If you struggle with feeling distracted, you likely think that modern technology is to blame, and that if your phone wasn't so infuriatingly desirable to check, you'd be a lot more focused and productive.But my guest today argues that the problem of distraction doesn't lie with technology, but with you. His name is Nir Eyal, and he's a behavioral design expert and the author of Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life. Today on the show we first disc...more
If you struggle to lose weight, you may blame an inherently slow metabolism. But is your metabolism really to blame, and can you increase it in order to burn more fat?Today we tackle these questions and more with Dr. John Berardi, who earned a PhD in exercise physiology and nutrient biochemistry, and is a writer, athlete, coach, and professor, as well as the co-founder of Precision Nutrition and the founder of the Change Maker Academy. John and I begin our disc...more
Lou Ferrante was a mobster who worked for the Gambino crime family and made a trade out of hijacking trucks loaded with expensive goods. Eventually, the law caught up with him and he ended up in prison. There, he discovered a love for reading and writing which set off a personal transformation that led to him leaving the mafia. After his stint in jail, Lou went on to become an author and the host of a Discovery Channel documentary series called Inside the Gangsters' Code. Today on...more
While the divorce rate has fallen over the last several decades, plenty of couples still don't pass the test of time. Fortunately, the odds as to whether or not you divorce are not a matter of pure chance, but something you can improve with intentionality. My guest has some research-backed advice on how. His name is Scott Stanley, he's a professor of psychology at the University of Denver and the co-author of the book Fighting for Your Marriage. We last had Scott on the ...more
Why do some NFL teams dominate year after year? Some would chalk it up to talent, but my guest today says it all comes down to the culture the head coach intentionally develops for the entire organization. His name is Michael Lombardi and he's the author of Gridiron Genius: A Master Class in Building Teams and Winning at the Highest Level. For over three decades, Lombardi has worked as a general manager or coach for various NFL teams and alongside some of the greatest coaches of t...more
Whether sitting next to someone on the subway, mingling at a wedding, or chatting around the water cooler, chances to make conversation and new friends abound in our lives. But how do you meet and talk to people without being awkward about it?My guest today has spent over three decades teaching people from all walks of life how to make small talk and socialize. His name is Don Gabor, and he's the author of several books, including the one we're talking about today, How to Start a Conve...more
The standard route to success in modern life goes as follows: work hard in high school, score high on your SAT, get into a good college, do well in your classes, get a good job. For some people, that path works, but for a lot of people, it leaves them disengaged and frustrated because it doesn't actually lead to a life of fulfillment. My guest today has spent his academic career studying individuals who have bucked the standard formula for achievement and found success on their own ter...more
Have you ever walked into a room to get something, only to forget why you walked into that room in the first place? Do you constantly forget where you parked your car in a parking garage? Or have trouble remembering people's names?After today's episode, you'll be well on your way to never forgetting these things again because my guest is champion memory athlete Nelson Dellis and he's got plenty of advice on how to improve your own memory, even if you think yours stinks. Nelson is ...more
When you think about people getting scammed, you probably think of the elderly getting conned out of money over the phone.But my guest today says that Millennials are actually more likely to get scammed than senior citizens, and in fact, anybody of any age can get conned. He should know: he's a former con man himself. His name is Frank Abagnale and his early life in which he forged checks and assumed various identities, including that of an airline pilot and doctor, was made famou...more
When we seek an example of great leadership, one man who often comes to mind is Winston Churchill -- the iconic, visionary prime minister, who guided his country through war and stood firmly for his beliefs and impervious to his critics. But how did Winston become the legendary British Bulldog?My guest today seeks to answer that question in his biography, Churchill: Walking with Destiny. His name is Andrew Roberts, he's a journalist and historian, and we begin our conversation discussi...more
Over ten years ago, I read the book Getting Things Done by David Allen. I've been using the tactics and strategies that he laid out in the book in managing tasks and, well, getting things done, ever since. David's out with a new workbook to accompany his classic bestseller, and I have the pleasure to speak with him today about his philosophy and system for managing life. We begin our conversation discussing how David came up with the GTD system in the first place and how it differs fro...more
When Paul Kalanathi was 36 years old, he was on the cusp of finishing a decade's worth of training to become a neurosurgeon -- a profession he felt called to. But then he learned he had terminal stage four lung cancer. In a single moment, everything changed in his life. For the next twenty two months, Paul and his wife Lucy grappled with how to live life even when you know you have limited time left. In his last few months, Paul wrote a memoir about this search for meaning in life and death, as ...more
Quick, name the president who's on the dime. Or think about the letters and numbers on your license plate. Were you stumped for a moment? That's the strange thing about our powers of observation: we can look at something a thousand times, and never really notice it.Our struggle to notice what's around us is even worse in our Smartphone Age, where we often have tunnel vision that limits itself to a little handheld screen.My guest today wrote a book that aims to help us recapture the kee...more
We all know people who have a certain magnetism and charisma. What is it exactly that makes them so compelling?My guest today explores that question in his book Compelling People: The Hidden Qualities That Make People Influential, and primarily locates the answer in two such hidden qualities: strength and warmth. His name is Matthew Kohut and today on the show he explains why it is we find the combination of strength and warmth so attractive in others, and how we can cultivat...more
In an effort to get more done and be our best selves, many of us have turned to "life hacks" that we find in blogs, books, and podcasts. I've personally experimented with several life hacks in the past decade, and we've even written about some on AoM. But are there downsides to trying to hack your way through life? My guest took a look at both the positives and negatives of life hacking in his book, Hacking Life: Systemized Living and Its Discontents. His name is Joseph Reagle, and he'...more
Which should you do first when you work out -- cardio or weights? How long does it take to get in shape? How long does it take to get out of shape? How important is your form when you run? Does exercise really contribute to fat loss? Does music help or hurt your athletic performance?These are the kinds of questions folks have about exercise, and have trouble finding good answers to. The advice out there on blogs and magazines is often confusing and contradictory. My guest today set out to cut th...more
Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius was one of the last Stoic philosophers and today is arguably the best known. Thanks to his personal writings that eventually became Meditations, Marcus left us with concrete exercises to put Stoicism into action. My guest today explores this Stoic tradition and connects it with modern psychotherapy in his book How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius. His name is Donald Robertson, and he's a Scottish philosopher ...more
If you've read a lot of personal finance advice, you know that it usually concentrates on what you can't do -- what you shouldn't buy and how you shouldn't spend your money. What it doesn't often offer is a vision of what all that scrimping and saving is for.My guest today argues that while knowing how to save money is hugely important, it's important to know how to spend it too. His name is Ramit Sethi and he's the author of the book I Will Teach You to Be Rich. It's now out as a revi...more
Self-help gurus, life coaches, and business consultants love to tell us that we must strive for constant self-improvement to realize our full potential and become truly happy. But it doesn't seem to work -- for many of us, life still seems hollow and meaningless. So focused are we on personal development and material possessions that we've overlooked the things that make life truly fulfilling and worthwhile. But what are those things?My guest today explores the answer to that question in hi...more
If you're like most people these days, you probably rely on the turn-by-turn directions given by a smartphone app to navigate to where you want to go. While Google Maps has certainly made getting around a lot more convenient, my guest today makes the case that by relying on GPS to navigate, we're turning our backs on a skill that makes us uniquely human. Her name is Maura O'Connor, and she's a journalist and the author of Wayfinding: The Science and Mystery of How Humans Navigate. We b...more
If you struggle with procrastination, goal-setting, and generally moving ahead in life, the heart of your struggles may be your view of time. More specifically, that you look at it too linearly. That's the argument my guest today makes. His name is Steve Chandler, he's a success and business coach, and the author of many books, including the focus of our discussion today -- Time Warrior: How to Defeat Procrastination, People-Pleasing, Self-Doubt, Over-Commitment, Broken Promises and Ch...more
Listen as you drive through most neighborhoods in America these days and you might notice something missing: the shrieks and laughter of kids playing outside. When my guest today had kids, he decided he wasn't going to let them grow up in another quiet, morgue-like neighborhood. Instead, he was going to figure out why kids weren't playing outside anymore, and how to fix the problem. His name is Mike Lanza, and in his book Playborhood: Turn Your Neighborhood Into a Place for Play, ...more
Many of our goals in life -- from losing weight to saving more money -- require willpower. But what is willpower anyway, why does it feel like it fails us so often, and what can we do to make better use of itMy guest today explores the answers to these questions in her book: The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It. Her name is Kelly McGonigal, and she's a psychology professor at Stanford. We begin our discussion di...more
You've probably experienced a few aha moments in your life. Moments where an idea for a new business or piece of art, or a solution to a sticky technical, relational, or philosophical problem, suddenly popped into your mind.What causes these proverbial light bulbs to go off over our heads? What's going on in your brain when you experience an insight? And can you do anything to encourage more "aha" moments?My guest has spent his career researching the answers to these questions. His name is John ...more
If you struggle with getting your financial house in order, you may feel that what you need is more information on how things like stocks or IRAs or budgets work. However, my guest today would say that what you actually need most of all, is a better understanding of the relationship that your parents' and even your grandparents' had with money, and how the "money scripts" they've passed down to you have affected your own thinking about finances. His name is Brad Klontz; he's a psychologist ...more
The author Robert Heinlein famously said: “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”Compelling as that sounds, why do so many of us fall short...more
How does the way men experience spirituality differ from the way women engage it? What obstacles particularly keep men from experiencing greater meaning in their lives, and what paradigm shifts help them find it?My guest today has been thinking about those questions over the six decades he's served as a Franciscan friar. His name is Richard Rohr, and he's authored numerous books and devoted a significant part of his vocation to working with men -- both ministering to those who are incarcerated, ...more
For nearly 400 years, the Comanche tribe controlled the southern plains of America. Even as Europeans arrived on the scene with guns and metal armor, the Comanches held them off with nothing but horses, arrows, lances, and buffalo hide shields. In the 18th century, the Comanches stopped the Spanish from driving north from Mexico and halted French expansion westward from Louisiana. In the 19th century, they stymied the development of the new country by engaging in a 40-year war with the Texas Ran...more
Oftentimes, our ancient brains don't seem well equipped to deal with the speed and complexities of modernity. The landscape bombards us with perceived threats and problems, and we have trouble not ruminating on them. To navigate this environment, while maintaining our composure and sanity, we need to strengthen our resistance to stress. My guest today has written a guidebook to how that's done. Her name is Dr. Mithu Storoni, and she's a medical doctor who also holds a PhD in Neuro-ophthalmo...more
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 expl...more
Most marriage and relationship advice books focus on solving problems. But my guests today argue that we shouldn't wait until problems arise in our relationship to work on strengthening it. Instead, they say, when times are good, we should think about how to keep that good, and act to make it even better. Their names are James Pawelski and Suzann Pileggi Pawelski, and they're husband and wife. James has a background in philosophy, and they both have backgrounds in psycho...more
When you think about wit, what comes to mind? Someone who's quick with a funny remark?My guest today says that while humor is one part of wit, it's really better thought of in a broader way, as a kind of "improvisational intelligence." His name is James Geary, and he's the author of Wit's End: What Wit Is, How It Works, and Why We Need It. Today on the show, we discuss all things witty. We begin our conversation describing the nature of wit, and ...more
We're told that talent and hard work pays off. But we've all seen instances where people who were equally or even less talented and hard working than we are, still got the raise, the buzz, the promotion, or the recognition that we so keenly wanted for ourselves. It can make a man downright cynical. My guest today says that instead of getting jaded, you need to understand that hard work and talent, while necessary, aren't sufficient for success. His name is Albert-László Barabási, ...more
We typically associate body image issues with women. But my guest today says that a quarter of people with eating disorders are male and that there are millions of men in America silently struggling with and obsessing over how they look -- even to the detriment of their health, careers, and relationships. His name is Dr. Roberto Olivardia. He's a professor of clinical psychology at Harvard and the co-author of the book The Adonis Complex: How to Identify, Treat, and Prevent Body Obsess...more
Have you ever been sitting at your office desk and found yourself daydreaming about becoming a farmer? My guest today has written a practical, all-encompassing handbook to help you turn that dream into a reality. His name is Forrest Pritchard. He's a farmer and the co-author of the book Start Your Own Farm: The Authoritative Guide to Becoming a Sustainable 21st Century Farmer. We begin our conversation discussing the state of the farming profession and the soci...more
Do you ever feel like you're spinning your existential wheels in life? That outwardly, you seem to be doing ok, but inwardly, you feel kind of empty? My guest today would say that you've got to move on from trekking up life's first mountain, to begin a journey up its second. His name is David Brooks and he’s the author of The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life. In that book, David makes the case that there are two mountains that we climb in life: The first ...more
Whenever a financial or technological disaster takes place, people wonder if it could have possibly been averted. My guests today say that the answer is often yes, and that the lessons around why big disasters happen can teach us something about preventing catastrophes in our businesses and personal lives. Their names are Chris Clearfield and Andras Tilcsik, and they're the authors of Meltdown: Why Our Systems Fail and What We Can Do About It. We begin our discussion getting ...more
All of us will take on leadership roles at some point in our lives. What can you do to ensure your team performs at its highest level?My guest today argues that it's all about caring about the people you lead. His name is Alden Mills. He’s a former Navy SEAL platoon commander and the founder of Perfect Fitness -- the company that makes the Perfect Push-up. He's also written a couple books, including his latest: Unstoppable Teams. Today on the show, Alden and I discuss why caring about your ...more
What does it mean to live a good life? How can we achieve that good life? These are questions a Greek philosopher explored over 2,000 years ago in his Nicomachean Ethics. My guest today argues that the insights Aristotle uncovered millennia ago are still pertinent to us in the 21st century. Her name is Edith Hall, and she’s a classicist and the author of Aristotle’s Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life. Today on the show we discuss what Aristotle thought the good...more
This week marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings at Normandy. This amphibious Allied effort comprised a joint effort between British, Canadian, and American troops. Operation Overlord was massive in scope, and required effectively launching 12,000 planes and 7,000 vessels, landing 24,000 paratroopers into enemy territory, and transporting 160,000 troops across the English Channel and onto and over 50 miles of beaches.To commemorate this epic operation, I talk to historian Alex Ker...more
If you’ve ever been at an event with a prominent person like a politician, celebrity, or business executive, you’ve likely noticed the dudes wearing sunglasses and sporting an earpiece, trying to look as unassuming as possible while vigilantly keeping an eye out for their client, or “principal.”These guys are part of a personal security detail, and their job is to protect VIPs from harassment and harm.Most of us will likely never be able to afford our own bodyguard, but that doesn’t mean we...more
We often think that to become a success in today’s modern world, you have to specialize and specialize early. My guest today makes the case that, actually, the most creative, innovative, and successful people don’t specialize. They’re generalists. His name is David Epstein and he’s the author of the book Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World. We begin our conversation discussing two different paths to success as embodied by Tiger Woods and Roger Federer, and why we...more
When it comes to investing, your brain can be your best friend or your worst enemy. My guest today explains how, and what you can do to ensure your brain is a staunch ally in your quest for financial security. His name is Daniel Crosby, he’s a psychologist, behavioral finance expert, and the author of The Behavioral Investor. We begin our conversation discussing the surprising ways sociology and physiology influence our financial decisions. We then delve into the psychological factors that ...more
The Korean War is often overlooked by Americans. But this forgotten war played a big role in shaping the world order in the second half of the 20th century. What’s more, one of the most heroic and harrowing military operations in U.S. history took place deep in the snowy and bitterly cold mountains of North Korea, creating a legendary group of fighters who became known as the "Frozen Chosin." My guest today has written a book that captures this event in military history....more
In the modern age, shame is often seen as an unmitigated bad. According to this popular view, all shame is negative and toxic and steps should be taken to avoid and rid oneself of it. My guest today, however, makes the contrarian case that some shame is actually necessary to develop a true sense of self. His name is Joseph Burgo, he’s a clinical psychologist and the author of the book Shame: Free Yourself, Find Joy, and Build True Self-Esteem. To...more
The human body is capable of doing a wide variety of movements, in a variety of environments. But my guest today argues that most modern people only do a few movements each day, commonly find themselves stuck in sterile surroundings, and that these confinements are sapping our physical and psychological health.His name is Erwan Le Corre and he’s the founder of the MovNat physical fitness system and the author of the book The Practice of Natural Movement: Reclaim Power, Health...more
Many people today are feeling stressed or overwhelmed by life. The typical approach to treating these issues is to learn how to manage one's symptoms through things like mindfulness or meditation. My guest today argues that mere management is insufficient. Instead, we need to tackle the root of what’s causing us to feel anxious, stuck, and generally lost—a decreasing sense of agency. His name is Dr. Paul Napper and he’s a psychologist and the co-author of the book The Po...more
When it comes to your personal presentation, there’s one aspect that often gets overlooked: your voice. Your voice is a big part of what makes you, you, and what makes you likable and influential. Yet you probably don't think too much about it. Not to mention, my guest today argues, you’re likely not even using your true voice thanks to bad habits you’ve picked up throughout your life. His name is Roger Love, he’s a voice coach who's worked with ...more
For thousands of years, men's lives were structured by rituals -- rituals that helped them mark significant events, make sense of the world, and move from one phase of life to the next.In our modern age, our lives are largely devoid of rituals, and my guest today says we're worse off for it. His name is William Ayot, and he’s a poet, men’s group facilitator, ritual leader, and the author of Re-Enchanting the Forest: Meaningful Ritual in a Secular World. We begin our conversation discussing Willi...more
The marathon race is one of sport's most physically demanding events. To not just complete a marathon to but to compete in the race at its highest levels takes an incredible amount of dedication to training, recovery, diet, and mindset.My guest today gives us a firsthand look at what that kind of dedication and strategy look like. His name is Jared Ward, and he placed 6th in the marathon at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and 8th in this year's Boston Marathon. But Jared is more than just a runner -- he'...more
We live in a world where it’s possible to work ourselves 24/7. Even when you’re away from the office, work still follows you on your smartphone. Being constantly connected can make us feel like we’re getting a lot done, but my guest today makes the case that we’d all be better off if we practiced the ancient tradition of the Sabbath. His name Aaron Edelheit and he’s the author of the book The Hard Break: The Case for a 24/6 Lifestyle. We begin our show discussing the burnout Aaron...more
Talking to new people can lead to making new connections and learning interesting things, and simply makes both you and the person you talk with happier. Yet many of us have a very difficult time striking up a conversation with strangers. Why is this?My guest today has done studies to find out. Her name is Gillian Sandstrom and she's a professor of social psychology at the University of Essex. Gillian's research has explored both why people have such a hard time talking to strangers, a...more
As a boy, Allen J. Lynch was a severely bullied and aimless kid growing up in the industrial neighborhoods of Chicago's South Side. He went on to serve in the Army, receive the Medal of Honor for the valor he displayed when he rushed to save three fallen comrades during a deadly firefight in Vietnam, and dedicate his life to helping his fellow veterans.Today I talk to Allen about his story, which he shares in his recently published memoir: Zero to Hero: From Bullied Kid to Warrior...more
When you invite people over for a dinner party, you likely think of some delightful conversation topics to bring up to keep your guests engaged. My guest today argues that one of those topics should be death.His name is Michael Hebb and he’s the founder of Death Over Dinner, an organization that encourages folks to have dinner parties to talk about death -- from the philosophical aspects to practical matters like wills and funeral planning. Today on the show we discuss why yo...more
The world of Norse mythology and legend is a thoroughly fascinating one, and my guest has captured it in all its compelling mystery in his book which retells those stories, called Tales of Valhalla. His name is Martyn Whittock and today he takes us on a gripping tour of Norse culture and myth.We begin the show discussing who the Norse people were, and the misconceptions people commonly have about them, including associating them exclusively with Vikings. We also talk about misconceptions ab...more
On El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, there was a wall that had never been climbed, and that some said would never be climbed. It’s called the Dawn Wall.But in 2015, Tommy Caldwell along with Kevin Jorgeson became the first to free climb it. That journey was then made into an award-winning film called Dawn Wall. Today I speak to Tommy about what led up to that historic climb, starting from how he got involved in rock climbing in his childhood. We begin our conversation discussing the dif...more
According to recent statistics, the number of Americans dealing with anxiety disorders is over 40 million and that number is increasing. My guest today is one of those Americans who's suffered from bouts of anxiety all of his life. He’s also a successful journalist. So he decided to use his journalistic chops to explore the history of anxiety and how we treat it in the hopes he could gain more insight about the mental disorder that has plagued him since his youth.&n...more
Plato’s Republic is a seminal treatise in Western political philosophy and thought. It hits on ideas that we’re still grappling with in our own time, including the nature of justice and what the ideal political system looks like. But my guest today argues that The Republic also has a lot to say about manliness, character development, and education in our current climate of safe spaces and trigger warnings. His name is Jacob Howland. He’s a professor of philosophy at...more
When you ask people about their schedules, they'll typically tell you they're very busy, and don't have enough time for sleep or for leisure activities. Yet when they're actually asked to track their time, it turns out that they work less and sleep more than they realize.My guest today studied and dug into this disparity. Her name is Laura Vanderkam and she's the author of several books on the personal use of time, including the focus of our discussion: Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy Wh...more
Recently, I participated in the AoM podcast's first live audience interview. It took place at Magic City Books here in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and joining me for the interview was two-time past guest Adam Makos. Makos, the author of A Higher Call and Devotion, was here in T-Town to discuss his most recent book, Spearhead: An American Tank Gunner, His Enemy, and a Collision of Lives in World War II.Spearhead follows the story of Clarence Smoyer -- a quiet kid from Pennsylvania coal country who beca...more
There are over a hundred million books in existence. And the average person only has 8 decades in which to read them. So which books should you choose to read over others before you croak?It's a question that's launched scores of lists and many an argument, and my guest today has fired his own missive in the debate. His name is James Mustich, he’s been in the book business for over 30 years as a book seller, reviewer, and editor, and he's created the ultimate book list in his book 1,000 Boo...more
Matthew Schrier was on his way home from Syria after spending months photographing the war going on there, when, just 45 minutes from the safety of the Turkish border, he was taken prisoner by the Al-Nusra Front — a branch of Al-Qaeda in Syria.For the next seven months he was starved and tortured in six different prison camps. Yet he survived, becoming the first Westerner to escape Al-Qaeda. Today he teaches the military about what he learned through his experience.Today on the show, I talk to M...more
"Passion" is a word that's been thrown around a lot in the last few decades. People have a vague notion that passion is a very good thing, and that they want to find it in their work and lives. But beyond passion as a buzzword, its realities are actually very little discussed and seldomly well understood.My guests today have set out to correct this deficit in their new book: The Passion Paradox: A Guide to Going All In, Finding Success, and Discovering the Benefits of an Unbalanced Life. Their n...more
There's no doubt that luck plays a role in how successful we are in life, but the more we believe in luck, the less motivated we feel to proactively go after our goals. How do we navigate this paradox around luck — acknowledging the influence of chance but not letting it demoralize us?My guest today argues the answer lies in seeing life more like playing a game of poker than pulling the handle of a slot machine. Her name is Karla Starr and she's the author of Can You Learn to Be Lucky? Why Some ...more
If you’ve been trying to get a handle on your anger, you’ve likely read tips for calming down like taking a deep breath and counting to ten.My guest today argues while those tactics might serve as band-aid in the short term, truly getting control of your anger has to begin long before you have a blow up. His name is David Lieberman. He holds a Ph.D in psychology and is the author of several books, including his latest, Never Get Angry Again. We begin our discussion talking about what happen...more
The health benefits of fasting from food have gotten a lot of attention in the last several years. What's often forgotten in these discussions, however, is that fasting has been practiced for thousands of years not only for the sake of the body, but for the spirit as well. My guest today has written a book, The Sacred Art of Fasting, that explores the different ways fasting is practiced by all of the world's major religions and how it can be practiced by individuals today. His name is ...more
Alexander the Great, Hannibal, and Julius Caesar. Three of the greatest generals of antiquity. But what made them great and what can we learn from them about leadership? My guest explores those questions in his book Masters of Command: Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, and the Genius of Leadership. His name is Barry Strauss and he’s a classicist and military historian at Cornell University. Today on the show we discuss the traits all three of these men possessed that made them such mil...more
How do you make the biggest decisions you face, the ones that have significant consequences and can change your life? Choices like whether to get married, move, attend a certain college, take a particular job, and so on? If you're like a lot of people, you just kind of wing it, and maybe draw up a basic pros and cons list.My guest today has studied the latest research in decision making theory and formulated a better approach. His name is Steven Johnson, his latest book is Farsighted: ...more
When you go on vacation, you probably travel to places that help you feel good, relax, and have fun. My guest today likes to visit places where great human suffering and tragedy has occurred.His name is Thomas Cook. He's a writer of crime fiction, but in his latest book, Even Darkness Sings, he takes readers with him on the real family trips he's taken to see humanity’s darkest places, including Auschwitz, Verdun, and Hiroshima. We begin our conversation discussing how Thomas and his wife g...more
