The Voluntary Life

24 April 2017

289 Managing Your Productivity System (Valiant Growth Interview)


This weeks episode is about how to manage your own productivity system for getting things done. It comes from an interview that I did a while ago on the Valiant Growth podcast. In the interview, I talk about various techniques for managing your own productivity system, including:
  • The different components of a productivity system
  • Undertaking regular reviews
  • Choosing between different productivity tools, such a task-management apps and paper-based systems.
Show Notes:





16 April 2017

288 A Listener Question About Working Hard And Missing Out On Life Experiences


This week's episode is a response to this listener question:

"From what I gather, for much of your 20s and 30s you worked very hard on building your business and for long hours each day. It has clearly paid off for you, as you've sold the business and enjoyed many years of financial independence. But is this something you'd recommend for younger people? What's the best way of thinking about the work/life balance at that stage of life? I find myself thinking, what if I worked extremely hard for many years and died in a freak accident before I'd got to have significant life experiences? It may seem like pessimism, but to focus almost entirely on ones work must require some delayed gratification, unless your truly love your work. Similar issues are involved with extreme saving. I thought you might have some good insights about the sort of questions to ask yourself to get a better understanding of how to approach this."

Show Notes:
Listen to Episode 288


9 April 2017

287 Freedom Surfer: Interview With Simon On Location Independent Business And Lifestyle


Simon writes for digital nomads, perpetual travellers, and location independent entrepreneurs on his blog Freedom Surfer. In this interview, he talks about his own journey to location independence and his thoughts on the pros and cons of this lifestyle. He explains how he tackles the practical challenges of perpetual travel, such as business formation, banking, and taxation.

Show Notes:
Listen to Episode 287



2 April 2017

286 Wireless Life: Interview with Sebastian Kühn on running a location-indenpenent business


In this week's episode, my guest Sebastian Kühn talks about the benefits and challenges of running a location-independent business. He shares his own experiences setting up businesses in Hong Kong and Estonia, as well as his thoughts on the Estonian E-Residency program. Sebastian Kühn is a the author of a website for digital nomads called Wireless Life.

Show Notes:
Listen To Episode 286



26 March 2017

285 Making It All Work


This week's episode is a review of David Allen's book, Making It All Work. This book is about applying principles of productivity beyond work, to life as a whole. The review is a discussion between myself and Chris Stefanick taken from Chris' podcast, Choice Conversations.

Show Notes:
Listen to Episode 285


19 March 2017

284 What The Founder Shows About Entrepreneurship


It is not often that Hollywood makes movies which explore real business challenges. The Founder is a movie about how Ray Kroc created a global restaurant franchise from a small business started by the MacDonald brothers. This podcast episode is about what entrepreneurs can learn from the ideas shown in the movie.

Show Notes:
Listen To Episode 284



9 March 2017

283 Minimalism and Parenting (Featuring Hannah Braime)


Does becoming a parent mean giving up a minimalist lifestyle? In this episode Hannah and I discuss our experience of minimalism and parenting. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Baby-wearing as an alternative to prams
  • Co-sleeping as an alternative to cots
  • Breastfeeding and baby-led weaning as alternative to bottle feeding and baby foods
  • Buying second-hand stuff for babies
  • How attachment parenting and respectful parenting fit in with minimalism

Show Notes:

Listen to Episode 283



3 March 2017

282 The Fear That Motivates Me (Sample Hour Interview)


This episode is from a conversation I had recently on The Sample Hour podcast with the host, Drew Sample. We had a wide ranging discussion covering options for living a job free life, productivity, minimalism as a parent, and motivation— including the fear that motivates me.

Show Notes:
Listen To Episode 282



24 February 2017

281 Listener Feedback on Peaceful Parenting

In this episode, I respond to listener feedback about peaceful parenting. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Is spanking justified?
  • What about minor kinds of aggression in parenting, such as confiscating possessions?
  • One listener's experience of practicing peaceful parenting for 18 years.
  • How come I argue against the use of psychotropic drugs on children?

Show Notes:
Listen to Episode 281


16 February 2017

280 How To Disagree


Although it might not seem like it, disagreeing is a skill. To disagree well is not only an important skill, but also a learnable one. Most people disagree so poorly that they fail to even make an argument. This podcast episode presents Paul Graham's excellent article "How To Disagree" and discusses the concept of a hierarchy of disagreement.

Show Notes:



7 February 2017

279 Designing A Life Without Regrets (Featuring Hannah Braime)


This week Hannah and I discuss ways to design a life without regrets. Hannah talks about how to use journaling to stay conscious of what really matters to you.. I explain my own journaling practice inspired by her approach- Each week I complete the following sentence stems:
  • The most courageous expression of my feelings at the moment would be…
  • The best opportunity for quality time this week is …
  • If I were to let myself be happier, I would …
  • The most extraordinary thing that I can work on these days is …
  • The best thing I can do to get more transparency in what I do these days is …
  • The best opportunity for automation in what I do these days is …
  • The thing am I doing regularly that I least inspired by is …
  • We are at our best these days when …
  • The thing I am most concerned about going wrong this week is  …
  • The way I would handle that is …
  • The thing I am most resisting at the moment is …
  • The most audacious goal that haven't fully admitted to myself is …
Listen to the episode to find out more!

