The Art of Manliness

The Art of Manliness

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Podcast by The Art of Manliness


#269: The Forgotten History of Autism  

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 of the development of autism. His name is Steve Silberman and his book is "NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and The Future of Neurodiversity." Today on the show, Steve and I discuss the forgotten history of autism research, how the popular myths we have about autism got their start, theories as to why autism even exists, how parents should approach raising a child on the spectrum, and advice on how to connect with your autistic friends or colleagues.

#268: How the Science of Competition Can Make You a Better Man  

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 discuss the difference between adaptive and maladaptive competition, the culture of virtuous competition that existed amongst the ancient Greeks, and how you can shape competition to make you a better man in all aspects of your life.

Podcast #267: The Technological Forces That Are Shaping Our World  

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 10, 20, and even 30 years down the road? Well, my guest today has written a book where he lays out his idea of what the future looks like. His name is Kevin Kelly. He’s the founding executive editor of Wired Magazine, and a former editor of Whole Earth Catalog, and he has spent his career thinking and writing about how technology, particularly the web, intersects with culture, business, and politics. In his latest book, The Inevitable, Kevin takes a look at 12 technological forces that are shaping our future and provides a glimpse of what that future might look like. Today on the show Kevin and I discuss the process he uses in making predictions about the future, the misconceptions he thinks people have about artificial intelligence, why people will likely own less stuff in the future, and the business opportunities that will emerge as time marches on. We also discuss the technological trends that worry Kevin the most. If you’re looking for a roadmap to navigating the brave new world we’re entering, then you don’t want to miss this podcast.

#266: The Myths and Truths of Distance Running  

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 country. He’s also the owner of Strength Running. Today on the podcast, Jason and I discuss some of the myths about long-distance running that keep people away from the sport, why runners often neglect strength training (but shouldn't), and what programming should look like when first starting out with running, as well as when you want to get more competitive.

#265: The Law of Self-Defense  

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.

#264: How to Coach People in Business, Sports, and Life  

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 Michael and I discuss how effective coaching requires you to talk less and ask more questions. Michael then shares the exact questions you should ask when coaching someone that will guide them to the answer they need to make their needed improvement.

#263: The Philosophy and Practice of Building a Fire the Scandinavian Way  

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 man’s identity in Scandinavian countries. We go on to talk about the best kind of wood for fires, how to fell trees for firewood, how to season your wood for optimal fire building, and the best time to split wood. This is a show both philosophical and practical, and it will leave you wanting to build the best fireplace fire of your life when you’re done listening.

#262: Santa Claus, Rifle Toting Boy Scouts, and a Jazz Age Con Man  

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 Jazz Age Con Man and the Invention of Christmas in New York." Today on the podcast Alex and I discuss what Christmas was like before the 19th century and the famous New Yorkers who helped turned Christmas into what it is today. Against that backdrop we discuss the life and times of John Gluck, a PR man who started an organization that answered letters written to Santa Claus but in the process lined his pockets with hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s also a story that involves a bitter rivalry between the Boy Scouts of America and another scouting organization that consisted of rifle-toting 12 year olds. You don’t want to miss this holiday edition of the Art of Manliness podcast. It’s going to give you lots of fodder to talk about at Christmas dinner.

#261: Solitude, Friendship, & How NOT to Be an Excellent Sheep  

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’s the author of several books and speeches, including A Jane Austen Education, Excellent Sheep, and Solitude and Leadership. Today on the show, William and I discuss what most so-called leaders get wrong about leadership and why learning to be alone with your thoughts helps forge better leaders. We discuss the history of friendship, why friends are so hard to make as an adult, and what you can do to form deeper relationships. William and I also talk about how young people can stop being “excellent sheep,” and jumping through the hoops other people put in front of them in order to start living on their own terms. We cap our conversation with an exploration on why men should give Jane Austen a chance and the life lessons we can get from her novels. This is an eclectic, but wisdom-filled podcast. You're definitely going to hear something you'll end up mentally chewing on for days to come.

#260: Knights of the Razor  

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 American male history. It’s called "Knights of the Razor: Black Barbers in Slavery and Freedom." Today on the show, Doug and I discuss the rise of the black barber in slaveholding states in the South, the influence black barbers had in the white community, and how black barbers paved the way for the modern barbershop. We also discuss the factors that led to the segregation of the barbershop and why the barbershop maintained a stronger allegiance among black men compared to their white counterparts.

