Cover art for podcast The Human Flourishing Project

The Human Flourishing Project

83 EpisodesProduced by Alex EpsteinWebsite

Hi, I'm Alex Epstein.I started the Human Flourishing project to tackle the problem I care about most: human beings lack reliable access to the knowledge we need to flourish.

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Episode 83: The danger of moral safety

October 26th, 2020


Alex Epstein discusses why he is suspicious of any “morally safe” activity—any easy way to be seen by oneself or others as a good person. Doing the …

Episode 82: The three ingredients of relaxed productivity

October 12th, 2020


Alex Epstein discusses the three ingredients of relaxed productivity—inevitably productive process, high-altitude planning, and real rejuvenation—along with one poison: focus-destroyers.

Episode 81: Learning from master practitioner-teachers

September 28th, 2020


Alex Epstein discusses why we should seek out the rare phenomenon of the master practitioner-teacher wherever we can find it, using Netflix CEO Reed …

Episode 80: Avoiding overwhelm (part 2)

September 14th, 2020


Alex Epstein discusses how to avoid overwhelm when one feels totally overcommitted for the upcoming week. The key is "calendar comprehensiveness," which Alex shares a quick process for achieving.

Episode 79: Avoiding overwhelm

August 31st, 2020


Alex Epstein discusses three interrelated ways to avoid the pervasive problem of “overwhelm”: time blocking, choosing projects carefully, and scoping …

Episode 78: Best-case, worst-case thinking

August 17th, 2020


Alex Epstein discusses how thinking through best-case and worst-case scenarios can dramatically improve anything from the planning of your week to a hiring decision to a new project.

Episode 77: Working easier through strategic discipline

August 3rd, 2020


Alex Epstein discusses the main resolution he made upon turning 40: being more disciplined about setting the right conditions for work--so that the …

Episode 76: When it’s difficult to get started

July 20th, 2020


Alex Epstein discusses what to do when you’re having trouble getting started on a valuable activity, from a workout to a challenging project.

Episode 75: Being proactive about health

July 6th, 2020


Alex epstein discusses why the mainstream approach tends to be reactive, and how to take a more proactive approach to health--including nutrition, breathing, and stress management.

Episode 74: Focus and opportunity cost

June 22nd, 2020


Alex Epstein discusses the value of focus and the “opportunity cost” of dividing focus by doing multiple projects at once.

Episode 73: How to think constructively about public injustices

June 8th, 2020


Alex Epstein discusses how to think about the recent death of George Floyd and other public injustices. He shares four useful questions to ask:

1) …

Episode 72: Mining the past

May 25th, 2020


Alex Epstein discusses how to mine the past for things we used that worked well—but that for some reason we stopped doing.

Episode 71: An organism-based understanding of the new Coronavirus

May 11th, 2020


Alex Epstein interviews Katherine Epstein, MD, on how to understand the new Coronavirus and other infectious diseases from an “organism-based” perspective.

Episode 70: Triumphing Over Distraction

May 2nd, 2020


Alex Epstein shares concepts and tactics he has developed to avoid destructive distractions.

Episode 69: The disruption playlist

April 24th, 2020


Alex Epstein shares a “playlist” of Human Flourishing Project episodes with helpful tactics for dealing with disruption. He also answers a listener …

Episode 68: Triumphing over disruption (part 2)

April 18th, 2020


In the second Human Flourishing Project live workshop Alex Epstein guides participants through an updated version of the “Triumphing Over Disruption” exercise.

Episode 67: Triumphing over disruption (part 1)

April 11th, 2020


In the first ever Human Flourishing Project live workshop Alex Epstein guides participants through the “Triumphing Over Disruption” exercise.

Episode 66: Flourishing during a massive disruption (part 2)

April 4th, 2020


Alex Epstein discusses a powerful question for coming up with creative ways to improve life during a massive disruption.

