I’m an extremist. Especially when it comes to observing. It’s like looking at the world through a monocle. I hope you enjoy my little monocle moments. 

#12 Professor Robert Plomin -
How DNA Makes Us Who We Are

By Jaap van Beek

About the Episode:

Let’s say you are fat. Is that your fault? Can you really do anything about it? Can we predict that you’re gonna be fat when you’re gonna grow up? Or is that just because of how your parents raised you? This is just one of the many interesting topics that Professor Robert Plomin and I will get into today. Now Professor Plomin is a psychologist and geneticist best known for his work in twin studies and behavior genetics. He is ranked among the 100 most eminent psychologists in the history of science. Just let that sink in. Apart from his incredibly impressive scientific career, Robert also wrote a book with which he hopes to reach beyond the scientific community called “Blueprint: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are”. And I found out about all this by listening to a podcast he did with Sam Harris, after which I started wondering what the point even was of making the monocle moments podcast. We will talk about this. Other topics include whether or not parenting matters, the impact this may have on medical insurance, but mostly how the discoveries could make people’s lives better. Although Robert’s message is purely about his research, and he does not get into emotion all too much, I think you’ll enjoy Robert’s soft spokenness and honesty in this conversation. 


robert.plomin@kcl.ac.ukFind out

about your own DNA:

Sam Harris Podcast with Robert Plomin:

Intelligence Squared Debate:



#11 Ananda de Jager - Poems of Recovery

By Jaap van Beek

About the Episode:

Ananda works in the beauty industry, worked as a model and now she wrote the book “Poems of Recovery”. In this vulnerable conversation, we discuss her eating disorder, how she learned to open up about it, and what the recovery process looked like. We further get into dating while having an eating disorder. Lastly, we talk a bit about motorbikes because of our shared love for them. I hope you enjoy!


Ananda’s Instagram

Get Ananda’s book on Amazon:


Get Ananda’s Book on Boekscout:

Get Ananda’s Book on Bol.com:

Amazon Link:
Coming Soon!

If your country is not in the list, just email info@boekscout.nl

Marissa Klouwer – Helped Ananda a lot during recovery:
Current Sports Coach

#10 Chris Beljaars - Underdogs

By Jaap van Beek

About the Episode:

Chris Beljaars is the founder and CEO of Underdogs, where they teach ‘Underdogs’ to code and then they hire them for projects. Underdogs include prisoners, refugees and people with Autism.

Chris also happens to be the master of storytelling and in this conversation we talk about how he got to underdogs, how he selects prisoners for the programme and how he rejects them if he has to. Furthermore, we talk a fair share about prejudice. Are people born a criminal? Lastly, we discuss how Chris went from Nerd to Super Social Nerd.

I hope you enjoy!





Lazarus Reflect discussed:

#9 Myrthe Frissen - Vegetables Without Borders

By Jaap van Beek

Vegetables Without Borders:
Vegetables Without Borders (VWB) is a volunteer organization that saves surplus food from ending in the trash by cooking up a storm of delicious plant-based dishes and inviting fellow citizens for a free buffet.* The Rotterdam born initiative ended in the top 5 of national volunteer organizations in 2018, and is was invited to speak at the first edition of topconference “The Netherlands making an impact” (NMI). *Due to the measures concerning the coronacrisis the community center closed and the volunteers have set up the first 100% vegan foodbank to redirect their usual wastestreams to the people most in need, a spin-off named “Veggies to the Rescue”.

About Myrthe
Myrthe Frissen is a medical doctor and clinical researcher currently specializing in environmental medicine. You can contact her for further information about Vegetables Without Borders, plantbased nutrition and its environmental as well as health effects, zero-waste-cooking, recommendations for healthcare providers such as dieticians or any other question that come to mind after hearing this podcast (including how to be optimistic about hopeless futures).

If you are ever in Rotterdam or Schiedam feel free to drop by the project and have dinner with us (reservations are recommended).

Website https://www.groentenzondergrenzen.nl/?lang=en
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/groentenzondergrenzen_gzg/?hl=nl
Mentioned Article (about the journalist who asked how she could be so happy)
Media Report VWB

#8 Ninarosa Juffermans - Digital Nomad

By Jaap van Beek

In my discussion with Ninarosa, we talk about what it’s like to be a Digital Nomad. Ninarosa has her own business for building strategic websites since 2016. Furthermore, she’s has been all over the world, while still making money with her business and working hard from all those locations.
We get into the fun and not so fun sides of the Digital Nomad life, we talk about surfing and horseback riding, morning routines, and interesting stories from being a Digital Nomad.

Make sure to follow her on LinkedIn and Instagram @ninrosaj



Good Economics for Hard Times – Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo

The Miracle Morning: The Not-so-obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life Before 8AM –  Hal Elrod

I hope you all enjoy!

