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Rank #2 in Philosophy category

Education
Society & Culture
Philosophy

The Art of Manliness

Updated 2 months ago

Rank #2 in Philosophy category

Education
Society & Culture
Philosophy
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Podcast by The Art of Manliness

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Podcast by The Art of Manliness

iTunes Ratings

9169 Ratings
Average Ratings
7696
892
266
147
168

Aom

By jeremiahpt - May 30 2020
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Great show week in and out

Listen to this!

By williambratkowski - May 28 2020
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That is all, thoughtful, interesting, smart. Listen to this.

iTunes Ratings

9169 Ratings
Average Ratings
7696
892
266
147
168

Aom

By jeremiahpt - May 30 2020
Read more
Great show week in and out

Listen to this!

By williambratkowski - May 28 2020
Read more
That is all, thoughtful, interesting, smart. Listen to this.
Cover image of The Art of Manliness

The Art of Manliness

Latest release on Aug 05, 2020

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Podcast by The Art of Manliness

Rank #1: #184: Using Behavioral Psychology for a Rich Life With Ramit Sethi

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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 Sethi and he's the owner of the website I Will Teach You to Be Rich. Today on the show, Ramit and I discuss what we can learn from behavioral psychology to help us achieve our goals, whether it's losing weight or asking for a raise.We talk about why you should focus on big wins in life and Ramit gives us an exact script to follow when asking for a raise. Lots of actionable steps in this podcast. You'll want to take notes.

Mar 18 2016

54mins

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Rank #2: #168: The Value of Deep Work in the Age of Distraction

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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 talk about the principles of deep work, plus the nuts and bolts of being more focused with your day.

Jan 12 2016

58mins

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Rank #3: #354: Brains & Brawn — Tips and Inspiration on Being a Well-Rounded Man

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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 religious studies and was a Fulbright Scholar in religious education. He teaches religious studies for Columbia College of Missouri. 
Today on the show, Dan and I discuss how physical training can make you a better man in all domains of your life. We begin our discussion on how his training has made him a better scholar and how his scholarship has improved his training. Dan then explains what “shark habits” are, how they contribute to your long-term goals, and how to develop your own shark habits.
We end our conversation getting into specifics of strength training. Dan shares the top 3 mistakes he sees people make with their training, why you need to start carrying heavy instead of just lifting heavy, and why you need to put a premium on recovery. 
This episode combines both brains and brawn for a compelling conversation on being a well-rounded man.

Nov 08 2017

1hr 6mins

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Rank #4: #377: 12 Rules for Life With Jordan Peterson

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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 that perhaps the way you start to get out of that rut is to clean your room, bucko. His name is Jordan B. Peterson, and I’ve had him on the show before. Peterson is a psychoanalyst and lecturer, and he’s got a new book out called "12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos." Today on the show, Dr. Peterson and I discuss why men have been disengaging from work and family and why his YouTube lectures resonate with so many modern men. We then unpack why it’s so easy to get resentful about life, before spending the rest of the conversation discussing rules that can help you navigate away from resentment and towards a life of meaning. Dr. Peterson explains why he thinks a meaningful life isn’t possible without religion or myths, what lobsters can teach us about assertiveness, and why a simple act like cleaning your room can be the stepping stone towards a better life.

Feb 06 2018

56mins

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Rank #5: #233: Diet and Nutrition Advice From the Doctor of Gains

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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 can’t gain strength and muscle while simultaneously losing fat. We also discuss which supplements are the biggest waste of money and which ones are actually scientifically proven to work. This episode is jam-packed with actionable information, so be sure to take notes.

Sep 09 2016

1hr 2mins

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Rank #6: #455: How to Create the Perfect Morning Routine

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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 the book My Morning Routine, which shares insights taken from the morning routines of dozens of entrepreneurs, leaders, and creative folks.

On today’s show, Benjamin walks us through how to craft the perfect morning routine, including how to make time for it in your schedule, what activities to include, and how a successful morning routine starts with what you do the night before. We also discuss how to adjust your morning routine while traveling and when you have kids. Along the way, Benjamin gives us a peek at the morning routines of several influential people to give us some inspiration for our own routines.

Lots of actionable advice in this episode on creating a morning routine that works for you and sets you up for a productive day.

After the show is over, get the notes at aom.is/morningroutine.

Nov 05 2018

38mins

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Rank #7: #610: Who Lives in Survival Situations, Who Dies, and Why

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In disasters or accidents, why do some people survive and others perish? In exploring this question, my guest has uncovered psychological and philosophical insights into not only dealing with life-threatening crises, but strategically navigating any situation that involves risk and decision-making. 

