Deep Thoughts On The ‘WHY’s’ Of The Human Condition

As I journey through life, I find I’m spending more and more time digging into the big “Why” of humanity.  This post is a smattering of the best of the best ideas, thought leaders and communicators that may help answer the big  questions;

  • Why do we continue to wage wars?
  • Why do some societies rise while others fall?
  • What are the impacts of government action or inaction on monetary policy? On poverty? On crony capitalism?
  • Why is our current society so unhealthy? Why does the Pima Indians have the highest rate of diabetes in the world?
  • Why is our politics so divided and is this something NEW to our world?
  • What causes society to move to and from religion?
  • What’s the role of abundance or scarcity in a country?
  • What can we learn from history, does it repeat?
  • Which economic theories win out over time?
  • Why are so many people today broken and medicating to deal with life?
  • What separates a great President from a failed Presidency? What’s the magic formula for great leadership?
  • When was the last time you visited a KMart? What causes one company to grow and another die?

All these answers are out there and it takes time and understanding to piece it all together. With 7 years on the air, my role was to devour every minutia of information locally, nationally and internationally. To successfully master the craft of live radio, I had to be able to speak of the issues of the day. Over time all these data points turned into a pattern. About 5 years into the radio program I started connecting these patterns into 12 arguments that show that America is in Decline.  I’ve started to organize these arguments into chapters of a book. Here’s the intro.

Next, while building out an educational network that focused on history and classics, I spent years digging into the historical origins of man. The rise and fall of nations. The influence of religions and economic theories on society. I dug into philosophers, kings, and civilizations that at one point were at the pinnacle of the entire globe, and that is now laying in the archaeological rubble.  From great literature, art, music, architecture to technological advancements and great migrations a story emerges.

Finally, after years growing up in Catholic education and being of service to a number of Catholic agencies, and spending quality time with men I respect in the Protestant faith I’ve started to look at what faith means to me and how it shows up in my life. From a weekend back in 2001 in Oracle and staffing a weekend in a southern Arizona hot springs, I learned about my shadows and motivations.  By working with a group of men for over a decade I started to learn how wounds of the past show up in my life.  With advice and counsel of strong men and mentor-ship from men in the faith, business and community leadership fields I have learned more about who I am and how I show up in my family, my career and in my faith.

To fully understand where we are today I’ve dug into the thought leaders from politics, sociology, psychology, and economics.  I put forth the following lectures, discussions, and documentaries to paint a picture of how I see the human condition.

This is a long collection of my beliefs and analysis on (click for a Deep Dive by topic);











and much more.

As a father, husband, and leader of my businesses and community, I strive to put these ideas into action.  I am one of the founders and current CEO of a charter school in Arizona and Colorado.  Here are a few clips from an all-staff kick off in January.



Dr. Leman’s Address to Staff – Who Believed In You? – HERE
Dr. Lemans – The ABC’s of a Leman Academy – HERE

 What I enjoy

In Mexico, with my daughter. About as good as it gets.

Listening to:   My favorite bands tend to be from the decade of the 1970’s. I grew up in the 1980’s but never really connected with that time period musically.  Among the favorites of favorite, if I had to listen to one playlist for the rest of my life, stranded on a deserted island, it would have to be Pink Floyd. I got a chance to see them and spend time in their hotel room during the Division Bell tour in Phoenix in the early 1990’s. Check out a cool new website, Sutori and their anthology of Pink Floyd.  Follow me on Spotify for an eclectic mix of musical playlists, especially ‘Joe Can’t Get Enough‘.

Watching: I despise reality TV.  I enjoy the new medium of the long form, binge-worthy, series that have been prevalent on various cable outlets. Homeland and House of Cards continue to weave real-world political storylines into a very intriguing plot line. If I’m not into a series, I’m always looking for a great documentary. Many of the best I’ve shared in this post.

Podcasts: If you haven’t stumbled into the world of podcasts yet, I highly recommend you do.  Get the free app, Stitcher, set up themed playlists and sample as many different shows as you can. I go in waves of shows that I follow and devour.  After 7 years on live radio, every morning, I start to appreciate and understand what makes a good show. I’m particularly drawn to great interviewers.  The art and talent of a great interviewer are something to admire.

Here’s a few I’m listening too right now:

Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders – Stanford U
Here’s The Thing – Alec Baldwin
Story Corp – NPR
EdSurge On Air
Conversations with Tyler
Revisionist History – Malcolm Gladwell
The Art of Manliness
Hidden Brain – NPR
On Being – Krista Tippett
TED Radio Hour
London School of Economics
Harvard Business Review – Ideacast
Tim Ferris Show
Ken Rudin’s Political Junkie
Banter: AEI Podcast
Exchanges at Goldman Sach
Rich Dad Poor Dad