ARI: Now, everybody, I have the very cool pleasure of speaking with Jordan Harbinger, who is the
founder of the Art of Charm. Hey, Jordan.
JORDAN: Hey, man. Thanks for having me on.
ARI: Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for making the time to talk to me. This is an area of really what I would
consider human performance that I haven’t been able to touch on before, which is really social
intelligence, in a lot of ways, and confidence and being able to communicate with people in a good way.
How did the Art of Charm come about for you?
JORDAN: For me, I was working at a law firm, and it was a wealthy type deal, and I was an intern,
essentially, at that point. They don’t call them interns; they call them summer associates. This guy hired
me. He was rumored to have made more money than everybody else, all the partners and everything
like that. It was interesting because he was never in the office. He was supposed to be my mentor,
which in the Wall Street world just means somebody that takes you out to coffee once every 3 months
because they have to, and HR has a checkbox for that somewhere.
Basically, he took me out for coffee one day and was like “Ask me anything,” and I thought, okay, I don’t
really care about this job, so here goes: “How come everyone says you make more money and you’re
never in the office?” Just to settle the rumor and also my curiosity and also who knows, maybe I’ll learn
Well, what I learned essentially changed my life. What he said was, “I’m actually out doing the real work
that nobody else can do because I’m bringing business to the firm.” I had him start explaining it. What
this meant was going out, playing golf, the old cliché, doing jiu jitsu, going on cruises, doing charity
events, all kinds of stuff. He had a great tan for a guy that lived in Brooklyn.
I was really curious, and what he told me was that the partners that were in the office at 1:00 in the
morning had great technical knowledge, but what they didn’t have was the ability to go out and sell the
firm to the people that mattered the most. At the end of the day, he was the least replaceable, because
he was the guy bringing in the bucks. Somebody with prized technology knowledge is extremely valuable
to a firm, but somebody in that position who doesn’t bring any business is also expendable, because if
there’s no deals, they don’t need you.
What he was doing was going out and getting deals, period, and that’s why he was indispensable, thus
his salary reflected that, and his work schedule reflected that. For all I know – actually, I heard from him,
“off the record,” that the firm paid for most of the stuff that he did.
ARI: That’s pretty cool, and that’s very inspiring, of course, but how do you go from that to – so you
basically wanted to become a professional schmoozer?
JORDAN: Right, I just left out all the good stuff. I heard that and I thought, okay, wait, so I can either
outwork all of these, not to stereotype, but Asians and Indian guys who are so much smarter than me
and outwork those guys. Is it racist if I’m complimenting them? I don’t know.
ARI: I don’t think so.
JORDAN: Yeah, okay, good. I slipped through a loophole there. Honestly, I was like, “I’m never going to
be able to outwork these guys. I’m never going to be more clever than these guys. So you need to tell
me that I don’t have to do the backbreaking, boring office stuff as much, but I can go out, work on my
people skills, and end up with an indispensable skill set that makes more money than they do and works
less/does it on a cruise ship in the middle of summertime from New York. I’m in.”
So I started reading about networking, which is kind of like reading about riding a bicycle. I started to go
out on my own and I started to network with people online who were really good with it. I started
reading Dale Carnegie and taking classes and learning psychology and learning pop psychology and
trying things that I learned from pickup artists, day coaches, networking maestros, entrepreneurs.
I started breaking what they were telling me, and what I mean by that is, they might say “Go out and
meet as many people as you can and connect with them and reach out to them. If they don’t answer, go
meet more people.” I would just start to be like, “How much can I push the limits of everything?” So I
would go out six nights a week. Eventually I met up with AJ, the cofounder of the Art of Charm. We’d go
out six nights a week. We’d start meeting tons of people.
We’d start doing things that are socially taboo, like they’d say “Oh, I can’t hang out this weekend, I’ve
got a barbeque,” and we’d be like, “Cool, what time should we be there? Hahaha.” They’d be like, “Oh,
you guys want to come? Cool. Yeah, it’s on Sunday at 4. Just bring a six-pack of beer and maybe a pizza.