His name is Laurence Gonzales and he's a pilot, a journalist, and the author of several books, including the focus of today's conversation: Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why. Today on the show, we discuss how the story of his father being shot out of the sky during WWII set Laurence on a journey to explore the mysterious underpinnings of survival. Laurence then explains what happens to us mentally and emotionally in a disaster situation that causes us to make poor decisions, how our mental models can get us in trouble, and why rule breakers are more likely to survive than rule followers. Laurence then walks us through complexity theory and how trying to make things safer can counterintuitively make them more dangerous. We then talk about why the frequency with which you yell at your kids correlates to your chances of surviving a life-threatening emergency, before ending our conversation with a discussion of the paradoxes would-be survivors must grapple with, including being both realistic and hopeful at the same time.   

Get the show notes at aom.is/deepsurvival.

May 13 2020

46mins

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Rank #8: #196: The Science of Self-Motivation and Productivity

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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 about his new book, Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business.
This isn't your standard self-help book. Rather than relying on old platitudes, Duhigg turns to science and real-world examples of motivation and productivity. We also get into the nitty gritty and give you solid tips on how you can improve your day-to-day life and work.

Apr 27 2016

37mins

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Rank #9: #214: How to Have a Good Day, Every Day

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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 how to set goals in the morning and put them into action, how to reduce cognitive overload so you can make better decisions, and how to deal with irksome people and setbacks so they don't ruin your day.

Jun 30 2016

46mins

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Rank #10: #265: The Law of Self-Defense

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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 the law says you can defend yourself and how you can do it. Whether you’re dealing with a person threatening your life or some jerk shoving you at the bar, knowing how to defend yourself isn’t enough. You need to understand the legal implications of your actions as well.

Dec 30 2016

57mins

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Rank #11: #348: A Counterintelligence Expert's Five Rules to Lead and Succeed

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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 Robin Dreeke, and he's spent his career working in a field where trust is hard to get but important to have — doing counterintelligence for the FBI. Robin’s recently published a book sharing how he has been able to gain the trust of people who aren’t very keen on trusting others. It’s called "The Code of Trust."
Today on the show, Robin shares the five rules of building trust with anyone — no matter how suspicious they are of you. While these rules may seem like they’re an invitation to become a human doormat, Robin explains why that’s not the case, and how they actually make you more influential.
Whether you’re working with spies, like Robin, or just want to build more trust in your office or relationships, you’re going to find plenty of interesting and actionable advice in this podcast.

Oct 17 2017

41mins

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Rank #12: #607: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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It's been 30 years since the landmark self-management book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was published. It's been called the most influential business book of the 20th century and the principles it espouses have become embedded in our culture. The 7 Habits has had a big impact on my own life since the first time I read it over 20 years ago as a high schooler. A 30th anniversary edition of the book is out with new insights from the late Stephen Covey's children. Today, it's my pleasure to speak to one of them, Stephen M.R. Covey. Stephen is the oldest of the Covey children, played an instrumental role in the launch of the first edition of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, as well as in his father's company, Franklin Covey, and is himself the author of the book The Speed of Trust. Today on the show, Stephen and I discuss why The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has had such staying power and why it's just as relevant today as it was 30 years ago. We then walk through the seven habits, exploring how each is lived individually, as well as work together to create a flourishing life. If you've never read The 7 Habits, this episode is a great introduction. And if you've read it before, this is a succinct refresher on a set of principles worth building your life around.

Get the show notes at aom.is/sevenhabits.

May 04 2020

48mins

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Rank #13: #440: The 3 Great Untruths That Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure

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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 weren't doing enough to limit speech. What happened?

Well, my guest explores the answer to that question in a book he co-authored with Jonathan Haidt entitled The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure. His name is Greg Lukianoff and he’s the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Today on the show, Greg tries to explain what’s going on on college campuses with the trigger warnings, microaggressions, protests, and sometimes violent clashes between social justice warriors and far-right provocateurs. He argues that there are 3 great untruths that have become woven into childhood and education that are leading the rising generation astray. Greg gets into where these untruths come from and how they're creating a culture of "safetyism" that's not only affecting intellectual discourse but the normal process of maturation.

If you’re looking for some thoughtful, non-polemical insights about some of the craziness you see going on at college campuses, this episode is for you.

Get the show notes at aom.is/coddling.

Sep 12 2018

54mins

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Rank #14: #461: The Spartan Regime

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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 some of these complexities with historian Paul Rahe. Paul is working on a series of books with Yale University Press which explore both the military and political strategy of the Spartans. We begin our conversation discussing why it’s hard for us moderns to truly understand Sparta. We then dig into the history and culture of Spartans, including where they came from, their economic set-up and relationship with the helot population, and the strenuous upbringing of boys that made them fit for battle. We then talk about the mixed government of the Spartans. We end our conversation discussing how the city-state faded into obscurity, and why the Spartans yet live on in modern culture.

