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    #692: Arthur C. Brooks — How to Be Happy, Reverse Bucket Lists, The Four False Idols, Muscular Philosophies, Practical Inoculation Against the Darkness, and More

    St. Thomas Aquinas teaches us that seeking happiness through money, power, pleasure, or fame will never bring us true fulfillment. We must identify and overcome our personal idols to find deeper meaning in life.

    enSeptember 11, 2023

    About this Episode

    Brought to you by Wealthfront high-yield savings account, Eight Sleep’s Pod Cover sleeping solution for dynamic cooling and heating, and AG1 all-in-one nutritional supplement. 

    Arthur C. Brooks (@arthurbrooks) is the Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor of the Practice of Public and Nonprofit Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School and Professor of Management Practice at the Harvard Business School, where he teaches courses on leadership and happiness. He is also a columnist at The Atlantic, where he writes the popular “How to Build a Life” column. Brooks is the author of 13 books, including the 2022 #1 New York Times bestseller From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life and his newest Build the Life You Want: The Art and Science of Getting Happier with co-author Oprah Winfrey. He speaks to audiences all around the world about human happiness and works to raise well-being within private companies, universities, public agencies, and community organizations.

    Please enjoy!

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    [07:10] The reverse bucket list.

    [13:00] Intention without attachment.

    [14:49] Writing Thích Nhất Hạnh’s obituary.

    [17:30] Buddhist views through a Catholic lens.

    [20:43] Blood occlusion training and physical fitness over 40.

    [24:22] Arthur’s semi-mystical teenage experiences in Mexico.

    [30:30] Arthur’s academic dad on complex vs. complicated.

    [33:35] Happiness hygiene for genetically baseline gloominess.

    [36:19] Happiness and unhappiness: hand in hand.

    [39:31] Being effective with one’s affects.

    [42:53] The three macronutrients of happiness.

    [51:21] Identifying (and learning to live with) our idols.

    [1:03:48] Secularly securing transcendent perspective.

    [1:10:32] Money doesn’t buy happiness — it lowers unhappiness.

    [1:15:17] Tithing and adoption.

    [1:18:43] How Arthur and his wife met, and how their values aligned over time.

    [1:25:58] Advice for seeking love in the modern world.

    [1:33:06] Death meditation.

    [1:42:54] Finding personal purpose and meaning.

    [1:56:50] Four fundamental micronutrients of happiness.

    [1:59:53] Translating a need for change into action.

    [2:07:13] Aristotle’s secrets to happiness.

    [2:11:57] Real friends help us put the kibosh on self-deception.

    [2:19:13] Reflecting on the repercussions of living for the mirror’s approval.

    [2:22:46] Collaborating with Oprah on Build the Life You Want.

    [2:28:14] The point Arthur hopes people don’t miss in Build the Life You Want.

    [2:31:54] Reading recommendation: The Noonday Demon.

    [2:33:32] Exposure therapy: making pain part of one’s medicine.

    [2:38:15] A practical way to be grateful for life’s bad things.

    [2:41:12] Parting thoughts.

