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April 2021

Sent by James Oliver

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This is the third edition of Excelsior, my monthly newsletter to help you improve your mind + body.

I don’t know about you, but I've appreciated springtime this year more than usual. The sound of birds chirping, the sight of flowers blooming, and the reappearance of sunny skies have put a spring (pun intended) in my step that I have missed. Who’s ready to get outside?

James Oliver
Helen Keller Quote

Just as steel needs fire to be tempered into something stronger, humans need adversity. Only through adversity are we able to grow into the best version of ourselves.



Why do carbs dominate our modern diet? While you might think it's because of our nutritional needs, it's actually because of economic efficiency. It’s more cost-effective to produce, store, transport, and process carbohydrates at scale than proteins or fats.

Humans actually don't need carbs to survive. A 2005 study funded by the US Dept of Health included the following statement: "The lower limit of dietary carbohydrate intake compatible with life apparently is zero, provided that adequate amounts of protein and fat are consumed."

I’m not saying that we should omit carbs from our diets. What I am saying is that their dominant presence in today’s food landscape shouldn't be confused with their importance in our diet.

Source #1 Source #2

1. The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness

Few people have experienced a trajectory as meteoric as Naval’s. Coming out of an impoverished upbringing in Deli, India, he is now an entrepreneur, philosopher, and billionaire. Between his rags-to-riches background and his wide-ranging expertise, Naval is able to offer a refreshingly unique perspective on financial freedom, fulfillment, and life.

2. Faster, Healthier Cooking

I first discovered the air fryer earlier this year…and I've used it almost every day since. The hype is true—the air fryer lets you create crispy vegetables/chicken/anything with little to no oil. Or prep. Or cleanup! My go-to snack is to toss broccoli or Brussels sprouts in the air fryer with olive oil and crank it to 400° for 10 minutes.

3. ↑ Productivity, ↓ Scatteredness

I've been testing a new system to improve productivity and decrease “scatteredness” (i.e. having your mind in a million places at once). Here's how it works: each night, I write down the top three things that I need to get done the next day. These aren’t trivial tasks—these are things that will actually move the needle on my goals. The next morning, when I start working, I don't do anything else until those three tasks are done. I mean no Slack, no email, nada. With this system, even if the rest of my day goes sideways, I can feel good when I finally sign off because my most essential and valuable tasks are complete.

*These recommendations are not sponsored in any way—they’re simply things that have improved my life.