PODCAST

The Art of Manliness

The Art of Manliness

Podcast by The Art of Manliness
Philosophical Tools for Living the Good Life
Most everyone wants to live a good, meaningful life, though we don't always know what that means and how to do it. Plenty of modern self-improvement programs claim to point people in the right direction, but many of the best answers were already offered more than two thousand years ago.My guests have gleaned the cream of this orienting, ancient-yet-evergreen advice from history's philosophers and shared it in their new book, The Good Life Method: Reasoning Through the Big Questions of Happiness, Faith, and Meaning. Their names are Meghan Sullivan and Paul Blaschko, and they're professors of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. Today on the show Meghan and Paul introduce us to the world of virtue ethics — an approach to philosophy that examines the nature of the good life, the values and habits that lead to excellence, and how to find and fulfill your purpose as a human being. We discuss how to seek truth with other people by asking them three levels of what they call "strong questions" and engaging in civil and fruitful dialogue. We then delve into why your intentions matter and why you should use "morally thick" language. We also examine the role that work and love has to play in pursuing the good life, and how the latter is very much about attention. We end our conversation with how a life of eudaimonia — full human flourishing — requires balancing action with contemplation.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM article and podcast on phronesis or practical wisdomAristotle’s Nicomachean EthicsAfter Virtue by Alasdair MacIntyreAoM Article: Why Are Modern Debates on Morality So Shrill?Sunday Firesides: Virtue Isn’t Virtue Til It's TestedIris MurdochAoM Article: Why Men Should Read More FictionThe Road by Cormac McCarthyAoM podcast on The RoadAoM article on contemplative self-examination, including instructions on how to do the examen of St. IgnatiusConnect With Meghan and PaulMeghan's Faculty PagePaul's Faculty Page
2d ago
1 hr 1 min
The New Science of Narcissism
Narcissism is something that looms large in our cultural consciousness. We accuse friends and family of being narcissistic, think we observe the quality in politicians and celebrities, and wonder if society is becoming more self-absorbed over time.But what is narcissism, really, once you get beyond the pop cultural conception and colloquial buzzword? My guest will unpack that for us today. His name is W. Keith Campbell, and he’s a professor of psychology and the author of The New Science of Narcissism. Keith explains that narcissism centers on an antagonistic sense of entitlement and self-importance, that there are actually two types of it — grandiose and vulnerable — and how the latter can actually underlie seeming cases of anxiety and depression. We then discuss what causes someone to become a narcissist, whether narcissism has increased in younger generations, and when narcissism tips over into an outright personality disorder. Keith explains how narcissists are attractive early on in a relationship, but lose their shine over time, and how, in a similar manner, narcissists readily emerge as leaders, but then often struggle to hold onto their position and power. We then get into the relationship between narcissism and social media, and how to get the benefits of narcissism — which isn’t entirely a bad thing — while mitigating its downsides.Resources Related to the PodcastThe Narcissism Epidemic by Jean M. Twenge and W. Keith CampbellDSM criteria for Narcissistic Personality DisorderAoM Podcast #675: The Humble, Narcissistic LeaderAoM Podcast #738: The Character Traits Drive Optimal PerformanceConnect With Keith CampbellKeith’s WebsiteKeith’s Faculty Page at UGAKeith on Twitter
1w ago
50 mins
The Code of the Warrior
Editor's Note: This is a rebroadcast. It originally aired July 2020.War is a violent and bloody business, but it's rarely a no-holds barred free-for-all. Instead, codes of conduct that determine what is and isn't honorable behavior on the battlefield have existed since ancient times.My guest today explored these various codes in a book she wrote during the decade she spent teaching at the United States Naval Academy. Her name is Shannon French, she's a professor of ethics and philosophy, and her book is The Code of the Warrior: Exploring Warrior Values Past and Present. Shannon and I begin our conversation with the pointed questions she used to pose to the cadets she taught as to how being a warrior was different than being a killer or murderer, and when killing is and isn't ethical. She then explains how the warrior codes which developed all around the world arose organically from warriors themselves for their own protection, and how these codes are more about identity than rules. Shannon and I then take a tour of