Art of Charm | Best of 2015 (Episode 473)

The Art of Charm team (@TheArtofCharm) recounts personal favorite episodes from 2015. Did your favorite episode get left out? Leave a comment and let us know!

The Cheat Sheet:

  • Could you name your five favorite Art of Charm episodes from 2015?
  • Are you sure?
  • You just thought of another five, didn’t you?
  • Or was it more like 10? 20? 30?
  • It’s almost impossible, but we tried! Here are the results.
  • And so much more…


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Could you pick an absolute favorite episode of The Art of Charm podcast from 2015? How about 10 favorite episodes? Could you narrow it down to five? It’s not easy, but we tried. If you’ve enjoyed listening to the show this year as much as we’ve enjoyed making it, then you understand the difficulty of picking favorites.

In episode 473 of The Art of Charm, the two Jasons, a Bob, and Jordan each do their best to recall just five favorite episodes from 2015. It was a lot harder than you might think!

Jason Sanderson’s Picks

Duana Welch | Science-Based Dating (Episode 459)

Understanding our own Attachment Styles is an important piece of psychology that I think isn’t talked about enough on the show. It really resonated with me, having had a breakup about five months ago. This episode nailed the coffin shut — that we had made the right decision to split. Sometimes people are with the wrong person even when there’s nothing really overtly bad in the relationship. Knowing what I should be looking for in my next relationship is a direct result of working on this episode. Easily my favorite.

Austin Kleon | Steal Like an Artist (Episode 447)

I just love this guy. Both of his books, Show Your Work and Steal Like an Artist, have left a lasting impression on me with my work as a creative — and I love how he utilizes the idea of scenius (originated by Brian Eno). Not only that, but he’s such a chilled, laid-back, likeable guy that I can’t imagine anyone ever not wanting to be around him. He seems to naturally embody everything that AoC stands for.

Gary Vaynerchuk | Climbing the Ladder (Episode 448)

This content is so on point right now; no one quite has the mouthpiece that Gary has! Since moving to Poland, I can see firsthand how the Soviet influence still lingers on here and, because of that, just how hard everyone works! Everyone seems to go that extra mile here, trying to climb the ladder. Most people have several university degrees, master’s qualifications, and work multiple jobs alongside, hustling to get to the top. Gary’s message is all about this, so it was interesting hearing his Soviet backstory — especially since I’d not heard him talk about it anywhere else.

Simon Sinek | Start With Why (Episode 392)

Simon Sinek seems to have gotten the most references and been quoted more times by more guests than anyone else for his start with why principles. It really is the most important question any of us should be asking ourselves on a day-to-day basis. I try to incorporate it into everything I do now. I’m glad Jordan got to interview him and we all got to work on that show.

Kimberly Seltzer | How to Find a Therapist (Bonus)

I’m going to throw a curveball and say that the bonus episode between 455 and 456 should have been a main feed episode. I loved how this one tackled the stigma of seeking help with mental health difficulties. Even though she wasn’t a VIP guest like Alex Kouts or Lewis Howes, it really nailed the hows, whys, dos, and don’ts of seeking therapy. Since I had therapy about five years ago, I’ve always stressed the importance that everyone should see a therapist at least once in their lives just to check themselves before they wreck themselves. So having this show on the list made me proud of AoC and the valuable resources we’re able to provide. I know people will have had their lives seriously changed from listening to this little bonus episode!

Robert Glen Fogarty’s Picks

Dr. Aubrey de Grey | How We Can Avoid Aging (Episode 413)

This would be memorable on the merit of being the first AoC episode I ever lent an ear toward — and the first one to which I contributed and had the sincere honor of working with this world-class podcasting team. But Aubrey de Grey is someone I’d already read about and seen as a guest on various shows over the years. While I don’t know if I believe he and his research team will crack the code to eternal life in this — or any — century, de Grey makes a good case for why they’re trying, and convincingly lays out their plan of attack on the seven categories of aging damage they’ve identified. You know, if I had a million dollars to spare, I’d donate it to their efforts just to see de Grey shave his trademark beard — which he’s offered to do for the right price!

Steven Kotler | From Sci-Fi to Sci-Fact (Bonus)

When I was a kid several decades ago, 2015 seemed really far away. I was sure we’d all be vacationing on the moon and commuting to work in flying cars by now. Then again, my speculation about the future was informed mostly by The Jetsons and Star Trek reruns. Flow Genome Project co-founder and author of Tomorrowland: Our Journey from Science Fiction to Science Fact Steven Kotler gave us some real-life insights in this episode about disruptive technologies that are bringing rapid change to the table — whether society’s ready for them or not. He told us how, thanks to technology, we’re gaining five hours of life expectancy every day. He had interesting things to say about bionics, mind uploading, DNA typewriters, 3D printing new bodies, and lots of other mind-blowing stuff.

