Tag Archives: Biohacking

The Art of Smart Thinking by James Hardt

Summary
  1. The Biocybernaut institute helps you increase your alpha waves through highly specialized neurofeedback training. Raising alpha waves and suppressing beta waves (the rational, thinking mind) helps increase creativity, IQ, meditation, helps emotional healing and a lot more
Key Takeaways
  1. Most people not accessing their alpha/theta waves which are associated with creativity, joy and higher intelligence
  2. Anxiety negatively affects learning, creativity and memory – alpha and anxiety negatively correlated
  3. Don’t deny or repress emotions. They will only build up and burst out at a later point
  4. Being able to turn brain off leads to more alpha which leads to more creativity and happiness
    1. Theta rarer but can lead to access to Akashic records (collective unconscious)
  5. Edison was famous for his power naps which helped him boost alpha/theta state (tap Akashic records?)
  6. Oxygenating brain helps greatly with creativity. Dr. NakaMats who has over 3,000 patents including the floppy disk, hard disk and digital watch coined the term “brain bubble” where he oxygenated his brain to a great extent and then held his breathe underwater until he simply couldn’t do it anymore. This allows more blood flow to the brain overtime as the carotid arteries that feed your brain expand over time (mammalian diving response increases blood flow to the brain and every other organ as well)
  7. Ego dissolution is the goal of mystical practices and helps lay the foundation for mystical experiences
  8. Neurofeedback one of the best ways to train the brain to reach alpha/theta states. When the brain can become the subject of its focus it has tremendous effects on your ability to reach these states as it creates a virtuous feedback loop
  9. Leaders must lead through a premise of love, never punishment
  10. Mystical/intuitive knowing closer to truth than rational knowing
  11. Different brain waves
    1. Delta- slowest, mainly deep sleep
    2. Theta – creativity, problem solving, Akashic
    3. Alpha – relaxed/effortless alertness, creativity, higher IQ
    4. Beta – effortful thinking, where most people are most of the time
    5. Gamma – fastest, linked to meditation, “eureka” moments
  12. Being able to alternate, switch on/off waves leads to a successful, blissful life as you can rise to whatever occasion you come up against
  13. Non thinking doesn’t mean non awareness.
  14. Higher alpha often leads to ego dissolution and the ego will fight back vehemently to remain in control
    1. Five Hindrances – doubt, drowsiness, distractibility (worry), boredom, aversion (any form of ill will) and forgetfulness
  15. People can train brain waves which leads to control of their central nervous system which has many physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual benefits
  16. Reduce stressors (caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, garlic, onions, lack of sleep, worry/anxiety/fear, anger/hostility, sadness/depression, apathy) helps raise alpha and suppress beta
  17. Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper
  18. Deep forgiveness vital to overcome anger, depression, fear and reach a higher consciousness
    1. Determine you will forgive self/others, bring to mind the person or situation, create a loving space in your heart, feel the hurt and pain and make it real again, come back to the present and become aware of something good that came from the event, based on this good change your attitude about the past event, forgive the other person and yourself using the alpha tones, see the event again but from the other person’s eyes, feel love in your heart for the other person
  19. Ways to increase alpha – avoid regular exposure to violent shows, TV, video games; meditate, pray (see feelings of flying and floating, feelings of light, lightness and vast space, lavender scents, slow breathing, focus on breathe, slow breathing exercises)
  20. One Biocybernaut feedback session equivalent to 20-40 years of zen training
  21. Don’t let the brain overuse the same neural pathways/mental habits. Keep it guessing, keep learning and trying new things
  22. Youthful brain has a lot of alpha and is a great indicator of overall health
  23. Creative rooms – have a “static” room where you can develop ideas and be calm (plants, rocks, running water) for a sense of peacefulness and alpha waves. Free association, churning over ideas at random and spitting out whatever comes to mind. “Dynamic” room is dark with black and white striped walls, leather furniture and special audio/video equipment. End with swimming pool and “bubble brain”
  24. The zone – nonrational, thoughtless, egoless state where time vanishes
  25. Aim to merge with any activity so completely you lose yourself in it
  26. People have an almost endless capacity to learn and remember things about themselves
  27. Every attachment is related to fear
  28. With training, awareness/consciousness continually expands
  29. Hindrances – attitudes, attachments, aversions, self conceptions and thought processes ingrained in us since childhood. Mood scales during training helps clear the awareness of these inner obstacles which are often subconscious
  30. 80% of illnesses/addictions stem from dysfunctional central nervous system stress response
  31. Alpha spawns insights
  32. Pride (ego) destroys alpha
  33. Neurofeedback democratizes spiritual experiences
  34. Shared feedback almost a merging of people and can be very powerful
  35. “There is nothing more powerful and empowering than honoring your true nature, standing in your truth, becoming your authentic self. When you uncover and express your authentic self, you allow your inner light to shine. You are in touch with your higher guidance, truth and wisdom and can live your highest purpose with joyful creativity.”
What I got out of it
  1. People rely on clear, immediate feedback in any area of their life in order to improve. Meditation is no different. The Biocybernaut institute has some proprietary technology to help you get decades worth of meditation work done in a week through their feedback systems, mood scales and other processes. Really interesting read and does a good job highlighting human potential (note – a lot of it is pretty out there and “woo woo”)

