Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations

Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations

4.4 92
by Alex Harris, Brett Harris

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Most people don't expect you to understand what we're going to tell you in this book. And even if you understand, they don't expect you to care. And even if you care, they don't expect you to do anything about it. And even if you do something about it, they don't expect it to last. We do. – Alex and Brett

A generation stands on the brink of a…  See more details below


Most people don't expect you to understand what we're going to tell you in this book. And even if you understand, they don't expect you to care. And even if you care, they don't expect you to do anything about it. And even if you do something about it, they don't expect it to last. We do. – Alex and Brett

A generation stands on the brink of a "rebelution"

Do Hard Things is the Harris twins' revolutionary message in its purest and most compelling form, giving readers a tangible glimpse of what is possible for teens who actively resist cultural lies that limit their potential.

Combating the idea of adolescence as a vacation from responsibility, the authors weave together biblical insights, history, and modern examples to redefine the teen years as the launching pad of life.  Then they map out five powerful ways teens can respond for personal and social change.

Written by teens for teens, Do Hard Things is packed with humorous personal anecdotes, practical examples, and stories of real-life rebelutionaries in action. This rallying cry from the heart of an already-happening teen revolution challenges a generation to lay claim to a brighter future, starting today.

Now includes:
--A new introduction from the authors, “Looking Back, Looking Ahead”
--Questions (and Stories) To Get You Started
--A list of 100 Hard Things to help inspire you
--A study guide for personal or group use

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Do Hard Things

Do Hard Things is an extraordinary book. In fact, I believe it will prove to be one of the most life-changing, family-changing, church-changing, and culture-changing books of this generation. I'd love for every teenager to read this book, but I'm just as eager for every parent, church leader, and educator to read it.”
– Randy Alcorn, best-selling author of Heaven and The Treasure Principle

“This book is one I would recommend to any of my friends, teen or not. If it doesn't help you, you are lying.”
– Carter B., age 14, North Carolina

Do Hard Things is so important. It is challenging teenagers to rebel against the low expectations placed on them. And the voices that are asking teens to rise to meet this challenge are voices from their own generation. That thrills me.”
– Chuck Colson, best-selling author of How Now Shall We Live?

“I love the way it is written. It is crystal clear, to the point, interesting, funny, challenging, encouraging, and an easy read.”
– Lisa R., age 15, Australia

“Adult expectations for youth are too low. And these twins are out to raise them. Don't adapt to the low cultural expectations for youth. Set high ones. Youth can become examples for adults. Think that way. Dream that way. Or as the Harris brothers would say, ‘Rebel against low expectations.’”
– John Piper, best-selling author of Don’t Waste Your Life

“The message of Do Hard Things is going to awaken the dreams and passions of thousands of young people all over the world. How do I know this? This radical, yet relatively simple idea, has changed my life.”
– Erika H., age 18, Michigan

“In a culture where laziness and ease is often the order of the day for teenagers, Do Hard Things presents a radical and provocative alternative. I heartily recommend this book.”
– R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“This book has totally changed the way I think. I recommend it to any and every teen who has a desire to turn their life around and make a difference.”
– Ashley W., age 13, Georgia

“Alex and Brett capture the passion and potential of our generation perfectly in this book. In Do Hard Thingsthey encourage us to go above and beyond the status quo in everything from schoolwork to serving the poor. This is a truly unique and sorely needed book.”
– Zach Hunter, author of Be the Change and Generation Change

“This book is amazing. It changes your whole way of thinking. I believe that every single teen needs to buy a copy of this book. Thanks, Alex and Brett for challenging us!”
– Stacie L., age 15, Kentucky

“This is an important book. And not just for those wanting to launch successfully into adulthood, but also for discontent twenty- and thirty-somethings who long to be catapulted into significance.”
– Ted Slater, editor of Boundless, Focus on the Family

