The Art of Manliness tracks on Soundclound

#artofmanliness

#432: How to Achieve Creative Success
The Art of Manliness

When we think of creative people, we often think of a genius who works alone, comes up with an earth-shatteringly new idea in an instantaneous eureka moment, and then sees that obviously valuable idea naturally become a well-known sensation. My guest today argues that this picture is altogether wrong, and lays out a different image of what it really means not only to be creative, but to become a successful creative, and achieve one's aims. His name is Allen Gannett and he’s the author of The Creative Curve. We begin our conversation discussing what exactly creativity is and the myth of the creative genius that exists in the West. Allen shares why the best creative ideas actually aren't completely novel and instead riff on what already exists. We discuss why the most creative people in history were the biggest consumers of other content and ideas, why creatives needs to promote their work, why timing is crucial in a creative idea taking off, and the 4 types of people a successful creative needs to have in their network. Whether you need to be creative in traditional business or more artistic pursuits, this show has some good insights on how to make your ideas more successful. Get the show notes at aom.is/creativecurve.

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#431: How Everything is Funny Now, and Why That's Terrible
The Art of Manliness

No matter where you look these days, someone is trying to make you laugh. Advertisers, politicians, and even ministers have all become comedians. But it wasn’t always like this. When and why did the world become so funny? And what are the consequences of living in a culture where everything has a touch of humor and irony? My guest explores those questions in his latest book, Planet Funny. His name is Ken Jennings (yes, Ken Jennings the Jeopardy guy). Today on the show, Ken shares the moment in his life that got him thinking about how humor has taken over the world. From there we discuss the history of humor and how it’s changed throughout the ages. Ken and I then discuss the recent advent of politicians, advertisers, and amateur Twitter comedians trying to be funny and how the internet has changed humor. We then dig into the consequences of living in a hyper-humorous world, including the decline of sincerity, earnestness, and even genuine, gut-busting laughter. Ken ends our conversation with a call to be more mindful of how an excessive focus on funniness can impoverish society, our decisions, and ourselves. Get the show notes at aom.is/planetfunny.

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#430: Why You Need to Join the Great Conversation About the Great Books
The Art of Manliness

There are conversations between friends. Conversations between family. And conversations in the media. But did you know there's also been a conversation going on between writers, thinkers, and philosophers for a couple thousand years? What's been called "the Great Conversation" refers to the way the authors of the so-called "Great Books" have for millennia been referencing and riffing on the work of their predecessors, and this dialogue is one you can not only eavesdrop on yourself, but join in. My guest today founded an online community that helps people take part in the Great Conversation. His name is Scott Hambrick, and he's both a Starting Strength barbell lifting coach, and the creator of Online Great Books, a program which helps people read and discuss the classic texts of Western literature. Today on the show Scott and I discuss where the idea of the Great Books came from, why they're worth reading, and how to read them. Along the way, we offer sample questions to think about when you're reading these texts, as well as mini models of exchanges you can have with others about them. This show will likely inspire you to pick up a copy of The Iliad or something by Plato. Get the show notes at aom.is/onlinegreatbooks.

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#429: Taking Control of the Brain Chemical That Drives Excitement, Motivation, and More
The Art of Manliness

Why do you feel so motivated and excited about tackling a new project at first, but then get bored and abandon it? Why does passionate love quickly turn into ambivalence? Why does it feel like you had more zest for life and work in your twenties than in your thirties and forties? Much of the answer can be found in a single chemical in your brain: dopamine. That’s the case today’s guests make. Their names are Daniel Lieberman and Michael Long, and they’re the co-authors of a new book entitled The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity. Daniel is a professor of psychiatry at George Washington University and Michael is a trained physicist turned writer. In The Molecule of More, they team up to explore a chemical that compels us towards achieving our goals, but also towards addiction. We begin our conversation discussing the situations in which dopamine plays a role in our lives, how it’s made, and how dopamine levels change throughout our lifetimes. We then discuss how dopamine drives our endless search for novelty, and the problems this can cause if we don’t learn to how to switch from the excitement of anticipating something, to enjoying it in the here and now. Daniel and Michael then walk us through dopamine’s role in addiction to things like porn and drugs and the differences between “desire dopamine” and “control dopamine.” Along the way, they share insights on how to harness your dopamine so it works towards your greater goals, rather than against them. If you love the thrill of the chase, but have a hard time transitioning from pursuing something to actually building it, this is the podcast for you. Get the show notes at aom.is/dopamine.

