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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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.

Sep 5, 2016

Epictetus is known as one of the world’s leading Stoic philosophers. (Along with Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, the three make up a very interesting bunch.) Epictetus was a former slave turned philosopher who lived from 55-135 (a little later than Seneca and before Aurelius). This book is a transcription of the informal lectures Epictetus gave to his students. It’s awesome. Big Ideas we explore: why Hercules needed challenges (and so do you), what figs can teach us about greatness, the good + the bad + the indifferent and how to tell the difference, “impressions” and the tricks they play, and the fact NOW is the time to live this stuff.

Sep 4, 2016

Did you know there’s a science (+ art!) to learning? Yep. In this class, I’m excited to share some of my favorite Big Ideas on how to learn + make things stick–efficiently! Whether you’re a student, parent or life-long learner, I hope you enjoy!

Sep 3, 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.

Sep 2, 2016

Wonder what the iconoclast’s brain looks like? Well, that’s what this book is all about. Our guide is Gregory Berns, one of the world’s leading pioneers (iconoclasts?) in the field of neuroeconomics. Berns is a professor in the department of Psychiatry and Economics and at the Goizeta Business School at Emory University. This book is a fascinating look at the three primary facets of the iconoclast’s brain (perception + courage + social skills), brought to life via research studies and biographical sketches of modern iconoclasts. Big Ideas we cover: how to change the way you see the world, how to control your fear and how to build your social skills (hint: be a good human).

Sep 1, 2016

Dallas and Melissa Hartwig tell us good food passes four tests. Here they are.

Aug 30, 2016

The Purpose Formula has three parts. How do you fill in the bubbles? Where do your skills and joy meet the world's needs?

Aug 29, 2016

Warren Bennis is one of the world’s leading authorities on leadership. This is, as Peter Drucker puts it, his “most important book.” Big Ideas we explore include the basic ingredients of leadership (#1 = Guiding Vision!), the importance of self-invention (hint: write your own story!), the power of trusting ourselves, choosing to express ourselves rather than prove ourselves, how to cultivate trust, and becoming a world-class leader.

Aug 28, 2016

Welcome to OPTIMIZE Airlines. Please fasten your seatbelts and... remember that if cabin pressure changes you need to give yourself oxygen before trying to help others!

Aug 27, 2016

Here's the definition of the Common Denominator of Success: Successful people make a habit of doing the things failures don't like to do.

Aug 26, 2016

Vice Admiral James Stockdale is an American hero. Stockdale spent nearly eight years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. He spent four of those years in solitary confinement and was repeatedly tortured. He was the commanding officer of hundreds of other U.S. soldiers and received the Medal of Honor for his service beyond the call of duty. This is an incredibly inspiring look at the powerful mind and equally powerful moral commitment of a hero. Big Ideas we explore: Being our brother’s keeper, chiseling our integrity to achieve delight with life, courage as endurance of the soul and heroes vs. bums.

Aug 25, 2016

Pete Carroll and Michael Gervais made mental training as important as the physical training with the Seahawks. One trick? They'd have their players imaging their peak performance. Then think about what gets in the way of that. Then they'd systematically remove those obstacles. <-- Good idea!

Aug 24, 2016

Phil Knight created Nike. This book is a *phenomenally* well-written, funny, tear-jerking, inspiring look at how he and his eclectic team of misfit geniuses made Nike one of the most iconic brands in the world. If you’re into sports, business and hero’s journeys, you’ll love it. I highly recommend it. Big Ideas we explore include: Crazy Ideas, victory, billionaires getting their credit cards declined (before they’re billionaires), optimal business, gratitude, luck and answering your calling.

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