The Art of Manliness

The Art of Manliness

By The Art of Manliness

The Art of Manliness Podcast aims to deepen and improve every area of a man's life, from fitness and philosophy, to relationships and productivity. Engaging and edifying interviews with some of the world's most interesting doers and thinkers drop the fluff and filler to glean guests' very best, potentially life-changing, insights.


A Kantian Guide to Life

If you've had some contact with the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, there's a good chance you found it abstract, heady, and hard to understand. But my guest would say that it's full of rich, usable insights on how to become better people, and, fortunately for us, she's got a true knack for making Kant's wisdom really accessible.Karen Stohr is a professor of philosophy and the author of Choosing Freedom: A Kantian Guide to Life. Today on the show, she brings Kant's ethical system and categorical imperative down to earth and shares how it can be applied to our everyday lives. We discuss Kant's belief in our great moral potential and duty to improve ourselves, and how his insights can help us make right choices. Karen explains Kant's ideas on the difference between negative and positive freedom, the importance of treating people as ends and not just means, the tension between love and respect, why ingratitude could be considered a "satanic vice," how practicing manners can make us better people, and more.You Kant miss this episode. Sorry, I had to do that.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: Freedom From…Freedom ToAoM Article: Practical Wisdom — The Master VirtueAoM Article: Via Negativa — Adding to Your Life By SubtractingAoM Podcast #292: The Road to CharacterAoM Podcast #421: Why You Need a Philosophical Survival KitAoM Podcast #535: The Problem of Self-Help in a Liquid AgeSunday Firesides: Embracing the Coin of CharacterSunday Firesides: Manners Develop Self-Control (And May Preserve Democracy)AoM Article: Are You a Contemptible Person?MLK's "Loving Your Enemies" sermonOn Manners by Karen StohrOxford's Guides to the Good Life series of booksConnect with Karen StohrKaren's faculty page
22/03/23·52m 53s

Finally Follow Through

You get really excited about an idea to start an exercise program, or become a better partner, or get organized. And then you do . . . nothing. Absolutely nothing.It's said that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Even if they don't send you straight to Hades, good intentions, that go unfulfilled, can lead to real suffering. When you fail to act on your perennial plans for progress, you end up feeling frustrated, demoralized, and stuck.My guest is a clinical psychologist who has spent his career obsessed with how to tackle this stubborn issue of human existence. His name is Steve Levinson, and he's the co-author of Following Through: A Revolutionary New Model for Finishing Whatever You Start. Steve first explains the unhelpful ideas we have about why we don't follow through and that its real cause comes down to a tension between two different systems within us. He then shares the ah-ha moment he had as to how to reconcile these systems in order to consistently follow through on your intentions and offers strategies on how to put his follow-through method into practice. We end our conversation with the idea that the greatest strategy for increasing your follow-through is treating your intentions with a seriousness that borders on the sacred.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: Stop Procrastinating Today With Behavioral ScienceAoM Podcast #444: How to Use the Procrastination Equation to Start Getting Things DoneAoM Article: What Gandhi and a 19th-Century Prussian Prince Can Teach You About Making Unbreakable ResolutionsSunday Firesides: Lash Yourself to the MastAoM Article: The Power of Temptation BundlingSunday Firesides: Do You Take This Habit . . . ?Connect With Steve LevinsonFollowingThrough websiteSteve on LinkedIn
20/03/23·47m 13s

Bat Bombs, Truth Serums, and the Masterminds of WWII Secret Warfare

Many a man has been impressed by the ingenuity of secret agent operations, and intrigued by the subterfuge, gadgets, and disguises required to pull them off. Much of what we think about when we think about spies got its start as part of the Office of Strategic Services, the American intelligence agency during World War II.Here to unpack some of the history of the world of cloak and dagger operations is John Lisle, author of The Dirty Tricks Department: Stanley Lovell, the OSS, and the Masterminds of World War II Secret Warfare. Today on the show, Lisle explains why the OSS was created and the innovations its research and development section came up with to fight the Axis powers. We talk about the most successful weapons and devices this so-called “Dirty Tricks Department” developed, as well as its more off-the-wall ideas, which included releasing bat bombs and radioactive foxes in Japan. We discuss the department’s attempt to create a truth serum, its implementation of a disinformation campaign involving “The League of Lonely War Women,” and its promotion of a no-holds-barred hand-to-hand combat fighting system. We also talk about the influence of the OSS on the establishment of the CIA and controversial projects like MKUltra.Resources Related to the PodcastWilliam “Wild Bill” DonovanOffice of Strategic ServicesWilliam FairbairnTime pencil“Aunt Jemima” explosiveLimpet mineThe bat bombJohn’s article on Operation Fantasia’s radioactive foxesAoM Article: 15 Cool Spy ConcealmentsAoM Podcast #225: The Real Life James BondAoM Article: The History of Invisible InkAoM Article: Why Men Love the Story of the Great EscapeConnect With John LisleJohn on TwitterJohn’s website 
15/03/23·45m 9s

Anxiety Is a Habit — Here's How to Break It

You may think of anxiety as a reaction, a feeling, or a disorder. My guest today says that perhaps the best way to think about anxiety, especially if you want to treat it effectively, is as a habit.His name is Dr. Judson Brewer, and he's a psychiatrist and neuroscientist, and the author of Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind. Dr. Jud and I begin our conversation with what anxiety is, and how it gets connected into a habit loop that can lead to other maladaptive behaviors like drinking, overeating, and worrying. Dr. Jud then explains how to hack the anxiety habit loop by mapping it out, disenchanting your anxiety-driven behaviors, and giving your brain "a bigger, better offer" by getting curious about your anxiety. We also talk about why asking why you're anxious is not part of this process, and end our conversation with how this habit-based approach to behavior change can also work for things like depression and anger.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Podcast #497: The Meaning, Manifestations, and Treatments for AnxietyAoM Podcast #614: Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your LifeAoM article, podcast, and video on hacking the habit loopAoM article on asking "what" instead of "why"Undoing Depression by Richard O'ConnorConnect With Dr. JudDr. Jud's Website
13/03/23·37m 57s

The Fitness Supplements That Actually Work

In your journey towards becoming stronger, fitter, and healthier, there often comes a point where you wonder if taking some supplements will help your progress along. But what fitness supplements are actually effective and worth investing in?Here to answer that question is Layne Norton, a powerlifter and doctor of nutritional science who has a passion for debunking health-related myths and promoting evidence-based recommendations. He’s also, full disclosure, the owner of a supplement company himself. But I don’t have any financial connection to Layne’s company and we keep this conversation neutral and high-level. In our conversation, Layne argues that there are three top-tier research-backed supplements to consider — whey protein, creatine, and caffeine — and we unpack how to use each of them for optimal results. We discuss whether plant proteins are sufficient for building muscle, whether it’s true that creatine causes bloating, acne, and hair loss, how to best time your caffeine intake to energize your workouts, and much more. At the end of our conversation, Layne shares some additional supplements that seem promising for enhancing your health and fitness.Resources Related to the EpisodeLayne’s previous appearance on the AoM podcast: Episode #475 — How to Lose Weight, and Keep It Off ForeverLayne’s supplement company: Outwork NutritionAoM Article: A Primer On Muscle-Building Supplements — Which Work and Which Don’t?AoM Article: Creatine — A Primer on Its Benefits and UseAoM Article: How to Use Caffeine to Optimize Your WorkoutsAoM Article: Chugging Your Protein — It’s Whey Easier Than You ThinkAoM Podcast #285: The Real Science of Nutrition and SupplementsConnect With Layne NortonLayne on InstagramLayne‘s website
08/03/23·43m 44s

The Essential Framework for Understanding The Art of War

You heard about The Art of War, and it sounded pretty cool. So you picked up a copy to read. But you found that, beyond a few of its famous maxims, a lot of this text attributed to the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu was hard to understand, much less incorporate into your life.My guest offers a tripartite framework that can help you get a lot more out of The Art of War. His name is Jim Gimian, and he's an editor of one of the text's translations as well as the co-author of The Rules of Victory: How to Transform Chaos and Conflict—Strategies from The Art of War. Today on the show, Jim argues that The Art of War is a holistic, interconnected text that's about how to approach conflict and obstacles in a holistic, interconnected way. Underlying this approach are three dynamics: Heaven, Earth, and General, which correspond to View, Practice, and Action. Jim and I talk about the importance of constantly orienting and reorienting yourself to an ever-changing world, working with the shih, or energy, in the landscape you're navigating, using action to further refine your perspective, and more.Resources Related to the EpisodeThe Art of War: The Denma TranslationProfessor Andrew Wilson's Great Courses course on Masters of WarAoM Podcast #664: The Masters of the Art of War With Andrew WilsonAoM Article: 43 Books About War Every Man Should ReadAoM Article: Lessons from The Art of War — Good Leaders vs. Bad LeadersAoM Article: The Tao of Boyd — How to Master the OODA LoopConnect With Jim GimianThe Rules of Victory websiteJim on LinkedIn
06/03/23·42m 47s

Why You Like the Music You Do

What albums and songs are getting a lot of play on your Spotify or iTunes app currently? My guest would say that the music you put in heavy rotation comes down to your unique "listener profile."Her name is Susan Rogers, and she's a music producer-turned-neuroscientist as well as the co-author of This Is What It Sounds Like: What the Music You Love Says About You. Today on the show, Susan unpacks the seven dimensions of music and how they show up along a varying spectrum in every song. She explains how everyone has an individualized taste for the configuration of these dimensions, and that how closely a particular song aligns with this pattern of sweet spots accounts for whether you like it or not. Along the way, we discuss artists that exemplify these dimensions, how Frank Sinatra injected virility into his music, how part of your musical taste has to do with the way you prefer to move your body, and much more.Artists and Songs Mentioned in the EpisodePrince's Purple RainBarenaked LadiesThe ShaggsElla FitzgeraldThe RentalsThe KillersTame ImpalaSteven PageJohnny CashCakeJames Brown's "Hot Pants"Yes' "Roundabout"Pharrell Williams' "Happy"Carly Rae Jepson's "Call Me Maybe"Miles Davis' Birth of the Cool and Kind of BlueFrank Sinatra's first hit song "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" (1940) vs. "It Was a Very Good Year" (1965)Connect With Susan RogersThe This Is What It Sounds Like website, including the "Record Pull"Susan's faculty page
01/03/23·53m 33s

Authority Is More Important Than Social Skills

Influence comes down to a person's level of authority. When someone is perceived as having power, status, and worth, others readily follow them and comply with them.Authority isn't just a matter of position. It's also a personal quality.When people attempt to develop their influence or authority, they tend to focus on learning social skills and changing their behaviors around speech and body language.But my guest would say that authority isn't about what you learn but who you are, and that once you establish the right lifestyle and mindset, influential behaviors will emerge as a natural byproduct.Chase Hughes is a behavioral analyst who trains both military operatives and civilians. Today on the show, Chase unpacks the five factors that measure someone's level of authority and produce composure, a state which resides between posturing and collapse. We talk about how so much of authority comes down to having your stuff together, why you should become your own butler, and what Andy Griffith has to teach about leadership. We also talk about the things that kill your authority, and how not to be influenced by false authority.After the show is over, check out the show notes at Related to the EpisodeChase's books:Six-Minute X-Ray: Rapid Behavior ProfilingThe Ellipsis Manual: Analysis and Engineering of Human BehaviorChase's appMilgram experiment"The Social Psychology of Imitated Jaywalking"Chase's Authority Self-Assessment MatrixAoM Article: The 5 T’s of Mastering the Art of PoiseBecoming a Well-Differentiated LeaderAoM Article: Never Complain; Never ExplainSmoke-filled room experimentAoM Article: 8 Reasons You’re Hardwired for SheepnessThe 34 Behaviors That Will Kill Your AuthorityConnect With ChaseHughesChase's websiteChase on IGChase's YouTube channel and The Behavioral Panel YouTube channelChase on Twitter 
27/02/23·45m 57s

Throw a 2-Hour Cocktail Party That Can Change Your Life

When Nick Gray moved to New York City, he was a shy introvert with few friends. But he wanted to build up his social network. So he started throwing cocktail parties to meet people. These parties changed his life, and he thinks they can change yours, too.Nick knows what you're thinking: you don't throw parties, and hosting them is simply not for you. But, he would encourage you not to tune out. He's got a great case for why you should give this idea a try, and just as he does in his book — The 2-Hour Cocktail Party: How to Build Big Relationships with Small Gatherings — Nick is going to lay out exactly how to throw a party that's low stakes and low effort, but will be highly successful in helping you build all kinds of connections.Today on the show, Nick shares what he's learned from throwing hundreds of parties and refining his hosting technique to a T. He explains why cocktail parties are better than dinner parties (and don't have to involve actual cocktails), the best night of the week to throw a party, why the party should only be two hours long and have a firm end time, how many people to invite, and who to invite when you don't yet have any friends. And he explains why he's a big fan of two things you might be hesitant about — name tags and icebreakers — and why two of his favorite things to include in a party are grapes and a harmonica.Resources Related to the EpisodeRelated articles by Nick:How to Host a Party at Home With KidsHow to Host a Digital Nomad Happy HourMocktail Party: How to Host When You Don’t Drink AlcoholHow to Do Icebreakers: The Ultimate GuideEvent Platforms: Pros, Cons, and My FavoritesRelated AoM articles and podcasts:The Manly Art of HospitalityHow to End a Conversation9 Reasons You Should Host a Party This WeekendPodcast #378: Brunch Is HellPodcast #362: The Art of MinglingConnect With Nick GrayNick's websiteNick's newsletterNick on IG
22/02/23·1h 3m

The Myths of Trauma

Among people who experience some sort of trauma, what percentage do you think go on to develop post-traumatic stress disorder? A third? A Half? More?Actually, the answer is 10%. An overestimation of how common it is to develop PTSD after trauma is one of the misconceptions my guest thinks are leading to its overdiagnosis and an underestimation of human resilience.Dr. Joel Paris is a professor emeritus of psychiatry and the author of Myths of Trauma: Why Adversity Does Not Necessarily Make Us Sick. Today on the show, Joel explains what some of those myths of trauma are, including the idea that it's trauma itself which causes PTSD. Joel argues that PTSD is instead created when exposure to trauma meets an individual's susceptibility to it, and he explains what psychological, biological, and even social factors contribute to this susceptibility. We also get into how the methods used to prevent the triggering of trauma can backfire and how the treatment for PTSD will be ineffective if it only focuses on processing an adverse experience.Resources Related to the EpisodeAoMPodcast #788: The Dangers of “Concept Creep”AoM Podcast #555: Dandelion Children vs. Orchid ChildrenFrom Paralysis to Fatigue: A History of Psychosomatic Illness in the Modern Era by Edward ShorterAoM Podcast #440: The 3 Great Untruths That Are Setting Up a Generation for FailureJay Belsky's research on differential sensitivity Video demonstration of EMDRRadical Acceptance Interview with Bruce Wampold as to what makes for a good therapistJoel's other booksConnect With Joel ParisJoel's faculty page
20/02/23·41m 2s

Leadership Lessons from a Disastrous Arctic Expedition

You've probably heard of Ernest Shackleton, and his ill-fated Antarctic expedition. The Endurance, the ship on which he and his crew sailed, famously became trapped in ice, sunk, and set the men and their indomitable leader off on an arduous journey to safety and rescue.But the Shackleton expedition wasn't the only one to meet such a fate, and to become a crucible for leadership. The year before the demise of the Endurance, the Karluk, flagship vessel of the Canadian Arctic Expedition, became icebound and sunk, leaving its crew to trek 80 miles across dangerous ice floes to an island, and its captain to travel 1,000 miles more to obtain rescue for those marooned survivors. Buddy Levy shares that compelling story in his new book Empire of Ice and Stone: The Disastrous and Heroic Voyage of the Karluk, and unpacks it for us today on the show. Along the way, he brings out the leadership lessons in planning, maintaining morale, and embodying endurance you can glean from the expedition's two dominant figures: its ostensible leader, who abandoned the ship, and the Karluk's captain, who did all he could to save its shipwrecked survivors.Resources Related to the EpisodeLabyrinth of Ice: The Triumphant and Tragic Greely Polar Expedition by Buddy LevyEndurance by Alfred LansingAoM Article: Leadership Lessons from Ernest ShackletonAoM Article: What They Left and What They Kept — What an Antarctic Expedition Can Teach You About What’s Truly ValuableAoM Article: Alone — Lessons on Solitude From an Antarctic ExplorerConnect With Buddy LevyBuddy's Website
15/02/23·55m 2s

Jane Austen for Dudes

Years ago, I was flipping through TV channels and came across Hugh Laurie, of Dr. House fame, decked out in 19th-century English gentleman garb. Because I was a House fan, I was curious about what Hugh Laurie sounded like with his native British accent, so I paused my channel surfing to find out.Then I brought up the title and saw that I was watching Sense and Sensibility. "Ugh. Jane Austen. No way I would enjoy that," I thought. I associated Jane Austen with foo-fooey lady stuff. So my plan was to flip the channel as soon as I heard Dr. House talk British.Two hours later, the end credits for Sense and Sensibility scrolled down the screen. I had watched the entire thing. Didn't even get up to go the bathroom.Not only did I watch the whole movie, I remember thinking, "Man, that was really good."Thanks to Dr. House, my resistance to Austen was broken, and I found myself genuinely curious about her books. So I got the free version of her collected works and slowly started working my way through what are arguably her three best: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Emma. And I'll be darned if I didn't truly enjoy them all.If you're a dude who's written off Jane Austen's work as I once did, perhaps today's podcast will convince you that there's something in it for women and men alike and encourage you to give her novels a try. My guest is John Mullan, a professor of English and the author of What Matters in Jane Austen? John and I discuss the literary innovation Austen pioneered that influenced the likes of Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove and will give your social agility a healthy workout. John then explains why soldiers and Winston Churchill turned to Austen during the world wars. We also discuss the philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre's argument that Austen's work was "the last great representative of the classical tradition of virtues," Austen's idea of manliness, and how a man's choice of a wife will shape his character. And John shares his recommendation for which Austen novel men should read first.Resources Related to the EpisodeAoM Article: Why Every Man Should Read Jane AustenEditions of Jane Austen's works available in the public domainEditions of Sense and Sensibility and Emmawith introductions by JohnAoM Podcast #824: Lonesome Dove and Life’s Journey Through UncertaintyRudyard Kipling's short story "The Janeites"After Virtue by Alasdair MacIntyreConnect With John MullanJohn's Faculty PageListen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)
13/02/23·55m 58s

Get a Handle on Your Shrinking Attention Span

Twenty years ago, it didn't seem like a burdensome task to write a handwritten letter to a loved one. Fifteen years ago, it wasn't a big deal to write a long email to a friend. Today, it can feel hard to motivate yourself to tap out a two line response to a text.The feeling that your attention span has been shrinking over time isn't just in your head. Research by today's guest shows that it is empirically getting shorter and shorter.Dr. Gloria Mark is the world's preeminent researcher on attention and the author of Attention Span. If you'd like to get a handle on your diminishing powers of concentration, you have to understand how attention works, and that's what Gloria explains in the first part of our conversation. We then get into how multitasking is like drawing on and wiping off a whiteboard and why it makes us feel so frazzled. Gloria then shares the way that personality influences your attention span, including why people who are more neurotic have the shortest attention spans and why conscientious people may not want to use distraction-blocking apps. We then get into how the internet and the shot lengths of modern movies reinforce our short attention spans. In the last part of our conversation, Gloria makes the case that fighting the hindrances to our attention by trying to be focused all the time isn't possible or desirable, and that our goal should be balanced focus rather than hyper focus. She explains how to achieve that balanced focus by leaning into your unique productivity rhythm, taking breaks without guilt, and developing a sense of agency over your attention.Resources Related to the EpisodeAoM Article: How to Effectively Manage Your AttentionAoM Article: 11 Exercises That Will Strengthen Your AttentionAoM Article: 12 Concentration Exercises from 1918AoM Podcast #420: What Makes Your Phone So Addictive & How to Take Back Your LifeAoM Podcast #553: How to Become IndistractableAoM Podcast #768: Become a Focused MonotaskerAoM Podcast #832: The Power of Unwavering FocusMorningness-Eveningness QuestionnaireConnect With Gloria MarkGloria's Website
08/02/23·50m 17s

The Survival Myths That Can Get You Killed

Surviving in the wild can seem like a romantic proposition, at least as it often plays out in popular culture and our imagination. We picture ourselves confidently navigating the obstacles of nature, pulling trout out of mountain streams, and building a snug shelter inside a tree.But the reality of wilderness survival isn't so rosy. Few people know that better than Jim Baird. Jim and his brother won the fourth season of Alone, a reality show that's actually real, and leaves contestants in the wild to face the elements and live off the land. Today on the podcast, Jim shares his experiences surviving on Northern Vancouver Island for 75 days, and what he learned from them as to what's true about survival and what's simply a myth.Resources Related to the EpisodeSeason 4 of Alone"Four Survival Myths That Could Get You Killed" — Field and Stream article by JimAoMPodcast #848: The 5 Priorities of Short-Term SurvivalConnect With Jim BairdJim on YouTubeJim on IGJim on FB 
06/02/23·51m 43s

Escape the Happiness Trap

Happiness is the subject of thousands of articles, podcasts, and scientific studies. Yet all this focus on happiness doesn't seem to be making people any happier. In fact, the more they try to be happy, especially by fighting to get rid of bad feelings and cling to good ones, the more unhappy people often become.My guest would say that the first step in escaping this negative cycle is redefining what happiness even means — thinking of it not as a state of feeling good but of doing good.His name is Russ Harris and he's a therapist and the author of The Happiness Trap.Today on the show, Russ explains how struggling against difficult feelings and thoughts just makes them stronger — amplifying instead of diminishing stress, anxiety, depression, and self-consciousness — and how simply obeying your emotions doesn't work out any better. He then unpacks the alternative approach to happiness espoused by Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. With ACT, you allow both hard and pleasant feelings to coexist, and unhook from the latter so that they no longer jerk you around. This allows you to focus on taking action on your values to create a meaningful, flourishing life, or in other words, real happiness.Resources Related to the EpisodeAoM Podcast #614: Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life With the Founder of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Steven HayesAoM Article: From Overwhelmed to Empowered — How Labeling Your Emotions Can Help You Take ControlConnect With Russ HarrisRuss' Website
01/02/23·50m 2s

Dante's Guide to Navigating a Spiritual Journey

Dante's Divine Comedy is considered one of the greatest works of literature ever written. The poem not only imagines the three parts of the afterlife, but serves as an allegory for the spiritual journey of the human soul.Here to take us on a tour of the journey Dante describes is Robert Barron, a bishop in the Catholic Church. Today on the show, Bishop Barron offers a bit of background on the Divine Comedy and how it resonates as a story of the search for greater meaning that commonly arises in your mid-thirties. We then delve into Dante's journey through Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. We discuss why Dante can't initially climb the redemptive mountain of purgatory and has to go through hell first, the importance of having a tough-but-encouraging guide for any spiritual journey, why hell is an inverted cone that gets narrower and colder at the bottom, and why traitors inhabit its lowest layer. We then get into what it takes to climb Mount Purgatory, why heaven in the Divine Comedy doesn't get much attention, and what Dante finds when he gets there. Along the way, Bishop Barron describes the meaning behind the religious imagery Dante used in his poem, as well as insights that can be applied to any spiritual journey.Resources Related to the EpisodeDivine Comedytranslated by Mark Musa (Bishop Barron's favorite translation)Word on Fire course on Dante and the Divine ComedyAoM Podcast #527: Father Wounds, Male Spirituality, and the Journey to the Second Half of Life With Fr. Richard RohrAoM Podcast #598: Journeying From the First to the Second Half of Life With James HollisAoM Podcast #518: The Second Mountain With David BrooksAoM Article: Lessons in Manliness from DanteThe Seven Story Mountain by Thomas MertonConnect With Bishop Robert BarronWord on Fire WebsiteThe Bishop on FBThe Bishop on IGThe Bishop on Twitter
30/01/23·56m 32s

Move the Body, Heal the Mind

When we think about the benefits of exercise, we tend to think of what it does for our body, making us leaner, stronger, and healthier. But my guest is out to emphasize the powerful effect physical activity has on our brains too, and just how much our bodies and minds are connected.Dr. Jennifer Heisz is a professor, the director of the NeuroFit Lab which studies the effects of exercise on brain health, and the author of Move the Body, Heal the Mind. Today on the show, Jennifer and I first discuss how physical activity can help treat mental disorders. She shares the way that low to moderate intensity exercise can mitigate anxiety, and how short bouts of intense exercise can be used as exposure therapy for treating panic disorders. We also talk about the phenomenon of inflammation-induced depression, and how exercise can alleviate it. And Jennifer shares how exercise can strengthen someone's attempt at sobriety, as well as prevent addiction in the first place. From there, we turn to the way exercise can not only mitigate mental maladies but actually optimize the mind. Jennifer shares how physical activity fights aging, and can enhance your focus and creativity. We discuss how exercise can improve your sleep, how it can be used to shift your circadian clock, and whether it's okay to work out close to your bedtime.Resources Related to the EpisodeAoM Podcast #589: How Exercise Helps Us Find Happiness, Hope, Connection, and CourageAoM Podcast #741: The Exercise Prescription for Depression and AnxietyAoM Podcast #585: Inflammation, Saunas, and the New Science of DepressionAoM Podcast #775: We Need a P.E. RevolutionAoM Podcast #575: Counterintuitive Advice on Making Exercise a Sustainable HabitThe NeuroFit Lab toolkit for overcoming obstacles to exercising consistentlyConnect With Jennifer HeiszJennifer's WebsiteJennifer on TwitterJennifer on InstagramThe NeuroFit Lab Website 
25/01/23·47m 50s

Kit Carson's Epic Exploits

Within the space for just three decades, monumental episodes of exploration and expedition, politics and violence, including the mapping the Oregon Trail, the acquisition of California, and the Mexican-American and Civil wars, forever changed the history of the United States and the shape of the American West. And one man, an illiterate trapper, scout, and soldier, was there for it all: Kit Carson.In his book Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West, author and historian Hampton Sides follows Carson as a through-line in this extraordinary period. Today on the show, Hampton and I discuss how Kit Carson became a living legend through embellished accounts of his heroics, and yet undertook real-life exploits that were nearly as unbelievable as the tall tales told about him. We explore how Carson joined the grizzled fraternity of mountain men in his youth, and the wide array of skills that helped him excel as a trapper. We discuss how Carson then parlayed those skills into becoming a scout on expeditions that took him from St. Louis to California, over the Rocky and Sierra mountains, and all throughout the wild, rugged West. Hampton shares how these expeditions turned Carson into a national celebrity and what this frontiersman thought of his fame. Hampton also unpacks Carson’s complex relationship with American Indians, and how he respected and adopted the ways of some tribes, but fought against others. We end our conversation with why he decided to become an officer in the Union Army during the Civil War, his initially reluctant and then brutal campaigns against the Navajos, and his legacy. 
23/01/23·43m 39s

How to Win Friends and Influence People in the 21st Century

Over the last year, my 12-year-old son has been doing one challenge every week as a rite of passage and chance to earn a special trip. Some of these challenges have involved reading a book in a week, and the most recent book we gave him to read was How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. His review? He said it was the best book he's read so far.So a book written almost 90 years ago can still be a favorite of a kid in the 21st century. Talk about some staying power. The advice in How to Win Friends & Influence People, and Dale Carnegie's other classic, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, is timeless. But to help introduce it to a new audience, my guest, Joe Hart, has recently co-authored the book Take Command, which synthesizes, updates, and adds to the principles of Carnegie's two perennial bestsellers. Joe is the President and CEO of Dale Carnegie & Associates, which continues Carnegie's work in the present day, and we begin our conversation with some background on the guy who kicked off this work back in 1936. We then talk about what principles we can take from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living on developing a positive mindset. From there, we talk about the big overarching principle of How to Win Friends & Influence People, and how you can use it to improve your relationships. We end our conversation with advice on how to live life with more intentionality and meaning.Resources Related to the EpisodeHow to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale CarnegieHow to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale CarnegieThe Dale Carnegie Website, with links to the Take Command book page and the Dale Carnegie CourseAoM Article: The 8 Best Vintage Self-Improvement BooksAoM Podcast #818: The Philosophy of Self-ImprovementAoM Podcast #457: Leadership Lessons With Craig GroeschelAoM Podcast #527: The Journey to the Second Half of Life With Richard RohrAoM Podcast #518: The Second Mountain With David BrooksConnect With Joe HartJoe on TwitterJoe on LinkedIn
19/01/23·52m 14s

Advice on Achieving Any Long-Haul Dream

In a world that celebrates overnight success, it's easy to forget that very often, achieving your dreams takes a heck of a long time. My guest knows this all too well. You may know Steven Pressfield as the bestselling author of books like The Legend of Bagger Vance, Gates of Fire, and The War of Art, but as he details in his new memoir, Govt Cheese, it took more than a quarter century for him to become a published novelist.Today on the show, Steven talks about what he learned in that journey, and the many odd jobs, from driving trucks to picking apples, that he took along the way. We discuss the lessons Steven gleaned that apply to achieving any dream, including how to overcome a propensity for self-sabotage, get your ego out of the way, finish what you start, and develop the killer instinct. This is a great, motivating conversation on learning not to "pull the pin" on the important commitments in your life. And we'll explain what that means coming up.Resources Related to the EpisodeSteven's previous appearances on the show:#55: The Warrior Ethos #281: Overcoming the Resistance by Turning Pro#692: The Two Halves of the Warrior’s LifeSteven's books mentioned in the show:Govt CheesePut Your Ass Where Your Heart Wants to BeThe Legend of Bagger VanceThe War of ArtAoM Article: 4 Key Insights From the Bhagavad GitaAoM Article: Hector and Achilles — Two Paths to ManlinessSeth Godin's pamphlet for learning to "ship it"AoM Podcast #849: Live Life in CrescendoConnect With Steven PressfieldSteven's WebsiteSteven on IG 
16/01/23·53m 11s