“I'm not exactly a teenager anymore. But as I was reading I began to see how this can apply to anyone. It's never too late to start. I absolutely cannot wait to suggest this book to the 'kidults' in my life.”
– Matt R., age 26, Georgia

“Alex and Brett are the real deal and Do Hard Things is a real wake up call, not just for young people, but for all God's people. I can't recommend it highly enough.”
– Shannon Ethridge, best-selling author of the Every Woman's Battle series

“This book is a wake up call to a generation that is down in the dumps. It's like a coach screaming from the sidelines, ‘You can do it!!!’. I'd recommend it to anyone, young or old.”
– Douglas A., age 17, England

Do Hard Things is the textbook for anyone who works with teens; it’s a philosophical and foundational must-read.”
– Timothy Eldred, executive director of Christian Endeavor International

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Product Details

The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sold by:
Random House
Sales rank:
File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt

What If…?
A Different Kind of Teen Book
Most people don’t expect you to understand what we’re going to tell you in this book. And even if you understand, they don’t expect you to care. And even if you care, they don’t expect you to do anything about it. And even if you do something about it, they don’t expect it to last.

Well, we do.

This is a different kind of teen book. Check online or walk through your local bookstore. You’ll find plenty of books written by forty-somethings who, like, totally understand what it’s like being a teenager. You’ll find a lot of cheap, throwaway books for teens, because young people today aren’t supposed to care much about books, or see any reason to keep them around. And you’ll find a wide selection of teen books where you never have to read anything twice–because it’s been dumbed down. Like, just for you.

What you’re holding in your hands right now is a challenging, hardcover book for teens by two teens who believe our generation is ready for something different. Ready for something that doesn’t promise you a whole new life if you’ll just buy the right brand of jeans or use the right kind of deodorant. We believe our generation of young people is ready to rethink what teens are capable of, and what the teen years are all about. And we’ve noticed that once some wrong ideas are debunked and cleared away, our generation is quick to choose a better way, even if it’s also more difficult.

Our teen years have been different than most, even radically so. We’re 19-year-old twin brothers, born and raised in Oregon, taught at home by our parents, and striving to follow Christ while making more than our share of mistakes. Strangely enough, we’ve also served as interns at the Supreme Court of Alabama at 16, as grassroots directors for four statewide political campaigns at 17, and as authors of the most popular Christian teen blog on the web at 18. We’ve spoken to thousands of teens and parents at our conferences in the United States and internationally and reached millions online.

Some might think our experiences would make us unable to relate to the average teenager. But that doesn’t really bother us because we don’t believe average teenagers exist. We’ve witnessed the ideas in this book transform “normal” teens into world-changers, and we’ve seen small handfuls of teens just like you accomplish incredible things when they’re willing to break the mold of what society says their capable of.

So the story starts with us, but it’s really not about us. It’s about something God is doing in the hearts and minds of our generation. We call it a teenage rebellion against low expectations. It’s an exciting movement that is changing the attitudes and actions of teens around the world. And we want you to be part of it.

This book explores a few simple but far-reaching questions:
• Is it possible that even though many teens today have more freedom than any other generation in history, we’re actually missing out on some of the best years of our lives?
• Is it possible that everything our culture tells us about the purpose and potential of the teen years is a lie, and that we are its victims?
• Is it possible that our teen years actually represent a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to accomplish something huge–both for ourselves and for our generation?
• And finally, what would our lives look like if we set out on a different path entirely–a path that required more effort but promised a lot more reward, and ultimately, a lot more fun?

We describe that alternative path with three simple words: Do Hard Things.

What We Don’t Mean
On the outskirts of a small town in Germany is the abbey of Dundelhoff. This small stone monastery is home to a particularly strict (and fictitious) sect of Dundress Monks who have each vowed to live a life of continual self-denial and discomfort.

