My Favorite Six-Pack Brain Trainers

Just as you should exercise regularly to keep your body fit, you need to hit the mental gym too and work on getting a six-pack brain. Here some of my favorite trainers that’ll help you get it done.

They’re split into three categories:

  • Achieve More – Get more out of your life by learning and performing more effectively
  • Sell More – Grow your business, get more customers, and sell more of whatever you’re selling
  • Smile More – Feel fulfilled and live a life of purpose and satisfaction

Achieve More

Tim Ferriss

tim ferriss podcast newsletter blog

What’s Tim Ferriss’ Deal?

Tim Ferriss connects with the world’s best at everything—from cooking, to marketing, to psychology, to knife making—to uncover the tactics they used to develop those abilities. He then pieces together what they have in common to help you move towards being as awesome as them in your field of choice.

What You’ll Learn From Tim Ferriss:

Routines and ideas that are common across the world’s best and how to apply them yourself.

Get Acquainted With Tim Ferriss:

Listen to his podcast with the incredibly entertaining Wim Hof. It’ll inspire you to live as whimsically as he does, look forward to cold showers, and try unusual breathing techniques to get high and combat sickness.

Also check out the post on one of Tim Ferriss’ awesome ideas, “Pair-O’-Shoes or Parachute? (Hard Decisions for an Easy Life)”.

Links to his Podcast and newsletter:

tim ferriss podcast link

tim ferriss newsletter


Kevin Rose

kevin rose poster and newsletter guyWhat’s Kevin Rose’s Deal?

Kevin Rose is a more relatable,  more accessible, and more chill version of Tim Ferriss. And though he’s had considerable personal successes, you wouldn’t know it when you listen to him talk. Instead of spewing his own wisdom, he’s super low key and prefers to share (and dig into) the wisdom of others.

What You’ll Learn From Kevin Rose:

Easy-to-understand concepts to enjoy your life more, a zest to try different things yourself, and a bunch of neat gadgets.

Get Acquainted With Kevin Rose:

His monthly newsletter, The Journal, is the best way to familiarize yourself with Kevin Rose, what he’s into, and what he’s working on.

Links to his Podcast and Newsletter:

kevin rose podcast link

kevin rose newsletter the journal


James Altucher

James Altucher in lab coatWhat’s James Altucher’s Deal?

James Altucher is curious fellow in all senses of the word. He’s got crazy hair, wears a doctor’s lab coat whenever he’s outside the house, only owns fifteen items, and has founded and destroyed multiple million dollar enterprises. He’s also so curious to learn from others he can’t help but interrupt everyone he has on his podcast to ask them questions.

What You’ll Learn From James Altucher:

How to have no shame in asking “stupid questions” and instead be relentlessly curious.

Get Acquainted With James Altucher:

Listen to this ten minute podcast where he lists recommends four things he does himself that might improve your life too.

Link to his Podcast:

james altucher show podcast link


Ryan Holiday

Ryan Holiday blogger and authorWhat’s Ryan Holiday’s Deal?

Ryan Holiday is an ex-marketing and PR whiz kid who bought a farm in Austin and now writes about philosophy and reads (and recommends) a shit ton of books. He’s got an old man’s soul and wisdom in a young man’s body (he was born in 1987).

What You’ll Learn From Ryan Holiday:

How to look at the world from a bigger picture, both strategically and philosophically.

Get Acquainted With Ryan Holiday:

Read his short blog post, “Advice to a Young Man Hoping to Go Somewhere (Or Get Something From Someone Successful)”, which is typical old-sage-man-trapped-in-young-body Ryan. After that, root around his site for a book recommendation or two.

Link to His Blog:

ryan holiday blog icon


Cal Newport

Cal Newport blogger and author of Deep WorkWhat’s Cal Newport’s Deal?

Cal Newport is a tenured computer science professor at Georgetown who  happens to also have published multiple books on productivity and doing meaningful work. He accomplished that all by age 32. And strictly working from 9 to 5. It’s safe to say you can learn a thing or two from him.

What You’ll Learn From Cal Newport:

How to accomplish more with your time and move towards a meaningful and fulfilling career.

Get Acquainted With Cal Newport:

His book, Deep Work, is a must read if you’re looking to get more done in less time and become exceptional at whatever your chosen profession.

Link to His Blog:

cal newport study hacks blog icon


Jason Fried

Jason Fried Signal vs Noise writer, author, entrepreneurWhat’s Jason Fried’s Deal?

Jason Fried lives by the motto of, “just because everyone else does something one way doesn’t mean you have to do it that way.” He leads by example applying his ideas within Basecamp, his popular and powerful project management and team communication software company.

What You’ll Learn From Jason Fried:

To not always follow the herd and instead consider different approaches to the way things are traditionally done.

Get Acquainted With Jason Fried:

Read, “Why the Hell Not?”. If you like that, then get his book, Rework, which is a collection of similarly convention-challenging thoughts.

Link to His Blog:

Jason Fried Signal vs Noise blog icon


Tom Bilyeu

Tom Bilyeu - Impact Theory What’s Tom Bilyeu’s Big Deal?