#7 James Orrigo - Social Entrepreneur and Motivational Speaker

By Jaap van Beek

James Orrigo is a Social Entrepreneur & Motivational Entertainer who uses original music to entertain & personal stories to inspire. When he was in high school, he suffered from a severe brain injury. During his recovery, he discovered a passion for using music to help others, especially his mother battling terminal cancer. His life is a testament to the power of overcoming adversity, never giving up, & living purposefully through service to others. His innovative programs are preserving legacies & stress the importance of living a meaningful life. Orrigo has worked with top companies including Children’s Cancer Research Fund, Google, FastCap, Toontastic, Foundation Medicine and more.

James and I talk more in depth about these experiences and we uncover how he deals with the grief, how he brings happiness, ways that other people can do this too and much more.


#6 Monocle Moments -Dr Mark Goulston

By Jaap van Beek

Dr. Mark Goulston is the best selling author of seven books including “Just Listen,” which became the top book on listening in the world, is one of the world’s pre-eminent experts on empathic listening and speaks globally on that topic. He is an executive coach, advisor and confidante to CEOs from entrepreneurs to the Fortune 500 and helps them become more impactful by increasing their non-technical skills to match their technical skills. He has been a UCLA professor of psychiatry for more than twenty years, trained FBI and police hostage negotiators and been one of the country’s leading experts on suicide prevention co-creating and moderating the multi-honored documentary, Stay Alive: An Intimate Conversation About Suicide Prevention. He hosts the all 5/5 reviewed podcast, My Wakeup Call, where he interviews influencers like Lauren, Larry King, Ken Blanchard, Norman Lear and many others about wakeup calls that changed their lives. Find out more about him at: markgoulston.com


#5 Monocle Moments - Kevin Langeree

By Jaap van Beek

Kevin Langeree is one of the world’s best Kitesurfers, professional YouTuber and Entrepreneur. 

He won the most important kitesurfing competition, The King Of The Air, no less than 3 times! Furthermore, his YouTube show the KevVlog has been growing steadly, some videos have over half a million views. My personal favourite is “If it ain’t Dutch, it ain’t much”:

Since 2020, his new kite brand ReedinKites is in full production and you can now get their products. Make sure to check out:

In this conversation we talk about what it looks like to prepare for a competition, to follow you passion, nature vs nurture in kiting, the struggles of being a pro athlete, entrepreneur and content creator at the same time, and much more.

#4 Monocle Moments - Whatsup.Tony

By Jaap van Beek

Whatsup.Tony is a growing content maker on Instagram (25k Followers) and Facebook. He currently works for Nas Daily during the week and creates his own videos during the weekend. In his videos, his signature is it’s focus on compassionate videos, smiles and relatable life lessons. In this episode we get into how he got to where he is today, how he met Nas.Daily and the difficulties in becoming a full-time content creator.


You can find him on Instagram @Whatsup.Tony and on Facebook

We also mention NasDaily in this conversation.

#3 Monocle Moments - Loïc Roldán Waals

By Jaap van Beek

Loic is a data scientist and probably one of the most rational people I know. It seems like he has pondered on every topic in existence and has smart things to say about them. He is really good at learning and teaching.
In this episode we get into learning and teaching, coding, riddles, mathematics and financial independence. At the end I ask some difficult questions from the book of questions which gets us into some interesting discussions.

Why we sleep


Article about what we called “The Boundry of Knowledge”:

Video explaining the picture of a black hole:

Code for the toilet paper numbers (requires jupyter notebook for graph)

Math olympiad that talks about invariants and how difficult it is to gauge question difficulty:

Video about why your friends have more friends than you

Rotterdam ai bootcamp link:

About going back to your “base happiness”

The Egg short story

Let’s plant 1,000,000 trees!

Loic’s LinkedIn

#2 Monocle Moments - Paul Akers

By Jaap van Beek

In the Monocle Moments podcast, I talk to the most interest people I can find and try to dig deep to hopefully bring you a deeply fascinating listening experience.

Paul Akers is the founder and president of FastCap, which now has thousands of distributors worldwide in over 40 countries. Paul has won business of the year in 1999 and 2010. In 2011 Paul won Seattle Business Magazine’s prestigious Business Executive of the Year award. 

Paul is just an amazing story teller, athlete, he wrote several really good books and he’s just an incredibly generous guy.

In today’s episode, we talk about lean manufacturing of course, we talk about generosity, empathy, we do our fair share of sports, reading, learning and just in general interesting life lessons.

Please check out Paul’s new app with all his books for free called “Lean Play”.

Also check out his website https://paulakers.net/ to find out about all his books and what he’s up to!


Books Discussed:
Good to Great – Jim Collins
How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie




#1 Monocle Moments - Rachel Knight

By Jaap van Beek

In the Monocle Moments podcast, I talk to the most interest people I can find and try to dig deep to hopefully bring you a deeply fascinating listening experience.

