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The Art of Manliness

English, Human interest, 1 season, 1047 episodes, 5 days, 15 hours, 2 minutes
About
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.
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How to Know When It's Time to Break Up With Your Job

You have a relationship with family, with friends, with a romantic partner. You may not have thought about it this way, but you also have a relationship with your job — a quite serious one, in fact; after all, you spend a third of your life working.Just like the relationship you have with your significant other, there are ups and downs with your relationship with your job. It can start out with exciting honeymoon feelings, but along the way, you can end up drifting apart from your job, lose interest in it, or not feel appreciated. And there can come a time when you start wondering if you and your job should part ways.Here to help you figure out if you should break up with your job is Tessa West, a professor of psychology and the author of Job Therapy: Finding Work That Works for You. Tessa interviewed thousands of people who have recently switched jobs or undergone career changes and found that there are five forms that job dissatisfaction typically takes. Today on the show, Tessa shares those five job dissatisfaction profiles, and how to know when you need to try to move into a new role within your company, or move on altogether and even change careers.Resources Related to the PodcastTessa's previous appearance on the AoM podcast: Episode #834 — The 7 Types of Work Jerks (And How to Deal With Them)AoM Article: 30+ Questions to Ask Yourself Before Leaving a JobAoM Podcast #578: Figuring Out If You Should Change Careers (And How to Do It)Connect With TessaWestTessa's websiteTessa's research lab
7/24/202449 minutes, 40 seconds
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The Essential Habits for Becoming an Agile, Vital, and Durable Human Being

Kelly Starrett, a doctor of physical therapy, has trained professional athletes, Olympians, and military special operators, helping them unlock peak performance. But as he approached his fifties, he started to see cracks appearing in the health of the folks around him. What had worked for his peers in their 20s and 30s, wasn’t working anymore; they were gaining weight, having surgeries, and just didn’t feel good.So he and his wife and fellow trainer, Juliet, decided to write a book — Built to Move: The Ten Essential Habits to Help You Move Freely and Live Fully — that took all that they’ve learned from training elite performers and distilled it into the foundational practices that everyone, at every age, can use to develop lasting mobility, durability, and all-around health. Today on the show, Kelly unpacks some of those essential physical habits, sharing the “vital signs” — tests that will help you assess how you’re doing in that area — as well as daily practices that will help you strengthen and improve that capacity.Resources Related to the PodcastKelly’s previous appearance on the AoM podcast — Episode #213: Undoing the Damage of Chronic SittingAoM article on the Sitting-Rising TestAoM Article: 7 Simple Exercises That Undo the Damage of Sitting (including the Couch Stretch)AoM article on foam rollingAoM Article: The Benefits of Hanging for Strength and MobilityAoM Article: 12 Balance Exercises You Can Do on a 2×4AoM Podcast #638: How Changing Your Breathing Can Change Your LifeAoM Podcast #678: Physical Benchmarks Every Man Should Meet, At Every AgeMuscles and Meridians: The Manipulation of Shape by Phillip BeachVideo of Kelly demonstrating the Couch StretchVideo of Kelly demonstrating the squat testVideo of 90/90 sit/stretchVideo of Chris Hinshaw demonstrating the Old Man Balance TestGet yourself a pull-up barThe SlackBlockKelly’s article on fixing shoulder pain, including a video on the Shoulder Spin-UpConnect With Kelly StarrettThe Ready State website, including the Built to Move book pageThe Ready State on IGKelly on Twitter
7/22/202449 minutes, 21 seconds
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The 5 Mountains of Personal Development

The journey of personal development, of becoming a more excellent and extraordinary individual, can sometimes seem a little abstract. That’s why it’s helpful to imagine it as Mark Divine does, as a set of five metaphorical mountains to scale.Mark is a retired Navy SEAL Commander, a professor of leadership, a yogi, the creator of fitness and mindset programs like SEALFIT and Unbeatable Mind, and an author. He combines his two decades of military service with his study of martial arts and zen meditation to create the holistic warrior monk development philosophy that informs his work, including his latest book, Uncommon: Simple Principles for an Extraordinary Life.Today on the show, Mark acts as a guide to the topography of the five mountains of personal development and the daily practices that will help you summit them. We talk about why mastering the physical mountain comes first and climbing the intuitional mountain comes fourth, the Navy SEAL breathing practice that will help you develop your metacognition, how the Japanese concept of ikigai can help you find your purpose in life, and much more.Resources Related to the PodcastMark’s previous appearance on the Art of Manliness podcast: Episode #60 — The Way of the SEALBox breathingUnbeatable Mind by Mark Divine Staring Down the Wolf by Mark DivineAoM Article: 4 Key Insights From the Bhagavad GitaAoM Podcast #616: A Guide for the Journey to Your True CallingSunday Firesides: You Don’t Have the Time, Not to Take the TimeF3 NationIkigaiConnect With Mark DivineUncommon website Mark’s websiteMark on IG
7/17/202454 minutes, 47 seconds
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Stop Drowning in Tedious Tasks by Taming Your Life Admin

Filling out paperwork. Making travel reservations. Paying bills. Shopping for groceries. Returning packages.These are all examples of life admin — the little tasks we have to do to keep our lives moving along.Life admin is typically pretty tedious and annoying. But staying on top of it is essential to reducing the stress and chaos that would otherwise burden our relationships, muck up the gears of our schedules, and prevent us from participating in all the fun and fulfilling parts of life.Fortunately, there are ways to better manage your life admin. Here to share some of them is Dinah Rowe-Roberts, the co-host of the Life Admin Life Hacks podcast and the co-author of a book of the same name. Today on the show, Dinah explains what lists you should be keeping, including the 10-minute time killers list, why you should do a regular “hour of power” to stay on top of things, how to schedule your life admin, how to keep track of and divvy up chores between you and your spouse, how to get all your meal planning and grocery shopping done in less than 15 minutes a week, how to streamline your kids’ schedules and your vacation planning, and much more.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM article on shadow workAoM article and podcast on how to have a weekly marriage meetingAoM article on how to have a weekly family meetingAoM article on how to use Todoist to get things doneAoM article on how to manage your lifeadminAoM article on how and why to have a reset dayAoM article on 8 lists you should be keeping (besides the to-do list)Connect With Dinah Rowe-RobertsThe LifeAdminLife Hacks websiteLifeAdminLife Hacks on IGDinah on LinkedIn
7/15/202448 minutes, 12 seconds
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A Surprising Solution for Disordered Masculinity

There has been a lot of media coverage and dialogue about the struggles men are facing in the modern day. There's been some solutions forwarded to these struggles as well. Among these, Dr. Anthony Bradley has a more surprising idea that you don't hear every day: revitalizing college fraternities.Anthony is a research fellow and professor and the author of Heroic Fraternities: How College Men Can Save Universities and America. In the first part of our conversation, Anthony offers his take on the state of men in the modern day, the difference between heroic and disordered masculinity, the insights that a writer from the mid-20-century can shed on the forms that disorder can take, and why many men today are choosing the path of resignation. We then turn to Anthony's idea that college fraternities can be the training ground for virtue. We talk about the loftier origins of fraternities, why, at some universities, they devolved into organizations that have become symbolic of the worst traits of masculinity, and Anthony's six principles for reviving the potential of fraternities to shape great men.Resources Related to the PodcastNeurosis and Human Growth: The Struggle Towards Self-Realization by Karen HorneyAoM Podcast #758: The Epic Story of the Making of The GodfatherAnthony's framework and list of resources for the course he teaches on the masculine journeyConnect With Anthony BradleyAnthony's website
7/10/202453 minutes, 29 seconds
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The Sunscreen Debate — Are We Blocking Our Way to Better Health?

You probably think of the health effects of sunlight as a mixed bag. On the one hand, sun exposure helps your body make vitamin D. But on the other, it can cause skin cancer.To get around this conundrum, dermatologists frequently recommend avoiding sun exposure when you can, slathering on sunscreen when you can't, and taking a vitamin D supplement to make up for the lack of sunlight in your life.Yet in seeking to solve one problem, this advice may open up many others and be contributing to ill health in the West.Today on the show, Rowan Jacobsen, a science journalist who has spent years investigating the health impacts of sunlight, will unpack the underappreciated benefits of sun exposure, and that, crucially, they're not primarily a function of the production of vitamin D and can't be replaced with a pill. We talk about what else is at work in ultraviolet radiation's positive effects on blood pressure, autoimmune diseases, insulin resistance, mood, and more. We also get into how to weigh these benefits against the risk of skin cancer, why health officials in Australia, which has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, have changed their recommendations around sun exposure, and if there's a role sunscreen should still play in your routine.Resources Related to the PodcastRowan's article in Outside magazine: Is Sunscreen the New Margarine? Rowan's article in the Atlantic: Against Sunscreen AbsolutismAoM Article: Why You Should Become a Sun WorshipperDermatologist Richard Weller's TED talk: Could the Sun Be Good for Your Heart?Australian recommendations on sun exposure Connect With Rowan JacobsonRowan's website 
7/8/202450 minutes, 59 seconds
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Optimize Your Testosterone

When men think about optimizing their hormones, they tend only to think about raising their testosterone. But while increasing T can be important, an ideal health profile also means having testosterone that's in balance with your other hormones as well.Today on the show, Dr. Kyle Gillett joins me to discuss both of those prongs of all-around hormone optimization. We start with a quick overview of the different hormones that affect male health. We then get into what qualifies as low testosterone and how to accurately test yours. We also discuss what causes low testosterone in individual men, and how its decline in the general male population may be linked to both birth control and the world wars. In the second half of our conversation, we discuss how to both raise testosterone and get rid of excess estrogen, including the use of some effective supplements you may never have heard of. We then get into the risks and benefits of taking TRT, before ending our discussion with what young men can do to prepare for a lifetime of optimal T and hormonal health.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM series on testosterone, including How I Doubled My Testosterone Levels NaturallyAoM Podcast #761: How Testosterone Makes Men, MenAoM Podcast #878: The Fitness Supplements That Actually Work Connect With Dr. Kyle GillettKyle on IGGillett Health Podcast on Spotify and AppleGillett Health on YouTubeGillett Health website
7/3/202446 minutes, 36 seconds
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Books, Routines, and Habits: The Founders' Guide to Self-Improvement

A lot of self-improvement advice and content feels empty. And there's a reason for that. It often offers routines and habits to practice, but doesn't offer a strong, overarching reason to practice them.That's why the self-improvement advice of the Founding Fathers is particularly compelling. Though they were imperfect men, they had a clear why for trying to become better than they were. For the Founders, life was about the pursuit of happiness, and they equated happiness with excellence and virtue — a state that wasn't about feeling good, but being good. The Founders pursued happiness not only for the personal benefit in satisfaction and tranquility it conferred, but for the way the attainment of virtue would benefit society as a whole; they believed that political self-government required personal self-government.Today on the show, Jeffrey Rosen, a professor of law, the president of the National Constitution Center, and the author of The Pursuit of Happiness, shares the book the Founders read that particularly influenced their idea of happiness as virtue and self-mastery. We talk about the schedules and routines the Founders kept, the self-examination practices they did to improve their character, and how they worked on their flaws, believing that, while moral perfection was ultimately an impossible goal to obtain, it was still something worth striving for.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM's series on Benjamin Franklin's 13 VirtuesBen Franklin Virtues Journal available in the AoM StoreAoM Article: Young Benjamin Franklin’s Plan of ConductAoM Article: Thomas Jefferson’s 10 Rules for LifeAoM Article: The Libraries of Famous Men — Thomas Jefferson’s Recommended ReadingAoM Article: The Best John Adams QuotesAoM Article: George Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and ConversationAoM Podcast #366: Teach Yourself Like George WashingtonAoM Article: The Spiritual Disciplines — Study and Self-ExaminationTusculan Disputations by Marcus Tullius CiceroThe Golden Verses of Pythagoras Connect With Jeffrey RosenThe National Constitution Center website We the People podcastJeffrey's faculty pageJeffrey on X
7/1/202444 minutes, 50 seconds
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The Fascinating Differences Between Male and Female Friendships

Friendships are a central part of the lives of both men and women. But from personal observation, you've probably noticed that the dynamics of male and female friendships aren't always the same. You may not, however, have been able to articulate what those differences are or have known what's behind them.While there's still a lot of facets of friendship that haven't yet been researched, Dr. Jaimie Krems, who runs UCLA's Social Minds Lab, has a lot of interesting insights about what we do know about how and why men and women approach friendship differently. Today on the show, she explains why men and women form friendships and the differences in the size and nature of their social circles, how long their friendships last, and what they look for in friends. We also discuss why men have a greater tolerance for their friends' flaws than women do, why men and women would want to be friends with each other, and how each sex experiences friendship jealousy.Resources Related to the PodcastThe Banker's ParadoxJoyce Benenson's research on "Males' Greater Tolerance of Same-Sex Peers"Jaimie's research on women's interpretation of disgust facesJaimie's study: "Friendship Jealousy: One Tool for Maintaining Friendships in the Face of Third-Party Threats?"AoM Podcast #229: How Men and Women Socialize DifferentlyAoMPodcast #360: Understanding Male FriendshipsAoM Podcast #726: What’s Causing the Male Friendship Recession?AoM Podcast #772: How Long Does It Take to Make Friends (And How Does That Process Work, Anyway)?AoM Article: How Not to Be Disappointed With Your FriendsConnect With Jaimie KremsThe Social Minds Lab at UCLAJaimie's faculty pageJaimie on X
6/26/202450 minutes, 48 seconds
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Systems and Tools for Stealing Back Hours of Productivity

Businesses and individuals often feel overwhelmed and stretched — that they can't get done all the work they need to. The solution they frequently turn to is finding a new app to use or hiring more employees to spread the load.But my guest would say that you can steal back hours of productive time simply by using the tools and teams you have now, if you learn to use them in a more efficient way.Nick Sonnenberg is the founder and CEO of Leverage, an efficiency consulting business and the author of Come Up for Air: How Teams Can Leverage Systems and Tools to Stop Drowning in Work. Today on the show, Nick explains how people spend almost 60% of their time doing work about work, and why hiring more people can actually make the problem worse rather than better. He then shares his "CPR Business Efficiency Framework," and how making changes in how you communicate, plan, and manage resources can open up hours of time. We talk about how to organize your communication channels so your work day isn't taken up by what Nick calls "The Scavenger Hunt," one of the most underutilized tools for taming your inbox, how to stop wasting time on meetings, and tiny changes that will add up to many hours saved each year. Along the way, we talk about how some of these tactics can save you time in your personal life as well.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Podcast #689: Email Is Making Us Miserable — Here’s What to Do About ItAoM Podcast #972: Down With Pseudo-Productivity — Why We Need to Transform the Way We WorkAoM Podcast #973: A Butler’s Guide to Managing Your HouseholdTeach Your Wife to Be a Widow by Donald I. Rogers"Saving Seconds Is Better Than Hours" — Time article by NickTexts.comWorkona tab managerConnect With Nick SonnenbergCome Up for Air websiteLeverage websiteNick on LinkedInNick on IGNick on X
6/24/202449 minutes, 50 seconds
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EPISODE #1,000! Rules for the Modern Man

Fifteen years and more than 200 million downloads later, this episode marks the 1,000th installment of the Art of Manliness podcast! It begins with a bit of a retrospective on the podcast and then segues into an interview with one of the show's earliest guests: Walker Lamond, author of Rules for My Unborn Son. Walker and I revisit the origins of the book and the early days of the internet and have a fun discussion of which of his rules have become obsolete and which remain evergreen. Tune in and enjoy!A big thanks to our listeners for helping us reach this cool milestone. The support is deeply appreciated!Resources Related to the PodcastRules for My Unborn Son by Walker LamondRules for My Newborn Daughter by Walker LamondWalker's Motel: The Starlight Motor InnThe podcasts Walker writes/produces for:Anatomy of MurderCold BloodedRelated AoM articles:Dressing for OthersFlying Is for the BirdsMy New Favorite Summertime ShoeWhy Every Man Should Have 3 Signature DishesIn Praise of the PostcardThe Art of Thank You Note WritingThe Importance of Developing and Maintaining Your Social FitnessRelated AoM Podcasts#1: We Who Are Alive and Remain#7: Rules for My Unborn Son #78: The Myth of Following Your Passion#174: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Style#708: Overcome the Comfort Crisis
6/19/20241 hour, 23 minutes, 11 seconds
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The Epic Adventures of America’s Forgotten Mountain Man

Plenty of famous explorers and frontiersmen emerged from America's periods of expansion and exploration, and today the likes of Daniel Boone, Kit Carson, and Davy Crockett remain household names.You're probably not familiar, but should be, with the name of another prominent pioneer: Jedediah Smith. Smith was a hunter, trapper, writer, cartographer, mountain man, and explorer who notched a lot of firsts: He was the first to lead a documented exploration from the Salt Lake frontier to the Colorado River and was part of the first parties of U.S. citizens to cross the Mojave Desert, the Sierra Nevada, and the Great Basin Desert. Having survived three attacks by Native Americans and one mauling by a grizzly bear, Smith's explorations became resources for those who followed after and led to the use of the South Pass as the dominant route across the Continental Divide for pioneers on the Oregon Trail.In the new book he co-authored, Throne of Grace: A Mountain Man, an Epic Adventure, and the Bloody Conquest of the American West, my guest, Bob Drury, uses the oft-forgotten Smith as a guide to an oft-forgotten period in American history. Today on the show, Bob paints a picture of a volatile American landscape in which trappers and Native Americans collided and clashed in the early decades of the 19th century. We discuss how the Lewis and Clark expedition created a lust for adventure among young men, how the humble beaver played an outsized role in settling the Western frontier, and how warfare changed amongst Native American tribes with the introduction of the horse. Along the way, Bob shows us how the life of Jed Smith intersected with all these historic trends and shares the epic exploits that he and other mountain men took part in while exploring and mapping the American West.Resources Related to the PodcastBob's last appearance on the AoM podcast: Episode #469 — How Valley Forge Turned the Tide of the Revolutionary WarAoM article about mountain menAoM Podcast #681: The Epic Exploits of Kit CarsonHugh Glass
6/17/202451 minutes, 8 seconds
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Dad's Essential Role in Making Kids Awesome

As compared to mothers, fathers are sometimes thought of as a secondary, almost superfluous, parent.But my guest says that fathers actually saved the human race, and continue to do so today.Anna Machin is an evolutionary anthropologist, a pioneer of fatherhood science, and the author of Life Of Dad. Today on the show, we talk about the role of fathers in human history and how their main role continues to be teaching kids the skills they need to take risks, become independent, and navigate the world beyond their family. We also talk about the physiological changes that happen when a man becomes a father and how dads are just as biologically primed as mothers to parent. In the second half of our conversation, we talk about the experience of being a dad. Anna shares how long it typically takes a man to bond with a baby and transition into the role of fatherhood, how roughhousing is key in building that bond as well as developing your child's resilience, and how your personality and background will affect your parenting. We end our conversation with the difference in how the relationship between Mom and Dad affects how they parent, and the implications of that for building a strong family.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: The Importance of Fathers (According to Science)AoM Article: A Man’s Guide to Pregnancy — Getting Ready for the Baby BombAoM Article: A Man’s Guide to Pregnancy — Your Progeny Enters the WorldAoM Article:New Dad Survival Guide — The MindsetAoM Article: New Dad Survival Guide — The SkillsetAoM Podcast #119: Why Fathers Matter AoM Article: You Don’t Have to Be Your Dad — How to Become Your Family’s Transitional CharacterConnect With Anna MachinAnna's websiteAnna on XAnna on IG
6/12/202447 minutes, 44 seconds
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The Laws of Connection — The Scientific Secrets of Building Stronger Relationships

Everyone has heard about the incredible benefits that come to mind, body, and spirit from having strong relationships. The quality of our social ties has a huge impact on our physical and mental health and our overall feeling of flourishing.Yet many people still struggle to create these strong relationships in their lives, and often figure that things like weakening communities and digital technology are to blame.But my guest says that the barriers to establishing bonds with others may actually be more psychological than physical, and he shares research-backed tips for breaking through them in his new book, The Laws of Connection: The Scientific Secrets of Building a Strong Social Network. Today on the show, David discusses how we can feel lonely even when we're surrounded by people if we don't have what he calls a "shared reality." We then discuss ways to build that shared reality with others. We talk about why frenemies are so bad for you, how to overcome the "liking gap," why you might want to interrupt someone to connect with them, the need to be aware of the novelty penalty in conversations, why you should stop telling white lies, and much more.Resources Related to the PodcastDavid's previous appearance on the AoM podcast: Episode #803 — How Your Expectations Can Change Your LifeAoM Article: Why Ambivalent Relationships Are Terrible for You (And How to Deal With Them)AoM Podcast #949: Envy — Unpacking The Emotion No One Likes to Talk AboutConnect With David RobsonDavid's websiteDavid on IGDavid on XDavid on LinkedIn
6/10/202450 minutes, 45 seconds
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Remembering D-Day 80 Years Later

On D-Day, June 6, 1944, 160,000 troops participated in the invasion of Normandy. Today just a few thousand of these veterans are still alive, with the youngest in their late nineties. As their voices, and those of the million combatants and leaders who swept into motion across Europe 80 years ago, fall silent and pass from living history, Garrett Graff has captured and compiled them in a new book: When the Sea Came Alive: An Oral History of D-Day.Drawing on his project of sifting through and synthesizing 5,000 oral histories, today Garrett takes us back to what was arguably the most consequential day in modern history and helps unpack the truly epic sweep of the operation, which was hard to fathom even then, and has become even more difficult to grasp with the passage of time. We talk about how unbelievably involved the planning process for D-Day was, stories you may never have heard before, a couple of the myths around D-Day, and the sacrificial heroism born of this event that continues to live on.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Podcast Episode #1: We Who Are Alive and RemainAoM Article: The 70th Anniversary of D-Day — Remembrances from the Brave Men Who Were ThereAoM Podcast #514: Remembering D-Day 75 Years LaterThe Bedford Boys: One American Town's Ultimate D-day Sacrifice by Alex KershawAoM Article: How Eisenhwoer Made the D-Day DecisionThe Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by Garrett M. GraffConnect With Garrett GraffGarrett's website
6/5/202451 minutes, 10 seconds
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Why You're So Bad at Giving and Receiving Compliments (And How to Fix That)

