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: September, 2016
Sep 30, 2016

Here are the four psychological assets you need to grow your grit: Interest + Practice + Purpose + Hope.

Sep 29, 2016

We want to be RATIONAL optimists--not irrational optimists. Here's the difference. (And, how it's kinda like irrational vs. rational visualization WOOP style.)

Sep 28, 2016

One way to turn a disadvantage into an advantage? Run a full-court press!

Sep 27, 2016

Want to be a great leader? It starts with trust--which starts with character. Here are 3 ways to chisel your goodness.

Sep 26, 2016

Growth does not occur in a straight line. Time to embrace the zigs and the zags that are part of mastery as our highs get higher and our lows get higher.

Sep 25, 2016

Nassim Taleb tells us how to become more anti-fragile. Here's a quick look at his "barbell strategy." Key: Be BOTH super aggressive AND super conservative.

Sep 24, 2016

When we see an iceberg, we're tempted to think it's just the tip, but we KNOW there's a lot going on beneath the surface. Same thing with world-class performance.

Sep 23, 2016

Robin Sharma is one of the world’s top leadership experts. He’s also an extraordinarily inspiring guy. This is an inspiring fable about a disillusioned former veteran (Blake) who meets a mysterious mentor (Tommy) who introduces him to four exceptional leaders who change his life. Via this fun cast of characters, Robin downloads his ENORMOUS array of wisdom on leadership + personal greatness. Big Ideas we explore: the four keys to leading without a title, how to flip the leadership switch, the power of moving thru fear and embracing adversity, a simple way to optimize your relationships, and training like an athlete to achieve your personal greatness.

Sep 22, 2016

Pixar execs say they take their films from suck to unsuck. (Hah.) We need to do the same. (Did you know WALL-E had 98,173 (!!!) storyboards? Yep.) That's a lot of little bets.

Sep 21, 2016

James Kouzes and Barry Posner are two of the world’s preeminent researchers on leadership. This is the 25th anniversary, fifth edition version of their best-selling classic that has sold over 2 million copies. One of the things I most like about this book is the fact that it covers the SCIENCE of leadership. Kouzes and Posnar have been conducting empirical research for over three decades. Big Ideas we explore: The 5 Practices (<— key word!) of Exemplary Leaders, the foundation of leadership (= credibility which = …), Law #2: DWYSYWD, and the best-kept secret of leadership = …

Sep 20, 2016

How would the boldest, most authentic, best version of you act? Now a good time to be that? (A: YES! "Fake it until you become it.")

Sep 19, 2016

Cal Newport is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Dartmouth who went on to MIT for his Ph.D. and is now a Professor at Georgetown. In this book, Cal shares the top ideas he gleaned from interviews with non-grind Phi Beta Kappa members at elite schools across the country. They had to perform well AND they had to achieve those results without grinding away. Their practices, although discovered independently, reflect the same wisdom shared in the science books. It’s great to see the overlap. Big Ideas: pseudo-work vs. real work (and a secret formula), conquering procrastination, when/where/how long should you study?, #1 way to learn (and #1 trap), the importance of spacing out your work and the power to choose your future via excellent grades.

Sep 18, 2016

Nutrition. It’s easy to get lost in the labyrinth of conflicting science. In this class, we focus on the 2 facts Michael Pollan tells us we can all agree on and then look at how to eliminate the primary causes of disease caused by our modern diets. Optimizing our health, energy and happiness starts at the end of our fork!

Sep 17, 2016

Shawn Stevenson is a health coach who has one of the most popular health & fitness podcasts out there called The Model Health Show. This is a short, quick-reading, funny and practical little book featuring 21 tips on how to optimize your sleep. Big Ideas we cover: #1 tip: value your sleep (it’s the secret sauce), avoid the blue lights, adenosine (did you know how caffeine really works?), staying cool, getting your vitamin G and creating PM rituals.

Sep 16, 2016

Jean-Paul Sartre was a French philosopher, novelist, playwright, and critic. He was a leading intellectual of the 20th century and the leading proponent of existentialism. This short book is a transcript of a speech Sartre gave in 1945 to address many of the critics of existentialism. It’s a *remarkably* lucid, concise exposition on the primary tenets of existentialism—even more remarkable given the fact that Sartre gave this lecture without notes. Big Ideas we explore: Anguish + its antidote, passion vs. choice, quietism vs. commitment, the stern optimism of existentialism and moral choices as a work of art.

Sep 15, 2016

Unless you're looking to be mediocre, focus more on your talents than your weaknesses. Forget about being well-rounded and focus on being the best version of you.

Sep 14, 2016

Christopher McDougall is a brilliant story teller (and author of Born to Run). In this great book, he weaves together a number of different narratives, with an emphasis on two: one about an extraordinary wartime adventure on Crete and the other about Natural Movement. In the process, he shares a ton of Ideas on how we can each tap into the extraordinary superpowers latent within. Big Ideas we explore include the ancient Greek meaning of the word “hero,” the mantra of the hero, why weeds + fat are optimal fuel and a great test.

Sep 13, 2016

This is the classic text on the psychology of persuasion. Robert Cialdini is a professor of both psychology and marketing at Arizona State University. He’s one of the world’s leading experts on the psychology of persuasion. The book is simultaneously kind of a consumer protection guide (how not to be duped) AND a manual for marketers (how to sell your stuff!). Cialdini has identified six core psychological principles of persuasion. We take a quick look at each, how they can be used for good or ill and how to apply the wisdom to our lives today.

Sep 12, 2016

You know how long Google kept Gmail in Beta mode? 5 years. Only after MILLIONS of people used and loved it did they declare beta complete. We need to put ourselves in permanent beta mode!

Sep 11, 2016

Katy Bowman is the world’s leading biomechanist—helping us apply wisdom from that domain to optimizing our lives. This is a great, quick-reading, smart and funny look at how we can optimally transition from sitting to creating a standing and dynamic (<— key word!) workstation to help us optimize our whole-body health. Big Ideas we explore include whether or not sitting is the new smoking, checking in to see if we’re active yet also sedentary, the 3 M’s of movement, working out our eyeballs, what sea turtles can teach us about our sleep and how to have the best ideas.

Sep 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.

Sep 9, 2016

Charisma. The idea that you’re either one of the lucky few born with it or not is a MYTH. Fact is: We can all cultivate our personal magnetism. In this fun, quick-reading, compelling book, Olivia Fox Cabane walks us through the practical application of the art and science of deliberately dialing our charisma up. Big Ideas we cover: The Big 3 of charisma: Presence + Power + Warmth (and how to boost each), what gets in the way (and what to do about it), the power of visualization (#1 tip) and more.

Sep 8, 2016

Here's a quick look at some of Warren Buffett's thoughts on goal setting. In short: Identify 25 important life goals. Identify the top 5. Throw away the rest and get to work!

Sep 7, 2016

John Maxwell is one of the world’s leading authorities on leadership. He’s trained millions (literally) of leaders and has written over 50 (!) books that have sold over 13 million copies—this one alone has sold over 3 million copies. After a super quick look at the 21 Laws, Big Ideas we explore: The Law of Process (aka: Leaders are learners), the foundation of leadership (= trust), leaders are practical AND visionary, the law of victory (!), and your legacy—what will people say when you die? + What’s your “life sentence”?

Sep 6, 2016

When you look at EXTRAORDINARY performers do you find yourself saying, "Wow. They must have been born with something special?" If so, remember: SO WERE YOU.

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