The Art of Manliness tracks on Soundclound

#artofmanliness

#380: How to Be Braver
The Art of Manliness

For thousands of years, philosophers and writers have debated the nature of courage. What is it? Are some people born more courageous than others? Can you learn to be courageous? My guest today set out to answer these questions by looking at courage through a scientific lens. His name is Robert Biswas-Diener. He’s a psychologist and the author of "The Courage Quotient: How Science Can Make You Braver." Today on the show, Robert explains how he defined courage for the purpose of his research and how he went about studying and quantifying this quality. He then explains how courage manifests itself differently in cultures of dignity, honor, and face. We then discuss the genetics of courage and how people can learn to be more courageous. Robert than gives brass tacks advice on what you can do to manage fear and increase your propensity to action, including carrying lucky charms, thinking about yourself less, and avoiding self-handicapping.  Get the show notes at aom.is/couragequotient.

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#379: How to Spot Red Flags in a Relationship
The Art of Manliness
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#378: Brunch Is Hell
The Art of Manliness

According to my guest today, the past decade has seen the rise of a truly soul-sucking food trend. In fact, he argues it’s creating a hell on earth.  What is this mealtime monster? It’s brunch.  My guest's name is Brendan Newnam and he, along with his co-author Rico Gagliano, is on a mission to destroy brunch and bring back the dinner party.  Brendan and I begin our conversation discussing why brunch has become big business in America, but why he thinks it’s terrible for us individually and also as a society. We then dig into why we should bring back the dinner party as the preferred mealtime social event. Brendan explains why hosting a dinner party is pretty dang manly and why dinner parties are so much better than brunch. He then gets into the nitty gritty of hosting a dinner party, including the optimal day to schedule one, the best way to invite people, and who to invite. Brendan shares why the food isn’t the most important thing at a dinner party, while also providing some easy entree options that people will love. We end our conversation discussing how to handle small talk and controversial discussion topics, why the party is just getting started after the food has been eaten, and how to give people the hint they need to leave if they're staying too long. After listening to this show, you’ll be jonesing to host a dinner party of your own.

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#377: 12 Rules for Life With Jordan Peterson
The Art of Manliness

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.

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#376: When to Compete, When to Cooperate, and How to Succeed at Both
The Art of Manliness

Being successful in life requires social adeptness. And part of that social adeptness is balancing two seemingly opposing social strategies: competing and cooperating. But how do you know which approach to take in the hundreds of different social relationships you navigate day in and day out? For example, should you go out of your way to promote your achievements to your boss or should you spend more time helping your fellow co-workers?  My guest today explores these subtle and often complex questions in his book "Friend & Foe: When to Cooperate, When to Compete, and How to Succeed at Both." His name is Adam Galinsky and he’s a professor at Columbia Business School. Today on the show, Adam and I discuss why all of our relationships— even personal ones — are both competitive and cooperative and how our natural tendency to compare ourselves to others either causes us to cooperate or compete. Adam then shares how cooperation can lead to high status and success, but how once we gain status, our natural tendency is to become a jerk, which leads to our downfall. He provides some research-backed advice on how to avoid that from happening to you.  Adam and I then discuss why teasing nicknames are a form of social bonding and why men use them more often, as well as why putting all of your credentials in your email signature just makes you look insecure.  A fascinating discussion about the quirks of human social dynamics.

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#375: The Misunderstood Machiavelli
The Art of Manliness

The ends justify the means. It’s better to be feared than loved. Politics have no relation to morals.  These are just a few of the maxims the Italian writer Niccolo Machiavelli is well known for. The cynical and duplicitous advice he offered in 'The Prince' has made Machiavelli’s name synonymous with manipulative self-interest and deceitful plays for power. But what if Machiavelli wrote 'The Prince' not as sincere advice for would-be leaders, but as a work of irony and satire that’s meant to shine a light on the futility of manipulative deception and the need for leaders of virtue.  That’s the argument my guest makes in her book 'Be Like the Fox: Machiavelli in His World.' Her name is Erica Benner and she’s a professor of political philosophy. Today on the show, Erica and I discuss why Machiavelli is misunderstood and what he actually was trying to accomplish with his writing. Instead of being an advisor for tyrants, Erica argues that Machiavelli was an impassioned supporter of republicanism and spent his life trying to foster republican virtue in Florence. And she argues that if you look at Machiavelli’s life and all of his writing, you’ll find a man who didn’t think politics had no relation to morals, but rather firmly believed the only way for free republics to last for centuries was to develop citizens and leaders of virtue.  You’re not going to read 'The Prince' the same way after listening to this episode.

