Podcast Reviews: The Minimalists, Philosophize This, and the Jocko Podcast
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I have been serenaded many times in my life by the sweet song of minimalism. As a concept it resonates with me. As a lifestyle it appeals to me. Yet, here I sit, surrounded by all the trappings and things of a comfortable, unrestrained, modern, middle-class life.
There’s a reason why minimalism isn’t more pervasive — it’s hard! It goes against our base instinct to collect things for when times are less plenty and goes against our materialistic and advertising based society. You might think you’re capable of rising above the fray, but with the sophistication and pervasiveness of modern advertising nobody’s immune. It takes a conscious effort not to let your life become filled with stuff.
Joshua and Ryan, the Minimalists, have been rising above the fray for several years nows. They have several books on minimalism, a documentary (available on Netflix), a widely read blog, and an accompanying podcast. They talk about really practical stuff on their podcast, which has quickly become one of my favorites. You won’t get a pretentious or unrealistic vibe at all from the duo — they’re very cognizant that minimalism means different things to different people and do a great job of talking about how to minimize the clutter, physical and other, in your life in a way that’s very approachable.
If you want a peek into what minimalism really is and how to start incorporating its concepts into your life, I’d highly recommend this podcast. Perhaps with Joshua and Ryan whispering in my ear, minimalism can finally become a reality for me.
Recommended episode: Episode 50 | Impulses
Philosophize This! is one of my favorite, if not weighty, podcasts. It’s a weekly, 30 minute, monologue-based show discussing “the thinkers and ideas that forged the world we live in”. You might be thinking that a show about philosophy would be stodgy and boring, or perhaps a historical recollection of a bygone era. However, Stephen West does a great job practically applying a philosophical way of thinking to modern life and current events. The show’s slogan is “know more today than you did yesterday” and I’ve found that to be a great summary of the value of the show.
For instance, one of the episodes I listened to is called “How to Win an Argument”. It walks through the various fallacies people use to win arguments and their flaws. You may already be familiar with many, such as the the ad hominem argument, but hearing Stephen’s list of 20 other common fallacies and clear examples of each builds a great base from which you can approach your more spirited discussions. Being able to quickly identify these fallacies lets you cut through many common obstructions people knowingly, and unknowingly, use in the course of normal conversation and can make the act of defending a position much less frustrating. When you see your opponents tactics for what they are, you are better equipped to brush them aside.
That’s just one example of a topic on the podcast. Another particularly relevant and modern topic is if we’re living in a simulation. A laughable notion? Maybe, maybe not. Elon Musk made an offhand comment about this recently, and it’s been buzzing around ever since. If thinking through such topics appeals to you, Give Philosophize This! a look.
Recommended episode: #095 … Are you living in a simulation?
I have a conflicted relationship with the Jocko Podcast — a podcast about discipline and ownership in business, war, relationships and everyday life from retired Navy SEAL Jocko Willink. At first listen, you’ll be struck by Jocko’s overly dramatic drill-sergeant style of speaking intensely into the mic. It seemed to me like he was trying too hard to be serious, trying to convey importance by the style of delivery rather than the quality of the content. But, two things happened before I kicked Jocko to the curb: 1) I looked Jocko up online and 2) I continued listening through the whole episode.
What I learned is that Jocko is a decorated special forces soldier, a black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu, an author, and owner of the world’s largest jawline. If you can see past the grunt-like speaking style, you’ll see that Jocko is more than a one-dimensional character and can draw on some pretty unique personal experiences to present nuanced perspectives on life and work.
My only nit is necessity of Jocko’s side-kick EC “Echo Charles”, as he doesn’t seem to contribute anything meaningful to the cadence or content of the show. But, who am I to question what experiences these two men have shared in the theater of war? The Jocko Podcast is still worth a try, especially if you’re ready for a shot of testosterone to your podcast diet.
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