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2018-05-22T13:53:36.228Z
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{"feed":"The-Art-of-Manliness","feedTitle":"The Art of Manliness","feedLink":"/feed/The-Art-of-Manliness","catTitle":"Style","catLink":"/cat/style"}

So you put your best game on during the interview process and convinced a company to extend you a job offer. Huzzah! All that hard work has paid off and now you can relax and congratulate yourself, right? Only partially. First, you have to negotiate that offer so that you get exactly what you want and need in terms of salary and other benefits.

While companies almost always build some negotiation room into their benefits packages, only 1/3 of people actually negotiate them. This can be a costly mistake: if you could have successfully negotiated your starting salary $10,000 higher, not only would you have made $10k more your first year with the company, and every year after that, but your future raises, being proportional to your salary, would have all been higher too. By not negotiating your starting salary and benefits when you’re given a job offer — which requires simply opening your mouth for 30 seconds(!) — you can leave a ton of money on the table in the years and decades to come.

Given that, why don’t more people do it? Fear, namely. People feel too awkward (money talk always feels taboo), don’t know how to negotiate, haven’t much practiced it, etc. So the first thing to do is to

“We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.” —C.S. Lewis

Have you ever come across the above quote? I had, and, even in the absence of its context — it’s taken from the fairly dense first chapter of Lewis’ The Abolition of Man — figured I understood what it meant: modern society creates men who lack a chest-swelling virility, and then complain about the lack of upright, manly men.

However, having recently taken the time to actually study the full context of the quote, I learned that Lewis was actually getting at something different; or, more accurately, that he was not describing the loss of manly virtue itself, but rather the mechanism by which it, along with all other types of virtue, is produced. In fact, by “chest” he doesn’t mean some kind of literal or metaphorical scaffolding of masculinity, but sentiment.

His lament is that modern society makes men without heart.

The Tao of Sentiment

Nearly all religions and philosophical schools, whether Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Aristotelianism, Stoicism, or Platonism, Lewis observes, posit that there is an underlying natural order to the world, and Truth is that which most clearly reflects and explains...

If you’re like a lot of people, engaging in small talk can feel awkward and tedious. Consequently, you avoid it as much you can. But my guest today argues that if you want to get ahead both personally and professionally, you need to embrace these little exchanges. Her name is Debra Fine and she’s the author of The Fine Art of Small Talk

Today on the show, Debra explains why small talk is actually a big deal and isn’t just a waste of saliva. She then shares the biggest obstacles people have to engaging in small talk and the two mindset shifts you need to make to get over those obstacles. Debra and I then discuss specific tactics you can start using today to start conversations, keep them going, and end them gracefully. Lots of actionable advice that can immediately improve your day-to-day life, so take notes.

Show Highlights
  • How Debra became interested in the topic of small talk 
  • Why small talk is the appetizer to a good relationship 
  • How avoiding small talk can hamper your career and harm your child’s education
  • How small talk makes you more visible to others 
  • Why don’t people like small talk?
  • Assuming the burden of the other person’s comfort
  • How to take the host mentality during small talk 
  • Why small talk takes real skill and practice 
  • How do you know if someone is approachable?
  • Easy ways to approach people and introduce yourself
  • Go-to conversation starters
  • Why...

It’s graduation season, which means you parents, grandparents, uncles, and mentors out there will be looking for just the right gift to spring your favorite young man into adulthood — whether they’re moving on to higher ed or the working world. Our own Art of Manliness Store has a number of such gifts that can educate, inspire, and motivate for a long time to come: 

Art of Manliness Boxed Set 

This delightfully packaged collection contains a wealth of information and inspiration for the recent graduate. Included inside are the first two AoM books published: The Art of Manliness and Manvotionals.

Together, housed in a classic cigar box (along with 6 manly coasters!), they make the perfect gift for any young man conscious of leaving his mark on this world. Books are signed by Brett. Also available on Amazon (unsigned) for about $24 (and eligible for Prime shipping). A Place For Everything and Everything In Its Place” Catch-All

What makes a great sports dynasty a great sports dynasty? We typically think it’s the result of amazing talent or coaching.