Over a decade ago, I remember reading a story that stuck with me. I think it was connected to the famous Harvard Study on Adult Development that studied a group of men across their lifetimes, but I can no longer find the reference. A much-beloved doctor, upon his retirement, was given a notebook filled with letters of praise and appreciation from his patients. After he received it, he put it up in his attic, and never opened it or read the letters.I've often thought of this story since I first heard it, wondering about what motivated the doctor's behavior, and the larger question of why praise is typically welcomed and makes us feel good, but can also make people feel uncomfortable or embarrassed.In today's episode, I take a stab at answering this question with Christopher Littlefield, a speaker and consultant who specializes in employee appreciation. But first, we talk about the power of recognition, why we can be so stingy in giving compliments, how compliments can go wrong, and how we can offer them more effectively. We then turn to why getting compliments can make you cringe, how people deflect them and how this deflection affects relationships, and how to get better at receiving compliments graciously.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article:Why and How to Offer More ComplimentsAoM Article: How to Accept a Compliment With ClassAoM Article: How to Avoid Giving a Backhanded ComplimentSunday Firesides: Compliment Deflection Is Gift DenialSunday Firesides: Give Them the CreamHBR Article: Do Compliments Make You Cringe? Here’s Why by Christopher LittlefieldConnect With Christopher LittlefieldBeyond Thank You websiteChris on YouTubeChris on LinkedIn
6/3/202442 minutes, 7 seconds
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A Guide to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. It's a peculiar book, especially for a bestseller. Not a lot of it is actually about zen or motorcycle maintenance, it combines a travelogue, a father/son story, and philosophical musings, and the structure of its narration makes it hard to follow. Thus, it's the kind of book people often buy, start, and then put down without finishing.That's initially what happened to Mark Richardson, an author and automotive journalist who was born in the UK but has lived most of his life in Canada. But when the book finally clicked for Mark, he was so inspired by it that he actually undertook Pirsig's motorcycle pilgrimage himself. Mark shares that story in Zen and Now, which intersperses stories from his own road trip with an exploration of Pirsig's life and famous book.If you've wanted to read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, but haven't been able to get into it, today Mark will offer an introduction to what it's all about. We discuss Pirsig's ideas on the metaphysics of quality and our relationship to technology, and how he tried to combine the ethos of Eastern and Western thought into a unified philosophy of living. We also get into why Mark wanted to recreate Pirsig's road trip, the joys of traveling by motorcycle, and what Mark learned along the way.Resources Related to the PodcastZen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values by Robert M. PirsigZen and Now: On the Trail of Robert Pirsig and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Mark RichardsonLila: An Inquiry Into Morals by Robert M. PirsigGuidebook to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Ron Di Santo and Tom SteeleShop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work by Matthew CrawfordHonda CB77/Super HawkThe Robert Pirsig Association Connect With Mark RichardsonMark's website
5/29/202453 minutes, 36 seconds
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Tactics and Mindset Shifts for Making the Most of Life

Note: This is a rebroadcast.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 Website 
5/27/202455 minutes, 14 seconds
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The Shadows Over Men's Hearts and How to Fight Them

There are a lot of unspoken challenges and hidden battles that men face in modern society. They often manifest themselves in a uniquely male malaise where a man feels apathetic, frustrated, cynical, and lost.Jon Tyson has thought a lot about the problems men face and has been on the ground trying to help them as a pastor in New York City. In today's episode, I talk to Jon about the sources of this male angst that he explores as the co-author of a new book, Fighting Shadows: Overcoming 7 Lies That Keep Men From Becoming Fully Alive.Jon and I discuss how men often try to solve their malaise and why those approaches don't work. We then explore some of the shadows men fight in their lives, including the shadows of despair, loneliness, unhealthy ambition, futility, and lust. Jon offers some advice to overcome these shadows, including sitting around a fire pit with your bros, taking time to develop your telos or aim as a man, and injecting a bit more playfulness in your life to counteract grumpy dad syndrome.Resources Related to the PodcastJon's previous appearances on the AoM podcast:#810: How to Turn a Boy Into a Man#926: The 5 Shifts of ManhoodAoM longform article/short "ebook": A Roadmap to Manhood in the 21st CenturyAoM Article: Create a Blueprint for Your FutureMan's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. FranklAoM Podcast #702: One Man’s Impossible Quest — To Make Friends in AdulthoodAoM Podcast #867: Dante’s Guide to Navigating a Spiritual JourneyThe Case Against the Sexual Revolution by Louise PerryTheology of the Body by Pope John Paul IIConnect With Jon TysonJon's websiteFighting Shadows websiteForming Men websitePrimal Path website
5/22/202458 minutes, 51 seconds
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Patton and the Bulge: Blood, Guts, and Prayer

General George S. Patton is known for his aggressive, action-oriented tactical brilliance.His character was also marked by a lesser-known but equally fundamental mystic piety.Those two qualities would come together in the lead up to and execution of Patton's greatest achievement during WWII: the relief of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge.Alex Kershaw tells this story in his new book Patton's Prayer: A True Story of Courage, Faith, and Victory in World War II. Today on the show, Alex shares how, when the Third Army's advance into Germany was stalled by plane-grounding clouds and road-muddying rain, Patton commissioned a prayer for better weather that was distributed to a quarter million of his men, and how that prayer became even more urgent after the commencement of the Battle of the Bulge. We also talk about Patton's qualities as a leader and a man, including his reading habits, how he combined a profane assertiveness with a pious faith and a belief in reincarnation, and what happened to him as the war came to a close.Resources Related to the PodcastAlex’s previous appearances on the AoM Podcast:#361: The Untold Story of WWII’s 45th Infantry Division#514: Remembering D-Day 75 Years Later#806: The Humble Heroics of Four of WWII’s Most Decorated Soldiers#953: Duty, Honor, and the Unlikely Heroes Who Helped Win the Battle of the BulgeAoM Article: George S. Patton’s Rules on Being an Officer and a GentlemanAoM Article: The Libraries of Famous Men — George S. PattonAoM Article: The Maxims of General George S. PattonAoM Article: General Patton’s Strategy for Winning in War and Life — Keep PunchingChaplain James Hugh O'NeillPatton moviePatton's opening speechThe story and a look at Patton's prayer cardsConnect With Alex KershawAlex's websiteAlex on X
5/20/202447 minutes, 48 seconds
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Embracing the Strive State

We often think happiness will be found in the completion of a goal. We often think happiness will be found in ease and comfort. My guest says real joy is found in the journey rather than the destination, and that if difficulty and discomfort are part of that journey, that's all the better.Dr. Adam Fraser is a peak performance researcher and the author of Strive: Embracing the Gift of Struggle. Today on the show, we talk about what Adam calls the "strive state," where we have to grow and be courageous to tackle a meaningful challenge, and why this state is the source of the greatest fulfillment in life. We discuss why we often resist embracing the strive state and what happens when we don't have to struggle in life. We also talk about what successful strivers do differently.Resources Related to the PodcastAdam's previous appearance on the AoM Podcast: Episode #909 — Master Microtransitions to Improve the Happiness, Success, and Flow of Your LifeSunday Firesides: Pursuit as HappinessSunday Firesides: No Bad FeelingsAoM Podcast #708: Overcome the Comfort CrisisAoM Podcast #108: The Upside of Your Dark SideAoM Podcast #868: Escape the Happiness Trap"Pass the Parcel" episode of BlueyConnect With Adam FraserAdam's websiteAdam on LinkedInAdam on IGAdam on FB
5/15/202447 minutes, 47 seconds
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The Dude's Guide to Laundry: How to Save Time, Money, and Your Wardrobe

If you didn’t grow up doing your own laundry, once you headed out on your own, you probably just figured things out on the fly, hoped for the best, and have been doing things the same way ever since. But, while you may be getting the job done okay, you also might be making some mistakes that are costing you time, money, and cleaner clothes.In this episode from the Art of Manliness department of essential life skills, we’ll cover all the things you should have learned as a young man but never did, and how to do your laundry effectively. Our guide is Patric Richardson, aka the “Laundry Evangelist,” a laundry expert who runs how-to-do-laundry camps, hosts the television show The Laundry Guy, and is the author of Laundry Love. Today on the show, Patric shares the one cycle and water temperature you should use for all of your clothes, exactly how much detergent you should be using (which is a lot less than you think), how often you should wash your clothes (which is less often than you think), why you shouldn’t ever use dryer sheets (and what to throw in your dryer instead), how regardless of what the tag says, you can wash anything at home (including a wool suit), how to easily get rid of stains (including yellow pit stains), and many more tips that will save you time, money, and hassle in doing your laundry.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: How to Do LaundryAoM Article: The Simplifying Step Missing From Your Laundry RoutineAoM Article: How Many Times You Can Wear Your Clothes Between WashesAoM Article: How to Get the Stink Out of Synthetic Workout ShirtsAoM Article: How to Remove and Prevent Yellow Armpit StainsAoM Article: A Guide to Shrinking Levi’s 501 Shrink-to-Fit JeansConnect With Patric RichardsonPatric’s website Patric on YouTube
5/13/202448 minutes, 24 seconds
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How to Get Better at Anything

Life revolves around learning—in school, at our jobs, even in the things we do for fun. But we often don’t progress in any of these areas at the rate we’d like. Consequently, and unfortunately, we often give up our pursuits prematurely or resign ourselves to always being mediocre in our classes, career, and hobbies.Scott Young has some tips on how you can avoid this fate, level up in whatever you do, and enjoy the satisfaction of skill improvement. Scott is a writer, programmer, and entrepreneur, and the author of Get Better at Anything: 12 Maxims for Mastery. Today on the show, Scott shares the three key factors in helping us learn. He explains how copying others is an underrated technique in becoming a genius, why, contrary to the sentiments of motivational memes, we learn more from success than mistakes, why experts often aren’t good teachers and tactics for drawing out their best advice, why you may need to get worse before you get better, and more.Resources Related to the PodcastScott’s previous appearance on the AoM podcast: Episode #557 — Grow, Adapt, and Reinvent Yourself Through UltralearningThe Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter by Joseph HenrichAoM Podcast #896: The Art and Science of Getting UnstuckAoM Article: Want to Become a Better Writer? Copy the Work of Others!AoM Podcast #927: Beyond Lazy Learning — The Keys to Gaining and Retaining KnowledgeAoM Article: The Secret of Great Men — Deliberate PracticeThinking in Jazz: The Infinite Art of Improvisation by Paul F. Berliner“Stroke of Genius” by Scott EdenConnect With Scott YoungScott’s website
5/8/202446 minutes, 2 seconds
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Of Strength and Soul — Exploring the Philosophy of Physical Fitness

When you’re lifting weights, you might be thinking about setting a new PR or doing your curls for the girls.But throughout history, philosophers have thought about physical fitness on a deeper level and considered how exercise shapes not only the body, but also the mind and the soul.My guest today, Joe Lombardo, is a strength enthusiast who follows in this tradition and has explored the philosophy of bodily exercise in his writing. Today on the show, Joe and I discuss several different ways the philosophy of strength has been expressed over time.We begin our conversation with how the ancient Greeks thought of physical training as a way to develop personal as well as social virtues, and why they thought you were an "idiot," in their particular sense of the word, if you didn't take care of your body. We then discuss early Christianity's relationship with physical exercise and the development of the muscular Christianity movement in the 19th century. We end our conversation by looking at the philosophy of physicality espoused by the Japanese writer Yukio Mishima, and what he had to say as to how strength training moves us out of the life of the night and towards the light of the sun.Resources Related to the Podcast"The Soft American" by JFKAoM podcast and article on the La Sierra P.E. programAoM Article: When Christianity Was Muscular The Greek Way by Edith HamiltonYukio MishimaSun and Steel by Yukio MishimaJoe's writings on QuilletteJoe's writings at the European Conservative Connect With Joe LomabrdoThe Ultraphysical journal
5/6/202457 minutes, 31 seconds
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The No-BS Secrets of Success

Jim VandeHei didn’t have an auspicious start in life. His high school guidance counselor told him he wasn’t cut out for college, and he went on to confirm her assessment, getting a 1.4 GPA at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and spending more time drinking beer than planning his career.Eventually, though, Jim turned things around for himself, going on to co-found two of the biggest modern media outlets, Politico and Axios.Jim shares how he started moving up the rungs of success and building a better life for himself in his new book Just the Good Stuff: No-BS Secrets to Success (No Matter What Life Throws at You). Today on the show, Jim shares the real-world lessons he’s learned in his career. We discuss the importance of matching passion to opportunity, making your own luck, surrounding yourself with the right people, keeping the buckets of your happiness matrix filled, understanding the difference between wartime and peacetime leadership, harnessing the energy of healthy revenge, and more.Connect With Jim VandeHeiJim at Axios 
5/1/202446 minutes, 8 seconds
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Podcast #986: How to Eliminate the Two Biggest Sources of Financial Stress

There are different philosophies one can have when it comes to money. Jared Dillian’s is built around eliminating as much anxiety around it as possible, so you hardly think about money at all.Jared is a former trader for Lehman Brothers, the editor of The Daily Dirtnap, a market newsletter for investment professionals, and the author of No Worries: How to Live a Stress-Free Financial Life. Today on the show, Jared talks about the two biggest sources of financial stress — debt and risk — and how you can eliminate the stress they can cause. We discuss how three big financial decisions — buying a car, buying a house, and managing student loans — ultimately determine your financial health, and how to approach each of them in a stress-eliminating way. We also talk about how to minimize risk by creating what he calls an “awesome portfolio,” a mix of assets that has nearly the return of the stock market with half its risk. And Jared shares whether cryptocurrency fits into his “no worries” financial philosophy.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: Why and How to Start an Emergency FundAoM Article: Start a Debt Reduction PlanAoM Article: What Every Young Man Should Know About Student LoansAoM Article: How to Buy a Used CarAoM Article: How to Negotiate the Best Deal on a New or Used CarAoM Podcast #536: How to Achieve a “Rich Life” With Your FinancesAoM Podcast #963: Launch a Million-Dollar Business This WeekendConnect With Jared DillianJared’s finance websiteJared’s personal websiteJared on X
4/29/202442 minutes, 42 seconds
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The Secret World of Bare-Knuckle Boxing

Have you ever noticed the guy in a fighting stance on the Art of Manliness logo? That’s not just some random symbol; it’s an actual dude: John L. Sullivan, the greatest bare-knuckle boxer of the 19th century.While most people think bare-knuckle boxing came to an end during Sullivan’s era, in fact, it never entirely went away. In his new book, Bare Knuckle: Bobby Gunn, 73–0 Undefeated. A Dad. A Dream. A Fight Like You’ve Never Seen, Stayton Bonner charts bare-knuckle boxing’s rise, fall, and resurgence, as well as the improbable story of its modern chapter’s winningest champion. Today on the show, Stayton describes bare-knuckle boxing’s incredible popularity a century ago, and why gloved boxing took its place while bare-knuckle got pushed into a shadowy, illicit underground. Stayton takes us into that secret circuit which still exists today, revealing the dark, sweaty basements and bars where modern bare-knuckle fights take place and the ancient code of honor that structures them. And Stayton introduces us to a dominant figure in that world, Bobby Gunn, an undefeated bare-knuckle fighter who combines a love of faith, family, and fighting and has helped turn bare-knuckle boxing into what is now the world’s fastest-growing combat sport.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM series on honorAoM Podcast #41: Honor in the Civil War — The Gentlemen & The RoughsPodcast #54: The Life of John L. SullivanAoM Podcast #111: Why Men Fight & Why We Like to Watch AoM Article: America’s First Popular Men’s Magazine — The National Police GazetteVideos of Bobby Gunnfighting and talking about bare-knuckle boxingTom MolineauxJohn L. SullivanThe Sullivan-Kilrain fightWilliam “Bill the Butcher” PooleGangs of New York bare-knuckle fight sceneFar and Away bare-knuckle fight sceneConnect With Stayton BonnerStayton on XStayton on LinkedIn
4/24/202449 minutes, 56 seconds
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Why Your Memory Seems Bad (It’s Not Just Age)

Do you sometimes walk to another room in your house to get something, but then can’t remember what it was you wanted? Do you sometimes forget about an appointment or struggle to remember someone’s name?You may have chalked these lapses in memory up to getting older. And age can indeed play a role in the diminishing power of memory. But as my guest will tell us, there are other factors at play as well.Charan Ranganath is a neuroscientist, a psychologist, and the author of Why We Remember: Unlocking Memory’s Power to Hold on to What Matters. Today on the show, Charan explains how factors like how we direct our attention, take photos, and move through something called “event boundaries” all affect our memory, and how our current context in life impacts which memories we’re able to recall from the past. We also talk about how to reverse engineer these factors to improve your memory.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: 10 Ways to Improve Your MemoryAoM Podcast #546: How to Get a Memory Like a Steel TrapAoM Podcast #750: The Surprising Benefits of ForgettingReminiscence bumpConnect With Charan RanganathCharan’s websiteCharan on IGCharan’s faculty page
4/22/202444 minutes, 9 seconds
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Grid-Down Medicine — A Guide for When Help Is NOT on the Way

If you read most first aid guides, the last step in treating someone who’s gotten injured or sick is always: get the victim to professional medical help.But what if you found yourself in a situation where hospitals were overcrowded, inaccessible, or non-functional? What if you found yourself in a grid-down, long-term disaster, and you were the highest medical resource available?Dr. Joe Alton is an expert in what would come after the step where most first aid guides leave off. He’s a retired surgeon and the co-author of The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Help is NOT on the Way. Today on the show, Joe argues that every family should have a medical asset and how to prepare to be a civilian medic. We discuss the different levels of first aid kits to consider creating, from an individual kit all the way up to a community field hospital. And we talk about the health-related skills you might need in a long-term grid-down disaster, from burying a dead body, to closing a wound with super glue, to making an improvised dental filling, to even protecting yourself from the radiation of nuclear fallout.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: How to Use a Tourniquet to Control Major BleedingAoM Article: The Complete Guide to Making a DIY First Aid KitAoM Article: How to Suture a WoundAoM Article: What Every Man Should Keep in His CarAoM Article: Improvised Ways to Close a WoundAoM Podcast #869: The Survival Myths That Can Get You Killed With Alone Winner Jim BairdConnect With Joe AltonDoom and Bloom websiteDoom and Bloom on YouTubeDoom and Bloom on FB 
4/17/202448 minutes, 14 seconds
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Skills Over Pills

Over the last decade, there's been an increase in the number of people, particularly young adults, who struggle with low moods, distractibility, and anxiety and consequent difficulties with getting their life on track and making progress in work, friendship, and romance.In addressing these difficulties, people are often given or adopt a mental health diagnosis, and look for a solution in therapy and/or medication.My guest isn't opposed to these remedies. She is herself a clinical psychologist who's maintained a practice for a quarter century that specializes in treating clients in their twenties. But Dr. Meg Jay, who's also the author of The Twentysomething Treatment, believes that a lot of what young adults, and in fact adults of all ages, struggle with, aren't disorders that need to be treated, but problems that can be solved.In the first half of our conversation, Meg explains what's behind the decline in mental health for young adults and how it's bigger than just smartphones. We discuss the dangers of self-diagnosis, the potential downsides of using medications to treat mental health issues, and why she advocates for "skills over pills." In the second half of our conversation, we talk about how mental health gets better when we get better at life, and what skills twentysomethings, and many older adults, need to develop, including the skills of thinking, feeling, working, socializing, and even cooking. We also discuss how porn is affecting the young men in her practice and an alternative to being a self-assurance junkie.Resources Related to the PodcastMeg's last appearance on the AoM podcast: Episode #51 — The Defining Decade AoM series on not wasting your twentiesStudy on whether antidepressants work better than placebosAoM series on depressionSunday Firesides: Congratulations, You’re a Human!AoM Podcast #741: The Exercise Prescription for Depression and AnxietyAoM Podcast #772: How Long Does It Take to Make Friends (And How Does That Process Work, Anyway)?Connect With Meg JayMeg's website
4/15/20241 hour, 6 minutes, 37 seconds
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The Power of Everyday Rituals to Shape and Enhance Our Lives

When we think of rituals, we tend to think of big, inherited, more occasional religious or cultural ceremonies like church services, holidays, weddings, and funerals. But as my guest observes, we also engage in small, self-made, everyday rituals that help us turn life's more mundane moments into more meaningful ones.In the The Ritual Effect: From Habit to Ritual, Harness the Surprising Power of Everyday Actions, psychologist and Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton explores the way our DIY rituals shape, and enhance, our lives. We take up that survey on today's show. Michael explains the difference between a habit and a ritual and how individuals and families create unique "ritual signatures" even within more standard rituals like holidays. We discuss the different areas of life in which rituals show up and what they do for us, including how they help us cope with uncertainty, savor life, and connect to the past. We get into the function DIY rituals perform in romantic relationships, from deepening intimacy to facilitating a break-up, the role that "kinkeepers" play in keeping a family together, the tricky business of combining family traditions when people get married, how to know when a family tradition should be retired, and much more.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM series on the power of ritualAoM Article: How to Turn an Ordinary Routine Into a Spirit-Renewing RitualAoM Podcast #505: A Man’s Need for RitualAoM Podcast #835: The Power of Ritual"Deja Vu" by Olivia RodrigoConnect With Michael NortonMichael's website — including the "Habit or Ritual?" quiz
4/10/202444 minutes, 58 seconds
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Walden on Wheels — A Man, a Debt, and an American Adventure

Millions of young adults know what it's like to graduate from college with student debt. For some, it's a frustrating annoyance. For others, it's a worry-inducing burden. For Ken Ilgunas, it was a dragon in need of slaying and a pathway to adventure.Ken is the author of Walden on Wheels: On the Open Road from Debt to Freedom, and today on the show, he shares the story of how his quest to erase his debt led him to the Arctic Circle and through the peaks and valleys of living a totally unshackled life. Ken explains why he went to Alaska to work as a truckstop burger flipper and park ranger to pay off his student debt, what it's like to hitchhike across the country, how reading Thoreau's Walden got him questioning how we live our lives, and how that inspiration led him to living in his van while attending grad school at Duke. Along the way, Ken shares his meditations on nonconformity, engaging in romantic pursuits, and the benefits of both de-institutionalizing and re-institutionalizing your life.Resources Related to the PodcastWalden by Henry David ThoreauAoM Podcast #841: What People Get Wrong About WaldenAoM Podcast #473: The Solitude of a Fire WatcherAoM Article: How to Hitchhike Around the USASunday Firesides: The Cost of a ThingConnect With Ken IlgunasKen's website
4/8/202458 minutes, 39 seconds
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How to Create a Distraction-Free Phone

Jake Knapp loves tech. He grew up using Apple II and then Mac computers, browsing bulletin boards, and making his own games. As an adult, he worked at Microsoft on the Encarta CD-ROM, before being hired by Google, where he worked on Gmail, co-founded Google Meet, and created Google Ventures' Design Sprint process. Today, he's a venture capitalist and consultant for start-ups, as well as a writer.But, if Jake was an early adopter and booster of the upsides of technology, he was also early in sensing its not-so-positive side effects. Twelve years ago, unhappy with the pull his smartphone was exerting on him, he decided to curb its distractions. He continues to use this distraction-free phone today.Today on the show, I talk to Jake about what motivated him to change his relationship with his phone over a decade ago and what steps he took to do so, including how and why he lives life without a web browser or email app on his phone. We get into what realizations about work and life Jake's gotten from having a distraction-free phone, why he doesn't think using tools like Screen Time or a dumbphone are always the best solutions to reducing the phone itch, and how he also cuts down on distractions on his desktop computer.Resources Related to the PodcastMake Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day by Jake Knapp and John ZeratskySprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days by Jake KnappAoM Podcast #450: How to Make Time for What Really Matters Every Day With John Zeratsky AoM Podcast #972: Down With Pseudo-Productivity: Why We Need to Transform the Way We Work With Cal NewportAoM Article: The Complete Guide to Breaking Your Smartphone HabitAoM Article: 5 Concrete Ways to Develop a Healthier Relationship With Your Phone (No Blocking or Deleting Apps Required!)AoM Podcast #420: What Makes Your Phone So Addictive & How to Take Back Your LifeFreedom appHow We Feel appLight Phone IITime TimerConnect With Jake KnappJake's website
4/3/202450 minutes, 23 seconds
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Want to Be Happy? Give Yourself Reasons to Admire Yourself

