezes you in position and keeps you from being who you really are
      • Ground only gets broken by people who are not afraid to break it
      • Sometimes not knowing sets up the opportunity for an amazing find
    5. Fear of failure
    6. Resistance
      • Resistance is talking yourself off your plan
      • Stop convincing yourself that it is OK to not keep your word to yourself
      • The mind doesn’t like change, it likes the familiar
    7. Self-doubt
    8. Anger
      • The best way to handle anger is just to analyze and assess the situation
      • Toxic anger comes when you take things too personally and let things get under your skin but are unable to discharge it the right way
      • Anger is the enemy of progress
        • The frustration that you hold onto does nothing but affect you
    9. Blame
      • Playing the role of victim is a great way to stay stuck by wasting your time making excuses for why things are the way they are
    10. Judgement of others
      • Those that judge can’t do. Those that do don’t judge
      • Those that have experience in success in whatever area of business that you’re doing may critique, but it’s from an experienced side of criticism
      • Taking the time to judge and talk bad about someone you don’t know is energy spent poorly, instead of being used to do something positive
        • Live for you, don’t live for others
    11. Self-judgement

Part III: Orientation

A Pep Talk

  • If you can ask big enough and positive enough questions, you can transcend the ordinary
  • Questions he asks himself:
    • What is he building?
    • What is the endgame?
    • When you get to the end game, is it really the end?
    • When he dies, what will other people talk about?
    • What is the legacy he’s leaving for his children?

Weapons Training

  • They say success is when preparation meets opportunity
  • There are two types of preparation:
    1. Dedication to your personal craft, to the specific skillset you need to reach your goal
    2. Prepare your life and your mind to find, embrace, and receive that success

15 core weapons of mental toughness:

  1. Positive mindset
    • Mindset is everything
    • Every moment is a decision you can choose to see things negatively or positively
  2. What-is-ness
    • Deal with what-is
    • Just accept what you cannot change and make the best of it
    • Your attitude isn’t going to change the situation
    • Be like water: allow, adapt, and keep on moving
  3. Consistency
    • Consistency is what separates the professionals from the amateurs
    • Consistency inspires consistency
      • The more you do it and see the results, the more you wanna put in more effort to see further results
    • His motto: “shortcuts are for suckers”
    • There are so many more benefits and more education and understanding from the hard way
  4. Reliability
    • The best way to be reliable is to know your schedule and commitments
    • You have to have the courage and self-respect to be able to say no
    • People are afraid to say no to others or stand up for themselves
    • Reader’s note: this reminds me a lot of the principles in Essentialism
  5. Determination
    • Determination is about the appreciation of your individual journey
    • The respect and admiration you have for your grind, your will, your blood sweat and tears is what creates determination
    • It ultimately comes down to you living your life for you
  6. Cowboying up
    • This means taking ownership. Not only taking responsibility for your words and actions, but everything in life
    • You can’t change anything if you don’t own it first
    • You are the only person who can change a goddamn thing about your life
    • Leaders take ownership. Champions take ownership
      • People are inspired to follow other people who take ownership. It earns respect
      • Ownership shows strength and humanity
    • Reader’s note: Reminds me of the book Extreme Ownership
  7. Teddy-Bearing
    • Teddy bears are all about comfort, safety, and affection
      • They have high levels of likability and make people feel good
    • Teddy-bearing means being likable, personable, and pleasant
    • Life is all about relationships, it doesn’t just help you on your path to success It’s what brings you fulfillment in all the moments along the way
      • Feeling good and making all those around you feel good is one of the quickest ways to bring happiness and harmony to your life
    • Not everybody is going to like you, and that’s OK
      • The negativity and nastiness coming out of other people’s mouths tells you more about them than yourself
      • When you radiate positivity, life showers you with good people and opportunities
  8. Dissatisfaction
    • Dissatisfaction is a healthy desire to keep seeing what you’re capable of
      • To continuously grow, develop, increase your capacity, and improve your life and environment
      • Everything in nature is either in a state of growth or decay. You have to decide which state you want to live in
    • Happiness is knowing you can do more
  9. Non-Reactivity
    • People spread negativity for a reaction
      • If you don’t react to it, then you nullify the reason of their attack
  10. Self-generating power
    • Self-powership means being a self-starter
      • It is the ability to pull energy and grit out of yourself at will and decide to keep putting in the work
  11. Sponginess
    • If you want to get a head and continuously improve from where you’re at, get spongy
    • Readily soak up knowledge from people around you and those who are better at what you were trying to do
      • An insatiable curiosity about the thought process and execution strategies of other successful people will serve you endlessly
    • The smartest person in the room never says they are the smartest person in the room
      • They let everybody else talk while they listen so they can get even smarter
      • The smartest person in the room is the spongiest
  12. Relatability
    • Soaking up knowledge from different people and different fields not only makes you a more well-rounded and creative thinker, but it allows you to relate with more people as you move through life, which in turn encourages more personal growth
      • It allows you to become more socially agile and able to calibrate to any room
    • Being able to carry conversations and make connections with a greater ranger of people opens up doors to ideas and opportunities you otherwise wouldn’t have if you stayed narrowminded
  13. Eye-on-the-prizeness
    • Nobody can define your price except you
    • Sometimes it takes trial and error to figure out if a prize is the right one for you
      • Sometimes people get thrown off because of comparison and insecurity
  14. Put-up-with-ness
    • If you’re going to any kind of distance and take on the pursuit of unleashing everything you’ve got, then you’re going to have to put up with a lot of things
    • Legends and champions are willing to put up with more discomfort than other people
      • They are willing to sacrifice so much more to get what they want
      • Sometimes that sacrifice is simply coming from within
  15. Humility
    • Humility is staying connected to what really matters
      • Other people’s opinions of you, positive or negative, don’t mean shit
    • What you have doesn’t mean shit if you’re putting it on a show and not based on what makes you feel happy and whole
    • No matter what you achieve and accomplish, you’re not better than anyone else

