The Art of Manliness

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The Art of Manliness

    • Jan 26, 2022 LATEST EPISODE
    • weekdays NEW EPISODES
    • 45m AVG DURATION
    • 787 EPISODES

    Listeners of The Art of Manliness that love the show mention: thank you brett, art of manliness podcast, thanks brett, brett's, brett does a great job, become a better man, brett and his guests, become better men, brett provides, listening to brett, brett always, barbell training, manhood, best men, listening to the art, brett brings, means to be a man, brett mckay, virtues, rucking.

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    Latest episodes from The Art of Manliness

    Get on Top of Collaboration Overload

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 26, 2022 36:51

    There is seemingly more collaboration going on in the workplace than ever before. People are working and talking across teams, and within teams, using a wide array of communication channels. As a result, employees, managers, and CEOs alike can feel pulled in a ton of different directions, by a ton of different asks, and find their actual productivity shot to pieces as a result.My guest figured there had to be a better way for folks to work together, and interviewed the most efficient collaborators to find out what they did differently to get back up to a quarter of their collaborative time. His name is Rob Cross, and he's a professor of leadership, a business consultant, and the author of Collaboration Overload. Rob and I begin our conversation with a big picture overview of the organizational and individual factors that are driving the problem of collaboration overload. We then shift to talking about the concrete tactics he learned from efficient collaborators that can help others avoid getting pulled into every conversation and project. We discuss how to limit the productivity-sapping power of meetings by scheduling reflective time, and ways to put more buffer between you and those who ask you to collaborate, including creating a transparent clearinghouse of priorities. We then discuss how to reduce collaboration overload in communication, manage people's expectations for response times, and identify the microstressors that may be contributing to your burnout.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Podcast #689: Email Is Making Us Miserable — Here's What to Do About ItAoM Podcast #768: Become a Focused MonotaskerAoM Podcast #743: How to Get Time, Energy, and Priorities Working in Your FavorConnect With Rob CrossRob's WebsiteThe Connected Commons 

    How Long Does It Take to Make Friends (And How Does That Process Work, Anyway)?

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 24, 2022 45:09

    How long does it take to make friends — for someone you meet who's a potential friend, to turn into an actual friend? If you're out of college and not a young adult anymore, you know that it sure feels like it's a process that takes an awfully long time.Well my guest has actually crunched the numbers on this question and has the numerical figures to answer it. As well as a whole lot of insight into the dynamics of friendship that are harder to quantify. His name is Jeffrey Hall and he's a professor of communication studies who counts friendship among the topics of his research. Today on the show, Jeff explains the three levels of friends that make up the sort of friendship hierarchy, how many hours it takes for someone to move from one level to the next, and why it's hard to accumulate these needed hours as an adult. We also talk about how sheer time isn't the only factor that's needed to transform an acquaintance into a close or best friend, and the other factors that need to be in play as well. We then shift into discussing another element that influences the friendship-making process: the expectations each friend has for friendship. We discuss how expectations for friendship differ according to sex and personality, and what happens when two people have differing expectations for what it means to be friends.Resources Related to the PodcastRelated AoM articles on friendship:3 Things No One Ever Told You About Making Friends in AdulthoodHow to Invite People to Do Things Without Being Awkward About ItSunday Firesides: The 3 Types of FriendshipSunday Firesides: How Not to Be Disappointed in Your FriendsThe 3 Reasons Friendships EndRelated AoM podcasts on friendship#567: Understanding the Wonderful Frustrating Dynamic of Friendship#702: One Man's Impossible Quest — To Make Friends in Adulthood#726: What's Causing the Male Friendship Recession?Connect with Jeffrey HallKU's Relationships and Technology Lab

    The Rise and Fall of Athens

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 19, 2022 58:49

    In a period of only about 100 years, Athens went from relative obscurity, to becoming an influential empire, to collapsing into ruin.My guest today will guide us through the dramatic arc of this city-state and the larger-than-life characters that contributed to it. His name is David Stuttard, and he's a classicist and the author of Phoenix: A Father, a Son, and the Rise of Athens, and Nemesis: Alcibiades and the Fall of Athens.We begin our conversation with the rise of Athens and why its aristocratic families decided to institute a radically democratic form of government. David then walks us through how the Persian invasion catapulted Athens to power in Greece. Along the way, David explains how a father and son named Miltiades and Cimon led Athens to power. We then shift our attention to the fall of Athens and how it was precipitated by the Peloppensian War with their one-time ally, Sparta. David introduces us to the made-for-Hollywood character that would play a pivotal role in Athens' fall — the handsome and charismatic aristocrat and serial traitor, Alcibiades. We end our conversation with the lessons we moderns can take from the rise and fall of Athens.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Podcast #461: The Spartan RegimeAoM Podcast #710: The Spartans at ThermopylaeMiltiadesBattle of MarathonCimonAlcibiadesConnect With David StuddardDavid's Website

    Philosophical Tools for Living the Good Life

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 17, 2022 61:57

    Most everyone wants to live a good, meaningful life, though we don't always know what that means and how to do it. Plenty of modern self-improvement programs claim to point people in the right direction, but many of the best answers were already offered more than two thousand years ago.My guests have gleaned the cream of this orienting, ancient-yet-evergreen advice from history's philosophers and shared it in their new book, The Good Life Method: Reasoning Through the Big Questions of Happiness, Faith, and Meaning. Their names are Meghan Sullivan and Paul Blaschko, and they're professors of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. Today on the show Meghan and Paul introduce us to the world of virtue ethics — an approach to philosophy that examines the nature of the good life, the values and habits that lead to excellence, and how to find and fulfill your purpose as a human being. We discuss how to seek truth with other people by asking them three levels of what they call "strong questions" and engaging in civil and fruitful dialogue. We then delve into why your intentions matter and why you should use "morally thick" language. We also examine the role that work and love has to play in pursuing the good life, and how the latter is very much about attention. We end our conversation with how a life of eudaimonia — full human flourishing — requires balancing action with contemplation.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM article and podcast on phronesis or practical wisdomAristotle's Nicomachean EthicsAfter Virtue by Alasdair MacIntyreAoM Article: Why Are Modern Debates on Morality So Shrill?Sunday Firesides: Virtue Isn't Virtue Til It's TestedIris MurdochAoM Article: Why Men Should Read More FictionThe Road by Cormac McCarthyAoM podcast on The RoadAoM article on contemplative self-examination, including instructions on how to do the examen of St. IgnatiusConnect With Meghan and PaulMeghan's Faculty PagePaul's Faculty Page

    The New Science of Narcissism

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 12, 2022 50:04

    Narcissism is something that looms large in our cultural consciousness. We accuse friends and family of being narcissistic, think we observe the quality in politicians and celebrities, and wonder if society is becoming more self-absorbed over time.But what is narcissism, really, once you get beyond the pop cultural conception and colloquial buzzword? My guest will unpack that for us today. His name is W. Keith Campbell, and he's a professor of psychology and the author of The New Science of Narcissism. Keith explains that narcissism centers on an antagonistic sense of entitlement and self-importance, that there are actually two types of it — grandiose and vulnerable — and how the latter can actually underlie seeming cases of anxiety and depression. We then discuss what causes someone to become a narcissist, whether narcissism has increased in younger generations, and when narcissism tips over into an outright personality disorder. Keith explains how narcissists are attractive early on in a relationship, but lose their shine over time, and how, in a similar manner, narcissists readily emerge as leaders, but then often struggle to hold onto their position and power. We then get into the relationship between narcissism and social media, and how to get the benefits of narcissism — which isn't entirely a bad thing — while mitigating its downsides.Resources Related to the PodcastThe Narcissism Epidemic by Jean M. Twenge and W. Keith CampbellDSM criteria for Narcissistic Personality DisorderAoM Podcast #675: The Humble, Narcissistic LeaderAoM Podcast #738: The Character Traits Drive Optimal PerformanceConnect With Keith CampbellKeith's WebsiteKeith's Faculty Page at UGAKeith on Twitter

    The Code of the Warrior

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 10, 2022 59:23

    Editor's Note: This is a rebroadcast. It originally aired July 2020.War is a violent and bloody business, but it's rarely a no-holds barred free-for-all. Instead, codes of conduct that determine what is and isn't honorable behavior on the battlefield have existed since ancient times.My guest today explored these various codes in a book she wrote during the decade she spent teaching at the United States Naval Academy. Her name is Shannon French, she's a professor of ethics and philosophy, and her book is The Code of the Warrior: Exploring Warrior Values Past and Present. Shannon and I begin our conversation with the pointed questions she used to pose to the cadets she taught as to how being a warrior was different than being a killer or murderer, and when killing is and isn't ethical. She then explains how the warrior codes which developed all around the world arose organically from warriors themselves for their own protection, and how these codes are more about identity than rules. Shannon and I then take a tour of warrior codes across time and culture, starting with the code in Homer's Iliad, and then moving into the strengths and weaknesses of the Stoic philosophy which undergirded the code of the Romans. From there we unpack the code of the medieval knights of Arthurian legend, what American Indians can teach soldiers about the need to make clear transitions between the homefront and the warfront, and how the Bushido code of the samurais sought to balance the influence of four different religions. We end our conversation with the role warrior codes play today in an age of increasingly technologized combat. If reading this in an email, click the title of the post to listen to the show.Resources Related to the PodcastWhy You Need a Philosophical Survival KitThe Warrior's ManifestoThe Way of the Monastic WarriorThe Way of the Stoic WarriorThe Warrior EthosThe Warrior ArchetypeAoM series of Sioux guidesAristotle's Wisdom on Living the Good LifeHector and Achilles: Two Paths to ManlinessWhat Homer's Odyssey Can Teach Us TodayHow Soldiers Die in BattleWhat Plato's Republic Has to Say About Being a ManHow to Think Like a Roman EmperorThe Fall of the Roman RepublicLessons From the Roman Art of WarThoughts of a Philosophical Fighter PilotLe Morte DarthurAchilles in VietnamThe Bushido CodeEverything You Know About Ninjas is WrongConnect With Shannon Shannon on Twitter 