Happiness and depression can feel like slippery and befuddling things. We can do the things we've been told will make us happy, while still not feeling satisfied. Or, on paper, our lives can look great, yet we feel depressed. And the advice that's out there about these states doesn't always seem to correspond to our lived experience.Ryan Bush has created a new map he thinks can help us make better sense of life. Ryan is a systems designer with a long-standing interest in psychology and philosophy, the founder of Designing the Mind, a self-development organization, and an author. His latest book is Become Who You Are: A New Theory of Self-Esteem, Human Greatness, and the Opposite of Depression. Today on the show, Ryan explains the two dimensions along which we usually plot our happiness, and what he thinks is the missing third dimension: virtue or admirability. Ryan then unpacks his "virtue self-signaling theory" which he thinks can heighten happiness and reduce depression, and which is premised on the idea that if you want to live a flourishing life, you have to give yourself reasons to admire yourself. I really think this is a valuable idea that everyone can get something from and recommend listening through.Resources Related to the PodcastFull and Brief Strengths TestsAoM Podcast #249: The Benefits of PrideAoM Article: The 11 Cognitive Distortions That Are Making You a Miserable SOBMind Over Mood by Dennis GreenbergerFeeling Good by David BurnsConnect With Ryan BushDesigning the Mind website
4/1/202450 minutes, 58 seconds
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Tips From a Hostage Negotiator on Handling Difficult Conversations

In resolving hundreds of kidnap-for-ransom cases involving gang leaders, pirates, and extortionists, Scott Walker, a former Scotland Yard detective, has learned a thing or two about how to negotiate and communicate in a crisis. He shares how to apply those lessons to the difficult conversations we all have in our everyday lives in his book Order Out of Chaos: Win Every Negotiation, Thrive in Adversity, and Become a World-Class Communicator, and we talk about his tips on today's show.Scott and I discuss what a "red center" means in a kidnap-for-ransom scenario and how to create one in your personal life, the "immediate action drill" that can help you stay in that red center, the importance of separating the decision-maker from the communicator in a negotiation and having a "battle rhythm," why you don't give hostage takers the money they ask for right away and how to structure a negotiation instead, and more.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: The 7 Habits — Seek First to Understand, Then to Be UnderstoodAoM Podcast #648: Lessons in Building Rapport from Experts in Terrorist InterrogationAoM Podcast #234: Haggling and Deal Making Advice From a FBI Hostage NegotiatorBox breathingPhysiological sighConnect With Scott WalkerScott's website
3/27/202447 minutes, 44 seconds
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Lessons in Action, Agency, and Purpose From Buying a Ghost Town

In the 19th century, Cerro Gordo, which sits above Death Valley, was the largest silver mine in America, a place where dreamers came to strike it rich. In the 21st century, Brent Underwood used his life savings to buy what had become an abandoned ghost town, and ended up finding a very different kind of wealth there.Brent has spent four years living in Cerro Gordo and has documented the details of the mines he’s explored, the artifacts he’s found, and how he’s restoring the town on his popular YouTube channel, Ghost Town Living. Now, in a book by the same name, he takes a wider-view lens on his adventures there and shares the big lessons he’s learned from his experiences and from the original residents of Cerro Gordo. We get into some of those lessons on today’s show. We first talk about how and why Brent bought a ghost town as a way of escaping a typical 9-5 life and finding a deeper longer-term purpose. We then discuss what restoring Cerro Gordo has taught him about the necessity of getting started and taking real action, how learning the context of what you do can add greater meaning to it, the importance of understanding the long-term consequences of short-term thinking, the satisfactions that come with being a high-agency person, and more.Resources Related to the PodcastBurrow Schmidt TunnelOwens LakeAoM Article: Become a Self-StarterAoM Article:Meditations on the Wisdom of ActionConnect With Brent UnderwoodGhostTown Living on YouTubeBrent on IGBrent on X
3/25/202445 minutes, 28 seconds
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Get More Done With the Power of Timeboxing

From work to chores to entertaining distractions, there are many options for what you can be doing at any moment in the modern world. We often endlessly toggle between these options and, as a result, feel frazzled and frustratingly unproductive. We feel ever haunted by the question, "What should I be doing right now?" (Or "What am I even doing right now?")My guest will share a simple but effective productivity method that will quash this feeling of overwhelm, answer that question, and help you make much better use of your time. Marc Zao-Sanders is the CEO and co-founder of filtered.com, a learning tech company, and the author of Timeboxing: The Power of Doing One Thing at a Time. In the first half of our conversation, we unpack what timeboxing — which brings your calendar and to-do list together — is all about and its benefits as a time management system, including how it can help you get more done, live with greater intention and freedom, and even create a log of memories. In the second half of our conversation, we get into the practicalities of timeboxing, from how to capture the to-dos that will go on your calendar to how to deal with things that might pull you away from it. We end our conversation with how you can get started with timeboxing right now and have a more focused, productive, and satisfying day tomorrow.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Podcast #543: Learn the System for Getting Things Done With David AllenAoM Podcast #972: Down With Pseudo-Productivity — Why We Need to Transform the Way We Work With Cal NewportAoM Article: The Eisenhower Decision Matrix — How to Distinguish Between Urgent and Important Tasks and Make Real Progress in Your LifeAoM Podcast #768: Become a Focused MonotaskerAoM Article: The Productivity Tool I Use to Get Things DoneAoM Article: A Formula for Success — The Power of Implementation IntentionsConnect With Marc Zao-SandersMarc's websiteMarc on LinkedIn 
3/20/202451 minutes, 2 seconds
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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 MillSunday Firesides: Youth Is Not an IdentityAoM 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
3/18/202452 minutes, 13 seconds
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The 3 Musical Geniuses Behind the Most Popular Jazz Album of All Time

Even if you're not very into jazz, you probably know Kind of Blue, the jazz album that's sold more copies than any other and is widely considered one of the greatest albums ever, in any genre.Among the sextet of musicians who played on the album, three stand out as true jazz geniuses: Miles Davis, Bill Evans, and John Coltrane. Today on the show, James Kaplan, author of 3 Shades of Blue: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, and the Lost Empire of Cool, unpacks the stories behind these towering figures. We discuss their background, their demons, their passion for musical greatness, and what they contributed to the evolving world of jazz. And we discuss why, when they got together to record Kind of Blue, the result was the most timeless and beloved jazz album in history.Resources Related to the PodcastJames' last appearance on the AoM podcast: Episode #186 — The Legend and Reality of Frank Sinatra"Miles Davis Blows His Horn" — James' 1989 Vanity Fair profile of DavisAoM Article: A Crash Course in Jazz AppreciationAoM Article: Want to Get Into Jazz? Listen to These 10 Albums FirstAlbums mentioned in the showKind of Blue by Miles DavisPortraits in Jazz by Bill Evans TrioBitches Brew by Miles DavisGiant Steps by John ColtraneConnect With James KaplanJames' website
3/13/202455 minutes
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A Butler's Guide to Managing Your Household

It's a tough job to manage a household. Things need to be regularly fixed, maintained, and cleaned. How do you stay on top of these tasks in order to keep your home in tip-top shape?My guest knows his way all around this issue and has some field-tested, insider advice to offer. Charles MacPherson spent two decades as the major-domo or chief butler of a grand household. He's also the founder of North America's only registered school for butlers and household managers and the author of several books drawn from his butlering experience, including The Butler Speaks: A Return to Proper Etiquette, Stylish Entertaining, and the Art of Good Housekeeping.In the first part of our conversation, Charles charts the history of domestic service and describes why the practice of having servants like a butler and maid ebbed in the mid-20th century but has made a comeback today. We then turn to what average folks who don't have a household staff can do to better manage their homes. Charles recommends keeping something called a "butler's book" to stay on top of household schedules and maintenance checklists. We then discuss how to clean your home more logically and efficiently. Charles shares his golden rules of house cleaning, the cleaning task you've probably neglected (hint: go take a look at the side of the door on your dishwasher), his surprising choice for the best product to use to clean your shower, how often you should change your bedsheets, and much more.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: How to Establish a Simple Cleaning Routine and Stick to ItAoM Article: How to Clean Your Entire House in 30 MinutesAoM Article: How to Clean Like a ManAoM Article: Keep Your House in Tip-Top Shape — An Incredibly Handy Home Maintenance ChecklistThe Book of Household Management by Isabella BeetonConnect With Charles MacPhersonCharles' website
3/11/202449 minutes, 15 seconds
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Down With Pseudo-Productivity: Why We Need to Transform the Way We Work

The last several years have seen the rise of a sort of anti-productivity movement. Knowledge workers who feel burned out and that work is pointless, meaningless, and grinding, have been talking more about opting out, “quiet quitting,” and doing nothing.My guest would argue that, in fact, productivity itself isn’t the problem and that most people actually want to do good work. Instead, he says, it’s our whole approach to productivity that’s broken and needs to be transformed.Cal Newport is a professor of computer science and the author of books like Deep Work and Digital Minimalism. His latest book is Slow Productivity: The Lost Art of Accomplishment Without Burnout. Today on the show, Cal explains what’s led to the rise of what he calls “pseudo-productivity” and the fallout when we apply the structures of the industrial revolution to modern work. He then unpacks the tenets and tactics of the “slow productivity” approach to work, and how to implement them whether you work for yourself or for a boss. We discuss why you need to do fewer things in the short-term to do more things in the long term, the artificiality of working at the same intensity every day and how to inject more seasonality in your work, the role quiet quitting can play in achieving greater balance, and many other ideas on how to make modern work more sustainable, humane, and fruitful.Resources Related to the PodcastCal‘s previous appearances on the AoM Podcast:Episode #78: The Myth of Following Your PassionEpisode #168: The Value of Deep Work in the Age of DistractionEpisode #479: Becoming a Digital MinimalistEpisode #689: Email Is Making Us Miserable — Here’s What to Do About ItAoM Article: A Counterintuitive Cure for BurnoutAoM article on the importance of location in productivity Ira Glass’ past comments on the gap between taste and quality and more recent comments on Michael Lewis’ podcast.Connect With CalNewportCal‘s website
3/6/20241 hour, 24 seconds
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The 5 Factors for Crafting a Simple (Read: Effective!) Messages

Whether you’re a teacher, parent, or entrepreneur, you want to be able to persuade your students, children, and customers with your messages. That’s a tall task in the modern age, when people are bombarded with 13 hours of media a day. How do you cut through all that noise to make sure you’re heard? My guest would say it’s all about keeping things simple.Ben Guttmann is a marketing educator and consultant who’s helped promote everything from the NFL to New York Times-bestselling authors. He is himself the author of Simply Put: Why Clear Messages Win—and How to Design Them. Today on the show, Ben explains the gap between how people like to receive messages and the self-sabotaging, complication-introducing ways people tend to send them. We then talk about the five factors of effective marketing that anyone can use to close this gap and craft simple, effective, influential messages. We discuss why you should highlight something’s benefits rather than its features, the question to ask to figure out what those benefits are, how to replace “and” with “so” to create more focused messages, how the fad of using the F-word in book titles shows the transience of salience, how to make your message minimal by imagining it as a Jenga tower and how minimal isn’t the same thing as short, and much more, including Ben’s most immediately actionable tip for crafting better, simpler messages.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Podcast #666: The Power of Brevity in a Noisy WorldAoM Podcast #580: Why People Do (Or Don’t) Listen to YouSunday Firesides:  Don’t Confuse Niceness With KindnessThing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words by Randall MunroeConnect With Ben GuttmannBen’s websiteBen on LinkedIn
3/4/202449 minutes, 16 seconds
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The Misconceptions of HIIT (And the Role It Can Play in Your Fitness Routine)

You've probably heard of HIIT — high intensity interval training. In fact, you may feel so familiar with the idea that you think you understand it. But do you?People often hold some popular misconceptions about HIIT, and today we'll unpack what some of those are with Dr. Martin Gibala, a foremost researcher of this fitness modality and the author of The One-Minute Workout: Science Shows a Way to Get Fit That's Smarter, Faster, Shorter. Martin explains the main, underappreciated advantage of HIIT, which revolves around the "intensity-duration trade-off": the higher intensity you make exercise, the shorter your workouts can be while still triggering improvements in metabolism, cardiovascular health, and mitochondrial capacity. We get into the fact that the intensity of HIIT needn't be as high as you might think and that, contrary to popular belief, sprinting at intervals is actually a predominantly aerobic rather than anaerobic workout. Martin answers questions like whether Zone 2 cardio has an advantage over HIIT, if the so-called "afterburn effect" of HIIT is real, if you can do HIIT if you're older or have heart problems, and whether you should worry about the way HIIT can raise cortisol in the body. He also shares specific HIIT workouts you can do, including a walking interval workout and one of the best higher-intensity protocols to try.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: Conditioning — What It Is and How to Develop ItAoM Article: You Only Have 15 Minutes to Work Out. What Should You Do?AoM Article: How to Use an Assault Bike to Improve Your All-Around ConditioningWingate Anaerobic TestJapanese 3X3 Interval Walking TrainingNorwegian 4X4 IntervalTraining10X1 Interval WorkoutTabata TrainingVILPA — One-minute bursts of activity during daily tasks could prolong your lifeConnect With Martin GibalaMartin's websiteMartin on XMartin's faculty page
2/28/202449 minutes, 50 seconds
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The Making of a Stoic Emperor

Perhaps you've read Marcus Aurelius' Meditations, a book many turn to to learn and internalize the teachings of Stoic philosophy. But what do you know of the man who penned that seminal text?Here to help us get to know the philosopher and ruler is Donald Robertson, a cognitive-behavior psychotherapist and the author of Marcus Aurelius: The Stoic Emperor. Drawing on the Meditations, three ancient histories about Marcus' life and character, and a cache of private letters between him and his rhetoric tutor, Donald unpacks how Marcus' life shaped his approach to Stoicism, and how Stoicism shaped him. We discuss Marcus' childhood and influences, his idea of manliness, the surprising significance of who he does and doesn't mention in the Meditations, and how he used that journal as a kind of father figure. We also discuss how Marcus may have undergone training modeled on the Spartan agoge, how he came to attention as a successor to the emperorship, how he got turned on to Stoicism as medicine for the soul, and how he used the philosophy to deal with his tumultuous rule.Resources Related to the PodcastDonald's previous appearance on the AoM Podcast: Episode #537 — How to Think Like a Roman EmperorAoM Article: Meditations on a First Reading of MeditationsAoM Article: 5 Ancient Stoic Tactics for Modern LifeAoM Podcast #316: An Introduction to StoicismAoM article on the Spartan agogeMeditations by Marcus AureliusEpictetus' "show me your shoulders" discourseConnect With Donald RobertsonDonald's SubstackModern StoicismPlato's Academy Centre
2/26/202451 minutes, 9 seconds
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The Secrets of Supercommunicators

Have you ever known one of those people who seemed to be able to connect with anyone? The kind of person who had the ability to make others feel understood and smoothly navigate even the trickiest of conversations?Charles Duhigg calls these folks "supercommunicators," and he's the author of a new book by the same name. Today on the show, Charles explains that what underlies supercommunicators' skill in connection is something called the matching principle, and he unpacks how it works and how you can put it to use in your own conversations. We discuss several techniques for how to figure out what kind of conversation you're having, so you can align your language and energy with the other person. And because emotional conversations can be particularly difficult, we dig into tactics for successfully navigating them, even when they contain a high degree of conflict. We also get into how to carry the skills of connection into your digital conversations.Resources Related to the PodcastCharles' previous appearances on the AoM podcastEpisode #61: The Power of HabitEpisode #196: The Science of Self-Motivation & ProductivityAoM Podcast #559: How to Handle Difficult ConversationsConnect With Charles DuhiggCharles' website
2/21/202444 minutes, 41 seconds
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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
2/19/202449 minutes, 28 seconds
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Busting the Myths of Marriage — Why Getting Hitched Still Matters

The marriage rate has come down 65% since 1970. There are multiple factors behind this decrease, but one of them is what we might call the poor branding that surrounds marriage in the modern day. From all corners of our culture and from both ends of the ideological spectrum come messages that marriage is an outdated institution, that it hinders financial success and personal fulfillment, and that it's even unimportant when it comes to raising kids.My guest would say that these ideas about marriage are very wrong, and he doesn't come at it from an emotionally-driven perspective, but from what's born out by the data. Dr. Brad Wilcox is a sociologist who heads the nonpartisan National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, which studies marriage and family life. He's also the author of Get Married. Today on the show, Brad discusses the latest research on marriage and how it belies the common narratives around the institution. We dig into the popular myths around marriage, and how it not only boosts your finances, but predicts happiness in life better than any other factor. Brad also shares the five pillars of marriage that happy couples embrace.Resources Related to the PodcastBrad's previous appearance on the AoM Podcast: Episode #278 — The Surprising Benefits of Marriage for MenThe National Marriage Project at UVAAoM Article: The Case for MarriagePiece in the NYT by Brad: "To Be Happy, Marriage Matters More Than Career"Piece in the Atlantic co-authored by Brad: "Now Political Polarization Comes for Marriage Prospects"Brad's articles at the Institute for Family Studies AoM Podcast #946: Counterintuitive Ideas About Marriage, Family, and KidsConnect With Brad WilcoxBrad's faculty pageBrad on XBrad on LinkedIn 
2/14/202448 minutes
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Chasing Shackleton — Re-creating the World’s Greatest Journey of Survival

If you’ve ever read the classic book Endurance, you probably shivered and shuddered as you wondered what it would have been like to have undertaken Ernest Shackleton’s famously arduous Antarctic rescue mission.The adventurer Tim Jarvis did more than wonder. When Alexandra Shackleton challenged him to re-create her grandfather’s epic journey, he jumped at the chance to follow in the legendary explorer’s footsteps.Today on the show, Tim, the author of Chasing Shackleton: Re-creating the World’s Greatest Journey of Survival, first shares the story of Shackleton’s heroic effort to save the crew of his failed Antarctic expedition. Tim then tells us how he and his own crew replicated Shackleton’s journey over land and sea, from taking the same kind of rowboat to eating the same kind of rations — and the lessons in resilience and leadership he learned along the way.Resources Related to the PodcastEndurance by Alfred LansingShackleton’s apocryphal recruiting advertisement AoM 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 ExplorerAoM Article: The Libraries of Famous Men — Ernest ShackletonConnect With Tim JarivsTim’s websiteTim on IGTim on LinkedIn 
2/12/202445 minutes
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Night Visions — Understand and Get More Out of Your Dreams

When you really stop to think about it, it’s an astonishing fact that we spend a third of our lives asleep. And part of that time, we’re dreaming. What goes on during this unconscious state that consumes so much of our lives, and how can we use our dreams to improve our waking hours?Here to unpack the mysterious world of dreams is Alice Robb, the author of Why We Dream: The Transformative Power of Our Nightly Journey. Today on the show, Alice first shares some background on the nature of dreams, why their content is often stress-inducing, and how they can influence our waking hours, from impacting our emotional health to helping us be more creative. We then turn to how to get more out of our dreams, including the benefits of keeping a dream journal and talking about your dreams with others. We also get into the world of lucid dreaming and some tips for how you can start controlling your dreams.Resources Related to the PodcastInterpretation of Dreams by Sigmund FreudExploring the World of Lucid Dreaming by Stephen LaBergeAoM Article: Nap Like Salvador Dali — Get Creative Insights on the Boundary Between Sleep and WakefulnessConnect With Alice RobbAlice’s website 
2/7/202442 minutes, 30 seconds
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Shakespeare on How Leaders Rise, Rule, and Fall

When people think of the plays of Shakespeare, they tend to think of his comedies and tragedies that spotlight interpersonal dynamics like love and jealousy, pretense and reality. But my guest would say that many of Shakepeare's plays, especially his sometimes overlooked histories, are also unmatchable in revealing the dynamics of power.Eliot Cohen is a military historian, political scientist, professor of international studies, and former State Department counselor, as well as the author of The Hollow Crown: Shakespeare on How Leaders Rise, Rule, and Fall. Today on the show Eliot takes us through what Shakepeare's plays can teach us about navigating the three-part arc of power: acquiring power, exercising power, and losing power. Along the way, we discuss how these lessons in leadership played out in the lives of real-life historical figures as well.Resources Related to the PodcastPlays discussed:Richard IIHenry IV, Part 1Henry IV, Part 2Henry VRichard IIIJulius CaesarCoriolanusKing LearMacbethThe TempestAoM Podcast #853: The Real Rules of PowerAoM Podcast #792: How Power CorruptsAoM Article: A Lesson From TR & Taft on Pursuing a Life You LikeAoM Article: There Is No Indispensable ManRobert Caro's biographical series on LBJAll the King's Men by Robert Penn WarrenSupreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime by Eliot CohenConnect With Elliot CohenEliot's faculty page
2/5/202451 minutes, 20 seconds
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Launch a Million-Dollar Business This Weekend

Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur but don’t have an idea for a business? Or have you been sitting on a business idea for years but have never gotten going with it?Well, after listening to this podcast and by the end of this weekend, you can have a business started that could ultimately make you a million bucks.Here to walk you through the process of becoming a near-overnight entrepreneur is Noah Kagan. Kagan is the founder of AppSumo, a software deals site, and half a dozen other multi-million-dollar businesses, as well as the author of Million Dollar Weekend: The Surprisingly Simple Way to Launch a 7-Figure Business in 48 Hours. Today on the show, Noah and I first discuss the two biggest obstacles that hold people back from starting a business and how to overcome them. We then turn to the practicalities of coming up with and vetting a business idea, how to find your first customers, and how to keep growing from there. Along the way, Noah and I share insights into how we turned AppSumo and Art of Manliness, respectively, from side hustles into rewarding careers.Resources Related to the PodcastNoah’s previous appearance on the AoM Podcast: Episode #315 — The Power of Small Experiments to Supercharge Your SuccessAoM Article: The Company Man’s Guide to Starting a Side Hustle, Part I and Part II AoM Article: Want to Start a Business? Consider These 5 Invaluable Lessons Before Diving InAoM Article: How to Start a Business with Limited FundsAoM Podcast #344: The Art of the Side HustleAoM Article: Be Your Own Boss — 37 Side Hustle IdeasConnect With Noah KaganMillion Dollar Weekend websiteNoah’s websiteNoah on XNoah on IGNoah on LinkedInNoah on YouTube
1/31/202450 minutes, 18 seconds
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The Case for Minding Your Own Business