Key Insights From the Longest Study on Happiness

Started in 1938, the Harvard Study of Adult Development represents the longest study on happiness ever conducted. It set out to follow a group of men through every stage of their lives, from youth to old age, to discover what factors lead people to flourish.Here to share some of the insights that have been gleaned from the Harvard Study of Adult Development is Dr. Robert Waldinger, the current director of the project and the co-author of The Good Life: Lessons from the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness. Today on the show, Robert explains how the study has affirmed the absolute primacy of relationships in happiness and how to develop the “social fitness” to make and enrich those vital connections. We discuss what the happily married couples in the study did differently, and why happiness in marriage tends to follow a U-shaped curve which hits its low point in midlife. We talk about how the way you were raised helps set a trajectory for your life, but how it’s also possible to overcome a rough upbringing to become a transitional character in your family. We also discuss the role that friends and work played in the happiness of the men who participated in the study. We end our conversation with what folks in every stage of development — whether youth, midlife, or older age — should focus on to live a flourishing life.Resources Related to the EpisodeAoM Article: Love Is All You Need: Insights from the Longest Longitudinal Study on Men Ever ConductedAoM article and podcast on how and why to have weekly marriage meetingsAoM Podcast #795: The U-Shaped Curve of HappinessAoM Article: You Don’t Have to Be Your Dad — How to Become Your Family’s Transitional CharacterAoM Podcast #742: The Power of Talking to StrangersA Eulogy for My Grandfather, William D. HurstConnect With Robert WaldingerThe Good Life websiteHarvard Study of Adult Development
11/01/23·47m 11s

Heal the Body With Extended Fasting

In the last several years, intermittent fasting — only eating for a short window each day — has gotten a lot of attention, particularly for the way it can facilitate weight loss. But as my guest will explain, going longer than a few hours or even a full day without eating also has some striking, potentially even life-changing benefits too, and may be able to heal a variety of health issues. Steve Hendricks is the author of The Oldest Cure in the World: Adventures in the Art and Science of Fasting. He spends the first part of this conversation offering a thumbnail sketch of the history of extended fasting as a medical treatment. From there, we get into what emerging modern science is showing as to how prolonged fasts lasting days or even weeks can prevent and even cure a variety of diseases, from type 2 diabetes to rheumatoid arthritis. We then talk about fasting's effect on cancer, and how it may address mental health issues by offering a metabolic reset. If you're an intermittent faster, you'll be interested to hear why it is you should ideally schedule your eating window for earlier rather than later in the day. We end our conversation with how to get started with extended fasting.Resources Related to the EpisodeAoM Article: The Spiritual Disciplines — FastingAoM Article: How Intermittent Fasting Can Help You Lose Fat, Gain Muscle, and Get HealthierAoM Podcast #328: The Pros and Cons of Intermittent FastingAoM Podcast #624: The Crazy, Forgotten Story of America’s First Fitness InfluencerHenry S. TannerMinnesota Starvation Experiment Professor Valter LongoAoM Podcast #852: The Brain Energy Theory of Mental IllnessConnect With Steve HendricksSteve's Website, including his answers to FAQs on fasting
09/01/23·54m 37s

7 Journaling Techniques That Can Change Your Life

In my twenties and early thirties, I was a regular journaler. Several years ago, however, I stopped journaling almost entirely because I wasn't getting anything out of it anymore. But my guest has helped me see that my problem wasn't with journaling itself, but that I had gotten into a journaling rut, and he's introduced me to some new ways to journal that have inspired me to get back into the practice. Campbell Walker is an illustrator, animator, podcaster, and YouTuber, as well as the author of Your Head is a Houseboat: A Chaotic Guide to Mental Clarity. Today on the show, Cam shares how journaling transformed his life and what it can do for yours. We discuss why it's helpful to do a journaling brain dump and how to then move beyond that to incorporate different techniques that will help you get greater insight into the problems you're facing and how to solve them. We unpack those techniques, which include how to journal to break mindset, conduct a lifestyle and habits audit, and quell anxiety. We also talk about an experiment Cam did where he only used the social media apps on his phone when he was posting something, and every time he got the itch to check social media for fun, he engaged in something he calls "microjournaling" instead. We end our conversation with how Cam's journaling changed after he became a dad and his tips on making journaling a consistent habit in your life.Resources Related to the EpisodeCampbell's Video: The Journaling Techniques That Changed My LifeCampbell's Video: I Replaced Social Media With Micro-Journaling for 1 YearAoM Article: The Right and Wrong Way to JournalAoM Article: Why I Stopped JournalingAoM Article: 30 Days to a Better Man Day 8 — Start a JournalAoM Article: Jumpstart Your Journaling — A 31-Day ChallengeAoM Article: 31 Journaling Prompts for Building Greater Self-RelianceAoM Article: Quit Catastrophizing AoM Podcast #387: Think Like a Poker Player to Make Better Decisions (With Annie Duke)Connect With Campbell Walker (AKA "Struthless")Cam on YouTubeCam on IGThe Struthless Shop WebsiteThe Struthless Animation Studio Website
04/01/23·50m 10s

Get Fit, Not Fried — The Benefits of Zone 2 Cardio

When most people work out, they jump right from a resting state called Zone 1 cardio to Zone 3 cardio. But in skipping over Zone 2 cardio altogether, they miss out on a significant range of benefits to their health, fitness, and overall well-being.Here to unpack why you need to make the relatively easy yet hugely beneficial form of exercise that is Zone 2 cardio a big part of your life is Alex Viada, a hybrid athlete and coach. We spend the first twenty minutes of this conversation discussing the physiological science of what cardio zones are and what happens in the body as you move from one zone to the next. From there, we turn to the more accessible and practical elements of getting into Zone 2 cardio. Alex shares the easiest way to know if you're in Zone 2, and we discuss how it can improve heart health, metabolism, sleep, and weight loss, as well as enhance athletic performance, whether you're into endurance sports or powerlifting. We then get into the amount of Zone 2 cardio you should be getting each week and how to get it, including Alex's take on the ever-controversial elliptical machine.Resources Related to the EpisodeAoM Article: A Guide to the Biggest Thing Missing From Your Fitness Routine — Zone 2 TrainingAoM Podcast #777: Becoming a Hybrid AthleteAoM Podcast #787: Run Like a Pro (Even If You’re Slow)AoM Article: Conditioning — What It Is and How to Develop ItThe Hybrid Athlete by Alex ViadaConnect With Alex ViadaAlex on IGComplete Human Performance on IG 
02/01/23·1h 12m

Why You Don’t Change (But How You Still Can) [ENCORE]

Anyone who’s ever tried to lose weight, curb their temper, quit smoking, or alter any other habit in their lives knows that personal change is hard. Really hard.Most self-help books out there treat people like machines, blitzing past this difficulty and offering mechanical 5-step formulas for changing your life.My guest today says such simplified solutions hugely miss the mark. He argues that if you ever want to change, it’s more fruitful to understand why you don’t, than figure why you do, and to understand that, you’ve got to go deeper, existential even.His name is Dr. Ross Ellenhorn, and he’s spent his career facilitating the recovery of individuals diagnosed with psychiatric and substance abuse issues. In his latest book, How We Change (And Ten Reasons Why We Don’t), he’s taken what he’s learned in his work and applied it to anyone trying to change their lives.Ross and I begin our conversation with some of those reasons we don’t change, including the existential pressure of feeling like you’re solely in charge of making change happen, a dizzying amount of freedom and number of options for what to do with your life, and day-to-day factors which influence our level of motivation. From there we turn to the role of hope and faith in psychology, and how these forces can both boost and restrain your ability to change. We discuss the way a fear of hope can constrain your life, why you sometimes need to embrace staying the same in order to ever change, and the difference between good faith and bad faith. We then discuss the idea that you don’t develop hope, but can develop faith, and how you build your faith in yourself through embracing humility and taking small steps. Ross then explains why he doesn’t really give advice on how to change, beyond finding the good in a bad habit, but how patience and your social environment can also help.This show’s got some counterintuitive advice that will help you see your struggles differently.Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in PodcastAoM archives on habitsLimiting Your Choices“We Shall Fight On the Beaches” by Winston ChurchillSelf-Efficacy and the Art of Doing ThingsThe Psychology of HopeHow Exercise Helps Us Find Hope, Connection, and CourageThe Tiny Habits That Change EverythingAoM series on overprotective parentingDance Like Zorba the GreekConnect With RossRoss’s websiteRoss on Twitter
28/12/22·47m 26s

How Testosterone Makes Men, Men [Encore]

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 
26/12/22·1h 4m

The Unexpected Origins of Our Christmas Traditions

With Christmas coming up, you're likely in the full holiday swing of things — decorating your tree, eating certain foods, listening to particular music, and buying and wrapping gifts. But did you ever stop to think about why it is you're taking part in this slate of often weird-but-wonderful traditions?Brian Earl has traced the backstories of our Christmas traditions in his podcast and book called ChristmasPast. Today on the show, he shares some of those backstories with us, and explains how many of our seemingly fated and timeless traditions actually came about in fluky and fortuitous ways and are a lot more recent than we think. He first unpacks how Christmas went from being a small religious observance to a huge cultural celebration and how our idea of Santa Claus evolved over time, with our current conception of Old St. Nick being less than a century old. We then discuss how it is we ended up taking evergreen trees inside our houses and decorating them, the origins of the most recorded Christmas song in history, why fruitcake became the butt of jokes, and why hardly anyone roasts chestnuts anymore, on an open fire or otherwise. Brian shares what new Christmas traditions he's seeing emerge and which classic ones are going away, and I offer an important PSA to future parents about Elf on the Shelf. We end our conversation with Brian's tips for getting into the Christmas spirit if you haven't been feeling it.Resources Related to the EpisodeAoM Article and Video: How to Roast Chestnuts on an Open FireAoM Article: Be a Scrooge This Year — Reflections From A Christmas CarolThe evolving image of Santa ClausPew Research study on the changing ways Americans celebrate ChristmasVintage Flintstones Fruity Pebbles Christmas commercialVintage McDonald's Christmas commercialAoM Article: 11 Ways to Get Into the Holiday SpiritConnect With Brian EarlBrian's Website and Podcast
21/12/22·55m 5s

The Affectionate, Ambiguous, and Surprisingly Ambivalent Relationship Between Siblings

For most people, their siblings will be the longest-lasting relationships of their lives, potentially enduring all the way from birth until past the death of their parents. Marked by both jealousy and conflict and love and loyalty, siblings are also some of our most complicated relationships. While a little over half of people describe their relationships with their siblings as positive, about one-fifth classify them as negative, and a quarter say their feelings about their siblings are decidedly mixed. Here to take us on a tour of the complex landscape of sibling-dom is Geoffrey Greif, a professor of social work and the co-author of the bookAdult Sibling Relationships. Today on the show, Geoffrey shares how our brothers and sisters shape us and how our relationship with our siblings changes as we move from childhood to old age. We discuss how the perception of parental favoritism affects the closeness of siblings and how a parent's relationship with their own siblings affects the relationship between their children. Geoffrey explains how most sibling relationships are marked by the three A's — affection, ambiguity, and/or ambivalence — and how the relationship can also become very distant or outright severed. We end our conversation with Geoffrey's advice on developing a good relationship between your children and reconnecting with your own siblings.Resources Related to the EpisodeGeoffrey's previous appearance on the AoM podcast: Episode #360 — Understanding Male FriendshipsAoM Article: Forging the Bond Between BrothersStudy: "How Experiences with Siblings Relate to the Parenting of Siblings"Study: "Differential Effects of Perceptions of Mothers' and Fathers' Favoritism on Sibling Tension in Adulthood"Connect With Geoffrey GreifGeoffrey's Faculty Page
19/12/22·51m 3s

Why Homer Matters

Even though the legendary poet Homer wrote the Iliad and Odyssey thousands of years ago, my guest would say that these epic poems are just as relevant and significant today, and even represent a kind of scripture.His name is Adam Nicolson, and he’s the author of Why Homer Matters. Today on the show, Adam makes the case that the Iliad is really the story of a collision between a more rooted, civilized way of life, represented by the character of Hector, and a nomadic, honor-bound gang ethos, represented by Achilles. We talk about how this collision birthed the character of Odysseus — who was both great warrior and subtle diplomat — and the whole Greek consciousness. And we discuss how that consciousness is also our consciousness, as we’re still wrestling with the warring impulses, dramas and dilemmas, and big questions of human experience Homer gave life.Resources Related to the EpisodeRobert Fagles’ translation of the Iliad and OdysseyAoM Article: Hector and Achilles: Two Paths to ManlinessAoM Podcast #337: What Homer’s Odyssey Can Teach Us TodayAoM Article: 3 Lessons From Homer’s OdysseyAoM Article: What Is Honor?
14/12/22·40m 18s

Befriending Winter

Some people dread winter with its cold weather, long dark nights, and the downcast mood these elements often induce.But my guest would say it's possible to befriend winter, and truly enjoy the rhythms and opportunities that are unique to this season.Micah Mortali is the founder of the Kripalu School of Mindful Outdoor Leadership and an instructor and retreat leader who uses the teaching of ancestral skills to help people develop greater mindfulness and connection with nature. Today on the show, Micah explains why we should consider winter "the night of the year" and how befriending the season involves aligning yourself with its call toward rest and reflection. We first discuss exploring the outdoor world during winter and how learning survival skills like shelter building and animal tracking can help you spend more time in nature, restore your sense of well-being, and simply feel more alive. In the second half of our conversation, we talk about how to improve your interior life during winter, both in the literal sense of making your house more cozy and in the metaphorical sense of turning inward. Micah explains why you should spend one night a week pretending you live off the grid, embrace the power of firelight, and may want to wait until March to make your New Year's resolutions. We end our conversation with why you might want to read The Road this winter.Resources Related to the EpisodeMicah's previous appearance on the AoM podcast: Episode #739: Rewild Your LifeRewilding: Meditations, Practices, and Skills for Awakening in Nature by Micah MortaliAoM Podcast #157: Primitive Pursuits & Winter SurvivalAoM Article: How to Make Pine Needle TeaAoM Article: How to Track Animals — A Primer on Identifying FootprintsTracking and the Art of Seeing by Paul RezendesTom Brown's Science and Art of Tracking by Tom Brown Jr.AoM Podcast #566: How to Have a Hyggely Christmas and a More Memorable New YearAoM Article: 8 Things That Can Help You Get More Hygge This Winter"The Forgotten Medieval Habit of 'Two Sleeps'""Can't Get to Sleep? A Wilderness Weekend Can Help" (Write-up on CU sleep study)WoodWick Candles that crackle when litAoM Article: Carry the FireThe Road by Cormac McCarthyAoM Podcast #760: Cormac McCarthy, The Road, and Carrying the FireConnect with Micah MortaliMicah's WebsiteMicah on IGMicah's Kripalu Faculty Page 
12/12/22·45m 9s

How Polio Made a President

Of the dozens of men who have served as US president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt had a particularly close connection with the citizens he served. The only president elected to four terms, Americans hung FDR's picture up in their homes, wrote him thousands of letters, and regularly tuned in to listen to his fireside chats.My guest would say that much of the depth, gravitas, and empathy Roosevelt was able to convey to the country was not something inborn, but in fact grew out of a tragedy which befell him at the age of 39: the contraction of polio. Jonathan Darman is the author of Becoming FDR: The Personal Crisis That Made a President, and today on the show, he paints a portrait of what Roosevelt was like before he got polio, and how, despite charm and ambition, he was considered shallow and a political lightweight. We then discuss what it was like for FDR to get polio, what he did during years of bedridden convalescence, and how the disease and his rehabilitation changed him. We talk about how the influence of FDR's polio experience can be seen in the way he guided the country through the Depression and WWII, and the lesson in realistic optimism he offers us today.Connect With Jonathan DarmanJonathan's Website 
07/12/22·52m 58s

The Existential in Red Dead Redemption 2

People sometimes ask me what I think of video games. I think that, in moderation, they're a fine source of the kind of passive entertainment we all need little doses of in our lives. But for me personally, I rarely play video games because there's just too much other stuff I'd rather do instead.There is one notable exception to my ambivalence towards video games, however. A game which I played for hours with thorough enjoyment and zero regret: Red Dead Redemption 2. It's a video game that's more immersive and story-like than most others, and even gets you reflecting on the existential layers of life.Here to discuss those deeper layers of Red Dead Redemption 2 with me is Patrick Stokes, a professor of philosophy and fellow fan of the game. We combine two of my favorite things — Red Dead Redemption 2 and the philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard — in a conversation on the existential themes you can find in the game like nostalgia, freedom, choice and consequences, and the certain uncertainty of death.Resources Related to the EpisodeAoM Podcast #790: Kierkegaard on the Present (Passionless) AgeAoM Podcast #635: The Existentialist’s Survival Guide"Art for Trying Times: How a Philosopher Found Solace Playing RedDeadRedemption 2" by Patrick StokesDigital Souls: A Philosophy of Online Death by Patrick Stokes"A Special Way of Being Afraid" — Kathy Behrendt on the fear of non-existence in deathA Very Easy Death by Simone De BeauvoirPhoto of Lewis Powell — conspirator in the Lincoln assassination"The Ruin" poemKierkegaard quote on living life forwardsMimesis as Make-Believe by Kendall WaltonThe Ethical Demand by Knud Ejler LøgstrupPatrick's articles on New Philosopher Connect With Patrick StokesPatrick's WebsitePatrick on Twitter
05/12/22·55m 5s

The Real Rules of Power

Most leadership advice says the same thing: to be a good leader, you need to be generous, humble, and authentic.My guest, professor of organizational behavior Jeffrey Pfeffer, would say that kind of advice may make us feel good and represent the world as we'd like it to be, but it doesn't actually work in the world as it really is. What the research shows does work is what he lays out in his book: 7 Rules of Power: Surprising-—But True—Advice on How to Get Things Done and Advance Your Career.People often have negative associations with power, but Jeffrey would argue that power, and many of the techniques involved in getting it, are morally neutral, and can be used for ill or for good. So if you have a worthy aim and want to grow your influence and move up in your job, you have to get comfortable going after something that may make you uncomfortable. Jeffrey shares how to do that as we take a quick and dirty dive into the real rules of power.Resources Related to the EpisodeAoM Article: How to Dress to Convey PowerAoM Article: The 3 Elements of Charisma — PowerAoM Podcast #403: A Better Way to NetworkConnect With Jeffry PfefferJeffrey's Website with links to his podcast — Pfeffer on Power 
30/11/22·38m 6s

The Brain Energy Theory of Mental Illness

Mental illnesses of all kinds are on the rise, and yet we seem no closer to being able to treat them effectively. We're only able to treat the symptoms of mental illness, but aren't often able to put the illness into remission because its root cause has been a mystery.My guest, however, believes he knows exactly what the root cause of mental illness is, and thus how to finally resolve it for good. His name is Dr. Chrisopther Palmer, and he's a Harvard psychiatrist and the author of Brain Energy: A Revolutionary Breakthrough in Understanding Mental Health. Today on the show, Chris unpacks his theory of mental illness, which basically comes down to this: if your brain cells aren't getting enough energy, they're not going to function properly. He explains how numerous and seemingly diverse mental illnesses, from anxiety and depression to ADHD and alcoholism, actually all have a common pathway: metabolic disorders. While we typically think of metabolism as related to the physical body, it also greatly affects the mind, and Chris explains how you can have the kind of metabolic problems that cause mental illness even if you're not overweight. Chris then shares how certain lifestyle changes, like switching to a ketogenic diet, may be able to completely cure mental illness.Resources Related to the EpisodeAoM Podcast #585: Inflammation, Saunas, and the New Science of DepressionAoM Podcast #793: The New Science of Metabolism and Weight LossAoM Podcast #747: Why We Get SickConnect With Dr. Christopher PalmerThe BrainEnergy WebsiteChris' WebsiteListen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)Listen to the episode on a separate page.Download this episode.Subscribe to the podcast in the media player of your choice.Listen ad-free on Stitcher Premium; get a free month when you use code "manliness" at checkout. 
28/11/22·55m 1s

Overcome the Comfort Crisis

Our world has never been more convenient and comfortable. With just a few taps of our fingers, we can order food to our door, access endless entertainment options, and keep our climate at a steady 72 degrees. We don't have to put in much effort, much less face any risk or challenge, in order to sustain our daily lives. In some ways, this quantum leap in humanity's comfort level is a great boon. But in other ways, it's absolutely killing our minds, bodies, and spirit.My guest says it's time to reclaim the currently-hard-to-come-by but truly essential benefits of discomfort. His name is Michael Easter, and he's a writer, editor, and professor, and the author of The Comfort Crisis: Embrace Discomfort to Reclaim Your Wild, Happy, Healthy Self. Michael first shares how his experience with getting sober helped him discover the life-changing potential of doing hard things, before digging into what fleeing from discomfort is doing to our mental and physical health. We then discuss the Japanese idea of misogis, which involves taking on an epic outdoor challenge, and why Michael decided to do a misogi in which he participated in a month-long caribou hunt in the backcountry of Alaska. Michael shares what he learned from the various challenges he encountered during his misogi — including intense hunger, boredom, solitude, and physical exertion — as well as what research can teach all of us about why we need to incorporate these same kinds of discomforts into our everyday lives.Resources Related to the EpisodeRelated AoM Articles:A Few Lessons From Beating the BottleHow I Learned to Be Comfortable Being UncomfortableShadow Work and the Rise of Middle-Class SerfdomHow the Hero's Journey Can Help You Become a Better ManBe a Time Wizard: How to Speed Up and Slow Down TimeTake the One-Month "Do Something New Every Day" ChallengeLessons on Solitude From an Antarctic ExplorerFasting as a Spiritual DisciplineDon't Just Lift Heavy, Carry HeavyCardio for the Man Who Hates CardioRelated AoM Podcasts:Are Modern People the Most Exhausted in History?Why Are We Restless?Wish You Had More Time? What You Really Want Is More MemoriesThe Psychology of BoredomWeird and Wonderful Ways to Get Comfortable Being UncomfortableWhat You Can (Really) Learn About Exercise From Your Human AncestorsBuilding Better Citizens Through RuckingConnect With Michael EasterMichael's WebsiteMichael on InstagramMichael on Twitter
23/11/22·59m 25s

The Future Is Analog

In 2016, David Sax wrote a book called The Revenge of Analog, which made the case that even as we marched towards an ever more digital future, we were increasingly returning to real, tangible things — choosing vinyl records over streaming, brick and mortar bookstores over Amazon, and in-person conversations over Skype.In the intervening years, the pandemic hit, and, David argues, truly reaffirmed his case, which he lays out in his latest book: The Future Is Analog.Today on the show, David explains how the pandemic gave us a trial run of an entirely digital future, and made us realize we really don't want it, or at least, we don't want all of it. We discuss the drawbacks that came from going virtual with work, school, shopping, socializing, and religious worship, and discuss how we're not as smart when we don't use our embodied cognition, how information is different from education, and why there are few things quite as awful as a Zoom cocktail party.Resources Related to the EpisodeDavid’s previous appearance on the AoM Podcast: Episode #289 — Revenge of the AnalogAoM Podcast #796: The Life We’re Looking ForSonic Boom music store in TorontoNative Summit outdoor store in Edmond, OKConnect With David SaxDavid on TwitterDavid’s Website
21/11/22·53m 47s

The Infidelity Formula

Amongst supposedly monogamous couples, 23% of men and 19% of women have cheated on their current partner, and while studies have long found that men are more likely to cheat than women, that gap has significantly narrowed over time; in fact, married women between the ages of 18 and 29 cheat at a slightly higher rate than men do.Behind cold bits of data like this are the many real stories of infidelity and the heartache and destruction they create. If you're not yet part of the cohort who's experienced the fallout of cheating firsthand, you probably want to avoid joining its ranks. Well, my guest has a formula that explains what three factors add up to infidelity, and once you know it, you can reverse engineer things to prevent those factors from showing up in your relationship.His name is Andrew G. Marshall and he's a marriage therapist with over 30 years of counseling experience. Today on the show, Andrew first shares the breakdown in age and gender amongst the clients who come to see him in his practice and the two stages of life where he's found infidelity to be the most common. Andrew shares his formula for what leads to infidelity, and as we unpack its elements, we discuss how quiet desperation is a major driver of cheating, why men who don't have good male friends are more likely to have an affair, how to know if you're forming an inappropriate friendship that could lead to infidelity, Andrew's seven deadly sins of bad communication, and more. We also talk about the practices that healthy couples use to ward off infidelity, and the best question to ask yourself to start improving your relationship today.Resources Related to the EpisodeAoM Article: The 10 Commandments of Clean CommunicationAoM Article: How to Communicate Your Needs in a RelationshipAoM Article:Can Men and Women Just Be Friends?AoM Podcast #179: The Science of Cheating — How to Prevent and Deal With InfidelityAoM Podcast #550: How to Strengthen Your Marriage Against DivorceSunday Firesides: Dependence to IndependenceSunday Firesides: Give Them the CreamConnect With Andrew G. MarshallAndrew's website with links to his books and his podcast, The Meaningful LifeAndrew on TwitterAndrew on FacebookAndrew on Substack
16/11/22·39m 49s

Live Life in Crescendo

You’ve heard of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. But did you know that its author, Stephen Covey, was in his late fifties when it came out? After it became a monumental bestseller, Covey continued to work on new book ideas, one of which encapsulated his own experience with late-in-life success and his commitment to having an ever-forward-looking attitude. A decade after his death, that book has finally been brought to fruition by Stephen’s daughter, Cynthia Covey Haller. It’s called Live Life in Crescendo: Your Most Important Work Is Always Ahead of You, and its contents really represent the capstone habit to those that came before.Today on the show, Cynthia unpacks the crescendo mentality and how it represents a commitment to continual learning, growth, and change that you can adopt at any age. We discuss how embracing the crescendo mentality is particularly important in midlife, why that stage of life can be uniquely challenging whether you’ve achieved success or are struggling, and the shifts people in each of those situations can make to find greater fulfillment.Resources Related to the EpisodeThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. CoveyThe 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness by Stephen R. CoveytAoM series on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective PeopleAoM Podcast #607: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (With Stephen R. Covey‘s son, Stephen M.R. Covey)AoM Podcast #776: How to Shift Out of the Midlife MalaiseHow Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton M. ChristensenMan’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean CoveyMike Mason, retired FBI bus driverConnect With Cynthia Covey HallerCynthia on IG
14/11/22·54m 5s

The 5 Priorities of Short-Term Survival

While we all wonder how we would fare if we had to survive for months in the wild like Brian does in the book Hatchet, the reality is that most survival situations only last a day or two. You get lost or injured in the woods and have to spend a night out that you hadn't planned on. And as my guest, Dave Canterbury says, as long as you know some basic skills and pack the right gear, you can turn a potentially life-and-death situation into what's just a night of inconvenient camping.Dave is the author of numerous books on wilderness survival, including his latest: The Bushcraft Essentials Field Guide. Today on the show, Dave unpacks the five priorities of short-term survival and what you need to pack, know, and do to deal with the risks of venturing into the wild. We discuss the biggest concern when it comes to first aid, the three elements of a proper shelter, Dave's favorite method for starting a fire, the safest bet for water purification, what to look for in a perfect survival knife, the five knife skills you should master, the essential knots every outdoorsman should know, and more.Resources Related to the EpisodeHow to Use a Tourniquet to Control Major Bleeding6 Trees Every Survivalist Should KnowHow to Harvest and Use Nature’s AspirinHow to Keep Your Course in the WildernessSeries on land navigation6 Unconventional Outdoor SheltersHow to Build the Ultimate Survival ShelterHow to Build a Campfire That Will Last Through the NightThe Ultimate Firestarter: How to Make Char ClothHow to Choose the Perfect Survival Knife5 Critical Knife Skills for the OutdoorsmanHow to Fell a Tree With a Knife7 Basic Knots Every Man Should KnowConnect With Dave CanterburyDave on IG
09/11/22·42m 52s

Overdoing Democracy

When Kate was growing up, her grandfather often told her that when he was serving on a Navy ship during WWII, there were two things he and his fellow sailors never talked about: religion and politics.In the present age, we're apt to think that leaving politics off the table like that is inauthentic, or worse, a sign of being an insufficiently engaged citizen. We're apt to think that the more we do politics, the better the health of our politics.My guest would say that the opposite is true. His name is Robert Talisse, and he's a professor of political philosophy and the author of Overdoing Democracy: Why We Must Put Politics in Its Place. Today on the show, Bob and I discuss how democracy isn't just a system of government but a moral ideal; how the fact that it's an ideal gives it a tendency to extend its reach; and how the particular circumstances of modern times have extended that reach into all of our lifestyle choices, from the car we drive to where we shop. But, Bob argues, there can be too much of a good thing. He says the way politics has saturated everything in our lives creates some negative effects, turning politics into something that parties can market like toothpaste, and making each individual's views more extreme, so that we ultimately get to the point that we can't see our political opponents as people who have an equal say in our democracy. The solution, Bob says, is not to build bridges of dialogue with our political opponents, as is so often advised, but to engage with people in spaces, places, and activities where doing politics isn't the point, and you don't even know the political views of the people with whom you interact.Connect With Robert TalisseRobert's faculty pageListen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)Listen to the episode on a separate page.Download this episode.Subscribe to the podcast in the media player of your choice.Listen ad-free on Stitcher Premium; get a free month when you use code "manliness" at checkout.
07/11/22·54m 30s