Tom Bilyeu co-founded the billion dollar brand, Quest Nutrition without taking any venture funding. Now he’s using the resources and freedom that provides him to pursue a more audacious goal: create a community that will take on the world’s biggest challenges

What You’ll Learn From Tom Bilyeu:

The mindset you need to find your passion, pursue it, and make an impact.

Get Acquainted With Tom Bilyeu:

Watch this 4-minute video for an inspiring crash course on the rules that Tom Bilyeu advises you live by.

Link to His Blog and Podcast:

tom bilyeu impact theory podcast linktom bilyeu impact theory blog icon



Sell More

Seth Godin

Seth Godin - blogger and purple cowWhat’s Seth Godin’s Deal?

Seth Godin is like the the New York “Buddha” of marketing. He’s a diminutive bald-headed man who emits non-stop, serene morsels of business wisdom.

What You’ll Learn From Seth Godin:

To spend some time every day reflecting on what you can do to become exceptional.

Get Acquainted With Seth Godin:

Listen to the podcast where Seth Godin’s calm and reflective yin takes on his fiery and reflexive yang, Gary Vaynerchuck (who is also on this list).

Also check out the Shortcuts to Awesome post on one of Seth Godin’s awesome ideas, “Bless Your Business, Start Sneezing.

Link to His Blog:

seth godin blog icon


Noah Kagan

Noah Kagan is an OK DorkWhat’s Noah Kagan’s Deal?

Noah Kagan is a typical taco-loving, smart-ass except for the fact that he is really smart. He  really knows what he’s talking about and is the man behind the share buttons you’re seeing on the left of your screen (or bottom if you’re on your cell phone).

What You’ll Learn From Noah Kagan:

Best in class tactics for building your business online, while having fun doing it.

Get Acquainted With Noah Kagan:

Watch this video, starting 19 minutes in, where in just a few minutes he totally turns around a poor guy’s previously hopeless wooden toothbrush business.

Link to His Podcast and Blog:

tim ferriss podcast linktim ferriss blog icon



Gary Vaynerchuk

What’s Gary VaynerchuGary Vaynerchuk a.k.a. Gary Veek’s Deal?

Gary Vaynerchuk went from selling wine on YouTube to creating a marketing (and personal brand) empire by hustling extremely hard and being the opposite of shy about sharing what he thinks. For someone with such a big mouth though, he’s remarkably consistent and insightful.

What You’ll Learn From Gary Vaynerchuk:

To have big, audacious dreams and be relentless in working towards them without giving a damn about haters.

Get Acquainted With Gary Vaynerchuk:

Simple three words of inspiration from Gary Vee that go to show exactly what he’s about: straight to the point with no bullshit.

Links to his Podcast and Blog:

tim ferriss podcast linkgary vaynerchuk blog icon


Smile More

Tim Urban

Tim Urban of Wait But Why FameWhat’s Tim Urban’s Deal?

Tim Urban’s blog, Wait But Why, tackles big topics (e.g. procrastination, the future of AI) in such an entertaining way that your kid might enjoy it as nighttime reading. And similar to another nighttime reading fave, Harry Potter, his posts are often epic in length.

What You’ll Learn From Tim Urban:

Every post is distinct, but each will stick with you long after you’ve read through them.

Get Acquainted With Tim Urban:

Check out Tim Urban’s Wait But Why Instagram account to get a quick glimpse of his humorous but touching insight. Then read one of his shorter posts, The Tail End, which will have you reflecting on the time you have left (and hugging your parents).

Link to His Blog:

tim ferriss blog icon



Mr. Money Mustache

Mr. Money Mustache (aka Pete AdeneyWhat’s Mr. Money Mustache’s Deal?

Mr. Money Mustache and his wife retired from their normal jobs at the ripe old age of 30, and now raise their kid in the lap of luxury for only about $25k a year. He’ll inspire and teach you to do the same.

What You’ll Learn From Mr. Money Mustache:

How to focus your attention, and your finances, on what matters to live a more fulfilling life on your own terms.

Get Acquainted With Mr. Money Mustache:

Mr. Money Mustache was so kind as to write a blog post exactly for the purpose of introducing himself to newbies, “Getting Rich: From Zero to Hero in One Blog Post.”

Also check out the post covering his awesome idea to pursue happiness by NOT adding positives.

Link to His Blog:

tim ferriss blog icon



Sam Harris

Wake Up it's Sam HarrisWhat’s Sam Harris’ Deal?

Almost too smart for his own good, Sam Harris uses his supreme rationality to challenge everything. You’ll either be angry at him for proving you wrong, or thankful to him for opening your mind.

What You’ll Learn From Sam Harris:

To take a critical and rational look at some of your most cherished beliefs and consider whether rethinking them may change your life, and the lives of others.

Get Acquainted With Sam Harris:

His interview with Tristan Harris (summarized here in a Shortcuts to Awesome post!) will leave you questioning your relationship with modern media and the scary implications it has for our future.

Links to his Podcast and newsletter:

tim ferriss podcast link

tim ferriss blog icon


Still Want More?

If you’re looking for a specific book to read or podcast to listen to, head over to the Best Ofs lists.

Also, please let me know if you know of any active podcast, blog, or newsletter that you believe belongs on this list. There are way to many middle-aged white men on this list, so I’d love to add some diversity!