Episode 65: Flourishing during a massive disruption (part 1)

March 28th, 2020


Alex Epstein discusses strategies for transforming the massive disruption of our lives into the basis for significant personal growth.

Episode 64: Flourishing during a pandemic

March 14th, 2020


Alex Epstein discusses some tactics for overcoming the mental and emotional challenges of the current pandemic + recession.

Episode 63: Insights on fasting and food frequency

March 14th, 2020


Alex Epstein is joined again by nutrition expert Ray Cronise, who shares insights on Alex’s experiments with fasting and gives Alex a new fasting goal.

Episode 62: An Invitation to Thoughtful

March 7th, 2020


Alex discusses his new app, Thoughtful, with cocreator Brian Amerige, and shares an exclusive invitation for Human Flourishing Project listeners.

Episode 61: Lessons From Fasting

February 29th, 2020


Alex Epstein discusses what he’s learned in the attempt to incorporate more fasting into his life.

Episode 60: The value of meditation, revisited

February 15th, 2020


Alex Epstein discusses the new insights about meditation he gained from the Flow Meditation online course by James Brown.

Episode 59: The Wisdom of Terry Hayes

January 31st, 2020


Alex Epstein discusses the wisdom and inspiration he gained from reading the thriller I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes.

Episode 58: An Exploration of Expectations

January 17th, 2020


Alex Epstein discusses some challenges he have faced in setting healthy expectations for his work, and asks listeners for ideas or recommended reading on the subject.

Episode 57: The most important New Year’s resolution

December 31st, 2019


Alex Epstein discusses three exercises to make the most out of your time in 2020.

Episode 56: Optimizing nutrition for healthspan

December 16th, 2019


Alex Epstein interviews Ray Cronise, a nutrition researcher who optimizes for “healthspan,” about his new book “The Healthspan Solution.”

Episode 55: Choosing the right thinking medium

December 13th, 2019


Alex Epstein discusses how choosing the right medium for different kinds of thinking tasks—editing, planning, brainstorming—can make an enormous positive difference.

Episode 54: When to work “too hard”

November 29th, 2019


Alex Epstein discusses his recent choice to work “too hard” for 20 days straight—and how to avoid making this level of intensity a habit.

Episode 53: How to guarantee progress

November 15th, 2019


Alex Epstein discusses what he has learned over the last year about how to guarantee progress on long, difficult project.

Episode 52: Mastering 80%

November 2nd, 2019


Alex Epstein discusses what he has learned about the “80% strategy” during a particularly intense two months of work.

Episode 51: The wisdom of Flow (part 3)

October 19th, 2019


Alex Epstein discusses how he has been applying the concepts of Flow to architect his own “flow zones” for different productive activities.

Episode 50: The value of a clear operating standard

October 4th, 2019


Alex Epstein discusses what he learned from a major achievement in the martial arts world about the value of having a clear “operating standard.”

Episode 49: The wisdom of Flow (part 2)

September 20th, 2019


Alex Epstein continues his exploration of how the insights of the book Flow can dramatically improve the quality of our leisure time.

Episode 48: The wisdom of Flow (part 1)

September 14th, 2019


Alex Epstein discusses how he is applying the thesis of the book Flow to his leisure time.

Episode 47: Internal direction vs external direction

August 24th, 2019


Alex Epstein discusses his challenges and successes with going on a “distraction diet” and being more internally directed.

Episode 46: Reengineering routines

August 9th, 2019


Alex Epstein discusses three recent disruptions to major life routines and how he reengineered his routines to get back on track.

Episode 45: Tracking mental metrics

July 26th, 2019


Alex Epstein discusses the mental metrics that he tracks on a daily basis.

Episode 44: No Means Yes

July 12th, 2019


Alex Epstein discusses how saying “no” to most requests is essential to saying “yes” to your most important values.

Episode 43: Recalibrating standards of success

June 29th, 2019


Alex Epstein discusses how to recalibrate your standards of success in work and in personal life.