Attend the graduation of a college senior, and the commencement speech is likely to include a few themes: Do something big. Make a name for yourself. Change the world.My guest is not a fan of this advice, and says that rather than focusing on solving large-scale problems, we ought to concentrate on making things better in our own backyards.Brandon Warmke is a professor of philosophy and the co-author of Why It's OK to Mind Your Own Business. Today on the show, Brandon explains why what he calls "commencement speech morality" distorts our moral vision by emphasizing one version of the good and valuable life, at the expense of the value and good of a life marked by "ordinary morality." Brandon first unpacks the dangers of intervening in other people's business, including becoming a moralizer and a busybody. He then makes a case for the benefits of minding your own business and putting down roots, creating a good home, and living in solitude, and for how a smaller, quieter life can still be generous, important, and noble.Resources Related to the PodcastBrandon's previous appearance on the show: Episode #734 — How Moral Grandstanding Is Ruining Our Public DiscourseSunday Firesides: Blessed Are the Trail MaintainersAoM Article: How John Stuart Mill Got Over His Existential Crisis, and You Can Too!AoM Podcast #910: Thick Desires, Political Atheism, and Living an Anti-Mimetic LifeAoM #881: A Kantian Guide to LifeAoM Article: The Spiritual Disciplines — Solitude and Silence The Virtues of Limits by David McPhersonThe Need for Roots by Simone WeilConnect With Brandon WarmkeBrandon's websiteBrandon's faculty page 
1/29/202441 minutes, 52 seconds
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The Mundanity of Excellence

Forty years ago, now retired professor of sociology Daniel Chambliss performed a field study in which he observed an elite swim team to figure out what it was that led to excellence in any endeavor.As Chambliss shared in a paper entitled “The Mundanity of Excellence,” the secret he discovered is that there really is no secret, and that success is more ordinary than mystical.As mundane as the factors and qualities that lead to excellence really are, they can still run contrary to what we sometimes think makes for high achievement. Today on the show, I unpack the sometimes unexpected elements of excellence with Daniel. We discuss how desire is more important than discipline, the central role of one’s social group and surrounding yourself with the best of the best, the outsized importance of the small things, why you need to make being good your job, why motivation is mundane, and why you need to keep a sense of mundanity even as you become excellent.Resources Related to the PodcastChampions: The Making of Olympic Swimmers by Daniel F. Chambliss“The Mundanity of Excellence”AoM Article: Motivation Over DisciplineAoM Article: The Secret of Great Men — Deliberate PracticeAoM Podcast #887: The Golden Rules of SuccessSunday Firesides: What Looks Like Grit, Is Often Fit“Go Ahead, Drop My Course” — WSJ article by DanielMark SchubertMission Viejo NadadoresConnect With Daniel ChamblissDaniel’s faculty page
1/24/202441 minutes, 15 seconds
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A Guide to Protecting Yourself Against Unexpected Violence

When Sam Rosenberg was 20 years old and working as a bouncer in a bar, a disgruntled patron pointed a gun directly at his chest and told him: “Now I’m going to kill you.”Sam survived the incident but it caused him to question what he thought he knew about self-defense and sent him on a decades-long quest to figure out how people can best protect themselves and others.Today on the show, I talk to Sam, an expert in personal protection and the author of Live Ready: A Guide to Protecting Yourself in an Uncertain World, about his self-defense philosophy and how you can use it in your life to stay safe from violent threats. Sam makes the case that understanding how the mind works under life-or-death stress is the foundation of protecting yourself. We unpack that idea, as well as the phases of the timeline of violence, the phase you can exercise the most control in to deter a violent encounter and how to know when you’re in that phase, how to convey you’re a hard target that predators don’t want to mess with, and much more.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: The Tao of Boyd — How to Master the OODA LoopAoM Article: A Crash Course in Real World Self-DefenseAoM Article: How to Treat Your Family Like VIPsAoM Podcast #85: Situational Awareness With Patrick Van HorneAoM Podcast #198: Turning Yourself Into a Human Weapon With Tony BlauerAoM Podcast #334: When Violence Is the AnswerAoM Podcast #513: Be Your Own BodyguardAoM Podcast #688: Protection for and From HumanityAoM Podcast #781: Beyond OODA — Developing the Orientation for Conflict and ViolenceConnect With Sam RosenbergLiveReady website
1/22/202456 minutes, 13 seconds
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Come Alive Again by Having More Fun

Reflect on something for a second: when was the last time you had fun? Are you having trouble remembering, and if you think about it, is it actually kind of hard to even describe what fun is, even?Don’t worry, if you feel like fun’s gone missing from your life, and are feeling a little dead inside as a result, Catherine Price and I are here to offer you a fun-tervention.Catherine is the author of The Power of Fun: How to Feel Alive Again, and today on the show we discuss the three elements of true fun and how it differs from fake fun, how to conduct a fun audit so you can identify your personal fun magnets, how to get a greater kick out of your life, and why you really need to have a Ferris Bueller day.Resources Related to the PodcastHow to Break Up with Your Phone: The 30-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life by Catherine PriceAoM Article: The Case Against Scheduling Your FunAoM Article: A Lesson From Ernest Hemingway in Why You Should Plan Your WeekendsThe Book of Delights by Ross GayFerris Bueller’s Day OffConnect with Catherine PriceCatherine’s Substack: How to Feel AliveCatherine’s website
1/17/202449 minutes, 40 seconds
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An Insider's Guide to the Rise of the American Mafia

You're probably familiar with the American mafia, at least through its portrayal in popular culture. But how did this infamous secret society come to be?Louis Ferrante traces its origins in the first volume of his slated trilogy on the subject, entitled Borgata: Rise of Empire: A History of the American Mafia. While there's been plenty written on the mafia, Ferrante, who was incarcerated for being a mobster himself, offers the first insider's history of this crime organization. Today on the show, he shares the surprising influences on the formation of the mafia in Sicily, why Louisiana and not New York was actually the mob's American Plymouth Rock, the unexpected collaboration between the government and the mafia during WWII, the real reason J. Edgar Hoover didn't go after the mob, why that hands-off approach changed, and much more.Connect With Louis FerranteLouis' websiteLouis' previous appearance on the AoM podcast — #551: Inside the Gangsters’ Code
1/15/20241 hour, 1 minute, 12 seconds
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How Curiosity Conversations Can Supercharge Your Success

Brian Grazer is a Hollywood producer whose films and television shows have been nominated for 43 Academy Awards and 217 Emmys and grossed $15 billion worldwide. He's produced everything from my favorite TV show of all time, Friday Night Lights, to critically-acclaimed and Oscar-winning films like Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind.Grazer credits much of his success to his commitment to a practice he calls "curiosity conversations." Today on the show, I talk to Grazer, who's also the co-author of A Curious Mind Expanded Edition: The Secret to a Bigger Life, about why he considers curiosity conversations the “superpower” that fueled his rise as one of Hollywood’s leading producers. We talk about how these curiosity conversations are beneficial to have with everyone from VIPs to ordinary folks, how the ideas and connections they foster can enhance both your personal and professional life, what makes a curiosity conversation effective, and how to make them happen.
1/10/202444 minutes, 3 seconds
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Feeling Depressed and Discombobulated? Social Acceleration May Be to Blame

The social theorist Charles Taylor says that part of what characterizes a secular age is that there are multiple competing options for what constitutes the good life.The sociologist Hartmut Rosa argues that modern citizens most often locate that good in optionality, speed, and reach, which creates a phenomenon he calls “social acceleration.”Professor of theology Andrew Root explores the ideas of Taylor, Rosa, and social acceleration in his work, including in his book The Congregation in a Secular Age. While Andy largely looks at social acceleration through the lens of its effect on churches, it has implications for every aspect of our lives, from work to family. We explore those implications today on the show, unpacking the way that seeking stability through growth leads to feelings of depression, exhaustion, and discombobulation, how we collect possibilities while not knowing what we’re aiming for, and how we’ve traded the burden of shoulds for the burden of coulds. We discuss how social acceleration has shifted the horizons and significance of time, how time has to be hollowed out to be sped up, and how the solution to the ill effects of social acceleration isn’t just slowing down, but finding more resonance.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Podcast #238: Life in a Secular AgeA Secular Age by Charles TaylorSocial Acceleration: A New Theory of Modernity by Hartmut RosaResonance: A Sociology of Our Relationship to the World by Hartmut RosaThe Weariness of the Self: Diagnosing the History of Depression in the Contemporary Age by Alain EhrenbergConnect With Andy RootAndy’s website
1/8/202453 minutes, 42 seconds
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The Power of NEAT — Move a Little to Lose a Lot

Do you have a goal to lose weight? If so, you're probably thinking about how you need to exercise more. And that can certainly help. But what about the 23 hours a day you're not at the gym? How much you move during those hours — from walking to the mailbox to fidgeting at your desk — can be just as important in winning the battle of the bulge.Here to explain the importance of what's called non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or NEAT, is Dr. James Levine, a professor, the co-director of the Mayo Clinic's Obesity Solutions Initiative, the inventor of the treadmill desk, and the author of Get Up!: Why Your Chair Is Killing You and What You Can Do About It. James explains how much more sedentary we are than we used to be and what happens to your body when, as the average American does, you spend two-thirds of your day sitting. He shares how doing the lightest kinds of physical activity, even standing more, can help you lose a significant amount of weight and improve other aspects of health, from your sleep to your mood. And we talk about how to easily incorporate more NEAT into your day.Resources Related to the PodcastRole of Nonexercise Activity Thermogenesis in Resistance to Fat Gain in Humans — James' overfeeding studyAoM Article: The Digestive Power of an After-Dinner WalkAoM Podcast #552: How to Optimize Your MetabolismAoM Article: The Importance of Building Your Daily Sleep Pressure
1/3/202448 minutes, 1 second
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The Feel-Good Method of Productivity

When we think about getting more done, we tend to think about working harder, exerting more willpower, and buckling down; we tend to think of doing things that are unpleasant, but that we deem worth it, for the productivity boost they offer.But what if the key to greater productivity ran the other way round, and the easier and more enjoyable you made your work, the more of it you’d get done?That’s the premise of Ali Abdaal’s new book Feel-Good Productivity. In addition to being a new author, Ali is a doctor, a YouTuber, and the world’s most followed productivity expert. Today on the show, Ali unpacks the three prongs of his feel-good approach to productivity: energerize, unblock, and sustain. We talk about how to inject your work with more play, flip the confidence switch, find joy in increasing your power, harness relational energy, and use the 10-10-10 rule for overcoming hesitation in taking action. We also discuss why smart goals aren’t always effective and what’s a better alternative, why you might want to put a five-minute hourglass on your desk, the three types of burnout and how to overcome each, and much more.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: Motivation Over DisciplineAoM Article: The 7 Habits — Be Proactive, Not ReactiveThe 7 Habits: Begin With the End in MindLondon Writer’s SalonThe Strenuous LifeAoM Podcast #575: Counterintuitive Advice on Making Exercise a Sustainable HabitAoM Podcast #292: The Road to CharacterAoM Podcast #716: How to Make Your Life More EffortlessConnect With Ali AbdaalFeel Good Productivity websiteAli‘s YouTube channelAli on TwitterAli on IG
1/1/202452 minutes, 53 seconds
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Fat Loss Made Simple

Note: This is a rebroadcast.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 Happens 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
12/28/20231 hour
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Declutter, Downsize, and Move Forward With Your Life

Note: This is a rebroadcast.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 Website
12/26/20231 hour, 30 seconds
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Duty, Honor, and the Unlikely Heroes Who Helped Win the Battle of the Bulge

The Battle of the Bulge commenced on the morning of December 16, 1944. The Allies were ill-prepared for this last, desperate offensive from the Germans, and the campaign might have succeeded if a few things hadn’t gotten in their way, including a single, green, 18-man platoon who refused to give up their ground to the Nazis.Alex Kershaw shares the story of these men in his book, The Longest Winter, and with us today on the show. He first explains the background of the Battle of the Bulge and how an Intelligence and Reconnaissance unit that had never seen combat ended up in the thick of it. And he describes the platoon’s 20-year-old leader, Lyle Bouk, who was determined to carry out his orders and hold their position despite being massively outmanned and outgunned, and how his men fought until they were down to their last rounds. Alex then shares how what Bouk thought was a total failure — being captured as POWs after just a day of combat — turned out to have been an effort that significantly influenced the outcome of the Battle of the Bulge, and how an unlikely platoon of heroes who initially went unrecognized for their valor became the most decorated American platoon of WWII. You’ll find such an inspiring lesson in this show about living up to your duty and holding the line.Resources Related to the PodcastAlex’s previous appearances on the AoM Podcast:#361: The Untold Story of WWII’s 45th Infantry Division#514: Remembering D-Day 75 Years Later#806: The Humble Heroics of Four of WWII’s Most Decorated SoldiersThe Bedord Boys by Alex Kershaw The Bitter Woods: The Battle of the Bulge by John S.D. EisenhowerAoM Article: NUTS! Why Remembering Christmas 1944 Can Change Your LifeLyle Bouck
12/20/202348 minutes, 21 seconds
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Season’s Screenings — A Tour of Classic Christmas Movies

Watching a holiday movie is a great way to get into the spirit of the season and has become an annual tradition for many families. But what exactly makes a Christmas movie, a Christmas movie, what are some of the best ones ever made, and what makes these gems so classic?Here to answer these questions and take us on a tour of the highlights of the holiday movie canon is Jeremy Arnold, a film historian and the author of Christmas in the Movies: 35 Classics to Celebrate the Season. Today on the show, we talk about what defines a Christmas movie, why we enjoy them so much, and why so many classics in the genre were released during the 1940s. Jeremy offers his take on the best version of A Chirstmas Carol, whether Holiday Inn or White Christmas is a better movie, why he thinks Die Hard is, in fact, a Christmas movie, what accounts for the staying power of Elf, and much more. At the end of the show, Jeremy offers several suggestions for lesser-known Christmas movies to check out when you’re tired of watching A Christmas Story for the fiftieth time.Movies Mentioned in the ShowSanta Claus (1898)Scrooge (1901)Scrooge (1935)Miracle on Main Street (1939)Remember the Night (1940)The Shop Around the Corner (1940)Holiday Inn (1942)The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942)Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)It’s a Wonderful Life (1947)Scrooge/Christmas Carol (1951)We’re No Angels (1955)Cash on Demand (1961)Die Hard (1988)Home Alone (1990)Home Alone 2 (1992)The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)Elf (2003)
12/18/202352 minutes, 5 seconds
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The Hobbit Virtues

Virtue ethics is an approach to life, a framework for developing character and making moral decisions. To learn about virtue ethics, you could read a philosophical treatise by Aristotle. Or, you could read a fictional novel by J.R.R Tolkien. As my guest, Christopher Snyder, observes, the ideals of virtue ethics are well illustrated in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, being vividly embodied in the characters of Middle-earth.Chris is a professor of European history, a medieval scholar, and the author of Hobbit Virtues: Rediscovering J.R.R. Tolkien's Ethics from The Lord of the Rings. Today on the show, he shares the way Tolkien's fantasy stories provide real lessons in the capacity of ordinary people to act heroically. We discuss the courage of persistence, the importance of fellowship and how it differs from friendship, the role of merrymaking in the good life, and the value of chivalry.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: Lessons in Manliness —The HobbitAoM Article: Against the Cult of Travel, or What Everyone Gets Wrong About the HobbitAoM Podcast #272: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Myth of ProgressAoM Podcast #723: Men Without Chests — An Exploration of C.S. Lewis' Abolition of Man"Beowulf, the Monsters and the Critics" by J.R.R. TolkienScene from  LOTR: The Return of the King — "I Can't Carry It For You... But I Can Carry You"Scene from LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring — The Death of BoromirScene from LOTR: The Return of the King — The Coronation Of Aragorn"The Necessity of Chivalry" by C.S. Lewis The Making of Middle-Earth: A New Look Inside the World of J. R. R. Tolkien by Christopher SnyderBooks by Tom ShippeyConnect With Chris SnyderChris' faculty page
12/13/202349 minutes, 38 seconds
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A Carpenter's Notes on the Art of Good Work

After forty years working as a carpenter, and not just any carpenter, but one who is often considered the best in New York and who executes some of the country's most elaborate, expensive, and challenging projects, Mark Ellison has filled hundreds of notebooks with drawings of his plans. He's also made plenty of observations about the nature of work, craft, and doing a good job at whatever you pursue.Mark is the author of Building: A Carpenter's Notes on Life & the Art of Good Work, and today on the show, he shares some of the lessons he's learned over his career in high-end construction, including those that center on the less romantic aspects of being a carpenter. We discuss the comparative importance of will, talent, and interest in learning a craft, the challenges not only of construction but managing personalities, mistakes, and expectations, why speed is essential for a successful craftsman, and how the principles that make for a master builder carry over into other pursuits.Resources Related to the Podcast"The Art of Building the Impossible" — very interesting New Yorker article about Mark and his work The Very Efficient Carpenter by Larry HaunAoM Article: Applying the Ethos of the Craftsman to Our Everyday LivesMark's album: Hard to TameConnect With Mark EllisonMark's website
12/11/202350 minutes, 54 seconds
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Unpacking The Emotion No One Likes to Talk About

Of all the emotions, there's one that people are arguably the most reluctant to talk about and admit to feeling.Envy.Not only is there very little social discussion of envy, but there's also been very little academic scholarship on the topic. As a result, few people really understand this emotion — what it is, why they feel it, and what it means in their life.Today we'll reveal the fascinating dimensions of the green-eyed monster with one of the few people who has given a lot of thought and study to this oft-neglected but important subject: Sara Protasi, a professor of philosophy and the author of The Philosophy of Envy. Today on the show, Sara defines envy and explains how it's different from jealousy and why people are more comfortable admitting to feeling jealous than envious. Sara then unpacks what she thinks are the four types of envy, and we work our way from the worst type to a kind that is actually redeemable and potentially beneficial. We end our conversation with how envy, something that's often considered the worst kind of vice, can, in fact, be used to achieve more excellence in your life.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: An Intro on EnvyAoM Article: Envy, Ressentiment, and the Inversion of ValuesAoM Article: The Insidious Disguises of EnvyScene from Mississippi Burning — My Daddy Killed That MuleConnect With Sara ProtasiSara's websiteSara's faculty pageSara on PhilPapersSara on FacebookSara on X
12/6/20231 hour, 59 seconds
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Increase Your Influence With the Science of Immersion

Why are so many social, business, and classroom interactions so dang dull? This state of affairs isn't only a bummer for those on the receiving end of these underwhelming experiences, but those offering them, too. It means that people are failing to connect with others, teachers are failing to impart knowledge, and salespeople are failing to make sales. Because when you don't engage people, you don't influence them.My guest says that the secret to making an impact on others is learning to turn ordinary experiences into extraordinary ones through the science of immersion. Dr. Paul Zak is a professor, scientist, and the author of Immersion. Today on the show, Paul shares what he's learned from decades of neuroscience research on how to create immersive experiences that will set you apart as an individual or business and increase your influence. We discuss the elements that create immersion, what goes on in the brain when it occurs, how long it can last, and how to induce immersion, whether you want to teach a more engaging class, wow your customers, or simply make everyday interactions with friends and family more memorable.Resources Related to the EpisodePaul's TED Talk: Trust, Morality — and Oxytocin?AoM Article: 3 Simple Steps to Telling a Great StoryAoM Podcast: #462: How to Tell Better StoriesDiet Coke Super Bowl Commercial 2018Connect With Paul ZakPaul's websiteImmersion websitePaul's faculty page
12/4/202345 minutes, 17 seconds
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Turn Your Anxiety Into a Strength

Anxiety is typically thought of as a disease or a disorder. My guest has a very different way of looking at it, and says that rather than being a burden, anxiety can actually become a benefit, and even a strength.Dr. David Rosmarin is an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, the founder of the Center for Anxiety, and the author of Thriving with Anxiety: 9 Tools to Make Your Anxiety Work for You. Today on the show, David explains why the prevalence of anxiety has risen while the reasons to feel anxious have fallen, and what the increase in anxiety has to do with our growing intolerance for uncertainty and uncontrollability. We discuss how the perception of anxiety is a big part of the problem that has made anxiety a problem, and how you can change your relationship with anxiety, transforming it from something that hinders your life, to something that helps you develop greater self-awareness, reach your goals, make needed changes, connect better with others, and build your overall resilience.Resources Related to the EpisodeAoM Podcast #497: The Meaning, Manifestations, and Treatments for AnxietyAoM Podcast #614: Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life (With Steven Hayes) AoM Podcast #782: Anxiety Is a Habit — Here’s How to Break ItAoM Podcast #868: Escape the Happiness TrapAoM series on developing resilience AoM Article: Just Go to SleepAoM Article: 5 Tools for Thriving in UncertaintyAoM Article: The Best Books to Read in Uncertain TimesConnect With David RosmarinDavid's website
11/29/202352 minutes, 30 seconds
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Counterintuitive Ideas About Marriage, Family, and Kids

There are a lot of popular ideas out there around marriage, family, and culture, like, for example, that living together before marriage decreases your chances of divorce, people are having fewer children because children are expensive to raise, and society is becoming more secular because people leave religion in adulthood.Are these ideas actually born out by the data?Today we put that question to Lyman Stone, a sociologist and demographer who crunches numbers from all the latest studies to find out what’s going on in population, relationship, and familial trends. We dig into some of the counterintuitive findings he’s discovered in his research and discuss the possible reasons that cohabitation is actually correlated with a higher chance of divorce, the effect that marrying later has on fertility, why the drop in the number of kids people are having isn’t only about cost but also about the rise in high intensity parenting, and how the increase in societal secularization can actually be traced to kids, not adults.Resources Related to the EpisodeRelated articles by Lyman Stone:Does Getting Married Really Make You Happier?Why Canadian Women Aren’t Having the Children They DesireFor Fertility, Marriage Still MattersToo Risky to Wed in Your 20s? Not If You Avoid Cohabiting FirstWhat the Latest Current Population Survey Tells Us About the Future of FertilitySecularization Begins at HomeAoM Article: The Surprising Benefits of Marrying YoungAoM Article: How to Test Your Relationship Without Moving In TogetherAoM Podcast #349: The Problem With Ambiguity in Relationships with Scott StanleyConnect With Lyman StoneLyman on Twitter
11/27/202347 minutes, 34 seconds
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The Cues That Make You Charismatic

Note: This is a rebroadcast.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
11/22/202344 minutes, 43 seconds
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The Japanese Practice That Can Give More Meaning to an American Holiday

