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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 optimize.me.)
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OPTIMIZE with Brian Johnson | More Wisdom in Less Time
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Now displaying: August, 2015
Aug 18, 2015

Did you know that you can strike a power pose and boost your testosterone by 20% in 2 minutes? While dropping your cortisol 20%? Nuts, eh? Yet it's true. Weak poses = the opposite: 10% reduction in testosterone + 15% increase in cortisol. Wow.

Aug 18, 2015

He's tiny. Almost invisible. But he has a HUGE mouth and he's constantly telling you why you can't win. That's Mr. Mediocrity. We need to silence him.

Aug 18, 2015

The Pain Paradox: Only doing the easy stuff today makes it more difficult later. Paradoxically, doing the hard stuff now makes things easier in the future. Think cows vs. buffalo! :)

Aug 18, 2015

Feeling anxious or bored? Here's a quick look at how you can get into flow!

Aug 17, 2015

This is a great little book packed with gems on the creative process we can apply to both our work AND our lives. As per the sub-title, Austin gives us  “10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative.” Big Ideas we explore include the need to start copying, the importance of taking care of ourselves and establishing a routine as we set creative constraints and amassing a body of work as we consistently show up.

Aug 17, 2015

Although, as per the sub-title, the book is ostensibly about “How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra),” it’s really about excelling at learning and at LIFE! Barbara Oakley is an award winning engineering teacher who used to struggle mightily with math and science. She walks us through the latest research in neuroscience and learning as she shares fascinating biographical sketches of scientific + mathematical luminaries along with wisdom from other world-class teachers. Great stuff.

Aug 17, 2015

If you’re looking for a smart, grounded, funny and well-written introduction to the Paleo movement, this is the perfect place to start. Big Ideas we explore include the five ages of our origins (Animal + Paleolithic + Agricultural + Industrial + Information), poisons vs. fountains of youth, the importance of meaning (and how to dial it in) and alarm clocks for bed time.

Aug 17, 2015

Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian in history and arguably the greatest athlete ever. This book is a quick look at 8 virtues that led to his 8 gold medals in '08. Big Ideas we explore include how to train your mind, going all in, knowing what's important now (aka W.I.N.), and not confusing "can't" vs. "won't."

Aug 17, 2015

Stephen Cope is the director of the Kripalu Institute for Extraordinary Living—the largest yoga research institute in the Western world. In this great book, Stephen brings the Bhagavad Gita to life and helps us apply this ancient wisdom to our modern lives. Big Ideas include the four keys to living your dharma, creating the right conditions, dealing with difficulties, training elephants, and reducing yourself to zero!

Aug 17, 2015

Greg Krech is one of the world’s leading teachers of Japanese psychology. This book integrates three core facets of the work he has done for the last 25+ years: Morita Therapy + kaizen + Naikan. Big Ideas we explore include understanding what is within our control and what is not (hint: thoughts and feelings are not; behaviors are), how to create momentum in your life and the importance of constant incremental improvement.

Aug 17, 2015

You ever struggle with perfectionism? If so, it’s time to learn how to be an imperfectionist! Stephen Guise (author of Mini Habits), shows us the way. Big Ideas include being a poser, living within floors and ceilings, thinking vs. doing, pulling the lever, and cultivating result apathy.

Aug 17, 2015

Bernard Roth has been a Professor of Engineering at Stanford for over FIFTY (!!) years. A pioneer in the field of robotics, Bernie is one of the founders of the famed d.school at Stanford. In this great book, he brings the concepts of design thinking to life in the context of our most important design project: designing our optimal lives. Big Ideas we explore include the 5 elements of design thinking, doing vs. trying, ignoring odds, and being the cause.

Aug 17, 2015

This is a fantastic, old school psychology classic. Written in 1975, Albert Ellis (see Notes on A Guide to Rational Living) says it’s “One of the best self help books ever written.” Lazarus and Fay walk us through 20 of the most common mistakes that can ruin our lives and, of course, how to correct them. Big Ideas include myths about change, the 2 things we need to do to change, and optimizing our locus of control.

