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The Art of Manliness

Author: The Art of Manliness

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Podcast by The Art of Manliness
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Many people know Bruce Lee as a martial artist and film star. But he was also a  philosopher, who articulated principles that apply beyond engaging in artful combat, to grappling with life itself. Shannon Lee, daughter of Bruce Lee, caretaker of his legacy, and author of Be Water, My Friend: The Teachings of Bruce Lee, unpacks those principles on today's show. We begin our conversation with what Shannon remembers of her late father, and how she discovered the power of his philosophy after sinking into a depression following the death of her brother, Brandon Lee. We then dive into some of the sources of Bruce Lee's philosophy, his reading habits, and what books he kept in his extensive library. Shannon shares the story behind how her father first started formulating his ideas around becoming like water, how he engaged in forms of moving meditation, and what you can learn from his journaling practice. We end our conversation with the resilient, proactive way Bruce Lee responded to a potentially crippling back injury.  Great inspiration in this show on what should be every man's ideal: the combination of contemplation and action. Get the show notes at aom.is/leephilosophy. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Each day you begin work with high hopes for productivity and creativity. But each day you instead find yourself bogged down in checking and answering emails and responding to messages on Slack. As frustrating as this is, it just seems like the inevitable, unalterable dynamic of modern jobs. But my guest today says that another way of working is possible, and it could unleash a tidal way of new productivity. His name is Cal Newport, and he's a professor of computer science and the author of several books, including his latest, A World Without Email: Reimagining Work in an Age of Information Overload. Cal describes how email and chat channels have created what he calls "the hyperactive hive mind," and the costs to productivity, well-being, and focus that this hive mind incurs. He then explains why we feel the need to quickly respond to messages, even if rationally we know they’re not urgent. Cal then lays out practical ways to replace the hive mind with a more effective way of working, and why it involves concentrating on processes over messaging, increasing intellectual specialization, a return to hiring support staff, and, counterintuitively, more friction and less convenience. Cal also offers advice on how to make these changes at your office, even if you're not in a position of authority. Get the show notes at aom.is/noemail. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
When celebrities, dignitaries, and executives go out and about and travel around the world, they're often surrounded by bodyguards whose job it is to protect them and their loved ones. My guest today offers a look at what's involved in offering these professional protective services for VIPs, and how average citizens can apply the same principles to protect themselves and their families. His name is Todd Fox, he has an extensive military and law enforcement background, and he's the founder of Close Protection Corps and the author of Protection for & from Humanity. Todd and I discuss why the soft skills around mindset constitute the foundation of personal protection, and the prep work that's necessary to keep both VIPs and normal folks safe, including the process of "advancing" and a system from the Vietnam era you can use to make yourself a "hard target." We then discuss what you can learn from the Marine Combat Hunter program, the Cooper Color Code, and the OODA Loop to develop better situational awareness. We end our conversation with the hard skills you should learn to protect yourself, and the order you should learn them in. Get the show notes at aom.is/protection. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
We all talk to ourselves all the time. This kind of inner dialogue can be a good thing, helping us focus and work through problems, but it can also go off the rails, turning into worry and negative rumination. My guest today calls this negative self-talk "chatter," and in a book of the same name he outlines how to get a handle on it. His name is Ethan Kross, he's a psychologist and the director of the Emotion & Self Control Lab, and we begin our conversation with the way introspection can be both good and bad, and the function of the voice in our heads. We discuss why negative emotions make us want to reach out to other people, and how this impulse can be harnessed in either a positive or detrimental way. We then unpack how managing the way we talk to ourselves really comes down to zooming out and getting distance from the self, and how this can be accomplished with a variety of tools, from engaging in a kind of time travel to going out into nature. Get the show notes at aom.is/chatter. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
When we experience boredom, we tend to experience it as uncomfortable and agitating, and seek to banish it with some ready distraction. Or, we try to look at boredom sort of piously, as something we should learn to sit with, because it builds character. My guest today would argue that it's best to see boredom more neutrally -- as simply an important signal that we need to change up what we're doing, and become more effective and engaged in the world. His name is James Danckert, and he's a cognitive neuroscientist and professor of psychology, as well as the co-author of Out of My Skull: The Psychology of Boredom. We begin our conversation with how boredom has been thought about in history and philosophy, and yet largely ignored by psychologists. We then discuss what it really means to be bored and what types of people are most prone to boredom. James explains how boredom is related to our sense of agency and the role constraints play in increasing it. We then get into how people's propensity towards boredom changes across the lifespan, and at what ages you're more and less likely to experience it. We end our conversation with the negative effects of being boredom prone, including the way boredom may increase political extremism, and the more positive and adaptive ways to deal with being bored. Get the show notes at aom.is/boredom. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
How to Decide