If you've never been in a fight before, have you ever wondered how you’d respond to getting punched in the face?My guest today found the experience pretty delightful. Which is all the more surprising given that he'd lived more than three decades of his life as a self-described pacifist, who abhorred violence, thought fighting was barbaric, and feared he was a coward. His name is Josh Rosenblatt, and he’s the author of Why We Fight: One Man’s Search For Mea...more
In the past few years, sports recovery has become a big business. Elite athletes and weekend warriors alike are spending lots of time and money on things like cryotherapy, float tanks, foam rolling, and supplements in order to feel better, push themselves harder, and gain an edge over the competition. But does any of this stuff actually do anything? My guest today spent a year investigating the science of exercise recovery. Her name is Christie Aschwanden and she’s the author...more
In the 21st century, most of our written communication is done through typing on a computer or tapping digital buttons on a smartphone screen. But my guest today argues that we can increase our sense of humanity and our connection to the physical world and to other people by rediscovering the lost art of putting a real pen to real paper.His name is Michael Sull. He’s a master penman, penmanship instructor, and the author of several penmanship books. Today on the podcast, I talk to Mich...more
Financial independence is a goal for a lot of folks. But what does it take to get there? My guest today explores that question on his website, Financial Samurai. His name is Sam Dogen, and before writing about money online, he worked in finance. We begin our conversation discussing how his career in equities shaped his personal finance philosophy and made him leery of putting too much wealth in the stock market. Sam shares why he recommends putting a lower percentage of your ...more
Friedrich Nietzsche is one of the most polarizing and misunderstood of modern philosophers. Dismissed by some and misinterpreted by others, the real philosophy of Nietzsche in fact holds some incredibly life-affirming truths for everyone, regardless of belief or age. My guest today has spent much of both his personal and professional life tracking down those insights. At the age of 19 and then again at age 37, he traveled to the Swiss town where Nietzsche wrote his ...more
Practicing minimalism with your possessions has been a trend for the past decade, and it can be a worthy practice, as long as you use it as a means to greater efficacy outside your personal domain, rather than just an end in itself.But there's arguably a minimalism practice that's even more effective in achieving that greater efficacy: digital minimalism.My guest has written the definitive guide to the philosophy and tactics behind digital minimalism. His ...more
Having a positive mindset comes with an unbelievable number of benefits, from better physical and mental health, to improved relationships and performance at work. If you've got a more negative bent, you're really missing out on a lot. Fortunately, my guest says it's possible to shift into a more positive gear. Her name is Dr. Catherine Sanderson and she’s a professor of psychology at Amherst College. In her latest book, The Positive Shift,...more
When people talk about military special forces, the Navy SEALs are often the first to come to mind. But there are several special forces in the military that have a storied history and play a fundamental role in America’s military defense. My guest today is the only person to have been allowed to audit and write about the training programs of the respective special forces units of every branch of the military.His name is Dick Couch. He’s a retired US Navy SEAL and the author of several book...more
People often complain about being tired and burnt out these days from work and family responsibilities. We think it’s because of the way technology has sped up the pace of life, and the way we’re always “on,” and figure we’re living in the most exhausting age in history. But are we really?My guest today argues that, no, people have been complaining about being tired since at least antiquity. Her name is Anna Schaffner and she’s written a book called Exhaustion: A History, which traces the fascin...more
If you’re like a lot of men listening to this podcast, you’ve likely made it a goal to lose some weight this year. But if you’re also like a lot of men listening to this podcast, you’ve made that goal before, maybe even succeeded with it, but have had to make it again because you gained all the weight back. My guest today argues that losing weight is actually pretty easy. The real trick is keeping it off.His name is Layne Norton. He’s a professional bodybuilder, powerlifter, and doctor of nutrit...more
According to the popular, evolutionary theory of human attraction, people select romantic partners based on objective assessments of what's called their "mate value" -- the extent to which an individual possesses traits like good looks and status. But is that really all that's behind the way people pair up?My guest today has done a series of studies which add greater nuance to the mysteries of romantic attraction. His name is Paul Eastwick and he's a professor of psychology at USC Davis. We begi...more
The Gila National Forest covers about 3.3 million acres in southwest New Mexico. During the dry summer season, wildfires pose a serious threat to the area. To spot wildfires in this vast landscape as soon as they start, the U.S. Forest Service relies on fire towers spread throughout the area that are each manned by a lone individual. My guest today wrote a memoir about the unique experience this job offers. His name is Philip Connors, he's a writer and one of the country's few remaining fire wat...more
Like FDR or JFK, Ronald Reagan has become more of a symbol for many Americans than a flesh and blood person. For some he’s the embodiment of all that’s good in America, while for others he's the very opposite. But beyond the political divides, who was Reagan, the man?My guest today spent five years researching and writing an epic, non-partisan biography that seeks to bring the abstraction of Reagan back down to earth. His name is Bob Spitz and his biography is Reaga...more
We live in a complex, fast-changing world. Thriving in this world requires one to make fast decisions with incomplete information. But how do you do that without making too many mistakes?My guest today argues that one key is stockpiling your cognitive toolbox with lots of “mental models.”His name is Shane Parrish. He’s a former Canadian intelligence officer and the owner of the website Farnam Street, which publishes articles about better thinking and decision making and is read by Wall Street in...more
It’s a new year and if you’re like millions of people around the world, you’re likely making goals to create some new habits or to break some bad ones. But if you’re also like millions of people around the world, your attempts at making and breaking habits will usually fail after just a few weeks of flailing effort, and you'll probably think your lack of willpower is to blame.My guest today argues that it isn’t truly a lack of willpower that’s holding you back from your habit goals, it’s the tac...more
Eighteen months after the Declaration of Independence was signed, the Continental Army was on the ropes and the American Revolution was on the verge of being snuffed out. Battered, demoralized, and half-naked, 12,000 American troops marched into a small, poorly supplied encampment in British-occupied Pennsylvania to hunker down for the winter. They called the encampment Valley Forge.Despite the terrible conditions and circumstances there, something happened at Valley Forge that would change the ...more
Earlier this year, I did a show about the benefits of meditation. That’s episode #439 for those who want to check it out. Shortly after that interview, I came across a book called The Buddha Pill, which takes a critical look at the research on meditation and exposes some of the weaknesses of the hype that currently surrounds it. As someone who loves to look at both sides of an issue, I was certainly intrigued and today talk to one of the co-authors of that book.I begin my conversation ...more
Does your family life feel frantic?Does it seem like every week you and your wife are scrambling to manage all the stuff that’s going on like school and community activities, extracurriculars, social engagements, and home maintenance?Perhaps what you need to do is apply some of the strategies that help businesses get organized to your family life. That’s the argument my guest makes in his book The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family. His name is Patrick Lencioni and he’s a business consult...more
What’s it like for a man to lose the person at the very center of his life — his wife? Maybe you know firsthand, because you’ve lost a spouse yourself. Or maybe you know a friend or family member who’s a widower, and have wondered what he’s going through and how to help him. Or maybe you’re just curious about what this journey is like, should you, heaven forbid, become a widower one day yourself.No matter which group you fall into, we could all benefit from understanding more about the journey w...more
To move forward in life, we typically focus on finding answers. But my guest today argues we should spend more time asking questions. His name is Warren Berger, and he’s a self-described “questionologist” and the author of The Book of Beautiful Questions: The Powerful Questions That Will Help You Decide, Create, Connect, and Lead. We begin our conversation discussing why having an inquisitive mindset is more important than ever in this fast changing, uncertain world of ours, but why people ...more
Studies show that people, especially young people, are having less sex than past generations did. While many may celebrate this decline as a good thing, the reasons behind the drop in sex may not all be so positive. A decline in physical intimacy may potentially speak to a decline in emotional intimacy, and a struggle modern folks are having with connecting with each other.My guest explores the decline in sexual frequency as a way into these larger cultural and relational questions in her l...more
Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley. Three great U.S generals that led the Allies to victory in Europe during WWII. But WWII wasn’t the first time these three men met. Decades before they forged friendships and rivalries with one another that would influence their path to leadership. My guest today has written a biography of the complex relationships between these three men and how they impacted the tide of WWII. His name is Jonathan Jordan and his book is Brothers, Rivals, Victors: Eisenhower, Pat...more
Humans are storytelling and story-listening creatures. We use stories to teach, persuade, and to make sense of the complexities of existence. Being able to craft and deliver a good story is thus a real advantage in all areas of life, giving you a foot up when doing job interviews, going on dates, interacting with friends, or making a sales pitch.Fortunately, good storytelling is a skill that can learned by anyone. Here to teach us the art of storytelling is Matthew Dicks, a writer, five-tim...more
For thousands of years, the Spartans have captured the imaginations of Westerners. In ancient Greece, the city-state was admired for its military prowess, civic unity, and dedication to leisurely athletic pursuits. Today, we make movies about Spartans and name sports teams after them. When we moderns think of Spartans, we typically think of them simply as fierce warriors.But while the Spartans were indeed warriors par excellence, their culture was much more complex. Today on the show, I unpack s...more
First responders and members of the military have physically and mentally demanding jobs. To tackle those jobs effectively, they need to be in shape physically and mentally. But most first responders have erratic schedules that make working out difficult, so that many don’t, and consequently suffer from injuries and poor health. My guest today is a former Navy SEAL on a mission to solve that problem. His name is Adam La Reau, and he's the founder of O2X, an organization dedicated ...more
This Thursday is Thanksgiving here in the United States. It’s a holiday dedicated to gratitude, and one in which we often trot out expressions of thankfulness.But how much is gratitude a part of our lives the other 364 days of the year? And even when we do think about gratitude at other times, does it admittedly often take a fairly superficial and fleeting form?On today’s show, we’re exploring the deeper, "harder" side of gratitude with my guest, Dr. Robert Emmons. Robert is a bona fid...more
Your time on earth is finite and once you use it up, it's gone forever. Thus on the AoM podcast, we talk a lot about how to maximize your time -- how to use it more effectively to be more productive. But is it possible to be too concerned about managing your time? Should you also make space for chucking out all the to-do lists and schedules and just being kind of idle?My guest would say yes. His name is Alan Lightman, he’s a physicist and writer, and the author of the book In Praise of Wasting T...more
I grew up in Edmond, OK, a suburb of Oklahoma City. When I was teenager back in the 90s, I started hearing about some church being run out of a garage. Didn’t give it much thought then. Fast forward more than twenty years later, and Life.Church now has over 30 campuses across 10 states, and is often ranked as the largest church in America.Today on the show I talk to the guy who started this thing in a garage, and has stood at the helm of its tremendous growth, to glean his insights on leadership...more
Youth sports in America is a 15 billion dollar industry. A lot of that money is going towards special coaching and training and participation in elite travel teams. Parents spend an enormous amount of money and time on their kids’ involvement in sports, hoping the investment will pay off in accolades, college scholarships, and even the chance to play professionally. But my guests today argue that all that special coaching you’re spending money on probably isn’t doing much to turn your kid i...more
How you start something is often how you finish it, and that couldn't be truer than for the trajectory of each of your days. When your mornings feel chaotic, rushed, and fragmented, the rest of your day often does too. But when you start off with a centering, invigorating morning routine, that feeling follows you the rest of the day.If you've been wanting to improve or simply start your own morning routine, then this episode is for you. My guest is Benjamin Spall and he’s the co-author of t...more
Magicians usually become magicians because they experienced a sense of wonder seeing a cool trick as a kid, and they want to re-create that awe for audience members on a regular basis.But what happens when a professional magician stops feeling the magic of magic?That happened to my guest today.His name is Nate Staniforth, and he recently wrote a book titled Here is Real Magic. Today on the show, Nate shares how he got into magic and became a professional magician, only to become disillusioned wi...more
Are great leaders born or made? Do circumstances make great leaders or do great leaders change the times? These are a few of the big picture questions my guest explores in her latest book. Her name is Doris Kearns Goodwin, she’s a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, and in her latest book, Leadership: In Turbulent Times, she explores the makings of great leaders by looking at the biographies of four US presidents who led the country through periods of crisis: Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Ro...more
"Warrior" is a word that gets thrown around a lot. There are road warriors, and social justice warriors, and ninja warriors. But what does it really mean to be a warrior?My guest today sets out a working definition in his book The Warrior’s Manifesto. His name is Daniel Modell, and he earned his Master's Degree in philosophy before going on to serve for twenty years in the New York City Police Department.Daniel and I begin our conversation discussing what makes a warrior and the lesson...more
When you think of wartime prison escapes, what comes to mind? Probably the breakouts attempted by prisoners of war during World War II and the movie The Great Escape. But the escapees of WWII learned many of the tricks of the trade from their pioneering predecessors, who honed their courageous craft during the first World War.My guest today has written a book about their audacious exploits. His name is Neal Bascomb, and his book is: The Escape Artists: A Band of Daredevil Pilots and th...more
Do your days seem like a continuous blur of busyness, and yet you don't seem to get much done, nor remember much about how you spent your time?As a former employee of Google, my guest today worked on the very apps and technology that can often suck away our time. Today, he's dedicated to figuring out how to push back against these forces to help people take control of their time and attention.His name is John Zeratsky and he’s the co-author of the book Make Time: How to Focus on What M...more
Every year the cost of a four-year college degree goes up, forcing young people to take on massive amounts of student debt for an education that often doesn't even prepare them well for the jobs of today. My guest today argues that there’s a better, cheaper, and faster way to prepare for gainful employment.His name is Ryan Craig, he's the Managing Director of University Ventures, an investment firm reimagining the future of higher education, and the author of A New U: Faster ...more
Do you have a teenage boy who struggles in school? Or do you have a younger son who you can imagine struggling in school as he gets older? He may be an otherwise capable young man, but seems apathetic and unmotivated, to the point you think he's not excelling simply because he's lazy. My guest today says that's the wrong conclusion to draw, and one that leads to the wrong parenting approach to addressing it.His name is Adam Price and he's a child psychologist and the author of He's Not Lazy: Emp...more
The ancient Greek poet Archilochus said, "A fox knows many things, but a hedgehog one important thing."The original meaning of the quote has been lost to the mists of time, but my guest today argues that it's a great metaphor for classifying two types of leadership strategies.His name is John Lewis Gaddis and he's a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, an expert on the Cold War, and a professor of military history at Yale University. Today, Professor Gaddis and I talk about his book, On Gran...more
In the 1980s, when people signed up for a martial art, they probably joined a karate or taekwondo school. Today? They’re probably signing up for a roll on the mat in a Brazilian jiu-jitsu class. And the Gracie family has played a central role in this martial art's precipitous rise. My guest today is a member of the Gracie family, the head instructor of the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy, and the co-creator of Gracie University, an online jiu-jitsu program. His name is Rener Gracie, and you may have se...more
Are people mostly good or mostly bad? We're apt to think of ourselves as good people, while thinking of the general population as not-so-stellar. My guest today argues that most people, including yourself, are really best described as a mixed bag.His name is Christian Miller, he’s a professor of moral philosophy and religion at Wake Forest University, and today on the show we discuss his new book The Character Gap: How Good Are We? We begin our conversation discussing how Christia...more
Procrastination can be a big stumbling block to our success in life. If you’re a student and you put off studying to the last minute, you might not do as well on a test. If you wait to start saving for retirement until you’re in your 40s, you lose out on the power of compound interest.We know that we need to do certain things sooner, rather than later, but we don’t. Why?My guest today is Dr. Piers Steel, and in his work and his book, The Procrastination Equation, he's distilled al...more
When David Giffels was 50 years old and completely healthy, he decided to build his own coffin with his 81-year-old, master craftsman father. Why? Well, I ask him that on today’s podcast. David Giffels is a writer who previously published a book of essays about growing up in the Rust Belt of Ohio in the 1970s. That title is called The Hard Way on Purpose. In his latest book, Furnishing Eternity: A Father, a Son, a Coffin, and a Measure of Life, he recounts the experience of b...more
Rocky Marciano was a slow, stocky kid, with short arms and stubby legs. He wasn’t the kind of kid you’d pick to one day be an elite boxer, yet he went on to become the only undefeated heavyweight champion in boxing history. In the process, Marciano became a cultural icon in 1950s America, rubbing shoulders with presidents, movie stars, and gangsters.How did someone who got a late start in the sport, become one of boxing's greatest athletes? And what happens to a man when fame and fortune are sud...more
Do you feel like you’re putting your nose to the grindstone and working longer and longer hours, but not getting anywhere with your career? My guest today makes the case that if you want to be a top performer and advance in your job, you need to start working smarter instead of harder.His name is Morten Hansen and in his book Great at Work, he highlights his groundbreaking, exhaustive analysis on top performers and shares his "7 Work Smarter Prac...more
If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve likely seen headlines about the tumultuous atmosphere on many college campuses in the United States, which primarily centers around what is and isn’t okay to say or express. The interesting thing is that not too long ago, it was the students who were protesting against the administration placing controls on free speech. But a few years ago, my guest noticed that things had gotten flipped: the students had started protesting that administrators were...more
You’ve probably read or heard about the benefits of meditation, but you’ve never given it a try because it all seems a bit too woo-woo. You’re not alone. My guest used to be a skeptic himself, but after falling into drug use and suffering a nervous breakdown on national television, he gave meditation a try and found that it made him calmer and more resilient. He’s now on a mission to make meditation approachable for the masses — no meditation pillow required. His name is Dan Harris. He’s a news ...more
If you found yourself in a situation with a violent attacker, would you know what to do? While it’s easy to think you’d instinctively make the right decision, the truth is, if you haven’t been formulating and practicing a plan ahead of time, you’ll likely make the wrong, and possibly deadly, choice.My guest today has spent over two decades teaching people how to deal with threats, and even more importantly, how to avoid them in the first place. His name is Dr. Gav Schneider and he...more
If you grew up in America in the 1970s and '80s, a vacation with your family likely involved piling in a car with your parents and siblings and being stuck with them for eight or more hours on the open road with little other than each other to keep yourselves entertained and sane. Entire movies were made about The Great American Road Trip. Yet this world has slowly faded away without our hardly noticing thanks to cheaper airfare and advances in technology and convenience.My guest today set out t...more
You’ve probably heard that Edwin Starr song “War, What is It Good For?” Well, my guest today makes the provocative argument that war is in fact good for a lot of things. His name is Benjamin Ginsberg. He’s a professor of political science at John Hopkins University and in his book, The Worth of War, he argues that while war certainly is terrible in the death and destruction it wreaks, it also gives rise to many of the political structures, technologies, and conveniences that society benefit...more
We all want to be more productive. And when we buckle down to do so, we typically try to figure out ways to better manage our time. My guest today, though, argues that focusing on managing your time is only part of the productivity picture. You also need to learn how to better manage your attention.His name is Chris Bailey, and his latest book is Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction. Today on the show, Chris shares research-backed advice on how to improv...more
John Wooden has been called the greatest coach of all time. During his tenure as coach of the UCLA men's basketball team from 1948 to 1975, he led his team to four undefeated seasons and ten national championships, seven of which happened in consecutive years.But the funny thing is, winning wasn't John Wooden's goal as a coach. That was simply a happy byproduct of the ultimate aim he set for his team both on and off the court -- to perform their very best in whatever they did.My guest today...more
We live in an age of noise. Not just audible noise, but visual noise. It seems like you can’t go anywhere these days without something or someone vying for your attention. My guest today thinks all this noise has made us a bit crazy, and that we need to re-capture the power of silence in our lives. He came to this realization while traveling alone, by foot, for fifty days to the South Pole. Since having that experience of what he initially found to be a disturbing level of silence, he thinks oth...more
When we think of creative people, we often think of a genius who works alone, comes up with an earth-shatteringly new idea in an instantaneous eureka moment, and then sees that obviously valuable idea naturally become a well-known sensation.My guest today argues that this picture is altogether wrong, and lays out a different image of what it really means not only to be creative, but to become a successful creative, and achieve one's aims. His name is Allen Gannett and he’s the author of The Crea...more
No matter where you look these days, someone is trying to make you laugh. Advertisers, politicians, and even ministers have all become comedians. But it wasn’t always like this. When and why did the world become so funny? And what are the consequences of living in a culture where everything has a touch of humor and irony?My guest explores those questions in his latest book, Planet Funny. His name is Ken Jennings (yes, Ken Jennings the Jeopardy guy). Today on the show, Ken shares the mo...more
There are conversations between friends. Conversations between family. And conversations in the media. But did you know there's also been a conversation going on between writers, thinkers, and philosophers for a couple thousand years? What's been called "the Great Conversation" refers to the way the authors of the so-called "Great Books" have for millennia been referencing and riffing on the work of their predecessors, and this dialogue is one you can not only eavesdrop on yourself, but joi...more
Why do you feel so motivated and excited about tackling a new project at first, but then get bored and abandon it?Why does passionate love quickly turn into ambivalence? Why does it feel like you had more zest for life and work in your twenties than in your thirties and forties?Much of the answer can be found in a single chemical in your brain: dopamine.That’s the case today’s guests make. Their names are Daniel Lieberman and Michael Long, and they’re the co-authors of a new ...more
If you were like most boys, you probably went through a karate phase as a kid. When I went through my karate phase as a 5- and 6-year-old, I demanded that my family called me “Daniel-san.” Unfortunately, they did not comply.There’s one man you can thank for your karate phase: Bruce Lee. As my guest will show us today, Bruce Lee nearly single-handedly popularized martial arts in America thanks to his breakout Hong Kong kung fu movies in the early 1970s. My guest's name is Matthew Polly and h...more
In today's hyper-competitive market in which technology is eating jobs, what sets the successful companies and workers apart from the ones that flounder? My guest today argues it could be something as little as saying hello and helping an old lady with her wheelchair. His name is Tom Peters, and he's a business expert and the author of several books on professional success. His latest is The Excellence Dividend: Meeting the Tech Tide With Work That Wows and Jobs Tha...more
When you think of the Apollo Mission, the first thing that probably comes to mind is Apollo 11 and Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepping foot on the moon. But even Armstrong didn’t think his moon landing was the most important or daring of all the Apollo missions. For Armstrong, Apollo 8 best fit that description. If you’re like most people, you probably know very little about Apollo 8, let alone the names of the three astronauts who flew on that mission. But that will definitely change a...more
While we often associate Eastern spiritual and philosophical traditions with meditation and contemplation, there's another side to this wisdom that centers on action and can help us move through depression, anxiety, fear, and just general malaise.My guest today is the author of a book about this action-oriented philosophy. His name is Gregg Krech, he's the co-founder of the ToDo Institute, and his book is The Art of Taking Action: Lessons from Japanese Psychology.Today on the show, Gregg and I d...more
We’ve all probably thought about it. What would we do and how would we fare after a societal collapse? My guest today has spent his career helping individuals get ready for such a situation. His name is James Rawles. He’s the owner of survivalblog.com and the author of several bestselling books on prepping, including How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It.Today on the show, Jim and I discuss how our dependency on the power grid makes us more vulnerable to disaster than we’d like to th...more
They say that manners make the man. But how do you display good manners without coming off as awkward and in a way that elevates life both for yourself and for others? Today I bring back writer David Coggins to discuss etiquette and manners in the modern age. I had David on the show a year ago to discuss his book Men and Style. He’s now out with a new book called Men and Manners. Today on the show, David shares how style and manners are connected and why good manners are...more
Admiral James Stockdale was a fighter pilot and POW in Vietnam for seven years. During his imprisonment, he was regularly tortured and beaten, and often held in solitary confinement. Despite the emotional, mental, and physical trauma he faced day in and day out, Stockdale survived and came home to become an influential public figure. How did he do it?As my guest today explains, Stockdale had with him a philosophical survival kit. His name is Thomas Gibbons, he’s a retired Arm...more
If you’re like most people, you’ve got a powerful computer in your back pocket that allows you to listen to this podcast, check the score of your favorite team, and learn the population of Mickey Mantle’s hometown of Commerce, OK (answer: 2,473). Our smartphones are a blessing, but for many people they can also feel like a curse. You feel compelled to check your device all the time, leaving you feeling disengaged from life. What is it about modern technology that makes it feel so addictive?...more
What started the American Revolution? The typical answers are "taxation without representation" and the economic and political consequences that came with that. My guest today argues that while economic and political principles all played roles in the American Revolution, there’s one big thing underlying all the causes of the Revolutionary War that often gets overlooked: honor.His name is Craig Bruce Smith, he’s a historian and the author of the new book American Honor: The C...more
Do you feel stuck in moving forward with your plans and goals in life? Well my guest todayhas some no-nonsense advice on how to shift out of neutral and get going again.His name is Bernie Roth. He’s the co-founder of the Stanford design school and the author of The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life. Today on the show, Bernie explains to us what “design thinking” is and how its principles can be used to create a flourishing life f...more
Henry David Thoreau is one of America’s most influential thinkers and writers. 164 years after it was published, Walden continues to inspire readers to get out into nature and march to the beat of their own drummer. But what was the worldview of the man who wrote those immortal words? Well, for one thing, Thoreau believed in the existence of fairies. That’s one of the insights my guest mined as he explored the intellectual and spiritual life of Henry David Thoreau. His name i...more
