Elizabeth Blackburn won the Nobel Prize for her discovery of telemorase - “the enzyme that replenishes telomeres, which protect our genetic heritage.” Elissa Epel is one of the world’s leading health psychology researcher. Together, they have created a great book that walks us through the best of what we know about telomeres, why they’re so important and what we can do to Optimize them. If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about telomeres, THIS is the book to read. Big Ideas we explore include why telomeres are the secret sauce to aging well, the fact that your cells are listening to your thoughts (#1 tip? Shift from a threat response to a challenge response!), how to mind your telomeres (move from negative thinking to resilient thinking), how to eat, move, sleep your way to happy telomeres, and a challenging question: What will YOUR cellular legacy be?
Robb Wolf is a former research biochemist and is one of the leading thinkers/writers/practitioners in the Paleo or Ancestral Health movement. The essence of this book is the that while there are general principles of nutrition that work for everyone AND... Ultimately we need to figure out what works best for us as individuals if we want to rock it. Big Ideas we explore include: the fact that one size diets do NOT fit all (remember: "rough" tools vs. precision tools), discordance theory (there's a mismatch between our genes and our environment!), an anti-inflammatory diet (aka Paleo aka Phase I), personalized nutrition (aka 7-Day Carb test aka Phase II), the other pillars of health (sleep, stress, move, connection), and genetic + environmental lotteries (what to do if you lost them--lol).
When I first saw the title for this book I thought to myself, "Really, Steve? THIS is what you think I need to hear? That nobody wants to read my sh_t? I thought we were working on our Resistance and winning the War of Art!" Then I bought the book and embraced the tough love with a growth mindset. Big Ideas we explore include WHY people don't want to read your sh_t (or engage with your product/or listen to your talk, etc.) (hint: they're REALLY BUSY!), how to be worthy of their attention, why the hero's journey is essential for effective storytelling (the 10 main points), doing what scares you the most, and the importance of giving us your gift (mine the gold, please!!).
This is Steven Pressfield’s 19th book. It’s the 10th book of his I’ve read and it’s the 4th book on which I’ve done a Note. As with all of his books, this one is written in his inimitable, pithy style. (In fact, as I consulted my dictionary for the precise definition of the word pithy, I realized just how much his style epitomizes that word. Pithy means “concise and forcefully expressive.”) Big Ideas we explore include defining the artist's journey (vis-a-vis the hero's journey; note: we all live both journeys!!), our #1 job (say hello to your muse), the superconsciousness (shuttle back and forth!), destiny acorns (daimon meet genius), how to let your soul shine (hint: SHOW UP!), Jay-Z in his studio (enter: 10,000 micro hero's journeys), and: Ready or not (you're called!!).
Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney are both academic researchers and professors who have been studying sports nutrition, ketogenic diets and peak performance for decades. To put it in perspective, Dr. Stephen Phinney (with his MD from Stanford and PhD from MIT) coined the phrase “keto-adapted” in 1980. Big Ideas we explore include: the accepted dogma (vs. compelling data), two fuel tanks (you want to go hours or days?), veto-adaptation (how to), protein (necessary but in moderation), fat (your most important fuel; the good and bad!), and the macro breakdown (here it is!).
Tim Grover was Michael Jordan’s trainer and, basically, his mental toughness coach. Kobe Bryant’s as well. And Dwayne Wade’s. And... Well, a ton of other elite athletes. He’s one of the world’s top mental toughness coaches and this book is, as per the sub-title, a manual on how to go “From Good to Great to Unstoppable.” Big Ideas we explore include: relentless commitment (vs. "Meh, good enough"), Do. The. Work (eat frogs and dominate), Pressure (pressure, pressure! BRING IT ON!), the source of true confidence, greatness math (remember: effort counts twice; just ask Michael Jordan and Jerry Rice), and turning your dreams into reality (ready?).
Here are 5 of my favorite Big Ideas from "Self-Reliance" by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Hope you enjoy!
Ralph Waldo Emerson. He’s the great-great-grandfather in my spiritual family tree. We named our son Emerson after this great 19th century philosopher and when I imagine the heroes whose qualities I want to emulate, he’s on the top of the list. Big Ideas we explore include: Trust thyself (every heart vibrates to that iron string!), nonconformity (and the integrity of your own mind), what must you do? (vs. what will they think?), Hobgoblins (begone), your voyage (of a thousand zigs and zags), and the Royal You (act like that now!).
Here are 5 of my favorite Big Ideas from "How Champion's Think" by Bob Rotella. Hope you enjoy!
Dr. Bob Rotella is widely recognized as the world’s leading sports psychologist. He’s coached everyone from basketball stars like LeBron James to rock stars like Seal. The golfers he’s coached (including greats like Rory McIlroy) have won an astonishing 80+ major championships. Want to know how champions think in both sports AND life? Well, here you go. Big Ideas we explore include the importance of going for "exceptionalism" (by definition, to be reat/a champion you need to be an "exception" to the norm so...), a message from God (key takeaway: focus on the process, results are all good), train it and trust it, enthusiasm (it's the catalyst of champions), how to create your own reality (hint: don't do what average people do), and how to win the ultimate game of life.
