The Lesson: Since Brian Johnson’s older brother Rick was diagnosed with cancer, it has been an emotionally tumultuous journey for him and his family. Spurred by a compulsion to help his sibling, Johnson started researching different methods and theories on how to fight and prevent cancer – and now, he wants to share his wealth of information with others who may be undergoing the same thing.

Notable Excerpt: “Our first big idea is the first myth we need to tackle: genes versus habits. Which one do you think is more influential? … Imagine you’re in Denmark and you’re researching 1,000 kids who were adopted at birth … do you think that the biological parents getting cancer before age 50 would have a bigger impact [on the kids] or their adopted parents getting cancer before age 50? Which do you think would have a bigger influence on the kids themselves experiencing cancer? Well, the research says that if the biological parent gets cancer before age 50, but they never lived with the adopted kid, there is 0% increased likelihood of the kid getting cancer. Zero. No correlation. But if the adopted parent gets cancer before age 50, the risk of the child developing cancer increases five-fold. Why is that? It’s because these parents passed on their habits – not their genes – to their kids.”

The Speaker: Brian Johnson is a philosopher and founder of, a website, app, and free video series that help people to optimize their lives so they can be their best selves. He studies self-improvement books, then breaks them down into bite-sized chunks and ‘Philosopher‘s Notes’ for busy people who want ‘more wisdom in less time’. He also offers Optimal Living classes and online training for your Hero’s Journey.

Podcast: Brian’s podcast, OPTIMIZE with Brian Johnson, features the best big ideas from the best optimal living books. More wisdom in less time (between 4-19 minutes each) to help you live your greatest life. Subscribe: Stitcher — iTunes — Podbean.

Books: In this talk, Johnson refers to a book by David Servan-Shreiber called “Anticancer: A New Way of Life”.

(LISTEN to the interesting talk below or check out Brian’s website for more information on his Conquering Cancer class)

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