warrior codes across time and culture, starting with the code in Homer's Iliad, and then moving into the strengths and weaknesses of the Stoic philosophy which undergirded the code of the Romans. From there we unpack the code of the medieval knights of Arthurian legend, what American Indians can teach soldiers about the need to make clear transitions between the homefront and the warfront, and how the Bushido code of the samurais sought to balance the influence of four different religions. We end our conversation with the role warrior codes play today in an age of increasingly technologized combat. If reading this in an email, click the title of the post to listen to the show.Resources Related to the PodcastWhy You Need a Philosophical Survival KitThe Warrior's ManifestoThe Way of the Monastic WarriorThe Way of the Stoic WarriorThe Warrior EthosThe Warrior ArchetypeAoM series of Sioux guidesAristotle's Wisdom on Living the Good LifeHector and Achilles: Two Paths to ManlinessWhat Homer's Odyssey Can Teach Us TodayHow Soldiers Die in BattleWhat Plato's Republic Has to Say About Being a ManHow to Think Like a Roman EmperorThe Fall of the Roman RepublicLessons From the Roman Art of WarThoughts of a Philosophical Fighter PilotLe Morte DarthurAchilles in VietnamThe Bushido CodeEverything You Know About Ninjas is WrongConnect With Shannon Shannon on Twitter
10-01-2022
59 mins
Become a Focused Monotasker
Writing an email while on a Zoom call. Talking on the phone while walking. Scrolling through social media while watching a movie.In both our work and our play, we're all doing more and more multitasking. Doing two things at once makes us feel as if we're more efficient and getting more done.But my guest would say that all this task juggling actually makes us less productive, while diminishing the quality of our work and stressing our minds, and that we'd be better off curbing our multitasking in favor of monotasking. His name is Thatcher Wine and he's the author of The Twelve Monotasks: Do One Thing at a Time to Do Everything Better. Today on the show, Thatcher explains the illusions around multitasking and the benefits of monotasking — that is, bringing our full focus to a single task at a time. We discuss why reading is a foundational part of becoming a monotasker, and then get into some of the other activities Thatcher recommends monotasking, including walking, listening, traveling/commuting, and thinking. Thatcher argues that doing things like listening to a podcast while cleaning your house isn't necessarily a bad thing, but that you may want to try stripping everything away from your daily tasks except the primary tasks themselves to observe the resulting effect and to strengthen your "monotasking muscles" and rebuild your attention span. Once you've experimented with doing a task alone, you can then decide to layer back in the second activity, or, maybe decide you actually liked giving it your all.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM podcast episodes with Cal Newport on Deep Work and Digital MinimalismAoM podcast with Oliver Burkenan on Time Management for MortalsAoM podcast with Nicolas Carr on how the internet affects our minds and attentionAoM series on how to improve your listeningAoM article on the benefits of being fully presentAoM article on working when you work, and playing when you playConnect with Thatcher WineCompanion Website to the Monotasking BookThatcher's WebsiteJuniper BooksListen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)
05-01-2022
47 mins
Fat Loss Made Simple
When it comes to losing weight, you can find plenty of complicated programs that involve long, intense workouts and strict calorie-counting diet plans. But my guest today takes an approach to fat loss that's awesomely simple, and even more effective because of that fact.His name is Dan John and he's a strength coach, a competitive thrower and weightlifter, and the author of many books about health and fitness, including Fat Loss Starts on Monday. Today on the show, Dan talks about the importance of not only picking a specific number where you want your weight to be, but enriching that goal so that it lights up multiple parts of your brain. We then discuss how and how often to measure your weight, how to deal with setbacks as you shed the pounds, and Dan's uncomplicated approach to eating. Dan also explains why he recommends drinking hot water with lemon, practicing intermittent fasting, and working out in a fasted state. We go over the "Easy Strength" exercise program he suggests for fat loss, and why these short weightlifting sessions are always followed by a walk. We end our conversation with how to break through a weight loss plateau by doing something called "reverse rucking."Resources Related to the PodcastOur previous episodes with Dan John:#354: Brains & Brawn — Tips and Inspiration on Being a Well-Rounded Man#655: Excuse-Busting Advice for Getting in Shape#678: Physical Benchmarks Every Man Should Meet, at Every AgeAoM Article: 6 Ways to Measure Your Body FatMyoTape Body Measuring TapeClarence BassAoM podcast #581 on tiny habits with BJ FoggRusty Moore's Fat Loss BoostAoM Article: How Much Protein Do You Really Need?Pavel TsatsoulineAoM article and podcast about intermittent fastingAoM Article: The Spiritual Disciplines — Fasting5:2 fastingAoM Article: Cardio for the Man Who Hates Cardio — The Benefits of RuckingConnect With Dan JohnDan John University (use code "artofman" for a discount)Dan on InstagramDan's Website