    Become a Focused Monotasker

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 5, 2022 47:58

    Writing an email while on a Zoom call. Talking on the phone while walking. Scrolling through social media while watching a movie.In both our work and our play, we're all doing more and more multitasking. Doing two things at once makes us feel as if we're more efficient and getting more done.But my guest would say that all this task juggling actually makes us less productive, while diminishing the quality of our work and stressing our minds, and that we'd be better off curbing our multitasking in favor of monotasking. His name is Thatcher Wine and he's the author of The Twelve Monotasks: Do One Thing at a Time to Do Everything Better. Today on the show, Thatcher explains the illusions around multitasking and the benefits of monotasking — that is, bringing our full focus to a single task at a time. We discuss why reading is a foundational part of becoming a monotasker, and then get into some of the other activities Thatcher recommends monotasking, including walking, listening, traveling/commuting, and thinking. Thatcher argues that doing things like listening to a podcast while cleaning your house isn't necessarily a bad thing, but that you may want to try stripping everything away from your daily tasks except the primary tasks themselves to observe the resulting effect and to strengthen your "monotasking muscles" and rebuild your attention span. Once you've experimented with doing a task alone, you can then decide to layer back in the second activity, or, maybe decide you actually liked giving it your all.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM podcast episodes with Cal Newport on Deep Work and Digital MinimalismAoM podcast with Oliver Burkenan on Time Management for MortalsAoM podcast with Nicolas Carr on how the internet affects our minds and attentionAoM series on how to improve your listeningAoM article on the benefits of being fully presentAoM article on working when you work, and playing when you playConnect with Thatcher WineCompanion Website to the Monotasking BookThatcher's WebsiteJuniper BooksListen to the Podcast! (And don't forget to leave us a review!)

    Fat Loss Made Simple

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 3, 2022 58:45

    When it comes to losing weight, you can find plenty of complicated programs that involve long, intense workouts and strict calorie-counting diet plans. But my guest today takes an approach to fat loss that's awesomely simple, and even more effective because of that fact.His name is Dan John and he's a strength coach, a competitive thrower and weightlifter, and the author of many books about health and fitness, including Fat Loss Starts on Monday. Today on the show, Dan talks about the importance of not only picking a specific number where you want your weight to be, but enriching that goal so that it lights up multiple parts of your brain. We then discuss how and how often to measure your weight, how to deal with setbacks as you shed the pounds, and Dan's uncomplicated approach to eating. Dan also explains why he recommends drinking hot water with lemon, practicing intermittent fasting, and working out in a fasted state. We go over the "Easy Strength" exercise program he suggests for fat loss, and why these short weightlifting sessions are always followed by a walk. We end our conversation with how to break through a weight loss plateau by doing something called "reverse rucking."Resources Related to the PodcastOur previous episodes with Dan John:#354: Brains & Brawn — Tips and Inspiration on Being a Well-Rounded Man#655: Excuse-Busting Advice for Getting in Shape#678: Physical Benchmarks Every Man Should Meet, at Every AgeAoM Article: 6 Ways to Measure Your Body FatMyoTape Body Measuring TapeClarence BassAoM podcast #581 on tiny habits with BJ FoggRusty Moore's Fat Loss BoostAoM Article: How Much Protein Do You Really Need?Pavel TsatsoulineAoM article and podcast about intermittent fastingAoM Article: The Spiritual Disciplines — Fasting5:2 fastingAoM Article: Cardio for the Man Who Hates Cardio — The Benefits of RuckingConnect With Dan JohnDan John University (use code "artofman" for a discount)Dan on InstagramDan's Website

    The Tiny Habits That Change Everything

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 29, 2021 44:27

    Editor's Note: This is a re-broadcast. It originally aired in February 2020. We're a month into the new year now. How are you doing on your resolutions? Have you already fallen off the wagon? Maybe the goal you set for yourself was just too big to successfully tackle. You need to think smaller. Tiny, even.That's the argument my guest makes. His name is Dr. BJ Fogg, and he's the founder and director of Stanford's Behavior Design Lab, as well as the author of the new book Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything. Today on the show, BJ walks us through the three components that drive our behavior, including the simple yet overlooked relationship between motivation and ability. He then explains how to build habits that feel easier and require lower levels of motivation by picking behaviors that are good matches for you and breaking them down into smaller parts. We also talk about the need to tie your habits to turnkey prompts, the importance of celebrating your successes, no matter how small, and the way tiny habits can lead to bigger changes. We end our conversation with why you should think about the process of getting rid of your bad habits as untangling them rather than breaking them.  Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in PodcastWhat Makes Your Phone So Addictive and How to Take Back Your LifeA Proven System for Building and Breaking HabitsHow to Create Habits That StickHow to Hack the Habit Loop (and my podcast with Charles Duhigg about habits)The Motivation MythHow to Stress Proof Your Body and BrainCounterintuitive Advice on Making Exercise a Sustainable HabitStick With It -- The Science of Behavior Change7 Tips on Making and Breaking Habits

    Begin the New Year by Reflecting on These 3 Life-Changing Questions

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 27, 2021 51:38

    Editor's Note: This is a re-broadcast. It was originally published in December 2020. As one year ends and another begins, it's natural to reflect on both the past and the future -- who we were, who we are, and who we want to become.My guest today offers three questions that can help make that self-reflection truly fruitful, insightful, and possibly even life-changing. His name is Gregg Krech, he's executive director of the ToDo Institute, which promotes principles of psychology based on Eastern traditions, and the author of Naikan: Gratitude, Grace, and the Japanese Art of Self-Reflection. Gregg and I begin our conversation with what Naikan is, and how this structured method of self-reflection can hold up a mirror to your life, helping you gain greater self-awareness, and see reality, and the way people perceive you, more clearly. Gregg then walks us through Naikan's three rich, incisive questions and how to use them to help you discover how you really show up and operate in the world. We end our conversation with how to incorporate these reflections into your daily routine, and even make it a special ritual with which to ring in the new year.Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in PodcastMy first interview with Gregg30 Prompts for Reflection on Your IntegrityThe Real Virtue of ThankfulnessAoM series on spiritual disciplinesGut Check: Are You a Contemptible Person?Never Complain; Never ExplainEgo Is the EnemyConnect With GreggToDo Institute

    The Real (Decidedly-Less-Sentimental-Yet-Still-Wonderful) Story of WWI's Christmas Truce

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 22, 2021 38:37

    One of the most famous stories to come out of World War I is that of the "Christmas Truce" of 1914, in which German and British forces engaged in a spontaneous and unofficial ceasefire and spent the holiday fraternizing with each other. In the popular imagination, the Christmas Truce was a time in which enemies put aside their differences to sing carols, exchange gifts, and even play soccer, and represented a sentimental flowering of peace and goodwill.How much of the popular legend around the Christmas Truce is true, and how much is myth? My guest will unpack that for us. His name is Peter Hart and he served as Oral Historian of the Imperial War Museum for 40 years and is the author of several books on military history, including The Great War: A Combat History of the First World War. Today on the show, Peter gives us some background on the start of WWI, what led up to the Christmas Truce, and what life was like for soldiers in the trenches. We then discuss how the Christmas Truce began, and what happened during it (including whether the soldiers really played soccer together), what the leaders of the participating militaries thought of this unofficial ceasefire, how long the truce lasted, and how it ended. Peter explains that while the truce was certainly motivated partly by sentiment, it was primarily done for more practical and even strategic reasons. We end our conversation with why, even though the real Christmas Truce is a less romantic event than commonly conceived, it's still a wonderful story about our shared humanity.Resources Related to the PodcastPeter's books on Amazon, including Fire and MovementPeter's Podcast: Pete and Gary's Military HistoryDocumentary on the Christmas Truce featuring Peter Hart and Taff GillinghamVideo from the Imperial War Museum on the Christmas TrucePhotos of the Christmas TruceThe Race to the SeaConnect With Peter HartPeter on Twitter 

    C.S. Lewis on Building Men With Chests

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 20, 2021 42:33

    Like Plato, C.S. Lewis believed that the human soul was made up of three parts — the head (the rational, reason-driven part of you), the belly (your appetites and base instincts), and the chest (the seat of virtue-seeking sentiments and well-tuned emotions). In order for your head to make your decisions, particularly the decision to live a virtuous life, rather than your decisions being driven by your belly, the head needs the aid of the chest, of right feeling.A few months ago, we had Michael Ward on the show to talk about why C.S. Lewis felt that modern life was making “men without chests.” Today, I talk to a guest who can shed light on what Lewis thought was needed to build that chest back up. His name is Louis Markos and he's a professor of English, as well as the lecturer of the Great Courses course: The Life and Writings of C.S. Lewis. At the start of our conversation, Lou gives us some background on Lewis' life, including his conversion to Christianity, and how the nature of that conversion influenced his thinking on how to pursue virtue more broadly. We then talk about Lewis' philosophical argument for there being a universal moral order, and why the chest is so vital for staying grounded in it. We spend the rest of our discussion unpacking the three ways Lewis believed the chest could be “educated”: reading stories and myths, rejecting “chronological snobbery” to learn from the past, and developing friendships that inspire excellence.Resources Related to the PodcastLouis' Great Courses course: The Life and Writings of C.S. LewisThe books Louis has authoredAoM Podcast #430: Why You Need to Join the Great Conversation About the Great BooksAoM Article: The Power of Conversation — A Lesson From C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. TolkienAoM article on Plato's view of the tripartite nature of the soulAoM series on Norse mythologyAoM Podcast #178: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Inklings Mastermind GroupThe Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion by James George FrazerThe Screwtape Letters by C.S. LewisThe Four Loves by C.S. LewisThe Chronicles of Narnia — The Magician's Nephew by C.S. LewisThe Book of Virtues by William BennettAoM Article: The Winston Churchill School of Adulthood — Cultivate a Nostalgic Love for HistoryAoM article on C.S. Lewis' advice on overcoming the “horror of the same old thing”AoM articles and podcasts on friendship