Bo Jackson, The Last Folk Hero

In the 80s and 90s, few sports stars loomed as large as Bo Jackson. A Kansas City Royal and an Oakland Raider, he was the rare athlete to play two professional sports. His strength and power seemed supernatural. He soared into end zones, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.13 seconds, hit meteoric home runs, and broke baseball bats over his head for fun. And those were just his documented exploits. Because Bo played in an era before smartphones, stories circulated — that could never be entirely proven or disproven — that he was capable of even more impressive feats. The guy was the stuff of legends.For this reason, Jeff Pearlman has entitled his new biography of Bo: The Last Folk Hero. Today on the show, Jeff and I talk about Bo's Paul Bunyan-esque stature, and the real life behind the legend. We discuss both the flaws and the strengths of Bo Jackson, and how natural talent can be both a hindrance and a help, as we trace his life from an impoverished upbringing as one of ten kids, to how he managed to secure an arrangement where he got to play two professional sports. Jeff explains how Bo never liked to practice — because he was so naturally gifted he didn't need to — why Bo didn't take the deal when the Yankees tried to draft him out of high school, the flash-bulb moments he achieved in college and the pros, how a hip injury ended his football days but didn't entirely finish him off for baseball, and why, after such a neon career, Bo has largely disappeared from the public eye.Bo Highlights Mentioned in the ShowBo going over the top in the 1982 Auburn/Alabama Iron BowlBo running across the outfield wall in BaltimoreBo's first major league at bat against Steve CarltonBo's rookie 91-yard run vs. the SeahawksBo's leadoff homer in the 1989 All-Stars GameBo throwing out Harold Reynolds at home plateBo breaking bats over his knee and headConnect With Jeff PearlmanJeff's WebsiteJeff on Twitter
02/11/22·50m 41s

Magic, Archetypes, and the Mysteries of the Unconscious

There are two parts of the mind: the conscious and the unconscious. While the former dominates your attention, the latter actually occupies far more of the brain, influencing your mood, generating inspiration, and making you who you are, all behind the scenes.My guest would argue that to become all you're meant to be, you have to make your unconscious mind your ally and that this may be life's most important task.His name is Daniel Z. Lieberman, and he's a psychiatrist and the author of Spellbound: Modern Science, Ancient Magic, and the Hidden Potential of the Unconscious Mind. Today on the show, Daniel first offers an overview of the nature, function, and study of the unconscious. From there we discuss Carl Jung's perspective on the unconscious, and his ideas around its archetypes and shadows. We then get into the way that things which are connected to magic and the supernatural, like fairy tales and tarot cards, can be seen as manifestations of the energy of the unconscious and as age-old attempts to confront and understand it. We end our discussion by talking about the quest for individuation, which requires bringing together the conscious and unconscious minds, and how to go about tapping into the power of the unconscious to become a kind of magician yourself.Resources Related to the EpisodeDaniel's previous appearance on the show: Episode #429 — Taking Control of the Brain Chemical That Drives Excitement, Motivation, and MoreKing, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine by Robert Moore and Douglas GilletteAoM's series on the king, warrior, magician, and lover archetypes AoM Podcast #598: Journeying From the First to the Second Half of LifeAoM Podcast #335: Exploring Archetypes With Jordan B. Peterson"The Golden Bird" fairy taleIron John by Robert BlyConnect With Daniel LiebermanDaniel's Website
31/10/22·50m 13s

Life Lessons From The Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone is arguably one of the best and most influential shows in television history. The reason it endures, and is still being watched and talked about more than sixty years after its debut, can not only be traced to its superior storytelling and innovations in the genres of horror, science fiction, and fantasy, but the fact that each episode is embedded with a lesson on how to grapple with life's moral and existential dilemmas.Here to unpack those life lessons is Mark Dawidziak, author of Everything I Need to Know I Learned in the Twilight Zone. Today on the show, Mark and I discuss the parable-like morals from a selection of Twilight Zone episodes, drawn from those that are my favorites, Mark's favorites, and simply classic. And, since Halloween is coming up, Mark and I both offer our picks for the just plain scariest episodes to watch.Resources Related to the EpisodeEpisodes referenced in the show:"A Stop at Willoughby""Walking Distance""Time Enough at Last""A Nice Place to Visit""To Serve Man""Mr. Bevis""Kick the Can""The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street""The Obsolete Man"Mark's picks for the scariest Twilight Zone episodes:"Twenty Two""Ring-a-Ding Girl"Brett's picks for the scariest Twilight Zone episodes:"Living Doll""The Dummy""It's a Good Life"AoM articles inspired by Twilight Zone episodes:Can’t Have the Sweet Without the Bitter (Inspired by "A Nice Place to Visit")How Redundancies Increase Your Antifragility (Inspired by "Time Enough at Last")Sunday Firesides: Things Don’t Get Old, We Do (The illustration is an Easter egg homage to "Walking Distance")Connect With Mark DawidziakMark's Website
26/10/22·55m 7s

7 Ways to Achieve Tranquility by Tuesday

A lot of people feel dissatisfied about how they spend their time. They often feel busy, but that busyness doesn’t add up to anything — not to fun, not to fulfillment, not to memories.My guest, Laura Vanderkam, has spent a lot of time thinking about and studying time, and last year she decided to run an experiment to see if the insights she had gained from that study could help average people get a better handle on their time. She had 150 people try out nine different time-management rules, which were sorted into three categories: Calm the Chaos, Make Good Things Happen, and Waste Less Time. She shares these field-tested strategies from what she called the Tranquility by Tuesday project in her new book by the same name.Today on the show, we talk about my seven favorite rules from Tranquility by Tuesday. Laura explains why you need to give yourself a bedtime, plan your week on Friday, make a “punch list” for tackling small tasks, and more. We also discuss the principle that can allow you to read a hundred books in a year.Resources Related to the EpisodeLaura’s previous appearance on the podcast: Episode #495: Wish You Had More Time? What You Really Want is More MemoriesAoM article and video on how to plan your weekAoM Podcast #743: How to Get Time, Priorities, and Energy Working in Your FavorAoM Podcast #450: How to Make Time for What Really Matters Every DayAoM article and podcast on microadventuresAoM Article: Possibilities in Spare MomentsJeremy Anderberg’s newsletter, where he shares about the many books he readsConnect With Laura VanderkamLaura’s Website
24/10/22·36m 12s

A Guide to Getting Off the Grid

Note: For fall break, the McKays are attempting their first familial backpacking trip. Kate and I have been before, but we've never brought the kids, so this will be fun. While we're out of touch, please enjoy this rebroadcast with Gary Collins about going off the grid for a much longer period of time. Gary unfortunately passed away this fall, but he left a lot of great tips on simplifying your life in this episode. Many dream of leaving the city and all its tethers and obligations and creating a simpler, more independent life farther from the mainstream population and entirely off the grid. But how do you go from that daydream to making such a move a reality?My guest walks us through the process today. His name is Gary Collins, he made the leap himself and now lives off the grid in Northeast Washington, and he's the author of several books on off grid living as well as simplifying your life. We begin our conversation today with why Gary decided to leave his conventional, urban, 9-5 existence to find a freer lifestyle, and how he defines being off the grid. We then get into why Gary thinks you should make the move to living off the grid in a series of steps, the first of which is to simplify your existing life in three main ways. Gary then makes the case for why living in a RV should be the next step in your journey, before discussing the process of finding land for your off grid home, and the factors to consider in picking a locale. From there we get into how those who live off the grid take care of water, sewage, power, and internet, how they construct the house itself, and what to know about the start-up costs involved. We end our conversation with a discussion of getting off the grid in a more metaphorical way by quitting social media, and why Gary thinks you should pull the plug on those platforms, even if you're an entrepreneur.If reading this in an email, click the title of the post to listen to the show.Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in PodcastGary's booksHow to Survive a Grid-Down DisasterHow to Bug-InA Survival Expert's Guide to Bugging-In5 Books to Get the Personal Finance Education You Never HadA Place for Everything and Everything In Its PlaceHow to Get Started CompostingZillow.com4 Lessons From a 4-Week Social Media FastBecoming a Digital MinimalistUtopia is CreepyTheSimpleLifeNow.comListen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)Listen to the episode on a separate page.Download this episode.Subscribe to the podcast in the media player of your choice.Listen ad-free on Stitcher Premium; get a free month when you use code "manliness" at checkout.Podcast SponsorsClick here to see a full list of our podcast sponsors.
19/10/22·54m 46s

What Happened to the Idea of Self-Control?

As long as humans have existed, we’ve had to choose between our lower and higher desires — between what we want in the moment, and what we want in the long-term. As long as humans have existed, we’ve had to exercise self-control.While exercising self-control has always been part of the human condition, our ideas about it have changed through the ages, as have the number of obstacles to doing so.My guest charted the course of these changes in his book Temptation: Finding Self-Control in an Age of Excess, and he takes us on a tour of them today. His name is Daniel Akst, and we begin our conversation with a definition of what self-control is. We then discuss how Freudian psychology and the scientific study of self-control took it from being something the ancient Greeks and Romans considered an essential virtue of character, to something you shouldn’t or even couldn’t exercise. We also talk about what it is about the modern age that makes self-control uniquely difficult to put into practice. We end our conversation with how, despite the addition of complexities and hindrances, self-control remains a fundamental resource in a flourishing life, and Daniel shares practical tips for preserving yours by changing your environment, so you actually don’t have to exercise self-control as much.Resources Related to the EpisodeThe Power and Pleasure of Delayed GratificationThe Kingship of Self-ControlSunday Fireside: Lash Yourself to the MastConnect With Daniel AkstDaniel’s Website 
17/10/22·43m 15s

What People Get Wrong About Walden

The two years, two months, and two days Henry David Thoreau spent at Walden Pond represent one of the most well-known experiences in American literary and philosophical history. Thoreau's time at Walden has become something of a legend, one that is alternately lionized and criticized.Yet though many people know of Thoreau's experience at Walden, and the book he wrote about it, far fewer really understand its whys, whats, and hows.My guest, who's dedicated his career to studying Thoreau, will unpack the oft-missed nuances and common misconceptions about Walden. His name is Jeffrey S. Cramer, and he's the Curator of Collections at The Walden Woods Project, as well as the author and editor of numerous books about Thoreau, including Walden: A Fully Annotated Edition. Today on the show, Jeffrey explains the reason Thoreau went to Walden, which wasn't originally to write about that experience, and which ended up evolving over time. We discuss what Walden Pond was like, the dimensions and furnishings of the house Thoreau built on its shores, and how he spent his days there. Jeffrey explains why Thoreau left Walden, how he was less attached to the experience than we commonly assume, and how the significance of the experience came less from living it and more from writing about it. We then discuss how Walden the book became a classic despite an initially slow start, before turning to what Jeffrey thinks of the common criticisms of it, and the popular impulse to tear Thoreau down. We end our conversation with what we moderns can learn from Thoreau's experiment with living deliberately.Resources Related to the EpisodeAoM Article: How to REALLY Avoid Living a Life of Quiet DesperationAoM Article: The Libraries of Famous Men — Henry David ThoreauAoM Podcast #417: Expect Great Things — The Mystical Life of Henry David ThoreauAoM Podcast #779: The World of the Transcendentalists and the Rise of Modern IndividualismSunday Firesides: Every Man Needs His Own Walden(s)Thoreau's works mentioned in the show:WaldenA Week on the Concord and Merrimack RiversThe Maine WoodsCivil Disobedience Jeffrey's Solid Seasons: The Friendship of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo EmersonKathryn Schulz's critical article on Thoreau and Jeffrey's response to itConnect With Jeffrey S. CramerJeffrey's WebsiteThe Walden Woods Project 
12/10/22·53m 6s

When to Quit

“Don’t be a quitter!” “Quitters never win, and winners never quit!”These maxims encapsulate our usual attitude towards quitting, which is to see it as a bad thing, a weakness, a character defect. We celebrate those who stick with things, who have grit.But my guest would say that quit and grit are just two sides of the same coin, and that quitting is a valuable skill to learn and get good at. Her name is Annie Duke, and she’s a former professional poker player, a speaker, a consultant, and an author. In her latest book, Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away, she seeks to rehabilitate quitting by showing how — whether it’s in the context of ending a relationship, leaving a job, or climbing a mountain — it has essential benefits. We discuss those benefits in today’s show, as well as how to know when to quit. We unpack how whether you should stick with something comes down to an equation of its positive “expected value,” how setting goals too rigidly can get in the way of our being able to assess that value, and the cognitive biases that keep you from quitting when you should. We end our conversation with two strategies for overcoming these biases, including establishing “kill criteria” to give yourself a timetable for how long to go after an aim.Resources Related to the EpisodeAnnie’s previous appearances on the show:#685: How to Decide#387: Think Like a Poker Player to Make Better DecisionsPodcast #210: Got Grit? (With Angela Duckworth)Connect With Annie DukeAnnie’s Website
10/10/22·51m 54s

The Vagabond Travel Ethos

Travel can often be approached as just another consumer good; travelers quickly dive in and out of a place, check off the things they want to see, harvest the requisite pictures to prove they were there, and wear their trip as a status symbol.My guest, Rolf Potts, thinks there's a better way to approach travel. After exploring the world for years, he wrote a book called Vagabonding, which laid out the practicalities of how to execute long-term travel.Twenty years later, he's back with a new book — The Vagabond's Way — with reflections on the more philosophical side of that kind of travel which you can take on any type of trip. Today on the show, Rolf explains the vagabonding ethos, which involves slowing down, being open to surprises, and really paying attention to your experiences. He first discusses how taking an overly romantic view of travel can actually diminish your enjoyment of traveling. We then turn to the idea that seeking to take a more authentic approach to travel shouldn't mean trying too hard to differentiate yourself from "typical" tourists, and how to approach stereotypical tourist stuff with a nuanced view. We discuss how to use the idea of pilgrimage beyond its religious connotations as a pretext for choosing which places to visit. We also delve into how to deal with the culture shock that can come both from visiting a new place, and returning home from a long trip. We end our conversation with how the attentive, adventurous attitude which underlies the vagabond's way can also be applied to exploring your own backyard.Resources Related to the EpisodeRolf's previous book: Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World TravelAoM Podcast #653: The Dirtbag’s Guide to LifeSunday Firesides: This One's for MeAoM podcast and article on microadventuresConnect With Rolf PottsRolf's Website
05/10/22·45m 37s

Can Virtue Be Taught?

The ancient Greeks and Romans thought a lot about what it means to live a virtuous life. They believed that good character was essential for achieving both individual excellence and a healthy, well-functioning society. For this reason, they also thought a lot about whether virtue could be taught to citizens, and philosophers put this thinking into practice by attempting to educate the moral ideals of leaders.My guest, professor of philosophy Massimo Pigliucci, explores what the Greco-Romans discovered about the nature and teachability of virtue in his new book: The Quest for Character. Today on the show, Massimo and I discuss how the ancient Greeks and Romans defined virtue, and what it meant to them to live with arete, or excellence. We then look at case studies of philosophers who tried to shape men into being better leaders, including Socrates teaching Alcibiades, Aristotle tutoring Alexander the Great, and Seneca mentoring Nero. Massimo explains how these field experiments turned out, and the takeaways they offer on the question of whether virtue can be taught. We end our conversation with the ancient insights that have been confirmed by modern research that can help us become better people.Resources Related to the EpisodeAoM article and podcast on practical wisdomAoM articles on temperance, justice, and courageAoM Article: What Is Character?AoM Podcast #771 on Alcibiades and the rise and fall of AthensAoM Podcast #746: The Confucian GentlemanPlato's Meno and ProtagorasAoM Podcast #445: How to Close the Character Gap (With Christian Miller)Marcus Aurelius' MeditationsSunday Firesides: Relationships Over WillpowerConnect With Massimo PigliucciMassimo's Website
03/10/22·42m 20s

The Cues That Make You Charismatic

Charisma can make everything smoother, easier, and more exciting in life. It's a quality that makes people want to listen to you, to adopt your ideas, to be with you.While what creates charisma can seem like a mystery, my guest today, communications expert Vanessa Van Edwards, says it comes down to possessing an optimal balance of two qualities: warmth and competence.The problem is, even if you have warmth and competence, you may not be good at signaling these qualities to others. In Vanessa's work, she's created a research-backed encyclopedia of these influential signals, and she shares how to offer them in her bookCues: Master the Secret Language of Charismatic Communication. Today on the show, Vanessa and I discuss some of the verbal and nonverbal social cues that make you attractive to others, and keep you out of what she calls the "danger zone." She explains what the distance between your earlobes and shoulders has to do with looking competent, how using uptalk and vocal fry sabotages your ability to convey power, how to put more warmth in your voice, how to trigger the right response with a dating profile picture, and more.Resources Related to the EpisodeAoM series on the elements of charisma AoM Article: Gut Check — Are You a Contemptible Person?AoM Podcast #72: The Charisma MythAoM Article: How to Use Body Language to Create a Dynamite First ImpressionAoM Podcast #694: The Fascinating Secrets of Your VoiceJFK vs. Nixon presidential debateAoM article on the generational cycleConnect With Vanessa Van EdwardsThe Science of People Website Vanessa on TwitterVanessa on IG 
28/09/22·44m 28s

Jack London's Literary Code [Rebroadcast]

Note: My guest in this episode, Dr. Earle Labor, died on September 15 at the age of 94. Earle was the world's foremost authority on one of the Art of Manliness' guiding inspirations and lights: Jack London. Earle dedicated his career to London scholarship and his work was pivotal in turning London's literature into a subject of serious study. Earle taught the very first undergraduate and graduate courses devoted to London and penned a hundred articles and ten books about him.Earle not only admired London's devotion to what the author called "the true spirit of romance and adventure," he sought that spirit in his own life. As an undergraduate, Earle started the first weightlifting course at Southern Methodist University and he coached and lifted the SMU team to victory in the 1948 Dallas Open Championships. After college, he and a buddy took an epic road trip, where they did farm work and entered boxing matches to work their way from Texas to Canada. And he served in the U.S. Navy and spent time on a destroyer.I had the privilege of interviewing Earle three times for the AoM podcast. The last time in January 2020, my son and I drove to Earle's home in Shreveport, LA to speak with him in person. To mark Earle's passing, please enjoy this rebroadcast of that conversation.  The literature of Jack London has long been given the short shrift by scholars. They say he wrote some good dog stories for boys, but beyond that didn't showcase any literary genius or high-level craftsmanship. Well, my guest today begs to differ with this assessment. His name is Earle Labor. He's the preeminent Jack London scholar and 91 years young. I've had Earle on the podcast two previous times: the first to discuss his landmark Jack London biography, and the second to discuss his own memoir, The Far Music. For this episode, I drove down to Earle's home in Shreveport, Louisiana to talk to Earle about the overlooked literary genius of Jack London and the big themes that London wrote about in his novels and short stories. We begin our discussion with Earle's story of how he became a Jack London scholar and why London's work was historically neglected by academics. We then dig into London's literary themes by first discussing how he used the Klondike as a symbolic proving ground for men and how success in this wilderness depended on one's ability to mold oneself to Jack's "Northland Code." Earle uses excerpts from my favorite London story, "In A Far Country," as well as "To Build a Fire" and The Call of the Wild, to showcase the tenets of this code, and well as London's literary artistry. Earle then explains how London shifted his themes later in his career with his agrarian writing, how his wife Charmian changed his perception of real women and his female characters, and the influence that psychiatrist Carl Jung had on London's last works.Consider this episode a masterclass on the literature of Jack London.Resources Related to the EpisodeEarl's biography of Jack LondonMy first interview with Earle about Jack's epic lifeMy second interview with Earle about "The Era of Bright Expectations"Martin EdenThe Libraries of Famous Men: Jack LondonJack London's Wisdom on Living a Life of Thumos"The Symbolic Wilderness" by Gordon Mills"To Build a Fire""In a Far Country"Descriptions of Manliness: Jack LondonAoM series on Jack London's life"The Sentinel" by Arthur C. Clarke
26/09/22·1h 6m

Data-Backed Answers to Personal Finance Controversies

Dip your toes into the world of personal finance and you can find plenty of questions which are the subject of endless debate. How much of your income should you save? Is it okay to take on debt? Which is better — renting a home or owning one? When it comes to the stock market, should you buy the dip?On his blog, Of Dollars and Data, my guest cuts through the personal finance noise by finding answers based on numbers rather than conjecture, and then converting this research into advice the average person can understand. His name is Nick Maggiulli, and he's the Chief Operating Officer and Data Scientist at Ritholtz Wealth Management, as well as the author of Just Keep Buying: Proven Ways to Save Money and Build Your Wealth. Today on the show, Nick explains what the data says about how you should approach the questions I've already mentioned. He also shares how to spend your money without feeling guilty by using the "2X Rule," the three criteria you should meet before you consider buying a home, the best way to approach the idea of "dollar cost averaging," and more. We end our conversation with the right mindset to adopt in our volatile economy.Resources Related to the PodcastYour Money or Your LifeThe Value of Debt in Building WealthAoM Article: Index Funds For BeginnersAoM Podcast #536: How to Achieve a “Rich Life” With Your FinancesConnect With Nick MaggiulliNick's blog: Of Dollars and DataNick on TwitterNick on IG
21/09/22·46m 16s

The Power of Ritual

Our lives are populated by rituals. Baptisms. Funerals. Graduations. Singing happy birthday, chanting cheers at a sports event, saying grace before dinner. When we perform rituals, there's no causal link between the behavior and the hoped for effect; for example, there's no causal connection between exchanging rings at an altar and becoming wedded to another human being.But my guest would say that doesn't mean that rituals are useless and irrational; in fact, doing two decades of research on rituals caused him to do a one-eighty on his perception of their value. His name is Dimitris Xygalatas and he's an anthropologist and the author of Ritual: How Seemingly Senseless Acts Make Life Worth Living. Today on the show, Dimitris explains what defines a ritual and how a ritual is different from a mere habit. He shares how a greater understanding of ritual is upending our theories of human civilization, and the idea that "first came the temple, and then the city." Dimitris describes how rituals can be seen to have their own kind of logic and purpose, as they build trust and togetherness, serve as an effective way to deal with stress, signal someone's commitment to a group, and ultimately contribute to people's overall well-being.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM series on the power of ritualAoM Article: How to Turn an Ordinary Routine Into a Spirit-Renewing RitualAoM Article: Male Rites of Passage From Around the WorldAoM Podcast #505: A Man’s Need for RitualGobekli Tepe: The World’s First Temple?The Toraja people, who live with their deadConnect With Dimitris XygalatasDimitris' WebsiteListen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!) 
19/09/22·44m 34s

The 7 Types of Work Jerks (And How to Deal With Them)

You're working under a boss who really rubs you the wrong way. So you quit your job and take another. But in your new office, you find yourself stuck with a co-worker who bugs the tar out of you.The presence of annoying, incompetent, and underhanded people isn't a particular workplace problem, but a universal human problem. In any and every group of people, there are going to be bothersome and troublesome personalities.So if you can't entirely escape them, how do you get along with your fellow humans at work? My guest today has some research-backed advice. Her name is Tessa West, and she's a professor of psychology and the author of Jerks at Work: Toxic Coworkers and What to Do About Them. Today on the show, Tessa describes the seven types of jerks you run into at work — the kiss-up/kick-downer, credit stealer, bulldozer, free rider, micromanager, neglectful boss, and gaslighter — and shares what drives their respective behaviors and how to deal with them.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: How to Deal With Bad CoworkersLet Me Google That For YouAoM Podcast #627: How to Deal With Jerks, Bullies, Tyrants, and TrollsAoM Podcast #799: Getting Along Is OverratedAoM Podcast #559: How to Handle Difficult ConversationsConnect With Tessa WestTessa's Website
14/09/22·52m 30s

A World War II Story of Survival, Love, and Redemption

Amidst the epic clashes of armies and navies that make war such a fascinating subject, lie the smaller human interest stories that prove just as compelling. One such story is that of World War II soldier Joe Johnson Jr., which is told by Marcus Brotherton in a newly published book called A Bright and Blinding Sun: A World War II Story of Survival, Love, and Redemption. Today on the show, Marcus shares how Joe sought to escape the pressures of a broken family and the Great Depression by joining the US Army at age fourteen. We discuss how Joe ended up in the Philippines, fell in love with a teenage prostitute named Perpetua there, and helped smuggle her out of her brothel. We then get into how Joe was captured by the Japanese, and the harrowing experience he had to endure as a prisoner of war, including being locked in a box smaller than a coffin. We end our conversation with a discussion of Joe’s life after the war, and Marcus shares what happened to Perpetua, how Joe dealt with all the trauma he had experienced when he was really still just a kid, and what lessons Marcus has taken away from Joe’s life.Resources Related to the PodcastMarcus‘ previous appearances on the podcast:Episode #1: We Who Are Alive and RemainEpisode #44: Voices of the PacificArticles Marcus has written for AoMBook Marcus wrote with Buck Compton — Call of Duty: My Life Before, During and After the Band of BrothersConnect With Marcus BrothertonMarcus‘ Website
12/09/22·44m 7s

The Power of Unwavering Focus

When you were a kid, teachers and parents probably told you to concentrate. And as an adult, you likely often think about how much more productive, present, and happy you'd be if only you had better focus. But despite how much we think about our desire to improve our focus, no one ever gets any training in how to do it and even explains what focus is, exactly.My guest today is an exception to that rule. He was taught the secrets to concentration when he spent ten years as a Hindu monk, and today he's on a mission to share them with others. His name is Dandapani, and he continues to live as a Hindu priest, though he's now also an entrepreneur and author, with a book just published called The Power of Unwavering Focus. Today on the show, Dandapani defines focus and shares the existential reasons why developing yours is so vital. He explains how that development begins with understanding how the mind is different from awareness, that where awareness goes, energy flows, and the need to bring awareness to attention. We walk through how to stop practicing distraction and start practicing concentration by making each of your daily activities a focused practice, and ultimately, making your whole day a practice. We also discuss how daily sessions of meditation are inadequate for developing focus, how mindfulness is different than concentration, and how the ability to control and direct your awareness is one of the greatest powers you can possess.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Podcast #168: The Value of Deep Work in the Age of DistractionAoM Article: What Every Man Ought to Know About FocusAoM Article: How to Effectively Manage Your AttentionAoM Article: 11 Exercises That Will Strengthen Your AttentionAoM Article: 12 Concentration Exercises from 1918AoM Podcast #768: Become a Focused MonotaskerConnect With DandapaniDandapani's Website
07/09/22·58m 28s

The Character Traits That Drive Optimal Performance [REBROADCAST]

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.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: The 6 Types of Grit (And How to Develop Them)AoM Podcast: The Hell-Raising Leader of WWII’s Filthy ThirteenAoM Podcast #675: The Humble, Narcissistic LeaderAoM Article: How to Develop Situational AwarenessAoM Article: Being DecisiveSunday Firesides: Self-Discipline for What?Connect With Rich DivineyThe Attributes Website
05/09/22·46m 50s

Grappling With Life's "Wild Problems"

As an economist, Russ Roberts has been taught to approach decision-making by conducting an analysis, weighing tradeoffs, and then rationally budgeting resources to get the most bang for his buck. But as he explains in his new book, Wild Problems: A Guide to the Decisions That Define Us, he found this approach woefully inadequate for grappling with life's biggest decisions — things like figuring out whether to get married or how to live a meaningful life.Today on the show, Russ and I delve into why the pros and cons approach to decision-making is inadequate when facing what he calls "wild problems." Russ explains that what makes life's big decisions so difficult to deal with is the fact that we don't know what they'll be like before we make them, the decisions themselves will transform us into different people, and their effects can be permanent, making such decisions akin to choosing to become a vampire. From there we turn to strategies for dealing with the inherent uncertainty around wild problems, including looking beyond basic happiness, considering tradition, and trying things out by experience.Resources Related to the PodcastRuss' previous appearance on the show: Episode #91 — How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life Transformative Experience by L.A. HallNicomachean Ethics by Aristotle Chesterton’s FenceAoM Podcast #774: How to Make Life’s Big DecisionsAoM Podcast #486: How to Get Better at Making Life-Changing DecisionsConnect With Russ RobertsRuss' WebsiteRuss on Twitter
31/08/22·41m 47s

How to Read Minds and Detect Deception

Being adept at discerning people’s true thoughts and intentions is a valuable skill to have. Knowing when someone is deceiving you can protect your finances, your professional interests, and your loved ones.Here to teach us some of the elements of this skill is Dr. David Lieberman, who’s a psychotherapist, a consultant to the military and other intelligence and defense agencies, and the author of Mindreader: The New Science of Deciphering What People Really Think, What They Really Want, and Who They Really Are. Today on the show, David explains why verbal cues offer a better window into people’s minds than body language, and the clues to look for in both spoken and written speech that can indicate whether someone is honest or deceptive. We also get into how to detect whether someone is mentally healthy or not, including the signs that you’re dealing with a psychopath.Resources Related to the PodcastDavid’s last appearance on the show: Episode #489 — How to Get a Handle on Your AngerThe Secret Life of Pronouns by James PennebakerAoM Podcast #364: How to Know When Someone Is Lying (From a Former CIA Officer)Ego syntonic and dystonicAoM Podcast #769: The New Science of NarcissismConnect With David LiebermanDavid on LinkedInDavid on Instagram
29/08/22·45m 7s