Coherence by Alan Watkins

Summary
  1. Knowledge about human relationships, biology, brain, adult development, behavior, human system, emotional intelligence, medicine, evolution, physics, signal processing, sports psychology all help improve management and performance by better understanding what influences performance. Enlightened Leadership – all behaviors, decisions, thoughts are integrated (coherence)
Key Takeaways
  1. Best way to understand results is to understand behavior and the internal and external influences on behavior
    1. Physiology – Emotion – Feeling – Thinking – Behavior – Results
    2. Feeling wins over thinking every time; physiology trumps emotion
  2. Learning how to change quality of signals in our system can help deliver brilliance every day (Enlightened Leadership)
  3. Best results come when you are positive and motivated
  4. Coherence = Flow = Stable Variability (robust)
  5. Physiological coherence leads to emotional coherence leads to cognitive coherence leads to behavioral coherence
  6. Coherent leaders – integrity, vast interpersonal flexibility (understand what makes people tick) and behavioral flexibility
  7. Individual people must keep evolving if organization is to improve
  8. 3 Stages of evolution – emergence, differentiation, integration
    1. Differentiation – you must be clear and specific in your plans, goals, etc.
  9. Must be a burning platform for change – question everything you do (eliminate if find only do it because it was done yesterday)
  10. 2 key stages in human development – waking up (lose dualism of power and control) and growing up (maturity)
  11. 6 dimensions of EQ – self-awareness, resilience, attention (internal motivation), social intuition (empathy), sensitivity to context, outlook (optimism/pessimism)
  12. Energy management over time management!
  13. Heart rate variability (HRV) very important (flexibility, antifragility) – more is better; emotional self-management, exercise (yoga) omega 3, breathing skills all help improve it
  14. The heart is the most powerful signal generator in the body and can even affect others (entrainment)
    1. Use to create physiological coherence which gives more energy
  15. Mind does not dominate body, there is a constant dialogue between the two; they become one (integrative medicine)
  16. HRV determines ability to respond to challenges
  17. Must schedule periods of recuperation (pair with The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working)
  18. Energy bank – the idea of keeping track of energy “deposits and withdrawals” (things which give or take energy away from you)
  19. Chaotic breathing leads to loss of energy
  20. Be dynamically responsive instead of reactive (breath = stability = entrainment)
  21. 12 aspects of breath – rhythmicity (steady in and out); smoothness; focus on heart; speed of breaths; pattern (ratio of in/out); volume; depth; entrainment; resistance; mechanics; flow patterns (air around body); special techniques (vipassana, buteyko)
  22. Mismanaged emotion often a root cause of ill health (3 E’s – emotion, eat, exercise)
  23. Level of personal control related to health
  24. Not event but how you react / deal with it that matters
  25. Emotion is integration of all physiological signals; feeling is the awareness and recognition that signal comes from the body (observation of emotion)
  26. Only 2 inborn fears – falling and loud noises
  27. Conditioning system inaccurate because designed for survival, not sophistication
  28. Huge number of our decisions are based on emotion, not reason. Emotional awareness therefore greatly improves decision-making
  29. Challenge for men is lack of emotional awareness, for women it may be lack of control of emotions
  30. Emotional mastery leads to clearer thinking, better ability to learn
    1. Must induce an appropriate emotional state to best learn (calm, positive and motivated)
  31. All decisions essentially made by feelings and then justified by logic
  32. Thin slicing – ability to detect patterns based on narrow slices of experience
    1. Intuition can’t be trusted without emotional coherence
  33. Good leaders use emotion because that’s what motivates people
  34. Best leaders best at dealing with change
  35. Heart’s electromagnetic field radiates up to 50 feet away! – leader’s presence truly can be felt in a large room
    1. Negative state of mind casts chaotic energy whereas positivity casts clean and organized energy
  36. Enjoyment and quality of life comes from experiences, not things
  37. Happiness is a habit
  38. Only genuinely sustainable motivation is intrinsic
  39. The self, consciousness, and emotion evolved together and tied to each other
  40. Intelligence is simply awareness
    1. Only 2 opposing emotional states – love and fear
    2. Most people’s emotional lexicon / palette very limited (becoming better versed and more nuanced in how you define each feeling allows you to become more self-aware
    3. Must be aware but also be able to label individual emotions (access and then action)
  41. Emotional MASTERY
    1. Sit comfortably and BREATHE (focus on heart)
    2. Simply notice what emotion exists in your body
    3. Label what you think best captures it
    4. Explore the features of the emotion in your own body – location, size, color, sound, temperature, intensity
    5. How does the emotion move through your body
    6. Does the emotion have any special features?
  42. Enhance habits / rituals with a positive emotion
    1. Landscaping – determine where in routine can get most practice per buck
  43. Need emotional intelligence, literacy and self-management