Get the PN HERE: https://www.optimize.me/philosophers-notes/how-champions-think-bob-rotella/
Get the book on Amazon HERE: https://www.amazon.com/How-Champions-Think-Sports-Life/dp/1476788642
Jordan Peterson is one of the world's leading intellectuals. He's a Canadian clinical psychologist and professor at the University of Toronto. (Before that, he taught at Harvard.) He’s published over 100 scientific articles and he’s super-popular on YouTube. This book is wonderfully intense and equally thoughtful. Peterson’s integration of everything from evolutionary psychology, politics, religion and morality is astounding. After taking a super-quick look at all 12 Rules, Big Ideas we cover include the importance of mastering the flow or Order + Chaos (and why RULES are so important), Rule #1 (stand up straight, shoulders back! Remember lobsters...), Rule #2 (Treat yourself better! Remember pets...), Rule #6: Clean up your life (remember to start stopping...), and the fact that your Being is in your Becoming (which is connected to Rule #4...).
Here are 5 of my favorite Big Ideas from "Chasing Excellence" by Ben Bergeron. Hope you enjoy!
If you’ve ever worked out at a CrossFit gym and/or watched the Reebok CrossFit Games, you know that the absolute best CrossFit athletes are absolute beasts. Well, Ben Bergeron has been the coach behind six world championships. This book is his inspirational, wisdom-packed (!!!) look at how he coaches greatness told through the lens of the 2016 Games in which his athletes (Mat Fraser and Katrín Davíðsdóttir) BOTH won. (Think about that... He coached BOTH the men’s and the women’s champions. <- That’s amazing.) My copy of the book is r i d i c u l o u s l y marked up. The book is OUTSTANDING. Big Ideas we explore include: Committing to excellence (vs. "Meh, I'm good enough."), the 12 character traits of a champion, grit (how's yours?), positivity (selection attention + confirmation bias), embracing adversity (overload and get stronger!), and acting like a champion NOW.
Get the PN HERE: https://www.optimize.me/philosophers-notes/chasing-excellence-ben-bergeron/
Get the book on Amazon HERE: https://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Excellence-Building-Fittest-Athletes/dp/1619617277/
Here are 5 of my favorite Big Ideas from "Lead Yourself First" by Raymond M. Kethledge and Michael S. Erwin. Hope you enjoy!
Here are 5 of my favorite Big Ideas from "The Nicomachean Ethics" by Aristotle. Hope you enjoy! Aristotle's writings have been extraordinarily influential since ancient times. This treatise is named after his son and is a collection of his lecture notes--imagining attending his Lyceum and listening to him teach 2,300 years ago! Of course, it's packed with culture-changing Big Ideas. Some of my favorites we cover include the ultimate end: eudaimonic happiness (vs. "happiness" as most of us think about it!), how to achieve that eudaimonia (hint: "virtuous activity of the soul" aka areté), how to win the Olympic Games (hint: you can't just show up; you need to ACT!), the doctrine of the mean (and the vice of deficiency + excess) and the virtue of magnanimity: meet YOUR great soul.
Here are 5 of my favorite Big Ideas from "Reinventing Yourself" by Steve Chandler. Hope you enjoy! I got this book years ago when I first started working with Steve Chandler. At the time, I read and listened to a ton of his stuff. Steve and I worked together one-on-one for a couple years. This is our sixth Note on his books. It was super fun to reread this book and dive back into Steve’s down-to-earth and empowering wisdom. I love his short, to-the-point, funny style. Big Ideas we explore include the difference between being a Victim vs. an Owner (this is the #1 key on "How to Become the Person You've Always Wanted to Be), lifting real weights not the Styrofoam stuff (but only if you want to get strong!), the fact that Yes lives in the land of No, 10 things you'd do if you had no fear (pick one and go!), and campfires (they're a lot like human spirit--ya gotta re-create one every day!).
Michael Gelb is one of the world’s leading creativity teachers. He’s also a qi gong and aikido master who wrote one of my favorite books: “How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci.” In this book, he teaches us the art of creating connection. Big Ideas we explore include how to optimize our ability to connect (practice with the little moments!), The Pygmalion Effect (aka the self-fulfilling prophecy), the importance of centering for conflict resolution, and how our addiction to digital devices (ADD) is leading to attention deficit disorder (ADD) which is leading to troubles in connecting and what to do about it.
This book started out as a blog post by Carolyn Gregoire based on Scott Barry Kaufman’s work that went viral: 18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently. Scott is one of the world’s leading creativity researchers. Carolyn is a senior writer at the Huffington Post. Together, they wrote a great little book on the mysteries of the creative mind. Big Ideas we explore include: the fact that creativity is a messy business (embrace complexity!), the power of walking for daydreaming (all the cool philosophers do it!), creating a nice home for your genius to visit (she’s got the magic!), creating again and again (and again), unitask rather than multitask (unless you want to atrophy the best part of your brain), and STAMP your life with your own personality (but only if you want to be great … and happy!).