Recent surveys have shown that anxiety and depression are up amongst school-aged children and teens. Parents and teachers are also reporting a decrease in motivation amongst young adults. My guests today argue that both issues stem from the same problem and can be solved with the same solution. Their names are Bill Stixrud and Ned Johnson. Bill’s a clinical neuropsychologist and Ned is a college test prep coach. In their book, The Self-Driven Child, they make the case t...more
When you start a fitness program, you tend to spend most of your time thinking about the physical part — what movements you’re going to do, how much weight you’re going to lift, or how far you’re going to run. But my guest today argues we ignore the mental aspect of our training at our peril. His name is Bobby Maximus. He’s a world-renowned trainer known for his brutal circuit workouts and the author of the new book Maximus Body.Today on the show Bobby and I dig into the psychology of ...more
If you’ve been following The Art of Manliness for awhile, you know we’re big fans of Theodore Roosevelt. The man embodied the Strenuous Life. He was a rancher, a soldier, a hunter, a statesman, and a practitioner of boxing and judo. But what many people don’t know about Roosevelt was that he was also an accomplished man of letters. He wrote over forty books himself and read thousands of others over the course of his lifetime. And as my guests on the show point out, TR’s literary life was ti...more
We all want to feel like our lives matter. To find this kind of significance, we often think in macro terms about our overarching purpose and values. Such reflection is certainly useful, but what are the smaller building blocks that will get us to those goals? What are things we can do to live more purposefully on a day-to-day basis?My guest lays out ten such habits in his latest book, Make Today Matter. His name is Chris Lowney. He started his vocational life studying to become a...more
Back in 2016, a bizarre story emerged in pop culture. Professional wrestler Hulk Hogan won a $115 million dollar lawsuit against the gossip website Gawker for publishing a sex tape that had been made without his consent. The victory was somewhat surprising but the real surprise was who was actually behind the lawsuit; it wasn't Hogan himself, but the billionaire founder of PayPal, Peter Thiel. Thiel had his own axe to grind against Gawker, and he had been honing it since 2007. He had ...more
To achieve your goals, you probably think you need one key ingredient: willpower. Grit. Self-control. Discipline. To hear a lot of self-improvement gurus tell it, if you want to get your life together, then just get it together. Just do it. Yet while these motivational calls certainly feel good and make us pump our fists, how well does willpower-ing your way to your goals work in reality?If you're like a lot of people, who have a string of half-finished aims heaped in the dustbin of their l...more
There’s a common argument out there that gender differences are just the product of socialization. Implicitly and explicitly, the argument goes, culture tells men and women how men and women should behave.My guest todayargues that the drivers of male and female behavior are little more complex than that. In fact, about 50% of the differences between men and women are rooted in our biology, beginning with how our respective brains form in utero. Her name is Louann Brizendine. She’s a ne...more
Hunting is one of America’s deeply held national traditions. Some of our biggest folk heroes were hunters — men like Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, and Theodore Roosevelt. But how did hunting become a tradition in America in the first place and how did that tradition influence American culture, including its arts and conservation laws?My guest todaytackled the history of American hunting, especially its sporting form, in his latest book. His name is Philip Dray and his book is The Fair C...more
Ed Dyess was a smart, talented, athletic kid from Texas who had a passion for flying, movie star good looks, and a flare for acting. Thanks to a chance encounter on a highway in the middle of nowhere, he went on to become an ace fighter pilot, lead men with guns-a-blazing in America’s first amphibious attack during World War II, survive the Bataan Death March, and escape a harsh Japanese POW camp. All the while, Dyess kept quietly inspiring and leading everyone he encountered.Today on the s...more
We’ve been told since we were little kids to “Be nice.” But what if being nice isn’t really that good and it’s making you and those around you miserable? That’s the provocative argument my guest today makes. His name is Dr. Aziz Gazipura. He's a psychologist and founder of the Social Confidence Center. In his latest book, Not Nice, he makes the case that being nice is holding a lot of men back in their lives. We begin the show by talking about what people think “nice” means, but how it usually p...more
If you’re like a lot of people, engaging in small talk can feel awkward and tedious. Consequently, you avoid it as much you can. But my guest today argues that if you want to get ahead both personally and professionally, you need to embrace these little exchanges. Her name is Debra Fine and she's the author of "The Fine Art of Small Talk." Today on the show, Debra explains why small talk is actually a big deal and isn’t just a waste of saliva. She then shares the biggest obstacles people have t...more
What makes a great sports dynasty a great sports dynasty? We typically think it’s the result of amazing talent or coaching. But my guest today argues that it all comes down to the often quiet, understated leadership of a team captain. His name is Sam Walker and he’s the author of the book "The Captain Class: The Hidden Force That Creates the World’s Greatest Teams." Today on the show, Sam and I discuss his quest to uncover what makes great teams great and the unlikely answer he came up with. We ...more
Between 1991 and 1996, Jim and Jamie Dutcher lived with and filmed a pack of wolves in Idaho. From this intensive field work came the award-winning documentary, "Wolves at Our Door." The husband and wife team are out with a new book that highlights some of the things they learned on living a flourishing life from the wolf pack they were embedded within. It’s called "The Wisdom of Wolves: Lessons from the Sawtooth Pack." Jim and Jamie share what wolves can teach us about family, respecting your e...more
Networking. You’re told it’s something you need to do to advance your professional life, but the tactics most “networking professionals” suggest either don’t work or make you feel icky and awkward. My guest today argues that you don’t have to go to networking events or hand out business cards left and right to network effectively. You just need to realize you're already embedded in a really effective network right now. His name is David Burkus. He’s a professor of leadership and the author of ...more
In today's world, honor is typically thought of in terms of integrity -- doing the right thing when no one is looking. But traditionally, honor meant having a reputation worthy of the respect of others. If people think about this type of honor at all these days, it's usually in a negative way, associating it with pistol duels, honor killings, and toxic shame. But my guest today argues that for moral life to be robust and vital, a culture of honor is absolutely necessary. His name is Tamler Somme...more
When it comes to fitness and nutrition, the nutrition part can cause a lot of confusion. There’s so much information out there about the best diet to follow and often the advice is contradictory. My guest today is here to clear up some of the confusion. His name is Robert Santana, he’s a registered dietician, a PhD candidate in exercise and nutrition science, a Starting Strength coach, and the nutrition coach at Starting Strength Online Coaching. Today on the show we discuss all things diet and...more
Modern life has given us lots of conveniences. With a tap of your smartphone screen, and without leaving the house, you can order a car to your door or a hot dinner, or even replenish your toilet paper supply. Right now, you’re listening to this podcast how and when you want to. Yes, life is good in the 21st century. But what if there’s such a thing as too much convenience? What if it's actually enslaving us in some strange way? That’s what my guest today argues. His name is Tim Wu, he’s a prof...more
Testosterone. It’s what makes men, well, men. But my guest today argues that this hormone is a paradox. On the one hand, it makes men physically strong, courageous, and ambitious. But on the other hand, testosterone can contribute to prostate cancer, heart disease, and asocial aggression. My guests's name is Charles Ryan. He’s an oncologist that specializes in prostate cancer, and in his book, "The Virility Paradox," he walks readers through the upsides and the downsides of testosterone. We begi...more
To hear a lot of guys tell it, real men don't care about style. Where did this idea that men don't care about their appearance come from, has it always been around, and is there validity to it? My guest today argues against the idea that real men don't care about clothes and lays out a case for style being a valid part of masculinity. His name is Tanner Guzy. He's a stye coach and the author of "The Appearance of Power: How Masculinity Is Expressed Through Aesthetics." Today Tanner and I discuss...more
#397: Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed With Happiness by The Art of Manliness
Recent surveys have shown that rates of anxiety are up, especially among young people. What’s going on? And if you’re someone of any age who struggles with anxiety, what can you do about it? Those are just a few of the questions I ask my guest today. His name is Kevin Ashworth and he’s the clinical director at the NW Anxiety Institute. Today on the show Kevin and I discuss the difference between regular worrying and anxiety disorders, the ill effects of anxiety, and its causes. Kevin then explai...more
In a world where some people have certain advantages that others do not, how do you navigate the landscape while still acting ethically? My guest today argues that we all need to put some more skin in the game. His name is Nassim Taleb. If you read the AoM site, you’ve likely seen our articles about his antifragility concept. In his latest book, "Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life," he explores the ethics of living in a complex and uneven world. We begin our conversation discussi...more
In 1942, the United States was fighting a war in two major theaters: Europe and the Pacific. But in the early days of WWII, the US and its allies had a “Europe First” strategy which resulted in more troops, supplies, and attention being funneled to that theater. American forces in the Pacific were charged with protecting Australia from Japan, but given scant resources to fulfill that mandate. But a group of enterprising and rebellious bomber airmen stationed in Papau New Guinea grew tired of pla...more
At some point all of us will likely experience a job loss or some other big life setback. While it can feel like your world is crashing down, there’s one asset you'll hopefully have at your disposal which can help you weather the storm: your social circle. My guest today experienced the buoying power of relationships firsthand when he lost a job he held for over ten years. His name is Jordan Harbinger and we’ve had him on the podcast before. For 11 years he was the host of the Art of Charm Podc...more
#392: How Jesuit Spirituality Can Improve Your Life by The Art of Manliness
When you think about diet and nutrition, you probably think about carbs, proteins, and fats. These macronutrients play a huge role in athletic performance and whether you gain or lose weight. But food is also full of micronutrients that are vital for your health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, most people overlook micronutrients, and consequently are deficient in them. My guest today has spent her career researching the ill effects of micronutrient deficiencies and what you can do to optimize them...more
Insults are a part of the human experience. We insult others and we get insulted back. Social media has only amplified our tendency to ridicule one another, and increased our likelihood of being on the receiving end of a barb. Yet we don't typically understand the dynamics of insults very well. Why do we throw insults at each other and why do they hurt so much? Is there anything we can do to reduce the mental and emotional sting of these verbal affronts? My guest today has explored the philosoph...more
We live in a time of hype and self-aggrandizement. But my guest today argues that what the world needs more of are quiet professionals -- people who’s only focus is to get the job done well. His name is Rob Shaul and he’s the founder and president of Mountain Tactical Institute. We had Rob on the podcast last year to discuss his physical fitness philosophy. Today on the show, I talk to Rob about his philosophy towards work and life that he’s laid out in a series of essays on his site about what ...more
Have you ever been part of an organization where everyone and everything just seemed to click? People are motivated and things get done. Contrast that experience with being part of an organization that feels toxic. Demoralization, cynicism, and infighting emotionally drain the people who work within it, and dysfunction reigns. Why do some organizations thrive and others flounder? My guest today argues that it all comes down to culture. His name is Daniel Coyle and he’s the author of the book The...more
It’s been said that life is a series of decisions. But life is complex and filled with randomness and uncertainty. How do you make decisions when 1) you don’t know everything you need to know to make the optimal decision, and 2) the factors influencing your decision are constantly changing? My guest today suggests thinking like a poker player. Her name is Annie Duke. She’s a former World Series of Poker champion turned business consultant. In her book "Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions...more
With boxing on the wane in America for the past twenty some odd years, it’s easy to forget how much of a cultural juggernaut it was for much of the 20th century. Boxing was not only a common recreational pastime and athletic pursuit for young men, and a wildly popular spectator sport, it was a metaphor for manhood and other American cultural struggles as well. When two men stepped in the ring, it wasn’t just two men fighting. The bout could become a battle of white vs. black, nativist vs. immigr...more
When you study for a test or you’re trying to learn a new skill, what’s your typical approach? If you’re like most people, you might repeat facts over and over again or do the same task over and over again until you can do it in your sleep. While these brute force tactics might make you feel like you’re encoding new information into your brain, my guest today argues that you’re just fooling yourself. His name is Peter Brown, and he’s the co-author of the book Make it Stick: The Science of Succes...more
When you hear self-reliance, what do you think of? Living off the grid in a cabin somewhere? Doing everything yourself, and pulling yourself up by your bootstraps? Do these images get at what it really means to be self-reliant, or is there a deeper and even more profound meaning to be grasped? Indeed there is, and my guest today is here to help us unpack it. His name is Kyle Eschenroeder. He’s a regular contributor at AoM and we’ve just published a little pocket guide filled with his meditations...more
In the past few years, there’s been a lot written about the ills of the “masks of masculinity.” These supposed social masks are the source of personal problems in the lives of men as well as countless societal problems. But what if the problem isn’t the masks of masculinity themselves? What if the problem is we don’t teach young men how to wear these masks in a way that’s productive and pro-social? That’s what my guest today suggests. He makes his living teaching actors how to put on the mask ...more
How long can a human run without stopping? What’s the most weight a human can deadlift? Will someone ever run a mile in less than three minutes and thirty seconds? My guest explores these questions in his latest book, and along the way uncovers insights into all the factors that go into pushing the limits of human athletic performance. His name is Alex Hutchinson and he’s the author of "Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance." Today on the show, Alex and I dis...more
If you’re a parent, you likely want your kid to flourish and succeed. And according to my guest today, the best way to do that is to let your kid fail. Her name is Jessica Lahey and she’s a teacher and the author of the book, "The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed." Today on the show, Jess gives us a quick overview of the history of parenting in America and why it’s gotten more protective and more involved in the past few decades. We then discuss...more
For thousands of years, philosophers and writers have debated the nature of courage. What is it? Are some people born more courageous than others? Can you learn to be courageous? My guest today set out to answer these questions by looking at courage through a scientific lens. His name is Robert Biswas-Diener. He’s a psychologist and the author of "The Courage Quotient: How Science Can Make You Braver." Today on the show, Robert explains how he defined courage for the purpose of his research and ...more
#379: How to Spot Red Flags in a Relationship by The Art of Manliness
According to my guest today, the past decade has seen the rise of a truly soul-sucking food trend. In fact, he argues it’s creating a hell on earth. What is this mealtime monster? It’s brunch. My guest's name is Brendan Newnam and he, along with his co-author Rico Gagliano, is on a mission to destroy brunch and bring back the dinner party. Brendan and I begin our conversation discussing why brunch has become big business in America, but why he thinks it’s terrible for us individually and also...more
Have you been stuck in a rut for awhile? Have you been there so long that you feel like there’s no use in trying to get out of that slump? Maybe you even start telling yourself, “Things can never get better. This is just the way things are. Is there even a point to all of this?” And as you ruminate over these questions over and over, you feel more and more depressed and maybe even start to feel a bit resentful. Resentful towards others, resentful towards life itself. Well, my guest today says t...more
Being successful in life requires social adeptness. And part of that social adeptness is balancing two seemingly opposing social strategies: competing and cooperating. But how do you know which approach to take in the hundreds of different social relationships you navigate day in and day out? For example, should you go out of your way to promote your achievements to your boss or should you spend more time helping your fellow co-workers? My guest today explores these subtle and often complex que...more
The ends justify the means. It’s better to be feared than loved. Politics have no relation to morals. These are just a few of the maxims the Italian writer Niccolo Machiavelli is well known for. The cynical and duplicitous advice he offered in 'The Prince' has made Machiavelli’s name synonymous with manipulative self-interest and deceitful plays for power. But what if Machiavelli wrote 'The Prince' not as sincere advice for would-be leaders, but as a work of irony and satire that’s meant to shi...more
You may have heard of Roger Bannister and his amazing feat of breaking the 4-minute mile mark in 1954. But the story leading up to this milestone of human performance often gets overlooked and is filled with drama and lessons on grit, determination, and a living a balanced life. My guest today wrote a book sharing the story behind Bannister’s record and the two other men who were also vying to break it. His name is Neal Bascomb and his book is "The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Le...more
It’s been said “Leaders are readers.” But what should a leader read? My guest today set out to answer that question by polling 4-star generals and admirals in the U.S. military to get their best recommendations. His name is Admiral James Stavridis. He's served as the commander of US Southern Command, US European Command, and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe. He now serves as dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. In his book, "The Leader’s Bookshelf," Admiral ...more
During the past decade three companies have revolutionized the way we shop, socialize, and find information. I’m talking, of course, about Amazon, Facebook, and Google. While these companies have made our lives easier in many ways, my guest today argues that they’re also eroding autonomy and individuality. His name is Franklin Foer and he’s the author of the book, "World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech." Today on the show, Franklin talks about how the utopian ideals of Silicon V...more
#371: The Best Ways to Rehab From Injury by The Art of Manliness
After WWII and before the Korean War, America experienced a short period free from the fear of war and conflict. People were optimistic about a future of peace and plenty. My guest today calls this time the “era of bright expectations,” and he experienced it firsthand as a young man who had just graduated from college. The era's burgeoning sense of optimism inspired him and a few of his college buddies to set out on a road trip up to the Canadian wilds in search of the spirit of romance and adve...more
When it comes to planning for success, we tend to focus on the what and the how. For example, when we set our workout goals, we’ll come up with detailed plans on what exercises we’ll do; when we come up with a debt repayment plan, we decide exactly how we’re going to pay down the debt. But what if success in any endeavor isn’t only decided by the what or the how, but also the when? That’s what my guest today argues in his latest book. His name is Daniel Pink, he’s the author of "Drive," "A Who...more
Ulysses S. Grant is a historical figure who's often portrayed in a not-so-flattering light. Many Americans know him as a drunk, inept businessman who found himself thrust into generalship during the Civil War and led the Union to victory not because of his military genius, but simply because he happened to be on the side that had more men and weapons. The story then goes that Grant parlayed his military success into a career in politics where he led a failed presidential administration mired in ...more
It’s a new year and you’ve likely set some new goals for yourself. Now you just need some motivation to work on them. So you read motivational quotes on Instagram, listen to a motivational podcaster yell at you for thirty minutes while you commute to work, and repeat affirmations about crushing it every morning and night. You’re feeling motivated. Really motivated. You start to take some steps to accomplish your goals. But then a few days later, you’re not feeling so motivated, and because you...more
George Washington has become an archetype of the great American leader. Subsequent generals and presidents all have been compared to Washington, and in the American mythos, they all fall short of this founder's military and political genius. What many people don’t know about Washington, however, is that his formal schooling abruptly ended at age 11 with the death of his father and that he was largely self-taught. My guest today wrote an intellectual biography of Washington and how this autodidac...more
For the past few decades, there’s been an intense focus on getting more women in the workplace and helping them thrive and succeed. At the same time, however, a silent problem has emerged that could have serious repercussions on our economy and society: more and more men have been dropping out of the workforce. My guest today is an economist with the American Enterprise Institute who has written a book highlighting what he calls an “invisible crisis.” His name is Nicholas Eberstadt and his book ...more
#364: How to Know When Someone is Lying (From a Former CIA Officer) by The Art of Manliness
If you find yourself running out of money before your next paycheck or if you’ve been having trouble making a dent in your debt, then you, my friend, need a budget. My guest today is Jesse Mecham, he’s the creator of the You Need a Budget system and software and he’s just written a book about the philosophy underpinning his system. It’s called "You Need a Budget: The Proven System for Breaking the Paycheck to Paycheck Cycle, Getting Out of Debt, and Living the Life You Want." Today on the show,...more
#362: The Art of Mingling by The Art of Manliness
When many people think of the American involvement in WWII, they likely bring to mind the 101st Airborne Division (aka the Band of Brothers) and their heroics at Normandy. But there was another American infantry division that took part in the largest amphibious assault in world history (no, it wasn’t D-Day) and then fought a year in Europe before the 101st even showed up. All in all, this division saw over 500 days of combat. They were the Thunderbirds of the 45th infantry division and my guest ...more
It’s a common trope that adult men don’t value friendship as much as their female counterparts, and that men really don’t need and want friends like women do. But my guest today argues that assumption is wrong and comes from viewing friendship from a strictly female point of view. In fact, based on his research, most adult men very much want good friends but just don’t know how to make them. What’s more, he says, male friendships look different from female ones and we should stop judging the qua...more
Do you sometimes wish you had a cabinet of counselors you could go to for advice and insight on how to make life better and easier for yourself? Well, my guest today created his own board of mighty mentors — a metaphorical round table of some of the most successful people in the world — and asked them all the same 11 questions on how to live a more fulfilling and productive life. And he wrote a book to share all the insights he learned with others. His name is Tim Ferriss, and he's an author ...more
Have you ever just wanted to get in your car, drive off into the middle of nowhere, leave behind the hustle and bustle of civilization, and just be by yourself? Well, in 1986 a man named Christopher Knight did just that and lived alone in the Maine woods without any, any human contact for 27 years until he was discovered in 2013. My guest today wrote a biography — "The Stranger in the Woods" — about this man who locals called “the Hermit of the North Pond.” His name is Michael Finkel and today ...more
Leonardo da Vinci has become the ultimate archetype of the creative genius. Besides his famous paintings, including the Mona Lisa, da Vinci had insights into anatomy and optics that would take science a few hundred years to verify. While Leonardo's genius seems like a gift from the gods, my guest today argues that it was actually the result of years of human effort and toil. Today on the show I have the pleasure of speaking with famed author Walter Isaacson about his latest biography called "Le...more
Procrastination. We’ve all done it and we tell ourselves we’ll never do it again. So we come up with an elaborate time management system to get us on track only to find ourselves continuing to put things off. While some procrastination can be mildly infuriating, chronic procrastination can be financially, professionally, and personally devastating — overdue bills result in calls from collection agencies, late reports result in getting fired, and undone chores turn your house into a dump. Why do...more
#355: Leadership and Public Service With Gov. Eric Greitens by The Art of Manliness
Physical training has a lot of carry over to other domains of your life. It can help you become a better husband and father, a more productive worker, and a more disciplined student. My guest today is a living manifestation of the multiplier effect that physical training produces. His name is Dan John. He holds several records in discus and the highland games, and coaches and consults top athletes in the throwing sports and Olympic lifting. Dan also holds master's degrees in history and religiou...more
Picture this: You’re sitting in your car at a stoplight mindlessly staring off into the distance when a memory from your childhood pops into your mind. Initially, thinking about the memory makes you feel happy, but then you start feeling a pang of sadness for that time long gone. If you’ve experienced that feeling of happiness tinged with sadness, you’ve experienced nostalgia. My guest today is a psychologist who has spent his career researching this oft-overlooked emotion. His name Clay Routle...more
While meat makes up a big portion of Americans' diet, few people know very much about how meat is sourced and butchered for consumption. Today on the show, I talk to a world-renowned third-generation butcher, Pat LaFrieda, about all things meat, including his new book, "Meat: Everything You Need to Know." We begin our conversation talking about his family business in New York City and how it became one of the premier meatpackers in America. Pat then walks us through how that steak you’re grillin...more
We’ve all heard the jokes about useless liberal arts degrees, but my guest today argues that in today’s high tech economy, liberal arts degrees can be incredibly useful and even lucrative. His name is George Anders and he’s the author of the book "You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of a 'Useless' Liberal Arts Education." We begin our conversation looking at research that suggests that the jobs that pay the most money and are in the most demand today require a liberal arts background, and ...more
When you train your body, you actually don’t get stronger while you’re lifting weights. You get stronger after your training session and during your recovery period. For your muscles to fully adapt and recover, you need to eat plenty of food and get plenty of sleep. To really get strong, you need to take your recovery as serious as you take your training. What's true for the body, is true for the mind as well. At least that’s what my guests today argue. Their names are Brad Stulberg and Steve M...more
Dating has never been more ambiguous than it is today. People sort of end up with each other without explicitly defining the nature of their relationship, level of commitment, or expectations for the future. What begins as hanging out, slides into spending the night, which slides into moving in together, and can even sometimes slide into marriage. While keeping your romantic relationships ambiguous may seem to make them safer and less complicated, my guest today has conducted research that shows...more
Trust. It certainly makes life easier when it exists. Instead of having to craft complicated contracts for a business deal, a simple handshake will do. Instead of surveilling your spouse like the NSA, you take them at their word. But trust, it seems, is in short supply these days. We’re afraid of trusting people and we have a hard time getting people to trust us. How can you establish trust in even the most toxic environments? My guest today thinks he has the answer to that question. His name is...more
You’ve likely experienced an awkward moment or two in your life. You say or do something that’s out of social sync, leaving the person you’re interacting with bemused, and you feeling like running and hiding under a rock. While awkwardness is an uncomfortable feeling and can hurt us socially, my guest today argues that there is some upside to it too. His name is Ty Tashiro. He’s a psychologist and the author of "Awkward: The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward and Why That’s Awesome." Today o...more
There’s been a lot written and said about the fall of the Roman Empire. But what often gets overlooked is that before Rome became an empire with what was effectively a king, it was a kingless republic. What was that republic like and why did it fall into an empire, before the empire itself fell? My guest today explores this question in his book, "The Storm Before the Storm." His name is Mike Duncan and he’s the host of the Revolutions and the History of Rome podcasts. Today on the show, Mike wal...more