Judah Pollack | Hack Your Inner Genius (Episode 423)

Like many of us, I’d often wondered why I seem to get my best ideas in the shower, on long walks, or just after a short nap. In this episode, Judah Pollack was the first person I’d heard articulate why this is: because we’re triggering our default mode network — where your brain goes when your body is physically engaged in familiar activities with goals that don’t require concentration. In other words, you’re sort of on autopilot, and it gives your brain the chance to piece together a lot of disparate information that your rational mind would usually ignore. This associative thinking gives us connections that lead to some pretty wild innovations, so it’s no surprise that a lot of the world’s greatest thinkers throughout history have made time for taking a walk or a nap every day.

Chris Edwards | The Balls to Rebrand (Episode 429)

While Chris Edwards identified as a male from a very early age, he was born and socialized as a girl. When he decided to undergo the physical transition from female to male, he did it openly while working at an ad agency of 500 people. More than anything, Chris found that such a transition was really an issue of rebranding — he was still the same person, but he made the decision to take control of how others would perceive him. This is a story for anyone who, while on the cusp of making big life changes, hesitates for fear of what others will think of them. So really, it’s a story for everyone — because isn’t that pretty much all of us at some time or another?

Barbara Oakley | Learning How to Learn (Episode 440)

Because I’ve always struggled to get comfortable around numbers, I find Barbara Oakley’s story of becoming an engineering professor in spite of an early aversion to math particularly inspiring. It’s easy to miss options and opportunities when we tell ourselves that we’re “bad” at something, so Barbara encourages us to learn how to learn by embracing different types of thinking for different kinds of tasks. She gives us some excellent tools for doing this, and even teaches a free Coursera class that uses lessons from her book A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra).

Jason DeFillippo’s Picks

Dr. Carol Dweck | The Motivated Mindset (Episode 445)

I’d been a fan of Dr. Dweck long before I joined The Art of Charm and, as I mention on this episode and others, I credit the knowledge in this book as the reason I’m talking to you today. Once you understand the underlying principle behind the fixed vs. growth mindset, you can very non-ironically see The Matrix and the show behind the show in how people think, approach life, and approach problems. While the concept is unbelievably simple, she backs it up with years of research and trials, which is something we have come to demand here from our guests — and oh, boy, did she deliver. I may be just fanboying out on her and I know how weird that sounds, but she’s my favorite clinical psychologist in the field today. Yes, we really do have nerds here on staff at The Art of Charm.

Scott Harrison | Give up Your Birthday (Episode 470)

Before we did this episode, I only knew about charity: water on the periphery of social media. A lot of luminaries I know were giving up their birthdays to raise cash to drill wells in Africa and, being a jaded Hollywood type, I just wrote it off as a scam. That was until I was tasked to do research on Scott. And after our preliminary call to see if he would be a good fit for the show, I dug into his backstory; it’s — and I really hate this word — epic. He’s the poster boy for mid-life change and he did it with no money and no ambitions except to repay the ways he misspent his notorious youth. He’s also a damned good photographer and, as someone who’s well-versed in the photographic arts, I give him a double tip of the hat.

Jesse Itzler | The 100 Mile Man (Episode 466)

I’ll be honest. I’d never heard of Jesse before he came on the show. I’ve never flown on a private jet, and can count on both hands the times I’ve even flown first class. So, I thought, what could I learn from this guy? Well, it turns out, a lot. The backstory of how he came up in the business by using brains and a giant set of balls to fake corporate meetings and wheel and deal was something I wish I had heard back when I was a young guy. And although I don’t recommend what he did, I like his chutzpah — and it worked for him. It also led to many other great stories he shares in this episode, but my favorite is the story of his book Living with a SEAL — because it embodies one of our tenets here at AoC, and that’s: if you want to learn something new, find a coach. And he found one of the most badass coaches you could find.

Stephen Mansfield | Building a Band of Brothers (Episode 460)

This was a very surprising episode for me. I had known of Stephen from his series of religious books and, not being religious myself, was worried we wouldn’t have a lot of common ground. I could not have been more wrong. Stephen’s teachings about how men need to have their Band of Brothers resonated with me since I was a recent transplant to Los Angeles and really had no group of guys of my own to hang out with, talk to, share with, etc. This episode has really gotten me off my butt to find my guys. I’m still working on it, but whenever I need some inspiration, I go back and re-listen to this episode. Stephen was a truly great guest and one that really hit me in a time when I needed his message.

Steven Rambam | The Real Life of a Private Investigator (Episode 391)

Sometimes I get a bit starstruck on this show, like when we had Dr. Dweck — who I mentioned earlier. Steve Rambam is another example. While these types of shows aren’t our usual subject matter, I think it’s good to mix it up with interesting people doing extremely interesting things. Steve’s is one of those episodes. The guy is a bonafide Nazi hunter and has decades of experience bringing bad guys to justice in his role as a private investigator. His show Nowhere to Hide is extremely good and a whole bunch of fun — and so was this episode. I know “a whole bunch of fun” isn’t really very descriptive, but we talk about his beginnings as a gun for hire who thwarted a bunch of thieves in Texas to the craziest cases where a guy actually impersonated a prince from Austria and they took him down. This was the first or second show after I joined the team as producer and part-time co-host, and it was so entertaining.

