Last night, world-famous magician and endurance artist David Blaine taught me how to hold my breath.
For four months, David held the Guinness world record for oxygen-assisted static apnea (holding your breath after breathing pure oxygen): 17 minutes and 4.4 seconds. His record was then surpassed by Tom Sietas on September 19, 2008. David’s record for doing what I’ll describe is between 7 and 8 minutes.
I was born premature and, unlike David, I couldn’t then remember the last time I held my breath for more than one minute. It has always been my physiological Achilles heel.
What were the results of his training?
My first baseline test: 40 seconds.
15 minutes later: 3 minutes and 33 seconds (!!!).
Out of roughly 12 TEDMED attendees he also taught, all but one beat Harry Houdini’s lifelong record of 3 minutes and 30 seconds. One woman held her breath for more than 5 minutes. Here is a photograph of the session. I’m sitting in the vest, four people to the right of Roni Zeiger, MD, Google Health product manager.
An impromptu b-boying lesson at home after some Bulleit bourbon. Don’t drink and dance.
Breakin’ 2 did it. It was 1984 and I was convinced I would be a professional breakdancer. Alas, I was seven years old, and I looked exactly like this reader who left a comment on my tango instructional post:
I’m pretty impressed by your achievements in tango, but what about tips on your first love?
B-boying is a sport I’ve watched and attempted for years. Sadly, the minute I go from uprock to six-step I look like a two-year-old trying to find spilled jelly-beans.
I don’t know what to do. Can you offer any tips on learning how to storm floors?
PS: Nice freeze on the Jones Soda. I don’t know much about tango, but I do know how hard b-boying is. I’m from Seattle and I’m damn proud.
I didn’t rediscover breakdancing (aka b-boying, not to be confused with popping or locking a la Michael Jackson) until 1997 when I found a few scattered videos of breakdancing online. I download horrible written instructions, crappy 10-second video clips, and resolved to learn how to do my favorite move–windmills–before college graduation. Death or windmills.
Months of bruised hips and humiliation later, I was able to do them. It was almost all guess work and took far too long. I’ve since found better methods for building on basics in a logical progression.
In this post, I will teach you the basics of footwork. If you’ve ever dreamed of breakdancing (and who hasn’t?), this is enough to let you check it off the list… Read More
The 4-Hour Workweek was first published April 27th, 2007.
I did my best to cover all of the bases when it debuted, but there were gaps. Though I included cases studies of families using lifestyle design, for example, it was hard to find more than a few the first time around.
Not anymore. Things have changed. There are more than 30,000 comments on this blog, hundreds of people have shared their successes and failures via detailed e-mail, and both case studies and experiments continue to flow in from around the world.
Edmund Wilson, recipient of both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal for Literature, was one of the most prominent social and literary critics of the 20th century.
He realized, like most uber-productive people, that, while there were many behaviors needed to guarantee high output, there was one single behavior guaranteed to prevent all output:
Trying to please everyone.
He had a low tolerance for distraction and shunned undue public acclaim. To almost all inquiries, he would respond with the following list, putting a check mark next to what had been requested… Read More
Total read time (bolded sections): 2-3 minutes
Total read time (complete): 12 minutes
Last week, I had a wonderful conversation with Gary Taubes, my favorite science journalist and author of the incredible (and I consider definitive), Good Calories, Bad Calories. His ability to synthesize and recall research, both in writing and in speaking, is one of the most amazing feats I’ve ever witnessed.
It is with great pleasure, therefore, that I offer you the director’s-cut chapter that didn’t make it into the book.
The chapter addresses important misconceptions about diet, fructose, blood pressure, and diabetes through the lens of gout.
If you don’t know someone with gout, you probably will. It is common and becoming more so. The misguided prescriptions from misinformed doctors, which Taubes addresses, have affected my family, and I’d rather save you the trouble if I can.
But what the hell is “gout” anyway?
Like many, I’d heard it a million times but never knew. Here it is… Read More
“I see you. I’ll get your water when I have a minute. Jesus Christ.”
Um, did… that… really just happen?
Strike three for Delta Airlines. More like strike 37. The bad service had reached the “Orbitz threshold”, where I would no longer purchase tickets from Delta, even if cheaper than the competition.
Life is too short to deal with surly nonsense, and — upon landing back in SF — I decided to poll Twitter to find out which airlines create the most collective misery. This would serve as my must-avoid list.
I also learned that two start-ups called PeopleBrowsr and Dolores Labs were simultaneously figuring out the same thing with really cool social search analysis.
Here are the results: the 10 worst airlines in the US according to customers… Read More