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Edward Druce

Category: Book Club (page 1 of 2)

Episode #3 – Dr. Eric Daniels on The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin didn’t accept things on tradition or by authority. He screened every behaviour and action to see what worked for him and what produced its desired effect.

For Episode #3 I’m joined by Dr. Eric Daniels to discuss The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, and how you can learn to do the same.

Dr. Daniels teaches at LePort Schools – a network of private schools based on the Montessori program in southern California. Prior to moving to LePort, Eric was a professor at Clemson University’s Institute for the Study of Capitalism, as well as Duke University, and Georgetown University — completing his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin.

Eric’s 2013 talk at The 21 Convention, “The Self Made Man” (embedded below), is one of my all-time favourite lectures – a talk that I’ve watched upwards of eight times.

We cover a lot of ground here, and it’s an all-around fascinating discussion.

In the first part of our conversation we cover:

– The incredible degree of self-awareness Franklin displayed, and the systematic approach he used to gain such clarity of thought;
– The concept of “moral ambitiousness” – defining what you want, figuring out the means of getting it, and going after an outcome with everything you’ve got;
– A reality-check on the hardships of success, and what you need to do to ready yourself as a young and ambitious person.

In the second we explore:

–The culture of ‘self-making’ and the ingredients that allowed for the breakthrough of social mobility in the American 18th Century;
–The dangers of societal inertia and the necessity for growth and continual improvement;
–Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism, and what it means to have self-directed success.

It was a great honour to conduct this interview.

My hope is that it will cause you to consider what you want out of live more deeply than you ever have before, reset your “internal compass”, and inspire you to formulate your own code of virtues and values to live by. A tall order indeed!

For context in the second half of questioning, for those unfamiliar with Objectivism, here’s a definition from the back cover of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.

Objectivism: an uncompromising defence of self-interest as the engine of progress.

Without further a do, here is the episode…

Enjoy!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download as MP3 by right clicking here and choosing “save as”.

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[*] Follow Eric on Twitter @ProfDaniels

[*] Pick up your copy of The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Resources mentioned

– Eric’s talk, “The Self Made Man” (which I HIGHLY recommend watching)

Matt Ridley – Waterloo or railways

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – Flow

Alex Epstein – The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels

– A quote from Emerson which I think sums up the “crabs in a bucket” solution wonderfully: “Envy is the tax which all distinction must pay.”

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To wrap up, I’d love to hear a) what you thought of the episode, and b) what peculiar rituals this has inspired you to embrace to make yourself a more effective person. Leave a note in the comments below!

[Book Announcement] Young Man Book Club Episode #3

Episode #3 has been a long time in the making.

Since speaking with Don Watkins for Episode #2, I’ve delivered a TEDx talk in Vienna, completed and published my first book, taken a month-long trip to Colombia, and moved back to London after being away for nearly two years.

It’s been a wild time, and I’m very happy with all that I’ve been able to accomplish. But I’m ready to get back to some serious reading and to ‘reboot’ things with the podcast.

With that, I couldn’t be more excited for the interview I have in store for you.

To discuss The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, last week I sat down to record a conversation with Dr. Eric Daniels.

Eric teaches at LePort Schools, and prior to that was a professor at Clemson University’s Institute for the Study of Capitalism, as well as Duke University and Georgetown University.

He gave my all-time favourite 21 Convention talk “The Self-Made Man” (incidentally the favourite of Anthony Johnson, founder of the Convention too) – an absolute must-watch if you haven’t seen it.

It was a real honour and privilege to record this episode with Eric. Discussing one of the most important autobiographies ever written, I know you’re going to find it a real treat.

To make sure you get the absolute most from the recording, I’m going to lay down a three-week assignment for you…

1) Watch Eric’s talk, The Self Made Man

2) Pick up a copy of The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin  (UK Amazon)

3) Read the book cover to cover

The recording will go live on July 19th. If you’ve ever wanted to read this book but are yet to, this now gives you good reason and a hard deadline.

I was personally blown away by the systematic approach to self-improvement Franklin outlined. His writing was the inspiration for a lot of success and personal development literature we see today, and though challenging in parts, it’s full of gems to help you live a more fulfilling and prosperous life.

Sign up here to be the first to hear when it goes live.

Here’s to getting the most out of reading,
Edward

Episode #2 – Don Watkins on William Zinsser’s “On Writing Well”

We often get book recommendations and hear people talk about books that had a great influence on their lives. It’s rare however that we get into the specifics of how or why.

Discussing William Zinsser’s On Writing Well, for Episode #2 I’m joined by Don Watkins, author of RooseveltCare: How Social Security is Sabotaging the Land of Self-Reliance, and a fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute.

Anthony Johnson, founder of The 21 Convention, handed me Don’s book in October 2014, and it sparked an interest in me for political theory.

This is a conversation of two halves in which I look to position writing as a gateway to those ideas.

In the first half we focus on the book On Writing Well and cover:

– simple principles to make your writing better;
– Don’s 4-step T.O.D.E process for eliminating writer’s block;
– the difference between writing to prove yourself and writing to provide value;
– going the extra mile to get the idea or story you need;
– the importance of mentors.

In the second, we discuss political ideas related to Don’s book RooseveltCare, including:

– how to affect change politically;
– what Don would advise a US political candidate;
– how to challenge mainstream assumptions en masse.

Discussion in the second half was definitely outside my comfort zone. Reassuringly, Zinsser had a chapter dedicated to conducting such interviews, with a reminder that the only requirement to ask is sincerity.

If you’re an aspiring writer, this is not one to miss.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download as MP3 by right clicking here and choosing “save as”.

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Check out Don’s blog at EndTheDebtDraft.com, and follow him on Twitter @dwatkins3.

Resources mentioned

Tree
Evernote

Also, here’s a quick preview of my talk on mentorship:

Be sure to leave a comment on what you thought of the episode!

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