Oftentimes when you start making positive changes for the better in your life, you’re going to have people, even people really close to you who claim to care about you, intentionally or unintentionally try to discourage you from your path. In those moments, you have to develop the ability to shrug off your critics and not let them drag you back down to their level. My guest today has succeeded in that struggle and shares the lessons he learned in his aptly titled book, "Not Caring What Other Peo...more
If you’re looking to pay down debt or save for a financial goal faster, there are two ways to to do it: either save more money or make more money. Let’s assume you’re knocking it out of the park with your frugality. How can you make more money? Well, one way is starting a side hustle. Besides providing you with extra income, my guest today argues that having a small business on the side can actually bring a lot more satisfaction and confidence to your life. His name is Chris Guillebeau and I've ...more
Nature. Even if you're an avid outdoorsman, you likely take it for granted. When you’ve seen one tree or one blue sky, you’ve seen them all, right? Well, to those with well-trained senses, natural surroundings can actually tell you a whole lot. The leaves on a tree can tell you what direction you're headed and the smell in the air can tell you about the weather. There are bits of knowledge and fascinating signposts all around you. My guest today has spent his life observing and cataloging these ...more
In the age where smartphones provide constant stimulation, many of us have forgotten what it feels like to experience the monotony of boredom. And while on the surface that might seem like a good thing, my guest today highlights research that not being bored can actually make us dumber and less creative. Her name is Manoush Zomorodi, she’s the host of the podcast Note to Self and the author of the book "Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self." Tod...more
When it comes to self-improvement, most people set big, audacious goals. Setting those goals feels good. It pumps you up and you feel like you can conquer the world. But then . . . it happens. You have a setback and within a matter of days, your fiery ambition to change yourself is extinguished. And so you’re back to where you started, only you're even worse off than before because you're saddled with the sting of failure. But what if I said there’s a much more effective way to improve yourself ...more
Inside many men is the call for adventure. My guest today is one of those men and listening to that call has led him to pursue a lifetime of amazing expeditions around the globe, all while balancing a demanding career as an airline pilot as well as family responsibilities. His name is Laval St. Germain and today he shares when he first heard the call for adventure on his grandparent’s farm in western Canada and how he started taking action on it. We then go through some of the adventures he’s be...more
When you hear the word “popular” you’re probably transported back to high school where cliques of cheerleaders and football players ruled the roost while everyone else was at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Even as an adult, you probably remember where you stood in the pecking order and have some powerful emotions associated with that. My guest today has researched why popularity plays a key role in our social and psychological development and how our place in the social pecking order as ch...more
If you’re like me, you have a love-hate relationship with your digital devices. On the one hand, they give us access to unlimited amounts of information, connect us with friends and family, and allow us to work from pretty much anywhere. On the other hand, they can captivate our attention so much that we feel distracted and angsty. And try as we might, we often find it hard to ignore the itch to stop scrolling through Instagram and really listen to what a loved one is saying. Why do these device...more
I love many of the classic myths and poems of ancient Greece. My favorite, though, is The Odyssey. While on the surface it seems to just be another epic adventure story, if you dig deeper, The Odyssey can give you insights on fatherhood, marriage, and surviving in a world that’s in constant flux. My guest today recently published a book exploring these themes in The Odyssey, particularly the theme of fathers and sons searching for each other. His name is Daniel Mendelsohn, and he's a classicist...more
#336: Master Your Testosterone by The Art of Manliness
The Epic of Gilgamesh, the Genesis creation story, Bhagavad Gita. These are just a few examples of the myths and stories that explain human existence. Individuals like Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell have argued that while these myths sprang from different cultures, they all share similar archetypes and meta-narratives. My guest today has picked up where Jung and Campbell left off and is making an impassioned case that the way to save ourselves from increasing political polarization is to become a...more
We’re often told violence is never the answer. My guest today would argue that not only is that idea wrong, it's also extremely dangerous. He says that sometimes violence is the answer, and that when it is, it’s the only answer. His name is Tim Larkin and he’s a self-defense expert and the founder of Target Focus Training. Tim has trained military, law enforcement, and civilians on how to use violence to protect themselves. In his latest book, "When Violence Is the Answer," Tim makes a convinci...more
About a year ago, I had cultural critic William Deresiewicz on the podcast to discuss, among other things, a speech he gave at West Point in 2010 on the power of solitude in making better leaders. It’s a powerful speech and my guest today is one of the individuals who was impacted by it. So much so that he spent seven years researching and writing a book on the intersection of solitude and leadership. His name is Mike Erwin and he’s the co-author of the book "Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leade...more
We live in a world that puts a premium on being “authentic” and “showing your true self.” But what exactly is your authentic and true self? For example, is it your natural tendency to be a curmudgeon, or your concerted effort to be kind and generous? Which one is the “real” you? My guest today has grappled with those questions for most of his career as a psychologist, with a focus on personality research. His name is Brian Little and he’s the author of "Me, Myself, and Us: The Science of Perso...more
Do you feel overwhelmed? Do you feel like you're always busy but not productive? Do you feel like your time is constantly being hijacked by other people’s agendas? If you can answer yes to any of those questions, today's episode is for you. I talk to business consultant Greg McKeown about his book "Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less." In it, Greg argues that by doing less we can actually not only be more productive, but, more importantly, get more of the right things done in life. We...more
What skills and knowledge sets does a man need to have in order to be effective and self-reliant? My guest has spent the past few years thinking about this topic and putting down his ideas in a series of books he calls Modules For Manhood. His name is Kenneth W. Royce. I had Kenneth on the show a few years ago to talk about the first volume of Modules for Manhood. Today on the show, we take a look at "Modules for Manhood Volume 2." We begin by discussing what it means “to cope with the world” an...more
If you’re like most people, you’ve probably got some habits you’d like to change: maybe you want to quit smoking or eat better or check your phone less. And if you’re like most people, you’ve probably tried making those changes, and failed. And after failing again and again, you just gave up. My guest today is a psychologist who specializes in helping people make real, lasting change in their lives. His name is Sean Young and he’s the director of the UCLA Center of Digital Behavior and the auth...more
During the past 10 years or so there’s been a lot of chatter about the health benefits of intermittent fasting — that is, going without food for a short window of time on a regular basis. Some of the touted benefits of intermittent fasting include shredding body fat while maintaining muscle, improving blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity, increasing longevity, and improving focus. But how many of those purported benefits are real and how many of them are just hype? Well, my guest today is...more
Camping is one of America’s favorite pastimes. About 50 million Americans head out into the wilderness each year to refresh and reinvigorate themselves. While it may seem like camping as a recreational activity has always been around, camping as we know it today is actually relatively new. For most of human history, camping is what you did during war or on a hunting or fishing expedition. It wasn’t something you just did for fun in and of itself. So how did camping become a modern pastime? My g...more
While there’s been a big push in recent decades to help girls thrive in school and in the workplace, boys in America have quietly been struggling. For example, boys are more likely to have learning and discipline issues in school and are less likely to graduate high school than girls, more women are now attending college than men and are earning more bachelors and masters degrees than men, the incarceration rate for boys has increased in the past few decades, and suicide rates have increased amo...more
When we think of being a good leader, we often think we need to be a bold, visionary, risk-taking type like Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, or Steve Jobs. But my guest today argues that most of the day-to-day work that makes the world function is done by individuals who stand outside the limelight and lead with calm confidence. His name is Joseph Badaracco and he’s the author of the book "Leading Quietly: An Unorthodox Guide to Doing the Right Thing." Today on the show, Joe and I discuss ...more
If you’re like many modern men, you might have a pretty good life — a decent job, a family, a home, maybe a few hobbies. Despite having the appearance of a good life, though, you feel kind of empty inside. Like you’re missing something. My guests today would argue that what you’ve got is a case of Sad Clown Syndrome and to get over it, you need to get together with some men and do some burpees. Their names are Dave Redding and Tim Whitmire and they’re the leaders of a grassroots movement bring...more
Take a breath right now. Did your chest go up and down? Congratulations, you just failed at breathing. Don’t worry, my guest today on the show will set you straight. Her name is Belisa Vranich. She’s a clinical psychologist who has made a career re-training people on how to breathe correctly and in her latest book, "Breathe," she provides a step-by-step program to help people breathe better. Today on the show, Belisa explains all the ill health and psychological effects of poor breathing, like i...more
My guest today is Eric Barker, author of "Barking Up the Wrong Tree." We all know those collective maxims on success: nice guys finish last; it’s not what you know, it’s who you know; winners never quit. We’ve heard them so often that we accept them as articles of faith. But are they really true? My guest today says, yes…and no. His name is Eric Barker and he’s the author of one of the few blogs I regularly read: Barking Up the Wrong Tree. There, he takes a look at what actual research says a...more
Personal finance can seem intimidating, but the reality is it’s pretty basic — save more than you spend, find ways to earn more, invest for the long-term, and protect your assets. But if personal finance is so easy, why do so many people screw it up? My guest today has spent his career exploring this topic. His name is Jonathan Clements and he’s been The Wall Street Journal’s personal finance columnist for years. During his writing career, he’s also published several popular personal finance boo...more
You’ve probably heard about the precipitous rise in diagnoses of ADHD in America the past few decades. What was once a rare mental illness has now become a common problem amongst children -- particularly boys. Why the sudden spike? Are there really more people with ADHD or is something else going on? My guest today has some possible answers to that question. His name is Steve Hinshaw and he's a professor of psychology at UC Berkeley. In his book, "The ADHD Explosion," Dr. Hinshaw gives the lay r...more
My guest today is Robert Moor, author of "On Trails: An Exploration." ______________ One of my favorite things to do in life is to find and hike a trail out in the wilds. I love how a good trail gently leads you through nature. You don’t have to think much about where you’re going, so it gives you time to think about other things. It's great for chewing on deep issues and getting new insights, but it also causes you to take the trail for granted. For example, I sometimes forget that a group of p...more
My guest today is a psychologist who specializes in the science of first impressions and has written the most useful and thorough book on the topic that I've come across. Her name is Ann Demarais and her book is "First Impressions: What You Don’t Know About How Others See You." Today on the show, Ann explains how quickly we make a first impression and the psychological biases that influence how people judge you (and how you judge others). We then dig into what you should focus on during a first...more
Interest in Stoicism has experienced a renaissance in recent years. Yet despite the increasing popularity of this ancient philosophy, misconceptions still abound about it. For example, many people assume that to be Stoic means to not feel or express any emotion, including happiness, and that Stoicism requires one to live a bland and spartan lifestyle. My guest on the show today debunks these myths and shows that Stoicism can actually enrich our lives and allow us to experience real happiness. Hi...more
Today on the show, Noah Kagan shares what it was like getting fired from Facebook right before it went public and losing out on a $185 million pay day, and how he bounced back from that blow. He then digs into the process he goes through in testing if a business idea is viable and how he used that process to start several successful ventures. Noah then shares the difference between founding a business and managing it, and why managers get the short shrift in today’s start-up focused world. We en...more
Today on the show, I talk to GORUCK founder Jason McCarthy, who started the company after serving as a Green Beret in Iraq. What began as a backpack company has morphed into a tight-knit community of people looking to push themselves through what Jason calls "Good livin." Today on the show, Jason and I discuss where the idea for the GORUCK events came from and what a man can learn about leadership, teamwork, and community by doing hard things with other people.
My guest is Chris Fussell, author of "One Mission: How Leaders Build a Team of Teams." Today on the show, Chris and I discuss why traditional top-down leadership organizations aren’t effective today either in the world of military or business and how civilian organizations can apply the lessons he learned during combat. We discuss the legacy of John Boyd’s OODA Loop philosophy and how McChrystal took that idea and scaled it to the large and often bureaucratic armed forces. Chris then delves into...more
My guest today is Paul Bogard, author of "The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light." Today on the show, Paul and I discuss what true darkness actually looks like and the type of un-dark night most modern folks experience. He then shares the last few spots in America and Europe where you can still experience true darkness and what the sky in those places looks like. We then delve into what we miss out on spiritually by not experiencing true darkness and the h...more
The ability to grow a beard is what separates boys from men and except for a few rare instances of bearded ladies, men from women. Because it’s a uniquely masculine feature, facial hair has played an important role in forming our ideas about manhood. Today on the show, I talk to a cultural historian who specializes in the history of facial hair about the cultural, political, and religious history of the beard. His name is Christopher Oldstone-Moore and in his latest book Of Beards and Men he tak...more
One of the primary roles of men across time and culture is that of the warrior. Indeed, how we define masculinity at its core is centrally shaped by warfare. The virtues we think of as manly, like courage, physical strength, and daring, are vital in battle, and because men have primarily been the ones doing the fighting for thousands of years, we expect men to possess those masculine virtues. But the way war is waged has changed throughout human history. If warfare informs our ideas of manhood, ...more
My guest today is Isaac Lidsky, author of the new book "Eyes Wide Open: Overcoming Obstacles and Recognizing Opportunities in a World That Can’t See Clearly." Today on the show, Isaac and I discuss how he went blind and his initial reaction to losing his sight. We then dig into insights he gained about resilience, humility, and Theodore Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” speech that allowed him to move forward in life. Among his accomplishments since going blind are graduating from Harvard Law Schoo...more
My guest today is Mike Rowe, former host of Dirty Jobs, and current blue collar trade advocate. On the show, Mike and I discuss where the idea for Dirty Jobs came from and why a show about blue collar workers became a surprise hit. We then explore why we devalue blue collar work, the societal and individual consequences of that devaluation, and what Mike is doing to make pursuing vocational and trade work cool and viable again. If you’re a young man trying to figure out if college and an office ...more
My guest today is retired Navy Admiral William McRaven, author of "Make Your Bed." Today on the show, Admiral McRaven and I discuss why something as simple as making your bed every day can lay the foundation for success in every aspect of your life, how a parachuting accident taught him an important lesson on avoiding self-pity and learning to rely on the help of others, and why rolling in the sand as a SEAL trainee taught him how to become more resilient to the whims of life. We end our convers...more
My guest today is David Kwong. He’s a magician, New York Times crossword creator, and now author of the book "Spellbound: Seven Principles of Illusion to Captivate Audiences and Unlock the Secrets of Success. Today on the show, David and I discuss how several key principles from magic can be applied beyond the stage and make you more successful in business and life. We’ll learn what it means to “load up” in magic and how Richard Branson used that principle to start Virgin Airlines, and why story...more
My guest on today's show is Winston Groom, author of "The Aviators: Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle, Charles Lindbergh, and the Epic Age of Flight." Winston Groom has authored numerous history and historical fiction books, including "Forrest Gump," as well as the subject of today's show, "The Aviators," in which he details the engaging history of these pioneers of flight and their service to their country. Today on the show, we discuss each of these men and their respective heroics -- from L...more
My guest today is Jeffrey Marx, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book "Season of Life." Today on the show, Jeffrey talks about his relationship with retired NFL athlete and now minister and high school football coach Joe Ehrmann. Jeff begins by sharing what he learned from Joe and other NFL players about what it means to be a man during his stint as a ball boy for the Baltimore Colts in the 1970s. He then shares how Joe went from a party animal to an inner-city minister who focused on helpin...more
Today on the show, I talk to Emrys Westacott, philosophy professor and author of "The Wisdom of Frugality," about the philosophical history of penny pinching. We begin our conversation discussing what philosophers mean by frugality and the various philosophical schools that gave frugality primacy. We then go on to summarize the arguments as to why frugality makes people wiser and happier, the counter-arguments to frugality as a virtue, why the ideal of frugality changes based on circumstances, a...more
Back in 2015, I had Starting Strength coach Matt Reynolds on the podcast to talk about barbell training. At about the same time, I started getting online coaching from Matt for my own barbell training. A year and half later, I’ve made some incredible gains with my strength and hit personal records that I never thought I’d be able to attain. Thanks to Matt, I was inspired to have recently entered my first barbell competition, and deadlifted 533 lbs, squatted 420 lbs, and shoulder pressed 201 lbs ...more
Today's guest is Kyle Eschenroeder, author of "The Pocket Guide to Action." Last year, Kyle published a piece on the site called "Meditations on the Wisdom of Action." It contained 116 short, punchy devotional-esque passages on the nature and importance of action. It was my favorite piece of content in 2016, and I still find myself continually thinking about its principles, and utilizing them in my life. The feedback we’ve received from readers has been similarly enthusiastic. At over 16,000 wor...more
My guest today is Lenore Skenazy, author of "Free Range Kids." Today on the show, Lenore and I discuss how being labeled “America’s Worst Mom” led her to become a leader of a movement to give kids more unsupervised time, the cultural shifts that have happened in the past 30 years that have resulted in overprotective parenting, and why, contrary to popular belief, the chance of your kid getting abducted by a stranger is actually incredibly small. Along the way, Lenore shares some crazy stories of...more
Ancient Greece and Rome have a heavy influence on the idea of manhood we promote on the Art of Manliness. In fact, this classical conception of manliness was how much of the West defined manhood up until the middle of the 20th century. If you were to ask a man living in 1920 what “manliness” meant, he’d probably give you roughly the same answer as a Greek or Roman man living 2,000 years ago. My guest on the podcast today is a classical scholar who has spent time thinking and writing about Greek ...more
My guest today is Matt Moore, and we talk about his new book, "The South's Best Butts." Today on the show Matt details the history of BBQ and why pork is a staple in the Southern variety. He then explains what exactly a pork butt is (and no, it’s not the rear of a pig), and why it's such an ideal meat for smoking. Matt then shares how and why BBQ flavors and techniques differ across the South and highlights a few pitmasters who are adding new takes to this traditional dish. We end our conversati...more
My guest today is Beth Kobliner, and we discuss her latest book, "Make Your Kid a Money Genius." Beth shares the research on the age at which most kids develop the money habits they’ll have for the rest of their life (it’s surprisingly young) and provides some basic guidelines on what you should and should not talk about with your children when it comes to money. We then dig into specific tactics on teaching your kids -- whether they’re in preschool or college -- about saving, work, insurance, a...more
My guest today is William Damon, author of the book "Path to Purpose." There’s been a lot of ink spilt in the past decade about young adults' “failure to launch," wherein 20-somethings who should be progressing into independent adulthood, end up spending that decade of their life in an extended adolescence. Several reasons have been given for this phenomenon, from the economy to helicopter parenting. After conducting a landmark 25-year study, my guest argues that a major factor in young adults' ...more
My interview today is with Craig Marker, a StrongFirst kettlebell trainer, and psychology professor at Mercer University. We’re big fans of the kettlebell here at the Art of Manliness. It’s a great piece of gym equipment that builds both strength and cardiovascular conditioning. Today on the show, I talk to StrongFirst kettlebell coach Craig Marker about the wonders of these little cannonballs with handles. Mark digs deep into the research done by the Soviets back in the 70s and 80s that shows w...more
My guest today is Jordan Harbinger of the Art of Charm podcast. While men sometimes see developing their social skills as something superficial or unimportant, these skills are essential for success in business and life. Knowing how to interact and get along with others is how we can make friends, find love, and advance our career. My guest on the podcast today has spent the past ten years helping men become more socially dynamic through his in-person coaching services and his podcast The Art of...more
My guest today is Scott Sonenshein, and we talk about his new book "Stretch." Scott and I discuss why chasing more resources often leads to failure, and why learning to stretch and use what you've got can give you a competitive advantage in business and in life. Scott then shares insights he’s gleaned from the world of business on how the stretching principle can help you achieve your personal goals. We then dig into the science of why constraints make us more creative and scrappy, why planning ...more
My guest today is New York Times columnist David Brooks, who also authored the book "The Road to Character." David and I begin our discussion with the “crooked timber” view of humanity that people had in previous generations and how it shaped moral development. He then takes us through the cultural changes that got rid of this perspective of human nature and how that led to a loss of a moral vocabulary that makes it hard for people today to even talk about character. We then take a look at the l...more
My guest today is Robert Matzen, author of "Mission: Jimmy Stewart and the Fight for Europe." Robert shares why Stewart’s family history instilled an iron sense of duty towards serving his country in the military and how Stewart spent his single day off as an actor training to be an Army pilot in the years leading up to WWII. We also discuss how Stewart had to fight military brass and his boss at MGM Studios to ensure that he actually saw combat instead of staying stateside to make propaganda fi...more
My guest today is Antony Cummins, and we talk about his book "True Path of the Ninja." Today on the show, Antony uncovers the biggest myths we have in the West about ninjas -- like the fact that there isn’t really a ninjutsu fighting system, nor were samurai the ninjas' sworn enemy -- and then gives the real history of these ancient warriors. Antony then shares what lessons actual ninjas can teach us folks living in the modern West about psychology and interacting with others in business and lif...more
"Software is eating the world," or so we’re told. Products that once took up physical space can be contained in our smartphones and held in the palms of our hands. Instead of having a record collection, now we can stream any music any where and any time we want. Instead of shelves and shelves of books, we can have access to thousands of volumes in our Kindle app. Instead of stacks of photo albums, we can store a virtually unlimited collection of pictures in the digital cloud. But in the cultural...more
Do you find yourself making the same mistakes over and over again in your relationships? For example, do you have a tendency to ignore red flags and constantly end up in relationships that aren’t healthy for you? Maybe you end up in relationships where the initial chemistry is good, but a few months later, you’re looking for any way out. Well, if any of those descriptions describe you (or a friend who needs some advice!), then give this podcast a listen. My guests today argue that your problem i...more
Today on the show, Steven Kotler shares what ecstasis is and why it improves performance in sports, business, and even military combat. He then goes on to describe the four accelerating forces in science that allow individuals to hack into ecstasis more easily, including things like mind-altering drugs and zapping your brain with electricity. Pretty crazy stuff. We end the show discussing how average Joes can get into ecstasis as well as the ethical implications of these new technologies. Are we...more
One of the most heart-wrenching things that can happen to a man is losing his young wife to death. Becoming a widower but also being left alone to father a baby compounds the heartache. It’s something that happened to Theodore Roosevelt and also to my guest today on the show. His name is Daniele Bolelli, he’s a professor of history, host of the podcasts History on Fire and The Drunken Taoist, an amateur mixed martial artist, and the author of several books, including "Not Afraid" and "On the War...more
If you work out regularly, you probably take some sort of supplement, be it whey protein or creatine or a pre-workout energy drink. But do the supplements you’re taking actually work? My guest today on the show has spent his career studying the effects of what we put into our body and is the director of the online encyclopedia of supplements and nutrition called Examine.com. His name is Kamal Patel. He’s a researcher with an MPH and MBA from John Hopkins University and is working on his PhD in n...more
Last summer, I had Lesley Blume on the show to talk about her book "Everybody Behaves Badly" which gives the story behind the story of Hemingway’s first big novel, "The Sun Also Rises." On today’s show, I talk to an author of another book about this landmark novel, who, instead of providing the historical context of "The Sun Also Rises," explores the ideal of manliness Hemingway was trying to get at in the book. His name is Frank Miniter, he’s a journalist and the author of previous books like "...more
My guest today argues that while these narratives may have been true at one point in American history, the statistics show that in recent decades Americans have lost that pioneering, entrepreneurial get-up-and-go. Instead, we’ve become pretty complacent. His name is Tyler Cowen, he’s an economist at George Mason University, writer at his blog Marginal Revolutions, and the author of several books. His latest is "The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream." Today on the ...more
#282: How a Man Develops His Sense of Style by The Art of Manliness
In today’s episode I'm welcoming back one of my all-time favorite guests, writer Steven Pressfield. Steven is the author of several popular novels including "The Legend of Bagger Vance," "Gates of Fire," and "The Virtues of War." He’s also written several popular non-fiction books on the creative process, like "Do the Work" and "The War of Art," which cover how to overcome what he calls "the Resistance." Steve’s now got a new novel out called "The Knowledge." It’s based on his early days as a wr...more
But what if growing up doesn’t mean you have to be boring and lame? What if becoming a grown-up is actually a really rebellious act? That’s the argument my guest today makes in her latest book. Her name is Susan Neiman and she’s the author of 'Why Grow Up? Subversive Thoughts for an Infantile Age.' Today on the show, Susan and I discuss why becoming a grown-up has gotten a bad rap, how our culture— including smartphones— infantilizes us, and what the Enlightenment thinkers Jean-Jacques Rousseau ...more
In recent years, several new veterans organizations have popped up to help our men and women in uniform transition from the service to civilian life. Instead of providing a place where veterans can get together to drink, these new organizations are looking to offer vets a sense of meaning and mission that they often lose after they hang up their uniform. My guest today is head of one of these new organizations. His name is J.J. Pinter and he’s the Deputy Director of Team Red, White, and Blue (Te...more
Today on the podcast I talk to Brad Wilcox, a professor of sociology at the University of Virginia, as well as the Director of the National Marriage Project, who's spent his career researching the impact marriage has on people's lives. Brad I discuss the effect marriage has on men, and why officially tying the knot actually makes a significant difference compared to being in a committed, non-married relationship. We also discuss what men can do to create a lasting marriage and the best age to ge...more
Today on the podcast, I talk to David Kahn, chief instructor at the U.S. Israeli Krav Maga Association and the author of several books on the topic, including Krav Maga Defense. Today on the show, David and I discuss the origins and history of Krav Maga, its philosophy, its fundamental moves, and how to use it in a defensive scenario.