Get the show notes at aom.is/sparta.

Nov 26 2018

1hr 4mins

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Rank #15: #470: A Proven System for Building and Breaking Habits

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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 tactics you use for reaching them.

His name is James Clear, he’s the author of the book Atomic Habits, and today on the show, he walks us through how to make habit formation and habit breaking much easier by crafting optimal systems for behavior change. We begin our show discussing the misconceptions people have about habits and the 4-step process of habit formation that tracks the 4 laws of behavior change. James then suggests specific ways to make good habits more attractive and easier to obtain while making bad habits less attractive and easier to shake. We end our conversation discussing why you should take into account your unique personality when you craft your habits.

Get the show notes at aom.is/atomichabits.

Jan 02 2019

59mins

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Rank #16: #525: How to Stress Proof Your Body and Brain

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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-ophthalmology, as well as the author of Stress-Proof: The Scientific Solution to Protect Your Brain and Body — and Be More Resilient Every Day. Today on the show we discuss the difference between acute stress and chronic stress and why acute stress can actually be good for you, while chronic stress can change your brain so that you get more stressed out when you experience stress. We discuss how both cortisol and inflammation can actually be beneficial in the right amounts, and how to get them in the right doses -- including the particular type of exercise that will best help you recover from stress, and the role diet and even Tetris can play in managing it. We end our conversation discussing how making time for hobbies can prevent you from falling into the stress trap.

Get the show notes at aom.is/stressproof.

Jul 15 2019

57mins

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Rank #17: #191: Finding the Work You Were Meant To Do

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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.

Apr 11 2016

34mins

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Rank #18: #592: Being a Man in the Lousy Modern World

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Emerson famously said "society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members." 

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

Get the show notes at aom.is/twigger.

Mar 11 2020

43mins

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Rank #19: #401: Everything You Need to Know About Diet & Fat Loss

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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 nutrition. We begin with a big picture overview of the three main macronutrients our body uses to function, and the science of their effect on the body. Robert walks us through how our body partitions nutrients as we consume them, and explains exactly how we get fat. In the process, Robert debunks a lot of popular ideas people have about nutrition these days, like eating carbs makes you fat and eating fat is an easy way to lose weight. In fact, he argues that you should probably be eating a lot more carbs than you are now. He then walks us through the science of fat loss, and gives practical examples of what a diet needs to look like, whether you’re wanting to lose fat, while maintaining muscle, or gain weight that's more muscle than fat. We end our conversation discussing my experience in cutting weight, what I eat from day to day, and why trying to get six-pack abs isn’t necessarily a healthy goal. 
Get the full show notes at aom.is/santana

May 01 2018

1hr 23mins

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Rank #20: #234: Haggling and Deal Making Advice From a FBI Hostage Negotiator

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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, it’s typically assumed the best way to negotiate is to quickly get to yes and make compromises. But what if the better approach is to make “no” your goal and to never split the difference?
Well, that’s what my guest on the show today argues. And his insights have been field tested in truly critical situations. His name is Chris Voss, and he’s a former lead international kidnapping negotiator and the author of Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As if Your Life Depended On It. Today on the show, Chris shares tactics and strategies he developed to better negotiate with kidnappers that can work in the civilian world. And many of his tips run counter to what you've probably been taught. If you’re looking to become a better haggler, you’re going to love this episode. It’s packed with tons of actionable advice.

Sep 14 2016

54mins

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#633: The World and Vision of Lakota Medicine Man Black Elk

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When he was nine years old in 1872, Black Elk, a member of the Lakota tribe, had a near-death vision in which he was called to save not only his people but all of humanity. For the rest of his life, Black Elk's vision haunted and inspired him as he took part in many of the seminal confrontations between the Lakota and the U.S. government, including those at Little Bighorn and Wounded Knee. 

My guest today is the author of a biography of this native holy man. His name is Joe Jackson and his book is Black Elk: The Life of an American Visionary. We begin our conversation with a background of the Sioux or Lakota Indians, including how the introduction of the horse turned them into formidable hunters and warriors and how their spirituality influenced their warfare. Joe then introduces us to Black Elk and unfolds the vision that he had as a boy which would lead him to follow in his family's footsteps by becoming a medicine man and guide him for the rest of his life. We then take detours into the seminal battles between the U.S government and the Lakota that Black Elk witnessed firsthand, as well as the Sun Dance and Ghost Dance rituals which helped catalyze them. Joe then explains why Black Elk converted to Catholicism after the Indian Wars and how he fused Lakota spirituality with his newfound faith. We then discuss why Black Elk decided to tell his vision to a white poet named John Neihardt and the cultural influence the resulting book, Black Elk Speaks, had on the West in the 20th century. We end our conversation discussing whether Black Elk ever felt he fulfilled his vision. 

