OPTIMIZE with Brian Johnson | More Wisdom in Less Time

OPTIMIZE with Brian Johnson features the best Big Ideas from the best optimal living books. More wisdom in less time to help you live your greatest life. (Learn more at
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OPTIMIZE with Brian Johnson | More Wisdom in Less Time





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Now displaying: July, 2016
Jul 31, 2016

"Edible foodlike substances." That's what Michael Pollan calls the stuff food scientists are cooking up these days. Remember Rule #1: Eat food. If your great-grandmother didn't eat, you probably shouldn't eat it. If it doesn't rot, don't eat it. If your 3rd grader can't pronounce ingredients? Don't eat it.

Jul 30, 2016

This book is very different than the types of books I usually focus on. It’s not “self-development” per se; it’s more like “state-development”—as in, the optimal politics for our nation and world. The main thrust of the book is that we are entering a revolutionary time, the era of “Great Connection.” His primary focus is on a macro level. In our Note we focus on how we can apply this wisdom on an individual level. Big Ideas include a look at the #1 illness of our era and how to deal with it, why we need Hard Gatekeeping, the difference btwn complicated and complex and building a 10,000 year clock while answering the call to revolution.

Jul 29, 2016

Want to reach your optimal weight while preventing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia and cancer AND while feeling energized as you live longer? Eat more fat. That’s what Dr. Mark Hyman—one of the world’s leading Functional Medicine doctors—tells us. This book is ridiculously packed with Big Ideas—walking us through the eye-opening science of why fat is awesome along with a plan on how to “reboot our biology to our original factory settings” via a 21-day program followed by a long-term plan to rock it. We explore the surprising truth about fat, good fats vs. bad fats, going pegan (think: best of vegan + Paleo), a quality carb, and dealing with root causes rather than symptoms.

Jul 28, 2016

Gravity. It's always pushing us into the center of the Earth. If we're sitting all day every day, that causes super unhealthy compression. We need to decompress. Easiest way to do that? Stand tall!

Jul 27, 2016

Benedict Carey is an award-winning science writer for The New York Times. This book is his exploration of what the latest research says about, you guessed it, How We Learn. Big Ideas we cover include the #1 enemy to learning (and how to win that battle), why distributed your learning is where it’s at, how sleeping is like learning with your eyes closed and how to put the Zeigarnick Effect to use for maximum benefit.

Jul 26, 2016

Next time you walk through the grocery store remember: The long the shelf life, the shorter YOUR life. Choose real food.

Jul 25, 2016

David Ludwig has both an M.D. and a Ph.D. and is a professor and researcher at both Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health. He’s overseen dozens of diet studies, authored over 100 peer-reviewed scientific articles, and supported thousands of patients looking to optimize their weight. In this book, we learn how to conquer cravings, retrain fat cells, and lose weight permanently.

Jul 24, 2016

When you experience pain do you struggle and try to control your thoughts and feelings or do you accept the pain and commit to values-based action? Choose wisely! Keep the struggle switch in the OFF position. Remember: S = P x R.

Jul 23, 2016

Sir John Hargrave is a funny guy and this book is awesome. If you’re a bit of a geek (or if you’re married to one!) looking for a fun, grounded, super practical take on how to get your mind right so you can do what you’re here to do, I think you’ll love this book. Big Ideas we explore include: how to develop Jedi-like concentration, how to debug your mind, creating a vision of the best version of your life 10 years from now (and why it matters), how to make your life a masterpiece.

Jul 22, 2016

Michael Pollan is the author of a number of New York Times best-selling books on nutrition. In 2010, Time magazine named him one of the one hundred most influential people in the world. If you’re looking for a SUPER compact, witty look at the primary rules on how to eat well, this is it. It’s a fun, witty, concise guide to eating well featuring 64 food rules structured around Pollan’s seven words of wisdom: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Big Ideas we explore include the 2 Facts of nutrition everyone can agree on, Rule #1, why low-fat made us fat, and the final rule (#64).

Jul 21, 2016

Eleanor Roosevelt tells us we gain strength, courage, and confidence every time we stop to look fear in the face and she challenges us to do that EVERY.SINGLE.TIME.

Jul 20, 2016

Eric Goodman is the creator of Foundation Training. If you’ve ever had back or neck or other physical pain, this book might be just what your doctor forgot to order. And, of course, if you’re just looking to take your energy to the next level, this is a gem. In the Note, we take a quick look at why gravity + sitting/bad posture = compression and why that’s so bad plus how to deal with it as we become fluent in a new movement language and have fun becoming perpetual motion machines.

