The Art of Manliness Podcast aims to deepen and improve every area of a man's life, from fitness and philosophy, to relationships and productivity. Engaging and edifying interviews with some of the world's most interesting doers and thinkers drop the fluff and filler to glean guests' very best, potentially life-changing, insights.
Can Virtue Be Taught?
The ancient Greeks and Romans thought a lot about what it means to live a virtuous life. They believed that good character was essential for achieving both individual excellence and a healthy, well-functioning society. For this reason, they also thought a lot about whether virtue could be taught to citizens, and philosophers put this thinking into practice by attempting to educate the moral ideals of leaders.
My guest, professor of philosophy Massimo Pigliucci, explores what the Greco-Romans discovered about the nature and teachability of virtue in his new book: The Quest for Character.
The Cues That Make You Charismatic
Charisma can make everything smoother, easier, and more exciting in life. It's a quality that makes people want to listen to you, to adopt your ideas, to be with you.
While what creates charisma can seem like a mystery, my guest today, communications expert Vanessa Van Edwards, says it comes down to possessing an optimal balance of two qualities: warmth and competence.
The problem is, even if you have warmth and competence, you may not be good at signaling these qualities to others. In Vanessa's work, she's created a research-backed encyclopedia of these influential signals, and she shares how to offer them in her bookCues: Master the Secret Language of Charismatic Communication.
Jack London's Literary Code [Rebroadcast]
Note: My guest in this episode, Dr. Earle Labor, died on September 15 at the age of 94. Earle was the world's foremost authority on one of the Art of Manliness' guiding inspirations and lights: Jack London. Earle dedicated his career to London scholarship and his work was pivotal in turning London's literature into a subject of serious study. Earle taught the very first undergraduate and graduate courses devoted to London and penned a hundred articles and ten books about him.
Earle not only admired London's devotion to what the author called "the true spirit of romance and adventure," he sought that spirit in his own life. As an undergraduate, Earle started the first weightlifting course at Southern Methodist University and he coached and lifted the SMU team to victory in the 1948 Dallas Open Championships. After college, he and a buddy took an epic road trip, where they did farm work and entered boxing matches to work their way from Texas to Canada. And he served in the U.S. Navy and spent time on a destroyer.
I had the privilege of interviewing Earle three times for the AoM podcast. The last time in January 2020, my son and I drove to Earle's home in Shreveport, LA to speak with him in person. To mark Earle's passing, please enjoy this rebroadcast of that conversation.
The literature of Jack London has long been given the short shrift by scholars. They say he wrote some good dog stories for boys, but beyond that didn't showcase any literary genius or high-level craftsmanship. Well, my guest today begs to differ with this assessment.
His name is Earle Labor. He's the preeminent Jack London scholar and 91 years young.
Data-Backed Answers to Personal Finance Controversies
Dip your toes into the world of personal finance and you can find plenty of questions which are the subject of endless debate. How much of your income should you save? Is it okay to take on debt? Which is better — renting a home or owning one? When it comes to the stock market, should you buy the dip?
On his blog, Of Dollars and Data, my guest cuts through the personal finance noise by finding answers based on numbers rather than conjecture, and then converting this research into advice the average person can understand. His name is Nick Maggiulli, and he's the Chief Operating Officer and Data Scientist at Ritholtz Wealth Management, as well as the author of Just Keep Buying: Proven Ways to Save Money and Build Your Wealth.
The Power of Ritual
Our lives are populated by rituals. Baptisms. Funerals. Graduations. Singing happy birthday, chanting cheers at a sports event, saying grace before dinner. When we perform rituals, there's no causal link between the behavior and the hoped for effect; for example, there's no causal connection between exchanging rings at an altar and becoming wedded to another human being.
But my guest would say that doesn't mean that rituals are useless and irrational; in fact, doing two decades of research on rituals caused him to do a one-eighty on his perception of their value. His name is Dimitris Xygalatas and he's an anthropologist and the author of Ritual: How Seemingly Senseless Acts Make Life Worth Living.
The 7 Types of Work Jerks (And How to Deal With Them)
The presence of annoying, incompetent, and underhanded people isn't a particular workplace problem, but a universal human problem. In any and every group of people, there are going to be bothersome and troublesome personalities.
So if you can't entirely escape them, how do you get along with your fellow humans at work? My guest today has some research-backed advice. Her name is Tessa West, and she's a professor of psychology and the author of Jerks at Work: Toxic Coworkers and What to Do About Them.
Thoughtful and insightful
Brett McKay is a thoughtful interviewer, who finds expert guests to cover a variety of interesting topics - not just the typically masculine. This is a podcast for people looking to broaden their views and cultivate healthy masculinity. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.
Thanks so much for such an insightful episode. This covers so many critically important issues in society today. It should be mandatory discussion in high schools. Really. Keep up the great work.
Thoughtful and helpful
What is being a man in today’s tricky world? Brett’s podcast is very illuminating and covers so many different aspects. It’s content I’m happy to share with my wife as it’s balanced, and focused on being more engaged, useful to others and ultimately that means being a more attractive partner and better human. Can’t do this podcast enough justice, pick a few episodes that may interest you and you’ll be hooked before long. Did I mention Brett is also a really good listener and interviewer. Great service - thanks mate.