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    🔑 Key Takeaways

    • True and lasting contentment comes from consciously detaching ourselves from our desires and finding joy in what we already have, rather than constantly striving for more.
    • By detaching ourselves from specific outcomes and embracing the journey, we can train our minds to govern our actions effectively and experience more adaptability and fulfillment in life.
    • Detach from strong political opinions, focus on love and curiosity, and let go of attachments to foster personal growth, empathy, and meaningful connections.
    • Intimate practices, such as praying together or meditating with a teacher, can facilitate the transmission of teachings and insights, while physical fitness practices like blood occlusion training can yield significant results in strength and muscle growth for those over 40.
    • Maintaining physical fitness and embracing spiritual beliefs can have a profound impact on managing negative emotions and improving overall well-being. Seek advice from older individuals who have successfully maintained their fitness levels for guidance and inspiration.
    • There are various pathways to finding fulfillment and connection to something greater, and being open to different experiences can lead us to a more meaningful and transcendent understanding of life.
    • Seek appropriate solutions for different types of problems in order to find satisfaction and happiness in life. Exercise can help manage negative emotions and improve overall well-being.
    • Happiness and unhappiness are not opposites; they coexist and are processed in different parts of the brain. Managing both is important for experiencing true happiness, rather than eliminating unhappiness.
    • Managing emotions is crucial, and happiness can be achieved by cultivating enjoyment through social connections and creating positive memories rather than seeking solitary pleasure which can lead to addiction.
    • True satisfaction and fulfillment come from appreciating what we already have, rather than constantly seeking more. It is important to shift our focus from acquisition to contentment in order to break the cycle of never-ending pursuit of happiness.
    • St. Thomas Aquinas teaches us that seeking happiness through money, power, pleasure, or fame will never bring us true fulfillment. We must identify and overcome our personal idols to find deeper meaning in life.
    • Identifying our idols helps us understand our actions, avoid regrets, and find true happiness through experiences and giving away time.
    • Pursuing long-term enjoyment, satisfaction, and purpose through practices like meditation and spirituality can provide lasting benefits for mental health, without the risks of numbing negative emotions.
    • By recognizing our small place in the universe, exploring different means of self-reflection, and accepting the ups and downs of life, we can find tranquility and contentment.
    • Seeking meaningful connections and shared experiences, rather than material possessions, is the key to true happiness.
    • Investing time and money in experiences with loved ones and supporting causes that align with personal values can enhance love life and bring fulfillment.
    • Taking risks and giving your heart away is essential in any endeavor, as it can lead to explosive and transformative returns in love, happiness, and meaningful experiences.
    • Love knows no boundaries, and with dedication and perseverance, relationships can thrive even in the face of language and cultural differences.
    • In a world focused on compatibility and endless choices, it's important to look beyond sameness and embrace diversity to forge meaningful connections in relationships.
    • Building a successful and fulfilling relationship requires a balance of compatibility and differences, shared goals, and a deep connection that evolves over time. It is essential to find a balance between excitement and stability for long-term happiness.
    • Face the truth of your mortality to overcome the fear of death and live a more authentic life.
    • Embrace failure and confront mortality to find fulfillment in the present moment and live a meaningful life.
    • Finding meaning in life requires introspection, identifying personal values, and taking intentional actions to create a purpose that aligns with one's beliefs and fosters happiness and love.
    • Finding purpose in life can be achieved by serving others and being willing to make sacrifices for the well-being of others and one's own beliefs.
    • Finding meaningful answers to life's big questions requires personal reflection, critical thinking, and challenging our own beliefs and experiences.
    • Finding purpose and fulfillment in life requires ongoing introspection, asking meaningful questions, and prioritizing the fundamental micronutrients of faith, family, friends, and work for a fulfilling and meaningful life. Regular assessment and adjustment are vital for maintaining these aspects.
    • Understanding, practicing, and sharing happiness principles can lead to personal growth and inspire others to pursue a fulfilled life.
    • Happiness involves gaining knowledge, practicing gratitude and metacognition, sharing and uplifting others, holding oneself accountable with support, and embracing a well-rounded approach to happiness.
    • Honesty is essential for fostering trust and creating a loving environment in relationships. It is important to be truthful with oneself and others, as self-reflection and acknowledging both strengths and weaknesses are crucial for personal growth.
    • Self-honesty and honest feedback from friends can lead to personal growth, while maintaining genuine friendships is important for personal fulfillment, especially for men as they age.
    • Cultivating meaningful friendships requires effort, commitment, and honesty. Maintaining strong bonds with long-term friends, as well as intentionally deepening relationships with close friends, can create psychological safety and provide mirrors for self-reflection.
    • True happiness should not be based on physical appearance or seeking validation from others. Focus on managing emotions, building relationships, and pursuing fulfilling activities for inner happiness.
    • Working together with belief and dedication can lead to a fulfilling and joyful life.
    • True happiness and personal growth come from embracing both happiness and unhappiness, as negative emotions and challenges help us learn, grow, and find meaning in life.
    • Accepting and learning from suffering allows for personal transformation and the ability to find meaning, leading to growth and the opportunity to serve others.
    • Practicing gratitude helps us find meaning in life's challenges, embrace uncertainty, and see setbacks as opportunities for growth, leading to resilience and fulfillment.
    • Teaching and prioritizing happiness can create a positive impact on people's lives and bring about positive change in the world.

    📝 Podcast Summary

    Finding lasting satisfaction by wanting less and managing our desires through a Reverse Bucket List.

    Our satisfaction in life is not determined by constantly pursuing and acquiring more things. Instead, lasting and stable satisfaction comes from understanding that our satisfaction is our halves divided by our wants. This means that we can increase our satisfaction temporarily and inefficiently by having more, but we can achieve lasting and secure satisfaction by wanting less. By creating a Reverse Bucket List, we can consciously detach ourselves from our desires and ambitions. It involves writing them down and crossing them out, allowing us to manage these goals rather than being controlled by them. Ultimately, it's about finding contentment in what we already have rather than constantly striving for more.

    The Power of Detachment: Shifting Focus for Effective Action

    Detachment is crucial in managing our ambitions and desires. By consciously shifting our focus from being attached to our goals to simply having them as intentions, we can train our prefrontal cortex to govern our actions more effectively. Writing down our ambitions and regularly revisiting them can help us stay conscious of our progress and avoid becoming completely governed by them. It is important to recognize that the journey itself holds significance, not just the end result. Avoiding attachment to specific outcomes allows for adaptability and a more fulfilling experience. Additionally, this conversation highlights the danger of being attached to our views and opinions, as it can hinder personal growth and prevent open-mindedness.

    Letting Go of Attachments for Personal Growth and Meaningful Connections

    Attachment to strong political opinions can hinder personal growth, friendship, and understanding. Tim Ferriss discusses how he crossed out his five strongest political views, realizing that clinging onto these views was weighing him down. He recognizes that love, tolerance, and curiosity about others are more important in fostering meaningful connections. Arthur C. Brooks shares his approach to writing an obituary, focusing on the impact and teachings of a person rather than their specific actions. This conversation also highlights the teachings of Tek n Hanh in terms of detachment, mindfulness, and living in the present moment. Additionally, Brooks shares how Buddhist thinking has influenced his Catholic prayer practice, helping him find focus and meaning in prayer. Overall, the key takeaway is the importance of letting go of attachments and cultivating open-mindedness, empathy, and personal growth.