Get the show notes at aom.is/blackelk.

Aug 05 2020

56mins

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#632: How the Internet Makes Our Minds Shallow

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Have you found it harder and harder to sit with a good book for long periods of time without getting that itch to check your phone? Well, you're not alone. My guest today makes the case that the internet has changed our brains in ways that make deep, focused thinking harder and harder.

His name is Nicholas Carr, and he documented what was then a newly-emerging phenomenon ten years ago in his book The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. The Shallows has now been re-released with a new afterword, and Nick and I begin our conversation with how he thinks the effect of digital technology on our minds has or hasn't changed over the last decade. We then discuss the idea of the medium being the message when it comes to the internet, and how this particular medium changes our brains and the ways we think and approach knowledge and the world. Nick then explains how we read texts on screens differently than texts in books, why hyperlinks mess with our ability for comprehension, why it's still important to develop our own memory bank of knowledge even in a time when we can access facts from an outsourced digital brain, and how social media amplifies our craving for the fast and easy-to-digest over the slow and contemplative. We end our conversation with how Nick himself has tried to strike a balance in keeping the advantages of the internet while mitigating its downsides. 

Get the show notes at aom.is/shallows.

Aug 03 2020

53mins

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#631: How to Prevent and Survive a Home Invasion

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You're lying in bed at night and hear a noise downstairs. Is there someone in your house, and if there is, do you know what to do?

While we'd like to think we'd rise to the occasion and readily dispatch with the bad guys, my guest today argues that without preparation and training, you're likely to flounder, and that you should have put more thought into how to keep the invader out of your house in the first place.

His name is Dave Young, and he's a security expert and the author of How to Defend Your Family and Home: Outsmart an Invader, Secure Your Home, Prevent a Burglary and Protect Your Loved Ones from Any Threat. We begin our conversation with how Dave got involved with security training, the intensive field research he did for his book, and the basic equation criminals use in deciding whether or not to make your house a target. We then delve into how to tweak that equation in your favor, beginning with casing your house like a criminal would; we go over the vulnerabilities to look for as you walk the perimeter of your property, and the actionable changes to make to deter would-be home invaders. Dave then walks us through what to do if someone does invade your home, including the criteria to use in picking a place to hide, choosing a weapon to fight back, and selecting an engagement point to confront the intruder. We also get into the importance of firearm training, if you decide to own a gun for self-defense. We end our conversation with an oft-overlooked part of surviving a home invasion: the months and years of psychological and judicial aftermath. 

Get the show notes at aom.is/homeinvasion.

Jul 29 2020

46mins

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#630: The Strategy Paradox

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To be a great success in business, you need to have a compelling vision, create a well-thought-out strategy to achieve that vision, and then fully commit to that strategy with action and resources.

That's also the recipe for being a great failure in business.

That's what my guest argues in his book The Strategy Paradox: Why Committing to Success Leads to Failure. His name is Michael Raynor and we begin our discussion by describing the strategy paradox: the fact that the same sound strategy can lead to both success and failure. We discuss how the outcome then depends less on the strategy itself, than on the idea you decide to bet on, using the example of the way Sony employed the right strategy in backing Betamax in the VCR wars, but still lost out to VHS. Raynor then explains the limitations of forecasting and adaption, the approaches companies typically use to navigate the tension between needing to commit to something, and being uncertain they've committed to the right thing. He then unpacks two more effective ways of developing strategic flexibility: separating the management of commitment from the management of uncertainty, and acquiring a portfolio of assets that will increase your optionality. We end our conversation with whether the strategy paradox can be applied not only to making decisions in business, but to making decisions in our personal lives as well.

Get the show notes at aom.is/strategyparadox.

Jul 27 2020

38mins

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#629: Why We Swim

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If you've been swimming since you were a child, you probably don't think too much about it anymore. But when you take a step back, the human act of swimming is a pretty interesting thing. You weren't born knowing how to swim; it's not instinctual. So why are people so naturally drawn to water? And what do we get out of paddling around in it?