  44. Memories stored like holograms
    1. Coherence, BREATHE leads to perfect hologram which can make you better and more clearly recall what we know
  45. 10 levels of consciousness
    1. Shadow work – working on aspects of ourselves that are not easy to see, address and heal
    2. Level 6 – cease to be a victim, don’t let others control your emotions, complete ownership of all aspects of self
    3. Level 7 – selflessness, loving empathy without criticism
    4. Level 9 – pre-awareness,n no observer and object, just one union; time false, space infinite and everything connected; no duality – all simply is, cease to have preferences
  46. Happiness truly a life of service
  47. 9 internal phenomena which influence thinking, behavior, etc
    1. Values – feeling defined by a principle
    2. Belief – thought powered by emotion
    3. Attitude – collection of values / beliefs and which influences thoughts, behavior, perspective
    4. Culture – collective attitude of the group
  48. Cognitive coherence lies in increasing perceptual awareness
    1. SHIFT – stop and shift attention to your heart; breathe through this area of your chest to induce positive emotion, feel it through your body; turn your brain back on and notice insights
  49. Enlightened leadership emerges with coherence across all critical and internal areas (physiology, emotion, cognitive, maturity, values / Behavior, networks, impact)
  50. The purpose of doing everything is to generate better results
  51. Long-term, consistent, brilliant behavior requires us to be in tune with what we think, feel and the amount of energy we have
  52. Must understand root causes of what leads to better performance
  53. Correcting behavior doesn’t lead to success, only stops failure (must introduce new behaviors)
  54. Obsession with results has lead to a widespread erosion of humanity
  55. Must understand appropriate pressure needed for peak performance for self and others
    1. Narrow the focus and clarify as much as possible
    2. Early detection of underperformance crucial
      1. Loss of perception, self esteem, increased irritability, ill health all good indicators
  56. Best leaders move seamlessly through 4 quadrants – I, IT (short-term), IT (long-term), WE
  57. Few leaders think about how they think, their weaknesses, brand, leaderships qualities and therefore have little self-awareness
  58. Maturity is key to be a great leader – differentiation between knowledge and wisdom
  59. True leaders aim to strip away illusions and see deeper realities – able to integrate knowledge and wisdom, more holistic view, no preconceived answers, continuously try to flush out hidden assumptions
  60. Vision – picture of the future you’re aiming for
  61. Ambition – how big / impactful you want to be
  62. Purpose – emotional statement to drive engagement and differentiate yourself
  63. Strategy – how to get ot vision, ambition and purpose
  64. Governance – process for making better, more efficient decisions and better accountability and alignment
  65. 12 performance enhancing behaviors
    1. Imagine – gathering info, forming concepts, conceptual flexing
    2. Involve – empathetic connecting, facilitating interaction, developing people
    3. Implement – being proactive, continuous improvement, building customer value
    4. Ignite – influencing others, building confidence, communicating clearly
    5. Knowing where you stand is vital
  66. Understanding personal purpose is vital
  67. Job – Career – Calling
    1. What would you do for free? What comes effortlessly to you?
  68. Appreciation and forgiveness of self and others is key
  69. To be the best leader you can be you must make personal connections, understand other’s motives, be consistent and know how to best work with different working styles
  70. Ultimate goal – influence and ability to foster deep, influential relationships
  71. Relationships tend to fail because of either poor communication or low levels of trust
    1. Effective communication has two basic aspects – transmission and reception
    2. 3 levels of communication -what people say, what people think or feel and most deeply, what people mean
  72. Making others feel heard is extremely motivating
  73. Trust givers trust people automatically where trust earners must make others prove themselves first
  74. TRUST – taking responsibility for understanding other people’s traits
  75. Internal coherence lays foundation for extraordinary performance and also to develop deeper and longer lasting relationships (ultimate prize in life
  76. Leaders must be able to transform their personal leadership qualities, real development and the corporate culture
  77. When hiring, look at what the business needs and if necessary, bring someone in and train them rather than trying to fit the role to the person
  78. Use MAP to get at the true meaning of what people say. Move attention to body and breathe, appreciate the speaker, play back the underlying meaning
  79. Watkins is the founder of Holacracy – Tony Hsieh recently implemented at Zappos
    1. Clarify purpose; clarify all decision making forums; define limit of authority; define reporting process, establish clear accountability; create new roles; assign new accountabilities to new roles; establish new policies or changes to existing policies; define ways of working within teams
What I got out of it
  1. Being self-aware is absolutely vital and focusing on the different areas (physiology, emotion, cognitive, maturity, values / Behavior, networks, impact) is key. Must be healthy before can focus on emotions, cognition…