    The Power of Intimacy in Transmitting Knowledge and Understanding

    Intimate practices, such as praying together, can lead to direct transmission of knowledge and experiences. Arthur C. Brooks emphasizes the deep intimacy and connection that comes from praying with a partner or spouse. He believes that crossing the boundaries of such great intimacy can result in the transmission of teachings and understanding. This idea resonates with the concept of direct transmission in certain mindfulness schools, where sitting in meditation with a teacher can lead to profound insights. Building on this theme, Tim Ferriss discusses the importance of physical fitness and recommends blood occlusion training for those over 40. This practice, while preserving joints, can yield significant results in strength and hypertrophy.

    The Power of Fitness and Faith in Managing Emotions

    Maintaining physical fitness can serve as a tool for managing negative emotions and promoting happiness. Arthur C. Brooks shares his personal experience of using fitness to regulate his negative affect and emphasizes the importance of staying active as we age. Seeking advice from older individuals who have successfully maintained their fitness levels can help prevent injuries and ensure longevity in the gym. Furthermore, the conversation touches upon the mystical experience of the shrine of Guadalupe in Mexico City, highlighting the power of faith and cultural symbolism in inspiring conversions. Overall, the key takeaway is that physical fitness and spiritual beliefs can play significant roles in managing emotions and enhancing overall well-being.

    The Search for Something Deeper and Transcendent

    There is a yearning for something deeper and transcendent in every person. Tim Ferriss and Arthur C. Brooks discuss how different experiences and influences have shaped their thinking and led them to seek a deeper meaning in life. They highlight the importance of finding something or someone that can take you to a more transcendent state. Whether it's through religion, spirituality, art, or mathematics, the idea is to let yourself be guided to the deeper place rather than randomly searching for it on your own. This insight suggests that there are multiple paths to a sense of fulfillment and connection to something greater, and it is important to be open to those experiences.

    Differentiating Complicated and Complex Problems for a Fulfilling Life

    There are two types of problems in life: complicated problems and complex problems. Complicated problems can be solved with computational horsepower and technology, while complex problems are easy to understand but cannot be solved. The world often offers complicated solutions to complex problems, which leaves us feeling unsatisfied. Love is an example of a complex problem, while a jet engine is a complicated problem. This insight is valuable because it helps us understand that we need to seek the right kind of solutions for the right kind of problems in order to find satisfaction. Additionally, it is important to recognize that a significant portion of our baseline mood is genetic, but we have the power to choose how we respond and find happiness in our lives. Exercise is one effective way to manage negative emotions and improve overall well-being. Ultimately, it's essential to have the wisdom to differentiate between complicated and complex problems and seek appropriate solutions for a fulfilling life.

    Happiness and Unhappiness: Coexistence and Management

    Happiness and unhappiness are not opposites, and they can actually coexist. Many people mistakenly believe that happiness is the absence of unhappiness or that it is simply a feeling. However, happiness and unhappiness are processed in different parts of the brain and are not antonyms. Understanding this is crucial for managing our own happiness levels. It is important to recognize our natural disposition and manage both our happiness and unhappiness. Removing unhappiness completely is not the goal, as unhappiness is necessary for us to be fully alive and to experience true happiness. Instead, we should aim to manage and mute our unhappiness, rather than numb or eliminate it.

    Understanding and Balancing Happiness Phenomena

    Our emotions are complex and have evolved to keep us alive. Negative emotions are more intense and serve as signals or alarms that something might harm us, while positive emotions are pleasant but not as crucial for survival. We often experience mixed states of positive and negative emotions throughout the day. Managing our emotions is important, and this can be done by understanding and balancing three tangible phenomena associated with happiness: enjoyment, satisfaction, and meaning. These can be compared to the macronutrients of happiness, like protein, carbohydrates, and fat. It is essential to cultivate enjoyment by incorporating social connections and creating positive memories, rather than seeking solitary pleasure, which can lead to addiction.

    The Role of Satisfaction and Enjoyment in Pursuit of Happiness

    Satisfaction and enjoyment play different roles in our pursuit of happiness. Enjoyment, such as engaging in pleasurable activities like watching pornography or gambling, provides immediate pleasure but lacks lasting fulfillment. On the other hand, satisfaction comes from achieving something through effort and struggle. It involves deferring gratification and undertaking long-term projects. However, satisfaction can also be elusive as we tend to return to our emotional baseline, always desiring more to maintain the same level of satisfaction. To break this cycle, the key is to want less and find contentment in what we already have. By shifting our focus from acquiring more to appreciating what we already possess, we can achieve true satisfaction and overcome the never-ending pursuit of happiness.

