The Penguin Latte Podcast #19 – The Mad Scientist of Reading: Poor Bjorn on Self-Experimenting with Non-Fiction

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Warning: what follows is a conversation for book nerds

Books transform us. When we really dig into a book, nestle beneath the words, peek under the author’s skin, we transcend our current self. We become someone greater. The best books maintain that transformation long after we’ve finished reading the last word.

A book isn’t something to collect. A book is to be experienced. Which is why I wanted to have this conversation with Poor Bjorn (@poorbjorn on Twitter and Instagram). Poor Bjorn loves books. He loves books so much that he doesn’t just read books. He lives books. He’s the creator of an Instagram page where he not only reviews books, he conducts self-experiments based on the lessons from the book.

Bjorn will cover any subject. Stoicism. Wealth. Esoteric Philosophy. Psychology. History. Self-help. Persuasion. Negotiation. It doesn’t matter what the book is about. If it’s physically possible, he’ll run the experiment. He once ordered a square pizza because he read a book about seeking rejection. In an utterly hilarious stroke of fate, he failed the experiment. The pizza place delivered him a square pizza.

So, get comfortable, grab a cup of your favorite hot cocoa, and cozy in for our wide-ranging conversation about all things books! If you’re a fan of my episodes with Andrew Barry, Pranav Mutatkar, Deepu Asok, or Cullin McGrath, I’m sure you’ll have much to appreciate in our conversation. Enjoy!

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This episode is brought to you by my weekly newsletter, Hey Penguin. Hey Penguin includes tips for improving yourself through creativity, plus a bunch of extra goodies like drafts of blog posts, art I’m digging, letters from my audience, and previews of podcast episodes. Sounds good? Click here to subscribe and get the next issue delivered straight to your inbox.

The Penguin Latte Podcast #18 – Greg Frontiero on Nootropics, Coffee for Creative People, Professional Wrestling, and How to Make Something You’re Proud to Sell

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Warning: what follows is a highly caffeinated conversation.

Today I’m speaking with the mighty and magnificent Greg Frontiero (@Sfwgreg on Twitter). As his twitter handle foreshadows, this is not a safe for work episode. So put your kids to bed, grab your best headphones, and buckle in. This is a wild one.

Greg who?

Greg Frontiero is the founder of Noowave, a company that creates products for optimal mental health and function. His companies first product, Flow State Coffee, is designed to help you write your next 15,000 word Essay while interviewing Barrack Obama at the same time. In layman’s terms, it’s a coffee made with L-Theanine and Raw Cacao. In layman’s layman’s terms, it’s a coffee that’ll give you enough energy to present your dissertation without the anxiety of being on your first date.

How can I be sure this episode isn’t just a 2 and a half hour commercial?

Listeners of my podcast know that I’d never plug a product this hard unless I’ve tried it and loved it. This episode is an exception. While I haven’t had a sip of Greg’s coffee, him and I are planning a future episode. The next time we record together, I’ll take my first sip of his coffee. I’ll either love it or hate it. And because I’m such a powerful influencer, it’ll be a moment that’ll either make or break his companies launch. Keep an eye out around the end of October for that episode!

Anyways, this is a two and a half hour conversation. And you can be rest assured knowing we spent only around half an hour talking about his coffee. The rest of our talk reached into the depths and heights of life, creativity, soulless sales jobs, fear and loathing in New York City, meaningful work, Greg’s career as a professional wrestler, favorite books, writing, creating a product you’re proud to sell, and everything else you’d expect from the podcast.

So, please enjoy!

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Show notes and mentions

Noowave and Flow State Coffee | The Impostor’s Advantage | Write of Passage | The Third Door | The Art of Learning | Think and Grow Rich | The 4-Hour Workweek | Saga | I Kill Giants


This episode is brought to you by my weekly newsletter, Hey Penguin. Hey Penguin includes tips for improving yourself through creativity, plus a bunch of extra goodies like drafts of blog posts, art I’m digging, letters from my audience, and previews of podcast episodes. Sounds good? Click here to subscribe and get the next issue delivered straight to your inbox.

What to do if you don’t have “three years of experience”

I know I’m late in saying this, but the Internet is 4w3s0m3s4uc3. I’m getting help for my new consulting service from an experienced consultant in Australia. A generous young teacher from India improved my resume. And I had a two hour conversation with an artist from Wichita.

For many, it seems like the biggest barrier to doing good work is “three years of experience required.” But we can work around that.

How?

By seeking people who have the experience. By being curious enough to ask them the right questions. And by being so enthusiastic about the work it’s almost overwhelming.

It doesn’t help to start by asking, “what should I do with my life?” because you “sort of” know the answer already. By asking someone what to do with your life, you’re seeking permission to do what you’ve always wanted to do.

Instead, try, “I really like what you’re doing. I want to do the same. But I’m not sure how to go about doing this.”

And how should you express your enthusiasm without stepping over boundaries? It’s like I said before. Ask the right questions.

If you don’t have “three years of experience” yet, enthusiasm and curiosity are your greatest assets.