Instead of wearing comfy t-shirts and well-worn jeans like most people, their clothing is either itchy shirts made from hair or painful chain mail worn directly over bare skin. Instead of a soft mattress, plush pillows, and warm blankets they choose to sleep on the cold stone floors of the abbey with not so much as a towel. You might remember reading somewhere that monks are fabulous cooks? Well, that might be true generally, but not about these monks. They eat colorless, tasteless sludge once a day. They drink only lukewarm water.

We could go on, but you get the picture. No matter what decision they face, Dundress Monks will always choose the more difficult option–the one that provides the least physical comfort, the least appeal, the least fun. Why? Because they believe that the more miserable they are, the holier they are; and the holier they are, the happier God is.

Which makes these miserable monks the poster boys for Do Hard Things. Right?


If you’re like most people, your first reaction to the idea of “do hard things” is something along the lines of, “Hard…,” you think nervously. “Guys, I might need to be somewhere else right about now.

We understand your reaction. But we’re not undercover monks plotting to make your life miserable. We’re not recommending that you do just anything that’s hard. For example, we’re not telling you to rob a bank, jump off a cliff, climb Half Dome with your bare hands, or stand on your head for 24 hours straight. And we’re certainly not telling you to work harder so you can earn God’s favor.

But here’s what we are doing. We are challenging our peers to grab hold of a much better option than what the world is offering. It’s an option that has somehow gotten lost in our culture and most people don’t even know it. But we don’t just want to tell you, we want to show you. In the pages ahead you’re going to meet young people just like you who have rediscovered this better way–to reach higher, dream bigger, grow stronger, love and honor God, live with more joy–and quit wasting their lives.

That’s the short version of what we mean by doing hard things.

Don’t think of this book as a collection of nice opinions. Think of it more as an invitation to a revolution you don’t want to miss. In Do Hard Things, we not only say there is a better way to do the teen years, we show you how we and thousands of other teens are doing it right now–and how you can as well.

[Excerpt taken from Do Hard Things Manuscript - not final]

From the Hardcover edition.