    Prototype Your Way to a Better Life

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 15, 2021 43:51

    I used to wake up early, around 5:15, and do my workout right after getting out of bed. But I noticed I was tired all day, and just felt kind of stiff and not very strong during my workouts. So I decided to try waking up a couple hours later, and doing my workouts in the late afternoon instead. I found that setting up my schedule this way gave me greater energy, both overall, and during my workouts.My guest says that this tinkering I did with my routine is an example of life prototyping, a process that can be used for anything and everything in order to improve both your personal and professional life.His name is Dave Evans, and as a lecturer in Stanford's Design Program, he teaches the popular Designing Your Life course, which, as the name implies, takes the principles of design thinking, and applies them to crafting a happy and fulfilling life. He's also the co-author, along with Bill Burnett, of Designing Your Life and Designing Your New Work Life. Today on the show, Dave explains how one of the central steps to design thinking — prototyping — can help you make both big and small changes that move you closer to the life you want to lead. He explains what prototyping is, how prototyping a life is different from prototyping a product, the two approaches involved with the former, and embracing the design thinking mindset of being immune to failure.Resources Related to the PodcastThe Designing Your Life Course on Creative LiveAoM Podcast #418 on how to get unstuck in life with the co-founder of Stanford's Design School, Bernie RothAoM series on crafting the life you wantAoM Podcast #731: A Futurist's Guide to Building the Life You WantAoM Article: How to Deal With a Job You Don't LikeAoM article on the OODA LoopConnect With Dave EvansDesigning Your Life Website

    The Perils and Powers of Cowardice

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 13, 2021 48:50

    There have been many books written about courage. About cowardice, however, there has only been one. The author of this lone book onb cowardice joins me today to talk about why cowardice, though much ignored, is at least equally important to understand as courage, and how the fear of the former may actually serve as a stronger motivator towards doing daring deeds.His name is Chris Walsh, and his book is Cowardice: A Brief History. Today on the show, Chris explains how a coward can be defined as "someone who, because of excessive fear, fails to do what he is supposed to do," and yet how the assumptions behind this definition can be hard to pin down. We discuss why cowardice has been so condemned through time, so much so that in the military it was long considered a crime worthy of execution. We also discuss why the fear of being a coward is so tied into manliness, and why that label constitutes the worst insult you can level at a man. Chris delves into the way external checks on cowardice, the depersonalization and technologization of war, and the rise of the therapeutic lens on life have diminished the moral heft of cowardice. He then argues that despite this fact, and the way that cultural contempt for cowardice and a personal fear of it can lead to negative effects, it remains an important prod towards doing one's duty and a foundation of moral judgment. We end our conversation with how we can use the fear of cowardice as a positive motivator in our lives.Resources Related to the PodcastThe Mystery of Courage by William Ian MillerThe Red Badge of Courage by Stephen CraneThe Thin Red Line by James JoyceDante's Inferno by DanteRoman decimationPrivate Eddie SlovikAoM series on honorAoM Article: Where Does Manhood Come From?AoM Article: Male Expendability — Inspiring or Exploitative?Connect With Chris WalshChris' Faculty Page at BU

    Prepare Now to Have Your Best Year Ever

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 8, 2021 50:25

    How did your 2021 go? Did you accomplish less than you wanted to? Are you hoping to have a more successful run at your goals in 2022?Well my guest today has got your plan for making the coming twelve months your best year ever. His name is Michael Hyatt, and he's the CEO of the leadership consulting firm Michael Hyatt and Company and the author/creator of the Your Best Year Ever book and course. Today on the show, Michael takes us through the five-part process he believes is key for successfully making and keeping goals, starting with the importance of adopting the right mindset and doing an after-action review of how the previous year went. We then discuss how Michael has modified the standard SMART goal model to make it smarter, why your goals should feel risky, and the number of goals you should set per year. We then discuss how to stay motivated in working on your goals, whether or not you should share your goals with others, and why you should tackle your goals by doing the easy stuff first. We end our conversation with the importance of reviewing your goals on the regular.Resources Related to the PodcastRelated AoM articles:The 11 Cognitive Distortions That Are Making You a Miserable SOBAvoiding Learned HelplessnessThe 3 Simple Steps to Stopping Negative Self-TalkPast Failure Is No Excuse for Present InactionHow Reframing Builds ResilienceMeditations on the Wisdom of ActionWhy You Shouldn't Share Your GoalsFeelings Follow ActionThe Gap and the Gain by Dan SullivanMichael Hyatt's LifeScore Assessment

    How Testosterone Makes Men, Men

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 6, 2021 64:00

    What creates the differences between the sexes? Many would point to culture, and my guest today would agree that culture certainly shapes us. But she'd also argue that at the core of the divergence of the sexes, and in particular, of how men think and behave, is one powerful hormone: testosterone.Her name is Dr. Carole Hooven, and she's a Harvard biologist and the author of T: The Story of Testosterone, the Hormone That Dominates and Divides Us. Today on the show, Carole explains the arguments that are made against testosterone's influence on shaping men into men, and why she doesn't think they hold water. She then unpacks the argument for how testosterone does function as the driving force in sex differences, and how it fundamentally shapes the bodies and minds of males. We delve into where T is made, how much of it men have compared to women, and what historical cases of castration tell us about the centrality of testosterone in male development. We then discuss how T shapes males, starting in the womb, and going into puberty and beyond, before turning to its influence in athletic performance. We end our conversation with Carole's impassioned plea for celebrating what's great about men.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Podcast #86: Demonic Males With Richard WranghamAoM series on testosteroneAoM Podcast #336: Master Your TestosteroneAoM series on statusAoM Podcast #756: How the Desire for Status Explains (Pretty Much) EverythingAoM series on the origins and nature of manhoodConnect With Carole HoovenCarole's WebsiteCarole on Twitter 

    Cormac McCarthy, The Road, and Carrying the Fire

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 1, 2021 52:08

    Once a year, I read The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It's a cathartic annual ritual for me. What is it about this novel that has such an impact on my soul and those of other readers? Who is the man who wrote it, and what was he trying to do with this story of a father and son struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic landscape?For answers to these questions, I decided to talk to a foremost expert on McCarthy's work, as well as the literature of the American West in general. His name is Steven Frye and he's a professor of English, a novelist in his own right, and the author and editor of several books about the reclusive, philosophical author, including Understanding Cormac McCarthy. We begin our conversation with some background on McCarthy and a discussion of his distinctive style and themes, and why he avoids the limelight and prefers to hang out with scientists over fellow artists. We then dive into The Road, and Steve unpacks what inspired it, as well as the authors and books that influenced it. We then dig into the big themes of The Road, and how it can be read as a biblical allegory that wrestles with the existence of God. We delve into the tension which exists between the father and son in the book, and what it means to "carry the fire." We end our conversation with why reading The Road makes you feel both depressed and hopeful at the same time.A spoiler alert here: If you haven't read The Road yet, we do reveal some of the plot points in this discussion. Also, why haven't you read The Road yet?Resources Related to the PodcastOther books by Steven Frye, including his novel Dogwood CrossingMcCarthy's books mentioned in the show:The RoadAll the Pretty HorsesBlood MeridianThe Orchard KeeperNo Country for Old MenThe Sunset LimitedThe film adaptation of The RoadThe Santa Fe InstituteBrothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky"Cat in the Rain" — short story by Ernest Hemingway"Indian Camp" — short story by Ernest HemingwayAoM Podcast #635: The Existentialist's Survival GuideAoM Article: Carry the FireAoM Article: Books So Good I've Read Them 2X (Or More!)Connect With Steven FryeSteve's website

    To Drink or Not to Drink

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 29, 2021 47:37

    As the title of his book — Drink? — suggests, world-renowned professor of neuropsychopharmacology David Nutt thinks the cost/benefit analysis around consuming alcohol is an open question. He's not anti-alcohol — he regularly drinks himself — but he also thinks most people (more than 2/3 of folks around the world have had a drink in the past year) need to understand a lot more about drinking than they typically do in order to make an informed choice as to whether, and how much, to partake.To that end, today on the show Dr. Nutt shares the ins and outs of something he calls both a fantastic, and a horrible, drug. We discuss how people acquire a taste for something that initially registers as a toxic poison and how alcohol affects the body and mind. We then delve into alcohol's long-term health consequences, including its link to cancer, the fact that it kills more people via stroke than by cirrhosis, the way it has a feminizing effect on men, and what it does to your sleep. We discuss what influences someone's chances of becoming alcoholic, and signs that you've got a drinking problem. David also argues that drinking has some benefits, and offers suggestions on how to imbibe alcohol in a way that helps manage its risks. We end our conversation with why more people are curbing their drinking, and the synthetic alcohol David is developing that mimics the relaxing effects of alcohol, without its negative downsides.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: How a Man Drinks Responsibly: Ask These 3 QuestionsAoM Article: Why I'm Thankful I Had a Drinking Problem: A Few Life Lessons From Beating the BottleAoM Article: Guide to Drinking for the TeetotalerConnect With David NuttDr. Nutt's faculty page at the Imperial College LondonGaba Labs