    The Pursuit of True Happiness: Breaking Free from Idols

    St. Thomas Aquinas identified four substitutes for seeking true happiness: money, power, pleasure, and fame. These substitutes, known as Idols, are convenient but inadequate replacements for pursuing the divine or the metaphysical singularity. While communities often form around these idols, individuals also have their own personal idols. Aquinas' insight reminds us that although we may chase after these substitutes, they do not lead to true fulfillment and happiness. The conversation highlights that our society, whether in New York (money), LA (fame), DC (power), or Vegas (pleasure), revolves around these idols. It serves as a reminder that we should be mindful of our own idols and strive to pursue something deeper and more meaningful in our lives.

    Recognizing and managing our idols for a fulfilling life

    Recognizing and managing our main idols is crucial for leading a fulfilling life. Each person may have different idols that motivate and distract them, such as power, money, pleasure, or fame. By identifying our idols, we can better understand the actions that lead us astray and cause regret. In Tim Ferriss' case, he reveals that power is not one of his idols, as he does not actively seek it or desire to run a corporation. He also realizes that fame, despite experiencing it firsthand, holds no value for him, as he has seen its negative aspects. Furthermore, he understands that money does not bring the happiness he seeks and that the pursuit of experiences and giving away time can lead to greater fulfillment.

    Finding true happiness and fulfillment through alternative strategies for well-being.

    Enjoyment, satisfaction, and purpose are the real insurance policies against unhappiness and darkness. Pursuing pleasure as a means of numbing negative emotions is not a sustainable solution. Tim Ferriss, who has a history of mood disorders, seeks pleasure as a way to ward off depressive episodes, but his pursuit of high-volume pleasure can be problematic. Instead, Arthur C. Brooks suggests alternative strategies like meditation, prayer, and serious spiritual practice that can provide similar benefits without the dangers of numbing. Even for secular individuals, there is recognition of the value of strong religious convictions, and exploring practices that promote inner peace and fulfillment can be beneficial. It's important to find substitute strategies that promote well-being without causing further problems.

    Embracing Insignificance: Finding Peace in Perspective

    Finding peace and gaining perspective in life requires us to embrace our insignificance and stand in awe of something greater than ourselves. This can be achieved through various means such as meditation, prayer, or simply spending time in nature without distractions. By getting small and recognizing that we are just a small part of the universe, we can find a sense of tranquility and contentment. It's important to expand our understanding by studying history and the works of geniuses like Bach or the Stoics, which can give us a broader perspective on our own problems and help us let go of our fixation on money or legacy. Ultimately, what truly matters is accepting that everything is okay, both the good and the bad.

    Money and Happiness: Beyond the Illusion

    Money can lower unhappiness, but it doesn't necessarily buy happiness. It is important to move out of a state of deprivation, but beyond that, money doesn't significantly increase happiness. People often chase the feeling of wellbeing that comes with having more money, but it is ultimately elusive. According to research by Willans and Norton, there are three ways to buy happiness: through experiences, people, and memories. Experiences, especially when shared with loved ones, can bring the greatest happiness. The key is to focus on the quality of relationships and the memories created, rather than solely seeking material possessions. True happiness lies in meaningful connections and shared experiences.

    Prioritizing quality time and buying happiness through shared experiences and giving back to meaningful causes.

    Investing in experiences with loved ones is a reliable way to improve your love life. Whether it's going away together or simply staying at home and turning off distractions, prioritizing quality time with your partner can bring happiness and strengthen your relationship. Additionally, the conversation emphasizes the importance of buying time by outsourcing tasks that you don't enjoy or value. Using this time wisely, engaging in activities that bring you joy with someone you care about, can truly buy happiness. Lastly, the conversation highlights the positive impact of giving money to causes and organizations that align with your values and have a meaningful impact on people's lives. By focusing on specific causes and doing thorough research, you can make a significant difference in someone's life and experience personal fulfillment.

    Taking risks for life-changing experiences and meaningful connections.

    Taking risks and putting your heart into something can lead to life-changing experiences. Arthur C. Brooks shares his personal story of adopting a baby with his wife after realizing the benefits of helping one person wholeheartedly instead of superficially helping many. This decision was not made lightly and required them to take a leap of faith. Brooks emphasizes that giving your heart away is essential in any endeavor, whether it's in entrepreneurship or personal relationships. He believes that the true currency of life is love and happiness, and by putting it at risk, you open yourself up to explosive and transformative returns. While taking risks can be daunting, it is necessary to create meaningful connections and experiences.

    Love Transcends Language and Culture

    Love can conquer language and cultural barriers. Despite not speaking the same language and holding different views on marriage, Tim and his now-wife were able to make their relationship work through dedication and perseverance. It took two years of mutual effort, with Tim even quitting his job and moving to Barcelona to be with her. Their love story serves as a reminder that communication goes beyond mere words and that true connection can transcend societal norms and expectations. It is a testament to the power of love and the willingness to compromise and adapt for the sake of a meaningful relationship.