We have everything else we need.” And we’d show up. We would actually do it, and we would make all
We ended up doing really weird stuff, like never waiting in line for the Irish pub on St. Patrick’s Day,
never paying for drinks, finding out about all kinds of cool private parties that were – I mean, granted,
this is Ann Arbor. It wasn’t Manhattan. A private party there was just someone’s house; it wasn’t even
fancy most of the time. But we made friends with people that were 50+ years old, our parents’ age, and
they were like “Come out on our boat and hang out with our rich friends and go hang out with these
hospital donors and these surgeons,” and all this stuff.
I realized, okay, this is really working even better than we thought, because they were like “What are
you going to do with your law degree after school?” “I don’t know.” “Oh, well, if you need a job, you
should talk to all of these people that you just met at this party that we just had. We’ll have another one
in 2 months, and you should come to that one too.” It was like, wow, I feel a lot better about my future
prospects here. AJ was a cancer biologist, and he was essentially hanging out with the Who’s Who of the
U of M Hospital at some of these events, and that was really good for him.
We thought, all right, we’re onto something here. But we started to meet lots of girls and lots of guys
that were into the night life scene and things like that. We had a lot of fun experiences, and when we
started to tell people about what we were doing, especially other guys, they were really stoked on the
idea of how this could be used to meet girls, but they didn’t care about any of the rest.
And that sort of makes sense, because if you’re a 25-year-old guy and we’re telling you, “Hey, you know
what? You can go out and network and it’s going to help your career, it’s going to help your personal
charisma, and you’re going to feel really good. You’re going to have people treating you totally different
than you ever expected,” they go, “Uh huh, uh huh, yeah, uh huh, okay, cool.” And then you go, “And
it’s going to help you meet more girls,” and they go, “Wait, wait, back up. I’ve got to go get a pen and a
pencil, a notebook. Repeat the last thing that you said?”
So we started teaching guys our system and our basic principles that we had at the time, and we ended
up never paying for drinks, because even the drinks we were paying for were covered now by this cadre
of dudes that would follow us around Ann Arbor. We started a podcast to talk about it, because they
wanted us to write a book. But AJ is a cancer biologist, I was a law student; we weren’t about to write a
book. We were already working 10, 12 hours a day studying.
We started the podcast, and it ended up getting pretty popular, and we ended up with guys saying, “I’ll
give you X dollars if I can come hang out with you for a day or a weekend or a week.” We started to take
them up on it, because even though we resisted turning it into a business at first, we actually started to
take them up on the idea that guys who had gotten tons of coaching from other folks were like, “No, no,
no, you guys clearly know more about what you’re talking about than a lot of these other guys.”
We actually started to run informal classes, and it started to become really profitable. I moved out to
New York to do the lawyer thing, hired some coaches, some of whom still work with us at the Art of
Charm, and we ended up formalizing the curriculum and creating the boot camps. That was 7 years ago.
ARI: That’s an awesome story, obviously. You don’t need me to tell you that, but it’s…
JORDAN: Never gets old, though.
ARI: One of the things that’s so interesting to me about this is that talking to members of your own sex,
much less members of the opposite sex, is fricking terrifying for most people. It’s almost surprising that
we’ve survived as a species and that we’ve evolved, and people still have so much trouble walking
across the room and saying hello to somebody.
JORDAN: Yeah, it’s funny too, because a lot of guys listening right now are probably like “What kind of
losers take that class?” I get that all the time, and it’s kind of funny because usually the people that say
that are – no offense to anybody who works in a call center, but they’re some guy who works in a call
center or something like that. They have a mediocre existence, generally.
A lot of the guys that come to the Art of Charm are really wealthy entrepreneurs; we get a lot of
military, special forces, and intelligence agents. So it’s really not guys with tape on their glasses that are
like “Girls won’t talk to me.” We get a few guys who are – we get plenty of guys who are struggling in
that department, but you’d be surprised how fearful a trained sniper might be to go talk to a girl that’s
5’5” at a bar.
ARI: Actually, I have a note to ask you about the intelligence thing. That actually doesn’t surprise me,
because the guy who’s only interacting with people through a scope from a mile away, doesn’t surprise
me that it might be hard for him to talk to somebody face to face like that.
JORDAN: “It’s just so hard for me to talk to people that I’m not going to shoot in the face.”
ARI: Right. “If you’re not a mark, what am I doing?” It’s almost like you’re hacking confidence. Why are
intelligence guys coming to you?