    The Quest for a Moral Life

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 24, 2021 48:57

    Note: This is a rebroadcast. This episode originally aired June 2019.Do you ever feel like you're spinning your existential wheels in life? That outwardly, you seem to be doing ok, but inwardly, you feel kind of empty? My guest today would say that you've got to move on from trekking up life's first mountain, to begin a journey up its second. His name is David Brooks and he's the author of The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life. In that book, David makes the case that there are two mountains that we climb in life: The first is about the self — getting a college degree, starting a career, buying a home, and making your mark on the world. But at some point, that mountain starts to feel unfulfilling. That's when we discover there's a second mountain to ascend — a path of selflessness, relationships, and greater meaning. Today on the show, David tells us what he got wrong in his previous book, The Road to Character, and how The Second Mountain expands the vision of the good life. We then discuss why the first mountain of life gets more attention in the West and how the hyper individualism it encourages has led to an increase in loneliness, anxiety, and existential angst. David then walks us through how we shift courses from the first mountain of achievement to the second mountain of meaning by making commitments to things outside of ourselves. We then discuss the four commitments he thinks bring us real meaning and significance, and how we can seek and find them.Show HighlightsHow this new book serves as a correction to The Road to CharacterLies that culture tells us about becoming moral (and happy)The social history of our country's individualismThe downsides of this individualismThe rise of tribalismWhy David is optimistic about how people are using social mediaThe wrong ways that people look for meaning and significanceThe first mountain vs. the second mountain of lifeHow do commitments give life meaning and bring us joy?How you really go about “finding” yourselfCareer vs. vocationThe next generation's great responsibilityCommitting ourselves to “maximum marriage”The importance of intellectual challengeMaking the case for faith/religionWhat does an ideal community look like?The interplay of these various commitmentsResources/People/Articles Mentioned in PodcastMy first interview with David about characterSources of Existential AngstThe Character-Building School of ParenthoodBowling AloneSuper Bowl III9 Reasons You Should Host a Dinner Party This WeekendBecoming a Digital MinimalistLove Is All You NeedAre Modern People the Most Exhausted in History?AoM series on male depressionThe Best Way to Find Your VocationAoM series on vocationTim Keller's The Meaning of MarriageWhy Every Man Should Study the ClassicsWhy You Should Join the Great ConversationWhy You Should Go to Church (Even If You're Not Sure of Your Beliefs)The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane JacobsConnect With DavidWe Are Weavers David's NY Times columnDavid on Twitter

    The Epic Story of the Making of The Godfather

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 22, 2021 46:39

    When it comes to lists of men's favorite movies, The Godfather is a perennial inclusion. And as hard as this may be to believe, the critically acclaimed and popularly beloved film is coming up on the 50th anniversary of its release.Journalist Mark Seal wrote an in-depth piece on the making of The Godfather for Vanity Fair magazine back in 2009, and after doing even more interviews with director Francis Ford Coppola, the actors of the film, and other behind-the-scenes players, wrote a new book on the subject called Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli: The Epic Story of the Making of The Godfather. It's easy to forget that the film was based on a novel by Mario Puzo, and we spend the first part of our conversation there, with Mark unpacking how an indebted gambler became a bestselling novelist. From there we turn to how Puzo's novel was adapted for the screen — a story as dramatic and entertaining as the film itself. Mark explains why Coppola took the job of directing the film and his genius for casting. He delves into the unexpected selection of Marlon Brando to play Don Corleone, and how James Caan inhabited the role of Sonny, despite not being Italian-American. We get into how a real-life character named Joseph Colombo temporarily shut down production of the film in opposition to the stereotyping of Italian-Americans as mafia, despite the fact Colombo was a mob boss himself. Mark explains why Coppola considered making The Godfather the most miserable experience of his life and the X-factor that ultimately made the film so good. We end our conversation with whether a movie like The Godfather could be made today.Resources Related to the PodcastThe Godfather by Mario Puzo“The Godfather Wars” — Mark Seal's 2009 piece for Vanity FairHearingsJoseph ColomboAoM Podcast #551: Inside the Gangsters' CodeAoM Article: 100 Must-See MoviesConnect With Mark SealMark's WebsiteMark on TwitterMark on Instagram

    How to Achieve Cognitive Dominance

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 17, 2021 41:45

    When it comes to high-stakes endeavors, few are as fraught as brain surgery. One false move and you can forever alter someone's life. That's why my guest has spent his life studying how to master fear and enhance performance, and gained insights that can help anyone do likewise in every area of their life. His name is Dr. Mark McLaughlin, and he's a wrestling coach, a lecturer at West Point, and a practicing neurosurgeon, as well as the author of Cognitive Dominance: A Brain Surgeon's Quest to Out-Think Fear. Today on the show, Mark and I discuss how fear manifests itself in a range from mild discomfort to full-blown paralysis, and how you can get a handle on it by developing cognitive dominance. Mark then unpacks what cognitive dominance is, and how it involves being able to overcome our visceral reaction to unexpected events, and respond to elements outside our control with poise and composure. We then talk about how to gain that kind of composure by breaking things down into objects (things that exist independently of us, with features everyone can agree on) and subjects (things that are specific to you, and encompass the sphere within which you can personally act). Mark walks us through how the objective and subjective can form an x- and y-axis, and how you can map the things that happen to you into the four quadrants they form in order to figure out how to respond. We end our conversation with how to deal with known unknowns by making a two-column list of who you do and don't want to be, and focusing on the former.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: 20 Classic Poems Every Man Should ReadAoM Podcast #335 exploring archetypes and meaning with Jordan PetersonAoM Podcast #377: 12 Rules for Life with Jordan PetersonAoM Podcast #316: An Introduction to StoicismThe Daily Stoic by Ryan HolidayAoM Podcast #651: How to Turn Fear Into FuelAoM Article: How the Hero's Journey Can Help You Become a Better ManConnect With Mark McLaughlinMark's WebsiteMark on Instagram

    How the Desire for Status Explains (Pretty Much) Everything

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 15, 2021 50:10

    Being famous. Knowing someone famous. Getting a laugh after telling a joke. Getting a good grade. Getting likes on a social media post. Winning a video game. Cooking a tasty meal. Being good looking. Having inside knowledge. Sharing a good recommendation.We often think of status exclusively in terms of wealth, but it's actually at play everywhere, in every situation where we get the feeling of being of value, where we feel ever so slightly elevated in our relative social position. The universal human desire for status greatly influences our culture, as well as our own behavior and the ups and downs of our mood. We would all do well then to understand status better, and my guest today can help you do that. His name is Will Storr and he's the author of The Status Game: On Social Position and How We Use It. Today on the show, Will walks us through why status in its infinite forms is so important to people, the ways it can be gained through dominance, virtue, and success, and how status games take place both within groups and between them. We talk about the good of status — how it can give us a psychological high and motivate the pursuit of skill, competence, and achievement — as well as its dark sides, including the way that a loss in status, and the resulting feeling of humiliation, leads to depression and violence. Will explains how status can be gained by enforcing the rules of a group and punishing those who seem to be lowering the overall status of the tribe, and how this punitive dynamic plays out online. We also discuss how when you try to eliminate certain status games by making things equal, people just find other status games to play, and that when one hierarchy is destroyed, another simply rises to take its place. We end our conversation with what we can do, if the status game is inescapable, to play it in a healthy way.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM series on statusAoM Article: How Men Are Evolved for FightingStudy on how mindfulness training can lead to feelings of superiorityHikikomori — Japanese who have withdrawn themselves from societyAoM Article: How to REALLY Be Alpha Like the WolfAoM Podcast #734: How Moral Grandstanding Is Ruining Our Public DiscoursePotlatchEnvy: A Theory of Social Behaviour by Helmut SchoeckConnect With Will StorrWill on TwitterWill's Website

    Why Do the Navy's Frogmen Fight on Land?

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 10, 2021 47:26

    When you think of the Navy SEALs, you think of elite special operators who have been tasked with commando-type missions in conflict zones from Central Africa to Afghanistan. Which raises a question you may never have thought about, but seems quite obvious and interesting once you do: "Wait, why are members of the Navy, a waterborne military force, operating hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean?"This question spurred my guest, a former Navy SEAL himself, to explore the answer in his book By Water Beneath the Walls: The Rise of the Navy SEALs. His name is Benjamin Milligan and today we discuss the history that explains why the Navy became the branch of the military that supplied this famous go-anywhere force, and how men who started out as sailors became involved in land-based operations. Ben details the predecessors of the SEALs which took the form of various commando-type units that the Army and Marines experimented with and scuttled, and how the Navy, which had played a supporting role in these units, ended up being the one to continue to develop them. We discuss how the naval combat demolition units (NCDUs) and underwater demolition teams (UDTs) birthed during WWII would ultimately lead to the creation of the Navy's frogmen as we know them today. Along the way, Ben shares details of the unique characters who shaped the unit's trajectory, including the surprisingly bookish commander who created the most legendary part of the SEALs' training: Hell Week.Resources Related to the PodcastThe shoot-down of Extortion 17AoM Podcast #240 on Winston Churchill in the Boer WarEvans CarlsonWilliam DonovanMarine RaidersWilliam DarbyDarby's Rangers movie with James GarnerDraper Kauffman"Telephone pole-type calisthenics"Arleigh BurkeAoM Podcast #477: The History and Future of America's Special ForcesConnect With Benjamin MilliganBen on InstagramBen on Twitter