A focus on gratitude is typical this time of year. But more often than not, the cognitive or behavioral nods we give gratitude around Thanksgiving can feel a little limp, rote, and unedifying. If you feel like this American holiday has been lacking in meaning, maybe what you need is to infuse it with a Japanese practice.The Naikan method of self-reflection grew out of Buddhist spirituality and has been recognized by psychologists as a way to develop greater self-awareness, gratitude, empathy, and direction. Naikan involves asking yourself three questions: What have I received from others? What have I given others? What troubles and difficulties have I caused others?Gregg Krech, who is the executive director of the ToDo Institute, which promotes principles of psychology based on Eastern traditions, has created a Thanksgiving-specific version of Naikan that helps practitioners dig further into its first question. Today on the show, we talk about the way Naikan differs from mainstream gratitude practices and is based less on feeling and more on seeing the world objectively. Gregg shares six prompts that can help you recognize the reality of how you're being supported in the world, cultivate the art of noticing, and embrace life's grace.Resources Related to the PodcastThe ToDo Institute's free Thanksgiving Guide to Self-Reflection booklet — scroll down, enter your email into the form, and a PDF of the booklet will be sent to you.Gregg's previous appearances on the AoM podcast:#425: Action Over Feelings #671: Begin the New Year by Reflecting on These 3 Life-Changing QuestionsNaikan: Gratitude, Grace, and the Japanese Art of Self-Reflection by Gregg KrechAoM Podcast #906: Stop Being a ComplainerAoM Article: The Spiritual Disciplines — Gratitude Sunday Firesides: Graduate From the Kindergarten Class of GratitudeAoM Podcast #459: Beyond Gratitude Lite — The Real Virtue of ThankfulnessHow to Fight Entitlement and Develop Gratitude in Your KidsAoM Article: The George Bailey Technique — Mentally Erase Your Blessings for Greater Joy and OptimismConnect with Gregg KrechThirty Thousand Days Website
11/20/202353 minutes, 43 seconds
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The Leadership Qualities That Will Set You Apart From the Pack

For the last 15 years, William Vanderbloemen has run an executive search firm that helps non-profit organizations find leaders. Over the course of conducting tens of thousands of interviews with top-tier candidates, he's tracked and recorded what qualities the best leaders — the people he calls "unicorns" — possess that set them apart from everyone else in the field.William shares what he's learned in his new book Be the Unicorn: 12 Data-Driven Habits That Separate the Best Leaders from the Rest. Today we talk about what some of those twelve distinguishing habits are, and how people can use them to move ahead at work, as well as improve their relationships outside of it. We discuss the nearly 100% difference it can make in your business to respond to people right away, the least common trait among unicorns that the general population mistakenly believes they have in spades, how mastering the art of anticipation will make you stand out, a way to use eye contact to build strong connection, and much more.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: The Myth of Scarcity — 12 Stupidly Easy Things That’ll Set You Apart from the PackAoM Podcast #865: How to Win Friends and Influence People in the 21st CenturyAoM Article: How to Make Eye Contact the Right Way in Life, Business, and LoveAoM Podcast #644: How to Develop Greater Self-AwarenessAoM Article: The Best Kind of Leader to BeNYT article: "What Do You Do With the Brilliant Jerk?"Sunday Firesides: Never Criticize Without Offering an Alternative
11/15/202345 minutes, 29 seconds
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The Lesser-Known Philosophy of the Iron Age Greeks

When we think of Western philosophers who pondered questions about the good life, we typically think of the classical era of Greece and the likes of Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle. But my guest would say that the poets and philosophers who came out of the preceding period, Greece's Iron Age, also have something to say about the nature of existence.Adam Nicolson is the author of How to Be: Life Lessons from the Early Greeks. Today on the show, Adam takes us on a tour of Iron Age Greece and how these seafaring people set the stage for our modern sense of self. Adam makes the case that the early Greeks had what he calls a "harbor mindset," which lent them a mentality centered on fluidity and transience. We discuss how Odysseus exemplifies this harbor mindset, and how a group of lesser-known pre-Socratic philosophers defined life through a lens of change and contradiction. Adam then explains how a mystical guru named Pythagoras paved the way for Greek thinkers like Plato and Aristotle and the rise of cooperative civility.Resources Related to the PodcastAdam's previous appearance on the AoM podcast: Episode #857 — Why Homer MattersAoM Podcast #337: What Homer’s Odyssey Can Teach Us TodayThe philosophers of Miletus:AnaximenesThalesAnaximander
11/13/202345 minutes, 12 seconds
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10 Unchanging Ideas for Navigating an Ever-Changing World

To figure out what will happen in the future, we typically make guesswork predictions and look to particular periods in the past that seem like potential parallels.My guest says that to figure out what will happen next, and how best to navigate that coming landscape, the best things to consider are those that have been true in every time, and will be true until the end of it.Morgan Housel is a venture capitalist and the author of Same as Ever: A Guide to What Never Changes. Today on the show we talk about ideas and principles that never change that can help you be successful in an ever-changing world, including how the biggest risks are those you can’t see, how the idea of compound interest applies beyond your finances, how your expectations can sabotage your happiness, why you need to learn to accept that things are supposed to be hard, and how success can lead to failure. Morgan also shares his rubric for choosing your reading, what genres of books he finds most useful for improving long-term thinking, and two books he especially recommends for broadening your perspective.Resources Related to the PodcastMorgan’s previous appearance on the AoM podcast: Episode #659 — Do You Want to Be Rich or Wealthy? (And Why the Difference Matters)AoM Article: 5 Tools for Thriving in UncertaintyAoM Article: The Best Books to Read in Uncertain TimesAoM Podcast #821: Routines Are OverratedThe Great Depression: A Diary by Benjamin RothThe Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy by David NasawConnect With Morgan HouselMorgan on XMorgan’s websiteMorgan on LinkedIn
11/8/202357 minutes, 4 seconds
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How to Avoid Death by Comfort

Nietzsche's maxim, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," isn't just a sound philosophical principle. It's also a certifiable physiological phenomenon; toxins and stressors that could be deadly in large doses, actually improve health and resilience in smaller, intermittent ones. The ironic thing, my guest points out, is that it's the fact that we're not getting enough of this sublethal stress these days that's really doing us in.Paul Taylor is a former British Royal Navy Aircrew Officer, an exercise physiologist, nutritionist, and neuroscientist, and the author of Death by Comfort: How Modern Life is Killing Us and What We Can Do About It. Today on the show, Paul discusses the science of hormesis, how small doses of intermittent stress can make us more resistant to chronic stress, and why you need to embrace what Paul calls "discomfort harvesting." We talk about some now-familiar topics like fasting and cold and heat exposure with fresh inspiration as to how important they are to practice and how to do them effectively. We discuss how hot a sauna needs to be to get the benefits of heat exposure, Paul's suggestion for how to make an ice bath on the cheap, what may be the single best type of food to eat to improve your gut's microbiome, a form of fasting that's got anti-cancer benefits but is so accessible it won't even feel like fasting, what supplement to take to mitigate the effects of a bad night's sleep, and much more. We end our conversation with how to use what Paul calls a "ritual board" to stick with your healthy habits and resist the "soft underbelly" of modern life.Resources Related to the PodcastAoMPodcast #708: Overcome the Comfort CrisisAoM article/video on the benefits of cold showersAoM Podcast #801: The Cold Water Swim CureAoM Podcast #603: The Physical Keys to Human ResilienceAoM Article: How Saunas Can Help Save Your Body, Mind, and SpiritAoM Article: How to Sauna — All the FAQsAoM Podcast #585: Inflammation, Saunas, and the New Science of DepressionAoM Podcast #862: Heal the Body With Extended FastingPodcast #328: The Pros and Cons of Intermittent FastingAoM Podcast #581: The Tiny Habits That Change EverythingAoM Podcast #425: Action Over FeelingsThe NOVA Food Classification SystemStanford study on the effect of fiber and fermented food on the microbiomeResearch on creatine as a neurotransmitter and creatine's effect on brain health (including impact when sleep deprived)Connect With PaulTaylorPaul's websitePaul on IGPaul on LinkedInPaul's podcastPaul's mental fitness course for coaches and health professionals
11/6/202356 minutes, 26 seconds
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The 3 Types of Failure (And How to Learn From Each)

People often think of failure in one of two ways: as something that hinders the pursuit of success, or as something that's a necessity in obtaining it — as in the Silicon Valley mantra that recommends failing fast and often.There's truth to both ideas, but neither offers a complete picture of failure. That's because there isn't just one kind of failure, but three.Here to unpack what those three types are is Amy Edmondson, a professor of leadership at the Harvard Business School and the author of The Right Kind of Wrong: The Science of Failing Well. Today on the show, Amy shares which type of failure is most productive, which types are less fruitful, and how to best use the former, prevent the latter, and learn from failure of every kind. We also talk about how to organize potential failures into a matrix that will help you best approach them. Along the way, we dig into examples, both big and small, of how individuals, organizations, and families can put failure to work for them.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Podcast #646: How to Win at LosingAoM Article: Clausewitz on Overcoming the Annoying Slog of LifeAoM Podcast #517: What Big-Time Catastrophes Can Teach Us About How to Improve the Systems of Our LivesAoM Article: The Power of ChecklistsAoM Article: How Reframing Builds ResilienceConnect With Amy EdmondsonAmy's website
11/1/202344 minutes, 19 seconds
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What Lifting Ancient Stones Can Teach You About Being a Man

For millennia, stone lifting was an important part of cultures around the world, and its significance went far beyond feats of strength. Stone lifting was part of weddings and funerals, used as a job interview to assess someone's fitness as a farmhand, and included in rites of passage and tests of all-around manhood.Much of the world's ancient stone lifting culture has been forgotten, and rocks that used to be hoisted regularly in town squares and cemeteries have been sitting untouched for hundreds of years. David Keohan, an Irish world champion kettlebell lifter-turned-amateur folklorist, has set out to change that. In the last couple of years, David has been on the hunt for Ireland's legendary lifting stones; he uses oral and written history to search them out and learn their stories and then hoists them himself, once again putting wind under stones that haven't been picked up for centuries.Today on the show, David shares the significance of stone lifting around the world and specifically in Irish culture, the practicalities of lifting a 400-pound stone off the ground, and what stone lifting has taught him about being a man.Resources Related to the Podcast"The Quest to Pick Up the Lost Lifting Stones of Ireland" — GQ article about David Rogue documentaries on stone lifting in Scotland, Iceland, and SpainDuchas — Ireland's National Folklore Collection AoM Article: Odd Object Training PrimerUtah Stones of StrengthEdmonton Stones of StrengthConnect With David KeohanDavid on IG
10/30/202345 minutes, 19 seconds
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Social Skills as the Road to Character

If you've wanted to develop your character, you've probably thought about strengthening virtues like courage, humility, and resolution. But my guest would say that practicing social skills is another way of increasing your moral strength, and the moral strength of society as a whole.David Brooks is the author of numerous books, including his latest, How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen. Today on the show, David discusses why our culture lost an emphasis on moral formation, and why this loss has led to alienation and anomie. We then talk about the role each of us can play in repairing this fabric by developing concrete social skills, avenues to improve character that, unlike some virtues that are only called upon in a crisis, you can practice every day. David shares insights on how we can get better at giving people attention, asking good questions, and helping those who are going through a hard time. We also discuss how understanding different personality types and life stages can allow us to better understand other people.Resources Related to the PodcastDavid's previous appearances on the AoM Podcast:Episode #292: The Road to CharacterEpisode #518: The Quest for a Moral Life"How America Got Mean" — Atlantic article by David BrooksAoM series on becoming a better listenerAoM excerpt: 10 Ways to Help a Grieving FriendAoM Article: The 3 Elements of Charisma — PresenceAoM Article: The Stages of a Man’s Life 
10/25/202346 minutes, 10 seconds
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Protein — Everything You Need to Know

Protein, along with fat and carbohydrates, make up one of three basic macronutrients of the human diet. Yet for something so fundamental, a lot of confusion exists around protein. What's the best kind? How much do you need? When should you eat it?Here to clear up some of that confusion is Don Layman, professor emeritus of nutrition and one of the world's foremost researchers on the subject of dietary protein. Today on the show, Don explains why animal-based proteins are superior to plant-based proteins, why he thinks collagen is worthless, how much protein you really need to consume and whether it depends on your activity level and age, what happens when kids don't get enough protein, the optimal times of day to eat protein, who needs to consume protein right after a workout and who doesn't, and whether you can get enough protein in your diet if you do intermittent fasting. We end our conversation with why Don thinks increasing protein consumption can be the most effective way to lose weight.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: Chugging Your Protein — It’s Whey Easier Than You ThinkAoM Article: How Much Protein Do You REALLY Need?AoM Article: How to Finally Nail Your Pre- and Post-Workout NutritionProtein leverage hypothesisForever Strong: A New, Science-Based Strategy for Aging WellConnect With Donald LaymanDon on XMetabolic Transformation websiteDon's faculty page
10/23/202351 minutes, 35 seconds
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Zombies, Minecraft, and Dealing with Uncertainty

In order to thrive in a world that’s constantly in flux, you have to learn to overcome your fear of the unknown and adapt yourself to whatever circumstance you find yourself in. Zombies and Minecraft can teach how to do both.Today on the show, I talk to Max Brooks, son of famed filmmaker Mel Brooks, who is the author of books that include World War Z and a series of Minecraft novels for kids. Max and I discuss how he’s used his fiction to explore learning to be resilient in the face of change and how his work writing about the zombie apocalypse led to a gig at the Modern War Institute at West Point. Along the way, Max offers insights on overcoming your fear of the unknown and how Minecraft can help your kids learn how to thrive in a world where becoming a creative problem solver is the name of the game.Resources Related to the PodcastSelect books by MaxBrooks:The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living DeadWorld War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie WarMinecraft: The IslandMinecraft: The MountainMinecraft: The VillageAoM Article: Survival Lessons from World War ZAoM Podcast #902: How to Survive Any Worst Case ScenarioAoM Article: 5 Tools for Thriving in UncertaintyAoM Article: The Best Books to Read in Uncertain Times“In a Far Country” by Jack LondonConnect With Max BrooksMax‘s website
10/18/202341 minutes, 8 seconds
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Dog as Cure for the Midlife Malaise

Maybe you're in a midlife slump. Maybe you're unhappy in your job and marriage. Maybe you're inactive and overweight. Maybe you've tried to change your life before but can't seem to make the changes stick. What do you need to do to finally turn things around?My guest would say that the answer might be getting a dog.Jeff Goodrich is the author of Dude and Duder: How My Dog Saved My Life. Today on the show, Jeff shares what his life was like at age 49 before getting Duder the Dog, and how Duder sparked changes that helped him lose 70 pounds, repair his relationships, and find real happiness. Along the way, we talk about advice that can apply to anyone trying to get out of the midlife slump, even if you don't own a dog, although Jeff would say you really should get one.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Podcast #776: How to Shift Out of the Midlife MalaiseAoM Article: Choosing Man’s Best Friend — A Guide to Canine CompanionsAoM Article: Why a Man Should Get His Dog From the PoundAoM Article: Solvitur Ambulando — It Is Solved By WalkingConnect With Jeff GoodrichThe Dude and Duder websiteDude and Duder on IG 
10/16/202340 minutes, 5 seconds
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Beyond Mere Politeness — The Art of True Civility

It often seems like we live in a very inconsiderate, indifferent, and ill-mannered time and that the cure for what ails our abrasive and disjointed relations is a lot more politeness. But my guest would say that what we really need is a revival of civility.Today on the show, Alexandra Hudson — author of The Soul of Civility: Timeless Principles to Heal Society and Ourselves — explains the difference between politeness and civility, and how being civil can actually require being impolite. We discuss how civility ensures the health of democracy, and good government relies on citizens' ability to govern themselves and check each other, which may require acting a little like . . . Larry David. We talk about what Homer's Odyssey can teach us about the art of hospitality, the relationship between civility and integrity, and more.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: How Manners Made the WorldClass: A Guide Through the American Status System by Paul FussellAoM Podcast #746: The Confucian GentlemanAoM Article: The Manly Art of Hospitality"Chat and cut" scene on Curb Your Enthusiasm The Odyssey translated by Emily WilsonConnect With Alexandra HudsonAlexandra's websiteAlexandra's Substack: Civic Renaissance 
10/11/202355 minutes, 57 seconds
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The Science of Swole — How to Grow Your Muscles

A lot of guys would like to build bigger muscles. And they may have heard that in order to do so, they need to activate something called "hypertrophy." But what is hypertrophy and how do you achieve it in order to get swole?My guest, bodybuilding and strength coach Paul Carter, will unpack what you need to know today on the show. We get into the difference between size and strength, the two big myths around hypertrophy, the right number of sets to do for developing a muscle group, why Paul thinks machines are better than free weights for building bigger muscles, and more.Resources Related to the PodcastMaximum Muscle Bible by Christian Thibaudeau and Paul CarterMike Mentzer's Heavy Duty trainingConnect With Paul CarterPaul on IGPaul on FBPaul's Programming at Train Heroic
10/9/202358 minutes, 1 second
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A Cure for Existential Boredom

It’s one thing to be bored by having to wait in line or sit through a dry lecture. It’s another thing to be bored with life itself.What can you do about this kind of existential boredom?My guest will share a remedy with us today on the show. His name is Kevin Hood Gary, and he’s a professor of education, specializing in the philosophy of education. We begin our conversation with the difference between situational and existential boredom, and how the latter arises when we toggle solely between work and amusement. Kevin argues that we need to add an element of leisure, as the ancients understood it, into our lives, and we talk about what that looks like, and how it requires embracing solitude, study, epiphanies, and love.Connect With Kevin Hood GaryKevin’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.Transcript Coming Soon
10/4/202349 minutes, 9 seconds
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The Real Reason You Procrastinate

If you or someone you know has a problem with procrastination, you've probably chalked it up to a deficiency in time management skills or self-control. But my guest says there are deeper reasons underlying procrastination, and he'll unpack what they are today on the show.Joseph Ferrari is a Catholic deacon, a professor of psychology, and a foremost researcher and expert on procrastination who has authored or co-authored 400 professional articles and 35 books and textbooks. Today on the show, Dr. Ferrari explains the psychological dynamics behind procrastination and what you can do to counter them. He also shares the difference between regular and chronic procrastination, which of your parents you probably got your propensity to procrastinate from, and how procrastination can manifest in indecision.Resources Related to the PodcastSelect books/textbooks Joseph has authored/co-authored on procrastination:Still Procrastinating: The No Regrets Guide to Getting It DoneProcrastination and Task Avoidance: Theory, Research, and TreatmentCounseling the Procrastinator in Academic SettingsAoM Article:Stop Procrastinating Today With Behavioral ScienceAoM Podcast #444: How to Use the Procrastination Equation to Start Getting Things DoneAoM Article: Get Better Without Torturing Yourself — The Power of Temptation BundlingConnect With Dr. Joseph FerrariJoseph's faculty page
10/2/202348 minutes, 29 seconds
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Break Your Bad Habits by Escaping the Scarcity Loop

Everyone has some bad habits, and they nearly always involve doing something too much. Eating too much, drinking too much, buying too much, looking at your phone too much. Why do we have such a propensity for overdoing it?My guest says it's all thanks to a "scarcity loop" that we're hardwired to follow. Once you understand how this loop works, you can start taking action to resist the compulsive cravings that sabotage your life.Michael Easter is the author of Scarcity Brain: Fix Your Craving Mindset and Rewire Your Habits to Thrive with Enough. Today on the show, Michael unpacks the three parts of the scarcity loop, and how they've been amplified in the modern day. We talk about the slot machine lab that corporations use to hack your brain, why your main problem may be that you're understimulated rather than overstimulated, why addiction may be better thought of as a symptom rather than a disease, how the quantification and gamification of life can negatively impact your experience of it, and how ultimately, the fix for resisting your bad habits is having something better to do than chase the cheap, unsatisfying hits of pleasure our culture so readily offers.Resources Related to the PodcastMichael's previous appearance on the AoM podcast: Episode #708 — Overcome the Comfort CrisisAoM Article: Via Negativa — Adding to Your Life By SubtractingResearch of Thomas ZentallResearch of C. Thi NguyenSally SatelMaia SzalavitzAoM Article: The Groundhog Day Diet — Why I Eat the Same Thing Every DayAoM Podcast #636: Why You Overeat and What to Do About ItSunday Firesides: Tidying Up Our Gilded CagesConnect With Michael EasterMichael’s websiteMichael on InstagramMichael on Twitter
9/27/20231 hour, 7 minutes, 15 seconds
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Can You Trust Happiness Studies?