    Shifting Perspectives in the Search for Love

    Finding a partner in today's world has become increasingly challenging. The traditional methods and support systems for finding a partner have diminished, even in communities that used to have strong matchmaking roles. Technology has taken over, but it has brought along its own set of issues. Having endless options and the ability to curate carefully based on online presence and compatibility has made people prioritize sameness rather than embracing differences. This focus on compatibility and similarity has made us less attracted to others. Additionally, the overwhelming number of choices and decision fatigue further complicates the search for a partner. Ultimately, we need to shift our perspective and look beyond compatibility to forge meaningful connections and embrace diversity in our relationships.

    The Importance of Complementarity in Relationships

    Complementarity is essential in relationships. Compatibility alone is not enough; there needs to be a balance of similarities and differences. Tim Ferriss emphasizes the importance of difference, as it brings excitement, adventure, and growth to a relationship. Arthur C. Brooks shares his personal experience of finding a partner who complements him, making him a better person. They highlight the significance of having shared goals and becoming best friends in a relationship. They caution against expecting ongoing passion and the intense feelings of falling in love to last forever. Instead, the goal should be companionate love and a deep connection that evolves over time. It's crucial to find a balance between excitement and stability for long-term happiness.

    Confronting the fear of death to embrace life fully.

    Everyone has a fear of death, but it's not necessarily the physical death that they fear. It's often the fear of irrelevance, being forgotten, or failure. This fear is rooted in the ego and the threat it poses to one's identity. To overcome this fear, it's important to confront the truth of our own mortality. The Theravada Buddhist practice of death meditation, called Maura Naati, teaches us to familiarize ourselves with the reality of our future death, enabling us to be liberated from the fear of physical death and fully embrace life. By contemplating the inevitability of death, we can gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and live more authentically.

    Embracing failure and mortality for a meaningful life.

    Embracing failure and contemplating our mortality can lead to a greater sense of meaning in life. Arthur C. Brooks discusses how his students at Harvard, who have never experienced failure, are deeply afraid of it. He encourages them to do a meditation on their own academic and professional failures, allowing them to confront their fears and ultimately grow stronger from them. Additionally, he emphasizes the importance of contemplating death and recognizing that bad things will happen, but we will survive. By accepting failure and facing our mortality, we can live in the present moment and find true fulfillment and meaning in our lives.

    Exploring the Path to Meaning and Purpose in Life

    Finding meaning in life requires introspection and a sense of purpose. While some philosophies suggest that meaning is predetermined and exists outside of ourselves, others argue that we must create our essence and purpose through our actions and choices. Regardless of religious or secular beliefs, it is important to have a strong belief in why we are alive and what our purpose is. This purpose can be derived from a creator or from a personal drive to make a positive impact on others and foster happiness and love. Overall, discovering meaning involves asking oneself sub-questions about coherence, purpose, and significance and finding honest and compelling answers.

    Finding meaning through service and sacrifice

    Finding meaning in life and being willing to serve others can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Tim Ferriss expresses his desire to teach in order to alleviate suffering, highlighting the importance of using unorthodox ways to help others. Arthur C. Brooks emphasizes the significance of lightening the load for others and being willing to sacrifice for the well-being of one's family, faith, and country. The conversation further illustrates this idea through the example of Carlos, who embarked on a journey of self-discovery and personal growth through working on a farm and joining the military. Carlos' experiences ultimately led him to find answers to the questions of why he is alive and what he is willing to die for.

    Embarking on a personal quest for understanding and self-discovery.

    Finding meaningful answers to life's big questions, such as the purpose of our existence and what we would be willing to die for, requires personal exploration and discernment. No one else can provide us with these answers, not our parents, religious figures, or even holy books. We must embark on our own quest for understanding, challenging ourselves, and trying new experiences. It's important to differentiate between superficial allegiances and ideas that can be manipulated, and deep-rooted values or principles that withstand scrutiny. Discovering what truly matters and what we are willing to sacrifice for requires ongoing reflection and critical thinking.

    The Continuous Journey of Self-Reflection and Meaningful Questions

    Finding coherence, purpose, and significance in life requires continuous introspection and evaluation. It is not a one-time discovery, but an ongoing journey of self-reflection. Arthur C. Brooks emphasizes the importance of asking oneself meaningful questions on birthdays or other significant milestones. These questions revolve around beliefs, personal growth, identity, and values. Brooks also emphasizes the significance of four fundamental micronutrients: faith, family, friends, and work. These pillars form the basis of a fulfilling and meaningful life. Additionally, he discusses the importance of building real friendships based on genuine connection, as well as serving others through meaningful work. Regular assessment and adjustment are vital for maintaining these aspects of life, as reflected in his strategic planning and assessment of wellbeing on his birthday and off-birthday.

    From Knowing to Living: The Journey to Happiness

    The most important change Arthur C. Brooks made to his system was recognizing that he knew a lot about happiness, but wasn't actually happy himself. He realized that he was giving advice to others about friendships and having a good marriage, but he wasn't living by those principles. So, he used his knowledge to change his habits and started implementing specific practices based on scientific research. However, he soon discovered that to truly ingrain a habit, he needed to go one step further and teach it to others. By sharing his knowledge and practices, he became more committed to living a happy life. The three-step protocol he follows is: understand, practice, and share. Through this process, he not only improves his own happiness, but also inspires others to do the same.