Learning
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#374: The Race to Break the 4-Minute Mile
The Art of Manliness

You may have heard of Roger Bannister and his amazing feat of breaking the 4-minute mile mark in 1954. But the story leading up to this milestone of human performance often gets overlooked and is filled with drama and lessons on grit, determination, and a living a balanced life.  My guest today wrote a book sharing the story behind Bannister’s record and the two other men who were also vying to break it. His name is Neal Bascomb and his book is "The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less than Four Minutes to Achieve It." We begin our discussion talking about the lead up to the race in which the 4-minute-mile barrier was broken and how many doctors in the early 20th century believed achieving this milestone was physiologically impossible. Neal then tells us about the lives of the three men racing to be the first to run a sub-4-minute mile, and shares insights from them on the way the ethos of sports has changed as it's transformed from an amateur pursuit to a professional job, as well as the ability of people to push the limits of the human body by sheer mental will.

Learning
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#373: The Leader's Bookshelf
The Art of Manliness

It’s been said “Leaders are readers.” But what should a leader read? My guest today set out to answer that question by polling 4-star generals and admirals in the U.S. military to get their best recommendations.  His name is Admiral James Stavridis. He's served as the commander of US Southern Command, US European Command, and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe. He now serves as dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. In his book, "The Leader’s Bookshelf," Admiral Stavridis explains why reading is fundamental for all leaders and provides a list of 50 books suggested by senior officers.  We begin our conversation by discussing the culture of reading amongst military officers past and present, including Generals James Mattis and George Patton. Admiral Stavridis then shares tips on how to read more even with a busy schedule and how to get more out of your reading. We then dig into the list of 50 books military brass recommend most and the lessons on leadership they provide.  You’re going to be adding a lot of books to your reading list after listening to this podcast.

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#372: World Without Mind — The Existential Threat of Big Tech
The Art of Manliness

During the past decade three companies have revolutionized the way we shop, socialize, and find information. I’m talking, of course, about Amazon, Facebook, and Google. While these companies have made our lives easier in many ways, my guest today argues that they’re also eroding autonomy and individuality. His name is Franklin Foer and he’s the author of the book, "World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech." Today on the show, Franklin talks about how the utopian ideals of Silicon Valley have led to an internet that is becoming more and more homogenized and centralized. We then dig into how the vast amounts of personal information these companies have about us can be used to manipulate us. Franklin then argues that while these companies make us feel more autonomous, they’re actually diminishing our choices and reducing our individuality. We end our conversation discussing ideas on what you can do to maintain your sense of autonomy in today’s atmosphere.

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#371: The Best Ways to Rehab From Injury
The Art of Manliness
Learning
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#370: The Era of Bright Expectations
The Art of Manliness

After WWII and before the Korean War, America experienced a short period free from the fear of war and conflict. People were optimistic about a future of peace and plenty. My guest today calls this time the “era of bright expectations,” and he experienced it firsthand as a young man who had just graduated from college. The era's burgeoning sense of optimism inspired him and a few of his college buddies to set out on a road trip up to the Canadian wilds in search of the spirit of romance and adventure.  My guest's name is Earle Labor, and I’ve had him on the show before to discuss his landmark biography on Jack London. Today, we talk about his memoir of this youthful trip of his: "The Far Music." Earle tells us what life was like right after WWII and before the Korean War, and whether he regrets just missing the chance to fight in WWII.  We then discuss Earle’s right of passage road trip from Texas to Canada. He talks about hitchhiking, sleeping in barns, fields, and state fair grounds when he and his buddies didn’t have money, and how they ate during those lean times. Earle then talks about the jobs they worked along the way to save money for their stay in Canada, including farming, building grain elevators, and bagging alfalfa for an entire week with little or no sleep. Earle even did some time prize fighting and worked at a burlesque theater.  We end our conversation talking about the outcome of that trip, and Earle makes an impassioned call to men to celebrate their manliness and to never lose the spirit of romance and adventure. You don't want to miss it.

