Common Read author shares his journey with readers



 Eric Greitens, the author of this year’s common read The Heart and the Fist, spoke Wednesday in the Performing Arts Center as part of a Common Read event. 

The themes explored in the common read are strength, compassion, awareness, and finding your mission

“Greitens’ story has resonated in our community,” Dean of the Honors College Tim Nichols said. 

The Heart and the Fist explores Greitens’ life experiences, leading up to him become a Navy SEAL. Greitens was born in St. Louis, Mo., and he attended Duke and Oxford. He did humanitarian work in Bolivia, Rwanda, and Bosnia. During his career as a Navy Seal, he was deployed four times. After his tours of duty, he established a nonprofit, The Mission Continues. “Everyone has a front line,” Greitens said. 

Throughout the lecture, Greitens spoke about veterans returning from service. Through The Mission Continues, Greitens meets veterans that were wounded in combat or are struggling to transition into daily life. He emphasizes how important it is for the veterans to find what their front line is and from there to find what their mission. When they find what their mission is, they begin to focus on something other than their struggles.

“We can all be of service to our community,” Greitens said.

In his speech, he spoke about a veteran who was hit with shrapnel and lost the vision in one of his eyes, half of his arm and had damage to his brain. However, he was able to overcome his injuries and he became active in martial arts. He eventually opened a martial arts studio that benefits at-risk children. Greitens wants people to know that it is not important why they start, but that they just start helping their community and the people around them. 

“I need to find volunteering in Brookings. I need to get connected,” Jake Sandgren, a freshman biology/pre-professional major said.

Greitens’ message resonated in the crowd and motivated people to want to become active in the community. 

“I feel that I need to do more with my life. I need to reevaluate which is a good thing,” Kate Swanson freshman pharmacy major said. 

The lecture helped the audience to realize the opportunities that are available to them and made the audience want to do in their lives. The lecture was perceived well by SDSU students as well as Brookings community members.

“I thought it was fabulous. I want young people to live a life of service,” Patty Bacon said. 

“My challenge for everyone is to find your mission,” Greitens said.