How to Decide

2021-02-1701:01:5610

We all make many decisions every single day. From little ones like what to eat for breakfast, to big ones like whether to take a new job. Given how regularly we're deciding, we certainly have a vested interest in getting better at this skill. But how do we do so? How can we get better at making big choices, and spend less time dithering over the insignificant minutiae that often overwhelms our mental bandwidth? And why didn't anyone teach us how to do this stuff to begin with? My guest today has written a book that offers an education in a subject matter many of us missed out on. Her name is Annie Duke, she's a former professional poker player and decision-making expert and strategist, and her latest book is How to Decide: Simple Tools for Making Better Choices. Today on the show, Annie shares many of those practical tools, beginning with how to overcome hindsight bias and "resulting" -- our tendency to judge decisions based on their outcomes -- by doing something called "knowledge tracking." We discuss how to figure out the probabilities for things that seem difficult to predict and the importance of embracing an "archer's mindset." When then get into when you should make decisions slowly, when you can speed up, how to employ the "only option" test when making a choice, and why when a decision is hard, it’s actually easy. Get the show notes at aom.is/howtodecide. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
You probably know a young man, or several, who's struggled to transition from adolescence to adulthood. He's in his twenties or even thirties, and seems lost and in limbo, unsure of how to create an independent, flourishing life. Maybe you're this man yourself. My guest today has some ideas on what has gone wrong in these cases and how to break out of the debilitating cycles many young men, whom he calls "emerging men," find themselves stuck in. His name is Gregory Koufacos and he's a therapist, addiction counselor, and the author of The Primal Method: A Book for Emerging Men. Greg and I begin our discussion with why men are getting stuck in their transition from boyhood to manhood, Greg's own story of arrested and frustrated development, and how working as a 26-year-old under a 16-year-old manager was part of what he needed to do to move on from his dream of playing professional football. We then discuss why traditional therapy methods typically don't work for men, how Greg developed his own form of counseling that emphasizes getting outside the therapist's office to move, take action, and participate in real life -- what Greg calls "entering the agora" -- and why this approach is so effective. We also discuss the things that help young men move forward, which include Greg's concepts of "empathetic challenge" and "holding the line," as well as finding good mentors and friends. We end our conversation with what men can do to start nurturing their small, latent spark into a more powerful and purposeful fire. Get the show notes at aom.is/emergingmen. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
When we think about the Renaissance, we think of a great flowering in artistic creativity and intellectual innovation; we think about the beautiful paintings and sculptures of Michelangelo, the astute discoveries of Copernicus, the timeless plays of Shakespeare. Ironically though, this great creative flowering was spurred by men who were educated under a system that, by our modern lights, can seem rather rigid and rote.  My guest today unpacks this seeming paradox. His name is Scott Newstok, and he's a professor of English and the author of How to Think Like Shakespeare: Lessons From a Renaissance Education, in which he uses the Bard as a jumping off point to explore broader insights into matters of the mind. We begin our conversation with the ways Scott thinks our modern educational system is lacking, and how students' approach to learning has changed over the years. We then discuss how the Renaissance model of education, with its emphasis on language and verbal fluency, provides possibilities for strengthening our reading, writing, speaking, and thinking skills and making their refinement a lifelong habit. We delve into how artists and thinkers in the Renaissance thought about originality differently than we do, and how they believed that imitating and even copying the work of others can actually help you find your own voice. And we discuss how Shakepeare's sonnets demonstrate the way in which constraints can counterintuitively enable creativity. We end our conversation with how you can incorporate Renaissance thinking into your day to day life. Get the show notes at aom.is/renaissancethinking. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Get Rucking