The Bicycle as Freedom and Flight

No kid forgets getting his first bike, nor the surge of independence he felt the first time he pedaled away from his parents. And even as adults, the bike seems to give off a feeling of romance, of freedom, and, when you get going fast enough, even of flying.The special allure of the bicycle can really be traced back to its simple yet elegant design, and my guest today will unpack the intriguing history of its creation. His name is Jody Rosen, and he’s the author of Two Wheels Good: The History and Mystery of the Bicycle. Today on the show, Jody explains the origins of the bicycle’s design, including how it was an anachronism at its birth, may have been inspired by a volcanic eruption, and helped liberate mankind from dependence on draft animals for transportation and exploration. We also get into how the bicycle was associated with flight right from the start. Along the way, we discuss how cycling represents an uncanny fusion of man and machine and produces a set of one-of-a-kind pleasures.This episode will make you want to mount your trusty bicycle steed and take a ride.Resources Related to the PodcastKarl Freiherr von Drais and his Laufmaschine, aka the velocipede, aka the dandy horseThe penny-farthing or high wheelAoM Article: How to “Teach” a Kid to Ride a Bike (Without Having to Teach Them at All)Connect With Jody RosenJody’s Website
24/08/22·31m 40s

The Groundhog Day Roadmap for Changing Your Life

Do you feel stuck in life? Inwardly you keep repeating the same thoughts, outwardly you keep repeating the same routine, and on and on a cycle of unhappy disappointment goes.To break the cycle, maybe what you need to do is watch a film that has become synonymous with this kind of stuck-ness — Groundhog Day — which my guest says contains the roadmap to escaping a life lived on autopilot. His name is Paul Hannam, he’s the author of The Wisdom of Groundhog Day: How to Improve Your Life One Day at a Time, and today on the show, Paul unpacks the deeper philosophical layers of what’s considered one of the best movies of all time. Paul explains how the film teaches us that to escape the ruts of what he calls the “Groundhog Day condition,” we must first make an inner change where we learn to approach life in a more grateful, present-focused, engaged way. From there, we can embrace the film’s unique strategy for change, which is to experiment with doing something new every day, thereby refining and improving our lives through the process of trial, error, and progressive improvement.Resources Related to the PodcastGroundhog DayAoM Article: Getting Over the Horror of the Same Old ThingAoM article on Nietzche’s idea of eternal return Sunday Firesides: Eternity Is NowSunday Firesides: Care, But Don’t CareSunday Firesides: Life Is a Skill — Practice ItAoM Podcast #676: Stop Living on Autopilot and Take Responsibility for Your LifeAoM Article: The Right and Wrong Way to JournalConnect With Paul HannamPaul’s WebsiteListen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)
22/08/22·43m 20s

Where You Should Live When You Could Live Anywhere

When we think about people who can live anywhere, we tend to think about corporate-employed remote workers and online entrepreneurs. But many other kinds of professionals, from teachers to doctors, could hypothetically find a job anywhere, and thus live anywhere they’d like.If you’re what my guest Melody Warnick calls an “anywhereist” and have seriously or casually considered moving somewhere else, today we’ll talk through the factors to consider in making that decision. Melody is the author of If You Could Live Anywhere: The Surprising Importance of Place in a Work-from-Anywhere World, and in today’s conversation we discuss the factors that you should include in what she calls a “location strategy,” from the cost of living in a place to whether it allows you to build the kinds of relationships you’re looking for. We also talk about how the place you live can be part of your purpose in life and the elements that contribute to an overall quality of life.Resources Related to the PodcastMelody‘s previous appearance on the AoM Podcast: Episode #227 — The Art & Science of Loving the Place You LiveMelody‘s previous book — This Is Where You Belong: Finding Home Wherever You AreTulsa’s remote worker programMake My Move — website which catalogs the various offers cities are making to entice people to move thereCNN’s cost of living calculator AoM Article: How to Make Friends in a New CityConnect With Melody WarnickMelody‘s Website
17/08/22·45m 31s

From Novice to Advanced — The Weightlifter's Journey

I've been barbell lifting for seven years. In that time I've hit some personal records that I'm proud of: a 615-lb deadlift, 225 shoulder press, and 465 squat. The last couple years though, I haven't notched these kinds of big milestones for a combination of reasons, including dealing with injuries, having less time, and experiencing a shift in motivation.A lot of lifters, as well as amateur athletes of all kinds, will follow a similar trajectory as they move from first starting out to getting deeper into their fitness journey. Here to walk us through the phases of that journey is my own strength coach, Matt Reynolds, who's the founder of Barbell Logic Online Coaching. Matt talks about how the things his lifters focus on change as they move from beginner, to intermediate, to advanced, and why it takes longer to get stronger the longer you've been lifting. We then discuss how to rediscover your motivation for training once progress in your one rep maxes slows down by finding new PRs to chase and learning to enjoy the process over the outcome. We also get into how to stay consistent with your workouts when life gets busier as you get older, as well as how to deal with common injuries — both the injuries themselves and the mental game of working through them.Resources Related to the PodcastMatt’s previous appearance on the AoM podcast: Episode #154 — Strength Training for EveryoneThe BarbellLogic PodcastAoM Article: Why Every Man Should Be StrongAoM Article: Motivation Over Discipline AoM Article: How to Treat Bicep TendonitisAoM Article: How to Treat Adductor TendonitisAoM Article: The Starr Protocol for Rehabbing Muscle Tears and StrainsConnect With Matt ReynoldsMatt at BarbellLogic
15/08/22·56m 58s

Tactics and Mindset Shifts for Making the Most of Life

Matthew Dicks wears a lot of hats. Among other things, he's a storyteller, communications consultant, writer, and schoolteacher. In order to excel in his professional life, as well as do what he loves in his personal life, he's developed a set of strategies that help him be more creative and productive, and can be used by anyone who wants to start making the most of life.Matt writes about these tactics and mindset shifts in his latest book Someday Is Today: 22 Simple, Actionable Ways to Propel Your Creative Life, and he shares some of them with us today on the show, including why you need to think in minutes, be an eagle rather than a mouse, practice deliberate incuriosity, and always do your best to act like a decent human being. Along the way, Matt and I talk about why you should floss in the shower and how restaurants that make guacamole at your table are a great example of the folly of making a thing, a thing.Resources Related to the PodcastMatt's previous appearance on the AoM Podcast: Episode #462 — How to Tell Better StoriesAoM Article: The 7 Habits — Begin With the End in MindMatthew telling the story of how he was robbed AoM Article: Possibilities in Spare MomentsConnect With Matthew DicksMatthew’s WebsiteListen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)
10/08/22·54m 57s

Lonesome Dove and Life's Journey Through Uncertainty

If you've been listening to this show or reading the AoM website for awhile, then you likely know what my favorite book of all time is: Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry.It's therefore my real pleasure to be able to talk all about that novel today with Steven Frye, professor of American literature and author of Understanding Larry McMurtry. We last had Steve on the show to talk about The Road by Cormac McCarthy. In this episode, we unpack Lonesome Dove, beginning with some background on McMurtry, and the style and themes he explores in his work. From there we turn to Lonesome Dove, and its surprising influences, from Jane Austen to Cervantes. Steve and I explore the characters of Augustus McCrae and Woodrow Call, how they can represent the archetypes of the Epicurean and the Stoic, and what we can learn from their friendship. We also talk about the complexities of other characters in the novel, and end our conversation with why Lonesome Dove, despite not having a stereotypically happy ending, is such a life-affirming book.A spoiler alert here: We are going to reveal plenty of plot points in this discussion, so be aware of that if you haven't yet read Lonesome Dove.After the show is over, check out the show notes at Related to the PodcastBooks by Steven Frye, including his novel Dogwood CrossingSteve's last appearance on the show: Episode #760 — Cormac McCarthy, The Road, and Carrying the FireLonesome Dove by Larry McMurtryLonesomeDove, the television miniseriesAoM Article: Why Every Man Should Read Jane AustenAoM Article: The Tragic, Liberating Message About Manliness Hidden in American Tall TalesSunday Fireside: Get on Your Horse and KickAoM Article: Gut Check — Are You a Contemptible Person?AoM Article: Books So Good I’ve Read Them 2X (Or More!)Connect With Steven FryeSteve’s WebsiteListen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)
08/08/22·1h 6m

Future-Proof Your Body by Practicing Good Posture

A lot of us have niggling bodily pains. A bum knee, a tight hip, an achy back. My guest would say that the cause of those maladies, as well as their cure, can likely be traced to a common source: your posture.His name is VinhPham and he's a physical therapist and the author ofSit Up Straight: Future-Proof Your Body Against Chronic Pain with 12 Simple Movements. Today on the show, Vinh explains the problems that can arise when we don't stand and sit properly, and simply sit too much in general, and how those problems can be prevented by practicing good posture. He explains what good posture looks like when you're sitting and standing, and the cues that will help keep your body well-aligned. Vinh shares the ideal ratio of sitting to standing to aim for throughout the day, and a better way to hold your phone so you don't get something called "tech neck." Vinh then walks us through some exercises you can do to address physical issues you may already have, from tight shoulders and hips to lower back pain.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: The Ultimate Guide to PostureAoM Article: De-Quasimodo Yourself — 6 Exercises to Counteract SlouchingAoM Article: 7 Simple Exercises That Undo the Damage of SittingAoM Podcast #213: Undoing the Damage of Chronic SittingAoM Article: The History, Benefits, and Use of Standing DesksConnect With Vinh PhamMyodetoxVinh on IG
03/08/22·38m 56s

Developing the Warrior Within

As a member of the Ottawa Tribe and someone who's worked with over five hundred tribal nations, my guest has long been inspired by his Native American culture and heritage, particularly the tradition of native warriors. And he thinks those warriors have much to teach all modern people about work, life, and leadership.His name is D.J. Vanas and he's the author of The Warrior Within: Own Your Power to Serve, Fight, Protect, and Heal. Today on the show, D.J. explains what the warrior spirit is, and how important it is for everyone to cultivate, especially those who want to lead, serve, and live with a purpose bigger than the self. He takes principles of Native American tradition and philosophy, including living off the land, taking a vision quest, counting coup, being a firekeeper, and developing toughness, and shows how they apply to anyone who's looking to develop resilience, achieve their goals, and make a positive impact on the world.Resources Related to the PodcastOttawa TribeAoM series: Lessons from the Sioux in how to develop situational awareness, mental and physical toughness, and spirituality, as well as how to turn a boy into a manAoM Podcast #526: The Rise and Fall of the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American HistoryPodcast #633: The World and Vision of Lakota Medicine Man Black ElkAoM Article: You May Be Strong, But Are You Tough?AoM article on creating a personal mission statementAoM Article: 20 Battle Cries Through the AgesConnect With D.J. VanasD.J.'s Website
01/08/22·47m 11s

Physical Benchmarks Every Man Should Meet, At Every Age [REBROADCAST]

As men, we all want to be physically capable. We want to be able to save our own life in two ways: in the more metaphorical sense of wanting to preserve it in healthy, fit form for as long as possible, and in the more literal sense of being able to make it through an emergency unscathed. How do you know if you do possess that kind of lifesaving physical capability?It’s time to do more than wonder, and really check in with yourself. My guest today has some helpful benchmarks that guys from age 8 to 80 can use to see if they’ve got an operative level of strength, mobility, and conditioning. His name is Dan John, and he’s a strength coach and the author of numerous books and articles on health and fitness. Dan walks us through the fitness standards the average male should be able to meet from childhood to old age, beginning with the assessments he gives to those who are 55 years old and older, which includes carrying their body weight, a long jump, and something called “the toilet test.” We then reach back to childhood, and Dan discusses the physical skills kids should become adept in, which were inspired by a turn-of-the-20th-century physical culturist who thought every individual ought to be able to save his own life, and which can be broken down into the categories of pursuit, escape, and attack. We end our conversation with the physical standards those in the 18-55 range should be able to meet, including how much a man should be able to bench press, squat, and deadlift, and the walking test that’s an excellent assessment of your cardiovascular conditioning.Resources/Articles/People Mentioned in PodcastMy first and second interview with Dan10 Things Every Lifter Should Be Able to DoDon’t Just Lift Heavy, Carry HeavyTake the Simple Test That Can Predict Your MortalityThe 10 Physical Skills Every Man Should MasterHow to Achieve Physical AutonomyThe History of Physical FitnessEvery Man Should Be Able to Save His Own Life12 Balance Exercises You Can Do on a 2×4Shaker PlateBreak Out of Your Cage and Stop Being a Human Zoo AnimalConnect With (use code “artofman” for a discount) Dan on FacebookDan’s website 
27/07/22·33m 30s

Routines Are Overrated

You struggle with being productive. So you decide you need to establish a routine for yourself. You get real gung-ho about this routine — this is going to be the thing that changes everything! But then you fail to stick to it. So you flagellate yourself for that failure and decide what you need is a different routine. But then you don’t stick with that routine either. The cycle then repeats itself, leaving you no more productive than you were at the start.My guest, Madeleine Dore, found herself stuck in this cycle. So she decided to start interviewing successful creative types to get their secrets to an optimal routine. Yet these folks would confide to her a different secret: they actually didn’t have a routine either.Madeleine has come to believe something that I’ve discovered too: routines aren’t all they’re cracked up to be and you can actually still be very creative and productive even if you go about each day in a looser, more ad-hoc fashion.Today on the show, I talk to Madeleine, who’s the author of I Didn’t Do the Thing Today: Letting Go of Productivity Guilt, about how the all-or-nothing thinking which surrounds routines can actually sabotage our effectiveness. We then discuss alternatives to keeping a strict routine that still allow you to get stuff done, including moving to a “portable routine,” taking advantage of “splodge time,” and embracing cycles and seasons in your work. We also discuss other ways to let go of unuseful productivity guilt, including setting realistic expectations and not eating the frog first.Resources Related to the PodcastHow to Live on Twenty-four Hours a Day by Arnold BennettAustin KleonAoM article on the “possibilities in spare moments”AoM article on Emerson, pear trees, and the seasons of lifeAoM article on famous men who took advantage of “splodge time” to become a successAoM Podcast #602: The Case for Being UnproductiveConnect With Madeleine DoreMadeleine’s WebsiteMadeleine on IG
25/07/22·43m 21s

Escape the Safety Trap

We like to think that our personal safety and the safety of our loved ones is something that other people — law enforcement, school administrators, social media moderators — will take care of for us. My guest today, Spencer Coursen, would say that while this mindset may help us feelsafe, it's actually when we feel the most safe, that we're in the greatest danger. Spencer — who's a combat veteran and a threat management expert — calls this paradox "the safety trap," and he's the author of a book of the same name. Today on the show, Spencer shares the factors that can put us in the safetytrap, and ways to escape it. We discuss how an avoidance mindset and a reliance on false authority can put us in greater danger, how the run-hide-fight rubric for responding to an active shooter has been misapplied, and how being too polite can get you killed. From there we turn to ways you can take responsibility for your own safety, including knowing the warning signs that someone may take violent action and staying physically fit. We also discuss what to do if people are sending you potentially threatening messages online.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: What to Do in an Active Shooter SituationAoM Podcast #513: Be Your Own BodyguardPodcast #688: Protection for and from HumanityRadio Lab: No Special DutyConnect With Spencer CoursenThe SafetyTrap WebsiteSpencer on LinkedInSpencer on Twitter
20/07/22·45m 28s

What Made JFK So Compelling?

Despite assuming the presidency from the 20th century’s narrowest election victory, John F. Kennedy captivated the American public’s imagination, even before his untimely death.  What was it that made JFK so compelling in his own time, and continues to contribute to his enduring appeal today?We dive into the answer to that question by unpacking some of Kennedy’s personal qualities and complexities with Mark Updegrove, author ofIncomparable Grace: JFK in the Presidency. We begin our conversation with how JFK’s upbringing and war experience shaped him. We talk about his leadership style while in office, how he intentionally cultivated his cool and appealing image, and what his wife Jackie added to that image. Mark explains what was behind Kennedy’s infamous affairs, and how JFK championed physical fitness despite being in tremendous physical pain himself. We end our conversation with the traits that worked both for and against JFK’s success as president. Resources Related to the PodcastProfiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy Addison’s DiseaseJFK on “The Soft American”JFK’s Inaugural SpeechJFK’s Moon SpeechAoM Article: Take the TR/JFK 50-Mile ChallengeConnect with Mark UpdegroveMark at the LBJ Presidential LibraryMark’s Podcast: With the Bark Off — Conversations on the American Presidency
18/07/22·43m 2s

The Philosophy of Self-Improvement

There are thousands of books, podcasts, and social media posts about how to be more productive, strengthen your relationships, find your purpose, and be your all-around best self. And there are legions of programs and seminars out there designed to help you improve your life. All together, self-help represents a multi-billion dollar industry.But despite its ubiquity and cultural influence, you may never have thought about the deeper underpinnings of self-improvement. My guest has. In fact, her research led her to add being a life coach to her academic work as a professor of cultural history, surely creating one of the most unique career combinations. Her name is Anna Schaffner and she's the author of The Art of Self-Improvement: Ten Timeless Truths. Anna and I begin our conversation with how the idea of self-improvement, far from being a recent, Western phenomenon, traces back to antiquity and can be found across cultures. We discuss how self-help reflects what a culture values, and changes based on a culture's conception of selfhood, agency, and the relationship between the individual and society. From there we turn to a few of the timeless principles of self-improvement — self-control, being virtuous, and building positive relationships — looking both at how they were tackled anciently, as well as more modern angles that can also be helpful. We discuss the downside of taking a strictly Stoic approach to life, the idea of making virtue a habit, and how Dale Carnegie can be seen as a modern Machiavelli, in a good way. We end our conversation with Anna's four favorite self-improvement books.Resources Related to the PodcastAnna's previous appearance on the show — Episode #476: Are Modern People the Most Exhausted in History?AoM Podcast #377: 12 Rules for Life With Jordan PetersonBildungAoM Podcast #614 with Stephen Hayes, founder of Acceptance and Commitment therapyAoM Podcast #746: The Confucian GentlemanAoM Podcast #148: Trying Not to TryHow to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale CarnegieAnna's favorite self-improvement books:Meditations by Marcus AureliusThe Happiness Trap by Russ HarrisMan's Search for Meaning by Viktor FranklThe Power of Now by Eckhart TolleConnect with Anna SchaffnerAnna's Personal WebsiteAnna's Coaching Website
13/07/22·46m 31s

Life Lessons From the World's Greatest Negotiator

In 1981, Time magazine stated: “If you are ever in a crucial life-changing negotiation, the person you want on your side of the table is Herb Cohen.” Cohen was then known as the world’s best negotiator, and had worked with Fortune 500 companies, professional athletes, and US presidents, and also penned the bestselling book You Can Negotiate Anything.Fast forward to today, and his son, Rich Cohen, has written a memoir of his father’s life, and life philosophy, called The Adventures of Herbie Cohen: World’s Greatest Negotiator. Today on the show, Rich shares stories from Herbie’s life, from his colorful childhood on the streets of Brooklyn where he palled around in a gang with future famous figures like Larry King and Sandy Koufax, to coaching basketball in the Army, to becoming a sought-after strategist and dealmaker. Along the way, Rich shares the life lessons that grew out of those stories, including how power is perception, and why you need to care, but not that much.Resources Related to the PodcastLarry King tells the Moppo storyLarry King tells the Carvel storyAoM Article: How to Haggle Like Your Old ManPodcast #234: Haggling and Deal Making Advice From a FBI Hostage NegotiatorAoM podcast and article on the OODA LoopAoM Article: The 7 Habits — Think Win/WinSunday Firesides: Care, But Don’t CareConnect With Rich CohenRich’s WebsiteRich on Twitter
11/07/22·47m 29s

Building a Second Brain

In the modern age, people are bombarded with more information, and are more personally responsible for managing that information, than ever before. How do you stay on top of your schedule, work responsibilities, financial obligations, and the spigot of media that runs full force 24/7 while not only avoiding becoming overwhelmed, but actually using all that information to generate better ideas, advance your career, and generally improve your life?My guest would say that the answer lies in having a mind outside your mind. His name is Tiago Forte and he's the author of Building a Second Brain: A Proven Method to Organize Your Digital Life and Unlock Your Creative Potential. Today on the show, Tiago explains how a Second Brain is an external resource where you can store all of the most valuable checklists, thoughts, notes, ideas, and insights you acquire and generate. He explains how the Second Brain supercharges the historical practice of keeping a commonplace book, and how it improves your productivity and well-being by getting stuff out of your head, off your bandwidth, and into a place where you can actually put it to use. Tiago then walks us through this system of "Personal Knowledge Management," including the tools you can use to capture information, the question to ask yourself to decide what to capture, and why he recommends organizing what you capture around action instead of subject. And Tiago explains how the ultimate goal of having a Second Brain is to take what you put into this treasury and synthesize it into better ways to live, think, act, and express yourself.Resources Related to the PodcastCommonplace booksAoM Article: The Man Book — Creating a Reservoir of Timeless WisdomTiago's YouTube series on choosing a digital notes appDigital note-taking apps mentioned in the show:EvernoteNotionObsidian Google KeepMicrosoft OneNotePocket — an article-saving appTiago's blog post on his "PARA" organization systemConnect With Tiago ForteTiago's WebsiteListen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)Listen to the episode on a separate page.Download this episode.Subscribe to the podcast in the media player of your choice.Listen ad-free on Stitcher Premium; get a free month when you use code "manliness" at checkout.Podcast SponsorsClick here to see a full list of our podcast sponsors. 
06/07/22·52m 56s

What It's Like to Spend a Year in Space

In March of this year, Mark Vande Hei returned to earth after spending 355 days in outer space. Today on the show, I talk to Mark about what it was like to spend nearly a year in orbit, and how he ended up setting a new record for the longest spaceflight by an American astronaut. We first talk about how Mark went from being a soldier in the Army who served twice in Iraq, to working for NASA. Mark explains the application process for becoming an astronaut and what he thought were the hardest parts of his training. He then shares how you exercise in space, what a typical work day on the International Space Station is like, and how it feels to do a space walk. I ask Mark whether he was worried when the Russians threatened to abandon him in space, whether life on the space station is hard on morale, what it's like physically to return to earth, and whether there's a letdown when it's time to hang up your astronaut pack.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Podcast #654: How to AstronautUnited States Army Space and Missile Defense CommandVideo of Mark's time in spaceConnect With Mark Vande HeiMark on TwitterMark on LinkedInListen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)Listen to the episode on a separate page.Download this episode.Subscribe to the podcast in the media player of your choice.Listen ad-free on Stitcher Premium; get a free month when you use code "manliness" at checkout.Podcast SponsorsClick here to see a full list of our podcast sponsors.Transcript Coming Soon
04/07/22·44m 47s

How to Make a Good Argument

Whenever you get into an argument, whether you're discussing politics with a colleague or the distribution of chores with your spouse, you likely feel like you're floundering. You feel worked up, but you don't feel like you're getting your point across, much less convincing the other person of it, and the conversation simply goes in circles. You can feel like a rank amateur at arguing.Maybe what you need are some pro tips from someone who's spent his life arguing competitively. Enter my guest: Bo Seo. Bo is a two-time world champion debater, a former coach of the Australian national debating team and the Harvard College Debating Union, and the author of Good Arguments: How Debate Teaches Us to Listen and Be Heard. Today on the show, Bo and I discuss why learning the art of rhetoric and debate was once an integral part of education in the West, why the subject disappeared from schools, and the loss this has represented for society. We then turn to the lessons Bo's taken from his debating career that you can apply to your own everyday arguments, whether big or small. Bo explains why it's important to establish what an argument is really about before you start into it, and shares a rubric for homing in on which of three types of disagreements may be at the core of a conflict. He then explains two things a strong argument has to do, and four questions to ask yourself to see if you’ve met these requirements. Bo also unpacks his three P's for creating persuasive rhetoric and how to effectively rebut someone else’s claims. We end our conversation with how to determine when it’s worth getting into a particular argument and when it's better to walk away.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM series on Rhetoric 101The Winston Churchill Guide to Public SpeakingThe Art of Rhetoric by AristotleAoM Podcast #639: Why You Should Learn the Lost Art of RhetoricAoM Podcast #799: Getting Along Is OverratedConnect With Bo SeoBo's Website
29/06/22·44m 21s

The Fascinating Life of America's Forgotten Founding Father

The 18th century doctor, civic leader, and renaissance man Benjamin Rush was one of the youngest signers of the Declaration of Independence, edited and named Thomas Paine's Common Sense, implemented medical practices that helped the Continental Army win the Revolutionary War, made sure Benjamin Franklin attended the Constitutional Convention, and shaped the medical and political landscape of the newly formed United States.Yet despite his outsized influence, the varied and interesting life he led, and the close relationships he had with other founding fathers like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams, Rush is hardly remembered today. That's because of just how close his relationship with those other founders was. Rush was a personal physician to them and their families, and after his death, they suppressed his legacy, not wanting the intimate and unflattering details he had recorded in his letters and journals to be publicized. In fact, his memoir was considered too dangerous to be published and wasn't found for nearly 150 years.My guest will re-introduce us to this forgotten figure. His name is Stephen Fried, and he's the author of Rush: Revolution, Madness, and Benjamin Rush, the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father. Today on the show, Stephen takes us through Rush's fascinating life, from his self-made rise out of inauspicious childhood, to how he was able to reconcile an estranged Jefferson and Adams before his death, and what Stephen has learned from studying a character who lived through very fraught and not totally unfamiliar times.
27/06/22·56m 54s

How to Develop Greater Self-Awareness

95% of people say that they're self-aware. But only 10-15% of people actually are. As my guest today says, that means "on a good day, 80% of us are lying to ourselves about how much we're lying to ourselves" and this blind spot can have big repercussions for our success and happiness. Her name is Tasha Eurich, and she's an organizational psychologist and the author of Insight: Why We're Not as Self-Aware as We Think, and How Seeing Ourselves Clearly Helps Us Succeed at Work and in Life. Tasha kicks off our conversation by arguing that our level of self-awareness sets the upper limit of our individual effectiveness and that self-awareness can be developed and is truly the meta skill of the 21st century. She then unpacks what it is you know about yourself when you possess self-awareness, how there are two types of this knowledge, internal and external, and how you can have one without the other. Tasha then outlines the seven pillars of self-awareness, the barriers to getting insights into them --  including falling into the cult of self -- and how these barriers can be overcome, including asking yourself a daily check-in question. We then discuss how two of the most common methods for gaining self-knowledge -- introspection and journaling -- can in fact backfire and how to do them more effectively by asking yourself what instead of why, and actually journaling less instead of more. We also get into why you should be an in-former, rather than a me-former on social media, how to become more mindful without meditation, and how to solicit and handle feedback from other people, including holding something called the "Dinner of Truth."If reading this in an email, click the title of the post to listen to the show.Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in PodcastThe Science of InsightsHow to Get More "Aha" InsightsDefine Your Core Values7 Habits of Highly Effective PeopleYou Need a Reset DayGet Out of Your Mind and Into Your LifeWhy I Stopped Journaling4 Questions That Will Crush the Fear of Missing OutHow to Get Better at Taking FeedbackInsight QuizConnect With TashaTasha's websiteTasha on TwitterListen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!) 
22/06/22·51m 1s

Chef-Vetted Answers to Your Cooking FAQs

In your quest to become a better home chef, you probably find yourself wondering things like: What potato should I use in this recipe? How much salt should I put in this dish? Am I even making spaghetti right? But then you forget to Google the answer to your question, or if you do, you feel overwhelmed by the number of opinions out there.Well, my guest will cut through that noise and answer some of your cooking FAQs once and for all. His name is Daniel Holzman and he's a chef and the co-author, along with Matt Rodbard, of Food IQ: 100 Questions, Answers, and Recipes to Raise Your Cooking Smarts. Today on the show, Daniel will offer his advice on whether the kind of onion and potato you use in a recipe matters, and whether it's okay to use frozen vegetables. He explains why you should be less worried about getting foodborne illnesses from meat, and the type of food that's more likely to make you sick. Daniel offers the lowdown on salt, including how to figure out exactly how much you need in a dish; when to use the convection bake function on your oven; his recommendations for the best frying pan and chef's knife; the secrets to making perfect spaghetti, scrambled eggs, and steak; and plenty of other tips as well.Resources Related to the PodcastDaniel's restaurants:The Meatball ShopDanny Boy's Famous Original PizzaAoM Article: The Best Way to Salt MeatAll-Clad 10-Inch Frying PanWusthof Classic 10" Chef's KnifeVictorinox 8" Chef's KnifeAoM Article: Cooking With Cast IronVideo of Daniel Making Honey Boo Boo's "Sketti"AoM Article: How to Make James Bond Scrambled EggsAoM Article: Grilling the Perfect SteakConnect with Daniel HolzmanFood IQ WebsiteDaniel on TwitterDaniel on IG
20/06/22·48m 43s

The Secrets to Booking Cheap Flights

Travel can offer a lot of good: memory-making adventure, mind-expanding experiences, and plenty of fun and relaxation. It's not surprising then that most people say they'd like to travel more than they do. What's keeping them from fulfilling that desire? Well, one obstacle, especially these days, is that the high price of plane tickets puts flying out of reach.My guest today can help you surmount this obstacle so you can get away more often. His name is Scott Keyes, and he's the founder of Scott's Cheap Flights and the author of Take More Vacations: How to Search Better, Book Cheaper, and Travel the World. Today on the show, Scott shares how scoring cheap flights can help you travel more often, the advantages of taking more frequent vacations, and the psychological benefit of planning your trips well in advance. We then get into the misconceptions people have about ticket pricing. From there we turn to Scott's strategies for booking cheap flights, beginning with why he recommends adopting a "Flight First" rather than "Destination First" approach. Scott shares the "Goldilocks" time window when cheap flights are most likely to pop up, the benefits of building flexibility into your itinerary, the days that are typically cheapest to fly, and his favorite search site to look for flights. He also explains how to use the 24-hour rule and Southwest Airlines as arbitrage in getting better prices on your tickets, and how to employ what he calls the "Greek Islands Strategy" to save money when flying internationally. We end our conversation with how to take advantage of "mistake fares," and whether the high prices you're seeing this summer are here to stay.Connect With Scott KeyesScott's Cheap FlightsScott on Twitter
16/06/22·57m 14s

