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Game Changers by Dave Asprey

Use the advice of world-class thought leaders to become smarter, faster, and happier.

In my constant desire to evolve into the next better me, I love combing through bookshelves, podcasts, blogs, and videos for insights from those who have succeeded in their various fields of endeavor. A mentor of mine once told me that if I wanted to be a master of any discipline, I merely needed to find someone who had mastered that particular discipline and do exactly what they had done. Sounds simple. Learning from someone else’s mistakes, trials, and failures is always preferable to struggling through those missteps myself. The key is to find a repository of such experiences from which to draw the necessary knowledge.

While I have found the most efficient and effective method of acquiring knowledge is in my direct interaction with other human beings, I rarely get the chance to sit face-to-face with captains of industry, world leaders, or renowned members of the scientific community. Fortunately, Dave Asprey, this month’s author, has this opportunity on a regular basis.

The interviews from which Asprey draws his material are the result of his being the host of Bullet Proof Radio, the Webby Award winning, number one-ranked podcast. His book Game Changers is the result of over 450 of these interviews with some of the greatest minds on the planet. These are people who are, “Influencing or even pioneering new areas of study: from biochemists toiling in unknown laboratories to innovative business leaders disrupting the playing field to neuroscientists and meditation masters accessing deep levels of consciousness.”

Also in the Dave Donald Business Book Club: The Righteous Mind by Jonathon Haidt

The book is broken into three major parts, “Smarter,” “Faster,” and “Happier,” with each receiving multiple drill-downs into specific elements of the subject. Each chapter posits multiple Laws outlining clear objectives and supporting commentary from the various podcast interviews that illuminate the individual points being made. It is a unique and engaging format with a fast pace and constant variety. The book’s momentum is restricted only by your desire to pause and document your own thoughts and epiphanies.

In 15 chapters there are 46 Laws with titles like, “The Power of No,” “Fear is the Mind Killer,” “Don’t Lead a Horse to Water, Make it Thirsty,” and “Wealth is a Symptom of Happiness.” Every Law includes a two- or three-sentence explanation of the title and effectively sets up the insights to follow. Because of the layout, the book lends itself to random topic selection depending on your specific needs. However, a cover-to-cover read will yield the ultimate results.

Asprey’s focus on proper nutrition for the body and brain is not accidental. His best-selling book The Bullet Proof Diet created quite a stir in the nutrition community with its focus on quality fats and even butter in your coffee. His belief in life balance includes eating right and working out. “Law 23: Strong Muscles Make you Smarter and Younger” ties the mental and physical sides together.

Admittedly, my favorite section would be “Happier.” I’m not sure why this subject has enthralled me of late, maybe it’s my advancing age or the realization that a life well lived should lead to this as an outcome. Asprey posits several concepts that, while not necessarily revolutionary, are well defined and convincingly presented.

Take a look at “Law: 35 Get High with a Little Help from Your Friends.” This chapter discusses the hormone oxytocin that is generated through social interaction. This naturally generated chemical is a biological mechanism that influences individual behavior and decision making. It creates a sense of well-being and a works against our built-in fear system. It also generates greater empathy for others, a critical element in any relationship. It also reduces your stress level, something all of us can appreciate.

Also in the Dave Donald Business Book Club: How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie

Proactive discipline through sheer willpower can be a daunting prospect. Especially when major conflicts or challenges arise. “Law: 38 Own the Voice in Your Head” deals with centering yourself through meditation. Times of pure relaxation and introspection allow you to calmly address challenges and the fear-based reactions we all experience from them. This is not necessarily some mountain-top ritual with flowing robes, sitting in the lotus position. Several examples are given of real-world individuals in business who transformed their level of success due to this practice.

The book culminates with a section on the power of gratitude. Credited with reducing fear, gratitude can have an overwhelming effect on your existence. Asprey states, “Courage works, but it takes a lot of energy to maintain. Save courage for when your life is actually on the line. The rest of the time, use gratitude to turn off fear at the cellular level. Freedom from fear leads to happiness, and happiness is what makes you perform your best at whatever you do.”