JORDAN: What they’re doing is those guys, their lives and livelihood depend on how they get people to
like and trust them. Frankly, what we have at a lot of our intelligence agencies is a pretty rudimentary
system for teaching skills, but also a very fine screening system. So you’d be surprised; a lot of the
people that you meet at places like certain alphabet agencies are pretty vanilla because they are
screening for the loyal patriot who doesn’t have any history, but also because they’re looking for people
who are teachable and also people who are relatable. Very rarely are they going after this super
charismatic, outgoing individual. Those people get recruited outside of the agency by the handlers.
So in order to relate to somebody who is, for example – it’s hard to think of an example off the top of
my head that’s not going to give something away that I’m not supposed to do. But in order to relate to
somebody not super outgoing or somebody who’s really different than you, you have to have a very
unique skill set.
For example, you and I might be able to go – or maybe not you and I, but we might be able to go talk to
some people we don’t know relatively easily and make friends with them and say, “Hey, what are you
guys doing this Friday?” and they go “Nothing,” and you say, “Hey listen, let’s go hiking, what do you
guys think?” They go, “Oh yeah, cool, I’d love to do that.”
But most people can’t really do that. And a lot of people are thinking, “I could do that, but I just… I don’t
know.” Ask yourself, when’s the last time you actually did that, and you’ll have your answer. Because
most people never do.
And then of course, they’re looking for people who can adapt to unique circumstances really fast, and
most people can’t do that either. So when you’re looking at a skill set like the Art of Charm, you’re
looking at guys who can go do a course for a week, get a great skill set, and then move to another
country and make a bunch of friends in the first month and hang out with a ton of new people, and start
learning the language right away. That’s a pretty valuable skill set.
If you already are that type of person, then what we teach at the Art of Charm will skyrocket you times X
number, times n. That’s what those agencies would love to have, and that’s the type of thing that’s
really difficult to teach. Sure, they teach it in-house, but they teach it in one way, and a lot of guys in
other branches of the government don’t have access to that.
ARI: Sure. I actually have this image in my head of the way that they train current agents to be
personable. There was a sexual harassment video in – I think it was Family Guy, and basically it was from
the ’50s, and they said “The best way to give a woman a compliment is a firm, open palm slap on the
behind.” I feel like that’s kind of like the videos that they show them.
JORDAN: I think you might be right. I’m not trying to dig on anybody, but we’ve definitely had some guys
from certain military units – and here’s the other thing. They’re not necessarily crappy at what they do.
For example, we had a bunch of Green Berets in here, and those guys were awesome. They were super
fun. They were really good. They picked up what we taught them really, really fast.
But those guys are at such an elite level that they’re looking for any edge that would bring them 1% to
5% better competency in any field that they’re looking to gain competency in. They’re not going, “Oh
wah, girls never talk to me.” They’re going, “Wait a minute. There’s something that very few people
know about, that very few people address, and it’s going to get me from the 90th percentile to the 95th
percentile. I don’t care how much it costs; where is it in the world? I’m going there right now to get it.”
ARI: Right, absolutely. I’m just curious; what is your current relationship status?
JORDAN: I am living with a girl right now. She’s usually nice to me.
ARI: I mean, I would say that too. I’m married, but I would say the same thing.
JORDAN: She’s great, and I’m in a very happy, committed relationship. What does she think about it?
JORDAN: Yeah? She is a fan of the show. She loves what we do at the Art of Charm, and that’s how we
met. Her brother came through as well, and honestly, it’s not a threatening thing to her because I don’t
run around thinking of chicks all day.
ARI: Also, in my limited experience, because I haven’t gone through your boot camp or anything, but
from what I’ve seen, you’re not doing the mystery guy with the guyliner, like trying to trick girls,
basically, into bed. You’re genuinely building a skill set.
JORDAN: Correct, yeah. There’s no pink hats, goofy light-up stuff. It’s based on authenticity as opposed
to based on lying. That’s why a lot of the pickup guys and us don’t get along from an ideological level.
It’s not like we duke it out in clubs and bars when we run into each other like the warriors, but we
ARI: You don’t do dueling magic tricks?