    A Surprising Theory on Why We Get Fat

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 8, 2021 69:04

    There are two dominant theories as to why Westerners have gotten increasingly obese in the last fifty years. One is that we're eating too many carbs and carbs make us fat. Another is that our primitive appetite — which is wired to gorge on calorically dense foods as a survival mechanism — is misaligned with a modern landscape in which food is available in an overabundance.My guest today says that there's too much evidence which contradicts these theories for them to completely explain the problem of weight gain, and forwards a different and quite surprising theory as to what may be going on instead. His name is Mark Schatzker and he's the author of The End of Craving: Recovering the Lost Wisdom of Eating Well. In order to arrive at Mark's theory on the rise in obesity, we first unpack several pieces of the puzzle, each fascinating in its own right. We discuss how the body, rather than having a natural propensity to gain weight, actually typically wants to stay at a healthy set point, the difference between wanting and liking and how obese people crave food more but enjoy it less, and why it is that humans take pleasure in eating. We then get to how food additives, like artificial sweeteners, and, strangely enough, even certain vitamins, may be shifting the body's set point, increasing people's craving for food, and triggering weight gain. We end our conversation with Mark's counterintuitive call to fight obesity by thoroughly enjoying truly delicious food.Resources Related to the PodcastDr. Kevin Hall's study on high fat vs. low fat dietDr. Christopher Gardner's study on high fat vs. low fat dietDr. Michel Cabanac on the role of set point theory in body weightDr. Kent Berridge's study on wanting vs liking and research lab write-upDr. Dana Small's study on the metabolic effect of beverages sweetened with both sugar and sucraloseAoM Article: Why Carbs Don't Make You Fat Connect With Mark SchatzkerMark's Website

    Take Back the Weekend

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 3, 2021 43:45

    Do you ever get to feeling kind of down, dejected, and anxious come Sunday evening? People refer to this phenomenon as the "Sunday Night Blues," and it's a common experience. You may have chalked it up to rueing the fact that your fun and restful weekend is over, and that you have yet another workweek ahead.But my guest would say that your Sunday night sadness may also be rooted in the feeling of regret — the regret that you didn't put your weekend to good use, that it wasn't restful and fun, and that it was instead busy, draining, and, once again, a big letdown. Her name is Katrina Onstad, and she's the author of The Weekend Effect. Today Katrina shares how the idea of the weekend, of having two back-to-back days off from work, came about, and how it's been challenged and subsequently eroded in the modern day. We then talk about how to take back your weekends, so that your invaluable Saturdays and Sundays feel more the way they did when you were a kid — filled with a sense of possibility.Resources Related to the PodcastSaint MondayHaymarket square affairAoM Podcast #602: The Case for Being UnproductiveAoM Podcast #450: How to Make Time for What Really MattersAoM Podcast #748: Time Management for MortalsAoM Podcast #743: How to Get Time, Priorities, and Energy Working in Your FavorAoM Article: How to Better Manage Your Life AdminAoM Article: The Rise of SpectatoritisAoM Article: The Lost Art of Cheap RecreationConnect With Katrina OnstadKatrina's Website

    The Metaphysical Club

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 1, 2021 50:47

    In 1872, a group of men that included future Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., father of modern psychology William James, and eccentric polymath Charles Sanders Peirce, formed a philosophical society, called the "Metaphysical Club," to exchange and discuss ideas. While very little is known about how this conversational club was conducted over its nine months of life, we do know that each of its individual members made significant contributions to a uniquely American philosophy called pragmatism, and that pragmatism would in turn greatly influence everything from legal theory to education.My guest today profiles the lives and thinking of each of these interesting men in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book: The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America. His name is Louis Menand, he's a Professor of English at Harvard, and today we have a conversation about what the philosophy of pragmatism is about, why Holmes, James, and Peirce, as well as the intellectual John Dewey, arrived at, embraced, and forwarded its principles, and how pragmatism shaped American life between the Civil War and WWI. We end our conversation with why pragmatism fell out of favor, and whether it remains salient today.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Podcast #576 on American philosophy, including pragmatismConsequences of Pragmatism by Richard RortyJohn Dewey and American Democracy by Robert WestbrookConnect With Louis MenandLouis's Faculty Page at Harvard

    The Rise of the Religious "Nones" (And What It Means for Society)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 27, 2021 50:10

    In 1972, the number of Americans who described themselves as religiously unaffiliated was 5%. In 2018, it was almost 24%. Why has the number of people answering "none of the above" to the question of their religious affiliation jumped so dramatically in recent years, and what effect will the growth of these so-called "nones" have on society in general? My guest explores these questions in his book The Nones: Where They Came From, Who They Are, and Where They Are Going. His name is Ryan Burge and he's both a pastor and a professor of political science. In our conversation today, Ryan shares the data on which religions have risen and fallen, and explains why mainline Protestantism has taken a huge dive and why the number of people who have disaffiliated altogether from religion has grown to rival the number of evangelicals and Catholics in this country. We talk about the role that politics has played in these shifts, and the fact that while people once chose their politics based on their religion, they now choose their religion based on their politics. Ryan unpacks the demographic profile of the average none, breaking it down into the category's three subgroups: atheists, agnostics, and those who label themselves as "nothing in particular." We end our conversation with what the future growth of the nones may look like, the possible societal effects of an overall decline in religiosity, and whether younger generations may swing back to being more religious. Resources Related to the PodcastGeneral Social Survey on religionAoM series on men and ChristianityAoM Podcast #253: Why Men Hate Going to ChurchAoM article on the benefits of church attendanceAoM article on the Strauss-Howe generational cycle theory Connect With Ryan BurgeRyan's WebsiteRyan on Twitter

    The Surprising Benefits of Forgetting

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 25, 2021 43:22

    Whenever Dr. Scott Small is at a social event and tells people what he does for a living — that he's a memory scientist — they inevitably tell him how much they bemoan their own lapses in memory and frequent forgetfulness.But in his new book, Forgetting: The Benefits of Not Remembering, Scott makes the case that what we think is a problem is actually an advantage, and that if memory wasn't balanced with forgetfulness, life would be a nightmare. Scott is the director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Columbia University, and he begins our conversation by making the distinction between pathological forgetting like dementia, and normal, garden variety forgetting which we all experience, and which is the beneficial type. We then talk about how memories are made, and what happens when they fail to solidify and we forget things. From there we discuss the surprising benefits of forgetting, from giving us the ability to generalize, to allowing us to move on from traumatic events, to enabling us to be more magnanimous in relationships. We also talk about the role of sleep in forgetting, and forgetting in creativity, and how being forgetful might actually make you a better decision maker. We end our conversation with how to know if your forgetting is normal, or something you should be concerned about.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: Nap Like Salvador DaliAoM Podcast #546: How to Get a Memory Like a Steel TrapAoM Article: 10 Ways to Improve Your MemoryAoM Article: How to Memorize Anything You Want AoM Article: Think Better on Your Feet — How to Improve Your Working MemoryConnect With Scott SmallDr. Small's Page at Columbia University 

    Let the Children Play!

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 20, 2021 45:15

    In Finland, children don't start formal schooling until age seven, aren't subject to standardized testing, and always get at least one hour of physical activity a day, broken into 15-minute free-play breaks every hour, which take place outside no matter the weather. Finnish parents and teachers espouse mantras like, "Let children be children," "The children must play," and "The work of a child is to play." Yet despite this emphasis on play, Finnish students still achieve enviable academic outcomes, and grow up to become some of the happiest adults on earth.My guest today says that the Finnish model of education and parenting, with its heavy emphasis on play, is worth replicating in other countries. His name is Pasi Sahlberg and he's a Finnish educator and researcher currently living in Australia, as well as the co-author, along with William Doyle, of the book Let the Children Play: How More Play Will Save Our Schools and Help Children Thrive. Pasi begins our conversation by sharing what the data says as to how much less kids are playing today than they did in the past, and the factors that have led to this decrease both at school and at home. We discuss the fact that even the play kids do now engage in is more structured and adult-directed, even sometimes involving something called a "recess coach," and how this has led to the sad phenomenon of children who no longer know how to play on their own. We then discuss what is lost when kids don't play enough, from a decline in physical and mental confidence to a decrease in creativity. We end our conversation with the elements of healthy play that educators and parents who want to revive it can look to incorporate in their children's lives.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Podcast #300: How to Raise Free-Range KidsAoM Podcast #532: How to Create a Neighborhood Where Kids Play OutsideAoM Podcast #599: The Science of Physical IntelligenceAoM Podcast #320: The ADHD ExplosionAoM series on the causes and solutions to overprotective parentingSunday Fireside: Is It Safer to Be Cautious Than Brave?Sunday Fireside: The Secure Base Philosophy of ParentingThe LEGO Foundation's research on the state of children's playConnect with PasiPasi's Website

    Time Management for Mortals

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 18, 2021 47:40

    A lot of ink has been spilled on time management and productivity hacking; you can find endless tips on how to master your workflow, tame your inbox, slay your to-do list. Far less examined, however, is the philosophy that underlies these strategies. My guest says that when you do examine that philosophy, you find it doesn't actually align with lived experience.His name is Oliver Burkeman, and in his book, 4,000 Weeks: Time Management for Mortals, he forwards a philosophy of time management that is more realistic and humane. Today on the show, Oliver makes the case for a kind of contrarian way to make the most of the 4,000 weeks of the average human lifespan, beginning with why he reached a point in his own life where he realized that standard methods of productivity hacking were futile and just made him feel busier and less happy. We then get into the fact that we'd like to do an infinite number of things, but are finite beings, and how this contrast creates an anxiety that we attempt to soothe and deny through productivity techniques. We then discuss the problem of treating time as a thing, a resource that's separate from the self, and how one antidote to this mindset is to do things for pure enjoyment alone. Oliver explains why engaging in efficiency for its own sake only creates more stuff to do, and why recognizing you can never "clear the decks" of your daily tasks, nor get everything done, can actually help you focus on the things that matter most. We end our conversation with why really digging into a deep philosophy of time by facing up to its stakes and engaging in what Oliver calls "cosmic insignificance therapy," can allow you to live a bolder, more meaningful life.Resources Related to the PodcastThere Is No Indispensable ManAoM Article: Your Three Selves and How Not to Fall Into DespairAoM Article: Good News! You're Life Isn't Limitless!AoM Podcast #602: The Case for Being UnproductiveAoM Article: 75+ Hobby Ideas for MenAoM Podcast #527: The Journey to the Second Half of Life With Richard RohrTombstone "there is no normal life" sceneConnect With OliverOliver's Website