03-01-2022
58 mins
The Tiny Habits That Change Everything
Editor's Note: This is a re-broadcast. It originally aired in February 2020. We're a month into the new year now. How are you doing on your resolutions? Have you already fallen off the wagon? Maybe the goal you set for yourself was just too big to successfully tackle. You need to think smaller. Tiny, even.That's the argument my guest makes. His name is Dr. BJ Fogg, and he's the founder and director of Stanford's Behavior Design Lab, as well as the author of the new book Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything. Today on the show, BJ walks us through the three components that drive our behavior, including the simple yet overlooked relationship between motivation and ability. He then explains how to build habits that feel easier and require lower levels of motivation by picking behaviors that are good matches for you and breaking them down into smaller parts. We also talk about the need to tie your habits to turnkey prompts, the importance of celebrating your successes, no matter how small, and the way tiny habits can lead to bigger changes. We end our conversation with why you should think about the process of getting rid of your bad habits as untangling them rather than breaking them.  Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in PodcastWhat Makes Your Phone So Addictive and How to Take Back Your LifeA Proven System for Building and Breaking HabitsHow to Create Habits That StickHow to Hack the Habit Loop (and my podcast with Charles Duhigg about habits)The Motivation MythHow to Stress Proof Your Body and BrainCounterintuitive Advice on Making Exercise a Sustainable HabitStick With It -- The Science of Behavior Change7 Tips on Making and Breaking Habits
29-12-2021
44 mins
Begin the New Year by Reflecting on These 3 Life-Changing Questions
27-12-2021
51 mins
The Real (Decidedly-Less-Sentimental-Yet-Still-Wonderful) Story of WWI's Christmas Truce
One of the most famous stories to come out of World War I is that of the "Christmas Truce" of 1914, in which German and British forces engaged in a spontaneous and unofficial ceasefire and spent the holiday fraternizing with each other. In the popular imagination, the Christmas Truce was a time in which enemies put aside their differences to sing carols, exchange gifts, and even play soccer, and represented a sentimental flowering of peace and goodwill.How much of the popular legend around the Christmas Truce is true, and how much is myth? My guest will unpack that for us. His name is Peter Hart and he served as Oral Historian of the Imperial War Museum for 40 years and is the author of several books on military history, including The Great War: A Combat History of the First World War. Today on the show, Peter gives us some background on the start of WWI, what led up to the Christmas Truce, and what life was like for soldiers in the trenches. We then discuss how the Christmas Truce began, and what happened during it (including whether the soldiers really played soccer together), what the leaders of the participating militaries thought of this unofficial ceasefire, how long the truce lasted, and how it ended. Peter explains that while the truce was certainly motivated partly by sentiment, it was primarily done for more practical and even strategic reasons. We end our conversation with why, even though the real Christmas Truce is a less romantic event than commonly conceived, it's still a wonderful story about our shared humanity.Resources Related to the PodcastPeter's books on Amazon, including Fire and MovementPeter's Podcast: Pete and Gary's Military HistoryDocumentary on the Christmas Truce featuring Peter Hart and Taff GillinghamVideo from the Imperial War Museum on the Christmas TrucePhotos of the Christmas TruceThe Race to the SeaConnect With Peter HartPeter on Twitter
22-12-2021
38 mins
C.S. Lewis on Building Men With Chests