Super Better by Jane McGonigal

Summary
  1. By adopting a more “gameful” mindset you can improve your resilience and better improve other areas and skills
Key Takeaways
  1. 4 rules to turning life into a game
    1. Turn anyone into a potential ally
    2. Use powerups (things which energize you) throughout your day to keep you motivated
    3. Set quests (goals) for you to achieve
    4. Make it all a game with bad guys (obstacles)
  2. Gaming with a purpose and not to escape your problems can have a lot of benefits such as making you more creative and resilient with real world problems
  3. Find quick 5 minute “power ups” which you can do anywhere and that make you happy
  4. Find ways to outsmart or overpower your bad guys (obstacles). Must develop psychological flexibility in order to try things which will challenge you or you might fail. Being mindful of bad guys is vital
  5. By visualizing or giving stupid names to your temptations, nerves, bad guys, you make it easier to overcome them
  6. When struggling with something, try looking at it from a third person point of view. Blas is stressed. Why?
  7. A good thank you requires the benefit of what they did, the effort it took them and spot the strength
  8. Trees give off chemicals which kill off fungus and insects but stimulates humans white blood cells!
What I got out of it
  1. Interesting read and a different way to look at life – make it all a game with bad guys (obstacles), powerups (things that make you feel better), quests (goals), recruiting allies (people to inspire you and keep you accountable)

Worthwhile YouTube Channels

Shots of AweJason Silva is energetic, inspiring and exploring fields aimed towards “cognitive ecstasy” and other mindblowing concepts. These videos are usually just 2-3 minutes long and in them he explores anything from the spiritual to psychedelics (are they intertwined?) and too many other amazing topics to call out. I have gotten sucked into these videos for hours at a time and can’t recommend highly enough.