JORDAN: We don’t do dueling magic tricks, no. It’s funny, because a lot of guys will call and they’ll be
like, “You don’t go to the same venues every time when you do fieldwork, do you? Don’t they recognize
you guys?” I’m like, “Yeah, they recognize us as the cool guys that always have friends in from out of
town.” We don’t say the same things with the same girls, with the same “I’m going to make this rose
disappear.” We don’t do that stuff, so people don’t sniff it out as “This is some weird thing that people
are doing that only works one time.”
And that’s the beauty of it. Women have read all the pickup artists’ crap, and it’s also so cliché now, and
it also filters in some pretty dumb chicks most of the time. So outside of Hollywood, that stuff has a very
limited effective radius.
It’s funny, because women love what we do at AoC. We have some haters, but they’re all guys. Women
who find out about what we do are like “This is the coolest thing ever, and everyone needs to know
about it,” whereas a lot of guys are like “I don’t like this. There’s something wrong here. I don’t like the
idea that you can learn this, because it makes me feel bad about myself for not having done it earlier. I
don’t like you, Jordan. Plug my ears and walk in the other direction.”
So it’s very funny to see where people are like “Oh my God, is it going to work in 5 years?” Yeah, it’s
going to work just as well as it has in the last million years of human evolution. People are attracted to
things that are biologically attractive: authenticity, vulnerability, social prowess, competency,
networking skills. All these things make you successful. It has nothing to do with crap that you’re
wearing or the weirdo tattoo you have on your face that makes it look like some girl kissed you. None of
that stuff is a part of what we do.
ARI: Right, and again, obviously what’s particularly interesting to me is how this applies to interaction in
general. Whether you’re networking or you’re talking to your boss or you’re talking to an employee,
even, I feel like these are all skills that this – again, it’s that social intelligence, in a way.
I’ve heard you talk on the podcast a bunch about reading people. Let’s talk about that a little bit,
because I’m not exactly sure why, actually, but that’s something that’s always fascinated me, about
being able to read people. How do you learn that? How do you really train that?
JORDAN: There’s a lot of different ways to read people. There’s some simple ways, where you can learn
things like micro-expressions, to read emotions. But you can’t read people through context. For
example, being like “I can tell when someone’s lying” is a total fallacy. All science is against you, and all
law enforcement experts are also against you. There’s no way to read that with any sort of foolproof
The thing you can do is get enough social experience that you can calibrate yourself to be able to read
what people mean, inside and outside of certain contexts and things like that. You might be able to say
“Hmm, that’s weird. That person was acting weird when they said that” or “This vocal tonality is off
baseline for this person” or “I bet you that this person frequently does this and this and this, and so I bet
we can predict with some degree of certainty that they’re going to do X, Y, and Z based on their
personality and my experience with personalities of that type.”
So it requires a lot of social experience, but it also requires active – almost like the nonverbal equivalent
of active listening. I can teach you body language cues, micro-expressions, and our team can teach you
signs of ways to look and read people that are nonverbal, micro-expressions and things like that or
certain nonverbal cues or verbal cues, but really it comes down to honing yourself so that you start to
trust your subconscious, but your subconscious is then educated by your conscious mind.
So you’re not over-thinking it, and you’re also not just “trusting your gut.” Because a lot of people think
that they can trust their gut, but again, science is generally against you. There is that sort of Malcolm
Gladwell Blink, but there’s more – you’re usually wrong when you’re trying to read people versus
situations or objects.
ARI: Right. It’s almost like confirmation bias in a way. You sort of expect something, and then
everything’s going to support that.
JORDAN: Right. You can look at this in dating; you can look at it with pretty much anything. But anytime
– you always are reading people from your own emotional baggage, but the thing is most people don’t
realize they’re doing that, because they don’t even know what baggage they have. You’ll hear guys go,
“Women only want money, wah.” They don’t think, “Hmm, I’m doing something wrong that turns lots of
good women off.” They’re not thinking about that.
They might have even had a girlfriend that only wanted money, and they screened that person in and
accepted, of course, no responsibility for doing so. But they might have done that and had a relationship
where they got burned there, so when they go out looking for another partner, surprise, surprise, they
see that quality most often.
It’s like those people that think they turn the streetlights off when they walk under them, but they don’t
notice the other 10,000 streetlights they did walk under that never turned off when they went under
them, but they noticed the 5 that last month that did.
ARI: Survivorship bias.
