Grow through reading
- My book Willpower Condensed is now available on Amazon. If you want to learn about the latest science of self-control and how to program your mind to achieve your goals, check it out.
- Ethics by Baruch Spinoza provides a classical philosophical framework for a deep understanding of mind-body-affect dynamics and is abound in Stoic wisdom. Although it dates back to the 17th century, Spinoza’s main insights are to a great extent supported by modern neuroscience, as you can see in Antonio Damasio’s book Looking for Spinoza. (German readers may be interested in my thesis on emotional self-regulation that I wrote half a decade ago from a Spinozist point of view.)
- The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida is a must-read for every man. It will grant you a profound insight into the essence of masculinity. If you want to understand women and why they behave as they do, read this book!
- As a man, you must create your own values. In Nietzsche’s anti-Bible Thus Spoke Zarathustra, you will learn about how to smash—with the hammer of your will—enslaving, weakening, emasculating values in order to nurture noble virtues. I have been re-reading this book every single year since I was fifteen and I still gain guidance from it.
- Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha is the most beautiful book I have ever read, hands down. Nourish your soul at this well of pure wisdom.
- Viktor Frankl’s story about his experiences in a Nazi concentration camp describe an essential aspect of what it means to gain freedom through strength.
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. (Man’s Search for Meaning, p. 66)
Grow through nutrition
- Eat more vegetables and less sugar! This simple advice is more important and more helpful than ten thousand books and scientific articles about nutrition and diet. If you can’t stick to it, don’t even think about reading more shit about nutrition or buying the latest diet program by your favorite fitness guru—all you’re doing by that is procrastinating and distracting yourself from the fact that you can’t even stick to one simple principle.
- I have been integrating intermittent fasting into most of my diet plans for several years now. Not only does it make me feel much better, it also makes sticking to a healthy diet much easier. I have never been above 13% body fat since daily fasting is part of my lifestyle. For motivation, read The Warrior Diet to learn how fasting awakes your primal warrior instincts.
Grow through training
- The principle of success in strength training is simple: Focus on learning the basic compound lifts (deadlift, squat, bench press, press, pull up, and barbell row) for 2-4 years (perfect technique! video-record yourself or hire a coach), and then experiment for yourself with different plans in order to adapt your personal routine to your body, your goals, and your lifestyle.
- Physical strength and fitness are a life’s journey, not a 30 day challenge to six-pack abs.
- All external knowledge you need is comprised in these two books:
- To relax muscle tension for optimal regeneration, I recommend the TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller. Using it feels like hell, especially the first few times, but it works. I use it on a daily basis and it even healed my Iliotibial band syndrome that had me suffer chronic knee pain for many years.
Grow through fighting
- Kyokushin Karate was, after a few weeks of Taekwondo, my first exposure to martial arts. It is a great traditional martial art to harden the mind and the body. I only practiced it for 2 years, though, because I injured myself in sparring way too often and because I realized that the lack of punches to the head limits its effectiveness in real conflict.
- Krav Maga taught me basic self-defense and boxing skills. My instructors were proficient and eager to let us spar, so I found it to be a superb art to learn as quickly as possible how to confidently deal with physical confrontation. I quit, however, because commercial Krav Maga is aimed at civilians, not fighters.
- MMA, finally,—do I need to introduce it? In my gym, I trained Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Wrestling. But then I got a new job, moved to another city, and I realized that I would not progress much if I only found time to train 2-3 times a week. My grappling skills in particular were pathetic, so I decided to focus on BJJ exclusively. And this is where I stand today—as a one-striped white belt.
Grow through listening
- Mindcoolness Podcast—the audio version of this blog.
- Jocko Podcast—lessons in leadership, masculine strength, and the darkness of human nature; every episode is a powerful exercise in gratitude.
- Waking Up—fascinating debates with Sam Harris, one of the great minds of our time.
- Joe Rogan Experience—entertaining and inspiring conversations with the most interesting specimens of the human race.
- Tangentially Speaking—wise, mind-opening stories about the lighter side of life: sex, love, travel, and more.