Like Plato, C.S. Lewis believed that the human soul was made up of three parts — the head (the rational, reason-driven part of you), the belly (your appetites and base instincts), and the chest (the seat of virtue-seeking sentiments and well-tuned emotions). In order for your head to make your decisions, particularly the decision to live a virtuous life, rather than your decisions being driven by your belly, the head needs the aid of the chest, of right feeling.A few months ago, we had Michael Ward on the show to talk about why C.S. Lewis felt that modern life was making “men without chests.” Today, I talk to a guest who can shed light on what Lewis thought was needed to build that chest back up. His name is Louis Markos and he’s a professor of English, as well as the lecturer of the Great Courses course: The Life and Writings of C.S. Lewis. At the start of our conversation, Lou gives us some background on Lewis’ life, including his conversion to Christianity, and how the nature of that conversion influenced his thinking on how to pursue virtue more broadly. We then talk about Lewis’ philosophical argument for there being a universal moral order, and why the chest is so vital for staying grounded in it. We spend the rest of our discussion unpacking the three ways Lewis believed the chest could be “educated”: reading stories and myths, rejecting “chronological snobbery” to learn from the past, and developing friendships that inspire excellence.Resources Related to the PodcastLouis’ Great Courses course: The Life and Writings of C.S. LewisThe books Louis has authoredAoM Podcast #430: Why You Need to Join the Great Conversation About the Great BooksAoM Article: The Power of Conversation — A Lesson From C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. TolkienAoM article on Plato’s view of the tripartite nature of the soulAoM series on Norse mythologyAoM Podcast #178: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Inklings Mastermind GroupThe Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion by James George FrazerThe Screwtape Letters by C.S. LewisThe Four Loves by C.S. LewisThe Chronicles of Narnia — The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. LewisThe Book of Virtues by William BennettAoM Article: The Winston Churchill School of Adulthood — Cultivate a Nostalgic Love for HistoryAoM article on C.S. Lewis’ advice on overcoming the “horror of the same old thing”AoM articles and podcasts on friendship
20-12-2021
42 mins
Prototype Your Way to a Better Life
I used to wake up early, around 5:15, and do my workout right after getting out of bed. But I noticed I was tired all day, and just felt kind of stiff and not very strong during my workouts. So I decided to try waking up a couple hours later, and doing my workouts in the late afternoon instead. I found that setting up my schedule this way gave me greater energy, both overall, and during my workouts.My guest says that this tinkering I did with my routine is an example of life prototyping, a process that can be used for anything and everything in order to improve both your personal and professional life.His name is Dave Evans, and as a lecturer in Stanford’s Design Program, he teaches the popular Designing Your Life course, which, as the name implies, takes the principles of design thinking, and applies them to crafting a happy and fulfilling life. He’s also the co-author, along with Bill Burnett, of Designing Your Life and Designing Your New Work Life. Today on the show, Dave explains how one of the central steps to design thinking — prototyping — can help you make both big and small changes that move you closer to the life you want to lead. He explains what prototyping is, how prototyping a life is different from prototyping a product, the two approaches involved with the former, and embracing the design thinking mindset of being immune to failure.Resources Related to the PodcastThe Designing Your Life Course on Creative LiveAoM Podcast #418 on how to get unstuck in life with the co-founder of Stanford’s Design School, Bernie RothAoM series on crafting the life you wantAoM Podcast #731: A Futurist’s Guide to Building the Life You WantAoM Article: How to Deal With a Job You Don’t LikeAoM article on the OODA LoopConnect With Dave EvansDesigning Your Life Website
15-12-2021
43 mins
The Perils and Powers of Cowardice
There have been many books written about courage. About cowardice, however, there has only been one. The author of this lone book onb cowardice joins me today to talk about why cowardice, though much ignored, is at least equally important to understand as courage, and how the fear of the former may actually serve as a stronger motivator towards doing daring deeds.His name is Chris Walsh, and his book is Cowardice: A Brief History. Today on the show, Chris explains how a coward can be defined as "someone who, because of excessive fear, fails to do what he is supposed to do," and yet how the assumptions behind this definition can be hard to pin down. We discuss why cowardice has been so condemned through time, so much so that in the military it was long considered a crime worthy of execution. We also discuss why the fear of being a coward is so tied into manliness, and why that label constitutes the worst insult you can level at a man. Chris delves into the way external checks on