    The Key Steps to Happiness: Knowledge, Practice, Sharing, Accountability, and Embracing Traditional and Modern Ideas

    The path to happiness involves several key steps. Firstly, it requires knowledge and understanding of concepts, such as gratitude and metacognition. Secondly, it involves putting this knowledge into practice through conscious habits and actions. Thirdly, it is important to share these practices with others and commit to teaching and uplifting them. A crucial aspect is to hold oneself accountable by allowing others to support and guide one's progress. Furthermore, the conversation highlights the effectiveness of decentralized organizations, such as 12-step programs, which emphasize knowledge, new habits, and accountability. Lastly, embracing both traditional wisdom and modern ideas leads to a well-rounded approach to happiness.

    The Power of Honesty in Building Relationships

    Honesty, both with oneself and with others, is crucial for building strong and meaningful relationships. Arthur C. Brooks emphasizes the importance of never lying, as it forms the foundation of trust and creates an environment of genuine love and companionship. He shares personal experiences of how being honest in his relationship with his wife and teaching his sons the value of honesty has had a profound impact on their lives. Moreover, Brooks points out that self-reflection and facing the truth about oneself is equally important. He warns against the common tendency to lie to oneself and emphasizes the need to acknowledge both the good and the bad in order to grow as a person.

    Embracing Self-Honesty and Genuine Friendships for Personal Transformation

    Self-honesty is essential for personal growth and change. Tim Ferriss and Arthur C. Brooks discuss how individuals often deceive themselves, either by creating a false story about themselves or by lacking awareness of their own delusions. To catch these self-lies and overcome them, they emphasize the importance of seeking outside counsel and having friends who can provide honest feedback. This requires a commitment to being uncomfortable and open to criticism. Additionally, the conversation highlights the importance of maintaining strong friendships, especially for men who tend to become lonelier as they age. In summary, the key takeaway is that embracing self-honesty and cultivating genuine friendships can lead to personal transformation and fulfillment.

    Nurturing True Friendships: Effort, Commitment, and Honesty

    Cultivating meaningful friendships requires effort and commitment. Tim Ferriss emphasizes the importance of not neglecting real friends and making time to spend with them, despite the challenges of family and responsibilities. Arthur C. Brooks suggests two approaches: the organic way, which involves maintaining a strong bond with long-term friends and holding each other accountable, and the manual way, which involves intentionally deepening relationships with deal friends by making commitments to honesty and support. Both approaches require creating psychological safety and treating honesty as a gift rather than a weapon. The conversation also touches on the value of feedback and using friends as mirrors for self-reflection.

    The Negative Effects of Societal Beauty Standards

    Physical appearance and the pursuit of societal standards of attractiveness can have negative effects on one's well-being. Tim Ferriss and Arthur C. Brooks discuss how constantly focusing on one's appearance can lead to emotional distress and self-destructive behaviors such as extreme dieting or developing eating disorders. They emphasize that true happiness and self-worth should not be solely dependent on how one looks in the mirror or seeking validation from others. Instead, they suggest focusing on managing emotions, building meaningful relationships, and pursuing activities that bring genuine fulfillment. The conversation highlights the importance of prioritizing inner happiness over external validation and societal beauty ideals.

    A collaborative journey towards happiness and success guided by Arthur C. Brooks and Oprah Winfrey.

    A collaboration between Arthur C. Brooks and Oprah Winfrey resulted in a book that serves as an owner's manual for happiness. Despite the unlikely pairing, Oprah reached out to Arthur after being a regular reader of his column in The Atlantic. Their shared mission to uplift and connect people in happiness and love led them to create a book that combined Arthur's teachings on the Science of Happiness with Oprah's mass media platform. The collaborative experience was joyful and positive, and the title of the book, "How to Build the Life You Want, the Art and Science of Getting Happier," was a result of Oprah's genius suggestion. Overall, this collaboration enriched Arthur's life and highlights the importance of working hard and believing in others to achieve success.

    Embracing the Full Spectrum of Emotions for True Happiness

    True happiness and fulfillment in life come from embracing both happiness and unhappiness. Arthur C. Brooks emphasizes the importance of not just seeking happiness but striving to become "happiers." He explains that negative emotions, suffering, and challenges are essential for personal growth and understanding. These experiences help us discover our limits, face adversity, and find meaning in life. The goal is not to avoid pain but to navigate through it, learn from it, and ultimately become more fully alive. It is through the contrast of happiness and unhappiness that we truly appreciate and understand the depth and richness of our existence.

    Embracing Suffering for Personal Growth and Purpose

    Suffering can be seen as a valuable part of personal growth and finding meaning in life. Arthur C. Brooks discusses how his experience with depression has allowed him to learn about himself and his purpose in life. He emphasizes that suffering can be a necessary step towards personal transformation and serving others. Tim Ferriss adds that he has learned to incorporate his past pain into the perspectives he shares and the lessons he teaches. They both believe that embracing discomfort and exposing oneself to challenging experiences can help overcome the fear of suffering and lead to personal development. Overall, the conversation highlights the importance of finding meaning and purpose in adversity and using it as a tool for growth.