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Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 92 reviews.
MichelleSutton More than 1 year ago
This is a fabulous book not only for teens but adults as well. Do Hard Things is so well written, I'm amazed (not to mention impressed) that it was penned by two eloquent young adults. It's clear to me that the authors have a great amount of insight and wisdom from personal experience that they have brought to the table with this book. Everyone wants their teens to do great things. So why not get a copy of this book for your church's youth group and start a rebelution at your church? I loved the part of the book where a teen felt saddened when they overheard someone say something like, 'Well at least they aren't on drugs.' Isn't that so true how many people don't expect much, and they are happy to settle with the fact that their teens are passable in life, or say it could be worse? Our kids these days seem to think that they can just grow up and somehow survive and also afford the fun stuff they can buy now (while they live at home.) So NOT true. I remind my boys every day about how expensive life is. But even more than that, the culture we live in truly doesn't expect enough from our young people. This book is an encouragement and a launching place for young people to begin changing their lives so they can make an impact on our world today. I wish all teens would read this book. I would take it a step further and even suggest it be required reading for high school students and college freshmen. These kids need to hear that they can change the world.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Do Hard Things encourages teens to go the extra mile - refusing to be satisfied with meeting the low expectations of our culture. This book is challenging, convicting, and motivating, as it tells the stories of 15 and 16 year olds who reach out to the homeless, speak out against slavery, and much more. Overturning the myth that young people shouldn't shoulder responsibility, Do Hard Things is a book that every Christian teenager should read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a must read!!! I went to one of their confrences and it was awesome and moving! I saw teens get saved and their lives be changed!!!!!! And this book will change teens everywhere!!!! Just like it has changed mine=]
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome, inspiring book! Must read!
BigWilly69 More than 1 year ago
Do Hard Things is an amazing book for our generation. It is exactly what today¿s youth needs to hear. It has inspired me to reach my full potential and use my teen years to their maximum ability. I wholeheartedly recommend that this book be shared with everyone you know. The myths regarding adolescence and the low expectations our society has set for America¿s youth need to be debunked. This book has the ability to change lives and I encourage every teen, adult, Christian, or non-Christian to pick up a copy because the words inside could never be more true than today.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is dead-on! Written by two very eloquent, well-read guys, this is an important book for the youth generation.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am amazed at how well Alex and Brett Harris write. They are 19-years-old, and they write better than many writers much older than them. Another amazing thing about the Harris¿ is their empathy and altruism. Through Do Hard Things, the Harris¿ encourage teenagers to become active in their world. They mix bible scriptures and modern examples to prove that teenagers are capable beings. Not only are they capable, but God expects greatness from them, as He does with everyone else. The Harris¿ conversational style is light, but the message woven through Do Hard Things is heavy. All teens, parents of teens, and youth leaders should keep this in their personal library. I am having my teenager read this, and I will save it for all of my other children.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This. Book. Changed. My. Life. I am so encouraged by the humility of the authors and the straight-forward way they approach their subject. They have written on a very important subject that needs addressing and did an amazing job. Please read it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Teens--especially you Christians out there--buy this book! It will change your life. You will be inspired and CHALLENGED. Believe me,you can not read this book and go away unchanged. It helps put your life in focus.
ABCReadingPerson 10 months ago
Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations by Alex Harris and Brett Harris is a very inspiring book. It is well written and easy to read. This book was written after the Authors created a blog - which became website - called which became one of the most read or viewed teen blogs on the web I believe. While reading through this book God has really inspired me to personally pursue doing hard things (according to God's calling for my life), and I hope it can do the same for you! One annoying issue I had with this book is that, I found that Do Hard Things sometimes leaves out the importance of reliance on God. By this I don't mean sitting on the couch waiting for God to pull you off and into the great outdoors to do some big thing. But I mean waiting and listening for God's voice in a matter, not just hoping into something to make a name for your self. If God wants you to be a teacher of Doing the dishes, for example, that should be where we willingly apply ourselves. Other than that (and if you look at the book using the "glasses" of reliance on God the book can be extremely valuable, as I have found) this was a great book. Alex and Brett Harris have portrayed their message very clearly. And it has inspired me personally. Thanks Brett & Alex for a great book! Pros: - Very well written, keeps you interested (I am easily interested so don't go rating it badly because you didn't follow through with reading the book :D) - Easy to follow - Message is clear and confident - The real life stories are inspiring Cons: - As I said above, the message is somewhat pushing self reliance (a little too much I think) All Up: Great book - Five stars easy, Brett and his Dad are coming out with another book soon (I think) and I can't wait to read it!
PlantsandPillars More than 1 year ago