Jordan Harbinger’s Picks

Dan Millman | Way of the Peaceful Warrior (Episode 407)

This was a big deal episode because it was organized by Cody, a huge AoC fan from the Bay Area who I actually invited over to my house to help record this episode while Dan was here doing it live. It was really fun to have those guys in my place and it was a lot of fun making friends with them both. Dan is a really nice, accessible guy and the show went really well not only because he’s so humble and open, but because we were able to debunk a lot of the crap that goes along with spirituality. A lot of Internet guru-wannabes try to make it inaccessible, metaphysical, and mysterious when in reality it’s supposed to be the opposite in many ways. They do this because it makes them money and they can elevate themselves to some sort of weird rockstar status, which also helps them sell whatever it is they’re selling. Dan is the opposite of this. He sells books because people enjoy and understand them, not because they’re seeking something in the way of enlightenment that only he can provide.

Todd Herman | The Power of Negative Thinking (Episode 401)

Todd is a good friend of mine and a really amazing guy. When you speak to him, you feel like you’re hanging out with your cool older brother who really has his stuff together and it’s easy to forget that you’re dealing with a world-class coach who is one of the most talented (and hardest-working) people you’ll ever meet. In this episode we debunk a lot of supposedly common sense about goal-setting, positive thinking, and other buzzword topics that people don’t really understand. Todd gets real results for his super-high-end clients and he’s very liberal about sharing what he teaches with The Art of Charm audience. He’s also got nothing to sell, so the whole conversation is really agenda-free and relaxed.

Olaniyi Sobomehin | I’m Not You (Episode 417)

This episode surprised me because Niyi came from nowhere: an ex-NFL player and big AoC fan who just crushed an episode that I wasn’t sure was going to even air before we started recording. I was a little underprepared for this one, but his content was solid. Once it did air, we got so much feedback about it I couldn’t believe it. I can count on one hand the episodes that got this much attention on social media, and this is in the top five in terms of most tweeted/shared/emailed/whatever. It was also funny that his verbal tic was ending sentences with “know what I’m sayin’?” and a ton of people wrote in about that and it became kind of an inside joke. He was a bit embarrassed by that, so I feel bad bringing it up, but Jason and I had a blast talking on the backchannel for like a week and ending everything we said with “know what I’m sayin’?”

Lastly, no one can doubt Niyi knows what he’s talking about, because he not only trains athletes, but was one at the highest level of competition as a pro NFL player for the Saints.

Michelle Lederman | The Laws of Likability (Episode 398)

Michelle is a good friend of mine and super cool. She’s a corporate consultant so I was worried this might be a stretch for us in terms of fit for AoC — but it turned out to be a big hit. She’s really gifted at teaching and she’s a really fun gal to have a chat with, so the chemistry on-air was really good. She really walks the walk in terms of likability and we clicked instantly and became friends, which always makes for a great show.

Anything from Alex Kouts

Alex is one of my good friends here in the Bay Area, and one of the smartest people I know, hands-down. The kid’s, like, 29 and he’s done more than anyone I know at that age — and I know a lot of young superstars. The stuff that comes out of his mouth is always articulate and super switched-on. I seriously wish he could co-host half the shows we do at AoC because he’s fricking brilliant. From teaching us how to negotiate to getting hired at a startup, he knows how to break things down into pieces that anyone can implement, which is a very tough thing to do. That type of teaching is the core of what we do at The Art of Charm, so everything we create together is not only a perfect fit for The AoC family, but I find myself taking notes as well. Then we go eat, drink, and be merry. He’s one of those guys that, if I didn’t like him so much, I’d probably hate him because he’s so accomplished and he’s just getting started. He’s the type of guy who makes you look at yourself and say, “Damn, I better get moving!” — while he remains super humble and fun and I really appreciate that about him.

Jordan’s Honorable Mentions:

Well, that’s it for the Best of 2015 as chosen by some of the guys who make the show every week. We hope you took away some gems that you haven’t heard before and will take the time to give them a listen. We all really love what we do here at The Art of Charm and can’t wait to see you at one of our in-person bootcamps in Los Angeles. For more information, please visit or email Jordan directly at [email protected] and we’ll get your transformation started.

We’ll see you all next year because, if 2015 was an indicator, 2016 is going to be incredible! Have a safe and happy new year from The Art of Charm family!

[Featured image courtesy of zaphad1]


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AJ Harbinger - author of 1156 posts on The Art of Charm

AJ Harbinger is one of the world’s top relationship development experts. His company, The Art of Charm, is a leading training facility for top performers that want to overcome social anxiety, develop social capital and build relationships of the highest quality. Raised by a single father, AJ felt a strong desire to learn about relationships and the elements that make them successful. However, this interest went largely untapped for many years. Following the path set out for him by his family, AJ studied biology in college and went on to pursue a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology at the University of Michigan. It was at this time that he began to feel immense pressure from the cancer lab he worked in and began to explore other outlets for expression. It was at this point that The Art of Charm Podcast was born.

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