The Art of Manliness
By: Brett McKay
The Art of Manliness podcast features discussions on topics and issues important or of interest to men. The goal of the podcast is to help men become better men.
Hot Episode Picks
When we think of being a good leader, we often think we need to be a bold, visionary, risk-taking type like Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, or Steve Jobs. But my guest today argues that most of the day-to-day work that makes the world function is done by individuals who stand outside the limelight and lead with calm confidence. His name is Joseph Badaracco and he’s the author of the book "Leading Quietly: An Unorthodox Guide to Doing the Right Thing." Today on the show, Joe and I discuss the heroic archetype of leadership, why most leadership development books and courses focus on it, and why heroic leadership can actually get in the way of an organization’s success. He then shares the qualities of a quiet leader and why they’re often more effective than heroic leaders at getting things done in an organization. We end our conversation by exploring the Aristotelian approach to leadership that most quiet leaders utilize and how you can start using those same principles today in your work, community, and family.
If you’re like many modern men, you might have a pretty good life — a decent job, a family, a home, maybe a few hobbies. Despite having the appearance of a good life, though, you feel kind of empty inside. Like you’re missing something. My guests today would argue that what you’ve got is a case of Sad Clown Syndrome and to get over it, you need to get together with some men and do some burpees. Their names are Dave Redding and Tim Whitmire and they’re the leaders of a grassroots movement bringing men together for free workouts called F3, which stands for Fitness, Fellowship, and Faith. According to them, they’ve seen tens of thousands of men not only get physically in shape by attending F3 workouts, but reenergize themselves mentally and spiritually. Today on the show, Dave and Tim share the origins of F3 and how they realized it was solving the problem of Sad Clown Syndrome in the lives of American men. They then detail what the symptoms of Sad Clown Syndrome are, and how exactly F3 acts as a remedy. We then discuss why male friends are so important in a man’s life and why the typical guys that men call friends aren’t really friends. We end our conversation by discussing what the 3 Fs in F3 mean, including why the “Faith” component is more about having a purpose beyond yourself and less about religion.
Leadership and strategy insights from Pastor Craig Groeschel.
Dissecting and debunking myths about kids and sports.
How to plan the perfect morning routine.
Magicians usually become magicians because they experienced a sense of wonder seeing a cool trick as a kid, and they want to re-create that awe for audience members on a regular basis. But what happens when a professional magician stops feeling the magic of magic? That happened to my guest today. His name is Nate Staniforth, and he recently wrote a book titled Here is Real Magic. Today on the show, Nate shares how he got into magic and became a professional magician, only to become disillusioned with his career. Nate then talks about how he embarked on a search to re-discover the magic of magic, which took him to the slums of India where he encountered a three-thousand-year-old clan of fire-eating street performers, and re-kindled his sense of wonder. If you’re feeling burnt out from your work or disenchanted with life, this episode will have some insights for you. Get the show notes at aom.is/realmagic.
Are great leaders born or made? Do circumstances make great leaders or do great leaders change the times? These are a few of the big picture questions my guest explores in her latest book. Her name is Doris Kearns Goodwin, she’s a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, and in her latest book, Leadership: In Turbulent Times, she explores the makings of great leaders by looking at the biographies of four US presidents who led the country through periods of crisis: Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson. We begin our conversation discussing the ambition all four of these leaders had as young men to do something great and how they connected their personal ambition to the greater good. We then discuss the personal setbacks all of them experienced early in life and how these challenges influenced them as leaders. Doris then shares the leadership traits and skills all of them implemented during their presidencies as well as how they did things differently. We end our conversation discussing whether any other leader could have managed the crisis each of these presidents confronted or if these men were singularly suited to the circumstances. Get the show notes at aom.is/turbulent.