Show Notes:






31 January 2017

278 Three Principles Of Philosophy Applied To Parenting


This episode is about three principles of philosophy applied to parenting:
  1. Children own themselves (all people are self-owners).
  2. Parents have positive obligations towards their children (all individuals are responsible for their own actions).
  3. It is wrong to initiate aggression against children (initiating aggression against anyone is unjustifiable).
Philosophical principles don't provide detailed prescriptions for parenting, but they do give a framework for understanding which parenting practices are ethical.

If a principle is valid, then all its logical implications are valid too, even if those implications challenge widely-accepted practices. In the episode, I show how these principles can be applied to reevaluate many common parenting practices.

Show Notes:

Listen to Episode 278



22 January 2017

277 Why It Is Worth Striving To Achieve A Job Free Life


What will you do when you reach financial independence and job freedom? In this episode, I suggest some of the major opportunities that make this lifestyle worth striving to achieve, based on my own experience. Good luck on your journey, and let me know what you think!

Show Notes:
Listen To Episode 277



9 January 2017

276 Society Is Your Relationships


Paul Johnson's book, Intellectuals, provides many examples of the disastrous personal lives of intellectuals like Jean Jaques Rousseau, Karl Marx, Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. Why do so many intellectuals—who famously argue for a better society— behave so badly in their personal relationships? Johnson suggests a few explanations, such as their need for attention and desire to post-rationalise bad decisions.

There is also something about the way that these intellectuals think that leads them to neglect the people close to them. They share a faulty view of society, from which it makes sense for them to care so little about their personal relationships. In this episode, I argue that a correct understanding of society leads to investing in your personal relationships, because your society is your relationships.

Show Notes:
Listen To Episode 276




27 December 2016

275 The Best Books On Productivity


This week's episode is about the most helpful books I've read on productivity. During the episode, I explain why I recommend each book and what you can expect from them.

Show Notes:




19 December 2016

274 Imaginary Teams


Personal freedom comes from individual choice and individual responsibility, as opposed to collective identity and collective responsibility. This week's episode is about an idea that I find helpful in achieving personal freedom: Don’t join imaginary teams. Listen to the episode to find out more!

Show Notes:
Listen To Episode 274



13 December 2016

273 The Best Books On Entrepreneurship


This week's episode is about the most helpful books I've read on entrepreneurship. During the episode, I explain why I recommend each book and what you can expect from them. As mentioned in the episode, if you want to get a free copy of my book "Negotiate For Mutual Profit", sign up to my mailing list here.

Show Notes:

Listen To Episode 273


4 December 2016

272 Why I Choose Peaceful Parenting


I choose to parent without violence or aggression. This means I eschew various actions that a lot of parents still consider acceptable- actions such as spanking, hitting, yelling, psychotropic drugs, circumcision, and so on. In this episode, I explain my own reasons for choosing to practice peaceful parenting.

Show Notes:
Listen To Episode 272



27 November 2016

271 The Best Books To Start Learning About Financial Independence


Financial independence is one of the core topics of this podcast. I've covered it in many different ways, including a four part introductory series. This week's episode suggests a list of books that will give you an overview of the issues involved in pursuing financial independence.

I've tried to keep the list relatively short. Some of the books are must-reads, whereas others are suggested for specific purposes or additional information only. I've avoided country-specific books, so these books are relevant regardless of where you live. During the episode I explain why I recommend each book and what you can expect from them.

Show Notes:


Listen To Episode 271


21 November 2016

270 Harry Browne's Article "A Gift for My Daughter"


This week’s episode discusses a very thought-provoking article by the late Harry Browne, called  “A Gift for My Daughter”. It includes a recording of Harry reading his own words.

Harry’s ideas had a huge influence on me, but I don’t agree with him about everything. This article is particularly interesting because it explains an important truth, and yet I think it also demonstrates one of Harry’s most significant blindspots.

Show Notes:

Listen to Episode 270


13 November 2016

269 Review of A Guide to the Good Life by William B. Irvine


This week I am joined by my wife Hannah Braime to discuss William B. Irvine's book, A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy. This book argues that the philosophy of stoicism is relevant to modern life and can be used to help you live well, according to your own values. We recorded the episode for the Psychology Book Club. I am sharing it here because the themes are highly relevant to The Voluntary Life.

Show Notes:



Listen to Episode 269


8 November 2016

268 A Listener Question About Family Pressure, Expensive Weddings, And Kids


A listener posted a question in The Voluntary Life Community Facebook group. He asked:

How do you cope with family and friend pressure to buy bigger and better and to have an expensive wedding and kids, which leaves you with no ability to save and get ahead in life?

What do you think? Listen to this week's episode to hear my response.

Listen To Episode 268


31 October 2016

267 Consumerism Vs Saving: Four Theories


Why do people spend so much of their disposable income on consumption and save so little towards their own financial independence? There are many competing theories that try to answer this question. In this episode, I present four theories:
  • Theory 1: People are brainwashed into consumerism by advertising.
  • Theory 2: Spending escalates as people try to keep up with their peer groups.
  • Theory 3: Central bank policies have undermined saving.
  • Theory 4: Spending is the path of least resistance, so you won't save unless you have sufficient motivation.
Which (if any) of these theories have merit? Is there a better explanation? Let me know what you think!

Show Notes:

Listen To Episode 267


23 October 2016

266 Self-Sufficiency And DIY: Good For Financial Independence?


Many people who write about financial independence emphasise the benefits of self-sufficiency and DIY as part of their lifestyle. Will it help your journey to financial independence to try to be self-sufficient? Does it make financial sense to do your own repairs and renovations? This week's episode provides a different perspective.

Show Notes:


Listen To Episode 266