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#428: The Life of a Dragon — The Untold Story of Bruce Lee
The Art of Manliness

If you were like most boys, you probably went through a karate phase as a kid. When I went through my karate phase as a 5- and 6-year-old, I demanded that my family called me “Daniel-san.” Unfortunately, they did not comply. There’s one man you can thank for your karate phase: Bruce Lee.  As my guest will show us today, Bruce Lee nearly single-handedly popularized martial arts in America thanks to his breakout Hong Kong kung fu movies in the early 1970s. My guest's name is Matthew Polly and he’s the author of the new definitive biography of Bruce Lee called Bruce Lee: A Life.  Today on the show, Matthew and I explore the creation of the legend that is Bruce Lee, starting with his unique family history that had him straddling Eastern and Western cultures his entire life. Matthew gives us vignettes into Lee’s early life that show his fire, scrappiness, and love of martial arts, including his rise as a child star in Hong Kong and his love of street brawling. We then discuss how Lee started formal kung fu training as a teenager and how his ambition caused him to bump heads with his teachers. Matthew then shares how coming to America helped Lee refine and reinvent his martial arts practice, how Lee got his break in Hollywood, and how he ended up teaching kung fu to movie stars like Steve McQueen and James Coburn. Along the way, Matthew shares details of Lee’s relentless fitness routine and talks about Lee’s personal library of over 2,500 books that included a lot of philosophy and psychology. We end our conversation discussing Lee’s legacy and how he changed not only cinema, but our idea of manhood in America.  Get the show notes at aom.is/brucelee.

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#427: The Excellence Dividend
The Art of Manliness

In today's hyper-competitive market in which technology is eating jobs, what sets the successful companies and workers apart from the ones that flounder? My guest today argues it could be something as little as saying hello and helping an old lady with her wheelchair. His name is Tom Peters, and he's a business expert and the author of several books on professional success. His latest is The Excellence Dividend: Meeting the Tech Tide With Work That Wows and Jobs That Last. Today on the show, Tom and I discuss why the human touch and striving for excellence is what will give companies and workers an advantage in today's market. Tom shares why execution beats strategy in business and in life, how companies can develop a culture of excellence, and why the businesses that put customers first win in the long run. Tom then makes the impassioned case that business managers should see themselves as “coaches of excellence” and that they have more of an impact on the lives of people than we give them credit for. Get the show notes at aom.is/excellencedividend.

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#426: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8
The Art of Manliness

When you think of the Apollo Mission, the first thing that probably comes to mind is Apollo 11 and Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepping foot on the moon. But even Armstrong didn’t think his moon landing was the most important or daring of all the Apollo missions. For Armstrong, Apollo 8 best fit that description. If you’re like most people, you probably know very little about Apollo 8, let alone the names of the three astronauts who flew on that mission. But that will definitely change after this episode. In fact, you'll likely never forget their stories.  My guest on the show today is Robert Kurson who's out with a new book called Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man's First Journey to the Moon. We begin our conversation discussing the state of America’s space program before John F. Kennedy made his famous “moonshot” speech in 1961 and why the Soviets kept beating America in the space race. We then discuss the audacious and near impossible plan made in a few hours in August 1968 to put men into orbit around the moon by Christmas of that year.  Robert then tells us about the lives of the three men who would be the first humans to leave earth’s orbit and the first to orbit the moon, and why they were the perfect astronauts for this mission. We also discuss the role the wives of these astronauts played and why out of all the married astronauts who took part in the Apollo missions, the astronauts of Apollo 8 were the only ones to never get divorced.  We end our conversation discussing the climactic speech the astronauts made on Christmas Eve from the moon and the life lessons Robert learned from writing about and talking with the men of Apollo 8.  Get the show notes at aom.is/rocketmen.

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#425: Action Over Feelings
The Art of Manliness

While we often associate Eastern spiritual and philosophical traditions with meditation and contemplation, there's another side to this wisdom that centers on action and can help us move through depression, anxiety, fear, and just general malaise. My guest today is the author of a book about this action-oriented philosophy. His name is Gregg Krech, he's the co-founder of the ToDo Institute, and his book is The Art of Taking Action: Lessons from Japanese Psychology. Today on the show, Gregg and I discuss a Japanese psychological technique called Morita therapy, which concentrates on accepting instead of fixing one's thoughts and feelings, and acting in spite of them. We discuss how action can be a powerful antidote to depression, anxiety, and interpersonal conflicts, how to act when you don't feel like it, how to stay motivated when the initial rush of a new project or relationship has worn off, and why it's better to have a purpose-driven rather than a feelings-driven life. We end our conversation unpacking the idea that busyness is not the same thing as purposeful action, and why we need self-reflection to tell the difference between the two. Get the show notes at aom.is/artoftakingaction.

