The Art of Manliness

The Art of Manliness

United States

Podcast by The Art of Manliness

Episodes

#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.

#270: Becoming a Tactical Athlete  

We don't normally think of soldiers and first responders as "professional athletes," but that's exactly how my guest today argues they should see themselves. His name is Rob Shaul, and he's the founder and president of the Mountain Tactical Institute -- a research organization dedicated to creating fitness programming that takes workouts outside the gym and gives them a mission-centered focus. Rob believes that soldiers, police officers, and fire fighters, as well as folks who participate in strenuous mountain activities like rock climbing and backcountry skiing, should view themselves as tactical athletes and train not just to train, but for a purpose outside the gym. Today on the show, Rob and I discuss what makes the Mountain Tactical Institute’s mission-focused approach to fitness different from other organizations, why it is that soldiers and first responders should think of themselves as professional athletes, why soldiers in Afghanistan started following his fitness programming for mountain climbers, why there are so many out-of-shape first responders on active duty, and how to train to become a "tactical athlete," even if you're a civilian.

#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.

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