    Cultivating Gratitude for Resilience and Fulfillment

    Practicing gratitude can help us navigate through life's challenges and find meaning in both good and bad experiences. One practical way to cultivate gratitude is by starting each day with a statement acknowledging the uncertainty of the future, yet expressing gratitude for being alive and open to whatever comes our way. Additionally, keeping a failure journal can help us reframe setbacks and disappointments as opportunities for growth and learning. By reflecting on these experiences and finding the lessons and positive outcomes, we can develop a deeper appreciation for the various aspects of our lives. This shift in perspective allows us to embrace the ups and downs, making gratitude a key tool for resilience and fulfillment.

    Spreading Happiness Through Love and Understanding

    Both Tim Ferriss and Arthur C. Brooks are dedicated to teaching and spreading happiness. They believe in the power of love and understanding to bring people together and make the world a happier place. Arthur Brooks, in particular, is on a mission to train people to be happiness teachers and create a movement of individuals who prioritize the science of happiness and sharing it with others. They both acknowledge the importance of knowledge, commitment to change, and bringing real happiness to those who are broken and suffering. Tim Ferriss expresses admiration and gratitude for Arthur Brooks' work, recognizing the positive impact it has on people's lives.

    Recent Episodes from The Tim Ferriss Show

    #736: A Strategic Deep Dive on TikTok, The Boiling Moat of Taiwan, and China’s Next-Gen Statecraft — Matt Pottinger, Former U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor

    #736: A Strategic Deep Dive on TikTok, The Boiling Moat of Taiwan, and China’s Next-Gen Statecraft — Matt Pottinger, Former U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor

    Matt Pottinger is a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution and chairman of the China Program at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Matt served as U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor from 2019 to 2021. Before his White House service, Matt spent the late 1990s and early 2000s in China as a reporter for Reuters and The Wall Street Journal. He then fought in Iraq and Afghanistan as a U.S. Marine during three combat deployments between 2007 and 2010. Matt’s new book is The Boiling Moat: Urgent Steps to Defend Taiwan.

    Sponsors:

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    Timestamps:

    [05:55] Bao Tong’s calligraphy.

    [08:20] Matt’s decision to study East Asian languages.

    [10:13] Studying with Perry Link and the challenges of learning Chinese.

    [12:19] Tips for learning Chinese and other languages.

    [17:17] How TikTok has been weaponized by the Chinese Communist Party.

    [20:58] The origins of TikTok and its obfuscatory ownership structure.

    [26:30] How sowing chaos in the West serves the CCP’s aims.

    [31:37] “Politics stops at the water’s edge.”

    [33:11] How should the US rein in TikTok’s influence over its population?

    [40:23] The significance of Taiwan geographically, ideologically, and economically.

    [49:59] The semiconductor industry in Taiwan and its global importance.

    [52:07] Deterring China from attacking or coercing Taiwan.

    [58:51] Cultivating social depth in Taiwan.

    [1:01:09] Guessing at Xi Jinping’s timeline.

    [1:05:33] Demonstrating the will to match the capacity of following through.

    [1:07:47] Matt’s top priorities for stemming Chinese ambitions.

    [1:10:15] Architects of chaos.

    [1:14:21] Staying alert against informational warfare and united front activity.

    [1:21:00] Countering China’s influence on its Western-based citizens.

    [1:25:05] Checkers vs. Go.

    [1:26:56] How can the US reassert its position as a beacon of democracy?

    [1:33:05] What prompted Matt to join the Marine Corps at age 32?

    [1:38:50] Getting in shape for the occasion.

    [1:40:45] Leadership lessons learned.

    [1:46:59] The Boiling Moat, the importance of public service, and parting thoughts.

    *

    For show notes and past guests on The Tim Ferriss Show, please visit tim.blog/podcast.

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    Past guests on The Tim Ferriss Show include Jerry SeinfeldHugh JackmanDr. Jane GoodallLeBron JamesKevin HartDoris Kearns GoodwinJamie FoxxMatthew McConaugheyEsther PerelElizabeth GilbertTerry CrewsSiaYuval Noah HarariMalcolm GladwellMadeleine AlbrightCheryl StrayedJim CollinsMary Karr, Maria PopovaSam HarrisMichael PhelpsBob IgerEdward NortonArnold SchwarzeneggerNeil StraussKen BurnsMaria SharapovaMarc AndreessenNeil GaimanNeil de Grasse TysonJocko WillinkDaniel EkKelly SlaterDr. Peter AttiaSeth GodinHoward MarksDr. Brené BrownEric SchmidtMichael LewisJoe GebbiaMichael PollanDr. Jordan PetersonVince VaughnBrian KoppelmanRamit SethiDax ShepardTony RobbinsJim DethmerDan HarrisRay DalioNaval RavikantVitalik ButerinElizabeth LesserAmanda PalmerKatie HaunSir Richard BransonChuck PalahniukArianna HuffingtonReid HoffmanBill BurrWhitney CummingsRick RubinDr. Vivek MurthyDarren AronofskyMargaret AtwoodMark ZuckerbergPeter ThielDr. Gabor MatéAnne LamottSarah SilvermanDr. Andrew Huberman, and many more.

