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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: 2015
Nov 18, 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.

Nov 17, 2015

This is Austin Kleon’s second masterful little book on optimizing creativity. The first? Steal Like an Artist. After learning how to get our creativity on, we’re ready to become the artist whose ideas *others* steal. Big Ideas include chain creating, micro sabbaticals, playing till the 9th inning, troll pooper scoopers, and the #1 way to get more followers.

Nov 16, 2015

What do you think about excellence? Do you think it’s primarily driven by natural, inborn talent? Or, do you think that it’s primarily driven by effort? Matthew Syed tells us that’s a very important decision that has a broad impact on how we show up and shows us how to Bounce into our highest potential. Big Ideas we explore include: the iceberg illusion, 1 million balls, doublethink and the importance of purposeful practice + the growth mindset.

Nov 15, 2015

Failure. Some of us lean into it and learn as much as we can from it, and some of us prefer to avoid thinking about it and/or pretend it never happened. As you may guess, one approach leads to dramatically better performance over the long run. (Hint: Seeing failure as feedback + learning opportunities is a very wise idea.) Big Ideas we explore include a quick look at the aviation vs. health care industries, the importance of quantity of work if you want quality, marginal gains, cognitive dissonance and pre-mortems.

Nov 14, 2015

Robin Sharma is one of the world's leading authorities on leadership, greatness and living an extraordinary life. Join us for an inspiring chat about some of his top Big Ideas on how to optimize and actualize!

Nov 13, 2015

John Maxwell is one of the world’s authorities on leadership. He’s sold over 25 million (!) books. This is a quick-reading 127 pages packed with wisdom and Big Ideas on Maxwell’s eleven essential types of thinking—ranging from Big-Picture thinking to Realistic Thinking and everything in between. Big Ideas we explore include the power of targets for focused thinking, becoming a possibility thinker and anxietivity—how creativity and anxiety go together.

Nov 12, 2015

In my interview with Steven Kotler about The Rise of Superman his #1 piece of advice was to remember this: “No pressure, no diamonds.” It’s time to rise.

Nov 11, 2015

Failure. Some of us lean into it and learn as much as we can from it, and some of us prefer to avoid thinking about it and/or pretend it never happened. As you may guess, one approach leads to dramatically better performance over the long run. (Hint: Seeing failure as feedback + learning opportunities is a very wise idea.) Big Ideas we explore include a quick look at the aviation vs. health care industries, the importance of quantity of work if you want quality, marginal gains, cognitive dissonance and pre-mortems.

Nov 10, 2015

Imagine your mind as a video game. If you're playing intelligently, you're learning as you advance thru levels. Always better than getting killed by the same monster in the same spot every.single.time, eh?!

Nov 9, 2015

Brendon Burchard is one of the most popular motivation and business marketing experts in the world. (To put it in perspective: He’s one of the Top 100 most popular public figures on Facebook and has twice as many fans as Tony Robbins.) This book is packed with Big Ideas. We explore the root of the word motivation, how to spark + sustain + amplify our motivation, eliminating digital addictions, and creating out own motivation manifesto.

Nov 8, 2015

Willpower. It’s huge. The Willpower Instinct by award-winning Stanford Professor Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D., is a GREAT book based on “The Science of Willpower” class Kelly teaches through Stanford University’s Continuing Studies program. It’s *packed* with super practical Big Ideas on the newest scientific insights about self-control to explamkdirin how we can “break old habits and create healthy habits, conquer procrastination, find our focus, and manage stress.” In this Note, we’ll check out the #1 way to build willpower (it’s not what you’d guess), how to give ourselves willpower boosts throughout the day and other stress-relief strategies that rock.

Nov 7, 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!

Nov 6, 2015
Dilbert creator Scott Adams is a funny guy. He's also a wise human robot. In this chat, we explore some of my favorite Big Ideas from his great (!) book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big (sub-title: Kind of the Story of My Life <-- hah!). Big Ideas include the importance of systems (and why they trump goals), deciding vs. wanting, programming your moist robot, the mysterious power of affirmations, and being the first against the odds.
Nov 4, 2015

Shane Snow is a journalist and entrepreneur who takes us on a fascinating tour of “How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success.” The book is packed with stories capturing the ascent of everyone from young Presidents, Jimmy Fallon, and Elon Musk—and, of course, the “Smartcuts” they used to get there. Big Ideas we explore include: the power of progress, failure as feedback, creating a deep reservoir, stripping away the unnecessary and 10Xing our thinking.