In this episode, I’m talking to none other than Rachel Knight. She’s been a very good friend for many years now and one of the smartest people I personally know. In the conversation we get into some serious psychology and mental health related items, but we also discuss favourite books and Powerlifting.

She currently had an honours BA in Psychology, a Master of science in applied psychology and a few years of working experience in both Clinical and research settings. She’s planning to start a PhD in september, followed by a doctorate in clinical psychology. However, we do want to put a disclaimer out there which is that despite Rachel’s extensive knowledge, she’s smart enough to know that she may not know everyting, so happy to take correspondance relating to unconsidered viewpoints, or research that may change her perspectives.

If you yourself are struggling with a mental health problem, we’d advice to contact your doctor or someone you trust, we are no substitute for a trained professional.

We mention:
@trinitybarbell on Instagram
Revolution Fitness in Dublin

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
Humble Pi: When Math Goes Wrong in the Real World
The Choice: Embrace the Possible


Paradoxical Thoughts

By James Monocle

I’m a coward for choosing success,
I’m a coward for choosing happiness.
I want happiness not suffering,
The craving is the hurt. 

You can’t hear silence,
You’re too important.
Every thought is gold,
You are the universe. 

But you’re born alone,
And alone you shall die. 
Oblivion is inevitable,
But you still try. 

We live by the grace of death,
Without it there’s no breath.
Complain it’s not fair,
But no one really cares.

Shy, oh my, please don’t cry,
We will all have to get by.

The Weird Thing About Weird Things

By James Monocle

I may have stolen this title from “the hard thing about hard things” (which I haven’t even read), but just hear me out, okay? I should probably start by saying that after reading this article you will start feeling very weird about the word weird. It’s that weird feeling you get when you keep repeating a word over and over again until it you are not entirely sure of what it means anymore. That’s what I have after writing this anyways. 

When you speak your “mother tongue”, did you ever stop to wonder how you understand things? You probably ‘feel’ your language. That’s why certain words can be “trigger words”, they make you feel a certain way. We learn through association which boils down to the feeling we have. That’s why, despite the fact that green means green to most people in the sense that they can point to it, it may not actually mean the same thing. When repeating a word over and over and over and over again, you tend to lose this feeling that goes with the meaning of the word, and that’s kinda weird. Sorry.

There is a light at the end of this tunnel. Something weird is supposed to be weird. This sounds more like “is supposed to be a negative experience”. Here comes the weird thing about weird things. It’s not necessarily negative. It’s more like the moment you suddenly jump in cold water. That’s the Dutch equivalent of saying that you instantly become self aware. It is weird to think that becoming self aware in a weird situation is anything bút weird, right? However, the moment it happens, I always have to chuckle (not out loud though, that’d be creepy). Those moments really do make me feel like I’m in a comedy scene. It’s funny. This is not an invitation to make me feel awkward in front of my friends, Mom.

Apart from the fact that I feel too self aware writing this, why would anyone care about this? It’s gives me mental freedom. Dealing with weird moments is like a superpower. Especially when you’re dealing with people. I found that being okay with weirdness, makes people feel at ease around you. Something worth thinking about. 

Conclusion: cherish the weird moments in your life. Recognizing their weirdness might free you from the negative annotations. 



Monocle Moments Introduction

By James Monocle

Ok, I know what you’re thinking. Ok, maybe I don’t. I couldn’t think of a way to start my blog in a more interesting way. It’s like when people take selfies, they make weird (duck) faces because they are afraid to use their own normal face. This is most likely why people in vlogs act like crazy people, and why people only post fun things on social media. I am not asking you to start posting all their pains on social media, please don’t.

Back to the point. I need to write a blog. Need? don’t you mean “want”? No. Firstly, because I will try to write what I actually mean here. Furthermore, a blog is not something to be taken lightly, and I owe it to myself to at least leave something behind, and I am just not ready for kids yet.

this is the point where I should really introduce myself. I call myself James Monocle. It’s really a pseudoname. The Monocle is important because my family always called me a Mr “Know-It-All”. This may be because I start half of my sentences with “according to this research I read about (…)”. I apologize to everyone who has to put up with me. Monocle is also something ancient business men wore. When I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, the answer was always “Rich, Rich, Rich!”. I am a very noble man indeed (can people detect my sarcasm on paper?). In my Monocle Moments blog I will write about the observations I make on a daily basis. You will like my blog if you enjoy hearing the opinion of a seemingly overconfident 22 year old that is very serious about life despite the soft touch of sarcasm you have most likely already sensed.

So there you have it, James Monocle. I promise you, however, not be a Mr “Know-It-All” and I will make sure to stay humble and admit mistakes I will inevitably make. However, I will try my very best not to please everyone. “There’s the rational (wo)man who make their views fit the views of the world, and there’s the irrational (wo)man who tries to make world’s views to his”.

The rest you will find out along the way.

Salute Distincti,

James Monocle