    Do You want to Be Rich or Wealthy? (And Why the Difference Matters)

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 13, 2021 51:38

    Note: This is a rebroadcast. It originally aired in November 2020. When we think about finance, we typically think about numbers and math. My guest today, however, argues that doing well with money is less about what you can put on a spreadsheet and more about what goes on in your mind, and that if you want to master personal finance, you've got to understand how things like your own history, unique view of the world, and fear and pride influence how you think. His name is Morgan Housel, and he's an investor, a financial journalist, and the author of The Psychology of Money: Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed, and Happiness. Morgan kicks off our conversation by explaining how doing well with money is less about what you know and more about how you behave, and illustrates this point by comparing the true stories of a janitor who saved millions and a prominent Wall Streeter who went bankrupt. He then explains how the seemingly crazy decisions people make around money actually make a kind of sense. From there we get into why you need to know the financial game you're playing and not play someone else's. We then turn to why it's hard to be satisfied with your position in life when your expectations keep rising and why not continually moving your goalposts is the most important skill in personal finance. We discuss how getting off the never-ending treadmill of wanting more requires seeing money not just as a way to buy stuff but to gain greater autonomy, keeping the "man in the car paradox" in mind, and understanding the distinction between being rich and being wealthy. We then talk about the underappreciated, mind-boggling power of compound interest, using the example of Warren Buffet, who made 99% of his wealth after the age of 50. We then discuss why you should view volatility in the stock market as a fee rather than a fine, why pessimistic financial opinions are strangely more appealing than optimistic ones, and why it's best to split the difference and approach your money like a realistic optimist. We end our conversation with the two prongs of Morgan's iron law for building wealth.If reading this in an email, click the title of the post to listen to the show.Show HighlightsWhy personal finance success isn't about knowledge, but psychologyUnderstanding that nobody is actually crazy when it comes to money decisions (even though those decisions might be crazy)Why context is crucial to understanding people's financial choicesWho buys lottery tickets? Why do they do it?Why personal finance is more "personal" than "finance"Are there overarching principles to follow, despite the personal nature of finance and wealth?The underappreciated role of luck in our financesHow to be more content with what you haveKeeping your expectations from rising in lock step with your income/net worthThe difference between being rich and being wealthyThe mind-boggling power of compound interestBalancing optimism and pessimismMorgan's golden rule of financial successResources/People/Articles Mentioned in PodcastAoM's personal finance archivesThe Motley Fool5 Books for the Personal Finance Education You Never HadHow to Achieve a "Rich Life" With Your FinancesWhat Every Young Man Should Understand About the Power of Compound InterestGraduating From a Paycheck Mentality to a Net Worth MentalityWhy and How to Start an Emergency Fund

    Why We Get Sick

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 11, 2021 60:50

    Cancer. Alzheimer's. Heart disease. Diabetes. Infertility. While these prevalent and dreaded diseases are caused by multiple factors, my guest says they also all share a common thread: a ubiquitous and too-little-understood condition called insulin resistance.His name is Dr. Benjamin Bikman and he's a professor of biology and physiology, an expert in obesity and metabolic disorders, and the author of Why We Get Sick: The Hidden Epidemic at the Root of Most Chronic Disease — and How to Fight It. Ben begins our conversation by explaining insulin's role in the body, how it goes awry when it comes to Type I and II diabetes, and how giving Type II diabetics insulin to treat their disease actually makes them “fatter and sicker, and kills them faster.” We then turn to the fact that even if you don't have diabetes, you very likely still have insulin resistance (something helpful to keep in mind during this conversation is that "insulin resistance" is bad and "insulin sensitivity" is good), and the condition's three primary causes. Benjamin then unpacks how insulin resistance correlates with cancer, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and reproductive health problems, including the fact that erectile dysfunction isn't a function of low testosterone, but insulin resistance. We then talk about the role of insulin resistance in someone's susceptibility to COVID-19. We end our conversation with the four pillars of reversing insulin resistance, including the role of diet and physical activity, and how these lifestyle changes can work to help relatively healthy people get healthier, all the way up to allowing diabetics to get off their medication.I can't tell you how motivating this conversation was for me to start a habit of walking more during the day, as well as after dinner. I bet it will have the same effect on you.Resources Related to the PodcastInsulin resistanceConnection between high blood pressure and insulin resistanceErectile dysfunction and insulin resistanceConnection between cancer and insulin resistanceCOVID-19 severity and insulin resistanceAoM's series on testosteroneAoM's fitness articlesAoM's article on the benefits of cold showersAoM podcast on intermittent fastingAoM article on intermittent fastingHLTHCode (We're not affiliated with this company and they're not a sponsor, but we tried it, and love it, and have been consuming it daily.)Connect With Benjamin BikmanBenjamin's lab websiteBenjamin on Instagram

    The Confucian Gentleman

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 6, 2021 52:19

    When you think about the word "gentleman," you probably think about the kind of well-mannered, well-educated, civil, virtuous, self-controlled fellows who lived in England and America during the 19th century. But there was also a not-entirely-dissimilar conception of the gentleman that grew out of the East, though it arose quite a bit longer ago. This gentleman was described by the Chinese philosopher Confucius in a text called the Analects, which my guest says might be thought of as a 2,500-year-old set of advice columns for those who aspire to be exemplary individuals. His name is Robert LaFleur, and he's a professor of history and anthropology and the lecturer of the Great Courses course, Books That Matter: The Analects of Confucius. Today on the show Robert talks about how the Analects are all about learning to rule, and that Confucius believed that you couldn't lead a state, without being able to lead your family, and you couldn't lead a family, without being able to lead yourself. Robert argues that the Analects teach the reader how to integrate the kind of character traits and relational skills that are required to "get good at life," and how this aptitude centrally rests on living with a quality called "consummate conduct." Robert discusses the importance of what he calls "all-in" learning to the Confucian gentleman, the nuance to the idea of filial piety that Westerners typically miss, and the often overlooked check on this hierarchical dynamic called "remonstrance." We end our conversation with why Confucius so heavily emphasized the importance of ritual, and how rituals hold a transformative power that can allow you to become something bigger than yourself. Resources Related to the Podcast Robert's Great Courses course: Books That Matter — The Analects of Confucius The translations of the Analects that Robert recommends (he's currently working on his own): Ames and Rosemont ("All of the translations have something to offer, but I think that the Ames and Rosemont translation brings out more of the social connections in the text than many of the others.") Annping Chin ("Having said that, the newer Penguin translation by Annping Chin is also very good.") China's Spring and Autumn Period  University of Chicago Professor of Classics David Grene The Confucian Book of Songs The Sociological Imagination by C. Wright Mills From Text to Action by Paul Ricoeur Confucius: The Secular as Sacred by Herbert Fingarette Emile Durkheim AoM series on ritual Connect With Robert LaFleur Robert's Blog: Round and Square Robert's Faculty Page at Beloit College   See for privacy information.

    Do You Need to Take a Dopamine Fast?

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 4, 2021 51:57

    Her name is Anna Lembke and she's Chief of Stanford's Addiction Medicine Clinic and the author of the book Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in an Age of Indulgence. At the start of our conversation, Anna unpacks the definition of addiction, why she believes it applies equally well to substances like drugs as behaviors like using porn, and how it exists on a spectrum from the serious and severe to the mild and minor. Anna explains why life in our comfortable, pleasure-filled modern society is increasing the problem of addiction, and argues that the reason we're so miserable is that we're working so hard to avoid being miserable. She then digs into the science of why we become addicted to substances and behaviors and how it all comes down to our mind and body trying to seek balance between pleasure and pain. We discuss dopamine's role in this seesaw dynamic and how the substances and technologies of modernity can lead to a dopamine deficit. We then walk through the process of getting a handle on your addiction, including the importance of doing a dopamine fast, and how long the fast needs to last to be effective. Anna shares tactics for sticking through this abstinence period, which include, counterintuitively, intentionally seeking out pain. She explains why a dopamine fast can help you rebalance your brain, what comes after it's over, and much more. Check out the show notes at Resources Related to the Podcast Prohibition Worked Better Than You Think What Vietnam Taught Us About Breaking Bad Habits Brown and Shuckit's research on alcohol use and depression Nora Volkow's research on dopamine and addiction AoM Podcast #708: Overcoming the Comfort Crisis Sunday Fireside: Lash Yourself to the Mast Sunday Firesides: Shame Is a Gift 4 Lessons From a 4-Week Social Media Fast Connect with Anna Lembke Anna's Website   See for privacy information.