Nicholas Carr and I discuss why he thinks our utopian future is creepy, how the internet is making us dumber, and why doing mundane tasks that we otherwise would outsource to robots or computers is actually a source of satisfaction and human flourishing. We finish our discussion by outlining a middle path approach to technology -- one that doesn’t reject it fully but simultaneously seeks to mitigate its potential downsides.
Modern technology has provided us with an unprecedented amount of comfort. For example, with just a turn of a dial we can ensure that our homes are always set at a perpetual 71 degrees, even if it’s blazing hot or frigidly cold outside. But what if our quest for technology-enabled comfort has actually made us physically and mentally weaker and sicker? What if our bodies actually need discomfort to truly thrive and flourish? My guest today explores that idea firsthand in his book What Doesn’t Kil...more
Stephen Mansfield and I discuss the bleak statistics on male friendship, the myth of the lone alpha male, and why making friends in adulthood is so hard for men today. We then discuss what he means by a “band of brothers,” why men’s accountability groups usually fail, and how a close-knit group of friends can help make you a better man. We end our discussion by delving into exactly what you need to do to develop a band of brothers and what to do when you get together. If you feel like you’ve bee...more
For many of you listening, getting a promotion or a raise is likely a goal for the coming year. But what’s the best approach to take to ensure this desire becomes a reality? My guest today argues that if you want to ask for that promotion this year, you need to start laying the groundwork months before making the pitch to your boss, and she walks us through exactly what you need to do to establish that groundwork. Her name is Frances Cole Jones, she’s an executive image consultant, the author of...more
On today’s show, Joseph Loconte and I discuss what C.S. Lewis called the “Myth of Progress” that had swept the Western World leading up to the First World War, why it contributed to the war's catastrophic damage, and how the myth shaped both Lewis’ and Tolkien’s views about good, evil, and warfare. We then get into detail about Tolkien’s and Lewis’ battlefield experience and how it inspired specific characters and scenes in their respective works. We end our conversation about how the fantasy wo...more
We’ve all likely experienced those moments in life in which our breath is literally taken away; at the same time that we feel existentially small, our spirits seem to greatly expand. It’s a singular feeling that we call wonder. But why do we feel wonder? What purpose does it serve in our survival and flourishing as humans? Why does it get harder and harder to feel wonder as you get older? Is it possible to recapture that lost wonder -- to manufacture it in some way? My guest today explores these...more
We don't normally think of soldiers and first responders as "professional athletes," but that's exactly how my guest today argues they should see themselves. His name is Rob Shaul, and he's the founder and president of the Mountain Tactical Institute -- a research organization dedicated to creating fitness programming that takes workouts outside the gym and gives them a mission-centered focus. Rob believes that soldiers, police officers, and fire fighters, as well as folks who participate in str...more
In the past decade, autism has gotten more and more attention by the media and the wider culture. You probably know someone with autism or who has a child with autism. Yet despite the spotlight autism has gotten in recent years, several myths and misconceptions about it pervade the popular culture. Understanding the history of how the conception of autism we have today developed can go a long way in shedding light on these myths. My guest has written what is probably the most extensive history o...more
What if I told you that there’s a performance-enhancing drug that’s completely free, completely legal, and has no ill side-effects when used correctly? Oh, and you’ve probably already taken it many times in your life. Competition is that drug, and today on the show I talk to author Po Bronson about his book "Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing," which digs deep into the science of competition and how it can improve our performance in a wide variety of tasks. In today’s podcast, Po and I d...more
We’re living in a time in which the landscape is changing quickly. Thanks to technology, steady jobs that provided a living for our fathers and grandfathers no longer exist and jobs that didn’t exist ten years ago are now providing paychecks for hundreds of thousands of people. Even the way we consume has changed in the past ten years thanks to streaming digital services and rental services like Uber and Airbnb. But where are these technological trends taking us? How will they shape the future 1...more
There are some people who absolutely love running, and others who flee screaming from it. They hate how it feels, and they think it's a poor form of exercise because it overly stresses the body, causes tons of injuries, and doesn't even help you lose weight. Right? Are these objections accurate? Today I talk with competitive runner Jason Fitzgerald to get his answers. Jason is a USA Track and Field certified coach and has finished in first place in marathons and obstacle course races across the ...more
Over the years, we’ve had experts on the podcast to talk about how to defend yourself, guys like Tim Larkin and Tony Blauer. But when is your use of force, whether lethal or non-lethal, justified? What are the legal consequences if your self-defense isn’t justified? Today on the podcast, I talk to attorney Andrew Branca about his book The Law of Self Defense. Andrew and I discuss the common legal myths people have about self-defense, how self-defense differs in civil and criminal cases, and when...more
Whether you’re a parent, a manager, or a mentor, we all have to coach people at some point in our life. But how do you coach in a way that makes the recipient receptive to your feedback but doesn’t take up too much of your time and energy? My guest today has spent his career coaching managers on how to be better leaders at work and he's distilled his knowledge on how to coach effectively in his latest book. His name is Michael Bungay Stainer and his book is The Coaching Habit. Today on the show ...more
What is it about making and warming ourselves with woodburning flame that's so satisfying? And how can we better master the art of firemaking? Well my guest today has published a book that’s become a cult classic in Scandinavia and it’s all about wood and fire. His name is Lars Mytting and his book is "Norwegian Wood: Chopping, Stacking, and Drying Wood the Scandinavian Way." Today on the show, Lars and I discuss the pleasures of preparing wood for a fire and why firewood is an important part of...more
While many Christmas traditions have ancient roots, Christmas culture as we know it today is a modern creation and most of that genesis happened in New York City a century ago. My guest today on the show wrote a book that explores the development of Christmas in New York City by looking at a 1920s con man who used the story of Santa Claus to swindle hundreds of thousands of dollars from generous New Yorkers. His name is Alex Palmer and his book is "The Santa Claus Man: The Rise and Fall of a Jaz...more
There’s a growing feeling amongst Americans that we’re suffering a crisis of leadership in our government, families, and businesses. People seem less independent and autonomous, and more directed by others. What's behind this lackluster leadership and what's the solution? My guest today argues that the problem has to do with the way we're bringing up what he calls "excellent sheep," and that the solution is equal doses of deep solitude and deep friendship. His name is William Deresiewicz and he’...more
The barbershop has been an important institution in the African-American community for generations. But what many don’t know is that up until about the Reconstruction era, pretty much all barbers in the United States -- whether they cut the hair of white men or black men -- were African-American, and that barbering provided many black men a good enough living to enter the upper middle class. Today on the show, I talk to historian Douglas Bristol about his book recounting this lost part of Americ...more
If you're a fan of podcasts, my next guest likely needs no introduction. His name is Tim Ferriss, and he's the author of several New York Times bestselling books and the host of the popular podcast, "The Tim Ferriss Show." Tim’s out with a new book called "Tools of Titans," which distills the hours of interviews he's conducted with high-performing guests on his podcast to give readers the best tactics and strategies on how to live a successful, flourishing life. Today on the show, Tim and I disc...more
I’m a classics guy, so the ancient Greeks and Romans inform a lot of my ideas about what manliness means, particularly in regards to the way they equated manliness with living a life of virtue. One of the best books that I’ve come across on how the Greeks saw manliness as intertwined with virtue is by professor of philosophy Angela Hobbs. In Plato and the Hero: Courage, Manliness, and the Impersonal Good, Hobbs goes into detail clarifying Greek concepts related to manliness, including the wild, ...more
Along with getting into shape, being more productive is a common goal people have. While there are a ton of books and articles out there filled with productivity tips, which ones actually work? My guest today took a year out of his life to test all the productivity advice out there and has written a book sharing what worked for him. His name is Chris Bailey and he’s the author of "The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy." Today on the show, Chris...more
Practicing good leadership is difficult enough in everyday situations. Practicing good leadership when you’re literally under fire — whether from bullets or actual flames — truly puts your leadership skills to the test. My guest today has experienced both kinds of fire, and not only lived to tell about it, but distilled out the lessons every man can learn from those life-or-death experiences. His name is Jason Brezler and he’s both a Marine combat veteran and a current firefighter for the New Yo...more
Do you feel overwhelmed by your digital devices? Do you constantly have an itch to check your phone even when you’re trying to focus on important work or interacting with your loved ones? Do you find the constant onslaught of opinions coming from the digital ether psychologically tiring? Do you feel like your inner life and grasp of existential meaning becomes more shallow the more time you spend online? At one time, my guest today on the podcast could say yes to all those questions and decided ...more
The fall of the Roman Empire has been a cultural touchstone in the West for centuries. It’s been used as a warning of what can happen to a society that gets off track. While lots of ink has been spilt on the topic archeologists have made new discoveries in the past few decades that have given us fresh insights as to why the Roman Empire deteriorated and what that decline looked like. My guest today recently earned his PhD from USC, specializing in the fall of the Roman Empire, and he’s begun put...more
Earlier this year we published an in-depth series about masculinity and the Christian religion — in particular, why it is that in nearly all Christian churches the world over, women outnumber men. One of our sources for that series was a book called "Why Men Hate Going to Church," and on today's show I talk with the author of that book, David Murrow. David and I talk about the significant disparity in the sex ratio of Christian churches, the factors that led to that gender gap, why fewer men in ...more
Last year I had a fella by the name of Clint Emerson on the podcast. He’s a retired Navy SEAL and he came on the show to talk about his first book, "100 Deadly Skills: The SEAL Operative’s Guide to Eluding Pursuers, Evading Capture, and Surviving Any Dangerous Situation." It was one of my favorite episodes from last year and a favorite of listeners as well. Well, Clint’s back with another book filled with deadly skills. This time around it's "100 Deadly Skills Survival Edition: The SEAL Operativ...more
The popular idea of the entrepreneur is that he’s a renegade risk-taker who goes all in with following his passion so that he can get out of the 9-5 rat race. But what if you enjoy your day job at the office? Or have other reasons for wanting to work for someone else? Heck, maybe you're a doctor, or firefighter, or teacher and working for someone else is just part of the gig. If you fall into one of these categories, does that mean you're completely barred from entrepreneurship? My guest today s...more
Whether you’re a businessman, a statesman, a general, or a parent, you’re strategizing on a daily basis. So how do you do it better? My guest today will provide some insights. His name is Barry Nalebuff. He’s a game theory expert and the author of "The Art of Strategy: A Game Theorist's Guide to Success in Business and Life." On the show Barry and I discuss how game theory can help you make better strategic decisions in all sorts of situations. We explore why threatening to punish your child’s s...more
Pride. It’s been called one of the deadly sins. But what if pride holds the key to human success and flourishing? Well, that’s the argument my guest makes in her book, "Take Pride." Her name is Jessica Tracy, and she's a psychologist at the University of British Columbia. Today on the show Jessica and I discuss why pride gets a bad rap, the different kinds of pride that exist, and how feeling the good kind of pride is essential to growth, development, and even cooperation. We also discuss how me...more
Football is often used as a metaphor for life. What is it about football that makes it so adept at providing lessons on living, what specific lessons can we gleam from the sport, and are those lessons worth the risk of physical injury that come with playing the game? My guest today takes a stab at answering these questions in his book "Why Football Matters: My Education in the Game." His name is Mark Edmundson and he’s a professor of English at the University of Virginia.
Thanks to digital technology, modern life often promises us a world full of limitless possibilities where you’ll never have to be bored again. But what if that promise of limitlessness and freedom actually contributes to our lives feeling dull, flat, and full of anxiety? What if embracing constraints and even boredom can give our lives more texture and heft? That’s what my guest today argues in his book Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games. His name...more
Knowing how to give and receive feedback is essential for our personal and professional growth. To remedy the discomfort we have with it, most books and articles focus on how the giver of feedback can take the sting out of its delivery with tactics like the ever-popular "criticism sandwich." But Doug Stone argues in his latest book that when it comes to feedback, we should be focusing on how we can be better receivers of it. Stone is the co-author of the book "Thanks for the Feedback: The Scienc...more
Natural Movement, or MovNat, is a fitness system inspired by the physical training of ancient Greeks and Romans as well as the 19th century's physical culture pioneers. The philosophy behind MovNat is simple: humans intrinsically know how to physically move their bodies, and itch to do so in a wide variety of ways. But our sedentary lifestyles and even the way we exercise has caused us to forget how to move efficiently and proficiently. MovNat can help you re-learn these basic, functional human ...more
#244: Ask Frances - Brain Farts, Braggarts, and Civil Political Discussion by The Art of Manliness
Seven years ago, my guest today published what has become an underground cult classic on masculinity. His name is Jack Donovan and that book was The Way of Men. I had him on the podcast a few years ago to discuss it — check it out if you haven’t listened to it. In The Way of Men, Donovan argued that for men to really live what he calls the “tactical virtues” of masculinity, they needed to join an all-male honor group, or what he calls a gang or tribe. In his latest book, Becoming a Barbarian, Do...more
We typically think of reverence as connected with religion, but my guest today on the podcast argues that reverence is a virtue that extends past religious ceremony and is vital for the flourishing of human society. His name is Paul Woodruff, and he’s a professor of Humanities at the University of Texas and the author of "Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue." On today’s show, Professor Woodruff and I discuss what the ancient Greeks and Chinese can teach us about reverence, why reverence has b...more
Many of you have probably seen today's guest on YouTube. His name is Aaron Marino and he’s made a name for himself as a men’s style expert with his often zany videos geared towards helping men look and feel their best. He’s also a two-time contestant on Shark Tank. Today on the show, Aaron and I discuss how an early business setback in the fitness industry led him to creating a men’s style empire online. We also get into the nitty gritty of men’s style by discussing the common style mistakes men...more
On today’s show Candice Millard and I discuss the supreme confidence Winston Churchill had as a young man that he was destined for greatness and how he intentionally sought after dangerous military missions that would catapult him to fame. We also discuss the compelling leadership and persuasion ability Churchill displayed during the Boer War that would later propel his political career, as well as the similarities between Churchill and Teddy Roosevelt.
With some thought and intentionality, you can help ensure that you have a happy, loving, fulfilling relationship that lasts until death do you part. My guest today is Les Parrot and he’s a clinical psychologist specializing in marriage and family. He, along with wife Leslie, who's also a marriage therapist, have written a book to help couples prepare themselves for matrimonial commitment. It’s called "Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts: Seven Questions to Ask Before— And After—You Marry." Tod...more
Philosophy professor Charles Taylor wrote a 900-page tome called "A Secular Age" in which he argues that secularity has more to do with a feeling of uncertainty about truth that pervades a culture in which all ideas are contested and contestable. My guest today on the show wrote a reader’s guide to Taylor’s epic work. His name is James K. A. Smith (he goes by Jamie). He’s a Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College and his book is called How (Not) to Be Secular. Today on the show, Jamie and I di...more
For the past several years, you’d be hard-pressed to scroll through your Facebook feed, especially in the summertime, without seeing some of your friends posting pictures of themselves at the finish line of a mud run or obstacle race. Events like the Warrior Dash, Spartan Race, and Tough Mudder have become well-known parts of the modern recreational scene. Many of you listening have probably done one yourself. But why exactly have obstacle races, known as OCRs, exploded in popularity in recent t...more
In the 1990s, Howe, along with co-author William Strauss, published two books, Generations and The Fourth Turning, which set out a bold and fascinating theory: that history can be broken down into 4 phases, and 4 generational archetypes that repeat themselves over and over every 80 or so years. What are the characteristics of the generational archetype you belong to? What historical phase are we in now, and what does the Strauss-Howe theory predict is likely to happen to the geo-political and ec...more
My guest today on the podcast did a firsthand investigation of the fascinating history of military research and shared her findings in a highly readable and entertaining book. Her name is Mary Roach and she’s the author of "Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War." Today on the show, Mary gives us a look inside the military fashion departments that create uniforms that keep soldiers cool, comfortable, and protected from chemical weapons, all while still looking good, unpacks why diarrhea has...more
Negotiation. If you’re like most people who grew up in the West, particularly America, negotiation might make you uncomfortable because it’s really not part of the culture. The price someone asks is usually the price we pay. But negotiation is something all of us will have to do at one time or another. A job salary or car price are two obvious examples that come to mind. The problem is the way most folks go about haggling when they do have to negotiate is often counter-productive. For example, i...more
Today on the show, we cut through all the confusion when it comes to nutrition and fitness by talking to an actual Doctor of Gains. His name is Jordan Feigenbaum. He’s a Starting Strength Coach, diet consultant for some of the best competitive powerlifters and CrossFit athletes in the world, and a medical doctor currently doing his residency at UCLA. Jordan I discuss why barbell training is the best medicine for overall fitness, the best way to approach diet for strength training, and why you ca...more
My guest today on the show argues that in order to get a big picture view of your finances, you need to start looking at your family as a business and yourself as the Chief Financial Officer of Family Inc. His name is Doug McCormick and he’s a professional investor and the author of "Family Inc.: Using Business Principles to Maximize Your Family’s Wealth." Today on the show, Doug and I discuss the two types of assets you’re managing as the CFO of your family, and the business principles you can ...more
The armies of ancient Greece and Rome have gained legendary status. Both militaries successfully conquered much of the known world in their respective eras. But what made them so formidable? Technological innovation? Novel strategies? Plain old grit? My guest today on the podcast argues that it was the Greek and Roman armies’ reverence for their mythic pasts that made them great. His name is J.E. Lendon (he goes by Ted). He’s a classical scholar and the author of "Soldiers and Ghosts: A History ...more
What can you do to de-escalate potentially violent confrontations so things don't come to fist blows? How do you deal with people who get in your face and act in verbally belligerent ways? My guest today has spent his career studying the psychology of aggressive people and how to handle them. His name is Shawn Smith, and he's a psychologist, and the author of the book "Surviving Aggressive People: Practical Violence Prevention Skills for the Workplace and the Street."
The popular idea out there is that women are more social than men and men are more competitive than women. What’s more, these tendencies are socially conditioned rather than biologically innate. But what if it’s the other way around? My guest today is a psychologist who has spent thirty years researching the differences between how boys and girls socialize, and she’s discovered that many ideas that people have on the subject are completely wrong. Her name is Joyce Benenson and she’s the author o...more
I've had several Navy SEALs on the podcast, because as the SEALs are one of the world's last bastions of unabashed manliness, they have a lot to teach modern men. My previous SEAL guests have talked about how the lessons they learned from being a special operator can apply to gaining greater resilience, navigating the business world, and even parenting. In these interviews, we talked a little about their SEAL training. But in today’s episode, we're really get into the nitty gritty of that traini...more
How can you learn to love the place you live, even if you don’t feel it's the place of your dreams, or the most ideal location? My guest today spent a year researching the burgeoning science of what's called "place attachment" in order to answer that question. Her name is Melody Warnick and she’s the author of This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live. On the show Melody and I discuss what “place attachment” is and what you can do to have more of it for the place...more
When it comes to the factors that lead to success, there’s a tendency in folks to discount the role of luck. We like to think we’re the complete masters of our fortune -- that we can control everything that happens to us and make our own luck. But by not giving luck its due, we actually prevent ourselves from effectively managing this force so we can experience success in the long run. My guest today has written a book on the math of success, skill, and luck. His name is Michael Mauboussin and h...more
Bonds. James Bond. 007 is a masculine film icon - handsome, debonair, and dangerous, and epitomizes the French idea of savoir faire, which is the ability to know what to do in absolutely any situation. Bond is so manly, that it'd be easy to think he's solely the creation of author Ian Fleming's imagination. But in fact, Bond was inspired by a real life WWII spy named Dusko Popov. My guest today, Larry Loftis, has written a new book about that spy who's life story is actually even more interestin...more
Why do smart people do dumb things? This is one of the many questions my guest has explored during his writing career. His name Malcom Gladwell, writer at the New Yorker, author of several New York Times Bestselling books, and now host of the podcast Revisionist History. Today on the podcast, Malcom and I explore the question of smart people doing dumb things by looking at the basketball career of Wilt Chamberlin. We discuss how Wilt discovered a way to increase his free-throw shooting percentag...more
In the American Revolution, two figures stand in stark contrast to each other: George Washington and Benedict Arnold. What few Americans know is at the start of the War of Independence, Washington was a blundering general, while Arnold was one of the colonies’ very best. How is it that Washington transformed himself into one of America's greatest leaders while Arnold ended up betraying his countrymen? That’s what my guest today, Nathaniel Philbrick, explores in his book "Valiant Ambition: George...more
To the layman, financial investing can look extremely complicated. And while financial markets are certainly complex, the rules governing sound investment are actually pretty simple. The problem most people have is following those rules. It’s all about behavior. My guest today is a behavioral finance expert who has recently published a book crammed with practical advice to help investors from all walks of life have better investing behavior. His name is Daniel Crosby and his book is The Laws of ...more
Where goes greatness come from? Why was Ted Williams the greatest hitter in the history of baseball? What made Mozart one of history's most talented composers? The typical answer is that greatness is innate - some people are just born with extraordinary gifts and talents. Recent research though is turning that on its head. Greatness is actually the result of years of hard, deliberate practice. My guest today has been on the forefront of this research on expertise. Anders Ericsson is on the show ...more
Since the days of Ancient Greece, a battle between two political forces has been going on in the West: democracy vs. tyranny. But what makes a tyrant a tyrant? How has tyranny changed throughout Western history? And what is its connection to masculinity? My guest today, Waller Newell, has recently published a book that explores these questions.
