The Art of Manliness

The Art of Manliness

United States

Podcast by The Art of Manliness

Episodes

#323: Improve Your Breathing, Improve Your Health  

Take a breath right now. Did your chest go up and down? Congratulations, you just failed at breathing. Don’t worry, my guest today on the show will set you straight. Her name is Belisa Vranich. She’s a clinical psychologist who has made a career re-training people on how to breathe correctly and in her latest book, "Breathe," she provides a step-by-step program to help people breathe better. Today on the show, Belisa explains all the ill health and psychological effects of poor breathing, like increased stress, poor sleep, poor mental function, and even poor digestion, as well as why so many people mess up this seemingly simple and automatic bodily process. She then walks listeners through how to take a proper breath and even shares some exercises you can do to train yourself to breathe better and improve your all-around health. This is an extremely practical podcast, and you’re going to feel great after you do the breathing exercises Belisa lays out.

#322: Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong  

My guest today is Eric Barker, author of "Barking Up the Wrong Tree." We all know those collective maxims on success: nice guys finish last; it’s not what you know, it’s who you know; winners never quit.  We’ve heard them so often that we accept them as articles of faith.  But are they really true?  My guest today says, yes…and no. His name is Eric Barker and he’s the author of one of the few blogs I regularly read: Barking Up the Wrong Tree. There, he takes a look at what actual research says about these tried-and-true maxims of success and provides a nuanced, often counterintuitive look at them. He’s recently taken some of his best writing from 8 years at the blog, expanded on it, and turned it into a book by the same name.  Today on the show, Eric and I discuss why most of the ideas we have about success are wrong and what we can do to be better advice sleuths. Eric shares research that shows why high school valedictorians are less likely to become millionaires or influential leaders, and what that teaches us on the importance of knowing ourselves. He then breaks down the idea that nice guys always finish last, and how it’s both true and false at the same time. We then discuss why grit can sometimes be overrated and why winners in fact always quit. We end our conversation discussing why being a glad-handing extrovert can both garner success and sew the seeds of failure, and how the idea of work/life balance is making people more miserable than ever, as well as what you can do about it.  Lots of fascinating tidbits in this show that you can implement right away to improve your life. Plenty of great cocktail party fodder as well.

AoM Podcast Episode 321 Mix V1.0  

Personal finance can seem intimidating, but the reality is it’s pretty basic — save more than you spend, find ways to earn more, invest for the long-term, and protect your assets. But if personal finance is so easy, why do so many people screw it up? My guest today has spent his career exploring this topic. His name is Jonathan Clements and he’s been The Wall Street Journal’s personal finance columnist for years. During his writing career, he’s also published several popular personal finance books including "The Little Book of Main Street Money." In his latest book, "How to Think About Money," Jonathan distills decades of personal finance experience into punchy, insightful, and action-oriented advice. Today on the show, Jonathan and I discuss the most common money mistakes people make and the psychological biases that cause us to make them. Jonathan then shares research-backed advice on how money can buy you happiness…and also misery. Just depends on how you use it. He then delves into brass tacks tips on how to save for retirement no matter how old you are, how to overcome your psychological biases so you don’t make stupid money mistakes, and why focusing on not losing money will help you have more money in the long run. Lots of actionable advice to enhance your finances in this episode.

#320: The ADHD Explosion  

You’ve probably heard about the precipitous rise in diagnoses of ADHD in America the past few decades. What was once a rare mental illness has now become a common problem amongst children -- particularly boys. Why the sudden spike? Are there really more people with ADHD or is something else going on? My guest today has some possible answers to that question. His name is Steve Hinshaw and he's a professor of psychology at UC Berkeley. In his book, "The ADHD Explosion," Dr. Hinshaw gives the lay reader a crash course into ADHD and provides some insights as to why we’re seeing such a huge spike in the number of individuals diagnosed with it. We begin our conversation talking about what exactly ADHD is and how it impairs individuals. We then discuss the biological and environmental causes of ADHD, debunk some of the myths surrounding it, and discuss which treatments actually work. Dr. Hinshaw then delves into his research which shows that the rise in ADHD is not because more people are actually developing it, but rather that cultural and economic forces in schools, corporations, and governments incentivize shoddy diagnoses. We also discuss the fact that ADHD medication is often used by people who don’t have ADHD in order to perform better, and whether it actually improves performance for these folks or not. We end with a discussion about his new book, "Another Kind of Madness," and the stigma of mental illness in America.