Do Hard Things A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations By Alex and Brett Harris Even though it was not in existence until 1941 (a mere 72 years), the word "teenager" has become a household word. It is a word that stands for a period in your life when you are more advanced than a child and has less responsibility than an adult. Even though, for over 5,000 years, children grew up and became adults - they now get to enter a twilight zone. Between adult and kids. Until now. Even though they are both now married and leading their own lives, Alex and Brett Harris wrote this book when they were teenagers and caught in the middle of the confusion. What are teenagers supposed to do when they desire to be young adults? What are you supposed to do when the world is challenging you on all sides to be like a "typical teenager"? Enter Do Hard Things. Do Hard Things is a book, based off the Harris's popular website and business - The Rebolution. (A mix of revolution and rebellion) I have read this book 3 times in the past 2 years. Other than my Bible, that's more than I have read any other book!!! Why? For the simple reason that so many of the challenges contained in this book are the challenges that I need in my day to day life. The book begins with the amazing and inspiring story of the Harris twins and the work God did in their lives. The book ends with the stories of Rebolution kids across the country and the world. In the middle is the 5 Kinds of Hard, and that is my favorite section! Hard Things outside of your comfort zone, Hard Things beyond what's expected, Hard Things to big for you to accomplish by yourself, Hard Things that don't have immediate payoff, and Hard Things that go against the tide. I highly recommend this book to young adults of all backgrounds. I would highlight in this book - if that didn't go against my strict rules for the treatment of books. Five out of five!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this was a great book with a wonderful message that teens should be expected to do so much more than what we are expecting them to. My kids don't like the book (haven't read it yet), but I am suddenly expecting them to do much more around the house and be more responsible with their homework. It is a Christian based book, but has a message that is relevent even if you arn't a Christian. Where can I buy a case so that I can hand them out as gifts?
c.michelle nalley More than 1 year ago
This is a very good book!! I did not read this on my ereader but i like it anyways!! This book brought me closer to God and makes me think twice before i do things. And no i dont mean like " ahh this is dangerous!" I ask myself "is this what God wants me to do? How will this effect myself and the others around me?" I recomend this to any teanager wanting to make a diffrence in this world :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An excellant book!!!! Wonderful message!! Very inspiring!!! Life changing!!! Rebekah, age 13
Anonymous 11 months ago
Regret every momment! Do not read! Hard to follow the authors words and never focuses on one thing mostly is made up of friends stories ! I repeat NEVER READ IN YOUR LIFE!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just wow. I needed this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book do much and i whoud not be saying this if i had not reed this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
:) :) :) :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alex and Brett Harris have created a wothwhile book to read. Please keep up the good work!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a 17 year old girl who has been raised in a christian home all my life and who has a strong relationship with the Lord. Personally, I found this book poorly written and the themes lacked maturity and forethought. The thing that really stuck out to me was the lack of focus on the gospel. The authors focused on what we as Christian teenagers aught to do as opposed to what Christ has already done for us. The truth is that Jesus has already done the hardest thing of all by dying on the cross for us. He paid it all and our works our merely a response to his grace, not a means of attaining his favor. The book "Do Hard Things" totally lacks this theme. In doing so it misrepresents Christianity and serves as a poor example of what Jesus came to do.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
we are reading this book in Bible class so getting tests on this makes it a little boring but over all a good motivating book -Goldentail
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great so far
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Every teen should read this book. Whoever has not read this book should. U will learn alot from it. If u r not a christian this is a book that u should read. If u do not want to read this alone find someone that u think that will love this book.
InTheBookcase More than 1 year ago
"Do Hard Things" came to me recommended by many of my young adult/teenage friends. Everyone was reading it, and everyone told me that I should read it too. I was certainly not let down! Teenagers in modern times are often stereotyped as lowly, unnoteworthy and unproductive. The world has a general low expectation on how they assume teenagers are. That is why this book illustrates why you should join the "teenage rebellion against low expectations" that Alex & Brett Harris have started. If a teenager is going to rebel against something, why not rebel against the low expectations that they have to face every day? Give those blossoming young adults something worth fighting for! In this book, you'll find that God does have a plan for you. You just have to break away from the mold that the world forces onto you, and dig into the thing that you are able-bodied and suited for. You'll learn how to escape the low expectations that everyone else anticipates. These low expectations can come from generally anyone around you, even including other Christians who don't even realize what marks they're leaving on you. You can use these shallow assumptions as a beneficial starting place in your personal rebellion against the mundane ordinariness around you. I learned about complacency from "Do Hard Things". For example, perhaps making good grades is effortless for you, and you earn praise from your teachers and parents---and you're satisfied with this. However, deep down, you know that you could do even better if you tried!---this is the act of deserting the tendency to fall into complacency. I think this subject was something that really touched me from reading this book. Doing hard things doesn't exactly mean that your life is going to be hard from now on. It just means breaking away from a few old habits, and striving towards something better---striving towards the goal that God wants you to reach. It makes a great reminder that we should all do the absolute best that we can, surpassing what anyone tells us that we can't do. This book is a must-read for any teens and young adults! "Do Hard Things" is a powerful mindset to choose to become. I think this book would especially be beneficial for young people just entering into high school or college.