Ernest Hemingway is a literary legend, but unlike many literary legends, he gained that status while at the very beginning of his career when he introduced his first novel, The Sun Also Rises. My guest today has published a detailed account of how Hemingway created his first novel. Her name is Lesley Blume and her book is "Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Hemingway’s Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises." Today on the show, Lesley and I discuss Hemingway’s drive to revolutionize literatu...more
Hosting guests, letter writing, and going out on real dates are often seen as old-fashioned practices that are no longer needed in an age when folks can book an Airbnb room instead of crashing at your pad, you can communicate instantaneously via email or text, and your next girlfriend is just a Tinder swipe away. But my guest today argues that the refinement of civilization requires that we still continue these supposedly old-fashioned practices. His name is Mitchell Kalpakgian and he’s the auth...more
What if belonging to a tight-knit group that requires loyalty and self-sacrifice is the key to feeling fulfilled and wholly human? That’s the argument that my guest makes in his latest book. His name is Sebastian Junger. In his book, "Tribe," Junger uses his firsthand experience as a war reporter as a starting point in exploring the vital human need to belong to a group. In today’s show, Sebastian and I discuss how humans are wired for tribalism, how males bond, and whether or not it’s possible ...more
One of the things that makes humans, well, human is the ability to make a fist. Other primates can’t do this. The commonly accepted theory as to why humans developed the ability to make a fist is that they needed to do so in order to grasp tools. But research conducted by my guests today have led them to posit a very different theory. They argue that the reason we can make a fist is so we can give better knuckle sandwiches. Their names are Dr. David Carrier and Dr. Michael Morgan. Today on the s...more
A common complaint of the modern age is the sense of distraction and lack of focus that pervades our lives. We typically blame technology like the internet or smartphones for our inability to concentrate on the task at hand. But my guest today argues that the culture of distraction we face runs much deeper than that and actually began several hundred years ago with the Enlightenment. His name is Matthew Crawford, and he’s the author of Shop Class as Soulcraft as well as his latest book The World...more
We've all had those days where everything seems to go just right. We set goals for ourselves and we accomplish them. Instead of frittering away our time on YouTube, we're focused and get work done. It's easy to attribute these sorts of days to luck, but my guest today argues that research from behavioral economics and psychology can show us how we can consistently have more of these good days. Her name is Caroline Webb and she's the author of How to Have a Good Day. Today on the show, we discuss...more
If you're like most men who work a 9-5 job at an office, you're probably spending a lot of that time sitting down at a desk. Then when you get home, you might be a little active, but then you'll sit down at your desk in your home office, or you'll sit on the couch and watch TV. All that sitting is not good for your body. Some doctors even say it does as much damage to your body as smoking does. My guest today highlights all this research in a new book called Deskbound. In the show, Kelly Starret...more
In the quest to become the men we want to be, we're often our own worst enemy, especially when it comes to our egos. Our ego is prevents us from being humble and teachable when we're first starting out on an endeavor, it blinds us to our own weaknesses in times of success, and it can cause us to wallow in self-pity when we fail. My guest today is Ryan Holiday and in his latest book, Ego is the Enemy, he discusses how ego can thwart our personal progress and success as men. Today on the show we l...more
A few months back, we had Frances Cole Jones on the show. She's the author of How to Wow: Proven Strategies for Selling Your Brilliant Self in Any Situation. At the end of that show, Frances directed our listeners to her website to ask her any question about how to better present oneself. She was flooded with questions from AoM podcast listeners, and today I have Frances back on the show to answer some of those. We cover difficult conversations, how to bolster your small talk skills, and specifi...more
Why are some people more successful than others? It's a tough question to answer because it relies on a number of factors, many which are out of our control -- like genetics and plain old luck. But there are a few factors that we have a say in -- one of those being the ability to persevere even in the face of setbacks. Otherwise known as grit. My guest today, Professor Angela Duckworth, has spent her career researching this trait, and in today's show we discuss her new book, Grit, and the ways ...more
A special Father's Day edition of the art of Manliness Podcast. Retired Navy SEAL Eric Davis talks to us about his book Raising Men: Lessons Navy SEALs Learned from Their Training and Taught Their Sons. We discuss lessons from SEAL training on teaching your kids personal responsibility, mental toughness, and leadership.
Fishing has been used as a backdrop in both film and literature for finding the meaning of life and coming-of-age stories (A Rive Runs Through It comes to mind). But these fishing-as-life metaphors often become trite, losing some of their significance. My guest today wanted to write a book about fishing that's not about fishing. He wanted to suss out philosophical and life ideas without making the fishing metaphor trite. And I think he did a darn good job. His name is Mark Kingwell, and in his b...more
Are you an endurance athlete unhappy with your stalled performance? Are you constantly battling aches and pains? Are you running 30 or 40 miles a week, but still can’t get rid of your spare tire around your mid-section? If so, this episode is for you. Today on the show I have Mark Sisson on to talk about his latest book Primal Endurance. We discuss the well-entrenched endurance training myths that many athletes follow that result in sub-par performance and the counter-intuitive programming and d...more
We live in a time of uncertainty and complexity. Things are always changing; whether it's business, politics, or life in general, you're having to constantly adapt and make decisions, even when you don't have all the information. This complexity is at its peak during combat, and us civilians are in for a treat today because my guest has gleaned lessons on dealing uncertain situations from his own time in the military. Jocko Willink is a retired Navy SEAL officer who served and led in the Battle ...more
You've probably heard of the great battles fought in Europe and the Pacific during WWII, but did you know that part of WWII was fought just miles off the coast of the United States? And that the men taking part in these battles were civilians? Well, my guest today has published a book about this oft forgotten of WWII history. His name is William Geroux and his book is The Mathews Men: Seven Brothers and the War Against Hitler's U-boats. Today on the show, William and I discuss the U.S. Merchant ...more
There are tons of books about how to be happier, how to improve yourself, how to be less angry, etc. These books often tout things you should add to your life to get to where you want. But sometimes the best way to achieve a goal is to actually subtract something from your life, and to stop doing the things that are making you miserable. That's the approach today's guest took in his latest book, How to Be Miserable: 40 Strategies You Already Use. His name is Randy Paterson, and he's a psychologi...more
You've probably all seen the Dos Equis 'Most Interesting Man in the World' commercials. He goes on great adventures, has tremendous stories to tell, is friends with the rich and famous, etc. The Dos Equis man is a fictional character. But here's the thing: there was a man from 19th century who would put the Most Interesting Man in the World to shame. And you've probably never heard of him. Frederick Russell Burnham was a world-famous scout, took part in multiple wars all around the world, prospe...more
If you're an endurance athlete, you probably experience the wall - that moment in the race when you're pushing yourself really hard and your body just tells you, "Enough. You can't go on." The same can be said for strength trainers too - you're lifting a weight that's been easy before, but now feels too heavy to complete. So you wonder if it's maybe your body telling you you've had enough, and it's time for a rest. But what if that's all in your mind? What if your body can go further and push it...more
If you're a dad, or plan on being one someday, you probably have some advice or principles that you'd like to pass on to your children so that they can grow up to be well-adjusted adults. My guest today has not only passed along his wisdom, but compiled it into a couple books. His name is Walker Lamond, and I first had him on the show back in 2009 to discuss his popular book, Rules for My Unborn Son, which lays out style advice, etiquette tips, and all kinds of other principles that he wanted to...more
We're in the middle of a presidential campaign here in the U.S., and once again commentators, politicians, and reporters are bemoaning the apathy and disengagement of young Americans, but there was a time in American history when young people were the most passionate participants in American democracy. No, it wasn't the 1960s. It was the 1860s. My guest today on the podcast has just published a book about nineteenth century politics, and the energy that young voters brought to the process, and h...more
Last year I put a garage gym in my house. It's been fantastic, but it's not without its problems. For starters, there's the issue of space. How do you cram in a gym when you have to fit a car in your garage as well? The start up costs for a garage gym are hardly anything to flinch at. How can you save money on equipment without skimping on quality? Which equipment do you actually need? The other issue is just motivating yourself when working out by yourself. How do you motivate yourself to worko...more
Most of us living in modern, western democracies live relatively safe lives. We're not having to constantly protect ourselves from marauding, blood thirsty tribes or fend off criminals at every corner. But... There's always the possibility that our life would be threatened by another human being. What should we do in those situations given the ethical, moral, and legal implications of defending ourselves? Well, my guest today has spent the past 40 years studying and teaching about this topic. Hi...more
What does it mean to live a “life of the mind?” Why is it important that we make time to ponder and contemplate the heftier ideas of what it means to be a human? And if we have the desire to lead a contemplative life, how exactly do we go about doing it? Well, my guest today has spent his life pondering and thinking about these questions. His name is Father James Schall. He’s a Jesuit priest and philosopher and the Professor of Political Philosophy at Georgetown University. Father Schall has wri...more
You want to be more productive. You want do more, in less time, so you can spend time doing the things you actually want to do. So we read articles and books on productivity, and have the best of intentions, but too often we just find ourselves spinning our wheels. You can't self-motivate to do the things you know you should be doing. If that describes you, you'll love this podcast. My guest today is Charles Duhigg. We had him on before to talk about The Power of Habit, and today we're talking a...more
During World War II the Greek island of Crete was occupied by the Nazis and was a strategic stronghold. To take back the island, Great Britain created a small band of misfit resistance fighters consisting of poets, historians, and Cretan shepherds. Their job was to muck things up for the Nazis, but one day they decided to do something completely audacious: kidnap a German general and get him off the island. Against all the odds, they accomplished their mission. How’d they do it? My guest today o...more
If you've been following the Art of Manliness for a while, you know we're big fans of Theodore Roosevelt. There's a new biography out about him that talks about his work as a natural historian, conservationist, hunter, etc., and it uses TR's own field notes as the primary source. It's called 'Theodore Roosevelt in the Field,' and on today's show author Michael Canfield and I discuss what we can learn about Roosevelt's approach to life from his field notes, how this note-taking honed his keen sen...more
It's become an article of faith in our modern world that if you're feeling depressed, unmotivated, angry, anxious, etc., what you need to do is think about why you're feeling that way, which will resolve it. But what if thinking about your feelings all the time actually makes the problem worse? That's what my guests today argue. Michael and Sarah Bennett, the father-daughter team who wrote the book F*ck Feelings, are here to talk about why thinking about feelings can be unproductive, and what to...more
Brett McKay here and welcome to another edition of the Art of Manliness podcast. Someone said that comic book superheroes is modernity's version of the great Greek myths. Just as the ancient Greeks used the stories of Achilles or Odysseus or Hercules as guides on how to live their lives, many modern individuals who grew up on superhero stories have found inspiration in them on how to live a heroic life, even if they're just regular Joe Blows. My guest today on the podcast is a documentarian who ...more
Have you ever met someone who has a job that seems like something they were born to do? Not only do their skills match up with their job, but they genuinely enjoy their work. Now you might think it's just plain luck that landed them their career, but my guest today has written a book about how you can turn the odds more in your favor in the career lottery. Chris Guillebeau's latest book is called Born For This. In this show, Chris shares brass tacks advice on finding work you love. Don't miss it...more
Have you ever thought your life was a little too routine and safe? Maybe you feel like you've never had a chance to test your mettle and see how you'd respond in a chaotic situation. Would you break or would you rise to the challenge? My guest today on the podcast had those same feelings, and decided to do something about it by becoming a paramedic in Atlanta. He was thrown into a world of violence, addiction, and mangled bodies. His name is Kevin Hazzard, and he's the author of 'A Thousand Nake...more
Do you feel like your ability to think deeply about issues is hampered because you lack an intellectual foundation? Do you want your intellectual life to be imbued with more texture and nuance? If you answered yes to these questions, then it's time to start acquiring the classical education you never had. My guest today on the podcast, Susan Bauer, will show you how to get started. She's the author of The Well Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had. We discuss what a cla...more
As a parent, one of my goals is to raise children who aren't spoiled. I want them to be grounded, generous, and savvy when it comes to money and consumption. I want them to make the most of their money, without it controlling them. My guest today, author and New York Times columnist Ron Lieber, has written a book full of research-backed tips on teaching your children important personal finance lessons.
If you lift weights, you're going to love this episode. (And even if you don't, you'll get something out of it!) A few months ago, I had powerlifter Chris Duffin on the show to discuss his inspiring story of overcoming childhood poverty to become one of the strongest men on earth. I've brought him back on to talk about his recently released Kabuki Movement System. Utilizing the brightest body mechanics minds on the planet, he's developed a training system that makes the most of one's body, as we...more
Ol' Blue Eyes, the Chairman of the Board, the Voice. Frank Sinatra has been an icon of masculine coolness and swagger for decades. During his lifetime, he was able to create a myth and legend around himself that continues to exist today. But, like all legends, when you look closer at them, you discover that the reality is much more complex than the story. Today I talk with Sinatra biographer Frank Kaplan.
So, what is character? We always talk about wanting to develop good character, but what exactly does that mean? And once you figure out what it is, how do you go about developing it? Those are the questions my guest today, Chad Hennings, tries to answer in his book, Forces of Character.
You know the old song and dance. You set a goal for yourself- lose weight, pay off your debt, ask that woman out-- but something holds you back from taking action. Or if you do take action, you flame out in a week. So you do more research on your goal, hoping that you'll find the one piece of information that will guarantee success. But you fail again. What if instead of more thinking, achieving your goal requires more feeling? That's what my guest today on the podcast argues. His name is Ramit ...more
If you're like most people in America, you probably took PE during your school-age years. It was probably required, and also an easy "A." You spent 45 minutes playing some sport, and it was a blow off class. During the 1960s, though, La Sierra High in California developed an intense physical fitness program under the direction of Coach Stan LeProtti. He was inspired by the physical training of the Ancient Greeks, and wanted to develop strong young people who'd go on to be strong, useful citizens...more
In Charlie Mike, Time magazine columnist Joe Klein tells the dramatic stories of how two veteran organizations dedicated to service began and how these groups gave many struggling vets the sense of purpose and camaraderie that they ached for since returning home. Today on the podcast, I talk to Joe about Team Rubicon— a veteran organization that does natural disaster response around the world– and The Mission Continues— an organization founded by retired Navy SEAL Eric Greitens that funds volunt...more
Throughout human history there have been pockets of genius around the world. You had Athens with Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle. During the Enlightenment, Edinburgh, Scotland produced a lot of great thinkers who influenced the modern world. And today, Silicon Valley seems to have a concentration of extremely smart and talented people. Why do these pockets of genius seem of occur? What was it about these places? My guest today wanted to find out. Eric Weiner is the author of The Geography of Geni...more
There's probably listeners out there who homeschool their kids using a curriculum that you've developed or bought online. But there's another type of homeschooling that doesn't use a curriculum, and it's called unschooling. It's a fascinating concept in which you have your kids at home, but put them in situations where they need to use problem solving skills and math and other subjects to complete a task at hand. My guest today, Ben Hewitt, has unschooled his two boys, and on the show we talk ab...more
I talk to relationship expert Duana Welch about what science says about when relationships go wrong. We tackle infidelity, porn use, how to break-up, and even how the death of a significant other effects men. Duana and I get into the nitty gritty in this show. You don't want to miss this one.
Several years ago we published an article about famous "mastermind groups" from history. One of them was a group of British scholars called The Inklings. From this group came two of the 20th century's most famous English writers: C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. After I first learned about the Inklings, I wanted to dig deeper into this male-only writer's club to find out more about each individual and the group's effect on their respective lives and careers. In The Fellowship: The Literary Lives o...more
I'm a barbell guy. That's what I do for my strength training. But I know a lot of listeners love bodyweight exercises. You can do it anywhere, it saves you money, and it's incredibly functional. So there are a lot of benefits, but I've never really been able to find a good bodyweight program. But I came across a book called Homemade Muscle by Anthony Arvanitakis which builds periodization into bodyweight programming. He's got an amazing story, which we'll talk about, as well as the nitty-gritty ...more
In the past 20 years, there's been all kinds of research about declining community life in America. Participation in PTAs, civic clubs, even bowling leagues is on the decline, and Americans don't really know who their neighbors are anymore. My guest today argues that what we're seeing is a transformation in how people organize themselves socially. Why people are doing this, and how it affects our society, is what author Marc Dunkelman ("The Vanishing Neighbor") and I talk about.
Are you an entrepreneur or a manager, and you feel like every day at work you're just putting out fires? Or in your personal life, you go home and it's just crisis after crisis that needs fixing. And so you try to manage this trouble-shooting by getting more efficient at putting out those fires. What if the real answer though is not greater efficiency, but instead a way of looking at your life as a series of systems? That's what today's guest, Sam Carpenter, argues. On the show we talk about his...more
Since I started the site in 2008, I've read a lot of books about men's style. And one of the most fun, engaging, and witty books on the topic I've come across is called Men's Style: A Thinking Man's Guide to Dress. It's by a columnist and novelist named Russell Smith. Today on the show we discuss the philosophy of style, the history of it, why the great men of history were concerned about how they look, and why we should care today. We also get into practical tips on suits, shirts, shoes, etc.
In the past forty years we've seen dramatic changes in the way people date and marry. From the hook-up culture on college campuses to young adults putting off marriage longer and longer, a lot of explanations have been offered that focus on changing values in our country. But my guest today on the podcast argues that perhaps changing demographics has more to do with changing mating patterns in the West. His name is Jon Birger and he's the author of the book Date-onoics: How Dating Became a Lopsi...more
You've probably seen on TV or online the Highland Games: guys in kilts throwing giant logs, tossing hammers over their heads, etc. It's a fascinating strength competition, and one I've long wanted to learn more about and get in touch with my Scottish roots. Today on the show I'm talking with a Highland Games competitor named Matt Vincent. We talk what goes into training, how to get started with events if you're interested, a workout program called The Hate, and much more.
All of us are going to die someday. And we're all going to have loved ones who will die from disease or old age. In fact, some of you listening right now may be dying yourself or watching a loved one die. But the thing is most modern Westerners aren't prepared for the actual event of dying because we've done such a great job cordoning it off from the rest of life. If you're a young person, you've likely never seen a person die because we typically die in hospitals. Consequently, there are lot of...more
One of my favorite writers online is Steve Kamb, who operates a fitness website called Nerd Fitness. What I love about Steve is that he's made fitness accessible and fun to people who otherwise wouldn't be interested in physical fitness or strength training. He takes inspiration from video games, pop culture, comic books, etc. and creates workouts and life lessons. He just wrote a book called Level Up Your Life, and on the show we talk about how video games can be a template for leading a better...more
We've probably all seen some sort of scam or fraud in the news (Bernie Madoff), or even in our email inbox (that Nigerian prince). We tend to think we're way too smart to fall for those cons and tell ourselves "That could never happen to me." Well our guest today wrote a book that says that might not be the case. Her name is Maria Konnikova and her book is called The Confidence Game: Why We Fall For It Every Time. She looks at the psychology of scams and what scam artists do to get inside our br...more
Have you ever spent an entire day at work feeling really busy, checking emails, reading your news feed -- and at the end of the day you realize, "Man, I really wasn't all that productive." You felt busy but your brain was fuzzy and didn't end up doing all that much. If that sounds familiar, today's show is for you. My guest, Cal Newport, has a new book out called Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. I'm not joking when I say this has been a life-changing book for me. We ta...more
Sports is a multi-billion dollar industry. Hundreds of millions of people consumer this entertainment either live or on TV, and athletes are paid millions for what they do. But all this started with the super exciting sport of competitive walking. You read that right. My guest today is Matthew Algeo, and he's written a book called Pedestrianism: When Watching People Walk Was America's Favorite Spectator Sport. It's a fascinating bit of lost American history, and on today's show, Algeo and I disc...more
One of my favorite books I read last year is called Self & Soul: A Defense of Ideals by a professor named Mark Edmundson. He makes the argument that in the West, our commitment to ideals (the Soul) is fading, and we're becoming a culture of the Self -- desiring comfort, safety, and materialism over the ancient ideals of courage, compassion, and contemplation. In today's podcast we discuss ancient ideals, the cultural history of the decline of ideals, and how we can revive Soul in the modern wol...more
One of the biggest sources of contention in marriages is money. The reason for that is because people come into marriage with very different ideas about how money should be managed, saved, spent, etc. My guests today, Derek and Carrie Olsen, are a couple who had a big financial catastrophe at the beginning of their relationship. On today's show, we talk about their book One Bed, One Bank Account.
I talk to media and image consultant Frances Cole Jones about how to put your best foot forward in your personal life and business. Lots of great actionable steps to help you make a great first impression.
If you've read Band of Brothers or watched the miniseries, you're familiar with the name Dick Winters. He was part of that famous airborne division which was so crucial in so many pieces of WWII. We've written a lot about the Band of Brothers here on AoM, and each one had something unique that set them apart from the others. What set Dick Winters apart was his leadership abilities. Our guest on today's podcast, Colonel Cole Kingseed, was a good friend of Major Winters in his later years, and eve...more
We've probably all heard of Emily Post, who wrote an etiquette book back in the 1920s that became world-famous. Her work of encouraging good manners and etiquette continues today with her family at the Emily Post Institute. Today on the show I have Emily Post's great-great-grandson Daniel Post Senning to discuss etiquette for men, as well as digital etiquette in this world of smartphones, emails, etc.
A while back I got an email from an AoM reader named Jareem Gunter. He does a lot of mentoring for at-risk youth in Oakland, CA. He's released a book called The Man Book, which I contributed to, and is full of skills for young men to succeed in the world. On this podcast, we talk about that book, as well as the topic of mentoring, and why it's so important not only for young men, but older men too.
For the past year I've been doing a lot of research on the benefits of face-to-face conversation, and looking for more ways to incorporate it into my own life. One of the books that really helped is called The Village Effect by Susan Pinker. She highlights not only psychological, but physiological benefits of face-to-face contact. It makes us healthier, happier, and smarter, and we talk about how to get more of it in your life.
Last year I got an email out of the blue from a guy named Tod Moore inviting me to a weekend of doing various man skills: shooting guns, butchering animals, doing obstacle races. Of course, I was in. The event was called the Vanguard, which was put on by a gym in Austin, Texas called Atomic Athlete. Their goal is overall strength and conditioning, and on today's show, I talk to the two founders of the gym about lifting, conditioning, the psychology of strength, and more.
There's been a transformation in the West about what it means to be a grown up. There used to be scripts to follow, and markers to meet which would mean you're an adult. But those scripts have been thrown out the window, and now it's confusing for young people to know if they've entered adulthood. My guest today takes us on a whirlwind tour of modern adulthood, going back to the 1500s. His name is Steven Mintz, and he's a professor of history at the University of Texas.
Winter is coming. If you like to be in the outdoors, one thing you need to start thinking about is what would happen if you were stuck in the wilderness with nothing but your wits. Would you be able to survive the harshness of the cold? A lot of survival resources gloss over what you do in cold environs. My guest today is Dave Hall, and he's written a book about just that, called Winter In the Wilderness. We talk about shelter, how to get water, building a fire, surviving hypothermia, and more.
If you enjoy shows like The Wire or True Detective, or film noir, there's one guy you can thank for that: Dashiell Hammett. He was a writer in the 1920s-1940s, and he is the guy who created the modern detective. He took the entire genre into the modern era. And Hammett was able to do this because he was in fact a detective for the Pinkerton agency before becoming a writer. My guest today, Nathan Ward, has written a book called The Lost Detective: Becoming Dashiell Hammett. We discuss how Hammett...more
More and more today, we're communicating with the people in our lives through screens. While this has greatly improved efficiency, there are some drawbacks that have come with the decline in face-to-face conversation. My guest today, Sherry Turkle, has written a book (Reclaiming Conversation) about what we're missing when we don't engage with people in face-to-face conversation. In today's show we talk about what we can do to reclaim conversation with the people in our lives, and there are a lot...more
Matt Reynolds, a former power lifter and Strong Man competitor, is the co-owner of a gym in Springfield, MO called Strong Gym. He's been coaching me online, and I've seen significant improvement in my lifting and strength training since I've started with him. I wanted to get him on the podcast to talk about his story, as well as why everyone should be doing strength and barbell training.
In the last few years we've seen an interesting phenomenon, especially on college campuses, where students will take slights or even just awkwardness incredibly sensitively and emotionally. Two sociologists have gotten together -- Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning -- and published a paper and theory about why this "victimhood" culture has arisen on campuses. We talk about this paper, as well as honor, dignity, masculinity, and more.