JORDAN: Right, it’s called confirmation bias, yeah. It’s just a really annoying thing to try to explain to
people, because they go, “No, no, every time I think of someone, they call me.” I’m like, “No, you’ve had
that occurrence happen three times in the last month, but every time you think of someone, they call
you? Your phone would be ringing all day long. But it’s not. It’s not happening every time you think of
somebody. It’s sometimes when you think of somebody, they call you at some sort of time thereafter
that makes you think it was influenced by that when it clearly was not.”
There’s all kinds of phenomena to support that. But we can also teach you how to read actual things
that are happening in real life and try to discard your cognitive biases. That’s really difficult, but that in
itself is kind of an art of habit building.
ARI: Is one of those things to recognize, or that you get to be better at seeing, is one of those things
knowing, whether it’s a dating situation or a business situation, that you’re dealing with a cold lead? Like
this is not going to go anywhere, basically, and you need to move on. Is that something that you figure
JORDAN: Yeah. You will figure it out on your own, generally, but yeah, we can definitely teach someone
to read signs of attraction, which is a concert of nonverbal and verbal cues. We can teach you to – in
fact, half the battle for us is having people discard their cognitive biases. For example, they’ll go, “Oh,
she’s not interested in me because she started talking to her friend.” That could mean a million different
things, but the narrative they had in their head was “Women aren’t interested in me.”
So she might’ve checked her phone one time during a conversation and he goes, “See? She’s not
interested. She got her phone out.” Whereas there might be another guy who’s completely clueless that
people don’t like him, and she’s sitting there texting and maybe even on the phone with someone else,
and he’s still standing there like, “I’ll just wait for her to be done, because she’s totally into me.” It’s
funny, because those two guys could be on the same boot camp.
And this girl, meanwhile, she had to text her friend to let her know she was already at the bar, and the
guy went, “Wah wah, she doesn’t like me,” and then she’s chasing him around all night. The other guy’s
sitting there talking her ear off while she’s trying to get away from him, and he doesn’t get it either.
It all has to do with the story that’s in your head. And obviously, it’s much better to assume people like
you than to assume that they don’t. I mean, which one of those mindsets do you think is more
successful with people?
ARI: Right. Then of course, though, do you have to deal with that – maybe it’s a fine line, but maybe it’s
not, between being confident and being just a cocky dick?
JORDAN: It’s not a fine line at all, actually. A lot of people think that confidence is arrogance, but that
actually is a social mask, like any other. Basically, what arrogance essentially is, is overcompensating. We
have these different value levels that we talk about in terms of personality archetypes that we discuss,
and we discuss it on the Art of Charm podcast as well, of course, at our boot camp.
People who are arrogant are never actually confident, because confident people don’t need to boast
and brag and talk about how awesome everything is in their life. It’s like, you ever meet someone who’s
fantastically wealthy or just loaded? You ever meet anybody like that? Do you know anybody like that?
JORDAN: Yeah. Do they talk about their money a lot, or do they kind of let it just speak for itself?
ARI: No, you just Google them.
JORDAN: Right, you Google them. I have a friend, he’s a really close friend of mine; I went to his parents’
house once after knowing him for years, and I was like, “Whoa, this is a really nice place.” It was at his
wedding, coincidentally. He was like, “Yeah, this is our parents’ new place. It’s kind of ridiculous, huh?”
Sort of blew it off. Then I said to his wife, who was a very good friend of mine before they even got
married, “Why is there a painting of Paul Revere in the hallway? That’s so random.” She goes, “Oh, it’s
And I went, holy cow, this is like American aristocracy, nice house in Georgetown. I know they went on
vacation to an island that he said his aunt owned, but actually it’s his family-owned island. I thought,
okay, this is a really wealthy family. But he never let on. I had no idea. I’d known him for years, never
had a clue. He didn’t need to, because he actually had wealth, but he didn’t define it. It didn’t matter. It
wasn’t a deciding factor; it was no big deal.
On the other hand, I know people whose parents make $80,000 a year, and they drive a Mercedes and
they will not shut the hell up about how much cool crap they have and where they went to on vacation
and what next car they’re going to get. They just can’t even shut up about it. And I know that they don’t
have that much dough, because otherwise, why the hell would you talk about it so much? Wealthy
people don’t make note of it. It’s not a big deal.