cowardice, the depersonalization and technologization of war, and the rise of the therapeutic lens on life have diminished the moral heft of cowardice. He then argues that despite this fact, and the way that cultural contempt for cowardice and a personal fear of it can lead to negative effects, it remains an important prod towards doing one's duty and a foundation of moral judgment. We end our conversation with how we can use the fear of cowardice as a positive motivator in our lives.Resources Related to the PodcastThe Mystery of Courage by William Ian MillerThe Red Badge of Courage by Stephen CraneThe Thin Red Line by James JoyceDante's Inferno by DanteRoman decimationPrivate Eddie SlovikAoM series on honorAoM Article: Where Does Manhood Come From?AoM Article: Male Expendability — Inspiring or Exploitative?Connect With Chris WalshChris' Faculty Page at BU
13-12-2021
48 mins
Prepare Now to Have Your Best Year Ever
How did your 2021 go? Did you accomplish less than you wanted to? Are you hoping to have a more successful run at your goals in 2022?Well my guest today has got your plan for making the coming twelve months your best year ever. His name is Michael Hyatt, and he's the CEO of the leadership consulting firm Michael Hyatt and Company and the author/creator of the Your Best Year Ever book and course. Today on the show, Michael takes us through the five-part process he believes is key for successfully making and keeping goals, starting with the importance of adopting the right mindset and doing an after-action review of how the previous year went. We then discuss how Michael has modified the standard SMART goal model to make it smarter, why your goals should feel risky, and the number of goals you should set per year. We then discuss how to stay motivated in working on your goals, whether or not you should share your goals with others, and why you should tackle your goals by doing the easy stuff first. We end our conversation with the importance of reviewing your goals on the regular.Resources Related to the PodcastRelated AoM articles:The 11 Cognitive Distortions That Are Making You a Miserable SOBAvoiding Learned HelplessnessThe 3 Simple Steps to Stopping Negative Self-TalkPast Failure Is No Excuse for Present InactionHow Reframing Builds ResilienceMeditations on the Wisdom of ActionWhy You Shouldn't Share Your GoalsFeelings Follow ActionThe Gap and the Gain by Dan SullivanMichael Hyatt's LifeScore Assessment
08-12-2021
50 mins
How Testosterone Makes Men, Men
What creates the differences between the sexes? Many would point to culture, and my guest today would agree that culture certainly shapes us. But she'd also argue that at the core of the divergence of the sexes, and in particular, of how men think and behave, is one powerful hormone: testosterone.Her name is Dr. Carole Hooven, and she's a Harvard biologist and the author of T: The Story of Testosterone, the Hormone That Dominates and Divides Us. Today on the show, Carole explains the arguments that are made against testosterone's influence on shaping men into men, and why she doesn't think they hold water. She then unpacks the argument for how testosterone does function as the driving force in sex differences, and how it fundamentally shapes the bodies and minds of males. We delve into where T is made, how much of it men have compared to women, and what historical cases of castration tell us about the centrality of testosterone in male development. We then discuss how T shapes males, starting in the womb, and going into puberty and beyond, before turning to its influence in athletic performance. We end our conversation with Carole's impassioned plea for celebrating what's great about men.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Podcast #86: Demonic Males With Richard WranghamAoM series on testosteroneAoM Podcast #336: Master Your TestosteroneAoM series on statusAoM Podcast #756: How the Desire for Status Explains (Pretty Much) EverythingAoM series on the origins and nature of manhoodConnect With Carole HoovenCarole's WebsiteCarole on Twitter
06-12-2021
1 hr 4 mins
Cormac McCarthy, The Road, and Carrying the Fire
Once a year, I read The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It's a cathartic annual ritual for me. What is it about this novel that has such an impact on my soul and those of other readers? Who is the man who wrote it, and what was he trying to do with this story of a father and son struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic landscape?For answers to these questions, I decided to talk to a foremost expert on McCarthy's work, as well as the literature of the American West in general. His name is Steven Frye and he's a professor of English, a novelist in his own right, and the author and editor of several books about the reclusive, philosophical author, including Understanding Cormac McCarthy. We begin our conversation with some background