Part IV: Mental Fitness

Your training program

The daily

To make the biggest transformation in your life, change the things you do everyday

1. Fuel

  • What you eat or don’t eat is closely connected to your mood

2. Energy

  • Fuel is about what you put in your body
    • Energy is about how you’re treating your body and promoting energy flow within it
  • A strong body is the expression of a strong mind. And they can encourage each other

3. Input

  • Insulate yourself from the noise and intentionally select what you expose yourself to
    • This is the mental equivalent of controlling what you eat

4. Company

  • One of the hardest things you might have to do along the path to success is distance yourself from the people who will try to pull you down 
  • The right people will do anything they can to lift you up and push you forward because they’re committed to the best in you
    • They want you to be the happiest you can be
  • Hang around other positive, encouraging, motivated, and driven people
    • Wolves hang out in a pack because they make each other better and they succeed together

5. Environment

  • What are you surrounding yourself with and what is affecting your thoughts?
  • You can remove a lot of friction by cultivating a positive environment that makes you feel good

6. Solitude

  • Disconnecting from people and the environment once in a while matters
    • Reconnecting and realigning with yourself is important 
  • Solitude brings clarity and stability

7. The Work

  • Ask yourself: are you actually getting shit done? Or are you just talking about getting shit done?
  • Success is about action
    • It’s about moving forward
    • Progress over perfection

The Practices

1. Discomfort

  • Put yourself in a position of discomfort because you’re confident you can eventually find comfort

2. Visualization

  • Visualization is mentally rehearsing for the outcomes you want in life
    • Your emotions respond to visualization, and your emotions affect your actions
  • Visualize positivity and in return you’ll get positive results

3. Energy Assessment

  • Check in and do energy assessments
    • Ask: Where am I at? What do I need? What will serve my goals and my body and my mind best today?
  • You need to give yourself the opportunity to be your best so you can do your best
  • You need rest
    • Don’t underestimate power naps

4. Force Field

  • Put up a force field so negative stuff other people say won’t affect you

5. Antivirus software

6. Self-challenging

  • Ask yourself: am I doing my best? How can I do better?

7. Iconoclasm

  • Iconoclasm is the action of deliberately attacking or severely rejecting beliefs, institutions, icons, or established values
    • You need to tear down many things you were taught about the way life is or and the way you should be

8. Negative-to-positive

  • When you catch yourself in a negative position, practice finding the positive
  • You should always learn from roadblocks
    • The best thing to learn is that those things make you better

9. No Chips Challenge

  • Commit to not having any of your kryptonite/weakness for an entire month

10.Final exam: the ultimate 30-day challenge

  • For 30 days you’re not allowed to make a single complaint

Part V: The Front Lines

Welcome to the Battle

1. Other People’s Opinions

  • The people whose opinions you care about nine times out of 10 have no effect on your day-to-day

2. Failure

  • Never be afraid to fail because that means you’re holding yourself back
  • Failure sets you up to win bigger and to win more
    • If you don’t know what it’s like to lose then you cant appreciate the win

3. Success

  • When you win, remember to celebrate
  • Appreciate yourself for overcoming all the bullshit every step along the way
    • At the same time, remember that these moments are temporary, like failure

4. Obstacles & Setback

5. Exposure

6. Achieving the So-Called Impossible

7. Being Wrong to Everyone Else but Being Right to Yourself

Part VI: Victory

What Are We Fighting For?