But my guest today argues that it all comes down to the often quiet, understated leadership of a team captain. His name is Sam Walker and he’s the author of the book The Captain Class: The Hidden Force That Creates the World’s Greatest Teams. Today on the show, Sam and I discuss his quest to uncover what makes great teams great and the unlikely answer he came up with. We then discuss the traits Sam found in the great team captains of sports history. Some of them you’d expect to see on a list about great leadership, including doggedness and humility, but a few of them, like the willingness to push the limits of the rules and engage in conflict with the players and the coach, might surprise you. Throughout the conversation, Sam shares insights on how leaders from all fields can apply these lessons in the teams they play on and work with. 

Show Highlights
  • How Sam went about compiling a data-centric list of history’s greatest sports teams 
  • How he whittled down 25,000 teams throughout history to the top 17 
  • Sussing out the defining factors of these successful teams 
  • What’s the difference between a coach and a team captain?
  • Why the Warriors are dominating the NBA right now 
  • How quickly do teams decline after the...

There are countless ways to use everyday items to make a fire in survival situations. From short-circuiting cell phone batteries to refracting light off the bottom of a soda can, makeshift techniques using what you can scrounge up from your environment can save your life. Creating fire with a water bottle is similar to making a fire with a magnifying glass: the water bottle acts as a lens that focuses sunlight into a super-bright point which quickly heats up paper or other tinder to the point of combustion.

The first thing to know about making fire with a water bottle is that it’s not easy. It takes time and practice to get the bottle’s position just right, and if the sun isn’t at its full strength because it’s late in the day or behind clouds, your efforts might go unrewarded. To maximize your chances of success, use clear bottles with smooth, curved tops that are filled with clear liquid. Colors absorb light and textures hinder your ability to focus the light. For tinder, paper with dark ink works best — the dark ink absorbs heat and ignites faster. 

Like this illustrated guide? Then you’re going to love our book The Illustrated Art of Manliness! Pick up a copy on 

In the 1930s, Paul Sperry, a former Navy Sailor, avid outdoorsman, and designer of duck decoys, bought himself an old schooner that he fixed up and made seaworthy. While he loved to sail it around Long Island Sound, he found to his dismay that the boat’s painted decks were royally slippery when wet. After one particularly bracing fall overboard, Sperry vowed to find a way to get better traction.

Sperry’s first idea involved enhancing the grip of the deck itself by repainting it and sprinkling on the fine grit of emery dust. This did improve the deck’s traction, but, he discovered, “If any part of the human anatomy came into touch with [the deck], it was like giving yourself a rub down with sandpaper.”

So Sperry went back to the drawing board, this time deciding to alter the other side of the contact surface equation: the shoes he wore on deck.

Rubber-soled shoes seemed to be one key in providing a little more stick, but after making hundreds of experiments with them, none truly provided the grip Sperry desired.

Then one day Sperry noticed the way his dog Prince was able to agilely run over icy ground, and a light bulb went off. He examined the pooch’s paws and noted that the cracks and grooves on their pads provided a natural non-slip surface.

Between 1991 and 1996, Jim and Jamie Dutcher lived with and filmed a pack of wolves in Idaho. From this intensive field work came the award-winning documentary, Wolves at Our DoorThe husband and wife team are out with a new book that highlights some of the things they learned on living a flourishing life from the wolf pack they were embedded within. It’s called The Wisdom of Wolves: Lessons from the Sawtooth Pack

Jim and Jamie share what wolves can teach us about family, respecting your elders, play, the importance of belonging to a group, leadership, and what it really means to be an alpha wolf. Tune in for a fascinating conversation on a fascinating creature that has much to teach us humans. 

Show Highlights
  • How Jim and Jamie ended up spending time studying wolves  
  • Why research on wolves needs to be conducted in captivity 
  • How earlier studies on wolves ended up being somewhat misleading
  • Why the term “alpha” is a misconception 
  • Other misconceptions about social hierarchies in wolf packs
  • Why being a “lone wolf” is a very temporary situation 
  • Are wolf pack leaders domineering and aggressive?
  • What’s the role of the “omega” wolf?
  • How wolf personalities manifest in packs
  • How the pups of a pack were reared 
  • The importance of play and why wolves play so much 
  • The culture of learning in wolf packs 
  • How wolves care for the elderly of their pack 
  • Why do wolves howl at the moon?
  • What happens when wolf packs encounter one another?
  • The relationship...

Welcome back to Gearhead 101 — a series on the basics of how cars work for the automotive neophytes out there.