on McCarthy and a discussion of his distinctive style and themes, and why he avoids the limelight and prefers to hang out with scientists over fellow artists. We then dive into The Road, and Steve unpacks what inspired it, as well as the authors and books that influenced it. We then dig into the big themes of The Road, and how it can be read as a biblical allegory that wrestles with the existence of God. We delve into the tension which exists between the father and son in the book, and what it means to "carry the fire." We end our conversation with why reading The Road makes you feel both depressed and hopeful at the same time.A spoiler alert here: If you haven't read The Road yet, we do reveal some of the plot points in this discussion. Also, why haven't you read The Road yet?Resources Related to the PodcastOther books by Steven Frye, including his novel Dogwood CrossingMcCarthy's books mentioned in the show:The RoadAll the Pretty HorsesBlood MeridianThe Orchard KeeperNo Country for Old MenThe Sunset LimitedThe film adaptation of The RoadThe Santa Fe InstituteBrothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky"Cat in the Rain" — short story by Ernest Hemingway"Indian Camp" — short story by Ernest HemingwayAoM Podcast #635: The Existentialist's Survival GuideAoM Article: Carry the FireAoM Article: Books So Good I've Read Them 2X (Or More!)Connect With Steven FryeSteve's website
01-12-2021
52 mins
To Drink or Not to Drink
As the title of his book — Drink? — suggests, world-renowned professor of neuropsychopharmacology David Nutt thinks the cost/benefit analysis around consuming alcohol is an open question. He's not anti-alcohol — he regularly drinks himself — but he also thinks most people (more than 2/3 of folks around the world have had a drink in the past year) need to understand a lot more about drinking than they typically do in order to make an informed choice as to whether, and how much, to partake.To that end, today on the show Dr. Nutt shares the ins and outs of something he calls both a fantastic, and a horrible, drug. We discuss how people acquire a taste for something that initially registers as a toxic poison and how alcohol affects the body and mind. We then delve into alcohol's long-term health consequences, including its link to cancer, the fact that it kills more people via stroke than by cirrhosis, the way it has a feminizing effect on men, and what it does to your sleep. We discuss what influences someone’s chances of becoming alcoholic, and signs that you’ve got a drinking problem. David also argues that drinking has some benefits, and offers suggestions on how to imbibe alcohol in a way that helps manage its risks. We end our conversation with why more people are curbing their drinking, and the synthetic alcohol David is developing that mimics the relaxing effects of alcohol, without its negative downsides.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: How a Man Drinks Responsibly: Ask These 3 QuestionsAoM Article: Why I'm Thankful I Had a Drinking Problem: A Few Life Lessons From Beating the BottleAoM Article: Guide to Drinking for the TeetotalerConnect With David NuttDr. Nutt's faculty page at the Imperial College LondonGaba Labs
29-11-2021
47 mins
The Quest for a Moral Life
Note: This is a rebroadcast. This episode originally aired June 2019.Do you ever feel like you’re spinning your existential wheels in life? That outwardly, you seem to be doing ok, but inwardly, you feel kind of empty? My guest today would say that you’ve got to move on from trekking up life’s first mountain, to begin a journey up its second. His name is David Brooks and he’s the author of The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life. In that book, David makes the case that there are two mountains that we climb in life: The first is about the self — getting a college degree, starting a career, buying a home, and making your mark on the world. But at some point, that mountain starts to feel unfulfilling. That’s when we discover there’s a second mountain to ascend — a path of selflessness, relationships, and greater meaning. Today on the show, David tells us what he got wrong in his previous book, The Road to Character, and how The Second Mountain expands the vision of the good life. We then discuss why the first mountain of life gets more attention in the West and how the hyper individualism it encourages has led to an increase in loneliness, anxiety, and existential angst. David then walks us through how we shift courses from the first mountain of achievement to the second mountain of meaning by making commitments to things outside of ourselves. We then discuss the four commitments he thinks bring us real meaning and significance, and how we can seek and find them.Show HighlightsHow this new book serves as a correction to The Road to CharacterLies that culture tells us about becoming moral (and happy)The social history