How to Turn a Boy Into a Man

A lot of young men today struggle in finding their footing in adulthood. They feel lost, directionless, and unsure of who they are and how to confidently and competently navigate the world.Part of the reason for this is that most young men today lack something which was once a part of nearly every culture in the world, but has now almost entirely disappeared: a rite of passage.My guest today didn't want his son to flounder on the way to maturity, nor to miss out on having an initiation into manhood, so he set out to create a 6-year journey for him that would help him move from boy to man. His name is Jon Tyson, and he's the author of The Intentional Father: A Practical Guide to Raise Sons of Courage and Character. Today on the show, Jon unpacks the components of the years-long journey into manhood he created for his son, beginning with how he brainstormed those components by doing "The Day Your Son Leaves Home" exercise. We then discuss how old Jon's son was when he started his rite of passage and why it began with him having a "severing dinner" with his mom. We get into what his rite of passage consisted of, from the kickoff ceremony to the challenges, experiences, trips, and daily rituals Jon used to impart values and teach his son the "5 Shifts of Manhood." Jon shares how moving his son's focus from being a good man, to being good at being a man, helped him get remotivated to continue the process, why his rite of passage included a gap year after high school, and how Jon celebrated the end of his son's journey into becoming a man. We also discuss whether Jon did something similar with his daughter. We end our conversation with some key principles any dad can use to start intentionally helping their kids become well-rounded individuals who can confidently step out on their own and into the world.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: The Importance of FathersAoM Article: The Importance of Male Rites of PassageAoM Article: Male Rites of Passage From Around the WorldAoM Article & Podcast: Man’s Need for RitualAoM Series on the origins, elements, and future of manhoodAoM Article: The 7 Habits — Begin With the End in MindAoM Article: The 3 Families Every Young Man Needs to Grow Up WellJames HollisAoM Article: Carry the FireArt of Manliness' Carry the Fire Zippo LighterAoM Article: What Is Manliness?AoM Podcast #527 With Richard RohrThe Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip and Dan HeathThe Way of Men by Jack DonovanAoM Podcast #49 With Jack DonovanAoM Series on the Four Archetypes of the Mature MasculineAoM Article: 100 Skills Every Man Should KnowAoM Article: 80+ Quotes on Men & ManhoodConnect With Jon TysonPrimal PathJon on TwitterJon on IG
13/06/22·1h 10m

Why We Like Puzzles, and What We Get From Them

Puzzles may seem like fairly pedestrian pastimes — fun ways to while away a rainy afternoon. And while they certainly do make for satisfying diversions, my guest would say they're also more than that, and can teach us plenty about life as well.His name is A.J. Jacobs, and he's the author of The Puzzler: One Man's Quest to Solve the Most Baffling Puzzles Ever, from Crosswords to Jigsaws to the Meaning of Life. Today on the show, A.J. explains what makes a puzzle a puzzle, and why we're drawn to them and enjoy them so much. We then discuss the charm of certain puzzles, from crosswords and Rubik's Cubes, to jigsaws and mazes. Along the way, we discuss some of the strategies behind solving these puzzles, and how these strategies can help you become an all-around better thinker and decision maker, and better at navigating the puzzling dilemmas of life itself.Resources Related to the PodcastA.J.'s previous appearance on the podcast — Episode #53: Experimenting With Your LifeMaki Kaji — the father of SudokuAoM Article: The Best Riddles for KidsA.J.'s wife's scavenger hunt company, Watson AdventuresWordplayThe Great Vermont Corn MazeTanya Khovanova's Math BlogKryptos — art sculpture with encrypted code on the grounds of the CIAApopheniaSunday Firesides: Take It Bird by BirdConnect With A.J. JacobsA.J.'s WebsiteA.J. on Twitter
08/06/22·46m 25s

The Surprising Science Behind Building Stronger Relationships

We've all heard by now just how important strong relationships are to our health and well-being. But a lot of the common advice and conventional wisdom out there about how to build stronger relationships doesn't end up taking us closer to that goal.My guest today has spent years sorting through what really builds better friendships, reignites love, and helps people get closer to others, and he shares these research-backed insights in his new book: Plays Well with Others: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Relationships Is (Mostly) Wrong. Eric shares what he's learned today on the show, beginning with why we're good at figuring out someone's personality from the moment we meet them, but bad at reading their thoughts and feelings, and how to get better at the latter by making other people more readable, as well as how to make a better first impression yourself. We then turn to what makes friendship a unique relationship that makes us uniquely happy, and the two "costly signals" that most develop friendship. We also get into why friends we feel ambivalent about are actually worse for us than outright enemies. We spend the last part of our conversation on how the modern age is both the worst and the best time for marriage, and how the key to ensuring that yours is one of the happiest in history is maintaining positive sentiment override.Resources Related to the PodcastEric's previous appearance on the show: #322 — Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) WrongAoM Article & Podcast: Why Your First Impression MattersAoM Podcast: #567: Understanding the Wonderful, Frustrating Dynamic of FriendshipHow to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale CarnegieAoM Podcast #772: How Long Does It Take to Make Friends?Arthur Aron's 36 Questions That Lead to LoveThe All-or-Nothing Marriage: How the Best Marriages Work by Eli FinkelAoM Articles: Why the Secret of a Happy, Successful Marriage Is Treating It Like a Bank Account and The Best Ways to Fund Your Relationship Bank AccountAoM Article & Podcast: How and Why to Hold a Weekly Marriage MeetingConnect With Eric BarkerEric's Website
06/06/22·46m 5s

What Nietzsche Can Teach Us About Joyful Living in a Tech-Saturated World

Friedrich Nietzsche is famous for espousing a philosophy that may be a help in wrestling with existential angst and finding meaning in life.My guest would say that Nietzsche’s philosophy may also be useful for figuring out something else: how to have a healthy relationship with modern technology. His name is Nate Anderson and he’s the author of In Emergency, Break Glass: What Nietzsche Can Teach Us About Joyful Living in a Tech-Saturated World. Today on the show, Nate, who’s a deputy editor at the website Ars Technica, shares how someone who grew up loving technology and has spent his career writing about it, reached a point where he felt disenchanted with its effects on his life, and why he turned to the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche for insights on how to approach tech more fruitfully. We then turn to the way tech has made life too safe, easy, and frictionless, and how Nietzschean goals, asceticism, and creative, self-overcoming exertion can help us find deeper fulfillment. Nate unpacks four Nietzsche-inspired guidelines for information consumption, the importance of the physical body in thinking and feeling, and our need to embrace greater Dionysian energy and perhaps live a bit more dangerously.   Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: A Primer on Friedrich Nietzsche — His Life and Philosophical StyleAoM Article: Say Yes to Life — An Accessible Primer on Nietzsche’s Big IdeasAoM Article: Nietzsche’s 66 Best AphorismsAoM Podcast #480: Hiking With NietzscheAoM Article: Solvitur Ambulando — It Is Solved By WalkingAoM Podcast #215: Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction (With Matthew Crawford)AoM Podcast #796: The Life We’re Looking ForTwilight Zone episode “A Nice Place to Visit”Connect With Nate AndersonNate on Ars TechnicaListen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)Listen to the episode on a separate page.Download this episode.Subscribe to the podcast in the media player of your choice.Listen ad-free on Stitcher Premium; get a free month when you use code “manliness” at checkout.Podcast SponsorsClick here to see a full list of our podcast sponsors.Transcript Coming Soon
01/06/22·46m 53s

The Humble Heroics of Four of WWII's Most Decorated Soldiers

The Medal of Honor is the military's highest and most prestigious decoration and is awarded to a member of the United States Armed Forces who "distinguished himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty."During World War II, no U.S. unit would produce more Medal of Honor recipients than the Army's Third Infantry Division, and my guest profiles four of those recipients — Maurice Britt, Michael Daly, Keith Ware, and the famous Audie Murphy — in his new book Against All Odds: A True Story of Ultimate Courage and Survival in World War II. Today on the show, Alex explains how the prodigiousness of the Third Infantry Division was due to effective leadership, and the sheer fact that they were in combat so long, serving from the very beginning of the war in Europe to its very end. We then get into the stories of Britt, Daly, Ware, and Murphy, unpacking their varied backgrounds, how they earned their Medals of Honor — and many more decorations besides — and what their lives were like after the war. We end our conversation with what Alex has personally taken away from the stories of these brave men.Resources Related to the PodcastThird Infantry DivisionMaurice Britt's Medal of Honor CitationMichael Daly's Medal of Honor CitationKeith Ware's Medal of Honor CitationAudie Murphy's Medal of Honor CitationAoM Article: Lessons in Manliness from Byron “Whizzer” WhiteGeneral Alexander PatchAudie Murphy's To Hell and Back — the book and filmConnect With Alex KershawAlex's WebsiteListen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)Listen to the episode on a separate page.Download this episode.Subscribe to the podcast in the media player of your choice.Listen ad-free on Stitcher Premium; get a free month when you use code "manliness" at checkout.
30/05/22·53m 40s

How to Get Your Anger Under Control

When you look back on the moments you regret most in your life, a fair number of them likely involved you being angry. And if these cringe-inducing, life- and relationship-damaging moments happen more often than you'd like, then it's time to start thinking about how to get a handle on your anger.My guest today offers help in that process. His name is Dr. Chip Tafrate, and he's a clinical psychologist, a professor of criminology and criminal justice, and the co-author, along with Howard Kassinove, of Anger Management for Everyone: Ten Proven Strategies to Help You Control Anger and Live a Happier Life. Chip walks us through what anger is, how it's distinctive from aggression, and how it can be both destructive and healthy. We then get into some of the strategies Chip recommends for managing your anger so it stays in that latter zone, including making changes to your lifestyle, avoiding anger-inducing triggers, reframing your thoughts, and doing anger exposure therapy.Resources Related to the PodcastAnger Management for Any Situation — Chip and Howard's Udemy courseAoM podcast #614 with Steven Hayes on Acceptance and Commitment TherapyAoM Podcast #489: How to Get a Handle on Your AngerAoM Article: How Reframing Builds ResilienceAoM Article: The Virtuous Life — TranquilityConnect With Dr. Chip TafrateChip's faculty page at CCSUListen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)Listen to the episode on a separate page.Download this episode.Subscribe to the podcast in the media player of your choice.Listen ad-free on Stitcher Premium; get a free month when you use code "manliness" at checkout.Podcast SponsorsClick here to see a full list of our podcast sponsors.
25/05/22·45m 33s

Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile

In the 19th century, the source of the Nile River remained one of the greatest mysteries of geographic exploration. The story of how the British eventually found it is one of adventure, danger, and bravery, but also arrogance, envy, and resentment.Here to offer some snapshots from this dramatic expedition is Candice Millard, author of River of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile. Today on the show, Candice shares how two men who were very much opposites, Richard Francis Burton and John Hanning Speke, ventured together on two years-long expeditions to locate the source of the longest and most legendary river in the world, the harrowing obstacles they faced in their quest, and how their partnership devolved into a bitter rivalry. Along the way, we discuss what made Burton such a compelling character, why we remember his name but not Speke's, and the African guide who was the unheralded hero in the achievements of both men.Resources Related to the PodcastCandice's previous appearance on the show — #240: The Making of Winston ChurchillRichard Francis BurtonJohn Hanning SpekeSidi Mubarak BombayLake VictoriaLake TanganyikaAoM Article: Lessons From Richard Francis BurtonAoM Article: An Intro to EnvyConnect With Candice MillardCandice's WebsiteListen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)Listen to the episode on a separate page.Download this episode.Subscribe to the podcast in the media player of your choice.Listen ad-free on Stitcher Premium; get a free month when you use code "manliness" at checkout.
23/05/22·44m 14s

How Your Expectations Can Change Your Life

During World War II, Henry Beecher, an anesthesiologist serving in the U.S. Army, noticed that 32% of the soldiers he treated for horrific battle wounds felt no pain. A further 44% experienced only slight or mild discomfort, despite the fact they had shrapnel embedded in their bodies. Beecher hypothesized that the euphoria of surviving battle resulted in the release of a natural painkiller. When morphine was running low in Europe, Beecher thought he could harness the mind’s seeming ability to produce natural painkillers in a different way by injecting soldiers who were about to undergo surgery with a simple saline solution, while telling the soldiers they were receiving morphine. About 90% of these patients underwent the surgery with little or no pain.Beecher’s field-expedient placebo treatments would go on to open up decades of research into the power of our expectations. On today’s show, my guest will walk us through that fascinating research, and how the connection between the body and the mind is a lot stronger and wilder than we know.His name is David Robson and he’s an award-winning science writer and the author of The Expectation Effect: How Your Mindset Can Change Your World. David and I begin our conversation with how and why the brain operates as a prediction machine, and how the expectations it generates can shape the reality we experience. We then discuss how even when someone’s pain or condition is very real, the placebo effect can have an equally real effect on their physiology — even when people know they’re taking a placebo. We also get into the “nocebo effect,” where your expectation that a drug will have negative side effects, in fact produces those side effects. From there we turn to how the expectation effect has powerful results beyond the medical world, and shows up in the areas of sleep, diet, and fitness, including how thinking of doing chores as exercise actually increases the health benefits of that activity, how reframing your anxiety can turn it into a performance-enhancing boost, and how your perception of getting older hugely affects how you will actually physically and mentally age.Resources Related to the PodcastSome of the studies mentioned in the show:Open-label placebo treatment in chronic low back painConditioning open-label placebo: a pilot pharmacobehavioral approach for opioid dose reduction and pain controlMind-set matters: exercise and the placebo effectLongevity increased by positive self-perceptions of agingAoM Podcast #661: Get Better Sleep by Stressing About It LessAoM Article: Reframe for ResilienceConnect With David RobsonDavid’s WebsiteDavid on Twitter
18/05/22·50m 26s

An Old-School Boxing Trainer on What It Means to Be a Man

Teddy Atlas was born to a well-respected doctor in a wealthy part of Staten Island. Most kids like him end up going to an Ivy League school to become some sort of white collar professional. Teddy? Teddy dropped out of high school, went to jail, and ended up becoming a trainer to 18 world champion boxers, including heavyweight champion Michael Moore, who defeated Evander Holyfield for the title in 1994.Today on the show I talk to Teddy about how and why he took the path he did in life. Teddy explains how he ended up boxing under legendary trainer Cus D'Amato, and how Cus guided Teddy towards becoming a trainer himself. Teddy then shares stories of training kids in the Catskills, taking them to unsanctioned amateur fights in the Bronx, and the lessons he learned from boxing and his father about personal responsibility, managing fear, overcoming resistance, and what it means to be a man.Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in PodcastTeddy's book, AtlasOn Taking a PunchCus D'AmatoKevin RooneyThe 14 Best Boxing MoviesA Manly History of the Sweet ScienceRocky Marciano's Fight for Perfection In a Crooked WorldA Man's Search for Meaning Inside the RingAoM's Boxing for Beginners seriesAoM's Boxing BasicsThe Power of MentoringThe Rise and Fall of the American Heavyweight Boxer
16/05/22·55m 44s

Stress-Free Small Talk

If making small talk makes someone anxious, it may just be because they have a fear of such interactions, and my guest today, Rich Gallagher, can help them overcome it through his practice as a therapist. Or, someone’s anxiety around small talk can be based in part on simply not knowing how to do it, and in that case, Rich helps them by teaching them the mechanics of conversation, which he shares in his book Stress-Free Small Talk, as well as on today’s show.Rich and I begin our conversation with how small talk is important as an on-ramp to bigger things, how it’s a skill that can be developed like any other, and how learning its mechanics can dampen the anxiety you feel about taking part in it. We then turn to these mechanics of making comfortable and effective small talk, including doing prep work, embracing tried-and-true openers, and avoiding talking too much yourself. We also discuss how to join conversations that are already underway, manage committing a faux pas, acknowledge others to build connection, and end a conversation gracefully. We end our conversation with small talk strategies for first dates and job interviews, and what to do when you go to a party where you only know the host.Resources Related to the PodcastRelated AoM articles on small talk/social skills:How to Make Small TalkSeries on overcoming shynessYour 4 Social GiftsHow to Enter a Room Like a BossWhat to Do at an Event Where You Don’t Know AnyoneHow to Think of Questions to Ask PeopleHow to Use Body Language to Create a Dynamite First ImpressionHow to End a ConversationHow to Make a Great Last ImpressionHow to Recover from a Bad First ImpressionHow to Ask Better Questions on a First DateHow to Give a ComplimentSunday Firesides: Want to Solve Your Social Problems? Get Over Your SelfRelated AoM podcasts on small talk:#317: Why Your First Impression Matters & How to Improve It#406: Why You Need to Embrace Small TalkThe Rotary’s 4-Way Test
11/05/22·41m 16s

The Cold Water Swim Cure

Have you ever driven along the coastline, or walked by a local pond or lake and thought about taking a dip, but felt hesitant about swimming in what you know is cold water? My guest today, who argues that cold water swimming is one of the very best things you can do for your mental and physical health, will inspire you to finally take the plunge.His name is Dr. Mark Harper and he’s an anesthesiologist and the author of Chill: The Cold Water Swim Cure. We begin our conversation with how Mark’s research into the prevention of hypothermia during surgery led him to investigate the benefits of cold water exposure in managing the body’s overall stress response. We discuss the effect cold water has on the body, and the potential mental and physical benefits this effect can have, from reducing inflammation, to reducing depression caused by inflammation, to improving conditions from diabetes to migraines. We get into how long you need to be in the water to get these benefits, and the temperature the water needs to be, which may not be as cold as you think, and potentially makes, depending on where you live, cold water swimming viable as a year-round practice. Mark also explains how to get started with cold water swimming, and do it safely and effectively, including why you should start in the summer, and how best to prepare your body before you get in the water and recover after you get out of it. We end our conversation with whether or not you can get the same benefits of cold water swimming from taking an ice bath or cold shower.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: Semper Virilis — A Roadmap to Manhood in the 21st CenturyAoM Podcast #585: Inflammation, Saunas, and the New Science of DepressionPodcast #275: How Your Climate-Controlled Comfort Is Killing YouOn Airs, Waters, and Places by HippocratesRichard RussellJill Bolte Taylor’s TED talkMike Tipton’s researchBBC documentary, The Doctor Who Gave Up DrugsAoM article on the benefits of cold showersOrganizations Mark works with that promote cold water swimming:Mental Health SwimsChillSeaSure
09/05/22·44m 51s

The 5 Allies Every Man Needs

When it comes to improving our lives and reaching our goals, we often think of changing our personal habits and routines. We think about ourselves, but don’t look outside ourselves. But my guest would say that if we really want to change and make progress, we also need to surround ourselves with positive, strengthening people, and in particular, five types of “allies of glory” who can truly help us be our best.His name is Antonio Neves and he’s an author, speaker, podcaster, and success coach. Today on the show, Antonio and I discuss the importance of relationships in moving us forward in our personal and career goals, the difference between allies who facilitate that progress and the thieves who hinder it, and how to minimize the influence that the latter have on us. We then get into the five kinds of allies Antonio says we need in our lives, and he unpacks what each of these allies offers. We end our conversation with Antonio’s advice for how to find these allies and expand your social and professional networks.Resources Related to the PodcastAntonio’s previous appearance on the podcast: #676 — Stop Living on Autopilot and Take Responsibility for Your LifeSunday Firesides: Relationships Over WillpowerAoM Article: How to Cut Toxic People Out of Your LifeAoM Podcast #559: How to Handle Difficult ConversationsAoM Podcast #403: A Better Way to NetworkAoM Article: The Cabinet of Invisible CounselorsConnect With Antonio NevesAntonio’s WebsiteListen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)Listen to the episode on a separate page.Download this episode.Subscribe to the podcast in the media player of your choice.Listen ad-free on Stitcher Premium; get a free month when you use code “manliness” at checkout.Podcast SponsorsClick here to see a full list of our podcast sponsors.Transcript Coming Soon  
04/05/22·45m 51s

Getting Along Is Overrated

A lot of people really dislike conflict and have a low opinion of it. They're uncomfortable with disagreements at the office, think there's no room for contention at church, worry that fighting with their partner means their relationship is destined to dissolve, and generally feel that heated arguments tear communities apart.My guest today, Ian Leslie, used to be one of these conflict-averse people. But as he discovered in researching his new book, Conflicted: How Productive Disagreements Lead to Better Outcomes, conflict not only brings us together, the lack of it, he says, just plain makes us stupider. Today on the show, Ian and I discuss why people get the idea that conflict is unproductive from watching online arguments and why these flame wars aren't actually indicative of the value of arguing offline. We then delve into this surprising value, from the way conflict makes us smarter, to how couples who have heated arguments are actually happier. Ian unpacks some of the myths around difficult conversations, such as the idea that they have to be done in a strictly rational and unemotional way to be fruitful, and he offers ways to approach conflict that will make it more productive, especially remembering to always prioritize the relationship above all.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: The Rationality of EmotionsAoM Podcast #559: How to Handle Difficult ConversationsPodcast #648: Lessons in Building Rapport from Experts in Terrorist Interrogation (With Laurence Alison)reddit — Change My ViewConnect with Kevin MaurerIan's WebsiteIan on Twitter
02/05/22·42m 41s

The Harrowing Life of a World War II B-17 Pilot

“We were young citizen-soldiers, terribly naive and gullible about what we would be confronted with in the air war over Europe and the profound effect it would have upon every fiber of our being for the rest of our lives. We were all afraid, but it was beyond our power to quit. We volunteered for the service and, once trained and overseas, felt we had no choice but to fulfill the mission assigned. My hope is that this book honors the men with whom I served by telling the truth about what it took to climb into the cold blue and fight for our lives over and over again.”So writes the 100-year-old World War II veteran John “Lucky” Luckadoo in the new book he co-authored with Kevin Maurer: Damn Lucky: One Man’s Courage During the Bloodiest Military Campaign in Aviation History. Kevin is my guest today, and will share Lucky’s story, and with it, the story of WWII’s famous B-17 bomber.During the war, airmen in the 100th Bomb Group could finish their combat service and return home after flying 25 missions. Yet with a 1 in 10 chance of becoming a casualty, few were able to reach this milestone. Lucky was one of the, well, lucky few who did, and Kevin traces how he got there, from trying to join the Royal Canadian Air Force as a teenager, to learning to fly the B-17 on the job, to his harrowing daylight bombing missions over Germany, to the life he made for himself after the war. Along the way, Kevin describes the brutal conditions inside a B-17 and the bomber’s role in winning the war.Resources Related to the PodcastThe Bomber Mafia by Malcolm GladwellMemphis BelleNorden bombsightVideo tour of B-17 G modelConnect with Kevin MaurerKevin’s Website
27/04/22·40m 49s

Overcome the Decision Traps Around Diet and Exercise

When it comes to making behavior change around diet and exercise, it's no secret that many people fail in their efforts. My guest would say that's because too often we only concentrate on the things that drive us towards that change — whether willpower, or motivation, or the rewards that turn behaviors into habits — and that we need to think more about the obstacles keeping us from making the decisions we desire.Her name is Michelle Segar and she's a behavioral science researcher and health coach, as well as the author of The Joy Choice: How to Finally Achieve Lasting Changes in Eating and Exercise. Today on the show, Michelle explains why exercise and eating aren't conducive to becoming habits — at least of the automatic variety — and why it's more helpful to think of these behaviors in terms of "life space" and "choice points." She makes the case for why we shouldn't just focus on what drives behaviors, but also understand what disrupts them, and unpacks four of these disruptors: temptation, rebellion, accommodation, and perfection. Michelle then offers a three-step decision tool for dealing with these disruptors, and explains how to develop the flexibility to choose the perfect imperfect option that keeps you consistent and even celebrate and enjoy the decision to do something instead of nothing.Resources Related to the PodcastMichelle's previous appearance on the show — Podcast #575: Counterintuitive Advice on Making Exercise a Sustainable HabitAoM Article: How I Finally Made Flossing a HabitAoM Podcast #782: Anxiety Is a Habit — Here’s How to Break It (With Judson Brewer)Kurt LewinFreakonomics episode that includes Daniel Kahneman referencing LewinGrounded cognitionAffective–Reflective Theory of physical inactivity and exerciseConnect With Michelle SegarMichelle's Website
25/04/22·43m 47s

The Life We’re Looking For

In the quiet moments of our lives, we can all sense that our hearts long for something, though we often don’t know what that something is. We seek an answer in our phones, and while they can provide some sense of extension and fulfillment — a feeling of magic — the use of technology also comes with significant costs in individual development and interpersonal connection that we typically don’t fully understand and consider.My guest today will unpack what it is we really yearn for, how technology, when misused, can direct us away from the path to fulfilling those yearnings, and how we can find true human flourishing in a world in which so much works against it. His name is Andy Crouch and he’s the author of The Life We’re Looking For: Reclaiming Relationship in a Technological World. Today on the show we talk about the tradeoffs you make when you seek magic without mastery, and how we can understand our desires better once we understand ourselves as heart, soul, mind, and strength complexes who want to be loved and known. We discuss the difference between interactions that are personal versus personalized, as well as the difference between devices and instruments, and how to use your phone as the latter instead of the former. We end our conversation with why Andy thinks we need to redesign the architecture of our relational lives and create something he calls “households.”Resources Related to the PodcastFaust by Johann Wolfgang von GoetheWendell BerryAoM article on Plato’s idea of the tripartite nature of the soulAoM Podcast #723: Men Without ChestsAoM Article: The Tool Works on Both EndsAoM Article: Communities vs. Networks — To Which Do You Belong?Connect With Andy CrouchAndy’s WebsitePraxis Labs
20/04/22·56m 0s

The U-Shaped Curve of Happiness

If you're someone who's a decade or two out from your high school graduation, do you ever find yourself thinking that you're just not as happy as you were back then? Of course all the positive-thinking self-talk then kicks in and you think, "Well, maybe I actually wasn't that happy before. I do like my life better now. I like the independence I have. Yeah, yeah, I really like being an adult." Yet, no matter the glass-half-full glow you try to put on things, you can't shake the feeling that your happiness has declined over the years, that at 30, you weren't as happy as you were at 20, and that at 40, you weren't as happy as you were when you were 30.Well, that feeling is more than a nostalgic hunch, and it's not unique to you. It's actually been born out by hundreds of research papers and studies and shown to be a near-universal experience. My guest today has authored many of those papers. His name is Dr. David Branchflower and he's a labor economist who not only studies the data around money and jobs, but also around human happiness. Today on the show David explains how happiness follows a U-shaped curve, and starts declining around age 18, and continues to fall into midlife, before picking back up again, and David shares the average age at which happiness hits its very lowest point. While it's not entirely clear why the U-shape of happiness occurs, we talk about some possible reasons behind it. And while the U-shape is consistent across the world, it can be lower or higher, and so we discuss how factors like gender, socio-economic and martial status, and having children affect happiness, and whether it's possible to mitigate the dip.While the fact that it won't be until your mid-60s that you feel as happy as you were at age 18 might seem depressing, David argues that it's comforting to know that the feelings of declining happiness you experience at you approach midlife are normal, and will not only pass one day, but start moving in the other direction.Resources Related to the Podcast"Is Happiness U-Shaped Everywhere?" — one of the main research papers on the happiness curve that David has authoredDavid's book Not Working: Where Have All the Good Jobs Gone?Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism by Anne Case and Angus DeatonStudy on great apes having a midlife crisisAoM Series: The Seasons of a Man's LifeAoM Podcast #776: How to Shift Out of the Midlife MalaiseAoM Article: The Economics of HappinessConnect With David BranchflowerDavid's Faculty Page at Dartmouth (includes links to his research)
18/04/22·32m 20s

The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash, “The Man in Black,” said he wore all black on behalf of the poor and hungry, the old who were neglected, “the “prisoner who has long paid for his crime,” and those betrayed by drugs. As a man who had grown up dirt poor, struggled his whole life with addiction, was thrown in jail seven times, and found himself in the proverbial wilderness during a long stretch of his career, Cash had a real heart for these kinds of folks; he was a man who had lived numerous ups and downs himself.Marshall Terrill, co-author of Johnny Cash: The Redemption of an American Icon, will take us through these biographical peaks and valleys today. We talk about Cash’s hardscrabble upbringing on a cotton farm, his unfulfilled desire to please his father, and how his rise into stardom was accompanied by the arrival of a set of personal demons. We also discuss how, after becoming the top entertainer in the world, Cash’s career slid into two decades of music industry irrelevance, the big comeback he made near the end of his life, and the faith that sustained him through all his struggles and triumphs.Resources Related to the PodcastMarshall’s previous appearance on the show: Episode #673 — The Complex Coolness of Steve McQueenCash songs mentioned in the show:“Walk the Line”“Boy Named Sue”“One Piece at a Time”“Chicken in Black”“Hurt”“The Wanderer” (song Cash did with U2)Man in White — novel Cash wrote about the Apostle PaulWalk the Line movieConnect With Marshall TerrillMarshall’s Page at ASU
13/04/22·40m 4s