How to be happier is a topic covered in countless books, blogs, and podcasts. Consume enough of this content and you repeatedly come across the same recommendations that have purportedly been proven to increase happiness: exercise, spend time in nature, meditate, socialize, and practice gratitude. But is there actual scientific evidence that these strategies work?Today on the show, we'll find out what professor of social psychology Elizabeth Dunn discovered when she did a study of happiness studies, and what the surprising findings have to do with the "replication crisis" that's occurred in science. In the second half of our conversation, Elizabeth shares the takeaways of a few well-vetted happiness studies she's done herself, including how to spend your money and use technology to increase happiness. And we discuss how to apply these findings, and the findings of all happiness studies, in a wise way that takes into account your unique personality and peculiarities. After the show is over, check out the show notes at aom.is/happinessstudiesResources RelatedStudy by Elizabeth Dunn and Dunigan Folk: "A systematic review of the strength of evidence for the most commonly recommended happiness strategies in mainstream media"Happy Money by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael NortonAoM Article: How to Choose What Advice to TakeConnect With Elizabeth DunnElizabeth's websiteElizabeth on X
9/25/202341 minutes, 16 seconds
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For a Better Work Out, Think Like a Kid

According to some estimates, only 5% of people in the West get the recommended amount of daily physical activity. Is the solution getting a fitness tracker, developing more discipline, or buying a piece of cardio equipment for your basement?My guest would say none of the above, and would have you think about kids playing at recess instead.Darryl Edwards is the founder of the Primal Play Method. Today on the show, we discuss the epidemic of sedentariness which besets both adults and children and why technology and willpower isn’t the cure for it. Darryl then explains why a better solution to getting more movement and physical activity in our lives is rediscovering the intrinsically motivating pleasure of play. He offers suggestions on how to do that, including compiling a play history for your life, embracing “primal movements” that will get you moving like an animal and a child, and getting over the fear of looking goofy while doing so. We discuss the joys and health benefits of exploring your capabilities and environment and how to incorporate more movement into your busy adult life by making even regular activities more playful.Resources Related to the PodcastDarryl’s books:Animal Moves: How to Move Like an Animal to Get You Leaner, Fitter, Stronger and Healthier for LifeMy First Animal Moves: A Children’s Book to Encourage Kids and Their Parents to Move More, Sit Less and Decrease Screen TimeAoM Article: Get Fit Like a Wild Man — A Primer on MovNatAoM Article: The 10 Physical Skills Every Man Should MasterAoM Article: The Importance of Having a Physical IdentityAoM Article: 30 Days to a Better Man Day 24 — Play!AoM Podcast #508: Break Out of Your Cage and Stop Being a Human Zoo AnimalAoM Podcast #245: The Workout the World ForgotAoM Podcast #749: Let the Children Play!Connect With Darryl EdwardsPrimal Play websiteDarryl on FBDarryl on IG
9/20/202349 minutes, 41 seconds
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Beyond Lazy Learning — The Keys to Gaining and Retaining Knowledge

Ever wondered why, after hours of reading and highlighting, you still feel unprepared for that big test? Or why, shortly after a work training, you can’t remember much of what was said and how to apply it? Or why you have trouble comprehending a difficult book?Whether you’re a student studying for exams, an employee trying to learn the ropes at a new job, or someone who’s into personal study, learning effectively is hugely important in increasing your capacity and knowledge. Unfortunately, most of what people do to learn simply doesn’t work.Here to unlock the superior, research-backed strategies that will help you harness the potential of your brain is Daniel Willingham, a professor of psychology and the author of Outsmart Your Brain. Today on the show, Daniel explains why the default way that our brains want to learn doesn’t work, and how to approach learning by both reading and listening more effectively. We discuss how to get more out of your reading, including whether you should highlight, whether speed reading is effective, the optimal method for taking notes during a lecture, the best way to cement things into memory, and much more.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: How and Why to Become a Lifelong LearnerAoM Article: How to Read a BookAoM Article: How to Read Long and Difficult BooksAoM Podcast #677: The Value of Learning New Skills in AdulthoodAoM Article: Ace Your Exams — Study Tactics of the Successful Gentleman ScholarAoM Article: Write This Down: Note-Taking Strategies for Academic SuccessConnect With Daniel Willingham Daniel’s websiteDaniel on XDaniel on TikTok
9/18/202347 minutes, 39 seconds
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The 5 Shifts of Manhood

In the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he wrote, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”What does putting away the ways of childhood and stepping into manhood look like?My guest says it requires making five key shifts in mindset and perspective. His name is Jon Tyson, and he’s a pastor and the creator of the Primal Path, a rite of passage geared toward helping boys become men. Today on the show, Jon and I unpack the five shifts of manhood and how parents and mentors can help young men make them and move from immaturity to maturity.Resources Related to the PodcastJon’s previous appearance on the AoM podcast: Episode #810 — How to Turn a Boy Into a ManThe Intentional Father: A Practical Guide to Raise Sons of Courage and Character by Jon TysonAoM Article: What Is Manliness?Adam’s Return: The Five Promises of Male Spirituality by Richard RohrAoM Podcast #708: Overcome the Comfort CrisisRadical Candor by Kim Scott“The Courage to Face Ingratitude” by William George Jordan “This Is Water” by David Foster WallaceThe 33 Marks of MaturityConnect With Jon TysonPrimal PathForming MenJon on IG
9/13/20231 hour, 4 minutes, 57 seconds
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When the Game Was War — Lessons From the Greatest NBA Season of All Time

While there may be some heated rivalries in today's NBA, the ferocity of competition doesn't compare to the hard-hitting contests that took place during the 1987-1988 season, when four rising and falling dynasties — the Celtics, Lakers, Pistons, and Bulls — battled it out for supremacy.Here to illuminate that epic era in basketball and share what can be learned from it is Rich Cohen, author of When the Game Was War: The NBA's Greatest Season. Today on the show, Rich makes a case for why there's never be a season before or since like the one that played out in '87 and '88, and he profiles the players — Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, and Michael Jordan — who dominated that season and changed the game. Along the way, we talk about the life lessons that can be taken from these players and their teams, including the rules legendary coach Phil Jackson gave the Bulls, which were inspired by the jazz musician Thelonious Monk.Resources Related to the PodcastRich's last appearance on the AoM podcast:Episode #817 — Life Lessons From the World’s Greatest NegotiatorThe Last Dance on NetflixWinning Time on HBOAoM Article: Competition — The Fuel for GreatnessSunday Firesides: Your Worst Competitor Is YouAoM Podcast #790: Kierkegaard on the Present (Passionless) Age"The Moods of Ernest Hemingway" by Lillian RossConnect With Rich CohenRich's websiteRich on Twitter
9/11/202357 minutes, 59 seconds
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How to Develop Rugged Flexibility

Change is a constant. Changes big and small are always happening in our lives, while the world also changes around us. We can either resist these changes as unmooring threats to our sense of self, or embrace them as chances to get better and stronger.The key to taking that second approach, my guest says, is developing rugged flexibility. His name is Brad Stulberg, and he's the author of Master of Change: How to Excel When Everything Is Changing – Including You. Today on the show, Brad unpacks why allostasis is a better model for dealing with disruption than homeostasis, and how healthy change moves in a cycle of order, disorder, and reorder. We then discuss ways to move through this cycle with rugged flexibility — an approach to life that keeps some things solid and stable, while letting others change and flow. We talk about the importance of adopting a being versus having orientation, managing your expectations, diversifying your identity, and more.Resources Related to the PodcastBrad's previous appearance on the AoM podcast: #491: Everything You Know About Passion is Wrong"The Case for a Tragic Optimism" by Viktor FranklNew Dad Survival Guide: The MindsetAoM Podcast #527: Male Spirituality and the Journey to the Second Half of Life With Richard RohrAoM Article: How Labeling Your Emotions Can Help You Take ControlAoM Podcast #690: The Life Philosophy of Bruce LeeSunday Firesides: Build Your Life Upon Multiple Pillars of SupportSunday Firesides: Feelings Follow ActionConnect With Brad StulbergBrad's websiteBrad on IG
9/6/202353 minutes, 6 seconds
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Take Back the Weekend

Note: This is a rebroadcast. 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
9/4/202343 minutes, 59 seconds
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Leadership Is Overrated

When an organization wants to get more productive and better reach its goals, it typically looks to retool its leadership, trying to find lone figures who can apply more effective top-down control. But my guest says there’s a much more effective strategy for getting things done: creating and empowering teams of self-starters.Kyle Buckett is a retired Navy SEAL, an executive consultant, and the co-author ofLeadership Is Overrated: How the Navy SEALs (and Successful Businesses) Create Self-Leading Teams That Win. Today on the show, Kyle first unpacks the problems with the conventional model of leadership. He then explains what the self-led team-oriented model looks like and some of the ways to create effective self-led teams, including “killing the leader” and establishing a ritual-laden culture. We also talk about the role a leader can still play in an organization. Along the way, Kyle shares stories both from history and his experience as a SEAL that illustrate why self-led teams are so effective at getting things done.Resources Related to the PodcastBelgian Antarctic ExpeditionAoM Article: What the Race to the South Pole Can Teach You About How to Achieve Your GoalsAoM Podcast #695: Sisu, the Finnish Art of StrengthAoM Article: Got Sisu? Essential Guerrilla Tactics from the Finnish Winter WarConnect With Kyle BuckettCulture Force/Leadership Is Overrated Website
8/30/202344 minutes, 20 seconds
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For Whom The Bell Tolls

Ernest Hemingway's classic novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls, is often designated as one of the greatest books about war ever written and has appeared on the Marine Corps recommended reading list. Today on the show, I unpack For Whom the Bell Tolls with Hemingway scholar Mark Cirino. We discuss the background of the novel, its themes, and the literary techniques Hemingway employed in writing it. We end our conversation with our picks for the "one true sentence" in the book.Resources Related to the PodcastMark's last appearance on the AoM podcast: Episode #786 — The Writing Life of Ernest HemingwayAoM Podcast #219: The Real Life Story of Hemingway and The Sun Also RisesErnest Hemingway: Thought in Action by Mark CirinoOne True Sentence: Writers & Readers on Hemingway’s Art edited by Michael Von Cannon and Mark CirinoAoM Podcast #871: Jane Austen for DudesMark Salter's appearance on the One True Podcast“Big Two-Hearted River” by Ernest HemingwayConnect With Mark CirinoOne True PodcastOne True Podcast on Twitter
8/28/202351 minutes, 45 seconds
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How to Use the Principles of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to Overcome Obstacles in Business and Life

In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, there are certain principles like timing, leverage, and positioning that practitioners must master to successfully overcome an opponent. My guest has found that these same principles that allow someone to be successful on the mat, also apply to being successful outside of it.Rener Gracie is the co-owner and head instructor of Gracie University and the author of The 32 Principles: Harnessing the Power of Jiu-Jitsu to Succeed in Business, Relationships, and Life. Today on the show, Rener shares how he’s used some of the core teachings of jiu-jitsu, like the Pyramid Principle and the River Principle, in his business, and how you can use them to grapple with all kinds of obstacles in life.Resources Related to the PodcastArt of Manliness + Gracie Intro to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Videos:Part 1 — The HistoryPart 2 — The Basics IPart 3 — The Basics IIPart 4 — The PhilosophyRener‘s last appearance on the AoM podcast: Episode #446: How Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Will Make You a Better ManGracie University’s 32 Principles of Jiu-Jitsu Video CourseSunday Firesides: Secure Your BaseAoM Article: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be UnderstoodConnect With Rener GracieThe 32 Principles book websiteRener on IGRener on X
8/23/202348 minutes, 46 seconds
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Is Cannabis a Safe Drug?

Over the last decade, cannabis use has been legalized in more states. At the same time, the idea that marijuana is a safe drug has steadily increased.But is this an accurate perception?Recent research by my guest, Dr. Ryan Sultan, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University, casts some doubt on a universally affirmative answer to that question, and he says we need to be having a more objective, balanced, and nuanced conversation around cannabis than we currently are. We have exactly that kind of conversation today on the show. We dig into the fact that young adulta are the group most vulnerable to the potentially negative effects of cannabis and how marijuana use in adolescence is linked to both mental illness and cognitive deficits. Dr. Sultan unpacks how cannabis impacts the developing brain and may lead to schizophrenia, especially in males. We also talk about whether if you used marijuana as a young adult and then stopped, your brain can still recover, and a cannabis-related health concern for all ages that doesn’t concern the brain. We end our show with Dr. Sultan’s take on what the safe use of cannabis looks like for adults.Resources Related to the PodcastDr. Sultan’s study: “Nondisordered Cannabis Use Among US Adolescents”Recent study on the association between cannabis use and schizophreniaConnect With Dr. Ryan SultanThe Sultan Lab at Columbia UniversityDr. Sultan's practice: Integrative Psych  
8/21/202346 minutes, 37 seconds
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Advice on Making Love Last . . . From a Divorce Lawyer

If you want insight on how to make love last, you might ask friends, family, a therapist, or a pastor for advice. You probably wouldn't think to turn to a divorce lawyer. But my guest, James Sexton, who does that very job in New York City, says there may be few people who have a better perspective on how to hold a marriage together, than the guy who's got a front row seat to how they fall apart.James is the author of If You're in My Office, It's Already Too Late: A Divorce Lawyer's Guide to Staying Together, and today on the show he shares what he's learned from overseeing over a thousand divorces that you can use to reverse engineer a relationship that lasts. We discuss the five types of infidelity James sees in his practice and the approach to marriage that will prevent affairs. We then get into common sources of conflict in a marriage, including sex, finances, and kids, and how to address these issues so you never end up in James', or any other divorce lawyer's, office.Resources Related to the PodcastAoMPodcast #550: How to Strengthen Your Marriage Against DivorceAoM Article: Why the Secret of a Happy, Successful Marriage Is Treating It Like a Bank AccountAoM Podcast #850: The Infidelity FormulaAoM Article: A Resolution for Romance — The 52 Love Notes ChallengeAoM Article: How and Why to Hold a Weekly Marriage MeetingC.S. Lewis quote on the "dance" in relationships from That Hideous StrengthConnect With James SextonJames on IGJames' firm
8/16/20231 hour, 6 minutes, 56 seconds
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Unlock the Power of the Unfocused Mind

There are tons of podcasts, blog posts, and books about how to get more focused. Focus is seen as the key to greater productivity and success.While focus is important, my guest says there are also amazing powers to be found in something that gets a lot less attention: the unfocused mind.Dr. Srini Pillay is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist, a brain-imaging researcher, and the author of Tinker Dabble Doodle Try: Unlock the Power of the Unfocused Mind. Today on the show, Srini explains the downsides of excessive focus, the importance of tapping into the unfocused mind, especially in the age of A.I., and the benefits of doing so, including how mind wandering can help you be more productive and creative, allow you to see greater possibilities for your life, and offer important insights that will get you unstuck from problems. He shares strategies to incorporate unfocused time into your lifestyle, including how to make daydreaming more beneficial and why you should let yourself doodle without guilt. Srini also makes a case for multitasking in the sense of switching back and forth between different tasks.Connect With Srini PillaySrini's websiteNeuro Business Group websiteSrini on LinkedInSrini on XSrini on IGSrini's articles on Harvard Health
8/14/202340 minutes, 56 seconds
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The Life We're Looking For

Note: This is a rebroadcast.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
8/9/202356 minutes, 7 seconds
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The Psychology of Effective Weight Loss

Note: This is a rebroadcast.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.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Podcast #708: Overcoming the Comfort Crisis AoM Podcast #715: What's the Most Sustainable Diet?AoM Podcast #475: How to Lose Weight, and Keep It Off Forever AoM article on how to track your food intakeAoM Article: 6 Ways to Measure Your Body FatThe Hawthorne effectAoM series on willpowerConnect With Dr. Trevor KasheyTrevor Kashey Nutrition: TKNTrevor on InstagramThe Best Nutrition Group EVER on FB
8/7/202347 minutes, 47 seconds
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The Most Insightful Personality Test

Personality tests sometimes come in for criticism these days for not being very accurate or helpful or for putting people into boxes. And it’s true that no test can ever entirely peg the complexities of personality, and they shouldn’t be applied with too much rigidity. But what these tests are useful for is serving as a prompt for reflecting on the particular ways you think, feel, and act, and, perhaps even more importantly, getting you to think about the fact that other people can see and approach the world in ways that are fundamentally different from your own.I haven’t found a personality test that better serves as this kind of tool than what’s called the “People Code” or the “Color Code,” which categorizes people into four colors: Reds, Blues, Whites, and Yellows. I’ve found it uncanningly insightful in helping me understand myself and others better, and it’s become a regular topic of conversation amongst my family and friends.Today I talk to the creator of the Color Code Personality Profile, psychologist Dr. Taylor Hartman. We discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the four color types, how to interact with each color to bring out their best traits, and how the colors combine in relationships. We then discuss the importance of developing the strengths of other colors besides your own, a process Taylor calls becoming “charactered.”Learn More/Connect With Taylor HartmanTaylor’s WebsiteTake the ColorCode AssessmentDiscount code for the assessment: AOM30The People CodeThe Character CodeTaylor on LinkedIn
8/2/202348 minutes, 54 seconds
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Why We Fight

We often suppose that wars are fought over things like resources, border disputes, and ideologies. My guest calls this "the spreadsheet approach to war" and argues that, in reality, such factors only come in as justifications for the much deeper drives at play.Mike Martin is a Senior Visiting Fellow in the Department of War Studies, King's College London and the author of Why We Fight. Today on the show, he draws on his background in biology and experience serving in the British army to offer an explanation as to why individuals and nation-states go to war. Mike argues that there are two fundamental impulses behind the drive to war: the drive for status and the drive for belonging. We discuss these motivations and how leaders and ideologies corral and amplify them. We end our conversation with how this view of war could prevent conflicts and allow them to be fought more successfully, and also be a lens for how to help men flourish in a healthy way.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM series on statusAoM series on honorAoM Podcast #756: How the Desire for Status Explains (Pretty Much) EverythingAoM Podcast #908: Would You Have Been a Patriot or a Loyalist?AoM Podcast #419: American Honor — Creating the Nation’s Ideals During the RevolutionMike's latest book: How to Fight a WarConnect With Mike MartinMike on Twitter 
7/31/202346 minutes, 11 seconds
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Finally Learn to Say No

When someone asks us to do something we don’t want to do, we often say yes even though we want to say no, because we think that saying no will feel terrible. But my guest, Dr. Vanessa Patrick, says the opposite is true: we actually feel great when we say no.So why do we have such a hard time doing so?Today on the show, Vanessa, who’s the author of The Power of Saying No: The New Science of How to Say No that Puts You in Charge of Your Life, answers that question and more. She shares how to categorize the asks you get into quadrants to determine whether you should say yes or no to them. And she explains how to give an “empowered refusal” — a no that’s phrased in a way that makes it less likely to create offense or pushback — so you can start saying no to the things that don’t matter, and spend more of your time on the things that do.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: How to Firmly Say No Without Coming Off Like a JerkAoM Article: A Better Way to Say NoSunday Firesides: Give the Gift of NoAoM Article: Quit Being a Pushover: How to Be AssertiveAoM Article: There Is No Indispensable ManConnect With Dr. Vanessa PatrickVanessa’s websiteVanessa on LinkedInVanessa on TwitterVanessa on IGVanessa’s faculty page 
7/26/202344 minutes, 8 seconds
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Set Your Future Self Up for Success

As you move through time, you exist as a present self who makes decisions, an in-between self who should carry out those decisions, and a future self who will benefit from those decisions. Yet as we all know, in-between self often fails to follow through on what present self resolves, leaving future self pretty bummed out.The solution to this dilemma, my guest says, is for your present self to become much better friends with your future self.His name is Hal Hershfield, and he's a professor of marketing, behavioral decision making, and psychology, and the author of Your Future Self: How to Make Tomorrow Better Today. Hal and I spend the first part of our conversation taking a really interesting philosophical dive into what the self even is. We talk about why our future self can feel like a stranger, why it's hard to know what he'll be like, and what this dilemma has to do with becoming a vampire. We then discuss how building a stronger connection with your future self makes your present self more willing to help him, and how you can become closer to your future self by engaging in mental time traveling. Hal shares a couple techniques that can facilitate this mental time travel, three mistakes people make in taking this cognitive trip, and how to start making tomorrow better today.Resources Related to the Podcast"The Self Is Moral" by Nina StrohmingerTransformative Experience by L. A. PaulYuta Chishima and Anne Wilson on writing a letter to and from your future selfThe End-of-History IllusionstickK.comAoM Podcast #731: A Futurist’s Guide to Building the Life You WantConnect With Hal HershfieldHal's Website
7/24/202349 minutes, 55 seconds
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The Fourth Turning — How History's Crisis Period Could Unfold

While studying history back in the 1990s, Neil Howe and the late William Strauss noticed something: there seemed to be a pattern to history that repeated itself again and again. Howe and Strauss developed a theory that history moves in 80-100-year cycles divided into four 20-25-year "turnings": the High, Awakening, Unraveling, and Crisis.Neil Howe argues that we are currently living through a Fourth Turning, and today on the show, we unpack what that means. Neil is a historian, demographer, and economist, and his latest book is The Fourth Turning Is Here. The crisis of the Fourth Turning isn't a historical event — it's a generation-long era that sometimes seems to be getting better, sometimes seems to be getting worse, and moves through several phases before reaching a climax and resolution. Neil explains what these phases look like, which ones we've already been through and which are still to come, and when he thinks our Fourth Turning will end and the cycle of history will start over. In the second part of our conversation, Neil talks about what cultural changes he thinks we'll experience as the Fourth Turning progresses, including how he thinks gender roles will shift. We also discuss what happens if the crisis ends in disaster, and the most important thing to do to successfully navigate a Fourth Turning.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM article: The Generations of Men — How the Cycles of History Shape Your Values and Your FutureNeil's last appearance on the show: Episode #256Connect With Neil HoweNeil on TwitterNeil on LinkedIn
7/19/202350 minutes, 42 seconds
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Here's What It Could Look Like to Put the Trades Back in School

Lately, I've been talking to my son Gus about considering a career in the trades. A lot of the white collar jobs out there don't seem very fulfilling, and A.I. is going to make more and more of them disappear. But skilled tradesmen are in demand, and that demand is only going to grow. One option I've floated to Gus is to still go to an affordable college, for the mind expansion and social opportunities, but then, instead of going on to get a graduate degree, as so many young people do, he could go to trade school instead.That's one potential route should he be interested, but I sure wish he could be exposed to the trades while he's still in secondary education. All states have forms of what's called "Career and Technical Education," or CTE, but in most places, it's set up in a patchwork fashion; the programs are run by local schools that partner with other institutions that offer instruction in the trades.The state of Connecticut does things differently. They have a one-of-a-kind CTE system, which, as one journalist recently put it, could serve as a national model for how to put the trades back in school. The Connecticut Technical Education and Career System, or CTECS, includes 17 high schools that are all headed by a single agency. Each school offers an education in both academics and the trades on the same campus. The students who choose to attend these special high schools spend half of their time on the former and half of their time on the latter, so by the time they graduate, they've earned both a high school diploma and certification in a trade. And the size and organization of CTECS allows it to partner with hundreds of employers in the area who furnish students with paid work on actual projects, so they can get plenty of hands-on, real world experience.Today on the show, I talk to Brent McCartney, who oversees the architecture and construction trades at CTECS, about how the program works and how it benefits both the students and the community.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM series on working in the tradesAoM Podcast #642: Finding Money and Meaning in the Blue Collar TradesAoM Podcast #308: The Case for Blue Collar Work With Mike RoweRecent New Yorker article that featured CTECS: "The Great Electrician Shortage"Connect With Brent McCartney/Learn More About CTECSConnecticut Technical Education and Career SystemBrent on LinkedIn
7/17/202341 minutes, 36 seconds
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The Science of Getting Psyched Up

If you’re an athlete, you know that it can be helpful to get psyched up before a big game. But getting in the right mindset is important in any kind of high-stakes scenario, whether you want to perform your best in a big meeting, presentation, interview, audition, or conversation.My guest has some tips he gleaned from interviewing athletes, soldiers, entertainers, and executives on how to find that mindset. His name is Daniel McGinn, and he’s the author of Psyched Up: How the Science of Mental Preparation Can Help You Succeed. The first step to getting into an optimal mindset is managing negative emotions, so we begin our conversation with what works in mitigating stress and anxiety. From there we talk about how to get others psyched up with an effective pep talk and why the leaders who came out of WWII used the classic rah-rah style more than leaders do today. We then discuss the role of music in getting yourself psyched up and what Daniel learned from the DJ for the Red Sox about crafting the perfect pump-up playlist. Daniel shares how visualization and having a personal highlight reel can put you in a positive headspace, and whether or not anger, competition, and trash talk improve performance.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Podcast #569: How to Perform Your Best Under PressureAoM Podcast #757: How to Achieve Cognitive Dominance With Mark McLaughlinAoM Article: Competition — The Fuel for GreatnessConnect With Daniel McGinnDaniel on LinkedInDaniel on Twitter
7/12/202342 minutes, 25 seconds
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Thick Desires, Political Atheism, and Living an Anti-Mimetic Life

The last time we had entrepreneur, professor, and author Luke Burgis on the show, he discussed the concept of mimetic desire, which says that we want the things we want because other people want them. Since that time, Luke has continued to explore the idea of mimesis, and how to resist its negative consequences, in his Substack: Anti-Mimetic. Today on the show, Luke and I dig into these ideas and discuss ways we can step outside the tempo, cadences, and priorities that the world would foist upon us and establish our own rhythms for our lives. Luke unpacks what it means to have “thick desires” and become a “political atheist” and how these concepts can help you live a more anti-mimetic life.Resources Related to the PodcastWanting: The Power of Mimetic Desire in Everyday Life by Luke BurgisLuke’s previous appearance on the AoM podcast: Episode #714 — Why Do We Want What We Want?Leisure: The Basis of Culture by Josef Pieper Deceit, Desire, and the Novel by René GirardThe Red and the Black by StendhalAoM Article: What Do You Want to Want?AoM Article: Freedom From…Freedom ToAoM Podcast #215: Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction With Matthew CrawfordAoM Podcast #796: The Life We’re Looking ForAoM Podcast #847: Overdoing DemocracySunday Firesides: Not Everything Is PoliticalConnect With Luke BurgisLuke’s WebsiteLuke’s Substack: Anti-Mimetic
7/10/202343 minutes, 59 seconds
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Master Microtransitions to Improve the Happiness, Success, and Flow of Your Life

Throughout each day, all of us make little shifts in our roles and responsibilities; we take off one hat and put on another. Sometimes these shifts are physical, as when we commute from home to the office. Other times, the shifts are mental, as when we finish working on an administrative task and start working on a creative one.My guest calls these little shifts “microtransitions” and says that mastering them is a significant key in living a happy, fulfilled, and successful life. His name is Dr. Adam Fraser and he’s a peak performance researcher and the author of The Third Space. As Adam explains, in each microtransition, there are three spaces: the first space which is the task, role, or place you’re leaving behind, the second space, which is the task, role, or place you’re transitioning to, and the third space which is the in-between transition itself. To make an ideal microtransition, you break that third space into three phases, and Adam walks us through how to execute each one so you can show up as your best self in the second space. We talk about how to make microtransitions between different work roles, and spend a lot of our conversation on how to improve the microtransiton between work and home — even if you work from home — so you can arrive ready to engage with your partner or family.Resources Related to the PodcastSunday Firesides: Your Routine Needs Rites of PassageAoM article on how to use a “Homeric bath” as a transitional “homecoming” ritualAoM article on how Alexander Graham Bell used “locational prompts” to be more productiveAoM article on doing different kinds of work in different placesSunday Firesides: Give Them the CreamConnect With Adam FraserAdam’s Website
7/5/202354 minutes, 22 seconds
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Would You Have Been a Patriot or a Loyalist?