Episode 42: The Joy of Reverse Procrastination

June 22nd, 2019


Alex Epstein discusses “reverse procrastination” and how it can lead to increased creativity, joy, and “time choice.”

Episode 41: The lesson I relearned from my new dog

June 8th, 2019


Alex Epstein discusses one of his favorite lessons he’s learned about learning—which he has recently relearned with his new puppy, Sherlock.

Episode 40: The wisdom of The Fountainhead (part 1)

June 1st, 2019


Alex Epstein discusses what he has learned about the psychology of human flourishing from Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.

Episode 39: The case for achieving 80% of your potential (part 2)

May 18th, 2019


Alex Epstein continues his discussion of "80%" actualization, focusing on how it creates productive momentum and increases productive enjoyment.

Episode 38: Clear thinking and human flourishing

May 11th, 2019


Alex Epstein is joined by his friend and fellow Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Matthew Blasdel to discuss some interesting questions he had about clear thinking and human flourishing.

Episode 37: Life recipes

May 4th, 2019


Alex Epstein discusses his favorite new “life recipe” and how you can create your own great life recipes.

Episode 36: The case for achieving 80% of your potential

April 26th, 2019


Alex Epstein discusses the counterintuitive idea that you can get better results with more enjoyment by consistently striving to achieve 80% of your …

Episode 35: The search for truly great content (part 3)

April 20th, 2019


Alex Epstein shares some of the fascinating recommendations of truly great content he's gotten from listeners so far.

Episode 34: The search for truly great content (part 2)

April 12th, 2019


Alex Epstein shares the new and improved survey he’s created to get recommendations of “truly great content” from you, the listener, about crucial, …

Episode 33: Cultivating appreciation

April 5th, 2019


Alex Epstein discusses three recent experiences that have motivated him to cultivate the habit of appreciation.

Episode 32: 2019 resolutions--progress report and lessons learned

March 22nd, 2019


Alex Epstein discusses how he's made rapid progress on his 2019 New Year's Resolutions through "weekly altitude time."

Episode 31: How I learn from other people’s systems

March 16th, 2019


Alex Epstein discusses, using last week’s interview as an example, how he learns as much as he can as quickly as possible from other people’s …

Episode 30: An innovative psychotherapist

March 9th, 2019


Alex interviews Brent Charleton, an innovative psychotherapist and executive coach, about how he developed a system that has yielded dramatically …

Episode 29: The search for truly great content

March 2nd, 2019


Alex Epstein shares a new survey he’s created to get recommendations of “truly great content” from you, the listener, about crucial, complex, …

Episode 28: The wisdom of Arnold Bennett (part 2)

February 23rd, 2019


Alex Epstein discusses some of Arnold Bennett’s positive insights on: personal finance, finding life interesting, taking control of one’s own mind, …

Episode 27: The wisdom of Arnold Bennett (part 1)

February 16th, 2019


Alex Epstein discusses why he loves the century-old self-help writings of Arnold Bennett, a master of "wise ridicule."

Episode 26: The search for superior systems

February 9th, 2019


Alex Epstein discusses the rare value of “superior system builders” and three attributes they have in common.

Episode 25: Q&A on resolutions, contexts, and personal assistants

January 26th, 2019


Alex Epstein answers listener questions on how his New Year’s Resolutions are going, how to think about other people’s contexts, and how to make the …

Episode 24: The benefits of a time-blocked life

January 19th, 2019


Alex Epstein discusses how he is applying "time-blocking" to every major category of life.

Episode 23: How to evaluate controversial technologies

January 12th, 2019


In this episode of The Human Flourishing Project I discuss my framework for evaluating controversial technologies such as AI, genetic engineering, …

Episode 22: The “altitude walk”

January 5th, 2019


Alex Epstein discusses “the altitude walk,” a tool for improving the quality of your important decisions.

Episode 21: New Year’s resolutions for 2019

December 28th, 2018


Alex Epstein discusses his resolutions for 2019, how he decided on them, and how he is going to ensure that he keeps them.

