The Art of Manliness

The Art of Manliness

United States

Podcast by The Art of Manliness

Episodes

#290: Everything You Know About Ninjas is Wrong  

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 life. The bad news is that we're going to ruin your childhood conceptions about ninjas in this podcast, but the good news is that the real story of ninjas is even more fascinating.

#289: Revenge of Analog  

"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 background to this digital shift, there’s been a silent rebellion brewing. My guest tracks that rebellion in his book, "The Revenge of Analog." Today on the show, David Sax and I talk about why we’re seeing a return to analog products like vinyl records, hardcopy books, and pen and paper -- and it’s not because of nostalgia. David goes into detail about the sudden revival of vinyl and turntables and why it’s more than just some hipster fad, why hardcopy book sales are going up while ebook sales are declining, and why writing with pen and paper unleashes creativity compared to typing or writing on a screen. He then gets into how the internet is counterintuitively driving this upsurge of interest in tangible products and the benefits we get psychologically, culturally, and economically by living in an analog world.

#288: Love is Overrated  

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 is that you let yourself get suckered by love. Their names are Michael and Sarah Bennett. Michael is a psychiatrist. Sarah is Michael’s daughter and a comedy writer. I had them on the show previously to talk about their book "F*ck Feelings." In their latest book, "F*ck Love," they focus on the most messed up feeling of all: love. Despite the irreverent title of their book, the Bennetts provide surprisingly solid and old-fashioned advice when it comes to establishing long-lasting and fulfilling relationships. They discuss why our emotions can lead us astray in relationships and why men are actually more prone to being bamboozled by romantic feelings than women. They then share both the red flags and the positive qualities you should be on the lookout for in a partner if you want a happy relationship. They also discuss what you should do in a relationship in which you're not happy and why couple's therapy is often not very useful. This is a podcast full of laughs, as well as some seriously helpful insights on how to navigate relationships effectively. Note: Even though the title of the book contains "F*ck," there's no swearing in this episode.

#287: The New Frontier of Flow  

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 bringing in a brave new world here, literally? If you want a glimpse of what's coming into the world of performance enhancement in the next 20 years, you're not going to want to miss this show.

#286: Not Afraid  

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 Warrior’s Path." Today on the show, Daniele and I discuss why a bookworm like himself started fighting, how combat sport fighting grounds us in reality, and the forgotten philosophy of Bruce Lee. We then talk about his experience losing his wife to an aggressive brain tumor, what it was like raising a child by himself, and how martial arts and Theodore Roosevelt provided him strength and inspiration during a harrowing time in his life.

#285: The Real Science of Nutrition and Supplements  

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 nutrition. Today on the show, Kamal and I discuss why there’s so much confusion when it comes to supplements and nutrition. For example, he explains why one study can say cholesterol is bad for you, while another one says it’s vital for health. Kamal then breaks down how to read scientific studies on nutrition so you can make informed decisions about your diet instead of relying on clickbait headlines published by pseudo-journalists. We then get into which supplements actually work and which ones are a waste of money. Kamal also shares his insights on the growing field of nootropics and if there really are supplements that will make you smarter.

#284: This Will Make a Man of You  

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 "The Ultimate Man’s Survival Guide." His latest is called "This Will Make a Man of You: One Man’s Search to Find What Makes Men." Frank and I discuss Hemingway’s project of creating a new myth of manliness that combined traditional notions of masculinity with modern sensibilities, how Frank Sinatra killed the rugged gentleman and made “cool” a defining feature of modern manliness, and what the running of the bulls can teach us about rites of passage into manhood. We end our conversation talking about Hemingway’s attraction to and repulsion from bullfighting, and why the matador was Hemingway’s ideal symbol of manliness.

#283: The Complacent Class  

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 show, Tyler and I discuss the statistics that indicate Americans are losing their dynamism -- that we're moving less and starting fewer businesses -- as well as the effect this trend is having on our economy and culture. Tyler also provides some insight on what’s causing this complacency, what to do to overcome it, and how it's likely leading us to an era of severe disruption. If you enjoyed my podcast with Neil Howe about the generational theory of history, you’re going to love this episode. Tyler’s ideas dovetail nicely with Howe’s cyclical view of history.