My guest today explores these questions in her book Why We Swim. Her name is Bonnie Tsui, and we begin our conversation today with how humans are some of the few land animals that have to be taught how to swim, and when our ancestors first took to the water. We then discuss how peoples who have made swimming a primary part of their culture, have evolved adaptations that have made them better at it. We discuss how swimming can be both psychically and physically restorative and how it can also bring people together, using as an example a unique community of swimmers which developed during the Iraq War inside one of Saddam Hussein's palaces. We also talk about the competitive element of swimming, and how for thousands of years it was in fact a combat skill, and even took the form of a martial art, called samurai swimming, in Japan. We end our conversation with how swimming can facilitate flow, and some of the famous philosophers and thinkers who tuned the currents of their thoughts while gliding through currents of water.

Get the show notes at aom.is/whyweswim.

Jul 22 2020

42mins

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#628: The Rise of Secular Religion and the New Puritanism

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There has been a lot of civil and political upheaval lately, and what makes the atmosphere particularly disorienting, is that beyond the more obvious proximate and commonly-discussed causes for the turmoil, it feels like there are even deeper cultural currents and contexts at play, that are yet hard to put one's finger on and understand. There's a fervor in the debates and conflict that almost seems . . . religious.

My guest today would say that's exactly the right word to describe the tenor of things. His name is Jacob Howland, he's a recently retired professor of philosophy, and the currents at play in today's world are things he's spent his whole career studying -- from Plato and Aristotle to the Hebrew Bible and Kierkegaard, with a particular emphasis on the political philosophy of the ancient Greeks. Howland draws on all those areas to weave together a kind of philosophical roadmap to how we've arrived at our current cultural zeitgeist. In particular, Howland makes the case that what we're seeing today is the rise of a kind of secular religion, a new Puritanism, that worships at what he calls "the Church of Humanity." This new Puritanism bases the idea of moral purity around one's views on issues like race and gender, and seeks to purge anyone who doesn't adhere to the proscribed dogma. 

Jacob walks us through the tenets of the dominant influence on this secular religion -- a strain of modern thought called "critical theory" -- and offers a kind of philosophical genealogy on what led up to it, which includes the ideas of Rousseau, Marx, and Hegel. We discuss how critical theory contrasts with classical liberalism, and approaches people as members of groups rather than as individuals, and as abstractions rather than particulars, and how this lens on the world leads to identity politics and cancel culture. We delve into Kierkegaard's prophecies on the leveling of society, and how the modern tendency to make man the measure of all things can leave us feeling spiritually and intellectually empty, and looking to politics to fill an existential void it can't ultimately satisfy. We end our conversation describing the sustenance which can.

Get the show notes at aom.is/howland.

Jul 20 2020

1hr 14mins

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#627: How to Deal With Jerks, Bullies, Tyrants, and Trolls

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There are some people in life who are more than unpleasant, more than annoying. They're real, genuine a**holes.

My guest today has written the preeminent field guides to identifying, dealing with, and avoiding all of life's jerks, bullies, tyrants, and trolls: The No Asshole Rule and The Asshole Survival Guide. His name is Bob Sutton, he's a Stanford professor of organization and management, and we begin our conversation together with how Bob defines what makes an a-hole an a-hole, what causes their jerkiness, and the costs of having such disagreeable people as part of an organization. We then get into the circumstances of when being a jerk yourself can actually be advantageous. We then turn to how to deal with the jerks in your own life, including distancing yourself from them, deciding you're going to be better than them, and imagining you're a jerk collector encountering a new species of jerk. Bob explains smart ways to fight back against jerks, and gets into the wisdom of documenting their jerkiness, why it's occasionally helpful to take an aggressive stand, and how even Steve Jobs learned how to be less of an a-hole. We end our conversation with how to build a jerk-free workplace. 

Get the show notes at aom.is/jerks.

Jul 15 2020

38mins

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#626: How to Declutter Every Aspect of Your Work Life

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When you think about decluttering, you probably think about your home life, and cleaning out your junk drawer and closets. But there are also ways to declutter your work life and tidy up both its physical and digital aspects.

My guest today explains the art of practicing minimalism in your professional life in a book he co-authored with organizing expert Marie Kondo. His name is Scott Soneshein, he's a professor of business and management, and his book is Joy at Work. Scott and I begin our conversation by unpacking the benefits of keeping your work life neat and tidy, and then move into how to do this in regards to your physical workspace. Scott shares three questions to ask yourself when you declutter your office to help you decide which items to keep and which to throw away. We also take a useful aside into how to throw away your children's artwork with less guilt. We then move into how to declutter your digital life by cleaning up your email inbox and smartphone. We end our discussion with several areas you may not think of in terms of clutter, but probably need some tidying up: your activities, decisions, network, and meetings. 

Get the show notes at aom.is/declutterwork.