ARI: Yeah, and actually that’s a really funny thing, because I was at the doctor’s office last week – I
actually told my wife about this because I thought it was so weird – I was at the doctor’s office waiting in
the waiting room, and some guy was delivering blood tests or something. Whatever, it was like a sample
delivery or something.
He starts telling the secretary how much he makes, and I’m not judging, but it wasn’t a lot. But he was
saying it like he was trying to be really impressive, and I just thought it was odd. I saw him walk in; I was
like, “You clearly just met this person 40 seconds ago, and you’re telling them how much you make?” I
was very confused.
JORDAN: Yeah, because in his world, that’s a lot, and also, that’s where he gets his value. What that says
to somebody who’s socially aware is “Oh, so what that person considers their most positive quality is
their mediocre paycheck? This guy must really suck and have a low opinion of himself.” That’s not doing
you any favors.
People fill in the blanks in their own mind about the things they don’t know about you, so if you’re a
classy guy, you’re smart, you’re interesting, you make people laugh, you’re relaxed and comfortable in
your own skin, one, they’re not going to even care how much you make, but also they’re probably going
to assume it’s a decent amount. They’re not going to care that you’re a technician at a laboratory – that
might be a great job, for all I know. But you know what I mean. They won’t care that you’re a secretary
somewhere. In fact, it’s not even going to be a concern.
But if you start talking about your car, your car, your car, your car, your car – there’s even a cliché, guys
who buy these fancy sports cars have small wee-wees, right? And that exists because overcompensation
is such an obvious tell that it has become a cliché.
ARI: Right, exactly. On the other side of that, too, do you really want to be forming a relationship with
somebody who cares about that thing that that person would be gloating about?
JORDAN: That’s the other part, is guys who say things like “Women only care about money,” they’re
screening in those types of women, because that belief – one of the core principles of the Art of Charm
is your beliefs influence your actions, which influence your results. If you actually have a story in your
head that says women only care about money, that’s your belief. So when you want to get a woman,
what do you do? You start showing things like signs of wealth because you think that’s what’s going to
work, because that’s in accordance with your belief.
What happens is, surprise, surprise, when you start showing off your wealth, the women that you
screen in are the ones that care about signs of wealth. You’re actively screening out women who don’t
give a crap because they think you’re being an idiot. So you’re actually repelling people that would
probably be much better for you, but you’re screening in people who are going to definitely care
only/mostly about your money at the end of the day.
That self-perpetuates that belief, because when that relationship disintegrates and she cheats on you
with some other guy who’s got a nicer guy, then what does that do? It strengthens the belief that
women only care about money. Ad nauseam for the rest of your life.
And those beliefs are formed whenever. They can be formed as children or adults. Unfortunately, what
we do as humans is we say “XYZ is true. That’s the case.” I have guys who call all the time and go “What
you teach is great and all that, but you know what? I’m older than you, and I know that women only
care about this and this and this.” It’s like, no, that’s your reality that you’ve created because of your
observations and your beliefs. But it has nothing to do with me, and there’s tens of thousands of guys
that don’t have that same experience as you, and they’re happier.
The good news, though, Ari, is that you can change your belief systems by working really freaking hard
on looking for evidence contrary to them and choosing new beliefs that actually serve you.
ARI: I always misquote this, and I’m really annoyed because I have to look it up, but it’s something about
how you can act into a way of thinking a lot easier than you can think into a way of acting.
JORDAN: Yes, exactly. In other words, the mind follows the body and the body follows the mind, like
Principle #XYZ at the Art of Charm. You can change your physiology; that’ll help change your belief
systems. You can take different actions that might seem counterintuitive. That’s the thing, is people are
always like “I just follow my gut,” and I’m like, how is that working out for you? You just called and told
me that it’s like a country Western song – your truck broke down, your dog ran away, your wife left. But
you trust your gut? That’s been leading you in a pretty crap direction so far. You might want to work on
that gut there that you got.
So you can take different actions that might be totally counterintuitive, and they might actually work.
And then your belief systems will slowly start to change. It sounds woo-woo, but it’s totally not. There’s
so much science based on this, and the only people who don’t believe it are people that get angry that
it’s all about who you know, or whatever point I’m trying to make at the time grinds their gears. But
there’s plenty of science on this. It is not a mystery, and it’s no coincidence that a lot of really helpful
and well-known coaches, and even self-help weirdoes, all kind of agree on these principles.