#319: Making Exercise a Habit  

Are you tired of starting fitness programs with the best of intentions only to find yourself falling off the workout wagon two weeks later? If so, today’s episode is for you. I’ve brought back bodyweight strength training coach Anthony Arvanitakis to talk about his new book, How to Never Skip Your Workout Again. Anthony and I begin our conversation discussing what causes people to stop working out and how making exercise a ritual is the cure to this problem. Anthony then digs into specifics on how exactly to make exercise a ritual, including creating a pre-workout checklist (that you actually write out on an index card), wearing a workout "uniform," and picking the best time to set your ritual in motion. We then discuss why rituals are much more powerful than motivation in helping you stick with a fitness program, and how to keep with it even when your life gets really busy. We end our conversation discussing how to make your diet a ritual as well, so you can lose weight or pack on muscle.

#318: The Deeper Meaning of Trails, Hiking, and Wilderness  

My guest today is Robert Moor, author of "On Trails: An Exploration." ______________ One of my favorite things to do in life is to find and hike a trail out in the wilds. I love how a good trail gently leads you through nature. You don’t have to think much about where you’re going, so it gives you time to think about other things. It's great for chewing on deep issues and getting new insights, but it also causes you to take the trail for granted. For example, I sometimes forget that a group of people blazed the trail I’m enjoying and that another group continues to maintain it without any fanfare.   My guest today decided to stop taking trails for granted and to explore them in-depth -- both literally and metaphorically -- after his own hike on the Appalachian Trail. His name is Robert Moor and he’s the author of the book "On Trails: An Exploration." Today on the show, Robert shares why he decided to hike the entire Appalachian Trail after he graduated from college and why that experience led him to diving into the deeper meaning of trails.   We then discuss why following a trail is so existentially satisfying and how trails are embedded in human thought and communication and provide us with a sense of place and orientation in our lives.   We end our conversation talking about the idealistic origins of the Appalachian Trail, the movement to extend the Appalachian Trail to Morocco (yes, Morocco), and what a perpetual hiker named Nimblewill Nomad can teach us about the limits of freedom.   If you’re a hiker, you’re going to love this show. If you’re not a hiker, it’s going to inspire you to find a trail this weekend and become one.

#317: How to Make a Dynamite First Impression  

My guest today is a psychologist who specializes in the science of first impressions and has written the most useful and thorough book on the topic that I've come across. Her name is Ann Demarais and her book is "First Impressions: What You Don’t Know About How Others See You." Today on the show, Ann explains how quickly we make a first impression and the psychological biases that influence how people judge you (and how you judge others).  We then dig into what you should focus on during a first interaction to give a good impression and the behaviors you may think come off as neutral or positive but actually read in a negative way. For example, you may think you’re giving off a relaxed vibe during a social interaction, but others might see you as aloof. Ann explains how to find these blind spots in your self-awareness and what to do about them.  We end our conversation by going through some actionable tips to become more charismatic, like how to keep a conversation going when your first meet someone, how to show interest in someone without looking creepy, and the common mistakes men make with their first impressions. And if you happen to blow your first impression, Ann shares how to recover.

#316: An Introduction to Stoicism  

Interest in Stoicism has experienced a renaissance in recent years. Yet despite the increasing popularity of this ancient philosophy, misconceptions still abound about it. For example, many people assume that to be Stoic means to not feel or express any emotion, including happiness, and that Stoicism requires one to live a bland and spartan lifestyle. My guest on the show today debunks these myths and shows that Stoicism can actually enrich our lives and allow us to experience real happiness. His name is Bill Irvine and he’s a professor of philosophy and the author or A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy.   In our discussion, Bill shares the origins of Stoicism and how the Romans modified Greek Stoicism to fit their culture. We then get into specific Stoic practices you can implement today to start improving your life. Bill shares the power of negative visualization, how to approach things you have some, but not complete control over, and how to purposely inject discomfort into your life to increase your grit. Bill then explains the Stoic duty of socializing and how to maintain your Stoic serenity even with the most difficult of people. We then discuss what the Stoics would have thought of political correctness and microaggressions and some of the critiques of Stoicism.   If you've been wanting to understand Stoicism more, but haven't known how to get started, this podcast is a great introduction and is packed with not just background information but actionable advice.

#315: The Power of Small Experiments to Supercharge Your Success  

Today on the show, Noah Kagan shares what it was like getting fired from Facebook right before it went public and losing out on a $185 million pay day, and how he bounced back from that blow. He then digs into the process he goes through in testing if a business idea is viable and how he used that process to start several successful ventures. Noah then shares the difference between founding a business and managing it, and why managers get the short shrift in today’s start-up focused world. We end our conversation by talking about how you can run personal experiments to create a better life and how to run a diagnostic test on yourself in order to make every day a great one.

