Showtime’s latest series Wall Street drama, Billions, brings Damian Lewis (Homeland) back to the premium cable provider as Bobby “Axe” Axlerod, a brilliant, powerful billionaire hedge fund manager on a financial and legal collision course with the equally influential and headstrong Chuck Rhoades at the U.S. Attorney’s office, played by the always-compelling Paul Giamatti (Straight Outta Compton, Sideways). Set in our post-9/11 world the show pulls back the curtain on the financial world revealing that not everything is what you’d expect.
So what can the Modern Man learn from Billions? The first episode premieres, January 17, and as you watch, you will gain insight into each of the main characters and their distinctive personalities, but also their shared common traits. Here are a few defining traits we’ve picked up that you can start applying in order to be successful in your life.
PASSION – Bobby and Chuck are two driven men who know what they want and won’t stop until they get it. For Bobby, his goal to make money, a LOT of money. (Hence the show’s title.) Along with that money comes the freedom to do whatever he wants. Chuck seeks more political power and influence, which he’s angling for from his position at the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan. Both men are already successful, but that’s not enough. They are unwavering in their goals and pour their passion into everything they do. Whether it’s in IBM’s Watson level decision-making, imaginatively insulting people who aren’t up to their standard, or spending time with family, they do it fully and with gusto. Likewise, a modern man decides what’s important in his life and dedicates his all to making it happen.
COMPANIONSHIP – The adage, “behind every great man is a great woman” couldn’t be truer than on Billions. Lara Axlerod (Malin Ackerman) and Wendy Rhoades (Maggie Siff) are the formidable women standing beside, not behind, their men. They complement the male leads as fully realized individuals with lives, perspectives and passions of their own. A modern man looks for a companion the he can be with in the trenches – someone who’ll support him and demand respect and support in return – but also someone who’s more than capable in taking care of his or herself and the things they value.
MEDITATION – That Bobby and Chuck both use meditation apps are initially surprising, but upon deeper consideration it makes complete sense. They’re modern men in high-stress professions who understand that optimizing their performances requires immense self-awareness and an influx of mental energy. Taking time to slow down, disconnect, reflect, recharge and check-in with mentally through meditation is a smart and a lesson any modern man can take away from this show.
INFORMATION – Both Bobby and Chuck are very smart. But it isn’t simply their natural intelligence that makes each so formidable. They both aspire to know as much as possible about the world, about their decisions, the people they work with, and the people they’re moving against. Knowledge of your core interests is important, but broadening your horizons will always serve you well. Pick up a magazine on a topic you don’t understand. Renew your library card (they now provide loans of e-books for your reader or reading app of choice) find that person in your life who knows more about one thing than anyone should, and take them out for a drink and ask them the simplest questions. You won’t be disappointed.
Written by Taj Greenlee for Gents Among Men