When Americans think back to the War of Independence, most are apt to feel that, had they lived back then, they would have been Patriots for sure. In retrospect, the decision to rebel and get out from under the thumb of British rule seems inevitable. Yet only around a third of colonists ever declared themselves as revolutionaries, and even among the country's Founding Fathers, it wasn't always obvious if they would stay loyal to Great Britain or become rebels, right up until the signing of the Declaration of Independence.As H.W. Brands, historian, professor, and author of Our First Civil War explains, the decision to align with the side of the Loyalists or the Patriots was complex, and not only had to do with the kind of policy issues we often think about in regards to the war, but also personal factors related to respect and ambition. He talks about how George Washington and Benjamin Franklin were actually very unlikely Patriots and what ultimately got them to embrace the revolutionary cause, and why Franklin's son chose differently and remained a Loyalist. We also discuss why John Adams threw in his lot with the Patriots, and why Benedict Arnold flipped sides.Connect With H.W. BrandsH.W.'s Substack: A User's Guide to HistoryH.W. on TwitterH.W.'s faculty page
7/3/202346 minutes, 52 seconds
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How to Read a Tree

When you’re walking in the woods, you’re often surrounded by trees. But you probably don’t notice them much, and when you do spot some irregularity, like a strange bulge in the trunk of a tree, you likely don’t have any idea how it got there. But my guest says that these trees you’re passing by have all kinds of stories to share, and once you learn their language, they can tell you all sorts of secrets about the world, and even help you navigate it.Tristan Gooley is an adventurer, expedition leader, natural navigator, and author of How to Read a Tree. Today on the show, he unpacks the clues in a tree’s shape, branches, bark, roots, and leaves, what they can tell you about the environment, and how they can help you find your way. We also talk about what looking at a tree stump can reveal, the hidden seasons in trees, and the first place to look in a tree to spy fall foliage. We end our conversation with how to get started with reading trees today.Resources Related to the PodcastTristan’s previous appearances on the AoM podcast:Episode #343: How to Read Nature — Awakening Your Senses to the OutdoorsEpisode #563: How to Develop Your Nature InstinctConnect With Tristan GooleyTristan’s Website: The Natural Navigator
6/28/202340 minutes, 24 seconds
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Stop Being a Complainer

My flight was awful. The restaurant's service was terrible. The traffic was horrible. My boss is the worst. Our culture is the stupidest.Whenever we get together with other people, we hear lots of complaints, and plenty come out of our own mouths.All this complaining may be ubiquitous, but it's not entirely innocuous. Complaining puts us in a negative mood, hurts our health, and damages our relationships.If you've ever wanted to complain less, my guest today has some advice on how to break the complaining habit and embrace a more positive and proactive life. His name is Will Bowen, and he's the founder of the Complaint Free movement and the author of A Complaint Free World. Today on the show, Will first defines what constitutes a complaint. He then shares the five main reasons people offer complaints, so you can learn to recognize what triggers yours. Will also explains how to deal with being on the receiving end of each type of complaint, so you don't have to listen to the complaining of others.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: Never Complain; Never ExplainAoM Article: Why Negativity Is a Social KillerDr. Robin Kowalski's researchA New Earth: Awakening Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart TolleConnect With Anthony ArvanitakisA Complaint Free World WebsiteWill's Website
6/26/202341 minutes, 28 seconds
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Become a Morning Workout Person

Working out at any time of day is great. But my guest says there are distinct benefits to doing it in the a.m., and he's going to walk you through everything you need to know, from mindset to habits, to become a morning workout person.Anthony Arvanitakis is a bodyweight training coach and the author of The 7 A.M. Workout Edge: Wake Up, Work Out, Own the Day. Today on the show, he offers concrete tips for overcoming the challenges of working out in the morning, from getting out of bed to finding the time to do it before work, including his "Brain Start-Up Routine" for shaking off the just-woken-up inertia to get going. In the latter part of the show, Anthony details how to do a highly effective at-home bodyweight workout that can easily fit into your morning routine and requires minimal equipment and only 30 minutes. We also talk about how to combine bodyweight training with cardio to do something he calls "cardiosthenics" that's great for fat loss.Resources Related to the PodcastAnthony's previous appearances on the AoM podcast:Episode #177: Homemade Muscle & Bodyweight TrainingEpisode #319: Why Every Man Should Have a Workout RitualAoM Podcast #652: Mise-en-Place — How Chefs Organize Their WorkAoM Podcast #888: The Science of a Better Daily RoutineAoM Article (By Anthony): How to Break Through a Push-Up Plateau (Using the Mind-to-Muscle Connection)AoM Article: The Groundhog Day Diet — Why I Eat the Same Thing Every DayAoM series on how to use gymnastic ringsAoM article and podcast about Zone 2 cardioPull-up bar/dip stationAnthony's video about his warm-up routineAnthony's video of an example of a full-week bodyweight routineAnthony's video on a "cardiosthenics" beginner's routineConnect With Anthony ArvanitakisThe 7 A.M. Workout Edge WebsiteBodyweight Muscle YouTube ChannelBodyweight Muscle Website
6/21/202352 minutes, 40 seconds
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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
6/19/202352 minutes, 18 seconds
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How Emerson Can Help You Become a Stoic Nonconformist

When we think about Stoic philosophers, we typically think about the thinkers of ancient Greece and Rome, like Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius. But my guest, Mark Matousek, says there was an incredibly insightful Stoic philosopher who lived on the American continent in more modern times: Ralph Waldo Emerson.Matousek is the author of Lessons from an American Stoic: How Emerson Can Change Your Life, and today on the show, he shares how Stoicism and Transcendentalism overlap and how you can use Emerson's Stoic philosophy to become a nonconformist. We discuss the lessons you can learn from Emerson on developing self-reliance, embracing the strengths of your weaknesses, trusting your own genius instead of imitating others, gaining confidence from nature, compensating for the difficulties of relationships through the joy of deeper connections, living with greater courage, and more.Resources Related to the PodcastEmerson's essay "Self-Reliance""I Sing the Body Electric" by Walt WhitmanAoM Article: A Man's Guide to Self-RelianceAoM Article: Emerson’s Advice on How to Read for Greater Self-RelianceAoM Article: 31 Journaling Prompts for Building Greater Self-RelianceAoM Podcast #384: What It Really Means to Be Self-ReliantAoM Podcast #894: Thoreau on Making a LivingAoM Podcast #861: 7 Journaling Techniques That Can Change Your LifeSunday Firesides: Despise Not the Thing That Would Save YouSunday Firesides: Look Into the TombConnect With Mark MatousekMark's websiteThe Seekers Forum
6/14/202346 minutes, 28 seconds
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The Rise and Fall of the Golden Age of Action Heroes

In 1980s America, gritty streets were filled with crime, the threat of Cold War hovered in the air, and action movies starring tough guy heroes dominated the box office. This was a time in cinema when muscle, martial arts, and the perfect weapon were the keys to saving the day; when the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone ruled the silver screen and their on-screen carnage was only rivaled by their off-screen competition.Why did this golden age of action movies emerge when it did, and why don't they make films like that anymore? Here to chart the rise and fall of the golden age of action movies is Nick de Semlyen, author of The Last Action Heroes, The Triumphs, Flops, and Feuds of Hollywood's Kings of Carnage. Today on the show, Nick shares the stories behind the larger-than-life stars of the action genre — including Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Chuck Norris, and Steven Seagal — and the iconic films they starred in. He also discusses why the action genre fell out of favor in the early 90s, why its movies nonetheless continue to endure in popularity, and the three action films he most recommends watching.Connect With Nick de SemlyenNick's websiteNick on IGNick on Twitter
6/12/202348 minutes, 20 seconds
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How to Survive Any Worst Case Scenario

When people think about survival and preparedness, they tend to think of dealing with an end-of-the-world kind of scenario. But lots of bad things can happen, and are more likely to happen, that fall short of the apocalypse. My guest can help you prepare for any worst case scenario, whether it’s the worst thing to happen to mankind or just the worst thing to happen to you this year. His name is Mike Glover, and he’s a former Green Beret, the founder of Fieldcraft Survival, and the author of Prepared.Today on the show, Mike and I first talk about the softer skills of preparedness. We discuss how to create plans using military concepts like war gaming and the PACE methodology, build your tolerance to stress, and develop your situational awareness so you don’t freeze in a crisis or let one catch you by surprise. In the second half of our conversation, we discuss the harder skills of preparing for worst case scenarios. Mike outlines what capabilities every man should develop. He shares his own EDC and what he recommends you carry and wear on a day-to-day basis. We talk about how to stock your home and car for emergencies and more.Related Resources From AoM’s Extensive Survival and Preparedness ArchivesPodcast #820: Escape the Safety TrapHow to Make a Bug Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Emergency Evacuation Survival KitHow to Bug-In: What You Need to Know to Survive a Grid-Down DisasterWhat Every Man Should Keep in His CarA Beginner’s Guide to EDCHow to Use a Tourniquet to Control Major BleedingA Complete Guide to Home Fire Prevention and SafetyHow to Develop Situational AwarenessThe Complete Guide to Making a DIY First Aid KitPodcast #610: Who Lives in Survival Situations, Who Dies, and WhyA Complete Guide to Home SecurityConnect With Mike GloverMike on IGFieldcraft Survival WebsiteFieldcraft Survival YouTube ChannelFieldcraft Survival PodcastListen 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
6/7/202352 minutes, 52 seconds
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Magician's Secrets for Becoming More Commanding, Convincing, And Charismatic

To be successful at their craft, magicians must possess the well-honed technical skills to pull off their mystifying tricks and clever sleights of hand. But as magician Steve Cohen observes, they must also be "masters at attracting interest, holding attention, and leaving audiences with fond memories of their time together" — skills that everyone can use to persuade audiences, charm dates, own a room, and influence others.Steve, also known as the Millionaires' Magician, is the author Win the Crowd: Unlock the Secrets of Influence, Charisma, and Showmanship. Today on the show, Steve shares the insights he and his fellow magicians know on everything from taking command of a room to creating a compelling character to making a magical entrance. Steve shares how to build your boldness through "put pocketing," develop "spontaneous resourcefulness," get people wrapped up in the magic of your message by suggesting rather than stating, increase your confidence by having a place for everything and everything in its place, and much more. At the end of our conversation, he shares two of his most interesting tips and explains how to influence people to do what you want by using "layered commands" and the "trailing or."Resources Related to the PodcastSteve on the Late Show with David LettermanA look at what the Chamber Magic show is like on Good Day New YorkAoM Article: Command a Room Like a ManAoM Podcast #306: What a Magician Can Teach You About Being More SuccessfulAoM Podcast #890: Toastmasters, Aristotle, and the Essential Art of RhetoricAoM Article: A Place for Everything and Everything in Its PlaceWhat's the Deal With Mickey Mouse's Ears?Connect With Steve CohenChamber Magic website
6/5/202353 minutes, 40 seconds
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The Myths and Truths Around Suicide

You might think we’re heading into a low time of year for suicides because they peak during the cold, dark months of winter. But, in fact, suicide peaks during the spring and early summer.This is just one example of the popular beliefs around suicide that turn out to be myths. Here to unpack more of these myths, as well as the truths around this poorly understood subject, is Rory O’Connor, the leader of the Suicidal Behaviour Research Laboratory and the author of When It Is Darkest: Why People Die by Suicide and What We Can Do to Prevent It. Today on the show, Rory discusses possible reasons for why suicides go up in the warmer months and why men die by suicide more often than women. He explains that suicide doesn’t happen without some warning signs and why someone’s improved mood might be one of them. In the second half of the show, Rory walks us through the real reasons people move from having suicidal thoughts to acting on them, and what works to prevent suicide.Resources Related to the PodcastThe Suicide and Crisis LifelineThe Suicidal Behaviour Research LaboratoryAtlantic article: “The Troubling Link Between Springtime Allergies and Suicide”AoM Podcast #585: Inflammation, Saunas, and the New Science of DepressionAoM Podcast #886: What the World of Psychology Gets Wrong About MenAoM Podcast #756: How the Desire for Status Explains (Pretty Much) Everything“Why Men Kill Themselves” by Will StorrConnect With Rory O’ConnorRory’s faculty page
5/31/202348 minutes, 55 seconds
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The Essential Guide to Getting Promoted

Have you been languishing in the same role at work, frustrated that you haven't been promoted to a higher position with more pay and different responsibilities?My guest can help you level up in your career. His name is Randy Ornstein, and he's the author of Grow: The Essential Guide to Getting Promoted. Today on the show, Randy explains why getting promoted is more beneficial to your paycheck than getting a raise and his case for why you should stick with working for the same company for a long time. We then talk about the things you need to do so that management thinks of you the next time a higher position opens up. We discuss how promotable employees participate in meetings, execute their communication, study their work, and develop best practices. We also talk about when to bring up the idea of being promoted to your boss and a couple of the challenges that can come with advancing up the ranks.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: How To Become the Go-to Guy at WorkAoM Article: How to Be Manager to Your Friends and PeersAoM Podcast #273: How to Get a Job Promotion This YearConnect With Randy OrnsteinRandy on LinkedIn
5/29/202342 minutes, 56 seconds
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The Heroic Exploits of WWII’s Pacific Paratroopers

When people think of the paratroopers of World War II, they tend to think of the European theater — the 101st Airborne Division and the Band of Brothers.But paratroopers were also deployed in the Pacific, and here to unpack their lesser-known but equally epic and heroic story is James Fenelon, a former paratrooper himself and the author of Angels Against the Sun: A WWII Saga of Grunts, Grit, and Brotherhood. Today on the show, James tells us about the formation, leadership, and training of the 11th Airborne Division, the role they played in the campaigns of the Pacific — which included being dropped one by one out of a tiny plane described as a “lawnmower with wings” —how they built a reputation as one of the war’s most lethal units, and the division’s surprising connection to the creation of the Twilight Zone. At the end of our conversation, James shares what lessons we all can take away from the exploits and spirit of the 11th Airborne.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Podcast #1: We Who Are Alive and RemainAoM Article: Motivational Posters — Band of Brothers EditionLieutenant General Joseph SwingColonel Orin “Hard Rock” HaugenMedal of Honor citation for Private First Class Manuel Perez Jr.“Combat in Twilight: Rod Serling’s World War II”Connect With James FenelonJames’ Website
5/24/202353 minutes, 25 seconds
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Answers to the FAQ of Modern Etiquette

The charge to be well-mannered, to treat others with civility, kindness, and respect, is perennial. But the rules for how to carry those manners into action, the rules of good etiquette, change over time.Given all the cultural and technological changes modern society has experienced, it's not always easy to know the best practices for a contemporary gentleman. Here to offer some guidance on that front is Thomas Farley, aka, Mr. Manners. Today on the show, Thomas offers some answers to the frequently asked questions around modern etiquette, including when to send a handwritten thank you note, whether "no problem" is an appropriate response to "thank you," if it's okay to ghost someone, how to deal with our ever proliferating and out-of-control tipping culture, whether it's okay to exclude kids from your wedding, if you should still open a door for a woman, and more.Resources Related to the Podcast Extensive Manners and Etiquette ArchivesHow Manners Made the WorldThe Importance of Good MannersHow to Acquire Good MannersThe Art of Thank You Note WritingThe Unclassified Laws of EtiquetteHow to Accept a Compliment With ClassThe Ins and Outs of Opening a Door for a WomanA Primer on Wedding EtiquetteHow to Tame the Timing Anxiety Around TextingPodcast #718: How to Use Digital Body Language to Build Trust and ConnectionPodcast #162: Digital Manners & Etiquette For the Modern ManPodcast #422: Men & Manners — Tipping, Emojis, and Much MoreConnect With Thomas FarleyThomas' website
5/22/202350 minutes
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The Art and Science of Getting Unstuck

Do you feel stuck in life — that you aren’t making progress in a relationship, job, or goal and you don’t know how to fix the problem and move forward? Well, perhaps you can take a little solace in the fact that it’s a universal human experience, even amongst history’s highest achievers. Indeed, when Adam Alter, a social psychologist and professor of marketing, looked at the lives of successful actors, musicians, writers, filmmakers, and entrepreneurs, he found that they all had passed through times in their lives and careers when they felt totally stuck.Today on the show, Adam, who’s the author of Anatomy of a Breakthrough: How to Get Unstuck When It Matters Most, explains why getting stuck is an inevitability in life, as well as mindset shifts and practices to escape from stuckness. We first talk about what contributes to getting stuck, including the goal gradient effect, and how the illusion of the creative cliff can keep you from seeing that you may end up doing your best work later in life. We then talk about dealing with the emotional angst of feeling stuck, and how it can be better to initially accept your stuckness than kick against the pricks. From there, we turn to some tactics for getting unstuck, including doing a friction audit and copying the work of others. In my favorite part of the conversation, we discuss the importance of recognizing when to move from exploring to exploiting, and vice versa. We end our conversation with why the mantra for getting unstuck is “action over all.”Resources Related to the PodcastAdam’s previous appearance on the AoM podcast: Episode #420: What Makes Your Phone So Addictive & How to Take Back Your Lifea-ha’s video for “Take on Me”Giannis on whether he considers this season a failureAoM Article: Meditations on the Wisdom of ActionAoM Article: Want to Become a Better Writer? Copy the Work of OthersAoM Article: Solvitur Ambulando — It Is Solved By WalkingAoM Podcast #418: How to Get UnstuckAoM Podcast#432: How to Achieve Creative SuccessAoM Podcast #512: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized WorldConnect with Adam AlterAdam on LinkedInAdam on TwitterAdam’s website
5/17/202346 minutes, 38 seconds
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The Essential Guide to Visiting and Camping in the National Parks

America’s national parks are one of the country’s greatest treasures, and many people have it on their bucket list to visit one or more of these gems. But figuring out where to go and how to execute a national park experience can sometimes feel a little overwhelming.Here to offer some really helpful advice on both visiting and camping in the national parks is Jeremy Puglisi, co-author, along with his wife Stephanie, of Where Should We Camp Next?: National Parks: The Best Campgrounds and Unique Outdoor Accommodations In and Around National Parks, Seashores, Monuments, and More. Today on the show, Jeremy walks us through how to navigate the complex reservation system some of the parks have in place and what it takes to secure a campsite inside the parks. He then shares his best tips for getting the most out of a national park experience in general, as well as when you’re visiting some of the country’s most iconic destinations, including Yosemite, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon. At the end of our conversation, Jeremy shares the national parks he thinks are underrated, and if you want to avoid the crowds of the national parks, he also shares his picks for the country’s best state parks.Resources Related to the PodcastJeremy’s previous appearance on the AoM podcast: Episode #711: — How to Plan the Ultimate Road Triprecreation.govnps.govKOA campgroundsAoM Article: Beat the Crowds (And the Fees) With Dispersed CampingConnect With Jeremy PuglisiThe RV Atlas websiteThe RV Atlas podcastRV Atlas on InstagramRV Atlas on Twitter
5/15/202351 minutes, 55 seconds
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Thoreau on Making a Living

We don't often think of work when we think of Henry David Thoreau. We think of Thoreau living with his family, or loafing around at a cabin at Walden, and mostly spending his days walking and enjoying nature. We know he did some writing, sure, but often think of him as being largely the abstract thinker type.But Thoreau was a man of much practical skill, who lived a life of both thought and action. He did lots of kinds of work — from carpentry to surveying to helping raise Ralph Waldo Emerson's kids — and thought a lot about the nature of work, both the paid variety and the kind that's necessary for simply sustaining day-to-day life. Today on the show, John Kaag, a professor of philosophy and the co-author of Henry at Work: Thoreau on Making a Living, shares some of Thoreau's insights on work with us. We discuss what Thoreau can teach us about the value of resignation, the importance of continuing to work with your hands to maintain what Thoreau called your "vital heat," what makes for meaningful work, and the trap of working in bad faith. We end our conversation with a call to consider what you're really being paid for in your job and the true cost of the things you buy.Resources Related to the PodcastJohn's previous appearances on the AoM podcast:AoM Podcast #480: Hiking With NietzscheAoM Podcast #576: A Treasure Trove of American PhilosophyWalden by Henry David ThoreauEmerson's eulogy for ThoreauAoM Article: How to REALLY Avoid Living a Life of Quiet DesperationSunday Firesides: The Cost of a ThingShop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work by Matthew B. CrawfordConnect With John KaagJohn's faculty page
5/10/202342 minutes, 32 seconds
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Optimize Your Testosterone