  • The endgame is not success, money, or fame
    • Those are nice sign posts letting you know you are heading in the right direction
    • They are side effects of your disciplined engagement and mental strength
      • They are a happy accident
  • The ultimate goal and purpose of all of this is to live your life for you. To live a life that’s meaningful and has a purpose
    • At the end of your life, how are you going to feel about you? 
  • Being your best self lifts others up and inspires them to see what’s possible for themselves
    • You lead by example and be filled with a sense of duty to give back and help others
    • In the end, your commitment and mindset will serve the world in ways you could’ve never imagined

Appendix: Troubleshooting

Part 1: General Troubleshooting

  1. Using the Force-Field
  2. Failure
  3. Anger
  4. Pre-Workout
  5. Self-Doubt
  6. Reclaiming Your Positive Mindset
  • Gratitude is the kryptonite of negativity
    • This is the secret to jumpstarting a positive mindset
  • Optimism – focus on what could go right instead of what could go wrong

Part 2: specific trouble friending

  • Reader’s note: Here he goes into answering submitted questions using the framework he laid out

Main ideas / Themes:

  • The mental strength you bring to making them will be the single defining factor in your health and your happiness
  • Success is when preparation meets opportunity
  • You can’t change anything if you don’t own it first
  • Feeling good and making all those around you feel good is one of the quickest ways to bring happiness and harmony to your life
  • The smartest person in the room is the spongiest
  • Nobody can define your price except you
  • Humility is staying connected to what really matters
  • Fuel is about what you put in your body. Energy is about how you’re treating your body and promoting energy flow within it
  • A strong body is the expression of a strong mind
  • Hang around other positive, encouraging, motivated, and driven people
  • Solitude brings clarity and stability
  • Success is about action
  • Visualize positivity and in return you’ll get positive results
  • You need to give yourself the opportunity to be your best so you can do your best
  • Practice finding the positive and learn from roadblocks
  • Appreciate yourself for overcoming all the bullshit every step along the way
  • The ultimate goal and purpose of all of this is to live your life for you that’s meaningful and has a purpose
  • Being your best self lifts others up and inspires them to see what’s possible for themselves
  • Gratitude is the kryptonite of negativity

Closing thoughts:

Kevin Hart really delivers in this one! I thoroughly enjoyed this book, especially as a follow-up to his last book.

I really appreciate that Kevin shares the principles and values that have helped him become the person her is today and achieve the success he has. The advice he gives echos a lot of other principles in many of the other books I read, which is great. Connecting the themes and seeing the common denominators to success and happiness reinforces the ideas. I think the more people reference these same ideas, the more it validates them.

Like his first book, it was such a treat and value add that Kevin read the audiobook himself! It didn’t seem like he ad-libbed as much as the first one, but it still definitely added to the experience. I chuckled a few times here and there while listening to the book, haha.

Overall, I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in how he has achieved the success he has. The ideas he presents are solid and powerful for any reader.

One Takeaway / Putting into practice:

There are a lot of great takeaways from the book, though many of the ideas are common in many other personal development books. If there is one unique idea (aside from all of his new vocabulary words) I’d choose to take away, it would be:

  • Use an imaginary/metaphorical “force-field” so that the negative things people say won’t affect you

I plan to try this out as a psychological tool next time someone says something negative that might affect me.


Through his “mental bootcamp”Kevin Hart shares how success starts with a decision you make every day to let go of your own BS and take control of your life.

Similar books:


Rating: 4 out of 5.


Try Audible for audiobooks 📚🎧

Personal recommendation: For the last 6 years, I’ve used Audible to listen to all of my favorite books. It’s easy to use, cost-effective, and they have the best library of audiobooks.

If you use my affiliate links below, not only will you get a special offer, but it’ll help support the costs to maintain this blog! 😊👇

Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks

Audible Gift Memberships 

Please donate! 🙂

Please consider a small donation to help support my blog ^_^ I love providing free book notes and other content. Any donations help me maintain my website and create content consistently. Thanks everyone for the continued support!


One thought on “Book notes: The Decision by Kevin Hart”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: