Tangentially Speaking Podcast, with Author Chris Ryan, PhD
Author, Chris Ryan, PhD (chrisryanphd.com)
I enjoy participating on radio shows, and while I appreciate a good discussion on a broad range of health topics, I mostly talk about sleep, cognition, and behavior. This is likely due to the facts that my current research delves into these topics, sleep understanding is an important public health need, and people are hungry for good information on these subjects.
Over the last several years, I’ve had the chance to be on dozens of radio shows, and for the most part, I enjoy each opportunity to spread the word. Sometimes, however, there is just a connection between myself and the host that leads to a superlative discussion – this is how I view my recent conversation with Chris Ryan, PhD.
Chris is the co-author of New York Times best-seller, Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What it Means for Modern Relationships, with his partner-in-crime, and wife, Cacilda Jethá, MD. I have an ironic story about how I first heard of this book, but I’ll get to that in a minute. Chris’s doctoral work is in psychology, and here’s an except from his bio describing his research focus:
Drawing upon his multi-cultural experience, Chris’ research focused on distinguishing the human from the cultural, first by focusing on shamanism and ethnobotony—studying how various societies interact with altered states of consciousness and the sacred plants that provoke them—and later, by looking at similarly diverse cultural perspectives on sexuality. His doctoral dissertation analyzed the prehistoric human sexual behavior, and was guided by the world-renowned psychologist, Stanley Krippner, at Saybrook Graduate School, in San Francisco, CA.
Here are just a few places where you can find his work: MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, NPR, The New York Times, Playboy, The Washington Post, Time, Newsweek, The Atlantic, Outside, Salon, Seed, Big Think, and Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish. Also, be sure to check out the TED presentation he gave entitled, Are we designed to be sexual omnivores?
The story of how I heard about Chris’s book
I have been asked to consult with various health-technology start ups. One of those great companies is Fitstar, a personal training app for your iPad and iPhone that uses innovative technology to build training programs based on your level of fitness. The app periodizes your workouts based on your performance. In other words, the app continuously personalizes your training program, which is a major upgrade from yesteryear’s fixed-routine, prefabricated DVD sets. Yes, it’s very cool. In order to develop the best product possible, Fitstar partnered with one of the best football athletes to ever grace the gridiron – Tony Gonzales. He played for 18 years in the NFL and only missed one game. Honestly, that doesn’t even seem humanly possible, but then again, neither do the rest of his statistics. We had the chance to work together, and at one of the video recordings, Tony and I chatted quite a bit between filming sessions. An authentic health enthusiast himself, we discussed the merits and drawbacks of the ever-popular ‘Paleo’ diet, among other things. While on this subject, he pointed me to a book he was reading that touches upon evolutionary biology arguments similar to those being made in the sphere of ancestral health and wellness: this is Chris’s book.
Based on Tony’s recommendation, I picked it up and read it cover to cover. About a month later, I met Chris at the PaleoFX conference in Austin. There, a mutual friend invited both of us to dinner, and an extremely entertaining conversation ensued. It was that night that a friendship began to forge, and soon after, Chris invited me to be a guest on his podcast for a deeper discussion on some of the topics that made that evening so entertaining.
Chris is a worldly man and articulate on a diverse range of subjects. Because of this, he was able to draw some fascinating parallels to human nature from my discussion on sleep and decision making. This is why I confidently claim this to be one of my favorite shows of all time!
You can listen to the podcast in it’s entirety right here. I also suggest you follow his podcast, Tangentially Speaking. Enjoy, and feel free to post any questions or comments for either of us below.