My family has roots in New Mexico going back for centuries. I have ancestors on my dad’s side of the family that immigrated to New Mexico from Spain back in the 1600s when the area was that country’s colony. Lots of Sanchez’s and Chavez’s in my lineage. Other ancestors of mine from Switzerland, France, and Nova Scotia also settled in New Mexico in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
My mom’s parents transplanted to Albuquerque when my grandfather took the position of Regional Forester of the Southwestern Region of the U.S. Forest Service. They lived there for over 30 years.
Needless to say, I spent a lot of my childhood in New Mexico. I love that state. The scenery, the smells, the food (green chili on all the things!), and the art. The state’s tagline is quite apt: it is indeed the land of enchantment.Grandpa Hurst in one of his signature bolo ties.
One thing I noticed on my visits to New Mexico is that a good number of residents sport bolo ties. My Grandpa Hurst regularly rocked...
We’ve all probably thought about it. What would we do and how would we fare after a societal collapse? My guest today has spent his career helping individuals get ready for such a situation. His name is James Rawles. He’s the owner of survivalblog.com and the author of several bestselling books on prepping, including How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It.
Today on the show, Jim and I discuss how our dependency on the power grid makes us more vulnerable to disaster than we’d like to think, and all the downstream consequences that would happen if the power grid went down for a significant amount of time, including loss of water, sewage services, and a disruption of supply chains.
We then dig into what you can do to prepare for such a situation, including securing a water supply, storing food, and the skills and mindset you need to weather a crisis. Even if you don’t think you’re interested in prepping, it’s really interesting to think through what you’d need to do to survive an apocalyptic scenario.Show Highlights
“Compound interest is the Eighth Wonder of the World. He who understands it, earns it; he who doesn’t, pays it.”
Albert Einstein supposedly said that. Lots of quotes get attributed to him that he didn’t actually say, and this may be one of them; I personally don’t see the guy who imagined riding a light beam to figure out the Theory of Relativity waxing poetic about compound interest.
But even if Einstein really didn’t say compound interest was the Eighth Wonder of the World, it’s still a good point. Compound interest is pretty dang awesome. It’s a powerful concept — one that can mightily strengthen, or weaken, your finances. The man who understands it will have a tool to increase his net worth; the man who doesn’t will go through life stuck in a paycheck mentality.
My seven-year-old son recently opened up a savings account, and it offered me the chance to explain compound interest to him. It didn’t go well. It’s one of those financial concepts that’s so simple that you take it for granted. Consequently, when you’re forced to explain it to a child, you realize you don’t have as much of a grasp on it as you thought you did. Einstein also supposedly said, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” Again,...
When Ernest Hemingway was working on the manuscript of a book about his safari in Africa, he played with a passage (which he later deleted) that listed all the things he loved and loved to do. He began with seeing, hearing, eating, drinking, sleeping, and reading; looking at pictures, cities, oceans, fishes, and fighting; thinking and observing; being in boats and battles or on saddle horses with “guns between your legs.”
The list continued down the page:
“To watch the snow, rain, grass, tents, winds, changes of season . . . To talk, to come back and see your children, one woman, another woman, various women, but only one woman really, some friends, speed, animals . . . courage, co-ordination, the migration of fishes, many rivers, fishing, forests, fields, all birds that fly, dogs, roads, all good writing, all good painting, the principles of revolution, the practice of revolution, the Christian theory of anarchy, the seasonal variation of the Gulf Stream, its monthly variation, the trade winds, counter currents, the Spanish bull ring, cafes, wines, the Prado, Pamplona, Navarra, Santiago de Compostella, Sheridan, Casper, Wyoming, Michigan, Florida, Arkansas, Montana.”
Still not feeling he had encapsulated the things of life that filled his heart, he made another attempt:
“To stay in places and to leave, to trust, to distrust, to no longer believe and believe...
In an active shooter situation, your first priority is to run.
If you can’t do that, the next best option is to hide, and to hide in a room with a locking door. Attackers are looking for easy targets, and will often bypass a locked door without trying to breach it.
If the door of the room you’re in doesn’t lock, then you’ll want to barricade the door (and you should do this even if the door does lock, simply to create extra protection). When barricading yourself in a room, you want to create what security professionals call “layers of protection,” so that if an attacker breaches one obstacle, he’s faced with another.
The first step in creating security is simple situational awareness and reconnaissance. Whenever you enter a room, you should know where the exit points are, and whether the door(s) swing outwards or inwards, as this orientation will dictate what measures you use to secure it.