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#424: How Harry Truman Handled Being Out of His Depth
The Art of Manliness

Have you ever been put in a situation that you weren’t ready for at all, but somehow managed to rise to the occasion and do what needed to be done? Imagine being Harry Truman. He grew up a poor farmer’s son in Jackson County, Missouri, didn’t graduate from college, failed at multiple businesses, and stumbled into politics, before being thrust into the role of the world’s most powerful man and required to make monumental decisions that would affect the course of history over the next 70 years. Today on the show, I talk to writer A.J. Baime about his book The Accidental President that highlights the unexpected rise of Harry Truman to commander-in-chief. We discuss how an unassuming, nerdy-looking fella commanded the respect of fellow soldiers during World War I, how Truman became Vice President under FDR, how he felt when Roosevelt died and he had to assume the presidency, and how he managed his self-doubt and insecurities after taking up residence in the White House. Get the show notes at aom.is/accidentalpresident.

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#423: How to Survive a Grid-Down Disaster
The Art of Manliness

We’ve all probably thought about it. What would we do and how would we fare after a societal collapse? My guest today has spent his career helping individuals get ready for such a situation. His name is James Rawles. He’s the owner of survivalblog.com and the author of several bestselling books on prepping, including How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It. Today on the show, Jim and I discuss how our dependency on the power grid makes us more vulnerable to disaster than we’d like to think, and all the downstream consequences that would happen if the power grid went down for a significant amount of time, including loss of water, sewage services, and a disruption of supply chains. We then dig into what you can do to prepare for such a situation, including securing a water supply, storing food, and the skills and mindset you need to weather a crisis. Even if you don't think you're interested in prepping, it's really interesting to think through what you'd need to do to survive an apocalyptic scenario. Get the full show notes at aom.is/rawles.

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#422: Men & Manners — Tipping, Emojis, and Much More
The Art of Manliness

They say that manners make the man. But how do you display good manners without coming off as awkward and in a way that elevates life both for yourself and for others? Today I bring back writer David Coggins to discuss etiquette and manners in the modern age. I had David on the show a year ago to discuss his book Men and Style. He’s now out with a new book called Men and Manners. Today on the show, David shares how style and manners are connected and why good manners are like good poetry. We then discuss best etiquette practices concerning tipping, greetings, attending parties, and texting. We end our conversation highlighting the grace and power of handwritten notes. Get the show notes at aom.is/menandmanners

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#421: Why You Need a Philosophical Survival Kit
The Art of Manliness
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#419: American Honor — Creating the Nation’s Ideals During the Revolution
The Art of Manliness

What started the American Revolution? The typical answers are “taxation without representation” and the economic and political consequences that came with that. My guest today argues that while economic and political principles all played roles in the American Revolution, there’s one big thing underlying all the causes of the Revolutionary War that often gets overlooked: honor. His name is Craig Bruce Smith, he’s a historian and the author of the new book American Honor: The Creation of the Nation’s Ideals During the Revolutionary Era. Today on the show we talk about what honor looked like in America during the colonial period, how that concept changed, and how this shift precipitated the War of Independence. We then explore how personal affronts to honor experienced by several of the Founding Fathers at the hands of the British transferred into a feeling of being slighted as a people, galvanizing a collective sense of honor in the colonies and inspiring the fight for independence. We then discuss the role honor played in Benedict Arnold’s treason and how his treachery spurred colonial Americans to go on to win the war. We end our conversation discussing why the sons of the Revolutionary Era returned to a more traditional ethos of honor in the form of dueling. This show will give you fresh insights on the founding of America. Get the show notes at aom.is/americanhonor.

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#418: How to Get Unstuck
The Art of Manliness

Do you feel stuck in moving forward with your plans and goals in life? Well my guest today has some no-nonsense advice on how to shift out of neutral and get going again. His name is Bernie Roth. He’s the co-founder of the Stanford design school and the author of The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life. Today on the show, Bernie explains to us what “design thinking” is and how its principles can be used to create a flourishing life for ourselves. We discuss how suspending the belief that everything has meaning can help you find new meaning, why reasons are just excuses, how to really get at the root of our problems, the difference between trying to do something and doing it, and how action is the best form of learning. We end our conversation discussing how you build true confidence by consistently taking small steps towards your goal and making the achievement habit a part of your life. If you need help in getting unstuck in life, you’re really going to enjoy this podcast.

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#417: Expect Great Things — The Mystical Life of Henry David Thoreau
The Art of Manliness

Henry David Thoreau is one of America’s most influential thinkers and writers. 164 years after it was published, Walden continues to inspire readers to get out into nature and march to the beat of their own drummer.  But what was the worldview of the man who wrote those immortal words?  Well, for one thing, Thoreau believed in the existence of fairies.  That’s one of the insights my guest mined as he explored the intellectual and spiritual life of Henry David Thoreau. His name is Kevin Dann and in his book, Expect Great Things: The Life and Search of Henry David Thoreau, he takes readers on a tour of the inner life of a uniquely American philosopher.  Today on the show I talk to Kevin about the mystical life of Henry David Thoreau, and why Kevin would actually say that mystical isn't quite the right word to describe Thoreau. And yes, we dig into Thoreau’s belief in fairies and how, despite his magical outlook on life, he was also a keen scientific observer.  You’re never going to read Walden the same way after listening to this episode.