Aug 17, 2015

How do you want to die? With a calm serenity knowing you gave your best or with deep regret that you never took the risks and cultivated the discipline to show up with urgency and diligence each day to create a life of deep meaning? The answer is obvious. Big Ideas we explore on how to die empty include optimism vs. wishing, the root of mediocrity, the 3 S’s of goal setting and dealing with The Lag.

Aug 17, 2015

What do you say when you talk to yourself? Is it empowering? Or not so much? Shad Helmstetter tells us nothing matters quite as much as that. Big Ideas include why and how we need to upgrade our programming, the 5 levels of Self-Talk, and conquering our greatest challenge.

Aug 17, 2015

Ready to 10X your thinking and your action? Fantastic. Grant Cardone is your man. In this high intensity, LET'S DO THIS! book you'll get fired up to go out and crush it. Big Ideas we explore include how to create goals, why MASSIVE ACTION is so important, how to starve fear, why obsession is a gift not a disease and how Smokey would smoke the tortoise and the hare.

Aug 17, 2015

How’s your habit-building process working for you? If you’ve stalled a few (hundred?) times, Stephen Guise tells us that Mini Habits might be just the thing you’re looking for! In the Note we look at what a Mini Habit is and how to go about rockin’ it exploring Big Ideas like making habits stupid small (aka “too small to fail”), embracing Newton’s 1st law, and being aware of ego depletion as you create your chain!

Aug 17, 2015

Dr. Michelle Segar is the world’s leading authority on what motivates people to choose and maintain healthy behaviors. As you’d imagine, Dr. Segar has some *really* powerful ideas on, as the sub-title suggests, “How the simple science of motivation can bring you a lifetime of fitness.” Big Ideas we explore include the importance of meaning, moving exercise from a chore to a gift and embracing a learning mindset.

Aug 17, 2015

Why do we get fat? It’s a surprisingly simple question that surprisingly few nutrition experts answer with attention to scientific rigor. Enter: Gary Taubes, a brilliant, award-winning science journalist. In this Note we’ll explore some Big Ideas on the importance of the hormone insulin, why carbs are kinda like cigarettes and the Stanford A TO Z Study that showed low-carb diets outperforming others.

Aug 17, 2015

Toughness. Jim Loehr tells us that cultivating our toughness is the essence of creating healthier, happier and more productive lives. And, in this great, old-school book (written in 1993), he shows us how to go about doing that. Big Ideas we explore in the Note include how toughening happens (key: adaptive stress!!), the importance of training recovery, ultradian rhythms and emotional phones ringing.

Aug 17, 2015

Alberto Villoldo is a fascinating blend of medical anthropologist and practicing shaman—having explored, practiced and taught these ideas for decades. Alberto walks us the healing wisdom at the nexus of ancient shamanic wisdom and modern science. Big Ideas include how (and why!) to optimize our gut-brain, removing two of the most toxic things in our diet, adding superfoods and detoxing from news and TV while cultivating stillness.

Aug 17, 2015

Rory Vaden tells us we can choose one of three options: 1. We can manage our time. 2. We can prioritize our time. 3. We can multiply our time. The most successful among us learn how to MULTIPLY their time and that’s what this book is all about. Big Ideas explored include the 5 Permissions (Eliminate + Automate + Delegate + Procrastinate + Concentrate) with a focus on the most important: Eliminate!!

Aug 17, 2015

If you’ve ever had stress in your life (hah!) and wondered how to deal with it more optimally, I think you’ll love this. McGonigal tells us that how we THINK about stress plays a huge role in its affect on us and walks us thru the science behind it. Rather than try to get rid of stress (good luck with that!), we’re much better off shifting our mindsets to embrace and use the stress wisely!

Aug 17, 2015

Ready to go wild?! John Ratey, MD, and Richard Manning are here to give us the guidebook on how to make that happen! In the Note, we explore Big Ideas ranging from wild nutrition to getting out of bad moods, getting adequate sleep and pulling levers that will change our lives!

Aug 17, 2015

When you appraoch a set of stairs and an escalator what do you do? If you're like 95% of the world, you hop on the escalator but Rory Vaden tells us if we want true success in our lives we need to quit looking for shortcuts and Take the Stairs! In the Note we'll look at how to quit being a Should-head, embrace the Pain Paradox and get our Visioneering on.

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