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#369: When — The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing
The Art of Manliness

When it comes to planning for success, we tend to focus on the what and the how. For example, when we set our workout goals, we’ll come up with detailed plans on what exercises we’ll do; when we come up with a debt repayment plan, we decide exactly how we’re going to pay down the debt.  But what if success in any endeavor isn’t only decided by the what or the how, but also the when?  That’s what my guest today argues in his latest book. His name is Daniel Pink, he’s the author of "Drive," "A Whole New Mind," and "To Sell is Human." In his latest book, "When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing," he takes a look at how timing can affect everything from the way we make decisions to how creative we are, and even if a group will be successful in a shared task.  Daniel and I discuss how to use your internal clock to your advantage, why you shouldn’t get surgery done at 3PM in the afternoon, if there's really such a thing as night owls, and why you should find more opportunities to sing in a group.  This is a fascinating discussion that will provide plenty of cocktail party fodder, but more importantly, actionable points you can put into practice today to make yourself more effective.

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#368: The Courage and Resilience of Ulysses S. Grant
The Art of Manliness

Ulysses S. Grant is a historical figure who's often portrayed in a not-so-flattering light. Many Americans know him as a drunk, inept businessman who found himself thrust into generalship during the Civil War and led the Union to victory not because of his military genius, but simply because he happened to be on the side that had more men and weapons. The story then goes that Grant parlayed his military success into a career in politics where he led a failed presidential administration mired in corruption, and later died penniless.  That’s the story you often hear about Grant. But my guest today argues that this common portrayal doesn’t come close to capturing the complexity of this American leader. In fact, if you look at Grant more closely, you can find a shining example of courage, resilience, and quiet dignity.  My guest's name is Ron Chernow, and he's the author of several seminal, bestselling biographies, including ones on Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, and John D. Rockefeller. In his latest biography, "Grant," he's trained his lens on the life of Ulysses S. Grant. Ron and I begin our discussion talking about Grant’s upbringing and how it influenced his unflappable, yet passive personality. We then discuss the real extent of Grant’s alcoholism, how it hurt him throughout his career, and how he managed it throughout his life. Ron then explains how someone who had such a passive and tender personality developed an aggressive new military strategy that would serve as a template for modern warfare. From there we look at the lessons that can be learned from the way Grant handled Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House.  We then discuss Grant’s presidency, including whether Grant was to blame for the corruption in his administration and the oft-overlooked successes he had while president. We end our conversation with the argument that Grant’s quiet, dignified professionalism is a much needed example in today’s flashy and overly self-promotional world.

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#367: The Motivation Myth
The Art of Manliness

It’s a new year and you’ve likely set some new goals for yourself. Now you just need some motivation to work on them. So you read motivational quotes on Instagram, listen to a motivational podcaster yell at you for thirty minutes while you commute to work, and repeat affirmations about crushing it every morning and night.  You’re feeling motivated. Really motivated. You start to take some steps to accomplish your goals.  But then a few days later, you’re not feeling so motivated, and because you’re not feeling it, you stop working on those goals of yours. Then you start feeling guilty about not working on your goals, so you return to reading motivational quotes on Instagram to help pump yourself back up to get going.  Sound familiar? If so, my guest today argues that you’ve likely fallen for the "motivation myth." His name is Jeff Haden and his latest book is "The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win." Today on the show, Jeff explains what the motivation myth is and why it’s so alluring. We then discuss the real secret to lasting motivation, and no, it’s not reading motivational quotes or listening to motivational speakers. Jeff then walks us through specific tactics you can start using today to tap into this genuine catalyst for achieving your goals.  If you’re a motivational junkie that doesn’t have a lot to show for all your inspired intentions, this episode is for you.