If the door opens outward (towards the shooter), there are various methods you can use to jerry-rig it closed. If it opens inward (towards the room you’re in), you can wedge something in the door to keep it shut. In either case, it’s advisable to stack furniture against the door to create an additional...
Editor’s Note: This is a guest article by Michael Magnus.
It may seem like sewing is an exclusively feminine pursuit (outside the tailoring profession), but dating back to the Paleolithic age, rudimentary sewing techniques were a vital necessity for staying alive. Sewing isn’t just about making decorative doilies, but also knowing how to quickly stitch something together for survival with minimal gear and maximum strength.
You’ve probably noticed that when you tear a seam on your clothing, it’s easy to accidentally end up tearing out at least 5 or 6 stitches. This is because sewing machines utilize a sewing method called the “lock stitch,” which creates a chain reaction when a stitch fails. If you want something that’ll stand firmer against failure, you’ll want to use a different method: the saddle stitch. This sewing methodology used by saddle makers for generations is more durable because where one stitch is broken, only one stitch is broken.
The saddle stitch is ruggedly functional because you can create it using a variety of improvised tools, and it can be used to patch/attach/close a variety of thick materials; whether repairing a tear in a tent, fixing a hole in a sleeping bag, or making a sheath for a hatchet, knowing how to saddle stitch is a skill that comes...
They say that manners make the man. But how do you display good manners without coming off as awkward and in a way that elevates life both for yourself and for others? Today I bring back writer David Coggins to discuss etiquette and manners in the modern age. I had David on the show a year ago to discuss his book Men and Style. He’s now out with a new book called Men and Manners. Today on the show, David shares how style and manners are connected and why good manners are like good poetry. We then discuss best etiquette practices concerning tipping, greetings, attending parties, and texting. We end our conversation highlighting the grace and power of handwritten notes.Show Highlights
Since 2011, we’ve worked with talented illustrator Ted Slampyak to create hundreds of vintage-inspired, illustrated how-to guides. During that time we’ve had folks ask us to make his illustrated guides available as posters for purchase in the AoM Store.
The problem we’ve run into is how to manage inventory on these illustrated guide posters. I have to commit to buying a significant quantity of posters when I go with a traditional printer, but maybe there’s just a few people who’d want to buy a How to Survive a Bear Attack poster, a handful who would want to buy a How to Fillet a Fish print, and another handful who would want to buy a How to Gird Up Your Loins poster. I wouldn’t be able to buy, say, 1000 prints of all of our hundreds of different illustrated guides and keep them all as inventory in our warehouse.
Print-on-demand means exactly that. Whenever you place an...
Should parents help pay for their kids’ college education? It’s an issue folks have varied and strong opinions on, but if you fall into the camp that plans to pay for all, or part, of your children’s tuition and expenses, you’ll want to start budgeting for that future outlay as soon as possible.
Among all the big expenses in one’s life, paying for college is among the greatest — sometimes even matching that of a house. Figuring out how to save that money, then, becomes a nagging question on nearly every parents’ mind, almost from the time a baby first arrives. And with skyrocketing tuition costs, the prospect of saving becomes even more daunting.
Is there a best way to approach it?
Lucky for you, the vast majority of financial experts agree that there is: the 529 investment plan. While I’ll get to the details of what exactly a 529 is a little later on, let’s start with an overview of when you should start saving, what your specific goals might be, and how much you need to save.Start Right Away!
One of the biggest mistakes people make in saving for their children’s higher education is not starting early enough. You might only think...
Admiral James Stockdale was a fighter pilot and POW in Vietnam for seven years. During his imprisonment, he was regularly tortured and beaten, and often held in solitary confinement.
Despite the emotional, mental, and physical trauma he faced day in and day out, Stockdale survived and came home to become an influential public figure.
How did he do it?
As my guest today explains, Stockdale had with him a philosophical survival kit.
His name is Thomas Gibbons, he’s a retired Army colonel and a current professor at the U.S. Naval War College where he teaches a course founded by James Stockdale called Foundations of Moral Obligation. Today on the show, Tom shares how a little book of Stoic philosophy helped Stockdale endure through seven grueling years of confinement and how his experience as a POW inspired the creation of a course on Western philosophy. Tom then shares why it’s important for military officers and leaders of all kinds to have an understanding of philosophy and walks us through some of the topics they cover in the “Stockdale Course,” including Aristotelian virtue ethics and Kant’s duty ethics.Show Highlights
F. Scott Fitzgerald thought his fellow writer and (sometimes) friend Ernest Hemingway possessed the most dynamic personality in the world and “always longed to absorb into himself some of the qualities that made Ernest attractive.”