The New Science of Metabolism and Weight Loss

You hear a lot about metabolism. You probably know it has something to do with weight loss. And even if you don't go in for those supposed hacks around speeding up your metabolism, you likely figure you can at least increase it by exercising more.This isn't actually the case, and my guest will sort through this and other misconceptions around metabolism on today's show. His name is Dr. Herman Pontzer and he's a professor of evolutionary anthropology and the author of Burn: New Research Blows the Lid Off How We Really Burn Calories, Lose Weight, and Stay Healthy. We begin our conversation with an overview of how metabolism powers everything your body does from thinking to moving to simply existing, and how it uses the food you eat as the energy needed to fuel these processes. We then get into Herman's field research which shows that increasing your physical activity doesn't actually increase the number of calories you burn, but why it's still hugely important to exercise anyway. He also unpacks whether certain kinds of foods are better for your metabolism, offers his recommendations on how to use diet to lose weight, and answers the common question as to whether it's true that your metabolism goes down as you age.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Podcast #691: What You Can (Really) Learn About Exercise from Your Human AncestorsAoM Podcast #552: How to Optimize Your MetabolismAoM Podcast #475: How to Lose Weight, and Keep It Off ForeverAoM Podcast #636: Why You Overeat and What to Do About ItNYT article on what happened to the metabolisms of Biggest Loser contestants after the showAoM Article: An Argument for Making Exercise (Not Diet) the Foundation of Weight ManagementConnect With Herman PontzerHerman on TwitterHerman's faculty page and lab at Duke
11/04/22·49m 24s

How Power Corrupts

Why do corrupt people end up in power?By way of an answer, you probably think of that famous quote from Lord Acton, "Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely." But my guest today, Brian Klaas, would say that's only one part of what leads to corrupt individuals and cultures, the other being that people who are already corrupt are more likely to seek power in the first place. Brian argues that if we ever hope to develop better systems, from our national governments to our office hierarchies, we have to work on both prongs of this dynamic, not only preventing people who gain power from going bad, but encouraging good people to seek power as well.Brian is the author of Corruptible: Who Gets Power and How It Changes Us, and today on the show, he and I discuss how people who possess the so-called "dark triad" of traits are more attracted to positions of power, how the framing around those positions can either amplify or alter this self-selection effect, and what a tyrannical homeowners' association president and a psychopathic school janitor show us about these dynamics. We also discuss why power does indeed corrupt people and can in fact change their very brain chemistry. Brian explains the importance of accountability in keeping a system clean, and how you can serve in positions of power without becoming corrupted yourself.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Podcast #108: The Upside of Your Dark SideAoM Podcast #769: The New Science of NarcissismMichael Nader's study on social status in monkeysM.G. Marmot's Whitehall II study on social status and mortalityAoM series on statusUltrasociety by Peter TurchinConnect With Brian KlassBrian's WebsiteBrian’s podcast, Power Corrupts
06/04/22·52m 54s

Set Your Kids Up for a Lifetime of Healthy Sleep

When neurologist and sleep specialist Dr. Chris Winter sees adult patients in his sleep clinic, they often come to him because of a struggle with insomnia, which, as he described in a previous appearance on the AoM podcast, is caused by stressing too much about sleep, so that going to bed becomes an anxious and fear-inducing routine that sabotages the natural needs and rhythms of the sleep cycle.Chris would see fewer adult patients like this if, when they were kids, their parents set them up to have a healthy relationship with sleep.How to establish that kind of healthy relationship is something Chris writes about in his latest book, The Rested Child, and is the topic of our conversation today. Chris will take us through what parents should know about their kids' sleep from the womb through young adulthood, with tips on both how to improve your children's sleep, and how to avoid messing it up, including his take on co-sleeping, why he let his kids go to bed whenever they wanted, and why he discourages giving children melatonin to help them sleep.Resources Related to the PodcastChris' last appearance on the show — episode #661: Get Better Sleep By Stressing About It LessNational Sleep Foundation's graph and write-up of sleep duration recommendations across the lifespanConnect With Dr. Chris WinterChris on InstagramChris on Twitter
04/04/22·53m 21s

Kierkegaard on the Present (Passionless) Age

Do you ever feel like the time we live in feels flat, complacent, timid, conformist, populated by people who are focused on playing it safe and are inwardly empty?A century and a half ago, the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard felt the same way about the period in which he lived, and posited that there are two kinds of ages: the revolutionary, decisive, and passionate, and the sensible, rational, and reflective.Here to unpack Kierkegaard’s ideas on these two kinds of ages is Jacob Howland, retired professor of philosophy and author of Kierkegaard and Socrates. Today on the show, Jacob and I first discuss some background on Kierkegaard and his existential philosophy. We then get into the differences between an age of passion and an age of reflection. We discuss how in a passionate age, an individual stands as an individual, possesses an energy which focuses on truth and ideals, and has the courage to take bold leaps of faith, while in a reflective age, the individual is subsumed by the crowd, is afraid of public opinion, and gets so lost in analysis and abstraction that he never makes a decisive move. All along the way, we delve into how Kierkegaard’s description of his age parallels our own, and Kierkegaard’s evergreen call to be an individual, embrace risk, and own your opinions and actions.Resources Related to the PodcastWorks by Kierkegaard mentioned in the show:Two Ages: A Literary ReviewEither/OrFear and TremblingThe Sickness Unto DeathPhilosophical FragmentsConcluding Unscientific Postscript on Philosophical FragmentsThomasine Christine Gyllembourg-EhrensvärdGeorg Wilhelm Friedrich HegelOn the Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Life by Friedrich Nietzsche “Yes, Sabermetrics Ruined Baseball”AoM Article: Your Three Selves and How Not to Fall Into DespairAoM Article: An Intro to EnvyAoM Podcast #635: The Existentialist’s Survival GuideConnect With Jacob HowlandJacob’s Website
30/03/22·59m 58s

Become a Backyard Adventurer

A lot of people feel like they've seen and done everything there is to see and do in their local area. They're bored of their daily routine, and contemplate going off on some grand adventure in a exotic locale.My guest would say that you don't actually have to wait until your next big trip nor go far afield to mix things up, and that adventure can be found right where you are, in your ordinary routines, the everyday landscape of your life, and even DIY projects, if you decide to approach them in a different way.His name is Beau Miles and he's an Australian filmmaker who documents his own small-scale adventures on YouTube, as well as the author of The Backyard Adventurer. Today on the show, Beau shares his experiments in proving anything can be infused with the challenge, intrigue, and fun which mark adventure, if you add in some intentional risk, difficulty, and simple what-the-heck quirkiness. He tells us about some of the close-to-home adventures he's executed, including walking and kayaking his 90-kilometer commute to work, reconnecting an old, long closed-down rail line by running its often hidden, overgrown path with a shovel in his hand, and making a paddle with scavenged wood. We then talk about how he created a gastronomical adventure for himself by eating his body weight in beans, and even turned tackling his to-do list into an adventure by pairing the crossing off of its entries with running a marathon in 24 hours. Along the way, Beau shares how backyard adventures help you better get to know your local area, how he deals with the police who sometimes check in on what he's up to, and how the next time you get some odd idea, you ought to just go for it, mate.Resources Related to the PodcastBeau's films/adventures mentioned in the show:Walking to WorkPaddling to WorkJunk PaddleHuman BeanRun the LineMile an HourAoM Article: My 8-Week Microadventure ChallengeAoM Podcast #120: Microadventures With Alastair HumphreysAoM Podcast #560: The Magic of WalkingTortilla Flat by John SteinbeckConnect With Beau MilesBeau's WebsiteBeau on YouTubeBeau on Instagram
28/03/22·42m 17s

The Dangers of "Concept Creep"

Trauma. Violence. Bullying. Addiction. The range of things that these words encompass has expanded over time, and while my guest today would say that changes in how language is used are natural and inevitable, he also argues that the way we use words matters and has consequences, and that we need to better grapple with what those consequences are.His name is Dr. Nick Haslam and he's a professor of psychology at the University of Melbourne who has studied a phenomenon he calls "concept creep," which refers to the tendency of concepts having to do with harm — from trauma to depression — to broaden their meaning over time. Nick describes how concept creep happens in two ways — vertical and horizontal — and occurs both amongst clinicians and the general public. He explains what he thinks is behind concept creep, and how the way we talk about harm-related concepts changes how people experience themselves and life, bringing new kinds of identities and new kinds of people into existence. Nick argues that while there are upsides to concept creep, it also carries potential dangers that can negatively impact our lives.Resources Related to the PodcastNick's ResearchGate page"Harm Inflation: Making Sense of Concept Creep""How Americans Became So Sensitive to Harm" — Atlantic article about Nick's workThe Loss of Sadness by Allan Horwitz and Jerome Wakefield"Making Up People" by Ian HackingConnect With Nick HaslamNick's Faculty Page
23/03/22·39m 39s

Run Like a Pro (Even If You're Slow)

Running is a gloriously democratic and accessible sport. All you need is a pair of shoes and the will to start moving your legs. It's so seemingly simple, that you may never think to figure out how you might get better at it — you just follow what your peers may be doing (who may not know anything more than you do), or pick up tips that percolate through social media (which may not be accurate), or 100% wing it, just vaguely trying to get a little faster each time you run.My guest says that, rather than taking a willy-nilly approach to your recreational running, you can greatly improve your performance by learning from the professionals who actually run for a living.His name is Matt Fitzgerald and he's a sports writer, a running coach, and the co-author of Run Like a Pro (Even If You're Slow): Elite Tools and Tips for Runners at Every Level. Today on the show Matt translates the best practices of elite runners into tactics the amateur can incorporate into their training, beginning with why you need to follow a well-programmed running plan, how to find the sweet spot for your running volume — including why you actually should concentrate more on the amount of time you run rather than the miles — and the number of hours Matt recommends trying to work up to running each week if you'd like to really see what you can do as a runner. We then discuss the ratio of low intensity to high intensity workouts you should be doing, the surprisingly small emphasis pros put on running form, what the pros know about what works best for recovery, and the edge you can get through cross-training. We end our conversation with the difference in mindset that marks elite runners, including how they're probably better quitters than you are.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Podcast #202: Matt's previous appearance on the show to talk about How Bad Do You Want It?Ventilatory thresholdBen Rosario, co-author of Run Like a Pro (Even If You're Slow)AoM Podcast #266: The Myths and Truths of Distance RunningAoM Podcast #382: How to Lift More, Run Faster, and Endure LongerAoM Article: Beginner's Guide to Long-Distance RunningAoM Article: Bulletproof Ways to Prevent Running InjuriesConnect With Matt FitzgeraldMatt's personal websiteMatt's business website: 80/20 Endurance
21/03/22·47m 55s

The Writing Life of Ernest Hemingway

How did one of history's greatest writers — Ernest Hemingway — get going with his craft, develop his indelible style, and infuse his narratives with memorable life and compelling tension?Today we delve into the answers to those questions with Hemingway scholar Mark Cirino, who is a professor of English, the editor and author of half a dozen books on Hemingway — including Ernest Hemingway: Thought in Action — and the host of the One True Podcast which covers all things related to Papa. Mark and I our begin our conversation with how Hemingway cut his teeth with writing as a journalist, how the "iceberg theory" underlay his approach to writing as a novelist, and how his years in Paris — and the books, people, and art he encountered there — influenced his work and the trajectory of his career. We then discuss how his travel and recreational pastimes allowed him to write with a vivid firsthand understanding of certain places and pursuits, what his writing routine was like, and how the characters in his novels explore the tension between thought and action. We end our conversation with Mark's recommendation for where to start reading Hemingway if you've never read him or haven't read him in a long time, and what Mark thinks was Hemingway's "one true sentence."Resources Related to the PodcastHemingway works mentioned in the show:"Big Two-Hearted River""Soldier's Home""Hills Like White Elephants""Killers""Indian Camp""The Snows of Kilimanjaro"In Our TimeDeath in the AfternoonA Moveable FeastThe Sun Also RisesAcross the River and Into the TreesFor Whom the Bell TollsThe Old Man and the SeaA Farewell to ArmsMen at War (edited by Hemingway)Shakespeare and Company lending cards for HemingwayErnest Hemingway: A Life Story by Carlos BakerHemingway's Brain by Andrew FarahAoM Article: Why Ernest Hemingway Committed SuicideAoM Article: The Libraries of Famous Men — Ernest HemingwayAoM Article: Ernest Hemingway as a Case Study in Living a T-Shaped LifeConnect With Mark CirinoOne True PodcastOne True Podcast on Twitter
17/03/22·50m 10s

The Dreams That Precede Death

As the dying approach their death, up to 88% of them experience certain vivid, moving dreams — though "dreams" isn't even the best word for these experiences, as they can happen to people when they're both awake and asleep, and are described by them as being "more real than real."My guest today has studied these visions and dreams for many years and thinks they have important insights into the nature of life and death. His name is Dr. Chrisopther Kerr, and he's a hospice physician and end-of-life researcher, as well as the author of Death Is But a Dream: Finding Hope and Meaning at Life's End. We begin our conversation with Dr. Kerr's efforts to study end-of-life experiences on an objective, scientific basis, and how his research into these visions and dreams doesn't attempt to find their spiritual or paranormal origin, but simply seeks to catalog the phenomenon from a clinical perspective. We then discuss how long before death people begin having these dreams, the content of the dreams, and who shows up in them. Dr. Kerr describes how pre-death visions and dreams are typically positive and comforting, and how even the rarer, disturbing variety can end up being transformative. And he shares what these dreams do not only for the dying, but for their caregivers as well.Resources Related to the PodcastDr. Kerr's Tedx TalkDeath Is But a Dream PBS documentaryNetflix docuseries Surviving Death (Dr. Kerr is featured on the 5th episode)AoM Podcast #171: The Dying Experience — Myths and AnswersConnect With Dr. KerrDr. Kerr's Website
14/03/22·38m 54s

The Secrets to Making the Perfect Pizza

Pizza. It's ubiquitous. It's a fixture at parties and office break rooms, and there's a good chance you order it from your favorite place for dinner every single week.But there's one setting where pizza doesn't show up very often, and that's in your own oven, having been made in your own kitchen. But my guest today, who's spent decades pursuing the perfect pizza, says you ought to be making your own pies more often and will teach you the secrets to getting restaurant-quality pizza at home. His name is Dan Richer, and he's the owner and chef of Razza in New Jersey, as well as the author of The Joy of Pizza: Everything You Need to Know.We begin our conversation with what makes pizza such an awesome, go-to, inexhaustibly delicious dish and how to overcome the obstacles that typically prevent people from creating pizzeria-level pizza at home. Dan then gives us his recommendations on sauce, cheese, and toppings in order to create the perfect pizza pie, including his take on that most burning of questions: does pineapple belong on a pizza?Connect With Dan RicherJoy of Pizza WebsiteDan on InstagramWebsite for Dan's Razza restaurant 
09/03/22·39m 16s

How Eisenhower Led — A Conversation with Ike's Granddaughter

Editor's Note: This is a rebroadcast. It originally aired in September 2020.From guiding the Allies to victory in World War II as supreme commander, to steering the ship of state for eight years as one of the country's least partisan and most popular presidents, few leaders in history have had to make as varied and consequential decisions as Dwight D. Eisenhower.My guest today possesses insights into how he made the many choices he was faced with in his military and political careers that are gleaned not only from studying Ike's life, but from personally knowing the man beneath the mantle. Her name is Susan Eisenhower and she's a writer, consultant, and policy strategist, one of Dwight's four grandchildren, and the author of the new book How Ike Led: The Principles Behind Eisenhower's Biggest Decisions. Susan and I begin our conversation with her relationship with Ike as both historic leader and ordinary grandfather, and why she decided to write a book about his leadership style. We then dive into the principles of his leadership, beginning with his decision to greenlight the D-Day invasion, what it reveals about his iron-clad commitment to taking responsibility, and how that commitment allowed him to be such an effective delegator. From there Susan explains how a love of studying history born in Ike's boyhood allowed him to take a big picture approach to strategy, how he used a desk drawer to deal with his lifelong struggle with anger, and how his belief in morale as an input rather than an output inspired him to always stay optimistic for the benefit of those he led. We then turn to how Eisenhower dealt with the discovery of concentration camps at the end of WWII and making peace with Germany after it. We then talk about his nonpartisan governing style as president which he called the "Middle Way" and which involved emphasizing cooperation, compromise, and unity, including members of both political parties in his cabinet, limiting his use of the "bully pulpit" to sway public opinion, and striving not to turn policy issues into personality confrontations. We then discuss how this style influenced how he dealt with Joseph McCarthy and enforced the Brown v. Board of Education decision. At the end of our conversation, Susan explains that while she doesn't expect everyone to agree with the difficult decisions her grandfather made, she thinks there's something to be learned from how he managed to make them, and to make them without becoming hard and cynical in the process.
07/03/22·1h 2m

Developing Your Personal Uniform

The personal uniform is a look that you've settled on as your regular get-up. Today on the show I talk to two style writers, David Coggins and Michael Williams, about all things concerning this stylish-yet-bandwidth-saving approach to dressing. We discuss what a personal uniform is, how to develop one and why that development comes with age, and how to find inspiration for yours. We also talk about establishing the base pieces of your personal uniform, buying multiples of its fundamental components, and refining your look over time.Resources Related to the PodcastPhoto of David and Michael at the MastersAoM Podcast #398: Should a Man Care About How He Dresses?AoM article on tailoringAoM Article: 10 Things Your Father Should Have Taught You About StyleAoM Article: 3 Steps to Building Your Individual StyleSid MashburnDrake'sA guide to the Barbour coatCrockett & JonesThe chore coatUniqloDie, Workwear!Nick WoosterWilliam Brown ProjectDavid Coggins' previous appearances on the podcast:#282: How a Man Develops His Sense of Style#422: Men and Manners#706: The (Non-Cliche) Life Lessons of Fly FishingConnect With David and MichaelDavid's site The Contender and The Contender newsletterMichael's site A Continuous Lean and the ACL newsletterYou can access their podcast, Central Division, by subscribing to either of their newsletters
02/03/22·51m 33s

Anxiety Is a Habit — Here's How to Break It

You may think of anxiety as a reaction, a feeling, or a disorder. My guest today says that perhaps the best way to think about anxiety, especially if you want to treat it effectively, is as a habit.His name is Dr. Judson Brewer, and he's a psychiatrist and neuroscientist, and the author of Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind. Dr. Jud and I begin our conversation with what anxiety is, and how it gets connected into a habit loop that can lead to other maladaptive behaviors like drinking, overeating, and worrying. Dr. Jud then explains how to hack the anxiety habit loop by mapping it out, disenchanting your anxiety-driven behaviors, and giving your brain "a bigger, better offer" by getting curious about your anxiety. We also talk about why asking why you're anxious is not part of this process, and end our conversation with how this habit-based approach to behavior change can also work for things like depression and anger.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Podcast #497: The Meaning, Manifestations, and Treatments for AnxietyAoM Podcast #614: Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your LifeAoM article, podcast, and video on hacking the habit loopAoM article on asking "what" instead of "why"Undoing Depression by Richard O'ConnorConnect With Dr. JudDr. Jud's Website
28/02/22·37m 44s

Beyond OODA — Developing the Orientation for Conflict and Violence

The OODA Loop — the OODA stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act — is a strategic tool designed to help people make better decisions when facing any kind of competitor or opponent.My guest today says that when that opponent is a seasoned criminal, the Orient component of OODA — a person's mindset — is the most underestimated and critical part of the model to understand.His name is Varg Freeborn and he's the author of Violence of Mind: Training and Preparation for Extreme Violence, and Beyond OODA: Developing the Orientation for Deception, Conflict, and Violence. We begin with how Varg's life story has uniquely positioned him to understand the dynamics of violence from the perspectives of both the perpetrators of crime, and the would-be preventers of that crime. Varg shares how he went from being a convicted felon to a self-defense and firearms instructor who's worked with both civilians and law enforcement.We then turn to why it's so important to understand the difference between the orientation of an average person and the orientation of a violent criminal, and why, when the two collide, the latter has a real advantage over the former. We end our conversation with what you can do in terms of mindset and training to close that gap, and be better prepared to handle a violent encounter.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM article on the OODA LoopAoM Podcast #198: Turning Yourself Into a Human WeaponAoM Podcast #334: When Violence Is the AnswerAoM Podcast #688: Protection for and From HumanityAoM Podcast #513: Be Your Own BodyguardConnect With Varg FreebornVarg's Website 
23/02/22·1h 3m

Declutter, Downsize, and Move Forward with Your Life

You want to declutter. You want to downsize. You want to live more simply. So what's been holding you back from getting closer to those ideals?My guest today sorts through both the psychological and practical roadblocks that can get in the way of living more minimally, and more in the present. His name is Matt Paxton, and he's a downsizing and decluttering expert, a featured cleaner on the television show Hoarders, the host of the Emmy-nominated show Legacy List With Matt Paxton which showcases people's heirlooms and treasures, and the author of Keep the Memories, Lose the Stuff: Declutter, Downsize, and Move Forward with Your Life.We begin our conversation with how Matt got into cleaning out houses and working with hoarders, and some of the worst cases of hoarding Matt's seen. We then get into both the mindset and brass tacks tips he's learned from the most extreme cases of clutter that can be used by regular people who just want to pare down their stuff. We talk about why we can feel so attached to our possessions, and how to let them go, while still preserving your and your family's memories. Matt recommends how and where to get started with your decluttering, and offers tools, including creating a "maybe pile" and a "legacy list," for deciding what to keep and what to chuck, whether you're dealing with big items like furniture or small stuff like documents and pictures. Matt explains what to do with your stuff whether trashing, donating, upcycling, or selling, and how much you can reasonably expect to get when you do the latter (spoiler alert: it's a lot less than you think). We end our conversation with how, after you've decluttered your place, to keep it from getting clogged up again.Oh, and we also discuss where to find hidden stashes of money when you're cleaning out the house of an older person who's died.This is a really fun and interesting conversation that definitely motivated me to clean out our house.Resources Related to the PodcastWebsite for My Legacy ListHoarders television showMatt's TEDx talk on "The Unintended Result of Our Attachment to Personal Belongings"Podcast #699: The No-Nonsense Guide to Simplifying Every Aspect of Your LifeAoM article on declutteringPodcast #626: How to Declutter Your Work LifeConnect With Matt PaxtonMatt's WebsiteListen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)
21/02/22·59m 15s

The World of the Transcendentalists and the Rise of Modern Individualism

The town of Concord, Massachusetts has been famous twice in history. First as the location of the "shot heard round the world" which kickstarted the American Revolution in the 18th century, and second, as the home of several famous writers and thinkers, including Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, in the 19th.My guest today, professor of history Robert A. Gross, has written landmark books on both of these periods in Concord's history. The first, called The Minutemen and Their World, was published in 1976. Now, nearly 50 years later, he's published a new volume called The Transcendentalists and Their World.In both books, Bob delves into the details of everyday life in Concord in order to illuminate broader trends and forces in American culture. In the case of his second book, he does so to explore how the communal, hierarchical nature of life in America during the Revolutionary period shifted to a more autonomous and bottom-up ethos during the time of transcendentalism — a movement which prized individuality over conformity and intuition over logic, believed divinity existed in each person and throughout nature, and celebrated the authority of the individual over the authority of institutions.In today's episode, Bob and I discuss how changing forces in commerce and religion, as well as a fervent, emerging interest in self-improvement, led to this shift, and how thinkers like Emerson and Thoreau set a new course for what it means to live a life of integrity. We end our conversation with what the world of the transcendentalists has to tell us in our own time period, which, like theirs, is marked by the widespread rejection of top-down gatekeepers.Resources Related to the PodcastBob's 1976 book The Minutemen and Their WorldEzra RipleyThe Lyceum movementAoM Article: A Man's Guide to Self-RelianceAoM Podcast #324: What It Really Means to Be Self-ReliantAoM Podcast: #417: The Mystical Life of Henry David ThoreauAoM Podcast #575: A Treasure Trove of American PhilosophyAoM Article: How to REALLY Avoid Living a Life of Quiet DesperationConnect With Bob GrossBob's Faculty Page
16/02/22·58m 17s

A Playbook for Modern Dating

Dating is a relatively recent phenomenon in human history. Given that, it shouldn't come as a surprise that many people aren't sure of the best way to go about it, especially since the rise of modern technology and dating apps has made an already murky landscape even more confusing.If you feel like you could use some expert, research-backed guidance to navigating this world, enter today's guest, Logan Ury. Logan is a behavioral scientist turned dating coach, the Director of Relationship Science for the Hinge dating app, and the author of How to Not Die Alone: The Surprising Science That Will Help You Find Love. Today on the show, Logan explains the three dating tendencies and the three types of attachment styles that can influence, and potentially sabotage, your ability to get into a healthy relationship. She shares the easiest thing you can do to be more successful in making connections on the dating apps, and the criteria to use for figuring out how to best meet people in person. Logan then gets into how to design a good first date, and what to tell the other person if the date doesn't go well, rather than ghosting them. She also makes the case for why you shouldn't be over reliant on feeling the proverbial spark when deciding whether to see someone again. We end our conversation with tips on breaking up with someone you've been dating for awhile.Resources Related to the PodcastLogan's 3 dating tendencies quizOptimal stoppingPeak-end ruleAoM Podcast #707: Did You Pick the Right Partner?AoM Podcast #584: How to Avoid Falling in Love With the Wrong PersonAoM Podcast #474: The Surprises of Romantic AttractionAoM Podcast #559: How to Handle Difficult ConversationsAoM Article: How to Make a Great Last ImpressionAoM Article: How to Ask Better Questions on a First DateConnect With Logan UryLogan's WebsiteLogan on InstagramLogan on Twitter
14/02/22·51m 6s

Becoming a Hybrid Athlete

When it comes to fitness, people tend to either focus on endurance or strength; they're runners or powerlifters. But wouldn't it be pretty cool to be able to deadlift 500 pounds and run a marathon? My guest says that combining real strength with true endurance to become a "hybrid athlete" isn't only possible, it also makes for a wonderfully adventurous and fulfilling path to pursue.His name is Fergus Crawley and he's the co-founder of Omnia Performance, which offers coaching to hybrid athletes. Today on the show, Fergus shares how he found his way into hybrid training, what a struggle with depression had to do with that journey, and why he decided to take on some incredible challenges that combine strength and endurance, including deadlifting 500 lbs, running a sub-5-minute mile and doing a marathon in a single day, and powerlifting 1200 kilos and doing a sub-12-hour Ironman Triathlon in a single day. We then turn to the technical side of programming hybrid training, and how you incorporate both endurance and strength workouts in a single week. We end our conversation with Fergus' case for the benefits of hybrid training to body, mind, and spirit, which made me want to go out for a run — something I don't say every day.Resources Related to the PodcastMovemberAoM series on male depressionAoM Podcast #741: The Exercise Prescription for Depression and AnxietyCeltman Extreme Scottish TriathlonAoM Article: The Case for Not Listening to Music When You Work OutZone 2 TrainingConnect With Fergus CrawleyFergus on InstagramFergus on YouTubeOmnia Performance
09/02/22·48m 6s

How to Shift Out of the Midlife Malaise

When you think about someone having a midlife crisis, you probably think of a man getting divorced, stepping out with a younger woman, and buying a sports car. But my guest today says the often jokey, mockable trope of the midlife crisis we have in our popular culture discounts the fact that the sense of dissatisfaction people can feel in their middle years is quite real, and that the questions it raises are profond, philosophical, and worth earnestly grappling with.His name is Kieran Setiya, and he's a professor of philosophy and the author of Midlife: A Philosophical Guide. Kieran and I first discuss what researchers have uncovered about whether the midlife crisis really exists, how it might be better described as a kind of midlife malaise, and how Kieran's own sense of life dissatisfaction began when he was only in his mid-thirties. We then explore the philosophical reframing that can help in dealing with the existential issues that the journey into midlife often raises, including feeling like you've missed out on certain possibilities and feeling regret over your mistakes and misfortunes. We also talk about how to shift out of one primary cause of the midlife malaise — the sense that your life is merely about putting out fires and checking off boxes.Resources Related to the PodcastSeasons of a Man's Life by Daniel LevinsonAoM series on Levinson's researchTransformations: Growth and Change in Adult Life by Roger GouldPassages: Predictable Crises of Adult Life by Gail SheehyOrville Gilbert Brim's MacArthur study on "Midlife in the United States"David Branchflower's study on the U-shaped curve of happinessJohn Stuart MillAoM Podcast #770: Philosophical Tools for Living the Good LifeAoM Podcast #620: How to Deal With Life's RegretsAoM Article: The George Bailey Technique: Mentally Erase Your Blessings for Greater Joy and OptimismAoM Podcast #527: Father Wounds, Male Spirituality, and the Journey to the Second Half of Life With Richard RohrAoM Podcast #598: Journeying From the First to the Second Half of Life With James HollisConnect With Kieran SetiyaKieran's WebsiteKieran on TwitterKieran's Podcast
07/02/22·52m 2s

We Need a P.E. Revolution

When it comes to physical education in our country’s schools, parents, teachers, and administrators alike typically place it at the bottom of their list of priorities — something to fit in if budget, time, and academic standards allow. My guest, however, says that P.E. should be thought of as the most important component in education, and as critical not only in ensuring the lifetime health of our kids, but even attaining those vaunted academic standards too.His name is Dr. Daniel O’Neill and he’s an orthopedic surgeon, a sports psychologist, and the author of Survival of the Fit. Today on the show, Dr. Dan lays out how a lack of physical activity is creating problems in kids from obesity to anxiety, and preventing the development of what he calls a “physical identity.” He explains the way the huge number of kids who don’t see themselves as athletes end up not pursuing physical activity at all, and why he thinks school-sponsored sports are only contributing to this problem. Dan takes us back to a time in our history when physical education was prioritized, and we discuss what’s wrong with modern P.E. and how it can be improved. Dan makes an argument for why P.E. should be the main, foundational thing focused on in schools today, and what people can do to push to make that happen.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Podcast #749: Let the Children PlayThe Motivation Factor — documentary on the La Sierra P.E. programAoM Podcast #183 on the La Sierra P.E. programJFK on Americans getting soft and the need for a more physically fit nationNatural Movement (MovNat)AoM Podcast with Erwan LeCorre, founder of MovNatTedx talk on the Naperville, IL physical education programAoM Podcast #599 on “physical intelligence”AoM Article: How to Instill a Love of Fitness in Your KidsConnect With Dr. Daniel O’NeillSurvival of the Fit Website
02/02/22·48m 50s

How to Make Life’s Big Decisions

There are little decisions to make in life like what to wear to work and what to eat for lunch. Then there are potentially life-changing decisions like whether to move, take a new job, break up with someone, or get married. With these big decisions, you may never have faced that choice before, have to sacrifice one path to choose another, and have a hard time figuring out the right way to go. As a result of the high stakes and high uncertainty, we often flounder in this kind of decision-making, sometimes failing to make any decision at all.My guests have studied those who have to make these kinds of critical choices more often — first responders and members of the military — to figure out how civilians can make better decisions in their everyday lives. Their names are Laurence Alison and Neil Shortland, and they’re the authors of Decision Time: How to Make the Choices Your Life Depends On. Today on the show, Laurence and Neil explain the mistakes people commonly fall into when making big decisions, including getting stuck in a cycle of redundant deliberation, where you forever circle around your options without ever pulling the trigger on one. They then unpack their model for more effective decision-making, including why it should follow a foxtrot pattern, and how to know when it’s time to stop ruminating and finally make a choice. Along the way, we discuss the importance of self-awareness in this process, and what it is you need to know about yourself to make better decisions.Resources Related to the PodcastConflict — How Soldiers Make Impossible Decisions by Neil and LaurenceAoM Podcast #648 with Laurence on building rapportAoM Podcast #744 with Laurence on life lessons from the labors of HerculesAoM Podcast #486: How to Get Better at Making Life-Changing DecisionsAoM Podcast #740: Life’s 10 Biggest DecisionsAoM Podcast #685: How to DecideAoM #644: How to Develop Greater Self-AwarenessAoM Article: How to Wrestle with a Difficult Decision: Advice from Sergeant Alvin C. YorkStudy on “inappropropriate persistence”Maximizers vs. Satisficers/MinimizersConnect With Laurence and NeilGround Truth Website
31/01/22·48m 51s

Get on Top of Collaboration Overload

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 
26/01/22·36m 50s

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

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
24/01/22·45m 8s

The Rise and Fall of Athens

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
19/01/22·58m 49s

Philosophical Tools for Living the Good Life

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
17/01/22·1h 1m

The New Science of Narcissism

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
12/01/22·50m 3s

The Code of the Warrior

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 
10/01/22·59m 22s

Become a Focused Monotasker

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!)
05/01/22·47m 58s

Fat Loss Made Simple

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
03/01/22·58m 44s

The Tiny Habits That Change Everything

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
29/12/21·44m 26s

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

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
27/12/21·51m 37s

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

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 
22/12/21·38m 37s

C.S. Lewis on Building Men With Chests

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
20/12/21·42m 33s

Prototype Your Way to a Better Life

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
15/12/21·43m 50s

The Perils and Powers of Cowardice

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
13/12/21·48m 49s

Prepare Now to Have Your Best Year Ever

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
08/12/21·50m 25s

How Testosterone Makes Men, Men

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 
06/12/21·1h 3m

Cormac McCarthy, The Road, and Carrying the Fire

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
01/12/21·52m 8s

To Drink or Not to Drink

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
29/11/21·47m 36s

The Quest for a Moral Life

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
24/11/21·48m 56s

The Epic Story of the Making of The Godfather

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
22/11/21·46m 38s

How to Achieve Cognitive Dominance

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
17/11/21·41m 44s

How the Desire for Status Explains (Pretty Much) Everything

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
15/11/21·50m 9s

Why Do the Navy’s Frogmen Fight on Land?