Big History Project – Started by Bill Gates and David Christian, this series of videos blends different fields in order to attempt to create one coherent timeline of our universe and how we as humans fit into it.

The Rise of SupermanSteven Kotler and Jamie Wheal, the authors of the book by the same name, dive deeply into flow, how we get there, its effects, etc. Fascinating stuff and the next frontier to push human limits and achievements. Their “flow dojo” seems like the coolest thing ever.

TED, TEDx, TED-Ed – TED (Technology, Education and Design) is an amazing platform aimed to “spread great ideas.” TEDx is the extension for independent organizers and TED-Ed is more focused on creating lessons. Fascinating talks from a vast range of people.

Crash Course – informational and animated videos which aim to simplify and give you a good overview over a variety of different topics

Talks at Google – A collection of authors, musicians and innovators of different fields who discuss their particular passions

Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs and Sugar – Your Brain’s Silent Killers by Dr. David Perlmutter

Grain Brain

 

Summary
  1. Dr. Perlmutter argues that excessive carbs, especially modern, gluten-containing grains and other sugars, are wreaking havoc on our health and our cognitive performance and can lead to increased risks of neurological and age-related diseases
Key Takeaways
  1. Gluten and modern grains are destroying your brain
  2. Recommendations – eat more veggies, brush your teeth, sweat and exercise regularly, rest a lot, don’t smoke, laugh more, avoid all gluten, limit carbs to less than 60g per day where most of your calories are coming from high-quality fats and proteins (grass-fed, local, etc)
  3. Believes shift from high-fat, low-carb to low-fat, high-carb diet is causing many of our modern diseases such as chronic headaches, insomnia, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, schizophrenia and ADHD
  4. Much more intricate and intertwined relationship between what we eat and the health of our brain than recently thought
  5. Brain disorders often reflect poor nutrition and other lifestyle habits
  6. Inflammation a key indicator of disease throughout the body
  7. Often don’t realize the negative effects gluten and carbs can have on the brain as there is no direct physical manifestation and often takes a long time to show up
  8. Two biggest myths today – low-fat, high-carb diet is good and cholesterol is bad
    • Cholesterol is one of the most important players to reduce brain disease, increase longevity and maintain brain health and function
    • Higher cholesterol levels linked with higher performance in verbal fluency, attention/concentration and abstract reasoning
  9. Interestingly, the human dietary requirement for carbs is virtually zero; we can survive on a minimal amount of carbs, which can be furnished by the liver as needed. But we can’t go long without fat.”
  10. Key Brain Supplements – DHA, resveratrol, turmeric, probiotics, coconut oil, alpha–lipoic acid, vitamin D
  11. Exercise spurs the generation of new brain cells as well as build new networks. Makes neurons more nimble and able to multitask
  12. Deep and consistent sleep extremely important
  13. Outlines a 4 week program in order to institute a gluten-free diet and other healthy habits
What I got out of it
  1. Not that I ate a lot of gluten before, but this has cemented it for me. Dr. Perlmutter advocates for <60g of carbs per day, no gluten, as many veggies as possible, majority of calories from high quality fats and protein and repeat. Certainly not always easy, but definitely simple

Continue reading

Super Brain by Deepak Chopra and Rudolph Tanzi

super brain

 

Summary
  1. Deepak Chopra and Rudolph Tanzi describe in Super Brain how to control your brain by learning how to the brain works and some inherent psychological fallacies.
 