#314: Building Better Citizens Through Rucking  

Today on the show, I talk to GORUCK founder Jason McCarthy, who started the company after serving as a Green Beret in Iraq. What began as a backpack company has morphed into a tight-knit community of people looking to push themselves through what Jason calls "Good livin." Today on the show, Jason and I discuss where the idea for the GORUCK events came from and what a man can learn about leadership, teamwork, and community by doing hard things with other people.

#313: How to Scale the OODA Loop  

My guest is Chris Fussell, author of "One Mission: How Leaders Build a Team of Teams." Today on the show, Chris and I discuss why traditional top-down leadership organizations aren’t effective today either in the world of military or business and how civilian organizations can apply the lessons he learned during combat. We discuss the legacy of John Boyd’s OODA Loop philosophy and how McChrystal took that idea and scaled it to the large and often bureaucratic armed forces. Chris then delves into how to develop a sense of “shared consciousness” in an organization and how to empower subordinates to make decisions to move a goal forward without having to ask for permission from a superior. We then discuss why complete decentralization isn't a cure-all and why it’s important to have the structure of top-down leadership.  Whether you’re a corporate manager, business owner, or a leader in a non-profit, you’re going to walk away with some actionable advice to make your organization better.

#312: The Disappearing Night Sky  

My guest today is Paul Bogard, author of "The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light." Today on the show, Paul and I discuss what true darkness actually looks like and the type of un-dark night most modern folks experience. He then shares the last few spots in America and Europe where you can still experience true darkness and what the sky in those places looks like. We then delve into what we miss out on spiritually by not experiencing true darkness and the health detriments that come with being exposed to artificial light 24 hours a day. Paul also shares some of the common myths about darkness, such as the idea that darkness is more dangerous than light. This show is going to inspire you to seek out a remote area of wilderness so you can experience the beauty that comes with a truly dark night.

#311: The Meaning of Beards  

The ability to grow a beard is what separates boys from men and except for a few rare instances of bearded ladies, men from women. Because it’s a uniquely masculine feature, facial hair has played an important role in forming our ideas about manhood. Today on the show, I talk to a cultural historian who specializes in the history of facial hair about the cultural, political, and religious history of the beard. His name is Christopher Oldstone-Moore and in his latest book Of Beards and Men he takes readers on a tour through the history of facial hair starting with cavemen and going all the way to the hipster beard of the 21st century. We begin our conversation talking about why male humans grow beards in the first place and then take a look at the spiritual and political significance of beards and shaving beginning with the ancient Sumerians through medieval Europeans. We then discuss why the Greeks were big on beards until Alexander the Great and why the Ancient Romans were bare-faced until the days of the early empire. We also discuss Jesus’ beard and why many early Christians actually depicted him as clean shaven. We end our conversation talking about the great beards of the 19th century, why clean shaveness took precedence in the 20th (and no, it’s not because of the military's use of gas masks) and the cultural meanings of facial hair today. Whether you’re bearded or bare-faced, this podcast is going to leave you with lots of new insights about the hair that grows on your masculine mug.

#310: War and the Changing Nature of Masculinity  

One of the primary roles of men across time and culture is that of the warrior. Indeed, how we define masculinity at its core is centrally shaped by warfare. The virtues we think of as manly, like courage, physical strength, and daring, are vital in battle, and because men have primarily been the ones doing the fighting for thousands of years, we expect men to possess those masculine virtues. But the way war is waged has changed throughout human history. If warfare informs our ideas of manhood, do the changes in war change our ideas about what it means to be a man? My guest today on the show answers this question in the affirmative. His name is Leo Braudy. He’s a cultural historian and film critic and the author of several in-depth and engaging cultural histories. In his book "From Chivalry to Terrorism: War and the Changing Nature of Masculinity," Leo delves deep into the cultural history of warfare in the West and shows how the changes in battlefield weaponry and tactics have changed our ideas of manhood. Leo and I discuss how the different ways Achilles and Odysseus fought battles created competing ideas of manhood among the Ancient Greeks and how we see that competition still going on today. We then dig deep into the chivalric code of the Middle Ages and how aristocratic warriors combined Christian piety with pagan warrior fierceness. Leo then walks us through how the rise of the democratic nation-state changed warfare and manliness. We end our conversation talking about how the current war on terror is subtly changing our ideas of masculinity today.

