Who I am, what I do and what is my aim hopefully comes across in this cool email from Jake.
Long time reader, first time commenter yesterday, and first-time e-mailer today. I’m not sure if it was my comment that sparked you to post on Pope Francis, but I appreciate it all the same. I’ve long valued your perspective on everything, and figured it was an appropriate time to send a simple hello, a thank you, and to let you know how much I’ve learned from you.
I’m a former VLCer (Volek and Phinney style) who tried to be an athlete on <50 grams a day. During that time I was also living in Kenya, probably with some pretty awesome parasites, and biking forty minutes to work each day. Needless to say it messed me up, and it took a few months to get out of adrenal fatigue and underweight hell. Part of what inspired that was your further acceptance of carbs and non-paleo (or, more accurately: your rejection of the LC community). It’s interesting to consider the difference between ‘promoting carbs’ versus outright shaming of the LC and VLC proselytizers. I have to say that the latter might work better. Any way, I suppose what I like most about your blog is your openness. And maybe not so much openness but a willingness to always change your mind. The immutability of ideas is something that still fascinates me within the evolutionary health world, as if we could only ever get it right the first time we shifted a paradigm. It seems like there still exists a split on all spectrums between those who are willing to reconsider their opinions in the face of new evidence—data vs. dogma, etc.
…And frankly, half the time you come up with shit that doesn’t make the slightest sense to me on first reading. But I feel like you’ve communicated enough of your own thought process on your blog for me to recognize that you don’t really post anything without first considering it, and that you’re always willing to reconsider it. Doesn’t mean you change your mind, and I appreciate your ferocity and verbosity in the debate that can sometimes ensue in the comments. The key is the promotion of that debate.
Anyway, despite the fact that I don’t always agree with what you say or do, I always learn from it. And what I love the most about your blog is that everything is fair game. You’ve been previously pigeon holed as the no-soap guy (ex. HuffPo Live) and the fat bread guy, etc. etc., but I think your greatest asset to the public domain is the diversity of your opinion. I think you take it as far as you can, more into the life of the mind than simply how to live. No one else is going to comment in a unique way on money, hang-gliding and omelets within the same week.
A bit further on the Church: I agree with your comments about the Catholic Church being very smart—milking for the long term. I do think there’s a larger gap between their dogma and public opinion than there might be, but I suppose that also stems from part of their power base (or lack of power base) existing with the (more conservative) developing world. Not sure if you’re tuned into his work, but Alain de Botton’s Religion for Atheists: A Non-believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion echoes your point about the importance of ritual and other social aspects in some very poignant ways. Quick read, and worth consideration.
I’ve just entered a Master’s of Public Health program, predominantly to pursue my interests within evolutionary health from an academic standpoint. Part of our graduation requirement is an internship/practicum without the health sphere. I’m pushing to work with Paul Jaminet…what I’m trying to swing now. But, had I to choose a mentor from any field, you’d be damn high on my list. So with that, just a further thanks. Enjoyed all that I’ve read, and highly value everything you do.
By that last, I take it to mean that I would do a decent job of playing interference and challenging every damn thing he thought he knew, and he would never be able to tell if I was really serious or just fucking with him for exercise. That he aspires to work with Paul in terms of relevant practicality—rather than some Yoda challenging-fantasy lends credibility to both his message and his character.
It would be fun though, and I’m totally humbled that anyone could even consider it.
…My focus in life is simply to be as polymath as I can possibly be. Here’s my off-the-cuff accounting of myself, in chronological order.
- Early grade school years marked by becoming obsessed with dinosaurs, volcanoes, motorcycles and cars, in that specific order.
- In high school, I worked jobs for my dad’s painting contractor business and excelled to outperform any journeyman in productivity.
- Switched out the engine in my first car in the garage with dad’s important help, using a block & tackle instead of a chain hoist (that was tough!).
- Switched majors 2 times in college: mathematics to computer science, to business administration.
- Toured the world by ship, becoming expert in navigation systems, ship handling (8,000 tons +), steam engineering systems, electrical distribution, Soviet weapons systems.
- Lived abroad for 7 years—5 in Japan, 2 in France. Visited 30 countries and vacationed in a handful for up to a month at a time so you really learn something.
- Learned to speak and read French fluently at the age of 29, the first language I ever studied.
- Read many of the classics and philosophy, from Socrates forward, formed my own thoughts and ideas, and dumped the shitty stuff I was taught—by people who only ever learned if from other people and never seriously questioned it or gave it much rational thought.
- Started 3 businesses and failed at all of them. Fourth time was the charm, and I grew it to 30 employees and over $3 million annual revenue.
- Learned to fly hang gliders, such that on a summer day, I can launch from a mountain top at 4,000 feet and take thermals to over 12,000 feet and fly for hours, land, and drink a cold beer. Subsequently learned to fly both sailplanes and powered aircraft.
- Remolded our house (much of the work done myself) with significant upgrades in the form of stone tile, woodwork, in-ground spa, pavers, gas fire pit, electrical and lighting, semi-commercial grade appliances…and sold it for a $1/2 million profit.
- Started a blog. At over 3,600 posts and 72,000 comments, it’s doing pretty well at 80-100k visits per month and 150-200 page views.
- Became rather proficient as a home chef.
The thing is, my bucket list is rather long, still. But I don’t regard such lists as a one-off affair. I wish to be proficient in everything I undertake and you should too. That’s not near the best list ever, but contrast it with the average person you talk to who, when asked, states proudly: “I’m [fill in a single blank].”
Two things for you to consider very seriously:
- How To Be a Polymath.
- Mike Rowe On How Many Are Following The ‘Worst Advice In The History Of The World’.
Until next time, folks.