If you’ve been following Gearhead 101, you know how a car engine works, how the engine transfers the power it generates via the drivetrain, and how a manual transmission functions as sort of a power switchboard between the engine and the drivetrain.

But most people these days (at least if you live in the United States) drive cars with automatic transmissions. Have you ever wondered how your car can shift into the appropriate gear without you having to do anything except for press on the gas pedal or brake?

Well, hold on to your butts. We’re about to walk you through one of the most amazing pieces of mechanical (and fluid) engineering in human history: the automatic transmission.

(Seriously, I’m not exaggerating: once you understand how automatic transmissions work, you’ll be awed that people were able to come up with this thing without computers.)

Review Time: The Purpose of a Transmission

Before we get into the ins and outs of how an automatic transmission works, let’s do a quick review of why vehicles need a transmission — of any kind — in the first place.

As discussed in our primer on how a car engine works, the engine of...

Networking. You’re told it’s something you need to do to advance your professional life, but the tactics most “networking professionals” suggest either don’t work or make you feel icky and awkward. 

My guest today argues that you don’t have to go to networking events or hand out business cards left and right to network effectively. You just need to realize you’re already embedded in a really effective network right now. 

His name is David Burkus. He’s a professor of leadership and the author of the book Friend of a Friend: Understanding the Hidden Networks That Can Transform Your Life and Your CareerToday on the show, David shares what’s wrong with most traditional networking tactics and why they’re not really effective. We then dig into the power of the network you already belong to. David explains what dormant weak ties are, why it can be beneficial to silo yourself off from others, how to balance siloing with connecting, and how to turn work-friends into friend-friends and friend-friends into work-friends. Lots of great counterintuitive insights in this episode. 

Show Highlights
  • The common approach people take towards networking 
  • Why traditional networking methods don’t work
  • How David’s “friend of a friend” approach to networking flips that old model on its head 
  • Recognizing the networks you already have
  • What are weak and dormant ties? Why are they more powerful than strong ties?
  • Managing your weak and...

Some people shy away from having kids because they worry that it won’t make them happy.

Whether they’re right or wrong really depends on how you define happiness.

If you define happiness in terms of fun and simple pleasure, then no, parenthood will indeed not make you happy. It adds a heaping helping of responsibility, stress, and friction to life.

But, if you define happiness as the ancients did, as a state of eudemonia, or full human flourishing, in which you hone your capabilities and grow in virtue and excellence, then having children will make you very happy indeed. For it enrolls you in a unique school of character — a training regimen that can sharpen, refine, and expand you.  

Now, of course becoming a parent doesn’t do this automatically; plenty of people manage to raise children and still remain terrible human beings. But, if you embrace parenthood as an opportunity to become a better person, if you willingly lean into the friction, it can be incredibly transformative, strengthening a multitude of character traits.

The Character Traits Trained by the School of Parenthood

This list is not exhaustive, at least partially because I myself am an exhausted parent. While a certain amount of delirium can enhance one’s creative faculties, nothing in this exhausted state can really be fully perfect. There are some traits you can...

While flowers make for a lovely Mother’s Day gift, why not change it up this year and grab your mom, wife, grandmother, or mother-in-law something that will last longer than about a week? Huckberry has an excellent Mother’s Day shop in which you’re sure to find something that’ll please the wonderful mothers who make an impact in your life. 

If you order by the end of Tuesday, May 8, your order will arrive on time, and to help you out with costs, Huckberry is offering FREE shipping to AoM readers today and tomorrow (May 7th & 8th). Just enter the code “AOMMOM” at checkout. 

Not sure what to get her? Take a look at 10 sure-fire picks:

Top 10 Mother’s Day Gifts 

1. Morse Code “Mother” Necklace. Julia Szendrei’s romantic-themed morse code necklaces have been a hit with AoM readers looking for a unique gift for their significant others, and now she’s offering one that spells out “Mother.” Besides the cool hidden message, the jewelry offers a nice-looking, offset pattern of blue topaz and gold.  

2. Barebones Classic Gardener Set. The essentials a green-thumbed Mom needs for planting and tending her garden. Includes a cultivator, spade, and square hoe.

3. Black...

From The Business of Life By Frank Crane Published 1916

Danger includes War, Crime, and Adventure.

It is perhaps the primal human interest. Homer reeks with it. The Old Testament, the Eddas, and the Nibelungenlied are compact of it. Death, the supreme Danger, is particularly fascinating.