of our country’s individualismThe downsides of this individualismThe rise of tribalismWhy David is optimistic about how people are using social mediaThe wrong ways that people look for meaning and significanceThe first mountain vs. the second mountain of lifeHow do commitments give life meaning and bring us joy?How you really go about “finding” yourselfCareer vs. vocationThe next generation’s great responsibilityCommitting ourselves to “maximum marriage”The importance of intellectual challengeMaking the case for faith/religionWhat does an ideal community look like?The interplay of these various commitmentsResources/People/Articles Mentioned in PodcastMy first interview with David about characterSources of Existential AngstThe Character-Building School of ParenthoodBowling AloneSuper Bowl III9 Reasons You Should Host a Dinner Party This WeekendBecoming a Digital MinimalistLove Is All You NeedAre Modern People the Most Exhausted in History?AoM series on male depressionThe Best Way to Find Your VocationAoM series on vocationTim Keller’s The Meaning of MarriageWhy Every Man Should Study the ClassicsWhy You Should Join the Great ConversationWhy You Should Go to Church (Even If You’re Not Sure of Your Beliefs)The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane JacobsConnect With DavidWe Are Weavers David’s NY Times columnDavid on Twitter
24-11-2021
48 mins
The Epic Story of the Making of The Godfather
When it comes to lists of men’s favorite movies, The Godfather is a perennial inclusion. And as hard as this may be to believe, the critically acclaimed and popularly beloved film is coming up on the 50th anniversary of its release.Journalist Mark Seal wrote an in-depth piece on the making of The Godfather for Vanity Fair magazine back in 2009, and after doing even more interviews with director Francis Ford Coppola, the actors of the film, and other behind-the-scenes players, wrote a new book on the subject called Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli: The Epic Story of the Making of The Godfather. It’s easy to forget that the film was based on a novel by Mario Puzo, and we spend the first part of our conversation there, with Mark unpacking how an indebted gambler became a bestselling novelist. From there we turn to how Puzo’s novel was adapted for the screen — a story as dramatic and entertaining as the film itself. Mark explains why Coppola took the job of directing the film and his genius for casting. He delves into the unexpected selection of Marlon Brando to play Don Corleone, and how James Caan inhabited the role of Sonny, despite not being Italian-American. We get into how a real-life character named Joseph Colombo temporarily shut down production of the film in opposition to the stereotyping of Italian-Americans as mafia, despite the fact Colombo was a mob boss himself. Mark explains why Coppola considered making The Godfather the most miserable experience of his life and the X-factor that ultimately made the film so good. We end our conversation with whether a movie like The Godfather could be made today.Resources Related to the PodcastThe Godfather by Mario Puzo“The Godfather Wars” — Mark Seal’s 2009 piece for Vanity FairHearingsJoseph ColomboAoM Podcast #551: Inside the Gangsters’ CodeAoM Article: 100 Must-See MoviesConnect With Mark SealMark’s WebsiteMark on TwitterMark on Instagram
22-11-2021
46 mins
How to Achieve Cognitive Dominance
When it comes to high-stakes endeavors, few are as fraught as brain surgery. One false move and you can forever alter someone's life. That's why my guest has spent his life studying how to master fear and enhance performance, and gained insights that can help anyone do likewise in every area of their life. His name is Dr. Mark McLaughlin, and he's a wrestling coach, a lecturer at West Point, and a practicing neurosurgeon, as well as the author of Cognitive Dominance: A Brain Surgeon's Quest to Out-Think Fear. Today on the show, Mark and I discuss how fear manifests itself in a range from mild discomfort to full-blown paralysis, and how you can get a handle on it by developing cognitive dominance. Mark then unpacks what cognitive dominance is, and how it involves being able to overcome our visceral reaction to unexpected events, and respond to elements outside our control with poise and composure. We then talk about how to gain that kind of composure by breaking things down into objects (things that exist independently of us, with features everyone can agree on) and subjects (things that are specific to you, and encompass the sphere within which you can personally act). Mark walks us through how the objective and subjective can form an x- and y-axis, and how you can map the things that happen to you into the four quadrants they form in order to figure out how to respond. We end our conversation with how to deal with known unknowns by making a two-column list of who you do and don’t want to be, and focusing on the former.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM Article: 20 Classic Poems Every Man Should ReadAoM Podcast #335 exploring archetypes and meaning with Jordan PetersonAoM Podcast #377: 12 Rules for Life with Jordan PetersonAoM Podcast #316: An Introduction to StoicismThe Daily Stoic by Ryan HolidayAoM Podcast #651: How to Turn Fear Into FuelAoM Article: How the Hero's Journey Can Help You Become a Better ManConnect With Mark McLaughlinMark's WebsiteMark on Instagram