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
10/11/21·47m 25s

A Surprising Theory on Why We Get Fat

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
08/11/21·1h 9m

Take Back the Weekend

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
03/11/21·43m 44s

The Metaphysical Club

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
01/11/21·50m 46s

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

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
27/10/21·50m 9s

The Surprising Benefits of Forgetting

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 
25/10/21·43m 22s

Let the Children Play!

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
20/10/21·45m 14s

Time Management for Mortals

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
18/10/21·47m 39s

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

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
13/10/21·51m 37s

Why We Get Sick

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
11/10/21·1h 0m

The Confucian Gentleman

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
06/10/21·52m 19s

Do You Need to Take a Dopamine Fast?

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
04/10/21·51m 57s

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

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.
29/09/21·51m 1s

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

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.
27/09/21·51m 55s

The Power of Talking to Strangers

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
22/09/21·47m 4s

The Exercise Prescription for Depression and Anxiety

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
20/09/21·42m 52s

Life's 10 Biggest Decisions

How many of your life’s ten biggest decisions have you already made?My guest today, behavioral scientist 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. 
15/09/21·43m 27s

Rewild Your Life

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
13/09/21·50m 13s

The Character Traits That Drive Optimal Performance

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
08/09/21·46m 33s

Being a Man in the Lousy Modern World

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.
06/09/21·42m 28s

College — What It Was, Is, and Should Be

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
01/09/21·46m 35s

Could Sleeping in Separate Beds Improve Your Relationship?

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.
30/08/21·45m 58s

The Conquering Father Who Made an Empire-Building Son

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
25/08/21·52m 29s

How Moral Grandstanding Is Ruining Our Public Discourse

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.
23/08/21·55m 22s

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

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
18/08/21·50m 37s

Tips From a Top TED Talker on How to Be Heard

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
16/08/21·49m 33s

A Futurist's Guide to Building the Life You Want

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
11/08/21·45m 2s

The Hell-Raising Leader of WWII's Filthy Thirteen

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.
09/08/21·43m 25s

How to Fight Internet-Induced Numbness

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
04/08/21·40m 37s

Improve Your Productivity With the Power of Deadlines

Everyone has experienced the way deadlines can act as a double-edged sword: on the one hand, they force us to get stuff done; but on the other, they often push us to wait until the last minute to get to work, so that we do that work in a poorly executed, slapdash rush. Scientists call that latter dynamic "the deadline effect," and my guest today has taken a field-tested dive into how to manage it, so that you can get the advantages of deadlines, without suffering from their downsides. His name is Chrisopther Cox, and he's the author of The Deadline Effect: How to Work Like It's the Last Minute—Before the Last Minute. We begin our conversation with how Chris's experience as a magazine editor got him interested in deadlines and what studies have shown as to both their benefits and their pitfalls. Chris then unpacks ways to harness the former towards greater productivity in both your personal and professional life, including creating interim checkpoints, knowing how to set reasonable due dates, planning left to right rather than right to left, and using what he calls "soft opens with teeth." Along the way, Chris explains these principles using a bunch of real world case studies, from the system a chef uses to open multiple Michelin 3-star restaurants to how the Telluride ski resort gets ready to open for the season. We end our conversation with what you can start doing today to take advantage of the power of deadlines in your own life. After the show is over, check out the show notes at
02/08/21·43m 46s

How Doing a Life Review Can Help Your Understand Your Past, Present, and Future

Who and where do you want to be in the future? It's a question we typically answer by looking ahead. But, my guest would say, you can actually best find the answer by looking back. His name is William Damon, and he's a Stanford psychologist who studies adult development and purpose, and the author of A Round of Golf With My Father: The New Psychology of Exploring Your Past to Make Peace With Your Present. On the show today, Bill explains why you should consider doing something called a "life review," a process you can initiate at any age in order to get greater clarity on what is now probably a blur of memories around how you ended up who and where you are today. Bill explains the steps of doing a life review, and how doing one can do two things for you: 1) help you think more positively and gratefully about your life story — even its regrets — and understand why you made certain choices and developed as you did, and 2) help you refine your life's purpose, recognize that you can change and grow no matter where you are in the life cycle, and chart a course for further development in the future. Bill does this through the lens of the fascinating story around how he came to do his own life review, in order to better get to know himself, by getting to know his father, who he was told growing up was killed in World War II, but, Bill would discover, in fact survived the war and led a more complex life than Bill could have imagined.
28/07/21·45m 10s

What's Causing the Male Friendship Recession?

According to a recent survey, the percentage of men with at least six close friends has fallen by half since 1990, and men today are 5X more likely to say they don't even have a single close friend than they were thirty years ago. What are the reasons for this seeming friendship recession among men? Today I talk to the man who conducted that survey to try to find out. His name is Daniel Cox and he's the director of the Survey Center on American Life. Today on the show Daniel takes us on a tour of the state of friendship among modern men, beginning with the fact that men today have fewer friends and feel less emotionally connected to the ones they do have. We explore the irony that while people have long said that traditional norms of masculinity are what's holding men back from having fulfilling relationships, it's younger men, who are more progressive on those norms, who are struggling the most to make friends. Daniel talks about the fact that the male friendship recession isn't pandemic related, but rather seems to be linked to the weakening of ties to community institutions like church, the changing nature of work, and the fact that Americans are spending more and more time with their families. From there we go down a bunch of interesting avenues, including the fact that husbands rely more on their wives for emotional support than vice versa, why Daniel finds it concerning that young men today are more likely to first talk about their problems with their parents rather than their friends than was true 30 years ago, and the irony that single men are struggling the most to make friends even though they need them the most.
26/07/21·41m 50s

The Curse of the Self

What a gift the human self is. It enables you to sense and reflect upon your own existence; examine the past and plan for the future; check certain impulses in order to reach for other aims; and conceptualize how others see you, allowing you to better connect with them. But, my guest says, the blessing of the self also comes with a curse, one we need to get a handle on if we're to live flourishing lives. His name is Mark Leary, and he's a professor emeritus of psychology and neuroscience and the author of The Curse of the Self: Self-Awareness, Egotism, and the Quality of Human Life. Today on the show, Mark unpacks exactly what the self is and its vital benefits, before delving into the downsides that also come with having a self. Mark then shares how people can make the most of the advantages of the self, while mitigating its disadvantages, including the practice he most recommends for quieting the kinds of self-related thoughts and ego-driven behaviors that can make us miserable.
21/07/21·42m 48s

The Strange Science of Sweat

Start jogging around the block, or simply sitting outside on a hot summer day, and you begin to feel moisture develop all over your body. Maybe a drop of sweat will roll down your face. Your clothes get sticky. You start feeling in greater intensity a process that's actually going on all the time: sweating. You may never have thought too much about your sweat, or perhaps been a little embarrassed by it when your sweat became noticeable in a socially delicate situation. But my guest today says that human sweat is in fact incredibly fascinating, and something you should embrace with real appreciation and enthusiasm. Her name is Sarah Everts and she's a science journalist and the author of The Joy of Sweat: The Strange Science of Perspiration. Sarah and I begin our conversation with what sweat is, the two kinds your body produces, and how human sweating is unique and what Sarah calls our species' superpower. We then get into the surprising quickness with which the things we drink start coming out of our pores, why we sweat when we're anxious or nervous, whether how much you personally sweat comes down to genetics or environment, and why the fitter you are, the more you sweat. Sarah unpacks whether there are differences between how men and women sweat and smell, whether our dislike for body odor is innate or culturally conditioned, why some people are smellier than others, and the role that smell and pheromones play in attraction. Sarah also explains whether antiperspirants are bad for you and if you should switch to natural deodorant. We end our conversation with why it feels so good to make ourselves intentionally sweat through things like sauna-ing, and whether hitting the sauna can detox your body.
19/07/21·48m 35s

Men Without Chests

“We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.” While this quote from C.S. Lewis is often cited, few completely understand what Lewis meant by it, nor understand the book from which it was taken, The Abolition of Man, which, unlike Lewis's more popular works of fiction and Christian apologetics, is a broad philosophical treatise aimed at everyone, and perhaps the most admired and yet least accessible of Lewis's writings. My guest today has written a guide, called After Humanity, that is designed to make The Abolition of Man more understandable to the average reader. His name is Dr. Michael Ward and he's both a Catholic priest and a Senior Research Fellow at Oxford. Michael kicks off our conversation by offering a big picture overview of what The Abolition of Man was about, which centers on Lewis's argument against subjectivism, and for the idea that there exists objective moral values, the denial of which brings destructive consequences. We unpack the case Lewis makes for the existence of a natural order which underlies all religions and cultures, and why he called this universal, objective reality the "Tao." We then get into what Lewis meant by the idea of making "men without chests," the function of a man's chest, and why chests aren't being developed. We end our conversation with why moral debates can seem so shrill and fruitless in a world without agreement upon objective values, and if anything can be done to build the chests of modern men.
14/07/21·47m 7s

Think More Strategically

A lot of organizations and individuals will set some aim for themselves, and then, when they reach the point where they should be seeing progress, but don't, seem surprised that things haven't worked out the way they hoped. They shouldn't be surprised, my guest would say, if they never had a strategy in place for reaching their goals. His name is Stanley K. Ridgley, he's a former military intelligence officer, a professor of business, and the lecturer of The Great Courses course, Strategic Thinking Skills. Today on the show, Stanley explains why strategy, whether implemented in business, the military, or your personal life, is so important when it comes to dealing with uncertainty, making decisions, winning competitions, and getting to where you want to go. He first explains why following "best practices" is not the same thing as following a strategy, and how real strategy is a cycle of mission-setting, analysis, and execution that never ends. He unpacks what strategic intent is, and why it's so important to be clear on yours. We then discuss two main approaches to strategy — cost leadership and differentiation, and why you need to adopt the latter in your own life, and stop treating yourself like a commodity. We also get into why indirect attacks on competitors can be more effective than frontal assaults, where people go wrong when it comes to the execution of their strategy, and the role that intuition plays for the master strategist. We end our conversation with what you can start doing today for five minutes in the morning to get closer to your goals. Along the way, Stanley gives examples from both war and business on how the art of strategy works in the field.
12/07/21·52m 15s

The Psychology of Effective Weight Loss

When most people think about losing weight, they think about the details of a diet plan — what food to eat, how much of it to eat, and when to eat it. What they don’t spend enough time working on, are the mental and emotional habits that can sabotage their efforts, regardless of the diet plan they adopt. That’s why my guest today, despite being a biochemist, has made mindset the foundation of his approach to losing weight. His name is Dr. Trevor Kashey and he’s the founder of Trevor Kashey Nutrition (TKN). We begin our conversation with a thumbnail of Trevor’s unique background, which includes earning his first university degree in biochemistry at the age of 17, setting national records in powerlifting, and coaching an Olympic fight team, as well as how he went from coaching elite athletes to helping average folks lose weight. We then talk about why Trevor focuses on bridging the gap between knowledge and action, and the erroneous assumptions people make that keep them from following through on their intentions. From there we turn to the phases TKN takes its clients through, which begins with getting what Trevor calls “food clarity.” We discuss how simply tracking what you eat can get you to naturally change your diet because of something called “the Hawthorne effect,” and can almost be all you need to do to start losing weight. We then get into how to deal with your hunger when you’re cutting calories, and why it’s crucial to be decisive about it. We also discuss how you can eventually eat more once you work on eating less, how to manage the expectation of consistent weight loss, and why you really need to weigh yourself every week.
07/07/21·47m 39s

A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling

Editor's Note: This is a rebroadcast. It originally aired June 2020. One of the most burning questions in life is what it is you’re called to do with it. What is your life’s purpose? What great work are you meant to do? Guidance on this question can come from many sources, and my guest today says that one of the best is the Bhagavad Gita, a text of Hindu scripture thousands of years old. He’s a psychotherapist, yoga teacher, and author of The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling. Stephen Cope and I begin our conversation with an introduction to the Bhagavad Gita, the significant influence it’s had on philosophers and leaders for ages, and what it can teach us about making difficult decisions. We then discuss the insights the Gita offers on the four pillars of right living, beginning with discerning your true calling or sacred duty. We unpack the three areas in your life to examine for clues to your life’s purpose, and why that purpose may be small and quiet rather than big and splashy. Stephen then explains the doctrine of unified action, why you have to pursue your calling full out, and why that pursuit should include the habit of deliberate practice. We also discuss why it’s central to let go of the outcome of actions to focus on the work itself, and the need to turn your efforts over to something bigger than yourself. All along the way, Stephen offers examples of how these pillars were embodied in the lives of eminent individuals who lived out their purpose.
05/07/21·53m 17s

The Secrets to Making the Perfect Burger

When Chris Kronner took his first head chef position at an upscale restaurant, he inherited a menu which featured a popular burger. At first he resented having to hold onto it. But then he began to wonder, and be captured by, how he might experiment with and elevate this sandwich standby. Thus began a decade-long obsession with creating the perfect, mouth-wateringly tasty burger. In his new book, A Burger to Believe In: Recipes and Fundamentals, Chris shares how he turned what he learned in his quixotic quest into the Bay Area's famous Kronnerburger, as well as accessible tips that can be used by the average backyard chef to level up their burger game. Chris shares some of those tips today on the show, beginning with the best kind of beef chuck to use in your burgers and why the method you use to cook your burgers should vary depending on their fat content. We then get into why Chris likes to use dry aged beef in his burgers, and how you can make your own in the kind of mini fridge you’d keep in a dorm room. From there we delve into the optimal size and shape of the patty, Chris' surprising pick for buns, the ideal proportionality of toppings, and Chris' take on the desirability of putting ketchup on your burger. We also get into our mutually conflicted feelings about pairing one’s burger with French fries, and, if you need to get your burger fix on the run, what fast food chain Chris thinks has the best burgers. Get the show notes at
30/06/21·30m 24s

The Surprising Pessimism of America's Founding Fathers

When Americans think about their country's Founding Fathers, they tend to think of them as cool and competent figures, who were supremely confident in the superiority and longevity of the republican government they had created. But my guest says that nearly all the founders experienced great internal and external conflict in conjunction with the new government, and came to be greatly pessimistic about the future of the democratic experiment they had helped birth. His name is Dennis C. Rasmussen and he's a professor of political theory and the author of Fears of a Setting Sun: The Disillusionment of America's Founders. Today on the show, Dennis unpacks how four of the founders — George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson — ultimately came to worry that the American republic wouldn't last past their own generation, based on concerns that ranged from the rise of partisanship to a lack of virtue amongst the American citizenry. Dennis also discusses why it was that one founder, James Madison, remained optimistic about the future of the country. We end our conversation with why the disillusionment of the founders actually carries a message of hope for us. Get the show notes at
28/06/21·44m 57s

How to Use Digital Body Language to Build Trust and Connection

Three-quarters of our face-to-face communication with other people is given through nonverbal cues — the way we smile, hold our arms, raise or lower our voice, and so on. This body language is what helps us make a good impression, build rapport, and collaborate and create with others. It's no wonder then, that in an age where so much of our communication has moved to the digital realm, which is largely devoid of this body language, misunderstandings and miscommunications are so common.My guest would say that the key to improving our digital communication is to translate the body language of the physical world into our texts, emails, and calls. Her name is Erica Dhawan, and she's a leadership consultant and speaker, as well as the author of Digital Body Language: How to Build Trust and Connection No Matter the Distance. Today on the show, Erica explains the way things like how long it takes you to respond to a text, what punctuation you use in your messages, and how you sign off your emails can all affect the impression you make in your personal and professional relationships. We discuss the significance of exclamation points in our digital communication, using the example of how putting one after the word "sure" can convey a different meaning than using an ellipsis or nothing at all. Erica then gives her take on if and when to use emojis. From there we turn to how to avoid putting passive aggression into your messages, and how to deal with receiving messages that feel laden with such. We then unpack the best way to sign off on your emails. Erica explains how to choose the right communication channel — text, email, or video/phone — for your communication and the expectations as to how quickly you should respond to messages that are received on each respective medium. We end our conversation with what to do when someone's digital communication style leaves you frustrated or confused. Get the show notes at
23/06/21·37m 59s

The Stranger in the Woods — The Story of the Last True Hermit

Editor's Note: This is a rebroadcast. The episode originally aired in November 2017. Have you ever just wanted to get in your car, drive off into the middle of nowhere, leave behind the hustle and bustle of civilization, and just be by yourself? Well, in 1986 a man named Christopher Knight did just that and lived alone in the Maine woods without any, any human contact for 27 years until he was discovered in 2013. My guest today wrote a biography — The Stranger in the Woods — about this man who locals called “the Hermit of the North Pond.” His name is Michael Finkel and today on the show we discuss how Chris survived alone in the Maine woods by himself, but more importantly, why Chris wanted to be by himself for so long. By looking at the life of one of the modern world's last true hermits, Michael and I explore the idea of hermitage, solitude, and why being an individual requires you to be alone. Get the show notes at
21/06/21·47m 6s

The Fraught, Relatable Relationship Between Winston Churchill and His Son

Winston Churchill once said of his only son: "I love Randolph, but I don't like him." It's a sentiment many a parent with a tumultuous relationship with one of their children can relate to, and well describes both how Winston felt about Randolph, and how Randolph felt about his father.My guest today details Winston and Randolph's incredibly close and yet terribly complex and combustible relationship in his book, Churchill & Son. His name is Josh Ireland, and we begin our discussion with how Winston's own harsh and neglectful father influenced his decision to be a much more involved and ultimately indulgent family man, and the way he spoiled a son who was already inclined towards appalling behavior. Josh describes the manner in which Winston and Randolph both bonded and fought, and the effect the trouble Randolph caused had on the relationship between Winston and his wife. We then get into how World War II, and the way Winston may have encouraged Randolph's wife to cheat on him with an American diplomat, affected Randolph's relationship with his father for the worse. Josh explains the outsized expectations Winston had for Randolph, the points at which father and son respectively realized they'd never be fulfilled, and the lesson to be taken from their story about the cost of parents imposing their own dreams on their children. We end our conversation by discussing why it is that the children of great leaders rarely turn out well themselves, for, as Randolph himself observed, "Nothing grows in the shadow of a great oak tree." Get the show notes at
16/06/21·51m 1s

How to Make Your Life More Effortless

When we're failing to do the things that are most important in our lives, the typical diagnosis of the problem is to believe we're simply not working hard enough, and the typical solution to the problem is to put in more effort, apply more discipline, and grind it out. My guest would say that we're thinking about both the root and the remedy of the issue in the wrong way. His name is Greg McKeown, and he's the author of the bestseller Essentialism, as well as his latest book, Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters Most. Today on the show, Greg shares how he came to realize that life isn't just about focusing on the essentials, but making those essential things the easy things. We discuss why it is that we commonly make things harder than they need to be, and how while the right thing can be hard, just because something is hard, doesn't make it the right thing. We then discuss the role that emotions like gratitude play in making things feel more effortless, why you need to have a clear vision of what being done looks like (including having a Done for the Day list), how to overcome the difficulty of getting started with things through microbursts of action, and how to keep going with them using a sustainable pace marked by upper and lower bounds. We end our conversation with how seeking an effortless state applies to one's spiritual life. Along the way, Greg shares stories from history and his own life as to what it means to get to your goals using a more effortless path. Get the show notes at
14/06/21·51m 39s

What's the Most Sustainable Diet?

If you're someone who wants to lose weight, you've probably spent some time thinking about and experimenting with different diets. Browse the literal shelves of a bookstore or the metaphorical ones of the internet, and you can find thousands of options to choose from, each with their ardent fans and supposedly decisive rationales. But which diet really works best, and, most importantly, given that 95% of people who lose weight on one gain it back, is a plan that an average human can stick with for the long haul? My guest today is in a distinctly well-informed position to comment on this question, having personally test-driven over a dozen diets in three years. His name is Barry Estabrook, and he's an investigative journalist and the author of Just Eat: One Reporter's Quest for a Weight-Loss Regimen That Works. We begin our conversation with what set Barry on his quest to find the best, most sustainable diet. We then get into the fact that the ideas behind modern diets aren't new, and the sometimes weird history of their predecessors. From there we turn to Barry's experiments with contemporary diets, including what happened when he tried eating both low-carb and low-fat, joining Weight Watchers, and figuring out what he could learn from the eating habits of the Greeks and French. We end our conversation with what Barry ultimately changed about his own diet to successfully drop the pounds, and what he discovered as to what really works best for sustainable weight loss. Get the show notes at
09/06/21·49m 52s

Why Do We Want What We Want?

Why do we want the things we want? While we'll offer up plenty of reasons to explain our choices, my guest today says the real reason we want what we want is this: other people in our lives want those same things.His name is Luke Burgis and he's studied philosophy, theology, and classical literature, works as a business entrepreneur, investor, and educator, and is the author of Wanting: The Power of Mimetic Desire in Everyday Life. Luke and I discuss how our desires are strongly mimetic, that is, imitative, and how there are two groups of people that act as models of desire for us: celebrities and public figures who are distant from us, and friends, family, and colleagues who are close to us. Luke explains why it's actually that latter group where we experience the most rivalry and conflict, because the more similar we are, the more we end up competing for the same things, the more envy we experience, and the more we want to differentiate ourselves from the crowd, even though the areas in which to do so can be increasingly small. In fact, someone can be a model of desire, not only in influencing us to imitate them, but in motivating us to act in the opposite way. Luke shares how mimetic desire can be both a negative and destructive or a positive and productive force, and offers advice on how to harness it for the latter purpose by humbly recognizing the way other people are influencing our wants, and using that knowledge to opt out of games we don't want to play, utilize the healthy aspects of competition without allowing it to get us off track, and intentionally choose worthy, even transcendent, models of desire to emulate. Get the show notes at
07/06/21·45m 8s

How to Predict the Weather (No Apps Required)

When you're deciding what to wear in the morning, or on the viability of some activity for the weekend, you'll likely turn to a weather app to see what the forecast holds. My guest today would suggest supplementing that habit with another: actually going outside, looking at the sky and feeling the air in order to engage in an ancient and satisfying practice and build a more intimate relationship with the weather and the world around you. His name is Tristan Gooley and he's a master outdoorsman, expert natural navigator, and global adventurer, as well as the author of The Secret World of Weather: How to Read Signs in Every Cloud, Breeze, Hill, Street, Plant, Animal, and Dewdrop. Tristan and I begin our conversation with how modern meteorological science is incredibly useful, but has also disconnected us from the weather signs right in front of our faces, as well as the different microclimates that can exist even on two different sides of a tree. We then do a quick review of some of the basic scientific/meteorological principles that underlie understanding the weather, before turning to the concrete, research-backed, field-tested, signs you can observe in your environment to predict the weather, like the shape and height of clouds, and why you should check those clouds from lunchtime onward. We discuss whether there's truth to the old saying, "red sky at night, sailors' delight; red sky in morning, sailors take warning," and what changes in plants and the behavior of animals can tell you about the coming forecast, We end our conversation with how to get started today with predicting the weather using natural signs. Get the show notes at
02/06/21·46m 45s

What Plato’s Republic Has to Say About Being a Man

Editor’s Note: This is a re-broadcast. This episode originally aired in April 2019. Plato’s Republic is a seminal treatise in Western political philosophy and thought. It hits on ideas that we’re still grappling with in our own time, including the nature of justice and what the ideal political system looks like. But my guest today argues that The Republic also has a lot to say about manliness, character development, and education in our current climate of safe spaces and trigger warnings. His name is Jacob Howland. He’s a professor of philosophy at the University of Tulsa and the author of the recent book Glaucon’s Fate: History, Myth, and Character in Plato’s Republic. We begin our conversation with an outline of Plato’s Republic and how it combines literature and philosophy. Jacob then makes the case that in The Republic, Socrates was attempting to save the soul of Plato’s politically ambitious brother, Glaucon, and why he thinks Socrates failed. Along the way we discuss what Socrates’ attempt to save Glaucon can teach us about andreia or manliness and what it means to seek the Good in life. We end our conversation discussing the way The Republic teaches us of the need to possess not only physical courage, but the courage to think for oneself and stand up for one’s beliefs — a courage that is tested in a time like our own, where it can feel difficult to ask hard questions and wrestle with thorny issues. Get the show notes at
01/06/21·1h 13m

The Men and Mission of WWII's Unsinkable U.S.S. Plunkett

Seventy-six years years after the end of World War II, that singular event continues to capture our interest and fascination. There's a reason for that; the war combined two greatly compelling things — the epic, historic sweep of large-scale battles and the personal stories of the individual young men who fought in them with determined resolve and humble heroism. My guest has written a book that deftly combines both of these elements into a thoroughly memorable tale. His name is James Sullivan and he's the author of Unsinkable: Five Men and the Indomitable Run of the U.S.S. Plunkett. Today on the show, Jim shares the story of the Plunkett — the only Navy ship to participate in every Allied invasion in the European theatre — as well as the stories of a group of men who served on this destroyer. We begin with the personal connection Jim has to the Plunkett, and how he got interested in learning more about the ship. Jim then explains the role the Navy's destroyers played during WWII, before getting into the backstories of some of the men who served aboard the Plunkett. From there we delve into the escorting and landing operations the Plunkett was involved in leading up to its arrival along the Italian coast at Anzio, where a dozen German bombers bore down on the ship in one of the most savage attacks of the war, and how the ship yet lived to fight another day. We end our conversation with what happened to the men Jim profiled, how the war affected their lives, and how their lives affected Jim. Get the show notes at
26/05/21·58m 1s

How to Plan the Ultimate Road Trip

After more than a year of being cooped up due to pandemic restrictions, lots of people are itching to hit the open road and get the heck out of dodge. If that's you, my guests have some great tips for planning and executing an awesome road trip. Their names are Jeremy and Stephanie Puglisi and they're the proprietors of the RV Atlas blog and podcast, the authors of several books on camping and road tripping, and veteran road trippers themselves, having, together with their three boys, spent over a thousand nights at hundreds of campgrounds from coast to coast. We start off our conversation with how the Puglisis began road tripping with a pop-up camper, and the benefits of driving places rather than flying. We then get into how to dip your toes into RVing without a big commitment, and whether there’s an ideal age to start taking RV trips with your kids. From there we get into best practices for planning and executing a road trip, whether you're going by RV or car, including the biggest mistakes people make, the art of road trip snacks, and when it's better to fly versus drive. We also talk about how to keep kids entertained on the road, including how to handle the issue of screen time. We end our conversation with the benefits of staying at campsites rather than hotels, why you might want to look into private KOA campgrounds, and why planning a great road trip always starts with picking a great destination. Get the show notes at
24/05/21·50m 51s

The Spartans at Thermopylae

for knowing the death which was about to come upon them by reason of those who were going round the mountain, they displayed upon the barbarians all the strength which they had, to its greatest extent, disregarding danger and acting as if possessed by a spirit of recklessness. So wrote the Greek historian Herodotus, our main source as to what happened at the Battle of Thermopylae, clearly impressed by the bravery the Spartans showed in making a stand against multitudes of invading Persian warriors. Even down to the present time, this legendary battle continues to capture our imagination, and my guest today will go beyond pop culture depictions of it, to describe what really led up to Thermopylae, how the epic clash that happened in a narrow coastal pass in Greece unfolded, and why it matters. His name is Paul Cartledge, and he's an ancient historian, professor of Greek culture, and the author of several books on Sparta, including Thermopylae: The Battle That Changed the World. At the start of the show, Paul describes Sparta's martial training system which allowed it to become a dominant power in Greece, the Spartans relationship with other city-states, and how they ended up partnering with their sometimes enemy, Athens, in repelling a second Persian invasion. We discuss who made up the famous 300 Spartan warriors who would defend the Grecian pass to the death, how they armed and prepared for combat, and what happened over three days of battle. We end our conversation with the importance of the Spartans' courageous stand at Thermopylae not only in the outcome of the Greco-Persian Wars, but the course of world history. Get the show notes at
19/05/21·46m 49s

The Art of Conversation — A Guided Tour of a Neglected Pleasure

How do you form a meaningful connection with another person? Well, it starts with simply opening your mouth. From there, my guest says, you want to progress through a conversation, or perhaps a series of conversations, in a particular sequence of stages that will form an effective on-ramp towards a stronger relationship. Her name is Judy Apps, she's a speaking and voice coach and the author of several books on communication, including The Art of Conversation. Today Judy and I discuss that art, beginning with why it's so important to learn. We then get into the different levels a conversation should progress through in order to build intimacy and smoothly segue into discussing the things that matter most. Judy explains how to bring the kind of energy to a conversation that creates connection, and two exercises you can use to overcome the self-consciousness that can thwart that energy. Along the way, we discuss how conversation is both a game that you can have fun practicing, and a dance that can flow into some of life's most magical moments. Get the show notes at
17/05/21·41m 17s

Overcoming the Comfort Crisis

Our world has never been more convenient and comfortable. With just a few taps of our fingers, we can order food to our door, access endless entertainment options, and keep our climate at a steady 72 degrees. We don't have to put in much effort, much less face any risk or challenge, in order to sustain our daily lives. In some ways, this quantum leap in humanity's comfort level is a great boon. But in other ways, it's absolutely killing our minds, bodies, and spirit.My guest says it's time to reclaim the currently-hard-to-come-by but truly essential benefits of discomfort. His name is Michael Easter, and he's a writer, editor, and professor, and the author of The Comfort Crisis: Embrace Discomfort to Reclaim Your Wild, Happy, Healthy Self. Michael first shares how his experience with getting sober helped him discover the life-changing potential of doing hard things, before digging into what fleeing from discomfort is doing to our mental and physical health. We then discuss the Japanese idea of misogis, which involves taking on an epic outdoor challenge, and why Michael decided to do a misogi in which he participated in a month-long caribou hunt in the backcountry of Alaska. Michael shares what he learned from the various challenges he encountered during his misogi — including intense hunger, boredom, solitude, and physical exertion —as well as what research can teach all of us about why we need to incorporate these same kinds of discomforts into our everyday lives. Get the show notes at
12/05/21·58m 52s

Did You Pick the Right Partner?