Other friends and observers of Hemingway remarked on the “strange power of his presence,” his “poise and strength,” and a “pervasive and inescapable force of personality” that registered as “so vast, so virile.” As his first wife remarked, he left “folks falling into fits of admiration.”
As a young man, older men looked up to him; as an older man, men and women of all ages called him “Papa.” Those in Hemingway’s orbit, writes his biographer Carlos Baker, “were not only content but even eager to tan themselves like sunbathers in the rays he generated.”
What accounts for this magnetic allure, this larger-than-life charisma that allowed Hemingway to get away with plenty of bad behavior and continues even today to make him incredibly compelling despite his considerable flaws?
Part of it was the way he evinced an undiluted, unapologetic masculinity — a constellation of qualities which included originality and independence, stoical fortitude and purpose, and a primordial vigor and strength. He was a man with an indomitable pride, who described himself as being “without any ambition, except to be champion of the world.”
If you’re like most people, you’ve got a powerful computer in your back pocket that allows you to listen to this podcast, check the score of your favorite team, and learn the population of Mickey Mantle’s hometown of Commerce, OK (answer: 2,473). Our smartphones are a blessing, but for many people they can also feel like a curse. You feel compelled to check your device all the time, leaving you feeling disengaged from life.
What is it about modern technology that makes it feel so addictive? My guest today explores that topic in his book, Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked. His name is Adam Alter and today on the show, we discuss what makes today‘s technology more compelling than the televisions and super Nintendos of old, whether our itch to check our phones can really be classified as an addiction, what soldiers’ use of heroin during the Vietnam War can tell us about why our attachment to our phones is hard to shake, and how the reward we’re looking for on social media isn’t actually the “likes” themselves. Adam then shares what he thinks is the most effective tactic for taking back control of our tech, and how consumers may be able to influence the direction of its future.Show Highlights
What started the American Revolution?
The typical answers are “taxation without representation” and the economic and political consequences that came with that.
My guest today argues that while economic and political principles all played roles in the American Revolution, there’s one big thing underlying all the causes of the Revolutionary War that often gets overlooked: honor.
His name is Craig Bruce Smith, he’s a historian and the author of the new book American Honor: The Creation of the Nation’s Ideals During the Revolutionary Era. Today on the show we talk about what honor looked like in America during the colonial period, how that concept changed, and how this shift precipitated the War of Independence. We then explore how personal affronts to honor experienced by several of the Founding Fathers at the hands of the British transferred into a feeling of being slighted as a people, galvanizing a collective sense of honor in the colonies and inspiring the fight for independence. We then discuss the role honor played in Benedict Arnold’s treason and how his treachery spurred colonial Americans to go on to win the war. We end our conversation discussing why the sons of the Revolutionary Era returned to a more traditional ethos of honor in the form of dueling.
This show will give you fresh insights on the founding of America.Show Highlights
While a good BBQ spice rub is usually more important to achieving lip-smacking taste, many backyard grilling enthusiasts also love to slather a sauce on their fire-cooked meats. Be it as a marinade or a sandwich topping, the right sauce can really enhance the flavor of just about any of your BBQ favorites.
Pre-bottled sauces are alright, but you can take your summer grilling up a notch by creating your own DIY sauce.
BBQ sauces begin with a tomato base — typically tomato paste or very often ketchup; it may seem a hair less “pure” to use a condiment to make another condiment, but it’s common even amongst expert BBQ-ers, as ketchup already has some spices built in, as well as a high sugar content that helps turn the sauce into a nice sticky glaze. To this tomato base is often added Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, mustard, molasses, salt, pepper, and other spices.
A variety of other things can be added to your sauce to enhance its flavor and make it even more unique: maple syrup, bacon, whiskey, berries of all kinds, pureed peppers for heat, and even stuff you may never have heard of like powdered beer and jalapeno sugar. The options — and combinations — are nearly limitless.
If you’d like a more specific recommendation, however, below we feature three different takes...
If you’re having a BBQ this summer, you’ll probably ensure your guests’ thirst stays slaked by stocking a big cooler full of soda and beer. While there’s obviously not much to that, there are in fact less and more effective ways of making sure these drinks are cold and accessible.
The less effective way is to place the bottles and cans atop a big mound of ice. They won’t get thoroughly chilled that way. You also don’t want to bury them in the ice; people’s hands will get cold and cut up when they try to dig through the pile to grab a drink.
The more effective method is to fill the cooler with a 80/20 mixture of ice and water. Then put the bottles/cans in so that the body of the vessels sits in the ice, but their tops/necks stick out; this lets your guests grab the drinks without getting their hands wet, cold, and nicked.