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#366: Teach Yourself Like George Washington
The Art of Manliness

George Washington has become an archetype of the great American leader. Subsequent generals and presidents all have been compared to Washington, and in the American mythos, they all fall short of this founder's military and political genius. What many people don’t know about Washington, however, is that his formal schooling abruptly ended at age 11 with the death of his father and that he was largely self-taught. My guest today wrote an intellectual biography of Washington and how this autodidact rose to American apotheosis despite lacking the classical education of his Revolutionary contemporaries.  Her name is Dr. Adrienne Harrison and her book is "A Powerful Mind: The Self-Education of George Washington." Today on the show, Adrienne discusses how her time as a combat officer in Iraq led her to researching and writing her doctoral dissertation about Washington’s intellectual journey. We then discuss why Washington’s education was deficient compared to other Founding Fathers like Jefferson and Adams, how this lack made Washington extremely self-conscious, and what he did to mitigate ever revealing it. Dr. Harrison then takes us through how Washington charted his own education throughout the different stages of his life and career to help him become a wealthy landowner, successful general, and first executive of the United States. Adrienne also takes us on a tour of Washington’s personal study and library and what is says about his learning style. We end our discussion on lessons we can take from Washington on maintaining a passion for lifelong learning.

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#365: Why Are 7 Million Men Missing From the Workforce?
The Art of Manliness

For the past few decades, there’s been an intense focus on getting more women in the workplace and helping them thrive and succeed. At the same time, however, a silent problem has emerged that could have serious repercussions on our economy and society: more and more men have been dropping out of the workforce. My guest today is an economist with the American Enterprise Institute who has written a book highlighting what he calls an “invisible crisis.” His name is Nicholas Eberstadt and his book is "Men Without Work." Today on the show, Nicholas delves into the research that shows that while unemployment is down, the number of men actually working or looking for work is lower than a generation ago. We then delve into some of the possible causes of the disappearance of men from the workforce, what these non-working men are doing while they’re not working, and how they’re supporting themselves without a job. Nicholas then discusses the possible economic and societal problems that this growing number of non-working men create, and what we can do on a micro and macro level to encourage men to be self-reliant and industrious.

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#363: Budgeting Doesn't Have to Suck
The Art of Manliness

If you find yourself running out of money before your next paycheck or if you’ve been having trouble making a dent in your debt, then you, my friend, need a budget.  My guest today is Jesse Mecham, he’s the creator of the You Need a Budget system and software and he’s just written a book about the philosophy underpinning his system. It’s called "You Need a Budget: The Proven System for Breaking the Paycheck to Paycheck Cycle, Getting Out of Debt, and Living the Life You Want." Today on the show, Jesse tells us the personal story behind his software, why most people fail at budgets, and the myths people have about budgeting. He then walks us through the four rules of the You Need a Budget system, as well as actionable advice on how to implement them. Whether your goal is to pay off your debt or to simply get some control over your finances, this episode is for you.

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#362: The Art of Mingling
The Art of Manliness
Learning
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#361: The Untold Story of WWII's 45th Infantry Division
The Art of Manliness

When many people think of the American involvement in WWII, they likely bring to mind the 101st Airborne Division (aka the Band of Brothers) and their heroics at Normandy. But there was another American infantry division that took part in the largest amphibious assault in world history (no, it wasn’t D-Day) and then fought a year in Europe before the 101st even showed up. All in all, this division saw over 500 days of combat. They were the Thunderbirds of the 45th infantry division and my guest today was written a captivating history of this oft forgotten group of soldiers.  His name is Alex Kershaw and he’s written several books on WWII. The book we discuss today is "The Liberator: One World War II Soldier's 500-Day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau." Alex begins by sharing what made the 45th different from other infantry divisions and discusses why they’re often forgotten. He then talks to us about a colonel from Arizona named Felix Sparks who always led from the front and fought side by side with his men for over two years. We get into some of the major battles the 45th encountered and their liberation of the concentration camp at Dachau. Alex ends our conversation with a call to all of us reach out to a WWII vet before they all leave this life (which is not far off).

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