Jul 13 2020

41mins

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#625: The Code of the Warrior

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War is a violent and bloody business, but it's rarely a no-holds barred free-for-all. Instead, codes of conduct that determine what is and isn't honorable behavior on the battlefield have existed since ancient times.

My guest today explored these various codes in a book she wrote during the decade she spent teaching at the United States Naval Academy. Her name is Shannon French, she's a professor of ethics and philosophy, and her book is The Code of the Warrior: Exploring Warrior Values Past and Present. Shannon and I begin our conversation with the pointed questions she used to pose to the cadets she taught as to how being a warrior was different than being a killer or murderer, and when killing is and isn't ethical. She then explains how the warrior codes which developed all around the world arose organically from warriors themselves for their own protection, and how these codes are more about identity than rules. Shannon and I then take a tour of warrior codes across time and culture, starting with the code in Homer's Iliad, and then moving into the strengths and weaknesses of the Stoic philosophy which undergirded the code of the Romans. From there we unpack the code of the medieval knights of Arthurian legend, what American Indians can teach soldiers about the need to make clear transitions between the homefront and the warfront, and how the Bushido code of the samurais sought to balance the influence of four different religions. We end our conversation with the role warrior codes play today in an age of increasingly technologized combat. 

Get the show notes at aom.is/warriorcode.

Jul 08 2020

59mins

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#624: The Crazy, Forgotten Story of America's First Fitness Influencer

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The topic of health and fitness has long been a popular one for magazines, and in most recent times, for blogs and Instagram accounts. But what these modern publishers and influencers probably don't realize is that they're standing on the shoulders of an ambitious eccentric who laid the foundation for much of modern American media: Bernarr Macfadden.

My guest today is Mark Adams, who wrote a biography of this proto fitness guru called Mr. America: How Muscular Millionaire Bernarr Macfadden Transformed the Nation Through Sex, Salad, and the Ultimate Starvation Diet. Mark and I begin our conversation with how Macfadden discovered a passion for health and fitness as a young man and failed at his attempt to become a personal trainer, despite coining the motto "Weakness is a crime; don't be a criminal." We then discuss how Macfadden went on to start the highly successful magazine, Physical Culture, and then an entire publishing empire, which pioneered many of the confessional, first-person, personal branding techniques still used today. Mark shares the tenets of Macfadden's sometimes sound, sometimes wacky health philosophy, including his advocacy of fasting, and what happened when Mark tried out some of Macfadden's protocols on himself. Mark and I then delve into how Macfadden founded a utopian community in the New Jersey suburbs, was convicted of obscenity charges, trained fascist cadets for Mussolini, and ran for U.S. senator on a physical fitness platform. We end our conversation with why Macfadden was forgotten, and yet had a lasting effect on the world of health and fitness, as well as media as a whole.

Get the show notes at aom.is/macfadden.

Jul 06 2020

47mins

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#479: Becoming a Digital Minimalist [RE-BROADCAST]

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This is a re-broadcast. The episode originally ran in February 2019.

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 name is Cal Newport and this is his third visit to the AoM Podcast. We’ve had him on the show previously to discuss his books So Good They Can’t Ignore You and Deep Work. Today, we discuss his latest book, Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World.

We begin our conversation discussing why digital tech feels so addicting, why Steve Jobs didn’t originally intend for the iPhone to become something we check all the time, and why the common tips for reducing your smartphone use don't work and you need to implement more nuclear solutions instead. We then discuss the surprising lesson the Amish can teach you about being intentional about technology, how cleaning up your digital life is like decluttering your house, and why he recommends a 30-day tech fast to evaluate what tech you want to let back into your life. Cal then makes an argument for why you should see social media like training wheels for navigating the web, how to take those wheels off, and why you should own your own domain address. We end our conversation exploring what you should do in the free time you open up once your digital distractions are tamed, and the advanced techniques you can use to take the practice of digital minimalism to the next level.

I think you'll find this a tremendously interesting and important show.

Get the show notes at aom.is/digitalminimalism.

Jul 01 2020

1hr 4mins

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#623: How to Make Better Decisions by Thinking Like a Rocket Scientist

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When someone is struggling with a seemingly easy problem, someone else might say, "Come on, it's not rocket science!" The inference being that rocket science represents the pinnacle of complexity.

But my guest today argues that the study of rocket science contains some simple, overarching principles that cannot only be universally understood, but universally applied to all kinds of problems and decisions. His name is Ozan Varol, he served on the operations team for the 2003 Mars Exploration Rovers project, and he's the author of the book Think Like a Rocket Scientist. We begin our conversation discussing why Ozan went from studying astrophysics to going to law school, and how his scientific background has influenced his legal career. We then dig into ways that the same thought processes that enable spacecraft to travel millions of miles can also be applied to moving forward in work and life. Ozan explains how scientists deal with uncertainty and why you have to constantly question the way things are done to get better results. We end our discussion by talking about how to use thought experiments to solve problems, how to test ideas, and how to actually learn from your failures.