Nov 3, 2015

Dr. Daniel Amen MD is one of the world’s leading psychiatrists. He’s a clinical neuroscientist (love that phrase!) who has performed 115,000+ SPECT scans on his patients’s brains. (That’s a lot.) This book captures what he’s learned about optimizing our brains, why it’s important and how to do it. Big Ideas we explore include #ANTspray, wisdom from Fat Freddie the penguin, how hungry your brain is (did you know it’s 2% body weight but uses 20-30% of calories consumed?), and a bunch of other goodness.Dr. Daniel Amen MD is one of the world’s leading psychiatrists. He’s a clinical neuroscientist (love that phrase!) who has performed 115,000+ SPECT scans on his patients’s brains. (That’s a lot.) This book captures what he’s learned about optimizing our brains, why it’s important and how to do it. Big Ideas we explore include #ANTspray, wisdom from Fat Freddie the penguin, how hungry your brain is (did you know it’s 2% body weight but uses 20-30% of calories consumed?), and a bunch of other goodness.

Nov 2, 2015

As millions of people would agree, Malcolm Gladwell is an extraordinarily (!) captive writer. This is another one of Gladwell’s gems—packed with riveting stories that challenge our notion of what it means to be an underdog and how, as the sub-title suggests, we can embrace our misfit status as we master the art of battling giants. It’s awesome—especially if you’re looking for a fun, entertaining read that’s packed with wisdom but delivered in a delightful package. Big Ideas include the fact that David SHOULD have won, full-court presses, the inverted U, earning courage and desirable difficulties.

Nov 1, 2015

David Emerald's wonderfully wise fable rocks. In this Note, we'll take a quick look at one of my favorite books as we explore the importance of stepping out of DDT (the Dreaded Drama Triangle) and stepping into TED (The Empowerment Dynamic) as we learn to more consistently live from a Creator's perspective (rather than a Victim's) and learn how to hold the tension between our ideals and our current realities by taking baby steps.

Oct 31, 2015

Leonardo da Vinci. Charles Darwin. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Martha Graham. The Wright Brothers. Jane Goodall. Benjamin Franklin. Thomas Edison. Zora Neale Hurston. What do they all have in common? Mastery. In this great book Robert Greene shows us the key components of their mastery and, most importantly, how WE can each attain our mastery in our own lives.

Oct 30, 2015

This is an old-school mental training book written for athletes in 1999. When Kenneth Baum wrote it, the mind-body connection wasn’t as well-established as it is now so many of the ideas he shares were cutting-edge at the time. Big Ideas we explore include the power of a desire inferno, DROPing into WOOP, power talk, 26,000 breaths a day, and Maslow’s warning.

Oct 29, 2015

Masterpiece days are where it's at. Here's a quick look at the M&Ms: Macro + Micro.

Oct 28, 2015

Deep Work. It’s the key to how you get So Good They Can’t Ignore You—which, of course, is the title of another one of Cal’s great books. Big Ideas include Deep Work vs. Shallow Work, how to give your neurons a workout, cleaning up attention residue, the four rules of deep work, finding the routine that works for you and learning how to shut down completely.

Oct 27, 2015

Ready to quit putting your life on hold and actualize your potential? Awesome. Here's a quick overview of Big Ideas I explore in my Procrastination 101 class. Join our membership program and get access to this class + a ton of other classes (like Confidence 101 + Habits 101 + Meditation 101 + Relationships 101 + ...) AND get instant access to 300 PhilosophersNotes. Sign up here: brianjohnson.me/membership

Oct 26, 2015

Dr. Daniel Amen MD is one of the world’s leading psychiatrists. He’s a clinical neuroscientist (love that phrase!) who has performed 115,000+ SPECT scans on his patients’s brains. (That’s a lot.) This book captures what he’s learned about optimizing our brains, why it’s important and how to do it. Big Ideas we explore include #ANTspray, wisdom from Fat Freddie the penguin, how hungry your brain is (did you know it’s 2% body weight but uses 20-30% of calories consumed?), and a bunch of other goodness. More goodness: http://changeyourbrainbook.com

Oct 25, 2015

Want happiness? Put your virtues in action. Modern-day positive psychologists tell us it's all about using our signature strengths. Here are some ideas on how!

Oct 25, 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.

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