#259: Tools of Titans  

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 discuss self-improvement advice and the survivorship bias, the common habits of high-performers, and how to ask better questions so you can learn things more quickly. Tim also discusses his struggle with depression and what’s worked for him in keeping the black dog at bay. This podcast is crammed with actionable advice, so you’ll want to take notes.

#258: Honor, Courage, Thumos and Plato's Idea of Greek Manliness  

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, Homeric virtues of andreia, or courage, thumos, or spiritedness, and time, or honor. Today on the show, professor Hobbs and I discuss these ancient notions of masculinity in detail as well why the philosopher Plato felt uneasy about them. We then talk about how much of Plato’s philosophy was about tempering these virtues so that they can be harnessed for the greater good of society and how that’s influenced our notions of masculinity today.

#257: The Productivity Project  

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 and I discuss the common misconceptions about productivity that lead people astray in their goals, why having a “why” is the most important step in becoming more productive, and why planning your day around your personal energy cycle can boost your productivity significantly. Chris also gives specific tactics to beat procrastination, strengthen your ability to focus, and manage your to-do list. This episode is chalk full of actionable advice, so take notes.

#256: Leadership Under Fire  

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 York City Fire Department. Brezler not only served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and works in the FDNY’s Special Operations Command, but he’s also the owner of a leadership consulting firm — called Leadership Under Fire, Inc. — that teaches organizations how to develop leaders that are able to make critical decisions and lead their teams to success when under pressure. Today on the show, Jason and I talk about his experience in Fallujah, what it takes to become a firefighter with the New York City Fire Department, and lessons on leadership and decision making from battling both human enemies and hot flames.

#255: The Joy of Missing Out - Getting Control of Your Digital Life  

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 to do something about it. Her name is Christina Crook and she’s the author of the Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World. Today on the show Christina and I discuss the promise and perils of digital technology, her experiment with quitting the internet for a month, and tactics you can take to master technology rather than being its slave. Lots of great insights in this episode to curb your digital addiction. After the show is over, check out the show notes at for links to resources where you can delve deeper into this topic.

#254: The Fall of Rome  

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 putting his vast knowledge into an accessible and easy-to-digest podcast. His name is Patrick Wyman and his podcast is called "The Fall of Rome." Today on the show, Patrick and I discuss the theories out there as to why the Roman Empire fell, the role of the barbarians in the fall, and what the fall of the Empire may have looked and felt like to Roman citizens at the time. We also discuss if there are any similarities between the Roman Empire and the United States, and if we’re following the same path that Rome did.

#253: Why Men Hate Going to Church  

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 the pews typically leads to an overall decline in congregation attendance, what some churches are doing to make church more “man-friendly," why newer megachurches have been more successful at attracting men than older, smaller churches, and why one branch of Christianity -- Eastern Orthodoxy -- hasn’t suffered the same decline in male attendance that's plagued other traditional denominations. Whether you enjoyed our series on Christianity and manhood, have wondered why you find going to church so unbearable, or simply enjoy discussions on the intersection of faith, culture, and masculinity you’ll love this podcast.

#252: Deadly Survival Skills From a Navy SEAL  

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 Operative’s Guide to Surviving in the Wild and Being Prepared for Any Disaster." In it, he, along with AoM's illustrator Ted Slampyak, show readers how to survive in any environment they might find themselves in, from the desert to the mountains to the sea. The book also covers how to manage disasters at home. In this action-focused show, Clint and I talk about the mindset you need to handle any deadly scenario, as well as specific tips for surviving a variety of threats and emergencies.

#251: Be an Entrepreneur Without Quitting Your Day Job  

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 says “no.” His name is Patrick McGinnis and he’s the author of the book "The 10% Entrepreneur: Live Your Dream Without Quitting Your Day Job." Today on the show, Patrick and I discuss the myths of becoming an entrepreneur -- including the one that you have to go all in to be one -- and discuss practical ways you can invest just 10% of your time and money into entrepreneurial endeavors. We also talk about the benefits of becoming a 10% entrepreneur, like boosting and diversifying your income streams, as well as becoming more competitive in the traditional job market.

#250: The Art of Strategy  

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 sibling for bad behavior might be a more effective strategy than threatening to punish the child himself, what Donald Trump can teach us about the promise and perils of injecting randomness into your strategy, and how you can use game theory against yourself to lose weight or even quit smoking.

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