Get Rucking

2021-02-0833:534

Rucking, that is, walking with a weighted backpack, started as something that soldiers did to carry the gear and equipment needed for combat. In recent times, rucking has become an increasingly popular form of exercise, and if you've wanted to try it, or have already started but would like to improve your practice, my guest today has some advice. His name is Josh Bryant and he's a strength coach and the author of multiple books on fitness, including Rucking Gains. Josh explains how rucking got its start in ancient armies, the kind of loads modern soldiers carry today, and why civilians should consider adopting this military-born modality. After unpacking the benefits of rucking, we get into how to walk with proper form, at the right pace, and choose what terrain to traverse. We discuss how to program your rucking workouts, how to make them progressively more challenging, and how to integrate them into your fitness routine without having it interfere with the strength gains you're developing in the gym. We end our conversation with exercises you can do with your rucksack besides humping it. Get the show notes at aom.is/rucking. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Within the space for just three decades, monumental episodes of exploration and expedition, politics and violence, including the mapping the Oregon Trail, the acquisition of California, and the Mexican-American and Civil wars, forever changed the history of the United States and the shape of the American West. And one man, an illiterate trapper, scout, and soldier, was there for it all: Kit Carson. In his book Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West, author and historian Hampton Sides follows Carson as a through-line in this extraordinary period. Today on the show, Hampton and I discuss how Kit Carson became a living legend through embellished accounts of his heroics, and yet undertook real-life exploits that were nearly as unbelievable as the tall tales told about him. We explore how Carson joined the grizzled fraternity of mountain men in his youth, and the wide array of skills that helped him excel as a trapper. We discuss how Carson then parlayed those skills into becoming a scout on expeditions that took him from St. Louis to California, over the Rocky and Sierra mountains, and all throughout the wild, rugged West. Hampton shares how these expeditions turned Carson into a national celebrity and what this frontiersman thought of his fame. Hampton also unpacks Carson's complex relationship with American Indians, and how he respected and adopted the ways of some tribes, but fought against others. We end our conversation with why he decided to become an officer in the Union Army during the Civil War, his initially reluctant and then brutal campaigns against the Navajos, and his legacy.  Get the show notes at aom.is/carson. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
When we think of hacking, we think of a tech-savvy dude breaking into computer systems to steal data. But hackers can also take the form of "social engineers" who get what they want by building rapport and penetrating psychological defenses. My guest is an expert and pioneer in the area of human hacking, and shows individuals and companies the weaknesses of their security systems by breaking into their offices and computers, not by bypassing pass codes and firewalls, but simply by walking in the front door, and knowing how to ask for and receive access from the humans who run the show His name is Chris Hadnagy, and he's the author of Human Hacking: Win Friends, Influence People, and Leave Them Better Off for Having Met You, which takes the social engineering principles con men and malicious social hackers use to breach security systems and steal data, and shows the average person how to use them for positive ends in their personal and professional relationships. Today on the show, Chris shares how assessing which of four styles of communication someone prefers can help you better connect with them, why you should approach every interaction knowing your pretext, the keys for building rapport, and the difference between manipulation and influence. We end our conversation with tips on the art of elicitation -- how to get information from someone without directly asking for it. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
When choosing among options like becoming a leader, helping others, and becoming more spiritual, half of millennials say that their generation's first or second most important goal is being famous. When teenagers in the UK were asked what they'd like to do for their career, over half said they wanted to be a celebrity. And amongst kids polled in the US and UK, 3X more said they'd like to become a YouTube star than an astronaut.  How did fame, and modernity's particular flavor of fame, rise to such prominence? Has fame always been attractive, and how has its meaning changed over time? My guest answers these questions in his book, The Frenzy of Renown: Fame and Its History. His name is Leo Braudy, and he's a professor of English literature, film history and criticism, and American culture at USC. Today on the show, Leo takes us on a wide-ranging tour through the history of fame, which he describes as an emotion, an ambition to be somebody, to be known, the shape of which changes depending on the audience to which people look in order to gain the desired attention. We begin, and Leo will explain why, with Alexander the Great, before turning to what fame meant for the Romans, whose audience was not just the public, but their posterity. We then turn to how Christianity changed the idea of fame to something based on private, inward virtue, where one's only true audience was God. We then dig into how the Renaissance gave birth to the idea of the artist, who, regardless of social class, could gain fame through his talent and creativity. We discuss how the rise of mass media created a new kind of ever more democratized fame, and a dynamic which would come to rest on a reciprocal relationship between the famous and their fans. Leo argues that fame in the 20th century became more about being rather than doing, a trend which has only accelerated in the age of social media. At the end of our conversation, Leo makes the case for a return to a positive, ennobling conception of fame, in which recognition must be earned and connected to actual greatness. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