Key Takeaways

  1. Your brain is creating reality every minute – make it the reality you want to live in
  2. Adaptability is key to super brain and our survival. It is what has made us the most dominant species ever.
  3. 3 major strengths – letting go, being flexible and hanging loose.
  4. 3 obstacles – habits, conditioning, stuckness
  5. How to expand consciousness – put higher premium on being awake/aware, resist conformity, value yourself, help others, expose yourself to creativity (art, poems, literature, etc), read holy texts, question own beliefs, get past your own ego, aim for highest meaning of own life, can always improve oneself.
  6. 3 strengths – evolving, expanding, being inspired.
  7. 3 obstacles – contraction, fixed boundaries, conformity.
  8. Meditation can physically alter brain and turn on good genes ad then off bad genes
  9. Super brain is detached from the thoughts or feelings the brain is having. I am feeling X, not I am X. And leads to why am I feeling X
  10. Feelings do not want to be pacified, they want to be fulfilled
  11. 4 functions and phases of the brain (must balance all 4 aspects to live a balanced and healthy life) – Instinctive, Emotional, Intelligent, Intuitive
  12. Only a handful of things brain cannot adapt to – chronic pain and anxiety
  13. Successful people almost always better at “feeling” their way through situations
  14. Purpose of universe – to foster life and create experiences for these living things
  15. Successful people internalize every success and this becomes a reinforcing behavior
  16. 7 Balances (True success comes from balancing these 7 areas) Sleep, Physical, Focus, Time in, Down time, Play, Connection time
  17. 3 things you should know for yourself – Your highest vision, Your deepest love, Your longest reach
  18. You are connected to everything in this world. All life is one. People who are animal whisperer understand this. They are empathetic and can relate to the animals’ consciousness. The animal feels this and is why they are so comfortable around each other
  19. 7 degrees of enlightenment (None of these need to be forced and come at different times for different people): Inner calm, Feeling connected, Empathy deepens, Clarity dawns, Awareness becomes more acute, Truth reveals itself, Bliss grows in your life.
 
What I got out of it
  1. Super Brain offers some amazing insights into how to lead a more balanced and happier life. One of the only things you can truly control is your mind and your reactions. Foster the right kinds of thoughts and make sure you’re creating a reality you want to live in. Balance is absolutely vital for a happy and successful life and Chopra and Tanzi show you how to get there. An excellent read.

Buy Super Brain

Continue reading

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer

Moonwalking_with_einstein

Summary
  1. Joshua Foer details his yearlong quest to improve his memory while working with some of the world’s best memory champions. He clearly describes some very practical memory techniques, research and tricks that can be implemented immediately into our lives to improve our memory. Memory can be improved with training just like anything else, it is not static as many of us believe
Key Takeaways
  1. Myth of how memory started – Simonides walked out of a building just as it fell and was able to show the killed persons family where they were sitting so that they could say goodbye (memory palace – engage spatial memory and create a visual of unmemorable info)
  2. Memory palace – remembering technique where you create crazy visual images of unmemorable lists or items and place them somewhere you are very familiar with such as your house or a route you walk or drive a lot
  3. Memory is a highly creative and imaginative process which is why the POA (person, object, action) memory technique works so well
  4. We have transferred our extremely important skill of memorization externally to books and computers and paintings. It is a way of extending our mortality but it also robs us of something very human and very important – our memory
  5. When shown 10,000 images, people were able to choose the one they had seen over 80% of the time
  6. Most people believe that we remember everything but forget because we misplace them in our minds
  7. Electrically stimulating parts of our brain brings back vivid lost memories
  8. This man named “S” had an incredible memory and can recall pretty much anything that has ever occurred to him. He has synesthesia too and every number is personified and certain words and people he associates with colors too. He visualizes pretty much every word but this makes short stories and poetry very hard for him to read. He stored memories linearly which was why he could recite things backwards as easily as forwards. This is not the case for normal people. Had to work in the art of forgetting by convincing himself that things were meaningless and he’d forget. He was not successful as a person though and could not hold a job.
  9. People must filter life in order to live it
  10. The mental athletes (memory champions) brains’ were indistinguishable to normal people but London cabbies spatial memory part of the brain was considerably larger than normal
  11. Baker v Baker Paradox. You remember a baker better than somebody who’s last name is Baker since you can visualize a baker better than someone named Baker
  12. Make a sound or situation that you’ll easily remember to remember someone’s name
  13. People can remember about 7 +/- 2 things in their working memory
  14. Chunking – remember more by breaking it into bigger chunks
  15. Who we are and what we do are a reflection of everything we have already experienced
  16. “EP” is a man who has both retro and anterograde amnesia. He does not remember anything after WWII for more than a couple seconds. He is kind of in a time capsule but he forgets that he has a memory problem so it seems like everything he forgets is just casual like it is for normal people.
  17. A scientist did a self experiment where he lived in a cave with no clocks or sunlight or anything. He pretty much became amnesiac and thought that only a month had passed when it had been two
  18. Creating new memories stretches out our lives
  19. Tony Bouzan of Mind Map fame and Ben Pridmore are some famous memory champions
    1. Check out Mind Meister – a free mind mapping software tool
  20. Camillo (a Renaissance scientist) believed that he could create a real, physical memory palace where one could store all there is to know in the world by relying on certain powerful cues that could bring to light any subject you wanted to discuss
  21. Assimilative Memory by Loisette is an amazing read on how to improve your memory
  22. Invention is a product of inventory (new ideas or products are a result of what you already have on your head)
  23. Bruce Lee – there are no limits, there are plateaus, but no limits
  24. Learning and memory are like spiderwebs. The more you know, the more you catch and the more you catch the bigger you become
What I got out of it
  1. Memory is very clearly something that can be trained and improved upon. Many of these techniques, such as the memory palace and “writing” people’s names in the air with my finger, are tricks I use in my daily life in order to better remember lists, presentations, names, etc.