When men think about optimizing their hormones, they tend only to think about raising their testosterone. But while increasing T can be important, an ideal health profile also means having testosterone that's in balance with your other hormones as well.Today on the show, Dr. Kyle Gillett joins me to discuss both of those prongs of all-around hormone optimization. We start with a quick overview of the different hormones that affect male health. We then get into what qualifies as low testosterone and how to accurately test yours. We also discuss what causes low testosterone in individual men, and how its decline in the general male population may be linked to both birth control and the world wars. In the second half of our conversation, we discuss how to both raise testosterone and get rid of excess estrogen, including the use of some effective supplements you may never have heard of. We then get into the risks and benefits of taking TRT, before ending our discussion with what young men can do to prepare for a lifetime of optimal T and hormonal health.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM series on testosterone, including How I Doubled My Testosterone Levels NaturallyAoM Podcast #761: How Testosterone Makes Men, MenAoM Podcast #878: The Fitness Supplements That Actually Work Connect With Dr. Kyle GillettKyle on IGGillett Health Podcast on Spotify and AppleGillett Health on YouTubeGillett Health website
5/8/202346 minutes, 27 seconds
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Leadership Lessons From Military Mentors

When Daniel Zia Joseph decided to join the Army at the unusually late age of 32, he solicited advice from his buddies who had served in the military on how to succeed in the experience and become a good officer and leader. Today, he passes on these leadership lessons to us.Dan is the author of Backpack to Rucksack: Insight Into Leadership and Resilience From Military Experts, and he first shares why he decided to join the Army at an older age and what he would tell other guys who keep thinking about doing the same thing. We talk about how he prepared himself to be a leader and how getting his masters in organizational psychology helped deepen his development. We then discuss the lessons his military mentors imparted to him, including why you should pursue attrition, the importance of command climate, using psychological jiu-jitsu, and the difference between garrison and field leadership.Resources Related to the PodcastDan's video about joining the military after age 30AoM Podcast #875: Authority Is More Important Than Social SkillsAoM Article: Are You a Strategist or an Operator?Once an Eagle by Anton MyrerConnect With Dan JosephDan's website — Combat Psych
5/3/202341 minutes, 49 seconds
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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 Burkeman 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 Books
5/1/202348 minutes, 9 seconds
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Generations — The Surprising Truths and Persistent Myths

Different generations love to cast aspersions on each other. Boomers think Millennials and Gen Zers are fragile narcissists. Those younger generations think that Boomers are selfish, closed-minded pinheads who helped themselves to economic success and then pulled the ladder out for everyone else.But are these and other generational stereotypes true? Here to unpack that question for us is Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology and the author of Generations: The Real Differences between Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers, and Silents—and What They Mean for America’s Future. We begin our conversation with some background on the study of generations and why Jean thinks the Strauss-Howe theory of generational cycles has been disrupted. We then work our way through the generations, from the Silent Generation to the present, and talk about the characteristics and particular challenges of each cohort. We dig into the myths and truths of the generations, such as whether Boomers are doing financially well and Millennials are doing financially poorly. We talk about why Gen X gets overlooked, why there’s such a sharp break between Millennials and Gen Z, why Gen Zers are taking longer to get their drivers’ licenses and feel darkly pessimistic, and much more.Resources Related to the Podcast AoM article on the Strauss-Howe generational cycle theoryAoM Podcast #236: What the Generational Cycle Theory Can Tell Us About Our Present Age (With Neil Howe)AoM Article: A New Generation of Prigs, Prudes, and SquaresAoM Article: How Millennials Could Be the Next Greatest Generation of Personal FinanceAoM Podcast: #751: The Rise of the Religious “Nones” (And What It Means for Society)Atlantic article by Jean: “The Myth of the Broke Millennial” Connect With Jean TwengeJean’s website
4/26/20231 hour, 4 minutes, 34 seconds
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Toastmasters, Aristotle, and the Essential Art of Rhetoric

When John Bowe learned that his extremely reclusive cousin, who had lived for decades in his parents' basement, had moved out and gotten married at the age of fifty-nine, John was extremely surprised. What made him equally surprised was how his cousin had finally launched his life. It hadn't been meds or therapy. Instead, he had joined his local Toastmasters club.Duly intrigued, John set off on his own Toastmasters journey, as he details in his book I Have Something to Say: Mastering the Art of Public Speaking in an Age of Disconnection. Today on the show, John shares how he discovered that the ethos of this nonprofit organization parallels the tradition of rhetoric espoused by the ancient Greeks, especially by Aristotle, and why the ability to speak, whether in the context of giving a formal speech or simply having a conversation, continues to be such an essential skill in the modern age. In my favorite part of the show, we discuss how our ideas of authentic speech can actually get in the way of expressing our authentic selves. We then turn to the techniques for better speaking that John learned from joining Toastmasters and how Toastmasters ultimately transformed his own life.After the show is over, check out the show notes at aom.is/toastmastersResources Related to the PodcastToastmasters InternationalAoM Podcast #698: The Secrets of Public Speaking From History’s Greatest OratorsAoM Article: An Introduction to Public SpeakingAoM Podcast #639: Why You Should Learn the Lost Art of RhetoricAoM series on classical rhetoricRhetoric by AristotleThe Fall of Public Man by Richard SennettAoM series on overcoming shynessAoM Article: How to Minimize Your Uh’s and Um’sSunday Firesides: Want to Solve Your Social Problems? Get Over Your Self"How to Speak in Public" — article in Psyche magazine by JohnConnect With John BoweJohn's website
4/24/202350 minutes, 10 seconds
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The Wisdom of Psychopaths

When most people think of psychopaths, they think of uniformly monstrous characters who lack empathy and conscience.But my guest says that those characteristics are just one part of the spectrum of traits that make up psychopathy, and while always having these traits turned up high is indeed bad, when employed to certain degrees in certain circumstances, they can actually be utilized for adaptive, positive ends.Kevin Dutton is a researcher of experimental psychology at Oxford and the author of The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success. Today on the show, Kevin first defines what makes psychopaths, psychopaths, and how they differ from sociopaths. He describes how psychopathic traits can be particularly useful in some professions and which professions attract the most psychopaths. In the second half of our conversation, Kevin lays out his argument for why he thinks the Apostle Paul was a psychopath and how that’s actually what made him such an effective evangelist. At the end of our conversation, Kevin offers a test that assesses psychopathy; stay tuned to find out if I’m a psychopath and take the test yourself to see if you are.Connect With Kevin DuttonKevin on TwitterKevin on IGKevin’s website
4/19/202357 minutes, 53 seconds
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The Science of a Better Daily Routine

There's plenty of advice out there about how to have a better daily routine. But what's just bunk and what actually works to improve the quality of your day and your overall life?My guest, medical-doctor-turned-science-educator Stuart Farrimond, took a deep dive into the research to find the authoritative answers to that question, and he shares them in his book Live Your Best Life: 219 Science-Based Reasons to Rethink Your Daily Routine. Today on the show, we walk through a daily routine, from morning to night, and Dr. Farrimond shares some best practices to make the most of it. We discuss why waking up to an alarm clock feels so terrible, why you shouldn't drink coffee first thing in the morning, the ideal length for an afternoon nap, how to improve your commute, the best time of day to exercise, and more.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: What Every Man Should Know About SleepAoM Article: The Digestive Power of an After-Dinner Walk"It’s Not Just What You Eat, but the Time of Day You Eat It"AoM Article: How to Stop Your SnoringAoM Article: Unleash the Power of the NapSunday Firesides: Your Routine Needs Rites of PassageConnect With Stuart FarrimondStuart on IGStuart on Twitter
4/17/202341 minutes, 13 seconds
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The Golden Rules of Success

You know Michael Phelps, the most successful and decorated Olympic swimmer of all time who won a record 28 medals, 23 of which were gold.Well today, meet the coach behind Phelps' legendary success. Bob Bowman is an Olympic swimming coach, the head coach of the Arizona State swim team, and the author of The Golden Rules: 10 Steps to World-Class Excellence in Your Life and Work. Today on the show, Bob shares what he calls "the method," a system of principles he's developed over the years to coach his athletes to elite-level success that can also be applied to setting and achieving goals in every area of life. We first talk about how Bob ended up working with Phelps, before turning to some of his golden rules. We discuss developing a "dream big vision" and all-in attitude; the importance of having a daily routine and what his own routine and the routine of his swimmers is like; the need to cultivate a passion outside your main pursuit; and much more.After the show is over, check out the show notes at aom.is/goldenrulesResources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: Craft the Life You Want — Creating a Blueprint for Your FutureAoM Article: Visions Over GoalsAoM Article: Motivation Over DisciplineAoM Article: Get 1% Better Every Day"The Mundanity of Excellence" by Daniel F. ChamblissChampions: The Making of Olympic Swimmers by Daniel F. ChamblissThe Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday and Stephen HanselmanThe Power of Now by Eckhart TolleConnect With Bob BowmanBob on TwitterBob on IG
4/12/202353 minutes, 36 seconds
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What the World of Psychology Gets Wrong About Men

Several years ago, the American Psychological Association issued a set of guidelines for psychologists working with boys and men. Guideline #1 says: "Psychologists strive to recognize that masculinities are constructed based on social, cultural, and contextual norms." Guideline #3 says: "Psychologists understand the impact of power, privilege, and sexism on the development of boys and men and on their relationships with others."My guest says that these guidelines miss the mark, and are just one indicator of the way in which the world of psychology misunderstands, and consequently underserves, men.Dr. John Barry is a psychologist, the co-founder of the Male Psychology Section of the British Psychological Society and the Centre for Male Psychology, as well as the co-author of the Perspectives in Male Psychology textbook. Today on the show, John unpacks the issues with thinking that masculinity is purely a social construct and that men's problems grow out of their power and privilege, and how these issues prevent men from getting the help they need. In the second half of our conversation, we discuss the surprising origin of the idea of toxic masculinity, what really defines masculinity, and what effect internalizing a negative or positive view of masculinity has on men. We end our conversation with what works for men's mental health and well-being if you don't want to go to therapy, and what you should look for in a therapist if you do.After the show is over, check out the show notes at aom.is/malepyschResources Related to the PodcastThe Centre for Male PsychologyIntroduction to Male Psychology and Mental Health courseAoM series on the origins, nature, and imperatives of manhoodManhood in the Making by David GilmoreIron John by Robert BlyAoM Podcast #761: How Testosterone Makes Men, MenRational emotive behavior therapyMen's sheds associations in Australia and the USConnect With John BarryJohn's websiteJohn on Twitter
4/10/202354 minutes, 29 seconds
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The Essential Habits for Becoming an Agile, Vital, and Durable Human Being

Kelly Starrett, a doctor of physical therapy, has trained professional athletes, Olympians, and military special operators, helping them unlock peak performance. But as he approached his fifties, he started to see cracks appearing in the health of the folks around him. What had worked for his peers in their 20s and 30s, wasn't working anymore; they were gaining weight, having surgeries, and just didn't feel good.So he and his wife and fellow trainer, Juliet, decided to write a book — Built to Move: The Ten Essential Habits to Help You Move Freely and Live Fully — that took all that they've learned from training elite performers and distilled it into the foundational practices that everyone, at every age, can use to develop lasting mobility, durability, and all-around health. Today on the show, Kelly unpacks some of those essential physical habits, sharing the "vital signs" — tests that will help you assess how you're doing in that area — as well as daily practices that will help you strengthen and improve that capacity.Resources Related to the PodcastKelly's previous appearance on the AoM podcast — Episode #213: Undoing the Damage of Chronic SittingAoM article on the Sitting-Rising TestAoM Article: 7 Simple Exercises That Undo the Damage of Sitting (including the Couch Stretch)AoM article on foam rollingAoM Article: The Benefits of Hanging for Strength and MobilityAoM Article: 12 Balance Exercises You Can Do on a 2×4AoM Podcast #638: How Changing Your Breathing Can Change Your LifeAoM Podcast #678: Physical Benchmarks Every Man Should Meet, At Every AgeMuscles and Meridians: The Manipulation of Shape by Phillip BeachVideo of Kelly demonstrating the Couch StretchVideo of Kelly demonstrating the squat testVideo of 90/90 sit/stretchGet yourself a pull-up barThe SlackBlockKelly's article on fixing shoulder pain, including a video on the Shoulder Spin-UpConnect with Kelly StarrettThe Ready State websiteThe Ready State on IGKelly on Twitter
4/5/202349 minutes, 9 seconds
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How to Deal With the Worry of Waiting

If you've ever waited, and perhaps are now currently waiting, to hear whether or not you've tested positive for a disease, passed medical boards, or got the job you interviewed for, you know that this period of uncertainty can be filled with tension and anxiety.My guest today — Kate Sweeny, a professor of psychology — has studied the dynamics of this human experience and how we can best deal with it. We first discuss why the stress of waiting for uncertain news feels particularly uncomfortable and what types of people are more likely to worry while waiting. Kate then shares tactics that can help alleviate some of the worry of waiting, including leaning into being a pessimist as you approach the moment of truth and finding flow, even by doing something like playing Tetris. She also explains at what point the social support for people who are waiting for news tends to wane, so you can better support those around you who are currently stuck in this state of mind-burdening limbo.Resources Related to the Podcast5 Tools for Thriving in UncertaintyThe Best Books to Read in Uncertain TimesAoM Podcast #287: The New Frontier of FlowThe One Question NOT to Ask for Healthy Introspection (And What to Ask Instead)The Right and Wrong Way to JournalConnect with Kate SweenyKate's website 
4/3/202340 minutes, 17 seconds
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The Naturalist’s Art of Animal Encounters

Whether you see some deer, have a fox cross your path, or spot a moose, there’s something disportionately delightful about encountering wildlife. Even seeing something pedestrian like a possum feels really fun.If you’d like to have more of these kinds of encounters, and a deeper experience with nature as a result, my guest has some tips for making them happen more often. His name is Dave Hall, and he’s an outdoor educator and guide, as well as the author of The Naturalist’s Companion: A Field Guide to Observing and Understanding Wildlife. Today on the show, Dave and I first talk about the safety and ethical considerations around observing wild animals. We then discuss the best places to spot wildlife (and how it could be in your own backyard), whether there’s a best time of day to encounter animals, and the approach to take so that the animals don’t know you’re there, or if they do, feel comfortable with your presence. Dave shares the gaze to adopt to spy more animals and the signs that will help you find them. We end our conversation with how to practice what Dave calls “spontaneous acceptance,” which may allow you to chill with a beaver.Resources Related to the PodcastField guides and nature-related books that Dave recommends:Tom Brown’s Field Guide to Nature Observation and Tracking by Tom Brown Jr.Peterson Field GuidesTimber Press Field GuidesTracking and the Art of Seeing: How to Read Animal Tracks and Sign by Paul RezendesWhat the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World by Jon YoungTouching the Wild by Joe HuttoBeaversprite: My Years Building an Animal Sanctuary by Dorothy RichardsDave’s previous appearance on the AoM podcast: Episode #157 — Primitive Pursuits & Winter SurvivalAoM Article: A Primer on Identifying Animal FootprintsAoM Podcast #739: Rewild Your LifeAoM Podcast #194: The Field Notes of Theodore RooseveltConnect With Dave HallDave’s website
3/29/202346 minutes, 10 seconds
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The Power of Keeping Your Mouth Shut in a World That Won’t Stop Talking

We live in a chatter-filled world. People will talk your ear off when you see them in person and everyone is constantly sharing their thoughts online. But my guest would say that all this chatter may be hurting us more than we know, and it would be better to close our pieholes and sit on our typing fingers a lot more often than we do.His name is Dan Lyons, and he's the author of STFU: The Power of Keeping Your Mouth Shut in an Endlessly Noisy World. Today on the show, Dan unpacks how being quiet and speaking with greater intention can improve your life. We discuss why some people tend to overtalk more than others and the six types of overtalkers out there, from the blurter to the most extreme case, the talkaholic, for whom overtalking is practically an addiction. We then discuss not getting sucked into spouting off online, avoiding conversational narcissism, the argument for spending less time working on your personal brand and more time doing quality work, how silence is power, how the best way to deal with issues in a marriage may be by not talking about them, and more. Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: The Virtuous Life — SilenceAoM Article: The Spiritual Disciplines — SilenceAoM Article: The Quiet Man’s PowerAoM Podcast #389: What It Means to Be a Quiet ProfessionalAoM Article: How to Avoid Conversational NarcissismAoM Article: Why the Secret of a Happy, Successful Marriage Is Treating It Like a Bank AccountAoM series on becoming a better listenerJonathan Haidt on how social media is causing a mental illness epidemic in teenage girls "Millions of Followers? For Book Sales, 'It's Unreliable'"International Listening Association Connect with Dan LyonsDan's website
3/27/202353 minutes, 22 seconds
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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
3/22/202352 minutes, 53 seconds
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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
3/20/202347 minutes, 13 seconds
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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 
3/15/202345 minutes, 9 seconds
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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
3/13/202337 minutes, 57 seconds
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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
3/8/202343 minutes, 44 seconds
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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
3/6/202342 minutes, 47 seconds
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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
3/1/202353 minutes, 33 seconds
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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 aom.is/authorityResources 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 
2/27/202345 minutes, 57 seconds
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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
2/22/20231 hour, 3 minutes, 35 seconds
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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
2/20/202341 minutes, 2 seconds
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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
2/15/202355 minutes, 2 seconds
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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!)
2/13/202355 minutes, 58 seconds
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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
2/8/202350 minutes, 17 seconds
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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 
2/6/202351 minutes, 43 seconds
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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
2/1/202350 minutes, 2 seconds
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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
1/30/202356 minutes, 32 seconds
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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 
1/25/202347 minutes, 50 seconds
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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. 
1/23/202343 minutes, 39 seconds
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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
1/19/202352 minutes, 14 seconds
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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 
1/16/202353 minutes, 11 seconds
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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
1/11/202347 minutes, 11 seconds
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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
1/9/202354 minutes, 37 seconds
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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
1/4/202350 minutes, 10 seconds
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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 
1/2/20231 hour, 12 minutes, 43 seconds
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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
12/28/202247 minutes, 26 seconds
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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 
12/26/20221 hour, 4 minutes, 15 seconds
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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
12/21/202255 minutes, 5 seconds
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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
12/19/202251 minutes, 3 seconds
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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?
12/14/202240 minutes, 18 seconds
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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 
12/12/202245 minutes, 9 seconds
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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 
12/7/202252 minutes, 58 seconds
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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
12/5/202255 minutes, 5 seconds
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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 
11/30/202238 minutes, 6 seconds
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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. 
11/28/202255 minutes, 1 second
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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
11/23/202259 minutes, 25 seconds
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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
11/21/202253 minutes, 47 seconds
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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
11/16/202239 minutes, 49 seconds
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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
11/14/202254 minutes, 5 seconds
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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
11/9/202242 minutes, 52 seconds
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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.
11/7/202254 minutes, 30 seconds
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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
11/2/202250 minutes, 41 seconds
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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
10/31/202250 minutes, 13 seconds
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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
10/26/202255 minutes, 7 seconds
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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
10/24/202236 minutes, 12 seconds
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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.
10/19/202254 minutes, 46 seconds
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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 
10/17/202243 minutes, 15 seconds
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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 
10/12/202253 minutes, 6 seconds
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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
10/10/202251 minutes, 54 seconds
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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
10/5/202245 minutes, 37 seconds
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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
10/3/202242 minutes, 20 seconds
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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 
9/28/202244 minutes, 28 seconds
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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
9/26/20221 hour, 6 minutes, 47 seconds
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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
9/21/202246 minutes, 16 seconds
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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!) 
9/19/202244 minutes, 34 seconds
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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
9/14/202252 minutes, 30 seconds
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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
9/12/202244 minutes, 7 seconds
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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
9/7/202258 minutes, 28 seconds
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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
9/5/202246 minutes, 50 seconds
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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
8/31/202241 minutes, 47 seconds
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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
8/29/202245 minutes, 7 seconds
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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
8/24/202231 minutes, 40 seconds
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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!)
8/22/202243 minutes, 20 seconds
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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
8/17/202245 minutes, 31 seconds
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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
8/15/202256 minutes, 58 seconds
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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!)
8/10/202254 minutes, 57 seconds
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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 aom.is/lonesomedoveResources 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!)
8/8/20221 hour, 6 minutes, 22 seconds
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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
8/3/202238 minutes, 56 seconds
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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
8/1/202247 minutes, 11 seconds
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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 DanDanJohnUniversity.com (use code “artofman” for a discount) Dan on FacebookDan’s website 
7/27/202233 minutes, 30 seconds
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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
7/25/202243 minutes, 21 seconds
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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
7/20/202245 minutes, 28 seconds
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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
7/18/202243 minutes, 2 seconds
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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
7/13/202246 minutes, 31 seconds
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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
7/11/202247 minutes, 29 seconds
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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. 
7/6/202252 minutes, 56 seconds
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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
7/4/202244 minutes, 47 seconds
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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
6/29/202244 minutes, 21 seconds
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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.
6/27/202256 minutes, 54 seconds
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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!) 
6/22/202251 minutes, 1 second
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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
6/20/202248 minutes, 43 seconds
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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
6/16/202257 minutes, 14 seconds
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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
6/13/20221 hour, 10 minutes, 50 seconds
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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
6/8/202246 minutes, 25 seconds
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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
6/6/202246 minutes, 5 seconds
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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
6/1/202246 minutes, 53 seconds
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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.
5/30/202253 minutes, 40 seconds
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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.
5/25/202245 minutes, 33 seconds
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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.
5/23/202244 minutes, 14 seconds
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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
5/18/202250 minutes, 26 seconds
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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
5/16/202255 minutes, 44 seconds
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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
5/11/202241 minutes, 16 seconds
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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
5/9/202244 minutes, 51 seconds
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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  
5/4/202245 minutes, 51 seconds
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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
5/2/202242 minutes, 41 seconds
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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
4/27/202240 minutes, 49 seconds
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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
4/25/202243 minutes, 47 seconds
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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
4/20/202256 minutes
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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)
4/18/202232 minutes, 20 seconds
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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
4/13/202240 minutes, 4 seconds
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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
4/11/202249 minutes, 24 seconds
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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
4/6/202252 minutes, 54 seconds
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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
4/4/202253 minutes, 21 seconds
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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
3/30/202259 minutes, 58 seconds
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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
3/28/202242 minutes, 17 seconds
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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
3/23/202239 minutes, 39 seconds
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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
3/21/202247 minutes, 55 seconds
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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
3/17/202250 minutes, 10 seconds
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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
3/14/202238 minutes, 54 seconds
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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 
3/9/202239 minutes, 16 seconds
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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.
3/7/20221 hour, 2 minutes, 49 seconds
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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
3/2/202251 minutes, 33 seconds
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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
2/28/202237 minutes, 44 seconds
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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 
2/23/20221 hour, 3 minutes, 7 seconds
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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!)
2/21/202259 minutes, 15 seconds
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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
2/16/202258 minutes, 17 seconds
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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
2/14/202251 minutes, 6 seconds
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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
2/9/202248 minutes, 6 seconds
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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
2/7/202252 minutes, 2 seconds
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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
2/2/202248 minutes, 50 seconds
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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
1/31/202248 minutes, 51 seconds
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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 
1/26/202236 minutes, 50 seconds
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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
1/24/202245 minutes, 8 seconds
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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
1/19/202258 minutes, 49 seconds
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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
1/17/20221 hour, 1 minute, 56 seconds
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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
1/12/202250 minutes, 3 seconds
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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 
1/10/202259 minutes, 22 seconds