As men, we all want to be physically capable. We want to be able to save our own life in two ways: in the more metaphorical sense of wanting to preserve it in healthy, fit form for as long as possible, and in the more literal sense of being able to make it through an emergency unscathed. How do you know if you do possess that kind of lifesaving physical capability? It's time to do more than wonder, and really check in with yourself. My guest today has some helpful benchmarks that guys from age 8 to 80 can use to see if they've got an operative level of strength, mobility, and conditioning. His name is Dan John, and he's a strength coach and the author of numerous books and articles on health and fitness. Dan walks us through the fitness standards the average male should be able to meet from childhood to old age, beginning with the assessments he gives to those who are 55 years old and older, which includes carrying their body weight, a long jump, and something called "the toilet test." We then reach back to childhood, and Dan discusses the physical skills kids should become adept in, which were inspired by a turn-of-the-20th-century physical culturist who thought every individual ought to be able to save his own life, and which can be broken down into the categories of pursuit, escape, and attack. We end our conversation with the physical standards those in the 18-55 range should be able to meet, including how much a man should be able to bench press, squat, and deadlift, and the walking test that's an excellent assessment of your cardiovascular conditioning. Get the show notes at aom.is/benchmarks. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
When you were a kid, you not only went to school, where you did academics, art, and PE, but you probably also took extracurricular lessons in music or sports, and likely even taught yourself things like how to do magic tricks. Now that you're an adult, can you think of the last new skill you learned? My guest today explains why there's a good chance that you'll struggle to answer that question, and how that's a tragedy you ought to do something about. His name is Tom Vanderbilt, and he's the author of several books, including his latest, Beginners: The Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning. Tom and I discuss why his daughter's desire to learn chess inspired him to spend a year learning the game himself, as well as to take on a project of learning other new skills. Tom explains the reasons adults give up learning, and why, while it is harder for adults to learn new things than it is for children, it's still worth becoming a novice all over again. We then explore how to harness the beginner's mind, using Tom's experiences in learning how to sing, surf, juggle, and draw as examples. We end our conversation with Tom's takeaways from his experiment, and how becoming a lifelong learner is really all about pushing through the mental barriers that hold us back from the many possibilities for growth that remain in adulthood. Get the show notes at aom.is/lifelonglearning. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Do you ever have moments of terrible realization where you recognize that you're living on autopilot? Instead of feeling like you're in the driver's seat, you feel like life is happening to you. You're just going through the motions, you've lost your spark, and the months and years slide by in an indistinct blur.  My guest today has been there himself, and has an action plan for how to find your way out. His name is Antonio Neves, and he's a writer, speaker, and success coach, as well as the author of Stop Living on Autopilot: Take Responsibility for Your Life and Rediscover a Bolder, Happier You. At the start of our conversation, Antonio shares his own experience with outwardly having a life that seemed happy and successful, while inwardly feeling totally lost and stuck. We then turn to some really great, incisive questions to ask yourself to assess if you’re coasting in life and to become more accountable to the changes you need to make to start intentionally steering again. We talk about what you're really missing when you say you miss the good old days, how to ensure the best of your life is ahead of you instead of behind you, and why you need to make a list of all your current complaints. We then discuss the importance of who you surround yourself with, why you need allies instead of thieves in your circle, and the difference something called "Man Mornings" has made in Antonio's life. We end our conversation with concrete steps you can start taking today to shift out of autopilot, including Antonio's personal checklist of five things he does every day to ensure it's a good one. Get the show notes aom.is/autopilot. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Research, not to mention anecdotal observation, shows that a lot of narcissists end up in leadership positions. That's because the qualities narcissism enlarges into extremes —confidence, assertiveness, a sense of destiny — help people rise to the top. Unfortunately, the same qualities of narcissism that help an individual obtain a leadership position, can prevent them from being effective in that position, and from holding onto it. My guest's research has uncovered what can be a solution to this dilemma: the timeless virtue of humility. His name is Brad Owens, he's a professor of business ethics, and we begin our discussion today by digging into the fact that studies done on the effect of narcissism on leadership have been inconsistent, with some showing it to have a positive effect, and others a negative one. Brad explains that the reason these studies may have been inconclusive, is that while narcissism can get someone into a leadership role, it then gets in the way of them succeeding in that role. We then turn to the idea that cultivating humility can temper the negative effects of narcissism, and the three aspects of humility every leader, whether narcissistic or not, should cultivate. We discuss whether there are situations where you do want to be more narcissistic than humble, what a humble, narcissistic leader looks like, and how Steve Jobs and George Washington serve as examples of this combination of qualities. Get the show notes at aom.is/humblenarcissist. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Chances are, you've got a job right now. Chances are even good that you have a pretty decent job. But there's also a good chance that you often desire something more from your work life. Not just a better job, but the kind of job you've always wanted. A dream job. Whether you're currently employed or not, my guest today has concrete advice on how to turn your longing for a dream job into a reality. His name is Ramit Sethi and he's a personal finance expert, the owner of I Will Teach You to Be Rich, and the creator of the Find Your Dream Job program. Today on the show, Ramit explains why finding your dream job, even in our current economic environment, is entirely viable, as long as you understand that this pursuit is a skill like any other. He then walks listeners through what the average job seeker does wrong, and what the skill of landing your dream job actually involves, beginning with knowing which of three career seasons you’re currently in. We get into why you shouldn't just look for an opening with the same job title that you have now, but should figure out what your dream company and dream role look like instead. Ramit shares the 10-second test you should do to determine if you've got a winning resume, and what you should put in and take out of your resume as well as your cover letter. We also get into how to prepare for and ace a job interview, including how to answer the infamous "Tell me about yourself" question, as well as other sticky questions like why you've been out of work for a long time or were fired from your last job. We end our conversation with considerations to think about if you're contemplating changing careers to a completely different field. Get the show notes at aom.is/dreamjob. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Performances by the actor Steve McQueen in classic films like The Great Escape and Bullitt earned him the nickname "The King of Cool." But behind the scenes, McQueen's character was complex in nature: he could be both difficult and demanding and kind and generous; someone who could act aloof, but care about things deeply. My guest has traced both sides of the coin of McQueen's coolness for decades. His name is Marshall Terrill, and he's the author of multiple biographies on McQueen, including his latest, Steve McQueen: In His Own Words. Today on the show Marshall and I discuss McQueen's enduring influence on popular culture in terms of everything from style to motorcycles, the code he lived both on and off screen, and whether after years of studying McQueen's life Marshall has figured out what it was that made him so cool. We then talk about McQueen's deprived childhood, which left him ever craving affirmation, and his youthful stints in a reform school and the Marines. We get into how he found his way into acting and then to superstardom, despite the fact he could be difficult to work with. Marshall explains McQueen's relationships with women, and the role race car driving played in his life. We also discuss why McQueen had a hermit phase, and how, in a lesser-known aspect of his life, he had a literal come to Jesus moment in which he became a born-again Christian. We end our conversation with McQueen's untimely, tabloid-exploited death at age 50. Get the show notes at aom.is/mcqueen. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
There are goals in life that seem very attainable. And then there are those which seem practically impossible — rising out of poverty and/or a traumatic childhood, becoming a bestselling writer, deadlifting 500 pounds. With impossible goals the odds seem long, and it isn't clear how to get from point A to point B. My guest today has spent decades figuring out the roadmap for making that journey. His name is Steven Kotler, he's a peak performance expert, the Executive Director of the Flow Research Collective, and the author of numerous books, including his latest: The Art of Impossible: A Peak Performance Primer. Today on the show, Steven talks about how he defines an impossible goal and then unpacks the formula for making the impossible, possible. That formula begins with harnessing the five big intrinsic motivators that will give you focus for free and which you need to activate in a certain sequence, and then moves through the six levels of grit which should be trained in a particular order as well. We discuss the importance of creativity and continual learning, and how to assess the ROI of your reading. Steven also explains how flow amplifies the process of achieving peak performance, and why you need to rediscover the primary flow activity from your childhood. At the end of our conversation, Steven shares some things you can begin doing today to start tackling your impossible goals. Get the show notes at aom.is/artofimpossible. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
This is a rebroadcast. This episode originally aired January 2019. If you’re like a lot of men listening to this podcast, you’ve likely made it a goal to lose some weight this year. But if you’re also like a lot of men listening to this podcast, you’ve made that goal before, maybe even succeeded with it, but have had to make it again because you gained all the weight back. My guest today argues that losing weight is actually pretty easy. The real trick is keeping it off. His name is Layne Norton. He’s a professional bodybuilder, powerlifter, and doctor of nutritional science, and today on the show we discuss all things fat loss. We begin our conversation discussing why losing weight is easier than keeping it off, the mechanisms that kick into gear once we shed body fat that cause us to gain all of it, and even more back, and why yo-yo dieting is so terrible for you. We then dig into whether there’s one diet that’s the most effective in helping you lose fat, the tactics you need to use to keep the weight off in the long run, and the real reason exercise plays a role in helping you do so, which isn’t what you think. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
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Comments (225)

