NOTeD Interviews Creativity Expert, NYT Best-Selling Author and Flexitarian, Josh Linkner

Tom Rifai, MD, FACP

In this episode of NOTeD, we interview 5 time tech entrepreneur, New York Times Bestselling Author and world-renowned creativity expert, Josh Linkner. You might wonder how that has anything to do with nutrition and lifestyle?

A lot!

Josh Linkner has his own journey of metabolic health redemption through transitioning from a CRAP-SAD (calorie rich and processed standard American diet) to a plant-predominant flexitarian lifestyle.

Sure, he bills himself as a “lover of greasy pizza” (heck, we’re from Detroit for Pete’s sake!). But when it comes down to the facts (and, for full disclosure, I know them well because I’m his lifestyle journey coach), Josh is eating tons more whole fruits and vegetables than pizza these days. And yes, all the while he understands that, on occasion, when he takes a risk on pizza, he truly and mindfully enjoys it, which helps him eat less.

That said, NOTeD brings you the author of an amazing new book, Big Little Breakthroughs: How Small, Everyday Innovations Drive Oversized Results. Josh’s desire in writing Big Little Breakthroughs is to help everyday people become everyday innovators. He spent over 1000 hours of research finding real world stories of everyday innovators in all walks of life, such as one everyday Londoner who came up with a way to clean the streets of environment-choking cigarette butts. In his book, Josh builds a specific and practical system that helps develop our “creativity muscles.” We can use this system in all walks of life, including our health and wellness.

Example from Josh Linkner’s Book: Fruits and Vegetables

In one of the most striking examples of Josh’s book, he begins with a stark reality: 1 out of 9 people in the world suffers from hunger. The main reason is spoilage: 40% of fruits and vegetables go bad quickly, even while in transit from farm to end consumer. Whereas the earth produces plenty of fruit and vegetable to feed all, much of it spoils before it is consumed. A group of young chemists started to think creatively about how to solve this problem. They began by asking the simple question, “how does nature protect itself?”

I won’t “spoil” the surprise found within our interview, but these scientific geeks ended up taking what Josh calls “a real bite out of world hunger” while preserving the life of fruits and vegetables dramatically in a natural way. They literally went after hunger with a “big little breakthrough” approach.

Big Little Breakthroughs and Lifestyle Medicine

No, Big Little Breakthroughs is not, technically speaking, a “lifestyle medicine” book. But I do believe it can help those of us looking to unlock creativity potential to enjoy life, and yes, even help improve our lifestyles overall. Josh makes the comparison that Big Little Breakthroughs is “like a fusion between reality and science. The book has the nutritional value of a shot of wheat grass – dense and not hard to take down, with a lot of valuable content – but [he] also wanted to make it taste good. It’s fun to read – you can read it on vacation and not just in the library.”

Josh even draws a parallel between the “fun” in his book and the “5% fun zone” in my 5 Keys to Optimal Wellness Lifestyle Change System. To help effect change one small step at a time, he invites his readers to unlock some of their creative capacity by embarking on a 30-day “5% creativity challenge.” Take 5% out of your work week for one month. How many hours is that? For a 40-hour work week, it’s 2 hours. Block out 2 hours per week to pick your head up from your work and let your creative juices flow. Let your creativity wander – listen to or play music for a half hour here, think of what could be for 15 minutes there, enjoy yourself, don’t have a specific outcome in mind. It’s the equivalent of the nutritional 5% fun zone where you allow that piece of pizza into your fruit-and-vegetable-predominant diet. The results may surprise you when you “let creative thinking and problem solving carry the day” for just 5% of your time. Perhaps even while you enjoy an oatmeal cookie.

So please, enjoy this truly fun interview with one of the nicest and smartest plant-predominant flexitarians I know, Josh Linkner, author of Big Little Breakthroughs (publish date April 20th, 2021).