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#416: The Self-Driven Child
The Art of Manliness

Recent surveys have shown that anxiety and depression are up amongst school-aged children and teens. Parents and teachers are also reporting a decrease in motivation amongst young adults. My guests today argue that both issues stem from the same problem and can be solved with the same solution. Their names are Bill Stixrud and Ned Johnson. Bill’s a clinical neuropsychologist and Ned is a college test prep coach. In their book, The Self-Driven Child, they make the case that modern helicopter parenting and highly structured school schedules and after-school activities are part of the problem of increased anxiety and decreased motivation amongst young people. The solution is to start letting your kids make their own choices and experience the consequences of those choices — both the good and the bad. Today on the show, we discuss specific ways parents can let their kids make their own decisions and why this doesn’t mean you let your kids do whatever they want. With each tip, they explain the science of why it helps increase intrinsic motivation. Lots of great actionable advice. Even if you’re not a parent, you’ll find the advice on developing intrinsic motivation to actually be pretty helpful for grown-ups too. Get the show notes at aom.is/selfdrivenchild.

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#415: Forging Mental Strength Through Physical Strength
The Art of Manliness

When you start a fitness program, you tend to spend most of your time thinking about the physical part — what movements you’re going to do, how much weight you’re going to lift, or how far you’re going to run. But my guest today argues we ignore the mental aspect of our training at our peril. His name is Bobby Maximus. He’s a world-renowned trainer known for his brutal circuit workouts and the author of the new book Maximus Body. Today on the show Bobby and I dig into the psychology of fitness. We begin by discussing what holds people back from getting started or going further with their goals and how sticking little green dots all over your house can help you surmount those barriers. He then shares why it’s important to manage expectations when beginning a training program and why there are no shortcuts to any goal. We then shift gears and get into Bobby’s training philosophy. He shares how to train to be “ready for everything,” why you need to do strength training before your endurance work, and why recovery is so important in reaching your fitness goals. We end our conversation with some examples of the “Sunday Sermons” Bobby shares on his website and a discussion of why perspective is important whenever you’re going through a hard time in life. After the show is over, check out the show notes at aom.is/maximus.

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#414: Theodore Roosevelt, Writer and Reader
The Art of Manliness

If you’ve been following The Art of Manliness for awhile, you know we’re big fans of Theodore Roosevelt. The man embodied the Strenuous Life. He was a rancher, a soldier, a hunter, a statesman, and a practitioner of boxing and judo. But what many people don’t know about Roosevelt was that he was also an accomplished man of letters. He wrote over forty books himself and read thousands of others over the course of his lifetime. And as my guests on the show point out, TR’s literary life was tightly interwoven with his mighty deeds. Today on the show, historians (and husband and wife team) Thomas Bailey and Katherine Joslin discuss their book Theodore Roosevelt: A Literary Life. We discuss how Roosevelt began the writing habit as a 7-year-old boy and how he wrote one of America’s greatest military histories when he was just 24 years old. We then discuss TR’s greatest literary successes, including The Rough Riders, The Winning of the West, and African Game Trails. Thomas and Katherine share how Roosevelt’s penchant for action influenced his writing and how his writing inspired him to take action, and how John Wayne and Western movies wouldn’t exist without TR’s literary work. We then get into Roosevelt’s reading habits, including his opinion of compiling lists of must-read books. You’re going to gain new insights about one of America’s larger-than-life characters listening to this show. Get the show notes at aom.is/trwriter.

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#413: Make Today Matter
The Art of Manliness

We all want to feel like our lives matter. To find this kind of significance, we often think in macro terms about our overarching purpose and values. Such reflection is certainly useful, but what are the smaller building blocks that will get us to those goals? What are things we can do to live more purposefully on a day-to-day basis? My guest lays out ten such habits in his latest book, Make Today Matter. His name is Chris Lowney. He started his vocational life studying to become a priest before discovering it wasn’t for him and shifting his ambitions to the corporate world, working first as a managing director at JP Morgan and now as consultant and keynote speaker. Today on the show Chris and I discuss tactics gleaned from both his experience as a Jesuit seminarian and as a business leader that can help you live each day with more meaning. Chris explains how to keep your most important values at the forefront of your mind, how to approach each day with bravery and heart, and how looking for little ways to do good deeds, express gratitude, and lead others in a positive way will all add up to a life that matters. Get the show notes at aom.is/maketodaymatter.com

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