Success is Hard: 7 Evolutionary Mismatches You Must Overcome

evolutionary mismatch - blakeThe other day I was at an alumni event from my university. It was really good, and I met some interesting, accomplished people.

–All of them twice my age or more.

There were maybe 80 people at the event, and I was the youngest one in attendance. I benefited greatly from this contrast.

Two other guys under 30 stood by themselves at a table all night, poundingContinue Reading…

Enter the Gauntlet

Ienter the gauntletn medieval Japan there was something called Musha shugyĹŤ: a samurai’s path to mastery.

Here’s how it used to work. . .

A young man, wanting to become a samurai, embarked on a journey–like a religious pilgrimage, a rite of passage–in order to test his mettle, learn strategy, challenge other warriors in duels, and build his skill set.

The purpose of Musha shugyĹŤ was to harden the young man; to hone his abilities until heContinue Reading…

The Intelligent Man’s Guide to: Consumerism (Part 4: The Confused Consumer)

The Intelligent Man's Guide to: Consumerism (Part 4: The Confused Consumer)Once upon a time, James Bond was a genuine badass.

Now, James Bond is only a symbol of manliness for the confused consumer, who doesn’t have any better role models in his life.Continue Reading…

The Intelligent Man’s Guide to: Consumerism (Part 3: Brands and Social Deception)

branding brand consumer society confused consumer

Would you like to “put a tiger in your tank”?

You see, I don’t own a car. That’s why I’m asking.

Anyway, it turns out a lot of people were indeed interested in putting tigers in their tanks. Surprisingly many!

Why is that?

That’s for Ernest Dichter to know, and for you to find out. Continue Reading…

The Intelligent Man’s Guide to: Consumerism (Part 2: Progressive Obsolescence & The Secret Power of Women)

progressive obsolescence, women, christine frederickThis ad (to the right) is highly “incorrect” in modern consumer culture.

But that wasn’t the case 50+ years ago. Although it wasn’t her intention, Christine Frederick is responsible for this gradual change in culture (and advertising).

Christine Frederick was a home economist, editor of multiple papers and an advertisingContinue Reading…

The Intelligent Man’s Guide to: Consumerism (Part 1: PR and Advertising)

The Intelligent Man's Guide to: Consumerism (PR, Advertising, Culture)Alternative title:

How Culture Got Hijacked to Sell You a Bunch of Stuff You Don’t Need


Breakfast was invented to sell bacon.

The catchphrase used–and regurgitated by all the confused consumers–was the necessity of getting a “full and hearty breakfast” each morning.

This happened in the 1920s.

Later breakfast was reinvented to sellContinue Reading…

The Intelligent Man’s Guide to: Mainstream Media And Mass Culture

The intelligent man's guide to: mainstream media, news, and mass culture“No. . . I don’t like this! Why can’t there be any happy news? This is no fun.”

So said: (a) Britney Spears or (b) Robin Williams or (c) Nelson Mandela.

The correct answer is none of the above.

It was said by. . .Continue Reading…

Use Dunbar’s Number to Create Your Own Reality

“What you call love was invented by guys like me, to sell nylons. You’re born alone and you die alone and this world just drops a bunch of rules on top of you to make you forget those facts. But I never forget. I’m living like there’s no tomorrow, because there isn’t one..”
– Don Draper

I walk into my corridor kitchen only to find people laying in the couch watching TV.  They are watching some Harry Potter movie. They start complaining loudly —in a surprised way— when suddenly the movie breaks for commercial.

A fat girl yells out:

—I love Christmas because this is the time of the year that they show the best movies!

I’m thinking to myself: what, you can’t download movies any day of the week?  Or is it that you don’t even know what kind of movies you prefer to watch?Continue Reading…