Lewis Howes had aspirations of being a pro football player, and he was on the path to making it happen for himself. After a career-ending injury, and year spent on his sister's couch, he started an online business which became a big success. Since then, he's started a podcast called The School of Greatness, in which he interviews people about what it means to live a flourishing life. He has a new book by the same name, and on today's show Lewis and I talk about how to live the good life.
We've talked about Stoicism before on the Art of Manliness. From eminent men like Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, the Romans heartily embraced the philosophy. My guest today wrote a book about how Stoicism can help our modern soldiers. Nancy Sherman is a professor of philosophy at Georgetown, and on today's show we talk about healing not only physical wounds, but mental ones too with this ancient way of thinking.
One of my favorite writers is Adam Makos. He has a new book out called Devotion. It's about two men -- one black and one white -- who end up in the Korean War together and become fast friends. In this podcast, Adam and I talk about these two men, as well as why he thinks it's important to continue telling the stories of our war veterans.
Kyle Eschenroeder is an entrepreneur who runs Startupbros.com. Beyond that, he's a guy who reads and thinks deeply, and has contributed a few excellent pieces of content for AoM. In this podcast we talk about one of those popular articles, which was about thriving in uncertainty. We tend to think we have more control over our lives than we really do. So today we talk about tools and techniques to truly thrive when life takes us in unexpected directions.
Have you ever noticed that when you try really hard at something, you actually aren't able to achieve what you're trying to do? For example, if you can't sleep at night, you try really hard to fall asleep, which only makes matters worse. Chinese philosophers understood this fact that when you try really hard, it makes things harder to achieve. My guest today, Edward Slingerland, has written a book called Trying Not to Try, which combines these Chinese philosophies with modern neuroscience and ex...more
Talent is undoubtedly an important part of being successful in life. But there's another piece that's often overlooked: our mindset. My guest today, Carol Dweck, has spent decades researching this very topic. Her conclusion is that there are basically two mindsets in life: growth or fixed. Whichever one you have will go a long ways towards determining your success in life, as well as your children.
Every guy at one point or another in his life dreams about being Jason Bourne or James Bond. Lock picking, escaping restraints, evading bad guys, killing bad dudes with an improvised weapon. That's stuff guys like to know even if they'll never have to use it. Well, now you can learn how to do all that cool spy stuff. Navy SEAL Clint Emerson has just published a book called 100 Deadly Skills: The SEAL Operative's Guide to Eluding Pursuers, Evading Capture, and Surviving Any Dangerous Situation. I...more
In the last decade or so, books, blogs, corporations, and even governments are putting more emphasis on the idea of happiness. On the surface, this sounds great, but our guest today argues that maybe this should give us some pause. William Davies is the author of The Happiness Industry, and makes the case that this focus on happiness may be more about dollar signs than our actual well-being.
Believe it or not, we're coming up on the 20th anniversary of the movie Braveheart. It's a film that fills you with thumos and inspires you. On today's episode, I talk with the man who created the William Wallace we know from that movie. His name is Randall Wallace, a screenwriter, produce, songwriter, and author. His new book is called Living the Braveheart Life: Finding the Courage to Follow Your Heart.
You've heard of the Oregon Trail. You learned about it in elementary or middle school, quite possibly by playing the popular computer game. Despite it being one of largest land migrations in human history, though, you probably don't know a whole lot about the Oregon Trail. Today's guest decided to remedy that by actually crossing the entirety of the trail in a covered wagon and with a team of mules. It's a fascinating conversation that you won't want to miss.
Despite romantic relationships being such a big part of our lives, nobody ever really sits you down and says, "Here's how to have a successful relationship." We're instead expected to figure it out on our own. Today's guest, Geoffrey Miller, says we're setting people up for failure by not giving them some advice. On the show we discuss the book he co-wrote with Tucker Max called "Mate."
When I was a kid, one of my heroes was Harry Houdini. Among his many feats, he could hold his breath for an incredibly long time. I was intrigued by the topic, so I started researching and found the book Deep by James Nestor. It's about the sport and science of freediving, which involves taking one deep breath and diving hundreds of feet under water. From how human bodies react to being under water, to tips about holding your breath longer, this is a fascinating podcast that you don't want to mi...more
It's often said "time is money," but do you really treat your time like money? Well, my guest today on the podcast says, no, most people don't, but if they did they'd be much wiser stewards of their time. Her name is Elizabeth Grace Saunders and she's the author of the book "Invest Your Time Like Money" and today on the podcast we discuss what you can do today so you get out of "time debt" and invest time so you have more of it in the future. If you're feeling busy and overwhelmed, this podcast ...more
The very first article I published on The Art of Manliness was How to Shave Like Your Grandpa where I explained how to get started with safety razor shaving. Lots of guys learned about old-school shaving from that article, but there is one man who has brought more men into the fold of safety razor shaving than that article. His name is Mark Herro, but he’s better known as Mantic59. Through his YouTube videos, Mark has become “Dad of the Internet” by teaching millions of men how to shave. Besides...more
We've probably all seen instances where dumb rules and regulations were enforced even when everyone involved understood they were enforcing dumb rules and regulations. We've created so many rules that we no longer know how to use common sense to guide us. At least that's the argument my guest on today's podcast makes in his book Practical Wisdom. Barry Schwartz is a professor of psychology at Swathmore College. In his book, Practical Wisdom, Schwartz highlights how our society has been overtaken...more
It’s a question that philosophers have taken on since Aristotle. What makes something funny? Going beyond that– why do we laugh in the first place? Because if you step back and look at it, laughing is pretty dang weird. Well, my guest today on the podcast went on a world wide tour to uncover the science of humor. His name is Peter McGraw. He’s a behavioral scientist at the University of Colorado in Boulder and he’s the co-author of the book The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things F...more
During the past 10 years or so, there's been an uptick in the number of books and newspaper articles about how young men today our floundering. Fewer young men are going to college than in years past, and those that do go, fewer of them are graduating. What's more there's a general sense that young men today are simply unmotivated to seek out gainful employment or starting families. Meanwhile, girls and young women are surpassing boys and young men in education and in work. My guest today on the...more
“Discovering your authentic self” has become an article of faith in the United States. There are thousands of blogs, books, and seminars that supposedly teach people how to discover who they really are. But what if our obsession to uncover an authentic self is getting in the way of living a truly flourishing life? What if instead of trying to discover an authentic life, we should be focused on inventing an authentic life? Well, that’s the argument Eric Wilson makes in his book Keep it Fake: Inve...more
Since 9/11 and before, American warriors have faced combat in difficult and adverse theaters with dedication, courage, and remarkable inner fortitude. Our nation supports them during their time in the fight, and "thank you for your service" has become a common civilian affirmation. But what happens when these men and women return from the battlefield? What is waiting for them at home? How does our society prepare these indispensable citizens for the confusion, absurdity, and trauma of their tran...more
What would you say to a person who told you that you could retire at age 30, never have to work again, and still live a comfortable life, all on a normal salary and without winning the lottery? You’d probably call them crazy. Of course that’s not how money works. Well, my guest today did retire at age 30, and he did so without making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. And through his blog, he’s helped other people reach “financial independence” a lot sooner than they thought possible by li...more
Something all men have in common is that one point in their lives they're all bachelors, that is, they've never been married. What's interesting is that there's been very little written about the history and sociology of bachelorhood. Well, my guest today is the author of one of the few books on the topic. His name is Howard Chudacoff and he's the author of the book, The Age of the Bacehlor. Dr. Chudacoff and I discuss the influence bachelors in America have had on American masculinity, particul...more
Our personal tech devices can be both a blessing and a curse. All the information we'd ever want is right at our fingertips, yet at the same time these devices can make us feel rushed and pressed for time while discouraging deep thinking. Well, my guest today argues that to learn how to navigate our techno-world, we should look to the insights of ancient philosophers and thinkers. William Powers is the author of Hamlet's Blackberry and today on the podcast we discuss what Shakespeare, Seneca, an...more
My guest today wrote a parable about a young boat captain that provides timeless advice on developing the traits needed for lasting and significant success in your life. His name is Alden Mills, he's a former Navy SEAL, inventor of the Perfect Pushup, and the author of Be Unstoppable: The Eight Essential Actions to Succeed at Anything. In today's podcast, Alden and I discuss perseverance, grit, and becoming the master and commander of your life.
Today I talk to champion gun shooter, Mike Seeklander about the world of competition gun shooting. Besides competing around the country, Mike is also a firearms instructor for citizens as well as law enforcement officers. Today on the show, Mike and I discuss the world of competition gun shooting-- what's involved and how to get started. We also discuss self-defense with and without a firearm.
Despite living in one of the most affluent and safe times in human history, a lot of Ameicans are miserable. Jim Rubens wanted to find out why. In his book Oversuccess, Jim Rubens makes the case that it's our obsession with fame and money is the underlying cause of our American malaise. Highlighting research from domains like neuroscience, psychology, and sociology, Rubens deftly shows how our obsession with material success is spiritually killing us and how men are particularly susceptible to t...more
It's a debate that goes back for centuries. Are great athletes made or are they born? In his book, The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance, journalist David Epstein investigates that question. By looking at cutting edge research, he uncovers how much of nature and how much of nurture contributes to creating world class athletes. It's a fascinating book that offers insight into the nature of athletic ability and gives some food for thought to parents out there si...more
During the past few centuries, Christian churches have had some difficulty reaching men. During the late 19th century and even today, Christian churches have created special programs to get men in the pews. But why does trouble exist in the first place? And what can be done about it? In today's podcast I talk to author and speaker Stephen Mansfield about this issue as well as his book Mansfield's Book of Manly Men. If you're a Christian, you'll find Stephen's insights about the church and men in...more
When the Great Gatsby was originally published in 1925, it was a complete critical and commercial flop. It wasn't until after F. Scott Fitzgerald's death that it gained the status of the Great American Novel and it's appeal still endures today. On today's show, I talk to Maureen Corrigan about her book "So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to Be and Why It Endures." We discuss how Gatsby is one of the first hard-boiled novels of the 20th century, why Gastsby still appeals to us today, and wh...more
Today I talk to business owner, author, and public speaker Rory Vaden about his two books, Take the Stairs and Procrastinate on Purpose. Rory and I talk about the principles that will help instill self-discipline in you and how you can be more effective with your time to leave a lasting legacy. Get out your pen and notebook. You'll want to take notes during this episode. Lots of great takeaways you can apply today.
Eric Frohardt is the CEO of StrongFirst, a company dedicated to helping individuals becoming stronger physically and mentally. It was founded by Pavel Tsatsouline, the Father of Kettlebell training here in the U.S. Today in the podcast, Eric and I discuss why strength is skill, the benefits of kettlebell training, and greasing the groove every day to get stronger.
A sunken pirate ship is one of the hardest things to find in the world. But two treasure hunters risked their lives and fortune to find one. In the process, the uncovered the story of one of the greatest pirates to ever live during the Golden Age of Piracy. My guest today wrote a book about the search of this pirate ship. His name is Robert Kurson and he's the author of the book Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship. In today's show Robert and I discuss ...more
Tom Ruby served 26 years in the U.S Air Force and held positions as Squadron Intelligence Officer and Chief of Doctrine for Air Force Intelligence. Mr. Ruby served on a General Petraeus' Joint Strategic Assesment Team during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Today, Mr. Ruby spends his civilian life consulting companies on how to better think critically and strategically. Today on the show, Tom and I discuss how the Average Joe can improve his critical thinking and be better strategists. Lots of gre...more
Alastair Humphreys is a real-life adventurer. He's biked around the world and has even been named Adventurer of the Year by National Geographic. But Alastair wanted to show people that you didn't need to travel halfway across the world or spend a lot of money or time to find adventure. So for a year, he did what he called "Microadventures" in his native England. They're small things he could do in an evening after work or on a weekend. He cataloged all of his adventures in a book called "Microad...more
Until fairly recently, most of the scientific research about parental influence on children usually left out dads. But recent studies have shown that fathers have an important role in the development of children-- from conception into adulthood. Award-winning science writer Paul Raeburn highlights all this new research in his book "Do Fathers Matter?" In today's podcast, Paul and I discuss what we can learn about fatherhood from a hunter-gatherer tribe in South America, how dads can help make th...more
In this episode I talk with the legendary wrestler and wrestling coach Dan Gable. He won the 1972 gold medal in Munich without giving up a single point, and won 15 championships as a coach at the University of Iowa between 1976 and 1997. His new book is called "A Wrestling Life: The Inspiring Stories of Dan Gable."
What is it about making things with our hands that provides so much satisfaction? Why are we so drawn to the archetype of the craftsman? In his insightful book, Why We Make Things and Why it Matters, furniture builder and woodworking instructor Peter Korn explores the philosophy of craftsmanship. In the podcast today I talk to Peter about the ethos of craftsmanship, what craft can teach us about living the good life, and why you should get out in the garage and try building something with your h...more
If you've read the site for awhile, than you're likely familiar with Matt Moore-- AoM's resident chef. Matt recently published a book with Southern Living magazine entitled The Southern Gentleman's Kitchen. Today on the podcast I talk to Matt about cooking, chivalry, boar hunting, entreprenuership, and how to cook the perfect steak.
We often take for granted society's current sleep schedule. If you're like most people, you sleep about 8 hours a day in one chunk between the hours 10 PM and 8AM or there abouts. But our guest today reminds us that sleep always wasn't like that. In fact, it wasn't until the middle of the 19th century that that idea of sleep became the norm. In his book The Slumbering Masses, Dr. Michael J. Wolf-Meyer takes a look at the anthropology of sleep and explores how modern conceptions of sleep drives a...more
World record setting powerlifter Chris Duffin embodies what Teddy Roosevelt called the "strenuous life." Not only has he trained hard to lift superhuman amounts of weight, but he's strived to be the best man he can be in his family and professional life. His story of grit and drive to overcome obstacles and become a success is truly an inspiration. Chris and I discuss strength training and why men should be physically strong, but we also discuss how he has managed his time to balance family, wo...more
Today we refer to depression as a mental illness that needs to be cured as quickly as possible. But our guest today makes the nuanced case that human beings may have evolved to be depressed and that at one time in our prehistoric past it served an adaptive purpose. The problem is that our brain isn't made for this hectic and stressful modern world that we live in. Dr. Jonathan Rottenberg is psychologist specializing in moods and today we discuss the research from his book The Depths: The Evoluti...more
How do we make decisions in complex environments? Can we trust our gut? How do we gain insights? In today's podcast I talk to Gary Klein to answer these questions. Dr. Klein pioneered the field of naturalistic decision-making and is an expert on the science of insights. If you've enjoyed our content on the OODA Loop or situational awareness, you're really going to enjoy this episode.
Jonathan Gottschall was an associate professor of English whose career had stalled in mid-life. Then one day he looked out his office and saw an MMA gym and he decided he was going to train to become a fighter to prove something to himself and to write a book about the biology, anthropology, and sociology of male violence. In the process, many of his assumptions about violence and masculinity changed. What he once saw as something terrible and despicable, came to be seen with some nuance. Par...more
David Levien is a screenwriter, movie producer, novelist, and amateur boxer. He's worked with his writing partner Brian Koppelman on Rounders, Ocean's 13, and The Illusionist. On his own, he's published several novels, including the Frank Behr detective series. In this episode, I talk to David about writing, why detectives are an American archetype of masculinity, and boxing. This was a really fun and engaging conversation.
For the past year or so I've had AoM readers emailing and tweeting me about a book called Underground Strength. Finally had a chance to check it out and I had to have the author on. Zach Even-Esh is a strength and conditioning coach and author. His philosophy towards fitness really resonates with me: tire flipping, sledgehammers, squats, and deadlifts-- among other things. In today's show, I ask Zach about the Underground Strength Philosophy, why you should strive to be an athlete, and what a gu...more
You can't go anywhere these days without running into an article or a book on how to be more positive and upbeat. Pessimism and anger are seen as traits we should do all we can to avoid. But my guest today says that view might be a little too short-sighted. His name is Dr. Todd Kashdan and he's the co-author fo the book, The Upside of Your Darkside. Today on the podcast we talk about the benefits of getting in touch with your pessimism and anger and the potential downsides of too much positivity...more
Is success a skill that can be learned? Why are some people afraid of success? And what blind spots cause the successful to crash and burn? Well, my guest today has some ideas about these questions. His name is Dr. Jeff Spencer and he's spent his career helping top-performers-- athletes, CEOs, government leaders-- perform at their very best. We discuss his "Champion's Blueprint" and how the average Joe can apply it in his own life. Lots of great actionable steps in this podcast. Take notes!
Robert Nickelsberg was a contract photographer for TIME magazine for 25 years. During that time he documented conflicts in Kashmir, Iraq, Sri Lanka, India and Afghanistan. His most recent book Afghanistan highlights his work from the Soviet retreat in Afghanistan in the 80s to the American conflict post 9-11. On the podcast Robert and I discuss what it's like working in such hostile environments, the importance of situational awareness, and what he learned about Afghan manhood. If you've thought...more
Eric Greitens is a Rhodes Scholar that started out his career as a humanitarian but then became a Navy SEAL. His book The Heart and the Fist makes that case that in order to be a good man, you have to be strong enough to fight for those you’re trying to do good for. His book Resilience is based around a series of letters between him and a SEAL buddy that was going through a rough time in his life with alcoholism, job loss, and PTSD. Greitens calls upon his background in philosophy to provide ins...more
I've quoted Dr. Waller Newell several times in my writing about masculinity on the Art of Manliness, and his approach towards manhood is very similar to the one that I take. So it was a pleasure to finally get to speak to him and have him on the podcast. Dr. Newell is a professor of political science at Carleton University and has written several books on manhood and honor including The Code of Man: Love, Courage, Pride, Family, Country and What Is a Man? 3,000 Years of Wisdom on the Art of Manl...more
What do women find attractive in men? What should you be looking for in a partner if you want a long lasting relationship? Are there any red flags to be looking for in a relationship? Are married men miserable or happy? My guest today has spent her career researching these questions. Her name is Dr. Duana Welch and in her book "Love Factually" she highlights the research that's out there about dating and relationships. Whether you're single or married, you're definitely going to find some great...more
I talk to Antonio Centeno, owner of Real Men Real Style and our style writer at Art of Manliness, about the science and history of men's style. We discuss the martial origins of most menswear including the suit, tie, tench coat, and even t-shirt. We also discuss what science has to say about the effects a man's style and appearance has on their career and love life. For example, did you know that men with higher testosterone levels are on average more vain than men with lower testosterone levels...more
John Boyd is one of the greatest military strategists that hardly anyone knows about. Unmatched in the cockpit during the Korean War, his mind was also without rival. He was not simply a warrior of combat, but a warrior-engineer and warrior-philosopher. When he was 33, he wrote “Aerial Attack Study,” which codified the best dogfighting tactics for the first time, became the “bible of air combat,” and revolutionized the methods of every air force in the world. His Energy-Maneuverability (E-M) The...more
What does it mean to kill for your country? How do you learn how to do it? What does it feel like in the moment? Once the killing starts, how do you control it? And what happens when you kill the wrong person, or don’t kill someone you wish you had, or look back, years later, at the people you killed? In this jarring and thought provoking book, journalist Phil Zabriskie interviews combat veterans the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and asks them what it's like to kill and what it has done to them and ...more
You've probably heard about mud and obstacle races like Tough Mudder or Spartan Race, but did you know there are small local and regional obstacle races going on all over the country? In today's podcast I talk to David and Stephen Mainprize, founders and owners of Conquer the Gauntlet, a regional obstacle race that takes place in Oklahoma. I did the race last year and as someone who's done a few of the big mud run, Conquer the Gauntlet is by far my favorite. I talk to the Mainprizes why they sta...more
West Point's graduating class of 1915 produced some of America's greatest military leaders including Eisenhower and Omar Bradley. Author and historian Michael Haskew calls it "the class the stars fell on". In today's podcast I talk to Michael about his book West Point 1915 and the men who made up this class and what made them so special.
I talk to the CEO of Sorinex, Bert Sorin about his family's strength training equipment company and they're mission to help people become physically cultured. We discuss why a man should be strong, the strength benchmarks every man should master and why grip strength should play an important role in your strength training.
Our brains have a built-in negativity bias. While this bias served us well in our caveman days, in our soft and cooshy world it causes us to confuse daily stress with actual dangers leaving us feeling angry, agitated, and even depressed. But our guest today says we can overcome our brain's natural bias with a practice that just takes a few seconds each day. His name is Dr. Rick Hanson and he's the author of the book, Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidenc...more
Brian Koppelman is a man of many hats- music executive, screenwriter, and now podcast host. I talk with Brian about career trajectories in the modern economy and how having a set career path at the beginning of your career just doesn't work very well. Instead of having a rigid plan, Brian argues that we should instead tenaciously follow our curiosity while developing skills that will open up new doors. Brian gives concrete examples from his own career of following his curiosity. We also discuss ...more
On December 20, 1943 a badly damaged American bomber was flying over German airspace. Piloting the plane was a 21 year old on his first mission. Half his crew lay wounded or dead. Suddenly a German fighter flew in and lined up right behind the bomber. Flying that fighter was on the German air forces top aces. With just a pull of the trigger the German fighter could have sent the American bomber crashing to the ground. But he didn't do that. Instead he did something absolutely incredible. In toda...more
I talk to the founder and CEO of Onnit Aubrey Marcus about what it means to strive for "total human optimization." We discuss cognitive boosters like nootropics, why we should look to the past for fitness inspiration, and what he's learned about masculinity working with the top MMA fighters in the world. Plus much more.
When many people hear the word "networking" images of hotel conference rooms filled with strangers pressing flesh and handing out business cards while giving one minute elevator pitches come to mind. It's like a white collar purgatory. But according to my podcast guest, networking doesn't have to be like that. In fact, it can actually be pleasant and even fun. In today's show I talk to attorney, networking expert, and AoM contributor John Cororan about how to network like a pro.
We all are familiar with Adam Smith's book, The Wealth of Nations. It gave us the "invisible hand" and basically created the field of economics. But did you know he wrote a book before the Wealth of Nations on how to live a virtuous and good life? It's called the Theory of Moral Sentiments and the insights Smith makes in it can change your life for the better. I talk to economist Russ Roberts, author of the book, How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life, about what we can learn from the Father of Eco...more
I talk to famous motivational speaker Tony Robbins about his new book "Money: Master the Game." Tony and I talk about what he learned after interviewing the world's most successful investors and how average Joes can apply it in their own life. We discuss the myths that are preventing people from saving enough from retirement, why you should avoid actively managed mutual funds, why NOT losing money is one of the most important investment strategies, and how to create a portfolio that can withstan...more
I talk with Vietnam veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Paul Bucha about his military career, what Vietnam was like, the intense love he has for his fellow soldiers, and what it's like to receive the citation for the Medal of Honor. A fascinating discussion with a fascinating man.