#309: Why Going Blind Was the Best Thing to Ever Happen to Isaac Lidsky  

My guest today is Isaac Lidsky, author of the new book "Eyes Wide Open: Overcoming Obstacles and Recognizing Opportunities in a World That Can’t See Clearly." Today on the show, Isaac and I discuss how he went blind and his initial reaction to losing his sight. We then dig into insights he gained about resilience, humility, and Theodore Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” speech that allowed him to move forward in life. Among his accomplishments since going blind are graduating from Harvard Law School, clerking at the U.S. Supreme Court, working at a high-powered corporate law firm in NYC, and turning around a struggling construction business that now earns over $70 million in yearly revenue. Oh, and while he was doing all that, he was also busy being the dad of triplets. If you feel like your ability to move forward in life is hamstrung by limitations, or you struggle with being resilient to setbacks both big and small, Isaac is going to show you that it’s all in your mind, as well as what you can do to see things as they really are.

#308: Reconsidering the Trades With Mike Rowe  

My guest today is Mike Rowe, former host of Dirty Jobs, and current blue collar trade advocate. On the show, Mike and I discuss where the idea for Dirty Jobs came from and why a show about blue collar workers became a surprise hit. We then explore why we devalue blue collar work, the societal and individual consequences of that devaluation, and what Mike is doing to make pursuing vocational and trade work cool and viable again. If you’re a young man trying to figure out if college and an office job is right for you, or if you’re a guy in a dead end office job looking for an alternative, Mike’s going to make a strong case for why you should consider putting on a hard hat and getting your hands dirty.

#307: Make Your Bed, Change the World  

My guest today is retired Navy Admiral William McRaven, author of "Make Your Bed." Today on the show, Admiral McRaven and I discuss why something as simple as making your bed every day can lay the foundation for success in every aspect of your life, how a parachuting accident taught him an important lesson on avoiding self-pity and learning to rely on the help of others, and why rolling in the sand as a SEAL trainee taught him how to become more resilient to the whims of life. We end our conversation by talking about how a leader can remain hopeful and share that hope with his team when all seems hopeless, and what you have to do to avoid "ringing the bell." This podcast will leave you fired up to make your bed, and become a better man.

#306: What a Magician Can Teach You About Being More Successful  

My guest today is David Kwong. He’s a magician, New York Times crossword creator, and now author of the book "Spellbound: Seven Principles of Illusion to Captivate Audiences and Unlock the Secrets of Success. Today on the show, David and I discuss how several key principles from magic can be applied beyond the stage and make you more successful in business and life. We’ll learn what it means to “load up” in magic and how Richard Branson used that principle to start Virgin Airlines, and why storytelling is key for executing both a successful magic trick and a successful business. We also discuss how magicians plan for tricks gone awry and the lessons non-magicians can take from that preparation. We even get into the mutual admiration Theodore Roosevelt and Houdini had for each other and how Houdini personified Roosevelt's ideal of living "the strenuous life."

#305: Lessons from the Epic Age of Flight  

My guest on today's show is Winston Groom, author of "The Aviators: Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle, Charles Lindbergh, and the Epic Age of Flight." Winston Groom has authored numerous history and historical fiction books, including "Forrest Gump," as well as the subject of today's show, "The Aviators," in which he details the engaging history of these pioneers of flight and their service to their country. Today on the show, we discuss each of these men and their respective heroics -- from Lindbergh’s famous flight across the Atlantic, to Doolittle’s legendary raid on Tokyo, to Rickenbacker’s survival at sea for 23 days. We also dig into their complex characters and specifically, Lindbergh’s testy relationship with the press and how his initial opposition to the U.S. entering WWII got him labeled a traitor by FDR. Winston is a masterful storyteller so you’re in for a real treat today. You’re going to be left both entertained and inspired by these three men.

#304: The Lies of Manhood and How to Teach Young Men Its Truths  

My guest today is Jeffrey Marx, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book "Season of Life." Today on the show, Jeffrey talks about his relationship with retired NFL athlete and now minister and high school football coach Joe Ehrmann. Jeff begins by sharing what he learned from Joe and other NFL players about what it means to be a man during his stint as a ball boy for the Baltimore Colts in the 1970s. He then shares how Joe went from a party animal to an inner-city minister who focused on helping young men. We then discuss what Joe sees as the lies of masculinity in the popular culture and how they need to be replaced with strategic masculinity. We end our conversation talking about how coaching high school football ties into Joe’s ministry to men and how Joe’s philosophy on masculinity helped Jeffrey draw closer to his father. Lots of great insights on this show so be sure to take notes.

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