#282: How a Man Develops His Sense of Style  

#282: How a Man Develops His Sense of Style by The Art of Manliness

#281: Overcoming the Resistance  

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 writer in 1970s New York City and provides the backstory of how he learned to overcome the Resistance in his own life. Today on the show, Steve and I discuss how the Resistance rears its ugly head in our lives and how to overcome it by transforming from an amateur to a professional. We then talk about Steve’s early days as a writer and the struggles he went through in becoming a pro. If you are or someday hope to be a writer, artist, or entrepreneur, you’re going to love this episode. It’s filled with insights on the mindset you need to adopt in order to thrive in any endeavor.

#280: Why Growing Up Is a Subversive Act  

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 and Emanuel Kant can teach us about how to become a grown-up. Susan then goes on to share ideas on what you can do to feel more like an autonomous adult and why embracing that role is such a subversive thing to do.

#279: Why Exercising in a Group Is the Best Medicine For Vets (and Civilians)  

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 (Team RWB for short) — a veterans organization with the goal of getting vets and civilians together to work out. Today on the show, J.J. and I discuss the issues facing vets that Team RWB is trying resolve, such as getting them reintegrated back into their community and staving off feelings of depression. We then discuss why Team RWB decided to make fitness their primary focus and why exercising with other people is one of the best remedies for melancholy and malaise. Finally, J.J. and I talk about why it’s so important for civilians to interact and connect with our vets and how they can do so through Team RWB.

#278: The Surprising Benefits of Marriage for Men  

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 get hitched. We then shift gears to talk about his research on fatherhood, particularly the importance of fathers in a child’s life and the benefits men get themselves from being a dad. Whether you’re already married and a dad, or thinking about popping the question, you’re going to find a lot of insights and surprising information in this podcast.

#277: Krav Maga – The Self-Defense System of Israeli Special Forces  

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.

#276: Utopia is Creepy  

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.

#275: How Your Climate-Controlled Comfort Is Killing You  

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 Kill Us: How Freezing Water, Extreme Altitude, and Environmental Conditioning Will Renew Our Lost Evolutionary Strength. His name is Scott Carney, and in this book he investigates the sometimes crazy-sounding claims of a Dutch daredevil and prophet of intentional stress exposure named Wim Hof. For a year, Scott followed Wim’s method of physical vitality that consists of daily hyperventilation breathing exercises and cold exposure to see what it would do to his physiology. And the results truly astonished him. Along the way, he interviewed scientists, researchers, and athletes who are on the forefront of exploring why embracing environmental discomfort is the missing key to our overall health. On today’s show, Scott and I discuss Wim Hof and his claims, the health benefits of exposing ourselves to the cold, and how hyperventilating may help you do more push-ups than you ever thought possible. If you’ve enjoyed our content on the health benefits of cold showers, you’re going to love this podcast.

#274: Building Your Band of Brothers  

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 been lacking in the friendship department, this episode is for you. You’re going to walk away with some tactics you can put into action right away to begin developing your posse of pals.

#273: How to Get a Job Promotion This Year  

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 "How to Wow," and a regular guest on the Art of Manliness Podcast. Today on the show, Frances shares the common mistakes people make when asking for a promotion, as well as the exact steps you need to take months before making your request in order to set yourself up for success. We also discuss what to do if the answer ends up being “no.”

#272: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Myth of Progress  

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 work of these writers carved a middle path between cynicism and unbridled optimism while simultaneously showing readers that even the lowliest of individuals can play a decisive role in the great adventure of life.

#271: The Power of Wonder  

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 questions in his book Wonder: From Emotion to Spirituality. His name is Robert Fuller and he’s a professor of Religious Studies at Bradley University. Today on the show, Robert and I discuss the psychology and biology of wonder, why researchers haven't really studied wonder, and the benefits of experiencing it in our lives on a regular basis. We also explore how wonder shaped the lives and careers of men like John Muir and William James, how religion ritualizes wonder, and whether we can take action to experience more wonder in our lives. This podcast will leave you wondering a lot about wonder.

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