Buy Moonwalking with Einstein

Worthwhile Podcasts

Dan Carlin – Maybe the most engaging podcast I have ever listened to. His lengthy series on the Eastern Front in WWII, WWI in general, fall of the Roman Republic, the Mongols are incredible. Dan is a master story teller and its almost impossible to stop listening to him recount these violent and gruesome times in history. Even if you don’t care about history you will find these podcasts enjoyable and worthwhile.

Tim Ferriss – In each episode Tim interviews a master of their respective craft and tries to dissect what sets them apart. I find them so appealing as he helps focus on and draw out actionable tips, routines or techniques we can all implement in our own lives.

Finding Mastery – Michael Gervais is a high performance psychologist and in this podcast he converses with a broad range of high performers and digs into their backgrounds, mindsets and how they think about mastery

Bruce Lee Podcast – Bruce Lee’s daughter, Sharon, is in charge of his legacy and recently started putting out some podcasts. They are short, deep and discuss various aspects of Bruce’s philosophy, martial art, background, etc.

Body by Science by Doug McGuff and John Little

Body by Science

Summary
  1. Genius often lies in simplicity. That is what we find in Body by Science by McGuff and Little. This is a powerful and easy to read book on how to get healthy and fit through very focused and specific exercises that take 10-12 minutes to perform and only have to be done about once per week
Key Takeaways
  1. Perform 5 exercises to failure within 60 – 90 seconds (what the authors call time under load or TUL) and hold for an additional 10 seconds and perform these exercises once per week. This should be sufficient time for your body to recover and bump up weights and/or TUL every session
  2. Research has found that the effects of free weights versus machines is equally effective (Nautilus and MedX offer the best machines)
  3. The Big Five Workout – Machines (click link for video tutorial)
    1. Seated Row – make sure to keep your wrists and elbows in line and pull to your lower sternum
    2. Chest Press – do not let elbows get too low – just about as far as they could go if you were doing the press on the ground
    3. Pulldown – arms in front of you, using an underhand grip, with hands a little narrower than shoulder-width and bring down to the top of your chest and hold for 3-5 seconds and “slump” into the contraction (bring shoulders down towards hips in a linear fashion). As handles are heading back overhead, imagine moving hands outward in a horizontal plain – loads lats more effectively
    4. Overhead Press – move arms overhead with hands in front of you rather than at your side and with palms facing each other. Be cautious of arching the back and putting it in a vulnerable position
    5. Leg Press – the farther the angle is from linear, the less resistance you are moving. Should start in a position so that your thighs are perpendicular to the ceiling with knees bent as close to 90 degrees as possible. When pushing out, do not completely lock your legs and do not grip handles too hard as this can drive up blood pressure necessarily high
  4. The Big Five Workout – Free Weights
    1. Bent over barbell row – shoulder width grip, overhand grip (palms facing you) and pull so that it touches your upper abdomen and pause briefly in this position
    2. Standing overhead press – shoulder width grip, palms facing away, do not fully lockout arms at the top and lower to your shoulders
    3. Dead Lift – bend legs imagining that you are sitting in a chair, arms perfectly straight with shoulder width grip, with palms facing you or and over/under grip
    4. Bench Press – do not lock out arms at the top