Episode 20: How no news leads to good news

December 22nd, 2018


Alex Epstein discusses his perspective on “news” and how avoiding it or time-blocking it can improve your ability to advance your own agenda.

Episode 19: Engineering your life routine

December 15th, 2018


Alex Epstein discusses his specific “life routine” and guidelines for engineering your own.

Episode 18: Seeking stimulation vs. seeking nourishment

December 8th, 2018


Alex Epstein discusses a concept he’s been refining this week as he’s been sick: the tendency to seek short-term stimulation when we’re …

Episode 17: Focus and opportunity cost

December 1st, 2018


Alex Epstein discusses his "secret project" and how working on it has helped him understand the vital concepts of focus and "opportunity cost."

Episode 16: The art of self-experimentation

November 17th, 2018


Alex Epstein discusses two thoughtful reader comments on his exploration of nutrition, both of which point to the value of self-experimentation to …

Episode 15: Nutrition (part 3)

November 10th, 2018


Alex Epstein discusses the latest developments in his quest to get real knowledge about nutrition. To access the debate he recommends go to Share your thoughts on the debate, as well as your …

Episode 14: Nutrition (part 2)

November 3rd, 2018


Alex Epstein discusses how to understand the essentials of expert claims and expert disagreements through "reverse outlining." At the end of the show, he invites listeners to create their own "reverse outlines" of …

Episode 13: Nutrition (part 1)

October 26th, 2018


Alex Epstein discusses two processes he is using to sift through self-proclaimed experts on nutrition.

Episode 12: The weekend crisis and the Playtime Planner

October 20th, 2018


Alex Epstein discusses why he and others have difficulty flourishing on the weekend. To address this “weekend crisis” he introduces a new tool called …

Episode 11: Q&A

October 13th, 2018


Alex Epstein answers listener questions about creativity, meditation, planning the week, and many other topics.

Episode 10: Review and survey

October 5th, 2018


Alex Epstein discusses lessons he’s learned from the podcast so far and asks listeners to answer four questions to help him improve the show.

Episode 9: Relaxed productivity (part 2)

September 29th, 2018


Alex Epstein discusses two contributors to relaxed productivity, “cash confidence” and “collaborator confidence.” He also discusses the importance of …

Episode 8: Relaxed productivity (part 1)

September 21st, 2018


Alex Epstein discusses what "relaxed productivity" is, why it's so desirable, and what practices can help us achieve it.

Episode 7: Rejuvenation

September 14th, 2018


Alex Epstein discusses the role of rejuvenation in human flourishing and shares some methods to identify what will rejuvenate you the most.

Episode 6: Respecting context and independence

September 7th, 2018


Alex Epstein discusses the importance of explaining ideas in a way that respects the context and independence of the other person. To accomplish this goal he suggests using “opinion stories” to explain crucial, …

Episode 5: Constructive conversations

September 1st, 2018


Alex Epstein discusses how to have constructive conversations—conversations where two people combine their knowledge and abilities to build a better understanding—about controversial issues.

Episode 4: The science of explanation

August 24th, 2018


Alex Epstein discusses why it’s crucial for the specialists with the best knowledge to have far better systems for persuasively explaining their views. He shares two parts of his own explanation system: the …

Episode 3: How to enjoy growth and progress

August 17th, 2018


Alex Epstein discusses the challenge of enjoying ourselves as we grow and progress. Most ambitious people are taught a self-defeating system for evaluating their progress—one that leads to a perpetual state of …

Episode 2: Upgrading our knowledge systems

August 11th, 2018


Alex Epstein discusses how we as individuals and as a society can develop the *knowledge systems* we need to flourish.

Episode 1: The problem I most want to solve

August 3rd, 2018


On the first ever episode of The Human Flourishing Project, Alex Epstein introduces the problem this project exists to solve: human beings lack …

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