Digby Bell once said to me that he liked the kind of novel in which there was a murder in the first chapter, and the story “worked from that on up.” Men do not shrink from danger. They love it. They flee clubdom, luxurious leather chairs, highballs, and pussy-footed servants, to go hunt tigers in the wild, climb the dizzy Matterhorn, freeze in the Arctic ice-fields, where they get the scurvy and “spit out their teeth like stone,” or burn with fever in the tropic jungle.

Even the child is not deterred by danger. He loves to experiment with his safety, his health, and his life. Tell him a thing is perilous, and he longs to do it.

It’s the thrill he wants. And only danger can give it. He loves the swimming-hole so deep he may drown, and the loaded gun, and the green apples that may give him the colic.

The gambler does not want money. Give him a million dollars, and he will put it all on the next turn of a card. It is the excitement of that moment of peril...

Last year we launched The Strenuous Life: an online/offline platform that’s like a scouting program for grown men. Each month, members receive The Strenuous Life Bugle, a newsletter that highlights what’s been going on at TSL. We thought AoM readers might enjoy a peek at it every now and then. If you’re interested in becoming a member yourself, sign up for updates here; the next enrollment opens in June.

Geographic Group Meet-Ups

Here’s a look at some of the meet-ups that happened all over the world on April’s Strenuous Saturday (the third Saturday of every month):

Belgium/Netherlands Meet-Up 

The men of the Belgium/Netherlands area marked their inaugural meet-up with a 2-hour walk in a nature reserve on the Belgian/Dutch border called Kalmthoutse Heide. The guys got to know each other and planned for future strenuous endeavors.

Iowa Meet-Up

April’s Iowa meet-up certainly wins the prize as the most epic yet. @pschmitt4 hosted members of the Iowa crew — @rbenner1123, @doug_samuelson, @dloftyhus, and Eric (a friend of Peter’s) on some acreage he owns to work on the requirements for a number of badges. Starting in the morning, trees were felled and bucked into logs for the Lumberjack Badge, then the men tried their hand at throwing knives, and then...

Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from “Self-protection on a Cycle,” an article written by Marcus Tindal and published in 1901 in Pearson’s Magazine. Tindal seems to have been inspired by the popularity of bartitsu — a gentlemanly martial art focused on everyday self-defense with ordinary objects — in creating these methods by which cyclists could ward off attack. Your mileage in employing them may vary! 

It is a mistake to suppose that all the romance of the night roads is past and done with—the romance of the merry old days when highwaymen lay in wait for the benighted traveller on every lonely bit of country road, in every wood, on every stretch of waste land. Attacks by foot-pads on cyclists recall at least some of the glamor of the old stand-and-deliver times to the minds of those who read of these highway robberies every now and again in the papers—though the cyclists assaulted may not look upon the matter in quite so romantic a light!

It might appear at first sight that a cyclist would fall an easy prey to a highway robber, especially at nighttime—that he could be attacked with more certainty of success than could a horseman. In the first place, a cyclist riding at night will usually comply with regulations, and carry a lamp. Thus he will herald his advance from afar off. He is astride a steed, moreover, from which he may be upset far more easily than if he were astride...

You’re a manager of a division in your company. Your team’s been facing a vexing problem for months, and you call a meeting to hash out possible solutions to it.

Positioned at the head of a table around which your subordinates are seated, you spend 15 minutes laying out the main issue.

You then share what you think is the best plan to fix it.

Because you’re a democratic manager who understands the power of getting as much input as possible from diverse viewpoints, you now open the floor to suggestions.

Your team awkwardly stares at you or furrows their brows, feigning that they’re thinking of a solution. Finally, someone speaks up, but instead of offering any new ideas, they take an idea you proposed and tweak it slightly. More awkward silence. Another person agrees with the modified idea submitted by the brave soul who piped up first.

Thirty stilted minutes later, you adjourn the meeting, frustrated at your nincompoop, yes-men employees who couldn’t even suggest a single new bold idea to solve the knotty problem with which your division is grappling. “What am I even paying these people for?” you think resentfully.

