Steps Ascending: Rise of the Unarmed Forces [REVIEW]


The Global War on Terror (GWOT) has attached many stereotypes and stigmas to certain MOS’s and units of the military as the public becomes more familiar with them. Although it can be said with certainty that the American public knows very little about what a member of the US Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment does on a daily basis, the title can be attached to many successful ventures, during and after their military service. From acclaimed authors and journalists to filmmakers and entrepreneurs, the one story that will surely be a household name for Americans in the years to come is Combat Flip Flops.

Coincidentally, Griff had the assistance of one of our favorite authors, Leo Jenkins. Because how else do you finish a book in 90 days without enlisting the help of a Ranger buddy. If you’ve ever read any of Leo’s work, you will be able to tell that he had a hand in it but will also recognize that it is Griff’s story and he is absolutely the one telling it. In fact, the only way anyone would be able to tell would be if they tried to contact Griff or Leo during the time the book was being written, as they were reclusive and unreachable.

Matthew “Griff” Griffin has a passion for social entrepreneurism and after reading this book, one might wonder if that passion borders on addiction. Instead of simply running a successful business, which benefits the lives of the less fortunate, Griff also chose to write a step by step manual on how he did so. Where entrepreneurs usually treat their pathways like magicians, never revealing their tricks, he understands the benefit of others following a similar path and knows it could make the world a better place. This story makes it clear to the reader that its authors care deeply about improving the quality of life in the place they once waged war. What is also made clear is that mindset can change the world, slowly but surely. Do not mistake the authors’ narrative with blind pacifism. I assure you, they both know that approaching an armed man with peace and love instead of superior fire power wouldn’t end well. However, CFF’s “bigger picture” operation to trade “business for bullets” is something that we all need to look at as we near the second decade of war with no clear end in sight.

Steps Ascending is the official story of Combat Flip Flops, told without the limitations of the “about” section of their website. It is a quick 159 pages of adventure, philosophy and introspection. If you didn’t get enough of the backstory from their Shark Tank episode and you are looking for more, this book is for you. The book reads like it was written; FAST. Steps Ascending was written in 90 days but you could never tell with the well developed story line and near perfect literary execution.

If you are a fan of entrepreneurial literature, you will like this book. If you are a fan of GWOT narratives and tales of adventure, you will like this book too. If you don’t like the F word, you will very likely not like this book, but let’s not draw any conclusions too soon. It is important to note that like any order from Combat Flip Flops, proceeds from this book help to fund education for young girls in Afghanistan.



Keith Dow is a born New Englander, who has been writing ever since he could hold a pen. He spent 5 years on active duty in the US Army before being honorably discharged in 2013 to start a family. At this point, Keith is best known for being the only US Army veteran living in Canada with A-M-E-R-I-C-A-N tattooed across his knuckles.

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