Renaissance Man 2019: An Antidote to Chaos

Jim Woods

Jim Woods has over 20 years of experience in the markets from working as a stockbroker, financial journalist, and money manager.

One of the biggest breakout best-sellers of 2018 was the intellectual self-help work, “12 Rules for Life” by Dr. Jordan Peterson.

The subtitle of this excellent and highly recommended book is “An Antidote to Chaos.” As Peterson explains throughout the work, life, by its very nature, is fraught with chaos that constantly must be put into order. This order is hierarchical, philosophical, political, social and, most importantly, personal.

I agree with much of what Peterson writes in “12 Rules for Life,” although I disagree with a lot of his overall work. I’ll save our points of disagreement for another time, as I want to focus on the key takeaway here, which for me is that the chaos of life — as well as the chaos in financial markets that we all painfully lived through in the fourth quarter of 2018 — does demand an antidote.

For subscribers to my newsletter advisory services, we take on this chaos by employing sound investing principles, proven tactics and strategies, focused fundamental and technical analysis, a psychological understanding of market behavior and an awareness of the current zeitgeist in markets (something I call “NewsQ”) to help us navigate.

We also need tools to help us navigate accurately in life. In the year ahead, perhaps more than ever, it’s important to put as many tools in our kit to deal with what appears to be some truly overwhelming societal, political, financial and even personal chaos.

Last year, my team and I launched a tool to help with that personal chaos, and it is the Way of the Renaissance Man website and podcast. From fighter pilots to West Point grads, from samurai to psychologists, from anarchists to anti-tax warriors, and from radio hosts to FBI agents to war heroes, the inaugural season of the Way of the Renaissance Man podcast had a little something for every curiosity seeker.

We kicked off the season with Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. Grover is a man on a mission to help you keep more of your money. More importantly, we discussed what it really takes to be truly committed to an idea.

In my discussion with Rich Checkan, West Point graduate and businessman, we talked about the military ethos and how it can help define one’s focus and help integrate concepts and ideas into real-world action.

West Point grad, former U.S. Army officer and businessman Rich Checkan of Asset Strategies International dons his very own Way of the Renaissance Man t-shirt.

I found a similarly invigorating discussion with former Marine Corps fighter pilot Ed Rush, who shared some success-enabling habits he learned during his military service. Ed also let me in on some of his fascinating “21-day adventures” in self-improvement.

With psychologist Dr. Joel Wade, author of the fantastic book “The Virtue of Happiness,” we discussed the nature of happiness, what it is to be happy and what the “success of being human” really means.

Life is never dull when you’re speaking with the always-entertaining creator of the Financial Survival Network, Kerry Lutz. Here we riffed on Facebook, the value of skepticism and even Yossarian, the unforgettable protagonist from Joseph Heller’s masterpiece, “Catch-22.”

In season one, I also spoke with the eminently interesting anarchist and “dollar vigilante” Jeff Berwick, an extremely passionate man who takes life seriously, and who also has a lot of fun doing so. The inaugural season also brought us two major figures in the war on terror, retired FBI Special Agent and counterterrorism expert John Iannarelli and Afghanistan subject matter expert and Coalition Forces interpreter Saber Rock, who survived near-fatal wounds inflicted by the Taliban.

Both John and Saber are fighting the same battle, namely the forces of theocratic tyranny. And, both of these men helped us understand how to be your best self in the face of incredible adversity.

Finally, I got a chance to connect again with my longtime friend, fellow market analyst, motorcycle enthusiast and real-life samurai Keith Fitz-Gerald. If you want wisdom from one of the smartest men on planet Earth, this episode is must listening.

Now, in addition to the amazing guests I had the privilege of interviewing, I also was able to share some interesting views via my articles, speeches, media appearances and quotes in the areas of ideas, high-intensity pursuits, human relationships, health and fitness, and finance and money. We also featured some great guest contributions this year.

Some of my favorite articles include:

How You Park Your Car is How You Approach Life

3 Renaissance Man Rules of Wealth Building

5 Favorite Renaissance Man Quotes to Live By

8 Keys to Cultivating a Renaissance Man Mindset

In the spirit of the aforementioned antidote to chaos, I started this project as a free adjunct to my work here at The Deep Woods, and as a supplement to my newsletter advisory services Successful InvestingIntelligence ReportBullseye Stock Trader and Fast Money Alert, which all can be accessed simply by going to

I did so because, in an era of chaos characterized by a frequent lack of intellectual curiosity, mental laziness, destructive “conventional wisdom” that is anything but wise and even the willful evasion by good people of facing evil, it’s important to put as much ammunition in your arsenal as you can to win the battle for your values.

The Way of the Renaissance Man website and podcast is there to help us all focus on what matters, and to integrate that knowledge and meaning into our lives so that we can rationally celebrate our victories and continue battling our dragons. Anything short of that is just letting yourself down in the most important pursuit you’ll ever engage in… the pursuit of your own values.

In 2019, the Way of the Renaissance Man will continue this pursuit with a vengeance, and together, we help each other discover the tools needed to better focus our minds, integrate our thoughts with actions and live the way we really want.

May the new year bring you continued focus, integration, celebration… and a true antidote to chaos of all stripes.


Discipline vs. Brilliance

“Investment success accrues not so much to the brilliant as to the disciplined.”

— William J. Bernstein

Intelligence is fantastic. Brilliance is even better. Yet what really wins in the long term is discipline. Fortunately, we can cultivate discipline a lot easier than we can intelligence or brilliance. So, in 2019, exercise your discipline to make it better, stronger and faster. Your life will thank you for it.

Wisdom about money, investing and life can be found anywhere. If you have a good quote that you’d like me to share with your fellow readers, send it to me, along with any comments, questions and suggestions you have about my newsletters, seminars or anything else. Click here to ask Jim.

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