Get the show notes at aom.is/rocketscientist.

Jun 29 2020

50mins

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#622: How to Simplify Your Life and Get Off the Grid

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Many dream of leaving the city and all its tethers and obligations and creating a simpler, more independent life farther from the mainstream population and entirely off the grid. But how do you go from that daydream to making such a move a reality?

My guest walks us through the process today. His name is Gary Collins, he made the leap himself and now lives off the grid in Northeast Washington, and he's the author of several books on off grid living as well as simplifying your life. We begin our conversation today with why Gary decided to leave his conventional, urban, 9-5 existence to find a freer lifestyle, and how he defines being off the grid. We then get into why Gary thinks you should make the move to living off the grid in a series of steps, the first of which is to simplify your existing life in three main ways. Gary then makes the case for why living in a RV should be the next step in your journey, before discussing the process of finding land for your off grid home, and the factors to consider in picking a locale. From there we get into how those who live off the grid take care of water, sewage, power, and internet, how they construct the house itself, and what to know about the start-up costs involved. We end our conversation with a discussion of getting off the grid in a more metaphorical way by quitting social media, and why Gary thinks you should pull the plug on those platforms, even if you're an entrepreneur.

Get the show notes at aom.is/offgrid.

Jun 24 2020

54mins

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#621: The Causes and Cures of Childhood Anxiety

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Everyone feels under greater psychic pressure these days, but we adults hope that children, who have always been seen as naturally resilient, have been spared the stress. Unfortunately, kids are increasingly experiencing mental health problems like anxiety at younger and younger ages, and this trend has been going on for years. 

My guest today wrote a cover article for The Atlantic on the causes and cures of this phenomenon. Her name is Kate Julian and we begin our conversation today by describing the extent to which problems like depression, anxiety, and even suicide have been on the rise among children, and how these issues correlate with continued problems later in life. We then talk about the possible causes behind the increase in childhood anxiety, and whether technology and social media are to blame. We then delve into the idea of how parents are perpetuating their children's anxiety through their own anxiety and their willingness to make accommodations to keep their kids calm and happy. We get into the idea that getting your children comfortable with being uncomfortable can inoculate them against anxiety, and end our conversation with a discussion of whether more exposure to the news of a tumultuous world might actually make kids more resilient.

Get the show notes at aom.is/childhoodanxiety.

Jun 22 2020

44mins

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#620: How to Deal With Life's Regrets

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We've all asked "what if" questions about our life: What if I had majored in art instead of business? What if I had let my best friend know I liked her as more than a friend? What if I had taken the job offer in Colorado? Sometimes contemplating the imagined possibilities of these alternative histories fills us with sharp pangs of regret.

My guest today says that's not necessarily a bad thing. His name is Neal Roese and he's a professor of psychology and marketing and the author of If Only: How to Turn Regret Into Opportunity. Neal and I begin our conversation by unpacking how asking "what if" is to engage in something called "counterfactual thinking," and how you can create a downward counterfactual, in which you imagine how a decision could have turned out worse, or an upward counterfactual, where you imagine how a decision could have turned out better. Neal then explains why living without regret isn't actually that healthy, and why even though regret is an unpleasant feeling, it can be an important spur towards greater improvement, action, and agency. We then do get into the circumstances in which regret can become a negative force, before turning to what Neal's research says are the most common regrets people have in life. At the end of our conversation, we pivot to talking about how imagining how your life could have turned out worse, can make you feel happier. 

Get the show notes at aom.is/regret.

Jun 17 2020

49mins

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#619: What Driving Tells Us About Agency, Skill, and Freedom

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According to Silicon Valley, self-driving cars are the future of transportation. Instead of owning and driving a car, you can just summon an AI-operated vehicle with your smartphone and have this superpowered computer taxi you to your destination. No more car maintenance, no more traffic, no more accidents. 

It may sound great on the face of it, but my guest today argues that shifting from being a driver to being a mere passenger represents an existential risk in and of itself, as well as a symbol for the potential loss of much broader human values. His name is Matthew Crawford and he's a philosopher, mechanic, and hot rodder, as well as the author of Shop Class as Soulcraft. In his latest book, Why We Drive: Towards a Philosophy of the Open Road, Matthew investigates the driver’s seat as one of the few remaining domains of skill, exploration, play, and freedom. Matthew and I begin our conversation discussing how freely moving around in our environment is a big part of what makes us human and then explore how shifting from being the drivers of our own cars to the passengers of self-driving cars could result in a loss of that humanity by eliminating agency, privacy, and proficiency. As our wide-ranging conversational road trip continues, Matthew and I take detours into what things like hot rodding and demolition derbies can tell us about mastery, play, and competition. We end our conversation on what driving ultimately has to do with the overarching idea of self-governance. 