ARI: This sort of goes back to what I was saying towards the beginning of our conversation, that I’m
almost surprised that we’ve made it so far as a species without having this as a generalized skill. I’ve
talked about this before on my podcast, but my favorite book is Emergency by Neil Strauss, which –
you’ve probably read it, right?
JORDAN: Actually, Neil gave me a copy before it came out, and I remember thinking, “This is not your
best work, bro.”
ARI: Oh, okay. I love it. I loved that book. It was very inspirational to me at a time when I was sick, and I
ended up becoming an EMT, and I have my pilot’s license. I did a lot of the things that he did in the
book, and it was very life-changing for me. He did survival skills, and he did all that stuff. I feel like this is
a survival skill, in a way. You can sort of move along at the baseline, or if you want to – survival of the
fittest; you really need to be able to poke your head up and communicate.
JORDAN: I agree. Why haven’t you had Neil on your show? Or have you?
ARI: No, I haven’t actually. I’ve tried to contact him, but I think he’s –
JORDAN: He’s one of my close friends, actually. We actually went to North Korea together. I can totally
make that intro. Just remind me after the show.
ARI: I definitely will, thank you. It’s the only person I never got upset about not getting back to me,
because I just think he’s awesome.
JORDAN: Don’t take it personally. I’ll text him and his assistant will answer 4 days later that he’s busy.
ARI: Well, thank you.
JORDAN: Yeah, don’t take it personally. When he’s writing, he’s in a cave.
ARI: Yeah, I’ve heard that about him. I want to be respectful of your time. We’ve already gone over a
little bit. I just have a couple other questions for you. One, this is a quick question: have you ever been in
JORDAN: Oh yeah, so many. So many.
ARI: Do you practice a particular method of fighting, martial arts or anything like that?
JORDAN: Nah, not anymore. When I was younger I did, all the time. I used to be a doorman, which is
why I got in so many. I’m not just some hothead. And also, when I got kidnapped in Mexico, which is
another story that I actually tell on my show – I think it’s Episode 199 or something. I can’t remember,
but I told it on Caleb Bacon’s Man School as well; I think it’s the second episode. I used some martial –
ARI: Hello? Hello?
ARI: Okay, there you are. You used martial arts what?
JORDAN: Oh, I just was talking the whole time. I don’t even know where I left off.
ARI: You said you got kidnapped in Mexico and then you cut out.
JORDAN: Which is a story I actually told on my show quite recently, and also on Caleb Bacon’s Man
School podcast. I told it I think in his second episode, and it’s I think my Episode 201 or 199. I told the
story of how that happened, and I used some stuff there. But that was 15 years ago, almost.
As I’ve grown older and more civil as a man, I think I’ve stepped beyond – not beyond, but away from
martial arts and things like that.
ARI: It’s sort of a rhetorical question, but I would imagine that confidence helps in those situations.
JORDAN: Confidence and the ability to stay calm, both of which I’ve cultivated through studying what we
actually teach here at the Art of Charm, has been much more helpful than punch-punch-kick-chop type
In fact, real martial artists who are good will tell you that it’s a mental thing, and what it does is give you
confidence to really crush it and go for it. It’s great, because you will get a ton of confidence being a
martial artist, and you’ll walk a little bit taller, and that’s great. But you can also get it by doing a million
other things. Being in AoC and having the skill set that we teach is designed to build confidence. It’s not
a side effect; it’s the actual result.
ARI: Gotcha. Last question here. Have you read The Rise of Superman, or do you know about the flow
JORDAN: Of course, yeah.
ARI: You strike me as somebody who is always in a state of flow.
JORDAN: I wouldn’t say always in a state of flow, but definitely try to stay there as much as humanly
possible, and when people see how much I get done, they’re like “I can’t believe you’re so busy and you
get all this done!” It doesn’t even feel like work and my days go by in a blink. So definitely, when I’m
talking with Stephen Kotler, he definitely describes some things I’m familiar with for sure. Especially
when I’m traveling, language learning, working, doing my show, things like that I feel like are definitely
ARI: Cool. Awesome. I’m already going to tell you that I would really love to have you back on to talk
about all of your past experiences with travel and stuff. But again, I want to be respectful of your time,
so the last question that I have for you is what are your top 3 tips for being more effective? It could be
anything, really – the way you work, the way you communicate with people. But just the 3 things that
make people more effective.