But what if the problem isn’t the people you lead? What if the problem is you and one small but crucial mistake you consistently make when leading meetings? And what if you could easily correct...

n today‘s world, honor is typically thought of in terms of integrity — doing the right thing when no one is looking. But traditionally, honor meant having a reputation worthy of the respect of others. If people think about this type of honor at all these days, it’s usually in a negative way, associating it with pistol duels, honor killings, and toxic shame. But my guest today argues that for moral life to be robust and vital, a culture of honor is absolutely necessary. His name is Tamler Sommers. He’s a professor of philosophy at the University of Houston, co-host of the podcast Very Bad Wizzards, and the author of the new book Why Honor Matters. Today on the show, Tamler and I discuss honor— what it is, why it disappeared from our moral ethos and vocabulary, and why we should bring it back. Tamler makes the case that honor culture fosters community and encourages risk taking for the sake of excellence, while our modern dignity culture atomizes us and encourages us to play it small. He then makes a counterintuitive argument that the contained aggression and violence that honor promotes can have real benefits and shares one way honor is making a comeback in the form of the “restorative justice movement.” We end our conversation discussing why stories of honor are so appealing to humans and whether it’s...

Any man can look fantastic with thousands of dollars in custom tailoring and wardrobe consulting. But can a man on a budget pull it off?

The simple answer is yes. Looking stylish is not reserved for people with six-figure salaries. You don’t have to buy this season’s latest from the top-name designers to look good.

But you do have to work a bit harder than someone who can just keep throwing money at the problem. Rich people get it easy — what else is new? Don’t worry too much about it. You can do great for pennies on the dollar if you’re willing to stick to the golden rules of affordable menswear shopping:

  1. Develop Reasonable Expectations
  2. Widen Your Shopping Options
  3. Invest in a Quality “Core” Wardrobe

It won’t come overnight and it won’t come effortlessly. But you can build a head-turning personal style from scratch without ever spending more than a few bucks on most items — as long as you’re smart about it.

1. Develop Reasonable Expectations

Shopping on a budget is about the long haul. You’ve got to be willing to hold out for the one-in-a-hundred good pieces that are worthwhile additions to your wardrobe.

That can be tough when you’re tired of your current options and looking to upgrade your style! But you’ll need to understand what you can — and can’t — have on a budget if you’re going to stay...

When it comes to fitness and nutrition, the nutrition part can cause a lot of confusion. There’s so much information out there about the best diet to follow and often the advice is contradictory. My guest today is here to clear up some of the confusion. His name is Robert Santana, he’s a registered dietician, a PhD candidate in exercise and nutrition science, a Starting Strength coach, and the nutrition coach at Starting Strength Online Coaching. 

Today on the show we discuss all things diet and nutrition. We begin with a big picture overview of the three main macronutrients our body uses to function, and the science of their effect on the body. Robert walks us through how our body partitions nutrients as we consume them, and explains exactly how we get fat. In the process, Robert debunks a lot of popular ideas people have about nutrition these days, like eating carbs makes you fat and eating fat is an easy way to lose weight. In fact, he argues that you should probably be eating a lot more carbs than you are now. He then walks us through the science of fat loss, and gives practical examples of what a diet needs to look like, whether you’re wanting to lose fat, while maintaining muscle, or gain weight that’s more muscle than fat. We end our conversation discussing my experience in cutting weight, what I eat from day to day,...

Below you’ll find some of my favorite recent offerings from Huckberry. Enter the giveaway to win any of these items, or anything else available in their store (up to a value of $500).

My Picks This Month

1. Finisterre Autan. Inspired by misty UK mornings where Finisterre’s HQ is located, this jacket is fully waterproof and keeps the elements at bay while staying breathable. Japanese ripstop fabric and a super lightweight design are icing on the cake. 

2. Supima Air Knit Henley. Upgrade your tee collection with the softest, best-fitting casual shirts you’ve ever worn. The secret sauce? 100% long-staple Supima cotton that’s grown in California and knit with a new advanced technique that creates a luxurious and airy fabric. Plus, the henley design upgrades the look too. 

3. Mystery Ranch Urban Assault. Inspired by military assault rucksacks, this bag represents the epitome of clean, functional design. What makes it truly unique is the 3-ZIP closure that makes everything easily accessible no matter what kind of load is being carried.

4. Flint and Tinder Fieldhouse Hoodie. Flint and Tinder’s new Fieldhouse Collection is inspired by old school collegiate athletics, and fittingly made with American manufacturing and premium materials. Love...