    5. Squat – set the safety pins of the rack so it matches with a 90 degree bend of your knees – this is your bottom position, slowly raise up and repeat for your TUL
  5. Low-intensity, steady-state (“cardio”) activity does not tap the fast-twitch muscle fibers that  possess the most glycogen. Consequently, the muscles are never emptied of meaningful levels of glucose, with the result that the circulating glucose has nowhere to be stored – except as body fat
  6. Strength training is actually the best way to train the cardiovascular system because…it actually involves and stimulates all of the components of metabolism
  7. The center of metabolic health…is not the heart and cardiovascular system; it is the muscular system…because that is where everything that results in positive adaptive change occurs
  8. Maintenance is regression!
  9. The problem is not burning too few calories; it’s putting too many calories down the throat. You cannot use physical activity to negate excessive caloric intake
  10. A natural diet and non-processed helps with thermic cost of digestion (eating lean means, fruits and veggies forces the body to consume more calories to digest this food) and keeps insulin levels lower
What I got out of it
  1. Often the best ideas are shockingly simple and straightforward and this workout protocol falls into this category. These workouts are feasible in nearly any gym and result in the desired gains in strength, health and fitness. This is a workout regiment that will work long-term for nearly anybody regardless of age, goals  or other circumstances. I’d highly recommend to at least try this out for at least a month (only 4 workout sessions) and see for yourself. Most importantly, this workout allows you to consistently build strength without compromising your body and reducing wear and tear and other stressors as much as possible.
  2. *Update – I have been following this program for the past 6 months and have seen a great increase and strength while only spending 15-20 minutes weight lifting a week. No injuries, have been able to build pretty much every week and expect to continue this program for a while.

Read Body by Science

Continue reading

Worthwhile Blogs

Tim Ferriss – Most likely doesn’t need an introduction but best-selling author of 4 Hour Work Week/Body/Chef and biohacker extraordinaire. His podcasts are worthwhile too as he interviews famous and successful people and tries to extract what motivates them and sets them apart.

Paul Graham – Paul, co-founder of Y-Combinator, has one of the most fascinating blogs out there – discussing venture capital, human nature, trends, biases and more

Kevin Simler – Kevin’s blog, Melting Asphalt, is incredibly well written and covers a huge spectrum of topics from social status to religion. He takes a different perspective on some relatively common topics and it is fascinating.

Tim UrbanWait but Why? seems like a labor of love. Tim’s older posts are a bit goofy but I have found all worth reading. If you’re ready to tackle what is essentially a book in blog format, the 4 piece article on Elon Musk is fantastic.

Seth Godin – Best selling author, marketer, entrepreneur and public speaker sends out a short, daily blurb with some food for thought. Always quick and worthwhile

Shane Parrish – Entrepreneur and author sends out a weekly newsletter with fascinating insight into books, articles and other interesting reads. I have unashamedly adopted many of Farnam Street’s layout and goals. Imitation is the highest form of respect.

Maria Popova – Author and overall wisdom seeker, Maria sends out a weekly newsletter which also compiles and analyzes a mind-blowing number of books and articles. Her analysis is always fresh and beautifully written.

Kevin Rose – Entrepreneur mostly known for the founding of Digg, Kevin’s The Journal does a great job of compiling interesting videos, articles, tech breakthroughs, apps and more