If you’re in a hurry to chill your drinks, gently (very gently!), spin the bottles/cans around every few minutes; this will distribute the liquid that’s already been chilled throughout the vessel.
Variations of the game of cornhole — in which players attempt to pitch bean bags through the hole of a raised platform — date back to the 19th century, and today it remains a great summertime lawn game. It’s relaxing and just plain fun; kids like it, grown-ups like it, and it’s so low-key you can play while sipping on a soda or beer.
With Independence Day coming up next week here in the States, I thought it would be fun to add a cornhole tournament to my family’s day of festivities. Instead of dropping $150+ for a pair of pre-made cornhole platforms (which are often flimsy and non-regulation size — yes, there are official cornhole regulations), I drove over to my local Home Depot, bought $85 worth of materials, and made my own sturdy custom set.
It’s a super simple project that takes about a day. My kids had fun helping me make the cornhole platforms, and now they’re having a blast playing with them.
If you’re looking to add some cornhole to your summertime activities, here’s how I made mine.Materials & Tools
These materials will net you a set of...
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. Leatherman Skeletool. Leatherman has expanded their line-up to include pocketknives, which still boast every iota of reliability and utility that made the brand legendary. The Skeletool is a modern knife, built light and durable for everyday carry, with a bottle opener built into the pocket clip.
2. Huckberry Hatchet. Hand-forged in Sweden by master blacksmiths and perfectly sized for all-purpose jobs from the campsite to the home, there’s a lot to love about this hatchet.
3. Original Hardcore Hammer. Named for both the hardened steel core of the hammerhead and for just how badass these hammers really are. American-made and designed to stand up to the day-in, day-out needs of a professional carpenter, this tool is just as handy for the DIY enthusiast.
4. Barebones Classic Gardener Set. The essentials any green-thumbed man needs for planting and tending the garden this summer. Includes a cultivator, spade, and square hoe.
Do you feel stuck in moving forward with your plans and goals in life? Well my guest today has some no-nonsense advice on how to shift out of neutral and get going again.
His name is Bernie Roth. He’s the co-founder of the Stanford design school and the author of The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life. Today on the show, Bernie explains to us what “design thinking” is and how its principles can be used to create a flourishing life for ourselves. We discuss how suspending the belief that everything has meaning can help you find new meaning, why reasons are just excuses, how to really get at the root of our problems, the difference between trying to do something and doing it, and how action is the best form of learning. We end our conversation discussing how you build true confidence by consistently taking small steps towards your goal and making the achievement habit a part of your life.
If you need help in getting unstuck in life, you’re really going to enjoy this podcast.Show Highlights
Editor’s note: On December 26, 1960, Sports Illustrated published “The Soft American” by John F. Kennedy, in which the then president-elect outlined his concern over the deteriorating physical condition of Americans, argued for the importance of fitness in developing the potential of the “whole man” and the future health of the country, and detailed his plan to make fitness a focus during his administration. JFK lived up to his word, promoting a life of “vig-ah” in general and the “50-Mile March” challenge in particular, and using the President’s Council on Physical Fitness to encourage the nation’s schools to adopt a fitness curriculum.
Beginning more than 2,500 years ago, from all quarters of the Greek world men thronged every four years to the sacred grove of Olympia, under the shadow of Mount Cronus, to compete in the most famous athletic contests of history—the Olympian games.
During the contest a sacred truce was observed among all the states of Greece as the best athletes of the Western world competed in boxing and foot races, wrestling and chariot races for the wreath of wild olive which was the prize of victory. When the winners returned to their home cities to lay the Olympian crown in the chief temples they were greeted as heroes and received rich rewards. For the Greeks prized physical...
Over the years doing the AOM podcast, I’ve had the chance to talk to hundreds of writers, scholars, and experts from a wide variety of fields and walks of life. The goal of the podcast is the same as the website: to provide information to help men live a well-rounded and flourishing life. Episodes explore how to live a life of both contemplation and action, while having some fun along the way. The show topics cover everything from history and philosophy, to social/professional skills, to parenting, to self-defense and physical training/fitness, to pop culture and literature.
While I’ve enjoyed talking to all my guests, below I highlight my personal favorites so far this year. They’re not in any particular order. If you haven’t listened to the podcast yet, the episodes below will give you a good idea of what you’ve been missing out on. Listen to a few (or all) of them and then subscribe using your podcast player of choice. I’d love to have you join in on my conversations with some really interesting folks.
And if you’ve been listening to the podcast for awhile now, I’d appreciate it if you could give us a review on iTunes or whatever podcast platform you use. It’s a fantastic way to support the show and help...