"Warrior" is a word that gets thrown around a lot. There are road warriors, and social justice warriors, and ninja warriors. But what does it really mean to be a warrior? My guest today sets out a working definition in his book The Warrior’s Manifesto. His name is Daniel Modell, and he earned his Master's Degree in philosophy before going on to serve for twenty years in the New York City Police Department. Daniel and I begin our conversation discussing what makes a warrior and the lessons Spartacus can teach us on that score. Daniel and I then discuss why warriors do what they do, why violence is sometimes necessary for peace, and what it means to be savage without becoming savage. We then discuss how bureaucracy kills leadership and why you don’t need a title to be a leader. At the end of our conversation, Daniel talks about why it isn't just members of the military and law enforcement who need to understand the way of the warrior, but ordinary civilians as well. Get the show notes at aom.is/warriorsmanifesto.
When you think of wartime prison escapes, what comes to mind? Probably the breakouts attempted by prisoners of war during World War II and the movie The Great Escape. But the escapees of WWII learned many of the tricks of the trade from their pioneering predecessors, who honed their courageous craft during the first World War. My guest today has written a book about their audacious exploits. His name is Neal Bascomb, and his book is: The Escape Artists: A Band of Daredevil Pilots and the Greatest Prison Break of the Great War. Today on the show, Neal describes what conditions were like for British POWs during WWI, and why prisoners wanted to escape the German camps, even when they were relatively comfortable. We also discuss Germany's most infamous POW camp, which was essentially a land-locked Alcatraz designed to hold the most escape-prone prisoners. While it was believed to be impossible to escape, Neal describes how the prisoners hatched an elaborate breakout plan anyway, and made a 175-yard tunnel towards freedom. We end our discussion with what Neal took away from the heroic exploits of these men. You're going to really enjoy this look at a fascinating slice of history. Get the show notes at aom.is/escapeartist.
Do your days seem like a continuous blur of busyness, and yet you don't seem to get much done, nor remember much about how you spent your time? As a former employee of Google, my guest today worked on the very apps and technology that can often suck away our time. Today, he's dedicated to figuring out how to push back against these forces to help people take control of their time and attention. His name is John Zeratsky and he’s the co-author of the book Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day. Today on the show, John shares how the experience of feeling like he was missing months of his life led him to spending years experimenting with his habits and routines, looking for the best ways to to optimize energy, focus, and time. He then shares the simple 4-step daily framework that developed from this research and walks us through that system. John talks about choosing one “highlight" each day to ensure your most important work gets done and that your life is full of memorable moments. He also shares how to reduce the time you spend wading in what he calls “infinity pools,” why energy management is just as important as time management, and how reflection is essential in figuring out if what you're doing is working. Lots of valuable direction in this show for how to get your life on track and find more hours and meaning in the day. Get the show notes at aom.is/maketime.
Every year the cost of a four-year college degree goes up, forcing young people to take on massive amounts of student debt for an education that often doesn't even prepare them well for the jobs of today. My guest today argues that there’s a better, cheaper, and faster way to prepare for gainful employment. His name is Ryan Craig, he's the Managing Director of University Ventures, an investment firm reimagining the future of higher education, and the author of A New U: Faster + Cheaper Alternatives to College. We begin our conversation discussing the disconnect between a college education and the job skills employers are looking for and why higher ed continues to get more expensive each year. Ryan then digs into alternative education models that include boot camps, income-share programs, and apprenticeships that are not only faster and more affordable than college, but also put an emphasis on real-life job skills. Get the show notes at aom.is/anewu.
Do you have a teenage boy who struggles in school? Or do you have a younger son who you can imagine struggling in school as he gets older? He may be an otherwise capable young man, but seems apathetic and unmotivated, to the point you think he's not excelling simply because he's lazy. My guest today says that's the wrong conclusion to draw, and one that leads to the wrong parenting approach to addressing it. His name is Adam Price and he's a child psychologist and the author of He's Not Lazy: Empowering Your Son to Believe in Himself. Today on the show, Dr. Price argues that the real reason many young men are unmotivated is not that they don't care about succeeding, but that they feel too much pressure to do so, and are scared of failing. We discuss why nagging and over-parenting simply exacerbates this issue, and how stepping back and giving boys more autonomy can help them become more self-directed and find their footing. Get the show notes at aom.is/notlazy.