    What the Labors of Hercules Can Teach You About Life and Masculinity

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 29, 2021 51:02

    You're probably familiar with the mythological tale of Hercules (or "Heracles" as the hero was originally called) from books, comics, and movies. But while Hercules is often rendered as a kind of one-dimensional superhero in popular culture, my guest today argues that he's actually quite a complex character, and that the story of how he completed twelve epic labors has a lot to teach us about endurance, revenge, mental illness, violence, punishment, trauma, bereavement, friendship, love, and masculinity. His name is Laurence Alison, and he's a forensic psychologist and an expert in interrogation, who's created a written and oral retelling of the classic myth. At the start of the show, Laurence shares how he's been using the story of the twelve labors of Hercules to facilitate reflection and discussion amongst military personnel and first responders, and how the labors can provide life insights for everyone. We then dig into the details of many of the labors of Hercules, from slaying a lion to cleaning out stables, and discuss what they can teach us about grappling with life's highs and lows, and what it means to be a man. Resources Related to the Podcast Our last podcast with Laurence about what he's learned from his work in interrogation about building rapport AoM Podcast #660: The Theater of War With Bryan Doerries AoM Series on Greek Mythology AoM Manvotional: The Choice of Hercules Find Laurence Alison's Hercules Retellings The Heracles Project on the Grand Truth website Direct access to the oral retelling of the labors of Hercules (this is an audio experience with music, sound effects, illustrations, and guided interpretative diary exercises) Print copies of Laurence's written, illustrated retelling of the labors, as well as a novella Laurence wrote on the entire life of Hercules, are available to purchase by contacting Andrew Richmond. You can get a feel for the former book here.   See for privacy information.

    How to Get Time, Priorities, and Energy Working in Your Favor

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 27, 2021 51:56

    When you think of your assets, you probably think of your money. But you also have three other hugely important assets at your disposal too: your time, energy, and priorities. When you manage these assets poorly, you can feel overwhelmed and scattered and yet unproductive and unfulfilled. When you manage them well, things in your personal and professional life click, and you experience traction and satisfaction. How do you avoid the first situation and achieve the second? My guest today, Carey Nieuwhof, provides answers in his book At Your Best: How to Get Time, Priorities, and Energy Working in Your Favor. We begin our conversation with Carey's story of achieving success, only to suffer burnout, and how burnout has become less of a job problem these days than a general life problem. We then talk about how to leave what Carey calls the "stress spiral" and get into the "thrive cycle." We discuss the two mental shifts you need to make to better manage your time, how to keep other people (and yourself) from hijacking your priorities, the power of categorical decision-making in separating the good from the best, and why you need to put even your personal commitments on your calendar. We also talk about scheduling your daily tasks into what Carey calls your green, yellow, and red energy zones, and how to spend your time more strategically. See for privacy information.

    The Power of Talking to Strangers

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 22, 2021 47:05

    Look around a grocery store, airport lobby, or subway car, and you'll see a bunch of people who are physically together but distinctly separate, each off in their own world, often looking at their phones. In public environments like these, we rarely think to talk to others, and hope no one talks to us. But my guest today says that initiating these kinds of interactions will not only be more edifying and enjoyable than we think, but holds a key to the sustaining of civilization. His name is Joe Keohane, and he's the author of The Power of Strangers: The Benefits of Connecting in a Suspicious World. Joe and I spend the first part of our conversation taking a high-level look at how talking with strangers makes individuals happier and society more connected, and why we so strenuously avoid these interactions, even though they almost invariably go better than we anticipate. We discuss how interacting with strangers helped expand human civilization, the codes that ancient cultures developed on how to treat strangers, and a theory as to why people are more social in places like Brazil than in Nordic countries. From there we turn to the more practical side of things and discuss how to develop or redevelop your ability to talk to strangers. Joe shares how to ask people how they're doing in a way that will get a real response and a better question to ask people than what they do for a living. We also talk about how to change your perspective on small talk, and move it as quickly as possible into meatier territory. We end our conversation with how talking to strangers can overcome division and polarization in society, and how it's changed Joe's own life. Check out the show notes at See for privacy information.

    The Exercise Prescription for Depression and Anxiety

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 20, 2021 42:53

    If you went to the doctor about treating your depression or anxiety, you might expect to be written a prescription for Zoloft or Xanax. But if you went in to see Dr. Jasper Smits, he might write you a different kind of prescription, one that instructed you to take a jog around the block. Dr. Smits is a professor and clinical psychologist, as well as the co-author of Exercise for Mood and Anxiety: Strategies for Overcoming Depression and Enhancing Well-Being. Today on the show we talk about why he likes using exercise as an option for patients who struggle with mood disorders, anxiety, and even general stress and anger, but don't want to do talk therapy or take a medication. We discuss how exercise has been found to be as effective for depression and anxiety as medication (and of course has a much better side effect profile), why it works, and whether a particular type of exercise is better for particular disorders. We then spend the rest of the conversation digging into the catch-22 that surrounds depression and exercise: if exercise is good for depression, but when you're depressed you don't feel like exercising, how do you find the motivation to get going with it? We discuss strategies for starting and sticking with exercise that can help not only those who struggle with mood disorders and anxiety, but anyone who is looking to make physical activity a habit. Check out the show notes at See for privacy information.

    Life's 10 Biggest Decisions

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 15, 2021 43:27

    How many of your life's ten biggest decisions have you already made? My guest today, psychologist Dr. Adrian Camilleri, would often ask this question to friends and family, and found that it generated a lot of interesting conversation. It also generated a lot of his own thoughts, which made him want to dive more deeply into it and empirically study it and other related questions as well.  The result was the Biggest Life Decisions Project, which we'll be talking about on the show today. Adrian first explains the criteria that define a big life decision, the most common ones people make, and which of these decisions people rank as being the most important. We then talk about the numbers and types of big life decisions people typically make in each decade of their lives, and how these decisions tend to be front-loaded in your twenties, but you'll still have a surprising number to make in your later years, too. Adrian shares which decisions people tend to look back on positively and are correlated with higher life satisfaction, and which tend to lead to poor outcomes and regret. We also get into the way people can both underestimate and overestimate the importance of some decisions, before ending with what Adrian has learned by working on this project about how to make good life decisions.  After the show is over, check out the show notes at See for privacy information.

    Rewild Your Life

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 13, 2021 50:13

    If you have one, take a look at your pet cat or dog. These animals descended from wildcats and wolves, but today live pretty sedate lives, walking around your house and yard, waiting for you to deliver some kibbles to their bowl. My guest today says that modern humans are, in a similar way, domesticated versions of our former, wilder ancestors, and that living a flourishing life requires reconnecting with the primal energy within that now lies dormant. His name is Micah Mortali and he's the founder of the Kripalu School of Mindful Outdoor Leadership and the author of Rewilding: Meditations, Practices, and Skills for Awakening in Nature. Micah first shares how he came to combine his passion for yoga and mindfulness with a love of the outdoors and bushcraft skills to create his unique philosophy of rewilding. We then dig into what rewilding means, and why it's vital to body, mind, and spirit to throw off the malaise of modern domestication and restore your sensory connection to nature. From there we turn to the practices that can help you do that, from walking barefoot in the woods to staring into a campfire to meditate. We also talk about how practicing hands-on ancestral skills like making fire with a bow drill, building a wilderness shelter, and tracking animals can heighten your confidence and awareness. We end our conversation with small things that everyone, even if you live in the suburbs or city, can start doing today to begin rewilding your life. Check out the show notes at See for privacy information.

    The Character Traits That Drive Optimal Performance

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 8, 2021 46:34

    Why do some people who look can't-miss high-achievers on paper end up floundering in life, while those who can seem like underdogs end up flourishing? When my guest noticed this phenomenon while being involved in the selection process of veteran SEALs for a specialized command, it led him to the discovery that beneath more obvious skills are hidden drivers of performance, which he calls attributes. His name is Rich Diviney, and he's a retired Navy SEAL commander and the author of The Attributes: 25 Hidden Drivers of Optimal Performance. Today on the show, Rich discusses the difference between skills and attributes and how the latter can't be taught, but can be developed. We then talk about the difference between peak and optimal performance, before turning to the attributes which drive the latter. We get into a discussion of the components of grit, the difference between discipline and self-discipline, why you should become something of a humble narcissist, and much more. We end our conversation with how to figure out the attributes you are and aren't strong in, and which you need for getting where you want to go. Check out our show notes at See for privacy information.

    Being a Man in the Lousy Modern World

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 6, 2021 42:28

    Note: This is a rebroadcast. It originally aired March 2020. Emerson famously said “society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members.”  My guest today says things have gotten a lot worse since Emerson uttered those words over a century and a half ago. His name is Robert Twigger. We last had him on the show to discuss his book Micromastery. Today we discuss a book he wrote 20 years ago called Being a Man in the Lousy Modern World. We begin our conversation discussing how the modern world infantilizes men so they're easier to control, and whether Robert thinks things have changed since he initially published the book. We then dig into the four factors Robert says need to be in place for a man to feel like a man, and why experiencing these qualities has become harder to do in the present age. We then discuss what Robert did to counter the currents of modern malaise like hiking the Pyrenees mountains and learning a martial art, and whether doing those things actually made him feel manlier. We end our conversation with what men can do to start fighting back against the conspiracy against their manhood. See for privacy information.

    College — What It Was, Is, and Should Be

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 1, 2021 46:35

    Modern students are apt to see going to college as the way to earn a credential that will help them get a good job. But as Andrew Delbanco, Professor of American Studies at Columbia University, argues in his book College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be, higher education was developed for a different purpose — one it should fight to maintain.  Today on the show, Andrew shares how he decided to write his book to understand more about the history, nature, and value of an institution which has come under increasing pressure in the modern age. Andrew describes how America's earliest colleges were founded as places where students could learn from both their teachers and from each other, and thereby develop the capacity to grow in character, serve others, live a good life, and even face death. Andrew explains why colleges have largely abandoned this mission, and makes the case for why a broad, not-entirely-specialized, liberal arts education remains relevant in an age in which the ability to grapple with life's big questions is as crucial as ever. We also talk about the difference between colleges and universities (no, they're not synonyms), why a prospective student might choose the former over the latter, and what other things those contemplating where to go to school should consider when making their decision.  After the show is over, check out the show notes at See for privacy information.