Get the show notes at aom.is/whywedrive.

Jun 15 2020

57mins

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#618: Finding Connection in a Lonely World

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We've all been there: you're sitting at home some evening and you don't have plans, you haven't heard from family or friends for awhile, and you've got things on your mind, but don't feel like there's anyone you can talk to about them. You feel down and adrift, and sense an almost physical ache in your heart. You're experiencing loneliness, and my guest today says we ought to interpret this feeling the way we would hunger or thirst -- as a signal that we have a need that we should take action to fulfill. 

His name is Dr. Vivek Murthy, he served as the 19th Surgeon General of the United States, and he's the author of the book Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World. We begin our conversation discussing what loneliness is exactly and how we can feel interpersonally fulfilled in some areas of our lives, and yet lonely in others. Vivek then walks us through the very tangible harm loneliness can do to our mental health, before exploring why loneliness has been increasing in the western world. Vivek and I then discuss how loneliness affects men in particular. We end our conversation with things we can all do to battle the loneliness epidemic and feel more connected to those around us. 

Get the show notes at aom.is/loneliness.

Jun 10 2020

46mins

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#617: What It's Like to Go to Army Ranger School

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Which branch of the military has the toughest training course for its officers and special operators is a matter of animated debate, but there's no question that the Army's Ranger School is a viable candidate for carrying that designation. Over nine weeks, and three grueling phases, soldiers undergo physical, mental, and emotional challenges that test their endurance, resilience, and leadership.

My guest today went through Ranger School twice: first as an infantry officer in 2004, and then just last year as the first journalist to embed with a class all the way through the course. His name is Will Bardenwerper and he wrote an article about his experience for Outside Magazine called "Army Ranger School Is a Laboratory of Human Endurance." Will and I begin our conversation with why he wanted to observe Ranger School from a third-party perspective after participating in it firsthand as a soldier. Will then explains the difference between earning your tab by graduating from Ranger School and being an official Army Ranger who belongs to the Ranger Regiment special operations force. Will then gives us a big picture overview of the three phases of Ranger School: Benning Phase, Mountain Phase, and Swamp Phase. We then dive into what happens in each phase, taking side trips along the way into the controversy of allowing women into the course, whether or not it's gotten easier since Will went through, and the importance of doing well in the combat patrol exercises and peer reviews in which the students participate. We end our conversation discussing the lessons in endurance that civilians can take away from those who graduate from Ranger School and earn the tab.

Get the show notes at aom.is/rangerschool.

Jun 08 2020

39mins

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#616: A Guide for the Journey to Your True Calling

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One of the most burning questions in life is what it is you're called to do with it. What is your life's purpose? What great work are you meant to do?

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

Get the show notes at aom.is/gita.

Jun 03 2020

52mins

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#615: How to Develop Authentic Gravitas

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When it comes to how you're perceived in your professional life, it's likely you want to be taken seriously. You want your words to carry weight. You want to be influential and listened to, regardless of your position in a company. You want to carry yourself with gravitas.

My guest today is an organizational psychologist and executive coach who explains how to cultivate this quality in her book Authentic Gravitas: Who Stands Out and Why. Her name is Rebecca Newton and we begin our conversation together by delving into the traits that go into embodying gravitas, as well as the myths we have about this quality. We discuss how gravitas doesn't necessarily include confidence and charisma, as well as its false manifestations. Rebecca then walks us through the steps to carrying yourself with gravitas in meetings and presentations, including why you should script the beginning and end of your speeches, and how to put more gravitas into your voice and words. We also discuss what to focus on when you're pulled into an impromptu conversation, how to get real feedback about how you can improve the way you carry yourself, and how to convey gravitas in online communication. We then discuss why practicing self-leadership is so important to developing gravitas, why Rebecca thinks everyone needs to create a "personal thought leadership window," and how you can use your drive to and from work to become more thoughtful and reflective. We end our conversation with the questions you should start asking yourself today to develop more gravitas.

Get the show notes at aom.is/gravitas.

Jun 01 2020

49mins

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By jeremiahpt - May 30 2020
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Great show week in and out

Listen to this!

By williambratkowski - May 28 2020
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That is all, thoughtful, interesting, smart. Listen to this.