Emma Seppälä is the science director of Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. She also has a popular blog called Fulfillment Daily. In this great little book, she walks us through the latest scientific research on everything from resilience, willpower and compassion to positive stress, creativity, and mindfulness. Big Ideas we explore include how to find fulfillment (hint: it’s in this moment—right now!), how to skillfully surf stress waves, the most powerful lever to optimize your mind (hint: your breath), how to succeed in failure Jack Ma style, and the science of compassion.
Dave Asprey is a fascinating guy. He’s a professional bio-hacking machine whose publicly-stated goal is to live to 180. We covered his last book called The Bulletproof Diet and our kitchen’s pantry is filled with a bunch of his Bulletproof products. In this book, he unveils his best bio-hacks for, as the sub-title suggests, “activating untapped brain energy to work smarter and think faster.” Big Ideas we explore: Your brain on energy, kryptonite dust (what’re yours?), mitochondria (one QUADRILLION!), EZ water (how to drop into that spot between a gas and a liquid), and junk light.
William James once said: “If you want a quality, act as if you already have it.” In this book, Richard Wiseman, Britain’s official professor in “the Public Understanding of Psychology” walks us through the astonishing array of research that proves what he calls the “As If Principle.” Big Ideas we explore include an exploration of the fact that feelings follow behavior, how to make yourself happy, the paradox of rewards, and how to create a new you.
Charles Duhigg is a Pulitzer Prize-winning NY Times journalist (and Harvard MBA) who wrote the best-selling book The Power of Habit in which he walked us through the science of building better habits. In this book, he walks us through the science of being productive so we can be smarter, faster and better at everything we do. It’s a great book packed with fascinating stories and practical applications. Big Ideas we explore include the 2 keys to motivation, how to build your focus, the best way to set goals (think: Stretch + SMART), why disfluency helps learning and how productivity is all about choices.
Breathing. It’s obviously important. And... I’m beginning to realize *just* how important it is. In fact, breathing properly is quickly becoming my #1 fundamental. Belisa Vranich is a clinical psychologist and one of the world’s leading experts on how to breathe right. In this Note, we take a quick peek at why breathing is so important, learn how to measure your Vital Lung Capacity, observe the difference between Clark Kent and Superman and get to work on training the most important and underappreciated muscle in your body (hint: your diaphragm).
Eric Barker is the creator of the blog Barking Up the Wrong Tree, which “presents science-based answers and expert insight on how to be awesome at life.” This is a REALLY engaging, well-written, compelling book. Eric takes us on a fun adventure through the science of what *really* works. And, as the sub-title suggests: How most of what you *think* works, is either a LOT more nuanced than you may have been led to believe or is just plain wrong. Big Ideas we explore include why valedictorians don’t typically top the success charts, how to get more willpower, why managing your energy is so key, the power of mentors (and how to get one), and the #1 thing to remember for success.
Travis Macy is best known as the record-setting champion of Leadman—“a sort of six-week Grand Prix of Ultra Endurance” that consists of a jaw-dropping number of challenges. This book is a fun look at the eight principles that make up the Ultra Mindset Travis uses to do extraordinary things. Big Ideas we explore include: Your new mantra, what to do when you don’t feel like it, thinking about thinking, making the choice to give up choice, and never quitting… except when you should quit (w/a great litmus test for when you should/shouldn’t quit).
The Plant Paradox. In a nutshell: The plants that nourish us can also hurt us. Dr. Steven Gundry is a renowned cardiologist and heart surgeon. He’s a former professor at Loma Linda University and has authored 300+ peer-reviewed articles on using diet and supplements to eliminate a bunch of diseases. And, to put it in perspective: He’s Tony Robbins’s doctor. Big Ideas we explore include Rule #1 of nutrition (and life) (hint: STOP eating/doing stuff that doesn’t work for you), the little edible enemies that are taking you down, the vagus nerve and it’s communication from your gut to your brain, how fruit might as well be candy and 90% new you in 90 days.
Pierre Hadot was one of the most influential historians of ancient philosophy. In this book, he gives us an incredible look at Marcus Aurelius and his classic Meditations. You can feel Hadot’s incredible intellectual rigor and equally incredible passion for engaged philosophy. It’s inspiring. Big Ideas we explore include spiritual exercises, your inner citadel, your daimōn, amor fate, turning obstacles upside down and carpe areté.
Got problems with your soul? These days, you’d see a psychotherapist. But, back in the day, it was the philosopher who’d help you optimize—they were the preferred physician of the soul. This book is about the philosophical roots of modern psychotherapy. Specifically, it outlines the connection between cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and Stoicism. Big Ideas we explore include being a warrior of the mind vs. a librarian of the mind, your highest human purpose, getting on good terms with your inner daimon, practicing the reserve clause and modeling your ideal sage.