Jul 19, 2016

Movement transcends and includes exercise. How much do YOU move? (And are you ready to become a perpetual motion machine? :)

Jul 18, 2016

The gut. That’s where all the health magic (or challenges!) begins. Alejandro Junger is a cardiologist turned functional medicine doctor who created the incredibly popular Clean Program. We covered his first book Clean and now for a spotlight on the Clean Gut. Big Ideas we explore include symptoms vs. root causes (paint any brown leaves green lately?), how food’s shelf life correlates with yours, your 2nd brain, nutrigenomics, gluten (the ubiquitous poison) and step 1 to cleaning things up (hint: remove toxic triggers).

Jul 17, 2016

Willpower is the queen of all virtues. It outpredicts IQ by a factor of TWO for academic performance (and everything else we want in life). This class is all about the science of how to systematically build our willpower so we can reach our highest potential.

Jul 16, 2016

This is a surprisingly awesome book—a fable about a young captain who spends time with a master and commander who reveals the secret code of rockin’ it. It’s kinda like if a Navy SEAL wrote The Alchemist or The Way of the Peaceful Warrior or The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari. Big Ideas we cover include: U.P.E.R.S.I.S.T. (the code to being unstoppable), the 2 limitations in life, how to discover your why, how to plan in 3-D, and the magic pill you need to take.

Jul 15, 2016

Jim Rohn's success formula is simple: Do your key disciplines It's easy to do. But it's also easy *not* to do. (What are YOUR daily disciplines? You doing 'em?)

Jul 14, 2016

ACT. That’s where it’s at. This is our second Note on Russ Harris and his great introduction to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. (Check out the Notes on The Confidence Gap as well.) In this book, Russ walks us through how we get caught in the happiness trap and, more importantly, how to free ourselves. We’ll take a quick look at the myths of happiness, the six principles of ACT, how to deal with emotional quicksand, how NOT to visualize (and what to do instead), and writing down your values (<— science says that’s wise).

Jul 13, 2016

There's a big difference between fruitlessly ruminating and productively reflecting. Here's a quick look. (Remember: Focus on the +1 solution!)

Jul 12, 2016

Eleanor Roosevelt served as the First Lady for 12 years—through her husband Franklin D. Roosevelt’s terms as President during the Great Depression and World War II. She went on to play a leading role as a diplomat in the United Nations was one of the most loved and influential women of the 20th century. This book is a beautifully written, inspiring look into “Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life.” Big Ideas we cover include how to conquer the great enemy (fear), Eleanor’s Top 4 Big Ideas on Time Management 101, holding the tension between our dreams of perfection and reality while making all life one big adventure.

Jul 11, 2016

It's crazy how much leaving gravity diminishes an astronaut's health. Guess what? We do the same kinda thing to our health when we sit

Jul 10, 2016

Katy Bowman is one of the world’s leading biomechanists—helping us integrate proper body movement to optimize our well-being. She has a great podcast + blog you might enjoy as well. This book is packed with a ton of exercises and plenty of info on the science of biomechanics to help us pay more attention to the loads we’re putting on our bodies throughout the day so we can get in harmony with how our bodies were designed to move. Big Ideas we explore include moving your TRILLIONS of cells, why movement > exercise, why walking is the secret sauce, and how to take a forest bath.

Jul 9, 2016

Jim Afremow is one of the world’s leading sports psychologists and this great book is packed with Big Ideas. We explore: the vision of a champion (and how to fuel it), what mental toughness *really* is, how/why to be ugly but effective, how to evaluate yourself (3 q’s: good + better + best), and creating sustained obsession as you take the champion’s honor pledge.

Jul 8, 2016

Baby sea turtles in Cancun used to be able to "seafind" via the moon's light. Since hotels moved in to the beach, they're losing that ability. Guess what? We suffer a lot from unnatural light at night as well. To digital sunsets and viva la sea turtle!

Jul 7, 2016

Jim Rohn was one of the 20th century’s leading personal development gurus—influencing everyone from Tony Robbins to Darren Hardy. He wrote and taught in a simple, conversational, down-to-earth style. Reading this book feels like sitting down and having an inspiring chat with one of the best old-school coaches out there. Big Ideas we explore include the formula for success (+ the 2 easies), how to unlock your potential, character = chisel, and the key to perseverance.

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