17-11-2021
41 mins
How the Desire for Status Explains (Pretty Much) Everything
Being famous. Knowing someone famous. Getting a laugh after telling a joke. Getting a good grade. Getting likes on a social media post. Winning a video game. Cooking a tasty meal. Being good looking. Having inside knowledge. Sharing a good recommendation.We often think of status exclusively in terms of wealth, but it's actually at play everywhere, in every situation where we get the feeling of being of value, where we feel ever so slightly elevated in our relative social position. The universal human desire for status greatly influences our culture, as well as our own behavior and the ups and downs of our mood. We would all do well then to understand status better, and my guest today can help you do that. His name is Will Storr and he's the author of The Status Game: On Social Position and How We Use It. Today on the show, Will walks us through why status in its infinite forms is so important to people, the ways it can be gained through dominance, virtue, and success, and how status games take place both within groups and between them. We talk about the good of status — how it can give us a psychological high and motivate the pursuit of skill, competence, and achievement — as well as its dark sides, including the way that a loss in status, and the resulting feeling of humiliation, leads to depression and violence. Will explains how status can be gained by enforcing the rules of a group and punishing those who seem to be lowering the overall status of the tribe, and how this punitive dynamic plays out online. We also discuss how when you try to eliminate certain status games by making things equal, people just find other status games to play, and that when one hierarchy is destroyed, another simply rises to take its place. We end our conversation with what we can do, if the status game is inescapable, to play it in a healthy way.Resources Related to the PodcastAoM series on statusAoM Article: How Men Are Evolved for FightingStudy on how mindfulness training can lead to feelings of superiorityHikikomori — Japanese who have withdrawn themselves from societyAoM Article: How to REALLY Be Alpha Like the WolfAoM Podcast #734: How Moral Grandstanding Is Ruining Our Public DiscoursePotlatchEnvy: A Theory of Social Behaviour by Helmut SchoeckConnect With Will StorrWill on TwitterWill's Website
15-11-2021
50 mins
Why Do the Navy’s Frogmen Fight on Land?
When you think of the Navy SEALs, you think of elite special operators who have been tasked with commando-type missions in conflict zones from Central Africa to Afghanistan. Which raises a question you may never have thought about, but seems quite obvious and interesting once you do: "Wait, why are members of the Navy, a waterborne military force, operating hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean?"This question spurred my guest, a former Navy SEAL himself, to explore the answer in his book By Water Beneath the Walls: The Rise of the Navy SEALs. His name is Benjamin Milligan and today we discuss the history that explains why the Navy became the branch of the military that supplied this famous go-anywhere force, and how men who started out as sailors became involved in land-based operations. Ben details the predecessors of the SEALs which took the form of various commando-type units that the Army and Marines experimented with and scuttled, and how the Navy, which had played a supporting role in these units, ended up being the one to continue to develop them. We discuss how the naval combat demolition units (NCDUs) and underwater demolition teams (UDTs) birthed during WWII would ultimately lead to the creation of the Navy's frogmen as we know them today. Along the way, Ben shares details of the unique characters who shaped the unit's trajectory, including the surprisingly bookish commander who created the most legendary part of the SEALs' training: Hell Week.Resources Related to the PodcastThe shoot-down of Extortion 17AoM Podcast #240 on Winston Churchill in the Boer WarEvans CarlsonWilliam DonovanMarine RaidersWilliam DarbyDarby’s Rangers movie with James GarnerDraper Kauffman"Telephone pole-type calisthenics"Arleigh BurkeAoM Podcast #477: The History and Future of America's Special ForcesConnect With Benjamin MilliganBen on InstagramBen on Twitter
10-11-2021
47 mins

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