Whether you've been dating someone for a short time or been married for years, there's one question that can remain perennially interesting — did I choose the right partner? My guest today has some answers to that question that aren't based on crowd-sourced anecdotes or biased personal hunches, but reams of scientific research. His name is Ty Tashiro and he's a professor of psychology, a relationship expert, and the author of The Science of Happily Ever After: What Really Matters in the Quest for Enduring Love. We begin our discussion with the difference between loving someone and being in love with them, and how the latter comes down to a combination of like and lust. Ty shares the three elements that go into liking, and how this liking piece is really the foundation of long-lasting relational happiness, even though it tends to get underemphasized. Ty then reveals the surprisingly low ROI of factors like looks and income in relationship happiness, before unpacking the factors that do have an outsized impact in contributing to enduring love. We discuss which personality traits are predictive of relationship stability and satisfaction, which have the opposite effect, and why you need to ask your friends for their assessment of your significant other's personality, rather than only assessing it yourself. We also get into the importance of your partner's attachment style, which they learned in childhood, and two red flags to look for in your relationship. These insights will prove super useful for those in the dating scene, but will also be of interest to those already in long-term relationships, in either affirming the wisdom of your choice of partner, or helping you identify issues that may be sabotaging your relationship and can still be addressed. Get the show notes at
10/05/21·49m 43s

The (Non-Cliche) Life Lessons of Fly Fishing

Fishing has long lent itself to imparting philosophical parallels and metaphorical life lessons. But these homespun platitudes can, to be honest, tend to get a little timeworn and cliche. My guest today breathes new life into what fishing, specifically fly fishing, has to teach anglers and non-anglers alike, while also giving us a look inside the skill, fun, and sensibilities of this sport. His name is David Coggins, and he's a travel and style writer, as well as the author of The Optimist: A Case for the Fly Fishing Life. David and I discuss the different types of fly fishing that exist, and what they say about your personality, stage in life, and how we all choose the way we're going to do something. We then discuss the way that pursuits like fly fishing are not just about their mechanics, but the experience as a whole, which includes things like eating hash browns at a diner in Montana. We talk about the importance of mentors, and David's experience with two old guys who showed him the fly fishing ropes. We then get into why men love getting ready for something as much as actually doing it, before delving into the tension between wanting to nab a fish, and being okay when you don't, and how part of growing up is learning how to care, but not care. We end our conversation with the best route for getting into the fly fishing life, and how you can get started in a way that's both affordable and close to home. Get the show notes at
05/05/21·47m 46s

The Best Tools for Personal Change

There's no shortage of information out there on how to change — how to lose weight, exercise more, curb your anger, quit smoking, and every other kind of habit someone might want to pick up or drop. But despite this avalanche of information, you're probably struggling to change just as much as you ever did. What you need is an actual strategy — to identify what particular barrier is keeping you from a particular goal, and a specific solution to that specific roadblock. My guest is well-positioned to help you cut through the voluminous noise around personal change and hone in on both sides of this equation. Her name is Katy Milkman, and she's a Wharton professor who's spent her career studying behavioral economics and the author of How to Change: The Science of Getting From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. On the show today, Katy and I walk through common reasons people aren't successful in changing, and the best, research-backed tools for turning uphill battles into downhill ones. We discuss the ideal times to begin a new habit and the power of fresh starts, how to get motivated to tackle something when there are more pleasurable things you'd rather be doing, how to use commitment devices to stay the course, why giving advice to someone else can help you take that advice yourself, and the crucial importance of surrounding yourself with peers who are better — but not too much better — than you are. Get the show notes at
03/05/21·46m 24s

How to Keep Your Edge as You Get Older

It's a common life trajectory for men: graduate college, get married, get a 9 to 5 job, have some kids, settle down in the suburbs. And somewhere along that way, they start to get a little soft and stagnant. They let themselves go, becoming less active, and more sedentary. They have more material possessions but fewer hobbies and interests. They lose their edge.My guest has spent his life battling against this loss. In his more than five decades on earth, he's served in the French navy, trained soldiers in close quarter combat, skydiving, long-range weapon shooting, first aid, and explosives, set a deep water scuba diving record, and studied multiple martial arts, and he currently owns a gym, teaches as a MovNat Master Instructor, and coaches men over forty in how to live better, stronger, and more vibrant lives. His name is Vic Verdier and today on the show he shares his advice on how a man can stay fit and engaged with life as he gets older. We first discuss Vic's background before getting into why it's important for men to seek physical achievement and become physical polymaths, and the role strength training, cardio, and working on your balance plays in that pursuit. Vic then shares his advice on keeping the pounds down and your testosterone up as you age, and why he thinks training in combatives is important on both a practical and psychological level. We talk about the importance of maintaining a connection to nature and keeping your possessions minimal, before ending our conversation with why it's important to stay comfortable with being uncomfortable, and how men can continue to seek adventure and exploration, even when they live in the suburbs. Get the show notes at
28/04/21·43m 21s

The Hidden Qualities of Genius

We tend to throw the word "genius" around pretty casually, saying so-and-so has a genius for a particular skill, or sarcastically pointing out someone's failure by saying, "Nice work, genius!" But what makes an actual genius, a genius? My guest today has spent over two decades exploring that question by studying the world's most iconic and original thinkers and creators, both past and present. His name is Craig Wright, he's a professor emeritus of music at Yale who continues to teach a course there called "Exploring the Nature of Genius," and he's the author of The Hidden Habits of Genius: Beyond Talent, IQ, and Grit—Unlocking the Secrets of Greatness. Today on the show Craig reveals the characteristics and patterns of behavior of true geniuses, and begins by answering the questions of whether there's a connection between genius and intelligence, and whether genius is hereditary. We talk about several drivers of genius, including situational advantages, a childlike ability to play with possibilities, a keen curiosity, a strong memory, broad interests and vision, the ability to toggle between intense concentration and loose relaxation, and keeping a daily routine. We then discuss whether there's a connection between genius and mental health issues, and what effect being a genius tends to have on someone's personal life. Along the way, Craig illustrates his points with examples from the lives of Mozart, da Vinci, Steve Jobs, and more. Get the show notes at
26/04/21·40m 30s

One Man's Impossible Quest — To Make Friends in Adulthood

Several years ago, there was a tweet that went viral which said that of Jesus' many miracles, perhaps his greatest, was having 12 close friends in his 30s. As people say, it's funny, because it's true. When my guest today came face-to-face with the anemic state of his own friendships, he set out to try to do the miraculous himself, and make friends in middle-age. His name is Billy Baker and he's a journalist and the author of We Need to Hang Out: A Memoir of Making Friends. Billy and I begin our conversation with the problem of male loneliness in the modern age, and how it befell him in his own life. We then discuss how men and women do friendships differently, the way men do theirs shoulder to shoulder, what this means for what male friendships need to be built around, and why they require what he calls “velvet hooks.” Billy shares how he started his project, which experimented with different ways to recover and create connections, by rekindling his old friendships, but why that ultimately didn't scratch the friendship itch for him. Billy then describes what did: a kind of casual fraternity for middle-aged men he started, and how it was inspired by something called the "men’s shed" movement in Australia and its philosophy that men need "somewhere to go, something to do, and someone to talk to." We end our conversation with Billy's takeaways for making friends in adulthood, including the need for embracing intentionality and social risk. Get the show notes at
21/04/21·37m 36s

Why Are We Restless?

Most everyone has experienced restlessness from time to time. A feeling of wanting more, but being unsure of how to find it; of struggling with distraction, but being unsure of what to focus on; of striking out in various directions, but not feeling any more fulfilled.While we tend to think of restlessness as a very modern phenomenon, a French diplomat and philosopher, Alexis de Tocqueville, observed the very same problems in America two centuries ago. And the roots of our restlessness go back even further still.My guests today will trace some of these genealogical branches for us. Their names are Benjamin and Jenna Storey, they're a married couple, professors of political philosophy, and the authors of the book Why We Are Restless: On the Modern Quest for Contentment.We begin our conversation with how the Storeys' inquiry into restlessness began from observing existential meltdowns in their students and a constant but unfulfilling busyness in their friends. The Storeys then explain how Tocqueville observed a similar phenomenon at the start of the 19th century, before digging into two of the philosophers Tocqueville's observations were shaped by: Michel de Montaigne and Blaise Pascal. They first unpack Montaigne's ideal of living a life of cool, nonchalant, existential indifference, which sought contentment in the here and now, and then discuss Pascal's critique of that philosophy, in which he argued that seeking diversion and distraction for its own sake only makes us miserable, and that humans must engage in an anguished search for something beyond ourselves. We then explore what happened in the West when Montaigne's approach to life was adopted by the masses, and how it's led to feelings of existential failure, an impossible search for constant happiness, envy, loneliness, and acrimonious political debates. At the end of our conversation, the Storeys argue that while restlessness can never be entirely extinguished, it can be tamed, and suggest a few ways on how. Get the show notes at
19/04/21·48m 9s

The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini

Quick, think of a famous magician. Dimes to donuts, you just thought of Harry Houdini. Though it's been almost a century since his death, Houdini still occupies a prime place in the cultural imagination, and my guest explains why in his book, The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini, and for us today on the show. His name is Joe Posnanski, and we begin our conversation with Houdini's childhood -- how he mythologized it and carved a path out for himself from his desire to not be like his father. We then discuss Houdini's early days as a magician, the trick he honed that helped make his name, and the outsized importance of that name in his fame and legacy. We then explore how escape artistry became Houdini's calling card and why it resonated so much with the public. We get into the way Houdini brought an athlete's physicality and mindset to his performances, and how the difference between magic and escape artistry can be described as the difference between the impossible and the amazing. From there we turn to the fact that Houdini was, and wasn't, interested in money, his insatiable ambition and drive for fame, and how even the turn he took later in life towards debunking spiritualism kept him in the public eye. We end our conversation with why some modern magicians downplay Houdini's talents, while he yet remains an enduring cultural icon amongst the public. Get the show notes at
14/04/21·53m 59s

The No-Nonsense Guide to Simplifying Every Aspect of Your Life

Before Gary Collins left a bureaucratic government job to pursue a more independent existence off the grid, he had to work on downsizing and decluttering his life. The lessons he learned in ultimately achieving that aim apply to everyone — even those with no plans to leave civilization — who would like to lead a simpler life. Gary shares those lessons in his book The Simple Life Guide to Decluttering Your Life, and with us today on the show. We begin with why it's so easy to get caught up in the consumerism-driven "cult of clutter," how the clutter it generates extends far past a person's tangible stuff, and the cost it exacts from our lives in both financial and psychological terms. Gary then explains how to simplify and declutter every aspect of your life — the material, of course, but also the technological, informational, and even social. Along the way, this self-described "redneck hippie" offers no-nonsense advice that refreshingly departs from the kind of soft glow, artfully arranged, white background pictures of minimalism you might find on Instagram. Because Gary's not on Instagram. That would be clutter. Get the show notes at
12/04/21·50m 4s

The Secrets of Public Speaking From History's Greatest Orators

Despite the fact that public speaking remains an important and relevant skill in our modern age -- you never know when you'll need to give a toast at a wedding, pitch an idea at work, or champion a proposal at a city council meeting -- most of us get very little instruction these days in how to do it effectively. Fortunately, my guest says, we can look to the great orators of the past to get the public speaking education we never received. His name is John Hale, and he's professor of archeology as well the lecturer of The Great Courses course Art of Public Speaking: Lessons from the Greatest Speeches in History. Today on the show, John shares what we can learn about the physicality of public speaking from Demontheses of Athens, the importance of empathetic body language from Patrick Henry, the effective use of humor from Will Rogers, the power of three from the apostle Paul, and the potency of brevity and well-executed organization from Abraham Lincoln. Get the show notes at
07/04/21·39m 53s

Social Psychology Won't Save Us

When it comes to proposed solutions to life's problems, whether on an individual or societal scale, the four most commonly used words these days are "According to a study . . . " This phrase is used by journalists and media outlets; we certainly use it a lot in AoM articles. And it's used in the rationales that are forwarded for implementing some new program in a school or other institution. My guest, however, questions whether we really should be lending the research of social psychologists and behavioral scientists so much weight. His name is Jesse Singal and he's the author of The Quick Fix: Why Fad Psychology Can't Cure Our Social Ills. Today on the show, Jesse explains how social psychology has come to such prominence in our culture, the role things like TED talks have played in its rise, and yet how the replication crisis calls into question the legitimacy of the field's growing influence. We discuss why the solutions sometimes offered by behavioral science are both seductive and flawed, and how this dynamic played out in the self-esteem movement of the 1990s. We then discuss if another fad of social science, power posing, actually works, before turning to how the problems of positive psychology are exemplified in a program the military adopted to help soldiers with PTSD. We end our conversation with whether the idea of grit is all it's cracked up to be, and how ultimately, there are no quick fixes to life's big problems. Get the show notes at
05/04/21·40m 41s

Forging Mental Strength Through Physical Strength

Editor’s Note: This is a re-broadcast. This episode originally aired in June 2018. When you start a fitness program, you tend to spend most of your time thinking about the physical part — what movements you’re going to do, how much weight you’re going to lift, or how far you’re going to run. But my guest today argues we ignore the mental aspect of our training at our peril. His name is Bobby Maximus. He’s a world-renowned trainer known for his brutal circuit workouts and the author of the new book Maximus Body. Today on the show Bobby and I dig into the psychology of fitness. We begin by discussing what holds people back from getting started or going further with their goals and how sticking little green dots all over your house can help you surmount those barriers. He then shares why it’s important to manage expectations when beginning a training program and why there are no shortcuts to any goal. We then shift gears and get into Bobby’s training philosophy. He shares how to train to be “ready for everything,” why you need to do strength training before your endurance work, and why recovery is so important in reaching your fitness goals. We end our conversation with some examples of the “Sunday Sermons” Bobby shares on his website and a discussion of why perspective is important whenever you’re going through a hard time in life. After the show is over, check out the show notes at
31/03/21·40m 2s

Theodore Roosevelt, The Last Romantic

Romanticism, not in terms of courtship and bouquets of roses, but as a philosophical approach to life which blossomed in the 19th century, embodies many tenets, including a nostalgia for the past, a heroic view of the world, a firm sense of right and wrong, and the idea that an individual can shape his own destiny, as well as have an outsized impact on the world. It is through this lens of Romanticism, my guest says, that we can best understand one of the most memorable, influential, and legendary figures in American history: Theodore Roosevelt. His name is H. W. Brands, and he's a professor of history and the author of numerous books and biographies, including T.R.: The Last Romantic. Today on the show, Bill explains how Teddy Roosevelt was one of the last bearers of the Romantic spirit, where his Romanticism came from, how that spirit motivated him to push and challenge himself from boyhood 'til death, led him both to egoistic excesses and worthy, epic deeds, and influenced everything from his familial relationships to his time as president to his second and third acts in life. Get the show notes at
29/03/21·56m 37s

Sisu, the Finnish Art of Strength

In Finland, "sisu" is a concept that, while it can't be strictly translated into English, roughly corresponds to a combination of bravery, resilience, grit, and determination. My guest today will help us unpack it further, and offers advice on how everyone can live life with more sisu. Her name is Joanna Nylund and she's the author of Sisu: The Finnish Art of Courage. Joanna explains what sisu is and how it was exemplified in the David and Goliath story of the Finns facing down the Russians during the Winter War. We then talk about what it is about Finland that birthed the quality of sisu and ways to develop it even if you're not Finnish, including embracing discomfort, getting out despite the weather, and seeking silence and solitude as a way to develop inner strength. We also talk about the Finnish practice of retreating to a rustic cabin in the summer to reacquaint oneself with simplicity, manual labor, and nature. We end our conversation with the sisu way of communication, and how to foster sisu in children. Get the show notes
24/03/21·35m 6s

The Fascinating Secrets of Your Voice

Unless you're a complete recluse, you probably use your voice many times a day, whether talking to your spouse, chatting with co-workers, or singing along to music in the car. Yet, you've probably never thought all that much about something that's literally happening right under your nose. My guest today says that once you do start thinking about your voice, it reveals fascinating secrets to who you are. His name is John Colapinto and he's the author of This Is the Voice. John and I begin our conversation with what exactly the voice is, how the voice develops in babies, why men and women speak in lower and higher voices, and what each sex finds attractive in the voice of the other. We then discuss why people develop accents, and how these accents set boundaries as to who is in and who is out of a group. We dig into the modern phenomena of vocal fry and uptalk, and how, when you end everything in a question, it can sound like you're a submissive supplicant. We get into how singing makes us feel super vulnerable, and why modern pop music can sound soulless when its inherent imperfections are stripped out. We end our conversation with the way our voices degrade as we age, and John's call to own and use your voice. Get the show notes at
22/03/21·57m 38s

Why Is It So Hard to Admit You Were Wrong?

Personal responsibility, the ability to own up to one's mistakes, is a foundational element of character. It's also the only way we can grow and get better. But as anyone with any experience being human well understands, dang, it sure can be hard to do. My guest today explains why, and how you can yet rise to meet this important challenge. His name is Elliot Aronson, and he's a social psychologist and the co-author of Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts. Elliot first explains how and why we engage in self-justification to avoid facing our mistakes, and how this process is driven by the phenomenon of cognitive dissonance. We then discuss how once you make a decision in a certain direction, good or bad, you become more entrenched in your attitude about it and more likely to continue down that same path, and how this phenomenon represents what Elliot calls "the pyramid of choice." We end our conversation with how we can learn to approach the mistakes of others with more generosity, and our own mistakes with more honesty. Get the show notes at
17/03/21·43m 55s

The Two Halves of the Warrior's Life

The Roman army hires a former legionnaire to hunt down a courier and intercept a letter he is carrying from the apostle Paul. But when this mercenary overtakes the courier, something happens that neither he nor the empire could have predicted. This is the plot of the latest novel from writer Steven Pressfield, entitled A Man at Arms. Pressfield is the author of numerous works of both fiction, including Gates of Fire and Tides of War, and non-fiction, including The War of Art and The Warrior Ethos. On today's show, Steven explains why he decided to return to writing a novel set in the ancient world after a 13-year hiatus from doing so, and why he chose to center it around one of Paul's epistles and the threat the Roman empire perceived in the growing movement of Christianity. We discuss how the protagonist of A Man at Arms, Telamon, embodies the archetype of the warrior and a philosophy of "dust and strife," and yet has exhausted the archetype and is ready to integrate something else into it -- a philosophy of love. Steven explains how the journey Telamon is on applies to all artists, entrepreneurs, and individuals, and the transition we all must make from the first half of life in which we're discovering our gifts and honing our skills, to the second half of life, in which we figure out what those gifts and skills are for. Get the show notes at
15/03/21·40m 4s

What You Can (Really) Learn About Exercise from Your Human Ancestors

We all know how indisputably good exercise is for you. Yet a lot of folks still find it a struggle to engage in much physical activity. To understand the reason that this conflict and tension exists and how to overcome it, it helps to understand the lives of our human ancestors. Though, not the way the popular culture understands them, but the way someone who's actually studied them understands them. My guest is such an expert guide. His name is Daniel Lieberman, and he's a Harvard professor of human evolutionary biology and the author of Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding. Today on the show, Daniel shares what we can really learn from our ancestors as to our modern relationship with exercise, while debunking some of the popular myths about our hunter-gatherer history. We begin by talking about how very recent, and actually quite weird, the whole concept of exercise is. We then discuss the fact that our ancestors were not the natural super athletes we typically imagine, what their state of physicality was really like, and how understanding their lifestyle can help us understand the competing interests going on in our own minds and bodies that can leave us feeling ambivalent about getting up and moving around. We then discuss if, as it's been said, "sitting is the new smoking," and the less and more healthy ways to sit. Daniel unpacks whether we're evolved for running, how our ancestors' strength compares to our own, and whether or not exercise helps us lose weight. We end our conversation with how this background on the past can help us in the present, by showing us the two factors that are critical in helping us moderns make exercise a habit. Get the show notes
10/03/21·39m 41s

The Life Philosophy of Bruce Lee

Many people know Bruce Lee as a martial artist and film star. But he was also a philosopher, who articulated principles that apply beyond engaging in artful combat, to grappling with life itself.Shannon Lee, daughter of Bruce Lee, caretaker of his legacy, and author of Be Water, My Friend: The Teachings of Bruce Lee, unpacks those principles on today's show. We begin our conversation with what Shannon remembers of her late father, and how she discovered the power of his philosophy after sinking into a depression following the death of her brother, Brandon Lee. We then dive into some of the sources of Bruce Lee's philosophy, his reading habits, and what books he kept in his extensive library. Shannon shares the story behind how her father first started formulating his ideas around becoming like water, how he engaged in forms of moving meditation, and what you can learn from his journaling practice. We end our conversation with the resilient, proactive way Bruce Lee responded to a potentially crippling back injury. Great inspiration in this show on what should be every man's ideal: the combination of contemplation and action. Get the show notes at
08/03/21·55m 13s

Email Is Making Us Miserable — Here's What to Do About It

Each day you begin work with high hopes for productivity and creativity. But each day you instead find yourself bogged down in checking and answering emails and responding to messages on Slack. As frustrating as this is, it just seems like the inevitable, unalterable dynamic of modern jobs.But my guest today says that another way of working is possible, and it could unleash a tidal way of new productivity. His name is Cal Newport, and he's a professor of computer science and the author of several books, including his latest, A World Without Email: Reimagining Work in an Age of Information Overload. Cal describes how email and chat channels have created what he calls "the hyperactive hive mind," and the costs to productivity, well-being, and focus that this hive mind incurs. He then explains why we feel the need to quickly respond to messages, even if rationally we know they’re not urgent. Cal then lays out practical ways to replace the hive mind with a more effective way of working, and why it involves concentrating on processes over messaging, increasing intellectual specialization, a return to hiring support staff, and, counterintuitively, more friction and less convenience. Cal also offers advice on how to make these changes at your office, even if you're not in a position of authority. Get the show notes at
03/03/21·59m 10s

Protection for and from Humanity

When celebrities, dignitaries, and executives go out and about and travel around the world, they're often surrounded by bodyguards whose job it is to protect them and their loved ones. My guest today offers a look at what's involved in offering these professional protective services for VIPs, and how average citizens can apply the same principles to protect themselves and their families. His name is Todd Fox, he has an extensive military and law enforcement background, and he's the founder of Close Protection Corps and the author of Protection for & from Humanity. Todd and I discuss why the soft skills around mindset constitute the foundation of personal protection, and the prep work that's necessary to keep both VIPs and normal folks safe, including the process of "advancing" and a system from the Vietnam era you can use to make yourself a "hard target." We then discuss what you can learn from the Marine Combat Hunter program, the Cooper Color Code, and the OODA Loop to develop better situational awareness. We end our conversation with the hard skills you should learn to protect yourself, and the order you should learn them in. Get the show notes at
01/03/21·56m 50s

How to Get a Handle on the Voice in Your Head

We all talk to ourselves all the time. This kind of inner dialogue can be a good thing, helping us focus and work through problems, but it can also go off the rails, turning into worry and negative rumination. My guest today calls this negative self-talk "chatter," and in a book of the same name he outlines how to get a handle on it. His name is Ethan Kross, he's a psychologist and the director of the Emotion & Self Control Lab, and we begin our conversation with the way introspection can be both good and bad, and the function of the voice in our heads. We discuss why negative emotions make us want to reach out to other people, and how this impulse can be harnessed in either a positive or detrimental way. We then unpack how managing the way we talk to ourselves really comes down to zooming out and getting distance from the self, and how this can be accomplished with a variety of tools, from engaging in a kind of time travel to going out into nature. Get the show notes at
24/02/21·36m 25s

The Psychology of Boredom

When we experience boredom, we tend to experience it as uncomfortable and agitating, and seek to banish it with some ready distraction. Or, we try to look at boredom sort of piously, as something we should learn to sit with, because it builds character.My guest today would argue that it's best to see boredom more neutrally -- as simply an important signal that we need to change up what we're doing, and become more effective and engaged in the world.His name is James Danckert, and he's a cognitive neuroscientist and professor of psychology, as well as the co-author of Out of My Skull: The Psychology of Boredom. We begin our conversation with how boredom has been thought about in history and philosophy, and yet largely ignored by psychologists. We then discuss what it really means to be bored and what types of people are most prone to boredom. James explains how boredom is related to our sense of agency and the role constraints play in increasing it. We then get into how people's propensity towards boredom changes across the lifespan, and at what ages you're more and less likely to experience it. We end our conversation with the negative effects of being boredom prone, including the way boredom may increase political extremism, and the more positive and adaptive ways to deal with being bored. Get the show notes at
22/02/21·41m 16s

How to Decide

We all make many decisions every single day. From little ones like what to eat for breakfast, to big ones like whether to take a new job. Given how regularly we're deciding, we certainly have a vested interest in getting better at this skill. But how do we do so? How can we get better at making big choices, and spend less time dithering over the insignificant minutiae that often overwhelms our mental bandwidth? And why didn't anyone teach us how to do this stuff to begin with?My guest today has written a book that offers an education in a subject matter many of us missed out on. Her name is Annie Duke, she's a former professional poker player and decision-making expert and strategist, and her latest book is How to Decide: Simple Tools for Making Better Choices. Today on the show, Annie shares many of those practical tools, beginning with how to overcome hindsight bias and "resulting" -- our tendency to judge decisions based on their outcomes -- by doing something called "knowledge tracking." We discuss how to figure out the probabilities for things that seem difficult to predict and the importance of embracing an "archer's mindset." When then get into when you should make decisions slowly, when you can speed up, how to employ the "only option" test when making a choice, and why when a decision is hard, it’s actually easy. Get the show notes at
17/02/21·59m 48s