#128 Fount’s Andrew Herr: How the Brain Works Under Stress, The Commonalities of Peak Performance, Working with Navy SEALs, and More | 20 Minute Playbook

In Episode #128, we deconstruct Andrew Herr's peak performance playbook—from his favorite book to the tiny habit that's had the biggest impact on his life. Andrew is the Founder and CEO of Fount. We cover how the brain acts under stress, commonalities of peak performance, and simple health experiments anyone can try.
Last updated
November 15, 2022
Min Read
Andrew holds three Masters degrees from Georgetown University and was honored as a Mad Scientist by the US Army.
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About Andrew Herr

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“You can do incredible things if you are truly dedicated to it and surround yourself with the right people.” – Andrew Herr

Andrew Herr is the founder and CEO of Fount, which is on a mission to help everyone look, feel, and perform at their very best. Fount offers a highly customized three-month program that's born out of Andrew's work, enhancing the performance of special forces warriors in the U.S. military, including the Navy SEALs.

Before founding Fount, Andrew spent seven years running human performance and biotech strategy for the U.S. military special forces. WIRED Magazine described Andrew's work for the U.S. military as giving our soldiers mutant abilities. Andrew holds master's degrees in microbiology and immunology, health physics and security studies. He studied at Georgetown's famed School of Foreign Service in Washington, D.C., and he unsurprisingly comes from a highly decorated and long-serving military family.

In this episode, you'll learn why Andrew considers his ability to put massive sets of data and observations into frameworks a superpower, and how that helps him orient and make decisions, the lessons and values he's taken away from his family's long and decorated military service, the biggest lessons Andrew learned working with the Navy SEALs and special forces warriors, including Delta Force and Green Beret soldiers, how Andrew thinks about the commonalities of peak performance across disciplines, and why Navy SEALs are not all that different from startup founders, elite athletes, and some of the world's best investors.

Andrew shares the little things we should all be doing throughout the day to maximize our performance, including doing small two to three-minute workouts between calls and meetings. He shares some of his favorite books, including The Making of the Atomic Bomb, and why Who is his favorite book around hiring, and more including the advice Andrew would give himself if he could go back to the start of his career.

For more, explore the transcript of this episode.


In this episode, we deconstruct Andrew Herr’s peak performance playbook—from their favorite book to the tiny habit that's had the biggest impact on their life. In it we cover:

  • 00:00:00 – Introduction
  • 00:02:33 – From polyphenols to trust and mission focus
  • 00:05:04 – How the brain acts under stress
  • 00:10:15 – Simple health experiments everyone can undertake
  • 00:12:59 – Patriotism, giving back, and dedication
  • 00:14:40 – Organizing things into frameworks
  • 00:18:03 – Commonalities of peak performance
  • 00:20:36 – Listening to your circadian rhythm and optimizing breakfast
  • 00:22:09 – The books that changed Andrew’s life
  • 00:25:16 – There is no “room of adults” in life

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Castbox, Pocket Casts, Player FM, Podcast Addict, iHeartRadio, or on your favorite podcast platform. You can watch the interview on YouTube here.

An Idea Worth Trying

Andrew recommends a short meditation when you wake up in the morning, before checking your phone. It helps you get ahead of any stressful work or social media items.

Our Favorite Quotes

Here are a few ideas we'll be thinking about weeks and months from now:

  • “It comes down in the end to trust and mission focus. If you have high trust, it allows you to operate under high stress without having as high stress hormone levels. Trust actually buffers the physiological effects of stress. Then mission focus allows you to keep your brain systems going to prevent burnout, keep those dopamine systems going.”
  • “I think the best performers in the world are able to handle the challenges that slow or stop other people, so they make decisions under uncertainty. They can move forward consistently even when the stress levels are high, and they often have the ability to laugh about some parts of it.”
  • “A month of meditation a few times a week changes your baseline stress hormone levels and how you respond to stress. Putting people in a high-trust team dramatically changes how much cortisol you'll release in response to a stressor.”
  • “People who typically work really well under high stress typically also have some more challenges when things are really slow. There's very little in this world that comes at no cost anywhere in your life.”
  • “Make the right choice the easy choice.”
  • “In every other industry, we don't criticize someone if they want it to be made easy for them. We expect good UX and other things, and so why is it that we can't make it easy for people in health today? That's what led me to the big vision we have for data and collecting different types of data, and then using those to build this high-UX version of health in the future.”

Books Mentioned

The following books came up in this conversation with Andrew Herr:

Selected Links

We covered a lot of ground in this interview. Here are links to the stories, articles, and ideas discussed:

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