Three truths you must face to write anything worth reading

There’s this joke among writers. When we go to parties, we often get introduced to people with skill-intensive, clinical jobs that require years of schooling and certifications. For example, a surgeon. When we tell these people what we do for a living they often say, “oh, I’ve thought of writing a book.” We respond with, “I’ve thought of performing surgery.”

It’s funny because it’s true. People think writing is easy because they do it all the time in emails and work reports. …

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It also makes running a moving meditation

One pandemic upside is that with gyms closed and lockdowns making us stir crazy, running outside experienced a boom. Now the downside: Many eager new pandemic runners ran into injuries. One study found, “27% to 70% of recreational and competitive distance runners sustain an overuse running injury during any 1-year period.”

Some fitness minds see stats like that and treat running like they might a loaded gun. I’m not one of them. Running is a beautiful exercise, at once meditative and exhausting, making it uniquely good for our minds and bodies. …

Stuff that works—no productivity gurus necessary

All creators — whether musicians, writers, artists, coders, or entrepreneurs — would freely give a critical organ to be more prolific and successful. Which is why we now have the modern productivity industrial complex. It gives us all kinds of tips and techniques to do more, better work.

But I recently uncovered some evidence that suggests we’re overthinking the topic.

The other day I’m working out in my garage with music blasting when Glen Campbell comes on. Galveston. It’s one of the greatest country songs of all time. It sent me down a Glen Campbell Spotify rabbit hole. …

It tells us why fad diets can have lasting effects

A few weeks ago I wrote about one of the most dangerous studies of all time and how it can tell us everything we need to know about weight loss.

In that study, which occurred at the height of World War II, 36 men entered a lab to starve. The scientists wanted to understand the effects of starvation so they could help starving people in war-torn Europe.

Many readers asked me what happened to the men after the study. It’s a great question.

The scientists began refeeding the men to return them to a healthy weight. What happened next and…

A psychology-based approach to conflict

About five years ago my significant other and I were in a dumb argument. I wasn’t backing down. She wasn’t backing down.

During the stalemate, I vented to a friend. I explained to him in agonizing detail why I was right, why my significant other was wrong, how the world would be better off if I could just get her to understand this — and did this guy have any advice for convincing her that I was right? His response: “Do you want to be right or happy?”

This question has since saved me a lot of headaches and led…

A lesson from the pope (sort of) that taught me how to understand everything better

I was working at Esquire magazine a little over a decade ago when I received an incredibly valuable lesson about learning and research. A senior editor gave us interns an assignment to find out how much money the pope makes. We interviewed some Catholic academics and historians at big-name universities who gave us their best estimates, and then submitted our research file.

Our editor took one look at the file and pulled us all into the conference room. “Guys, no,” he said, shaking his head. “You call the fucking Vatican.”

“Call the fucking Vatican.” In the years since, it’s become…

For one, it has nothing to do with willpower

In November of 1944, 36 men entered a lab at the University of Minnesota. They were to be the guinea pigs in one of the most extreme and dangerous studies ever conducted.

World War II was raging. But just as many civilians were dying of starvation as were soldiers in battle. These 36 men volunteered to starve to help scientists understand the effects of starvation and how to bring starving people back from the brink.

In the study, the men were forced to walk at least three miles and do two hours of physical labor every day. During the first…

The one question you should ask after deciding to make a change

I wanted to talk to Trevor Kashey about goals for my book, The Comfort Crisis, because he seemed so good at achieving them. He had enrolled himself in college at age 14 and gotten his PhD in biochemistry at 23 before becoming a cancer researcher. Now, he runs a successful nutrition consulting company, where he’s helped thousands of people lose hundreds of thousands of pounds.

But Kashey didn’t want to talk about goals. In fact, he said, he hated the concept.

“Goals feel good to set, but they’re just a diversion,” he told me. “People face no consequence if they…

You have to overcome your brain, which is literally trying to keep you alive

In one way, the trauma you may be feeling from the past 48 hours is a good thing: It means your brain is trying to keep you safe.

We are wired to crave information that has a survival benefit. As our species evolved over roughly 2.5 million years, a laser-like focus on potential dangers helped us avoid death. A Homo sapien who lived 150,000 years ago and focused on, say, how beautiful the trees looked instead of the predator lurking within those trees? They became dinner. …

If you like Marcus Aurelius, you’ll love the Medici

Greek philosophy is booming today, with everyone from Silicon Valley bros to NFL teams studying the words of the Stoics.

We can largely thank the Medici family for this.

In the 1400s, Greece and its great works were walled off from the west. The Medici family was at the time building a banking fortune in Florence and making a series of brilliant political chess moves that made them de facto rulers of the city. One of those moves was to fund the translation of works by Plato, Epictetus, Hippocrates, Galen, and Homer. …

Michael Easter

Author of The Comfort Crisis // Professor // Writing about physical + mental health, psychology, and living better 1x week //

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