    Could Sleeping in Separate Beds Improve Your Relationship?

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 30, 2021 45:59

    When it comes to advice around getting better sleep, nearly all of it is directed at the individual sleeper who feels they've got room to improve: Here's what you might be doing wrong; here's how to straighten out your sleep hygiene. Yet for the millions of people who are sleeping with someone else in their bed, this advice leaves out a huge elephant in the room — the other person sharing your sheets.  As my guest today argues, a shared bed means shared sleep issues that need to be tackled with shared solutions. Her name is Dr. Wendy Troxel, she's a clinical psychologist, a sleep specialist, and the author of Sharing the Covers: Every Couple's Guide to Better Sleep. We begin our conversation by discussing how sleep not only affects people's relationships, but people's relationships affect their sleep, and how this bidirectional dynamic can become either a vicious or virtuous cycle, depending on the quality of sleep that a couple gets. We then talk about the various issues couples deal with in sharing a bed, from snoring to a mismatch in temperature preferences. We also get into the complications that come with bringing kids into the picture, and Wendy gives her take on the issue of family co-sleeping. From there we turn to solutions for shared sleep problems, and dig into the idea of sleeping in separate beds. Wendy unpacks the way the taboo around separate sleeping has waxed and waned throughout history, why it works for some couples, and the options for implementing it, from sleeping in separate bedrooms to a more moderate approach called the "Scandinavian Method." Wendy also gives advice to couples who want to continue to share the same bed, but struggle with the fact that one person is a morning bird and the other is a night owl. See for privacy information.

    The Conquering Father Who Made an Empire-Building Son

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 25, 2021 52:30

    If asked to think about the greatest generals of the ancient world, one name is likely to come to mind first: Alexander the Great — the incomparable military commander who amassed the world's largest empire by the time he was but thirty years old. A name that probably won't come to mind, however, is that of Philip the II, Alexander's father.  But my guest today argues that if Philip hadn't done all that he did, Alexander wouldn't have been able to do all that he did. His name is Adrian Goldsworthy, and he's a classical historian and the author of numerous books on antiquity, including Philip and Alexander: Kings and Conquerors. Adrian first surveys the state of the Macedonians before Philip assumed the throne, sharing how they differed from other Greeks, who actually weren't sure Macedonians even counted as fellow Greeks, and how Macedon was burdened with political instability, a deficient army, and a palace full of deadly intrigue. Adrian then explains how Philip, despite having little political or military experience, was able to take control and turn his army and kingdom around, including the innovations in weaponry and tactics that allowed him to achieve domination in Greece. We then talk about the relationship between Philip and his son Alexander, and how Alexander inherited many things from his father that set him up for his own success, including the plan to invade the Persian Empire. We end our conversation exploring the question of whether Philip, if he had lived longer, could have achieved what Alexander did. After the show is over, check out the show notes at See for privacy information.

    How Moral Grandstanding Is Ruining Our Public Discourse

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 23, 2021 55:22

    It's hard not to notice how heated and divided our public discourse has gotten, especially online. People insult and vilify each other, take unnuanced positions, and seem to be competing as to who can seem the most committed to a cause or the most outraged about an issue.  You may have called some of this behavior "virtue signaling," but my guest today says that it's better described as "moral grandstanding," and he's studied the phenomenon not in terms of eye-roll-inducing anecdotes, but through the lens of both philosophy and empirical research. His name is Brandon Warmke, and he's a professor of philosophy and the co-author of the book Grandstanding: The Use and Abuse of Moral Talk.Brandon begins by defining moral grandstanding as the act of engaging in moral talk for self-promotion and status, and explains why he thinks moral grandstanding is a better term for this behavior than virtue signaling. We get into the difference between prestige and dominance status and how moral grandstanding can be used to obtain both types. We then discuss why it's tricky to know if you or someone else is engaging in moral grandstanding, before turning to whether there's a personality type or a side of the political spectrum that's more likely to grandstand. Brandon then delves into why moral grandstanding isn't just an annoyance on social media, but comes with real costs to society. We end our conversation with what we can do about moral grandstanding.  See for privacy information.

    What a Man With 60,000 Books Can Teach You About Lifelong Learning and Building Your Home Library

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 18, 2021 50:38

    Gary Hoover loves books. Among the nine companies he founded was the bookstore chain Bookstop, which was acquired by Barnes & Noble. He has a personal collection of 60,000 books, which he had to purchase an abandoned medical center to house. And he's the author of his own book, which is about books, called The Lifetime Learner's Guide to Reading and Learning.  Today on the show, Gary shares how his fascination with books was born in his youth, why the collection he amassed over the decades is almost entirely non-fiction, why he prefers physical books over ebooks, and why getting your hands on old books can be particularly beneficial in enhancing your knowledge of the world. From there we turn to Gary's method for digesting a book, which allows him to glean its most valuable nuggets in just thirty minutes, without having to read it cover to cover. We also talk about whether Gary takes notes on the books he reads, and how to incorporate more serendipity into the way you do your own reading and build your home library. Check out the show notes at See for privacy information.

    Tips From a Top TED Talker on How to Be Heard

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 16, 2021 49:33

    Julian Treasure knows a thing or two about how to speak well. He's given five TED talks which have been watched over 125 million times, including one on, well, how to speak well, which resides in the top ten TED talks of all time. But as a former audio branding strategist, Julian got his start in the world of hearing, and as the title of his book — How to Be Heard: Secrets for Powerful Speaking and Listening — implies, he believes that if you really want to be a good communicator, you've got to learn how to be a good listener. So that's where we begin our conversation today. Julian shares why becoming a skilled listener is so important, and the practices you can use to do so. We then segue into the vocal part of communication, and Julian shares the four foundations for powerful speaking that apply whether you're talking in a casual conversation or on the TED stage. He discusses what separates the best TED talks from the just so-so, the breathing practice and posture cue that will improve the effectiveness of your vocal toolbox, and how to make your voice more resonant. We also discuss the physical gestures to generally avoid when speaking, including "the placater," and a highly effective tip for refining your body language. Show notes at See for privacy information.

    A Futurist's Guide to Building the Life You Want

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 11, 2021 45:02

    When people hear that Brian David Johnson is a futurist, they typically want him to offer up some predictions for what the world will look like 10, 20, 50 years from now. But Brian will explain to them that being a futurist is less about predicting the future than envisioning possibilities for it, choosing the one you want to build, and figuring out how to get there from the present.  Brian works through this process of futurecasting for Fortune 500 companies and the military, and in his book, The Future You, he shows individuals how they can apply it to their personal lives. He shares what that looks like with us today on the show, beginning with the importance of envisioning the future not as something set that you're helplessly hurtling towards, but as something you can actively change and shape. We then talk about how to do your own futurecasting by figuring out what you want the life of the future you to look like, and identifying the tools and people that can get you there. Brian then explains how to get going towards your desired future and why that future is local. We end our conversation with what all this has to do with a quote from General Dwight D. Eisenhower: "Plans are useless, but planning is everything." After the show is over, check out the show notes at See for privacy information.

    The Hell-Raising Leader of WWII's Filthy Thirteen

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 9, 2021 43:25

    If you have any interest in World War II, then you've surely seen one of the most arresting photographs to come out of that conflict. In it, members of the 101st Airborne Division can be seen sporting mohawks and applying war paint to each other's faces right before they're set to parachute into Normandy. The idea for that pre-battle ritual came from Jake McNiece, part Choctaw Indian and the section sergeant of the Army's notorious "Filthy Thirteen" demolition unit, who had already proved himself a highly unorthodox leader long before the countdown to D-Day. Today on the show, Richard Killblane shares the story of Jake McNiece and the Filthy Thirteen with us. Richard is the author of two books about the unit — The Filthy Thirteen and War Paint — and is himself a veteran of the Army's Special Forces who served at every level in the military from private soldier to company commander, and ended his career as the Command Historian for the U.S. Army Transportation Corps. Richard describes how you could already see the kind of hell-raising-but-effective leader McNiece would become during his youth in Oklahoma, and why McNiece chose to become a paratrooper. Richard then talks about all the trouble McNiece got into during boot camp, how he ended up leading a section of fellow renegades, and why his superior officers kept him around despite his pattern of engaging in deliberate disobedience. Richard then explains what was going on with the Filthy Thirteen's pre-Normandy Invasion mohawks and war paint, and what McNiece and his men did on D-Day and during the rest of the war. Richard explains why it was that McNiece got promoted, despite never changing his rebellious ways, and we end our conversation with his surprising transformation after the war. See for privacy information.

    How to Fight Internet-Induced Numbness

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 4, 2021 40:37

    The ironic thing about our digital devices, is that they promise constant stimulation . . . and yet we find they end up making us feel numb. Numb in terms of struggling to be present. Numb in feeling overloaded with information and choices. Numb in feeling like we often view even our own experiences from a third-party perspective.    My guest today, Dr. Charles Chaffin, has written a book called Numb: How the Information Age Dulls Our Senses and How We Can Get Them Back, which explores the various ways internet-induced numbness manifests itself, from FOMO to choice overload on dating apps. On the show today we focus in particular on how the news media and social media can negatively alter the way we experience life and what to do about it. We first discuss how recovering our sense of engagement with life begins with thinking about the fact that our attention is a finite resource, and being intentional about how we direct that resource. We then discuss how to deal with what Charles calls the "attention panhandlers" who vie for our engagement online. Charles talks about the phenomenon of compassion fatigue, where there are so many worthy causes you could take up, that you end up doing nothing at all. We then discuss how Instagram can change the way you experience life in an age where we can all feel like content creators. We end our conversation with how to wrest back control of your attention, and use it towards action rather than distraction.   After the show is over, check out the show notes at See for privacy information.

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