JORDAN: Sure. I’ll give them a couple different random ones in different niches here. A lot of people say
“Oh, how do I change my body language? I know that’s really important.” One of the very, very, very
basic things is a lot of people slouch or go into their habits in posture, so try to build the habit.
The way that you do this is by working your butt off and setting tons of reminders or having somebody
elbow you every time. But every time you walk through a door, straighten up. Look straight ahead, put a
smile on your face every time you walk through a door. Sounds really difficult.
If you build this habit, you’ll always be making a really good first impression on people that see you right
when you walk in the room, because you’ll be upright, you’ll have your eyes wide open, you’ll be putting
on a bright smile. So that’s great. It helps you because the body follows the mind and the mind follows
the body. If you change your physiology every time you walk through a door, which his dozens and
dozens of times per day, usually, you will consistently be telling your body that you’re in an upbeat,
good mood. So that’s a great tip.
The other tip is surprisingly simple, and most people don’t do it: keep a calendar. On your phone, on
your computer, have them synchronized, and put everything on there. My calendar’s like “wake up,
meditation, coffee, call, another call, another call, a show, flex time for email, lunch.” Some people don’t
like that rigidity, but to those people, I say how much did you get done last week?
The reason is because if it’s not on my calendar, it doesn’t exist. It’s totally dead to me. So I’m plowing
through the calendar, and it’s happening. Social time is on there; my assistant knows not to schedule
things over that. I don’t have to worry about surprises. They don’t happen, because everything is on the
calendar. And I’m not the type of person – people are going, “I’m not the type of guy who needs that” or
“I’m not the type of guy who uses that. I’m more flexible.” No, you’re just not as organized.
I used to be there; I’ve heard it all before. I used to be the guy who’s like “I know everything I need to
do. I don’t need a calendar for it.” No, you’re just not going to be as effective, period. People can make
excuses about why they don’t need it, but everybody that I know who’s highly effective, even artsy-
fartsy people who are highly effective, they always have calendars, and they stick to them religiously. It’s
something you just don’t deviate from.
ARI: I think that’s fantastic. That was two, though, right?
JORDAN: That was two, you got me. You know what, I would say – networking is kind of a dirty word
these days, but I would say never stop networking. What I mean by that is, always – actually, an even
better tip, and one of the mottos of the Art of Charm, is “leave everything better than you found it.”
If you go to the grocery store and the cashier is in autopilot mode, snap her out of it with a great
comment, chat her up, talk about the day. If you see a guy hanging out outside, waiting for the bus, you
can say, “Hey man, this weather’s really awesome today.” Even the littlest tiniest things. UPS delivery
guy comes, you say, “Hey man, you’re looking thirsty. You want something to drink?” and you go and
grab a soda from your refrigerator and hand it to him.
These little tiny things, these little gestures, if you do them all day every day, people are going to
freaking love you, and they won’t be able to stop trying to help you. They’re going to just freaking love
you. And you feel good about doing it, and so it starts to come back, and it’s a positive cycle, because
people are so nice to you, so you start to feel good and you start to do more. It’s a habit. It’s a habit you
can cultivate that doesn’t really cost you anything.
ARI: I think that those are excellent, a really good range of things. Jordan, thank you so much for this. It’s
been an awesome conversation. Where is the best place for people to go to find out more about you?
JORDAN: Since they’re all listening to a podcast, I would say just search for the Art of Charm in iTunes
and look for the Art of Charm podcast and go there, check it out. Or if you’re in front of your web
browser, go to theartofcharmpodcast.com/toolbox, and that’s where some of our basics on body
language, vocal tonality, eye contact, a lot of the general charisma stuff is.
If guys are looking at my show and they go, “Holy crap, there’s 300 episodes here. Where do I begin?”, if
you go to theartofcharmpodcast.com/best, aside from the toolbox, I’ve got 25 really, I think, pretty
damn good episodes that I’ve done over the past 6, 7 years that people have said “This is amazing!” But
look at the podcast, check it out, subscribe, and if you really feel generous, write me a nice review on
iTunes, because I love those.
ARI: Awesome. All right, Jordan, thank you again. I really appreciate it.
JORDAN: Thank you.