David C

Awesome!

Mar 3rd
Reply

Humberto Moya Morux

why in the world you keep the music in the background so loud ?

Feb 17th
Reply

Ryan B

He definitely said is “this episode of art of manliness podcast is brought to you in FART by.....”

Feb 11th
Reply

dozerD LX

if I wanted to hear Conan O'Brien I would have cable. Everybody has a podcast now, Jesus probably has one.

Jan 12th
Reply

farzad k

Can't play it here in Castbox,broken link maybe...

Dec 5th
Reply

CrimsonNightShade

Such insight and he does it in a down to earth humble form.

Dec 2nd
Reply

Tony

Very insightful and practical. Thank you.

Nov 3rd
Reply

Lourenço Murteira

80.000 people in a women's soccer match? Screaming? Sure buddy

Sep 30th
Reply

nathan keith

Awesome episode

Sep 23rd
Reply

text

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Sep 22nd
Reply (2)

Saša

This is one of the best actionable podcast I've listened to. Some great techniques that can be easily implemented (even if they are not necessarily easy to do).

Sep 21st
Reply (1)

Tim Turner

great subject. boring guest.

Sep 1st
Reply

Attila Turgut

It was a great podcast that broadened my perspective. I want to read author's book(Think Like a Rocket Scientist)as soon as possible.

Aug 18th
Reply

&

One of the very best AoM podcasts. I had so many questions answered. Thank you so much.

Aug 7th
Reply

Spencer Durano

holy shit that was an abrupt retroactive ad

Aug 7th
Reply

Vance Russell

Great episode. I’m afraid most of the people I want to share it with wouldn’t be able to get past a definition of “liberalism” that is different from what they commonly use.

Jul 26th
Reply

Salvin Rodrigues

very good episode

Jul 14th
Reply

Pelumi

"You must not fool yourself but you're the easiest to fool" & "Learn fast" not "fail fast". Amazing interview. Learnt a lot. Thanks

Jul 2nd
Reply (1)

Jacob Presley

Certainly one of the best discussions on this podcast.

Jun 30th
Reply

dozerD LX

great podcast and please have more guests on who know the controls that be and their plan.

Jun 15th
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