Do you feel stuck in behaviors or mindsets that hold you back from the man you want to be? In today's podcast we're going to introduce you to a technique scientifically proven to help bring lasting change in people's lives. It's called "story editing" and our guest today wrote a book on the subject. His name is Dr. Tim Wilson and he's the author of the book, Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change. Tim and I discuss how we can edit our stories to become better men and what G...more
I talk to boyhood psychology expert, Dr. Michael Gurian about his book, The Wonder of Boys. We discuss how biological differences between boys and girls affect the neurology and consequently the psychology of boys as well as how schools and therapists have overlooked these differences to the detriment of boys. Gurian provides insights into what boys need in order to grow into strong, mentally and emotionally healthy men, and what parents can do to provide that environment to boys. If you're a da...more
Why are men (generally) more violent then women? Why are men (generally) drawn to competition? Is the idea that masculinity means having courage and strength just a complete cultural construct or is their a biological underpinning to it? Well, our guest today makes the case that we can look to our closest animal relatives, the great apes, to find answers to these questions. His name is Dr. Richard Wrangham and he is a professor of biological anthropology at Harvard University. He's the co-author...more
The Marine Combat Hunter Program was developed during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to give soldiers tools on how to detect threats before they happen. The goal is to make Marines as situationally aware as possible so they can not just survive, but also win lethal encounters. In Left of Bang, Patrick Van Horne presents the skills and mindsets that are taught in the Marine Combat Hunter program for a civilian audience. We talk about situational awareness and how these skills can be used beyond th...more
Maneesh Sethi is the creator of Pavlok. It's a wearable device that connects to your smartphone and helps you make and break habits. One of the things Pavlok does is shock you if you do something you're not supposed to be doing, like visiting a time wasting site like Facebook, or when you don't do what you should be doing, like going to the gym. I talk to Maneesh about habits and the power of punishment in getting us to do what we should be doing. We also discuss the ways men and women differ in...more
In this episode I talk to writer J. C. Herz about her book, Learning to Breathe Fire: The Rise of CrossFit and the Primal Future of Fitness. Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard about CrossFit. I'll admit that before I read Learning to Breathe Fire, I had just a vague idea of how CrossFit worked, and was honestly pretty skeptical of it. My only interaction with the program has been giving the CrossFitters (or "fire breathers" as they sometimes call themselves) at my gym ...more
I talk to Bruce Feiler, author of the book The Secrets of Happy Families. We discuss what recent research says on how you can create a positive culture in your family. If you're a dad or plan on becoming a dad, this podcast is for you. Bruce show agile development, mission statements, and GoRuck challenges can help you have a happy family. This podcast is brought to you in part by OriginalStich.com. Visit OriginalStitch.com to check out an entirely new way to buy a shirt for the modern man and a...more
I talk to Tim Larkin, self-defense instructor and creator of Target Focus Training. We discuss why people need to get comfortable with violence if they want to survive a life-threatening encounter, the difference between anti-social bluff and asocial violence, and how studying the worst people in society can help us become better defenders of ourselves. And much, much more.
Today I talk with Andy Forch and Richard Greiner, the co-founders of the men's online store Huckberry. If you're a business owner or have thought about starting your own business, this podcast is for you. I ask Andy and Rich to share how they bootstrapped a business they started into their apartment and turned it into one of the largest men's e-commerce stores on the web. As a business that's in the business of curating men's lifestyle products, Andy and Rich have seen first-hand what separates ...more
Lt. Col. Dave Grossman has spent his career researching, writing, and speaking about an unpleasant topic: killing. Specifically, what happens to a person physically and psychologically whenever they have to take the life another human to protect themselves or someone else. Grossman's work has provided invaluable insights on how to better train and prepare our warriors for the stress that comes with life and death situations. I talk to Lt. Col. Grossman about the often unspoken act of killing, th...more
I talk to Cal Newport, author of the book So Good They Can't Ignore Ignore You. In his book Cal makes that case that "following your passion" is terrible career advice and can actually cause people needless anxiety and problems in their lives because they're constantly jumping from one career to the next. Instead of "following your passion", he argues that you should instead focus on developing mastery in a skill that will allow you to build up career capital, which in turns opens up more opp...more
I talk to Juliana Schroeder, PhD candidate at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business about our mind's evolved ability to read the minds of others. This mind reading ability of ours is what makes a lot of social interaction possible. Her research with Nichols Epley has uncovered some fascinating insights on how status makes us dehumanize others, how making small talk makes us happier, and how men and women are different and the same when it comes to reading the minds of others.
We continue our conversation with Mark Rippetoe author of Starting Strength. In this episode, I ask Mark questions about strength training submitted by Art of Manliness podcast listeners.
This week I talk to strength training expert and author Mark Rippetoe about barbell training. We discuss why a man should be strong, the benefits of barbell training over machines, old-time strongmen, the importance of form in barbell training, the main lifts every man should be doing and much, much more. In next week's episode I field questions to Mark that AoM readers had for him.
I talk to professor of classical history Carlin Barton about her book Roman Honor: The Fire in the Bones. Honor has played a huge role manliness across time and cultures. Professor Barton and I discuss what honor meant to the Romans, how it governed their lives, and what it meant to Roman masculinity. Professor Barton explains the how the Romans distinguished males from men and how a male gained status as a "man" and the role male extendibility had in that process. Later on in our conversation, ...more
I talk to to author Mark Greenblatt about his book Valor: Unsung Heroes from Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Homefront. We discuss why the American public know so little about heroes from the most recent wars, stories about the brave men he features in this book, and lessons we can take from them on being better men.
I talk to charisma expert, Olivia Fox about her book The Charisma Myth. We discuss the myth that charisma is something you're just born with, how charisma can make a man look smarter, more influential, and even taller than he really is, the three pillars of charisma, specific actions you can take to improve your charisma, different charisma styles, and much more!
I talk with fitness expert, bodybuilder, and business consultant John Romaniello about his book Man 2.0: Engineering the Alpha. John and I discuss what it means to be "alpha"; how Joseph Campbell's The Hero's Journey can make you a better man; how to increase your testosterone; intermittent fasting; how pounding down 14,000 calories of ice cream in one setting may help you lose fat; dogmatism in the fitness industry; and how journaling can calm your frantic mind. Note: There's some adult languag...more
I talk to author Kenneth W. Royce about his new book Modules For Manhood. Kenneth and I discuss how the famous gunfighter Jeff Cooper inspired this book; the skills every young man should have before leaving his parents home; why manhood is lacking today; what young men can do today to start down the path of manhood; and what parents can do to help their sons.
I talk to J.D. Roth, founder of the personal finance blog Get Rich Slowly, on why we all need to become the Chief Financial Officers of our lives. J.D. and I discuss taking financial practices from the business world and applying to our personal finances. If you've been wanting to get a better hold on your finances, you'll get a lot of this podcast.
Today I talk to Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post and author of the book Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder. Arianna and I discuss our culture's glorification of sleeplessness, power, and money and the ill effects its having on us as individuals and as a society.
I talk to Jack London scholar Earle Labor about his new biography on Jack London entitled, Jack London: An American Life. Professor Labor and I talk about what Jack London can teach men about being men and how his life and work can inspire adventure even today.
I talk to Dr. Anthony T. DeBenedet author of the book, The Art of Roughhousing. We discuss what the research says on the benefits of roughhousing with your kids. Basically, body slamming your kid on the bed makes him awesome.
We talk to The Obstacle Is the Way author, Ryan Holiday, about stoicism, turning adversity into triumph, and great men from history.
We talk to survival expert and TV star Les Stroud, better known as Survivorman. Les and I talk about how he got started with wilderness survival, how his one-man TV show "Survivorman" got its start, wilderness survival tips every man should know, and how the wild has affected his music career.
We talk to Joe DeSena, founder of the Spartan Race about his new book Spartan Up. We discuss how to forge mental toughness, overcoming obstacles, and what it means to spartan up.
We talk to Charlie Hoehn about his book Play it Away: A Workaholic's Cure for Anxiety. Charlie shares his experiencing burning-out from work and how rediscovering play saved him.
In this episode we talk to Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Charles Duhigg about his book The Power of Habit. The Power of Habit was our book of the month in the AoM Book Club and it has served as inspiration for a post and a video on the site, so I was excited that I had the chance to talk to Duhigg about his book. During our conversation we discuss what science has revealed about habit formation and action steps we can take to change bad habits.
In this episode I talk to Mark Divine, owner of SEALFit and the author of the new book, The Way of the SEAL: Think Like an Elite Warrior to Lead and Succeed. Mark and I discuss his service as as SEAL, how he's helped potential SEALs get ready for BUD/S, as well as how civilians can apply the principles that SEALs call upon to forge mental toughness.
Today I talk to Bryan Black, founder and owner of ITS Tactical. ITS Tactical is dedicated to providing "knowledge that empowers individuals with indispensable skill-sets to explore their world and prevail against all threats." You'll find content on emergency prep, wilderness survival, and self-defense on ITS Tactical. It's sort of like Boy Scouts, but manlier. Bryan and I talk about why he started ITS Tactical, the tactical skills every man should know, and the gear every man should have to be ...more
In this episode of the AoM podcast, I talk to science journalist Steven Kotler about his new book The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance. In his book, Steven takes a look at the world of extreme athletes and discovers that these so-called adrenaline junkies are pushing the boundaries of human performance, and it isn't the adrenaline that's driving these advances. Rather, it's the concept of flow -- an optimal state of attention that slows down time and makes lif...more
What does it mean to be "gifted"? Is it talent? Creativity? Intelligence? A mixture of all three? Is giftedness something you're born with or can you nurture it? Is it possible to measure and predict giftedness? Our guest today, Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman, has tackled all these questions in his most recent book Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined. Scott is a cognitive psychologist who specializes in creativity and intelligence. Besides writing books and scholarly articles on the intersection of creat...more
Today we talk to John Durant, author of The Paleo Manifesto, about how looking at our ancestral past can help us achieve optimal health both physically and mentally.
In today's episode I talk to writer Steven Pressfield. Steven has written over a dozen books ranging from fiction and non-fiction. His book Gates of Fire, a fictional account of the Battle of Thermopylae, is used by the Marine Corps Basic School and his non-fiction books have become go-to guides for writers, entrepreneurs, and other creative types. Steve and I talk about why war plays a central theme in all his work and how to apply the Warrior Ethos to creative work.
In today's episode I talk to author Christopher Klein about his new biography of famed 19th century boxer John L. Sullivan (he's the "boxer man" that serves as the unofficial logo of the Art of Manliness). Klein and I talk about this larger-than-life character and his influence on boxing and modern ideals of manhood in America today.
In today's episode I talk to A.J. Jacobs, editor at large at Esquire Magazine, writer of several best-sellers (including A Year of Living Biblically, and Drop Dead Healthy), and a self-proclaimed human guinea pig. He's now a contributor to Upwave. A.J. and I discuss some of the crazy experiments he's done with his life, the comic hijinkes that ensued with them, and how they made him a better man.
In today's episode I talk to Antonio Centeno, founder and owner of Real Men Real Style as well as the resident style expert at Art of Manliness. We discuss men's style, why it's important, and things men can do to improve their personal style
In today's episode I talk to Dr. Meg Jay, a clinical psychologist and author the Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of Them Now. We discuss why your twenties are so important and the challenges that many twentysomethings have today.
In today's episode I talk to Mark Frauenfelder, editor of Make Magazine, founder of Boing Boing, and author of the book Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throw Away Society. We discuss his experience developing a DIY ethos and becoming more sufficient.
In today's episode I talk to Jack Donovan, author of the book The Way of Men. We discuss is conception of a universal code of masculinity and if it's even possible to live "the way of men" in modern society.
In today's episode I talk to Creek Stewart, owner of Willow Haven Outdoor, and author of Building the Perfect Bug Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit. His most recent book is The Unofficial Hunger Games Survival Guide. Creek and I discuss his new book and things that you can do now to prepare for an emergency.
In today's podcast we talk to Forrest Pritchard, farmer at Smith Meadows Farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. He's recently published a book entitled Gaining Ground: A Story of Farmer's Markets, Local Food, and Saving the Family Farm. Forrest and I discuss his story of how he saved a farm that's been in his family for eight generations using sustainable farming practices.
In today's podcast we talk to New York Times Bestselling author Robert Greene about his new book Mastery. We discuss what it takes to become a master in any domain or field in life and the common path that great men like da Vinci, Darwin, and Mozart tred to achieve greatness.
Welcome back to another edition of the Art of Manliness Podcast! In today's episode we discuss mating intelligence with the authors of a new book on the subject. Drs. Glen Geher and Scotty Barry Kaufman are pyschologists and the authors of the book Mating Intelligence Unleashed: The Role of the Mind in Sex, Dating, and Love.
Welcome back to another episode of the Art of Manliness podcast! In this edition, we talk to author Marcus Brotherton about his new book, Voices of the Pacific: Untold Stories of the Marine Heroes of WWII. Marcus has written over 25 books including The New York Times Bestseller We Who Are Alive and Remain: Untold Stories from the Band of Brothers. In addition to writing books, Marcus writes at his blog Men Who Lead Well, as well as at The Art of Manliness.
Welcome back to another episode of the Art of Manliness podcast! In this edition we talk to Dr. Corey Allan, a marriage and family therapist and the owner of the website Simple Marriage where he writes about how to strengthen and improve marriages and families. Corey has written several ebooks on marriage and has created self-guided online courses (like Blow Up My Marriage) to help couples improve their relationship.
Welcome back to another episode of the Art of Manliness podcast! In this edition we talk to the founder and owner of one of my favorite websites, Steve Kamb of Nerd Fitness. If you haven't been to Nerd Fitness yet, go check it out today. Steve writes incredibly useful and inspiring content on how to improve every aspect of your life (but in particular your health) and does it in a way that's fun, engaging, and approachable. He's taken fitness and turned it into a real-life video game. On his sit...more
Welcome back to another episode of the Art of Manliness podcast! A few months ago we did a massive series on the history of manly honor in the West. In one of the posts, we explored what honor meant to men living in the American North at the time of the Civil War and how different codes of honor clashed in the Union Army. One of the sources we used while researching for that post was a fascinating book entitled The Gentlemen and the Roughs: Violence, Honor, and Manhood in the Union Army.
So after being in hiatus for nearly a year, I've decided to bring back the Art of Manliness podcast. Thanks to all those who emailed and messaged me asking to bring it back. To kick off the resurrection of the AoM podcast, I talk to Dr. Alex Lickerman. Dr. Lickerman is a practicing physician and author of a recently published book entitled, The Undefeated Mind: On the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Self. If you enjoyed our series on the power of resilience, you're going enjoy my conv...more
Before Arnold Schwarzenegger, even before Charles Atlas, there was Eugen Sandow. Rising from obscurity in Prussia, Sandow became an international celebrity during the Golden Age of the Strongman in the late 19th Century for his amazing feats of strength and his well sculpted physique. While Sandow wowed crowds in the United Kingdom and United States, he also preached a new gospel of physical fitness and well being. Our guest today has recently published a biography of Sandow and his times. His n...more
In this week's episode we talk to Nick Offerman, the actor who plays the manliest character on TV, Ron Swanson from NBC's Parks and Recreation.
While it’s now America’s favorite pastime, football was on the verge of extinction as soon as the game was forming around the 20th century. Severe injuries and even death were common in the early days of football as players used little or no protection and the rules of the game encouraged ruthless play. Many university presidents and other social leaders called for the game’s prohibition and came close to getting their way, that is until President Teddy Roosevelt stepped in. Our guest today has ...more
Welcome back to the Art of Manliness podcast! Why are men in American falling behind? What’s caused their decline in the past 50 years? Many sociologists argue that driving forces are economic and cultural in nature. But our guest today disagrees and proposes that biology (or rather humans messing with it) is the main force behind the decline of men in the West. His name is Dr. Lionel Tiger and he’s the author of the book, The Decline of Males: The First Look at an Unexpected New World for Men a...more
Welcome back to another episode of the Art of Manliness podcast. In this week's episode we talk to Silvio Calabi, co-author of the book Hemingway's Guns. We discuss Ernest Hemingway's favorite firearms, how his love of guns influenced his writing, and what his favorite hunts were.
Welcome back to another episode of The Art of Manliness Podcast. In this week's edition, we talk to Dr. Frank Farley, a professor of psychology at the University of Temple. For the past twenty years, Dr. Farley has been researching heroism and the attributes of heroes. He discuss whether why society needs heroes and what we can do as men to be heroes for our children.
Welcome back to the Art of Manliness Podcast! In this week's episode we continue our conversation with Dr. Roy Baumeister, author of the book, Is There Anything Good About Men?
Welcome back to another episode of the Art of Manliness Podcast! In this week's edition, we talk to Dr. Roy Baumesiter, author of the book, Is There Anything Good About Men?
In this week's post we talk to fighter and author Sam Sheridan about what it takes to be an MMA fighter.
We'll all serve in leadership roles at some time or another. It might be at our work, in our communities, or in our families. But what separates the great leaders from the merely good ones? Are great leaders born or made? Our guest today is an authority on the topic of leadership and will answer those questions. His name is James Strock and his latest book is called Serve to Lead: Your Transformational 21st Century Leadership System. James has published two other books on leadership: Roosevelt o...more
Welcome back! In this week's episode we talk baseball cards with Dave Jamieson, author of the book, Mint Condition: How Baseball Cards Became an American Obsession. Listen in!
Welcome back to another episode of the Art of Manliness podcast. In this week's episode we talk to Vic Magary from Gym Junkies on how to get started working out.
Welcome back! In this week's episode we talk to Elliot Katz, author of the book Being the Strong Man a Woman Wants. Listen in!
Welcome back to the Art of Manliness Podcast! In this week's episode we talk to Chris Guillebeau, author of the blog The Art of Non-Conformity. We discuss how a man can travel the world on a budget, how you can start a small business to give you the freedom you want while still holding down a 9-5, and overcoming the fear to living the life you always wanted. Listen in!
Welcome back to another episode of The Art of Manliness podcast! In this week's edition we talk to Andrew Vietze, author of the book Becoming Teddy Roosevelt: How a Maine Guide Inspired America's 26th President. Andrew's book focuses on a New Englander named Bill Sewell who served as TR's woods guide when Roosevelt was a young man. The relationship Sewell and Roosevelt formed had a profound impact on TR and may have even helped direct him to a career in politics. Through the biography of Bill Se...more
In this week's episode of the Art of Manliness podcast we talk to personal trainer, Stew Smith. Stew is a former Navy SEAL who now devotes his time to helping other men train and prepare for work in special operations. He's developed fitness programs for men working in the military, special operations, firefighting, and police work. We talk about how a man can prepare physically for SEAL training, what lessons in manliness we can take from SEALs, and Stew's approach to fitness and nutrition.
Statistics show that American boys are in trouble. They’re more likely to have depression, abuse alcohol and drugs, and perform poorly in school. What can we do to help these troubled boys? To get some answers we talk to Dr. Michael Thompson, author of the book Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Lives of Boys. Dr. Thompson is a psychologist specializing in boys and he’s a clinical consultant at The Belmont Hill School, an all boys school in Massachusetts. Dr. Thompson and I discuss the emoti...more
We've all heard the phrase "Nice guys finish last," right? Why is that? Why do the men whose women friends tell him he'll make a great catch never have a date come Friday night? Or why does the guy who never rocks the boat at work never get the promotion? To answer these questions we talked to Dr. Robert Glover, author of the book No More Mr. Nice Guy: A Proven Plan For Getting What You Want In Love, Sex, and Life. We discuss the attributes of these Nice Guys, why there's been a proliferation of...more
Welcome back to another episode of the Art of Manliness podcast. In this edition, we talk to Robert Davis about the history of masculinity in America and Freemasonry's influence on American men. Robert is the Executive Secretary of the Guthrie, Oklahoma Scottish Rite and the author of the book Understanding American Manhood: Freemasonry's Enduring Path to the Mature Masculine.
Welcome back to the podcast! In this week's episode we talk to actor Rich Sommer who plays ad man Harry Crane on AMC's hit drama Mad Men. We discuss Mad Men's take on mid-century masculinity, how starring in the show has influenced Rich's perception of manliness, and of course, we talk the dapper style of the men at Sterling Cooper. Tune in!
Welcome back to the Art of Manliness Podcast! In this week's episode we talk to author Matthew Mayo. Matt has recently written a book called Cowboys, Mountain Men, and Grizzly Bears: Fifty of the Grittiest Moments in the History of the Wild West. We discuss Hugh Glass and his 350 mile crawl of revenge to kill the men who left him for dead, lawman Bass Reeves, the first African-American U.S. Marshall west of the Mississippi, and many more manly men who helped tame the Wild West. Listen in!
Welcome back to another edition of the Art of Manliness Podcast! In this week's episode we talk to Scott Farrell, director of Chivalry Today. We discuss the history of chivalry and how modern men can apply the code of chivalry in their lives today. Enjoy!
Welcome back to another episode of The Art of Manliness Podcast! In this week's edition we talk to J.D. Roth, founder of the personal finance blog, Get Rich Slowly. Money Magazine named Get Rich Slowly the most inspiring money site on the net and one of the top 25 personal finance blogs, as well. J.D. has a new book coming out this spring called Your Money: The Missing Manual and you can pre-order it on Amazon.com. We talk to J.D. about his journey in paying off $35,000 worth of consumer debt, w...more
Welcome back to another edition of the Art of Manliness podcast. This week we return to our series called Man Stories where we interview a different gentleman and ask him what it means to be a man. This week our guest is Kasper from London, England. Thanks, Kasper!
Welcome back to the Art of Manliness Podcast! In this week's episode we interview Dr. Gary Cross, author of the book Men to Boys: The Making of Modern Immaturity. We discuss the history behind the trend of men putting off responsibilities like family and career longer and longer and instead indulge themselves in the same pastimes and consumer goods as 17-year-olds.
Welcome back to the Art of Manliness Podcast! In this episode we return to our series called "Man Stories" where every other week we interview a different gentleman and ask him what it means to be a man. This week our guest is Liam Strain from Chicago. Thanks Liam!
Welcome back to the Art of Manliness podcast. This week we bring you a special holiday edition of the Art of Manliness podcast with a very special guest: Santa Claus! Or at least a guy who works as Santa. Santa Dave (or Dave Davis) is a professional Santa Clause that lives in Ohio. He's a member of the Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas and also does story telling. You can find out more about Santa Dave's work and see pics of the big man himself at his website Christmas Lore.
Welcome back to another episode of The Art of Manliness Podcast! In this edition we talk to Ben Thompson, author of the new book, Badass: A Relentless Onslaught of the Toughest Warlords, Vikings, Samurai, Pirates, Gunfighters, and Military Commanders to Ever Live. He's also the owner and founder of the popular website, badassofthweek.com. We talk about some of the badasses from history that Ben highlights in his book. Oh, and as you can imagine, we say badass alot in the interview, so if that so...more
Welcome back to another episode of The Art of Manliness podcast! We took a short break because of the Thanksgiving holiday, but we're back with another edition of Man Stories. In this episode we talk to Carlos Infante of Mexico City, Mexico and ask him what it means to be a man.
Welcome back to another edition of The Art of Manliness podcast! In this episode we talk to Wayne Levine. Wayne is the founder of BetterMen.org where he offers mentoring for men and facilitates men's retreats and groups. He's the author of the book, Hold on To Your N.U.Ts: The Relationship Manual for Men. You can find out more about Wayne's work by visiting bettermen.org.
Welcome back to another edition of the Art of Manliness podcast. In this week's episode we return to our series called "Man Stories" where we interview a different gentleman every other week and ask him what it means to be a man. This time our guest is Robert Disque from Ogden, UT.
Welcome back to another edition of the Art of Manliness podcast. In this week's episode we talk to Walker Lamond, author of the newly released book Rules for My Unborn Son. Walker is a writer and television producer that lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife and newborn boy. You can buy Walker's book at Amazon.com and make sure to check out his blog that inspired the book, 1001 Rules for My Unborn Son.
Welcome back to another episode of The Art of Manliness podcast. This week we return to our series called "Man Stories" where we interview a regular man and ask him what manliness means to him. Our guest this week is Zeke Smith. Zeke is an American living in England while his wife pursues her masters at the University of Manchester. Thanks Zeke for talking with us! Editor's Note: I had some problems with the sound on this episode. I apologize for the quality. I hope to have the recording problem...more
Welcome back to another episode of the Art of Manliness podcast. In this edition, we talk the history of beards with Allan Peterkin, author of 1000 Beards: The Cultural History of Facial Hair. Find out why popes are beardless, what psychologists have said your beard unconsciously says about you, and why politicians don't have beards anymore.
Welcome back to another edition of the Art of Manliness podcast. In this episode we return to our series called "Man Stories" where we interview a different man every other week and ask him what it mean for him to be a man. Our guest this week is Dan Kern. Dan hails from Winnipeg, Canada and he works as a voice actor for a living.
In this week's episode, we talk to Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint. Mark argues that what we know about health and fitness is wrong and that we should actually be taking our cues from cavemen. We discuss how men can start living the primal lifestyle today and begin the path towards better health.
Welcome back to another edition of the Art of Manliness podcast! Today, I'm going to start a new series on the show called "Man Stories." Every other week, I'm going to bring on a different gentleman who reads the blog and ask him a few questions about what manliness means to him and the men who have had an influence on his perception of manliness. I'm looking forward to this series. It will be interesting to hear different men explain their view of manliness, plus I think it's a great way to ge...more
In the inaugural episode of the Art of Manliness podcast we talk to Marcus Brotherton, author of We Who Are Alive and Remain: Untold Stories From the Band of Brothers. Marcus shares his insights about the men who fought in the 101st Airborne Division during World War II and what lessons men today can take from the Band of Brothers.