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    #735: Craig Foster of My Octopus Teacher — How to Find the Wild in a Tame World

    #735: Craig Foster of My Octopus Teacher — How to Find the Wild in a Tame World

    Craig Foster is an Oscar- and BAFTA-winning filmmaker, naturalist, author, and ocean explorer. He is the co-founder of the Sea Change Project, an NGO dedicated to the long-term conservation and regeneration of the Great African Seaforest. His film My Octopus Teacher has led to making the Great African Seaforest a global icon. His new book is Amphibious Soul: Finding the Wild in a Tame World

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    Timestamps:

    [08:39] A morning ray.

    [11:01] Connecting with the sea is a family tradition.

    [13:24] Making The Great Dance.

    [15:28] Unnatural powers granted by natural attunement.

    [22:40] Observing the secret lives of animals.

    [26:44] What makes Kalahari trackers so impressive?

    [29:37] Connecting with nature in the big city.

    [32:43] Breath holding and cold exposure.

    [37:25] Land lessons via underwater tracking.

    [42:55] Connecting with a Cape clawless otter.

    [46:20] Interspecies alliances.

    [49:39] What compelled Craig to write Amphibious Soul?

    [52:58] Why pristine nature comforts and inspires us.

    [1:00:03] Is ancestral memory real?

    [1:04:16] Nature as a mirror.

    [1:07:48] The pros and cons of discovering new species.

    [1:10:03] Song catching.

    [1:16:30] The meaning of “home.”

    [1:19:03] Parenting lessons.

    [1:23:41] The psychic cost of sudden fame.

    [1:31:18] For whom was Amphibious Soul written?

    [1:33:58] Sea Change Project.

    [1:35:53] The short-sightedness of current climate policy.

    [1:41:52] Changing entrenched minds.

    [1:52:37] A camera-stealing octopus.

    [1:55:25] Hope for a shift in human perspective.

    [1:58:21] Parting thoughts.

    *

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    Past guests on The Tim Ferriss Show include Jerry SeinfeldHugh JackmanDr. Jane GoodallLeBron JamesKevin HartDoris Kearns GoodwinJamie FoxxMatthew McConaugheyEsther PerelElizabeth GilbertTerry CrewsSiaYuval Noah HarariMalcolm GladwellMadeleine AlbrightCheryl StrayedJim CollinsMary Karr, Maria PopovaSam HarrisMichael PhelpsBob IgerEdward NortonArnold SchwarzeneggerNeil StraussKen BurnsMaria SharapovaMarc AndreessenNeil GaimanNeil de Grasse TysonJocko WillinkDaniel EkKelly SlaterDr. Peter AttiaSeth GodinHoward MarksDr. Brené BrownEric SchmidtMichael LewisJoe GebbiaMichael PollanDr. Jordan PetersonVince VaughnBrian KoppelmanRamit SethiDax ShepardTony RobbinsJim DethmerDan HarrisRay DalioNaval RavikantVitalik ButerinElizabeth LesserAmanda PalmerKatie HaunSir Richard BransonChuck PalahniukArianna HuffingtonReid HoffmanBill BurrWhitney CummingsRick RubinDr. Vivek MurthyDarren AronofskyMargaret AtwoodMark ZuckerbergPeter ThielDr. Gabor MatéAnne LamottSarah SilvermanDr. Andrew Huberman, and many more.

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    #734: In Case You Missed It: March 2024 Recap of "The Tim Ferriss Show"

    #734: In Case You Missed It: March 2024 Recap of "The Tim Ferriss Show"

    This episode is brought to you by 5-Bullet Friday, my very own email newsletter.

    Welcome to another episode of The Tim Ferriss Show, where it is my job to deconstruct world-class performers to tease out the routines, habits, et cetera that you can apply to your own life. 

    This is a special inbetweenisode, which serves as a recap of the episodes from last month. It features a short clip from each conversation in one place so you can easily jump around to get a feel for the episode and guest.

    Based on your feedback, this format has been tweaked and improved since the first recap episode. For instance, listeners suggested that the bios for each guest can slow the momentum, so we moved all the bios to the end. 

    See it as a teaser. Something to whet your appetite. If you like what you hear, you can of course find the full episodes at tim.blog/podcast

    Please enjoy! 

    *

    This episode is brought to you by 5-Bullet Friday, my very own email newsletter that every Friday features five bullet points highlighting cool things I’ve found that week, including apps, books, documentaries, gadgets, albums, articles, TV shows, new hacks or tricks, and—of course—all sorts of weird stuff I’ve dug up from around the world.

    It’s free, it’s always going to be free, and you can subscribe now at tim.blog/friday.

    *

    Timestamps:

    Scott Glenn: 00:03:20

    Barbara Corcoran: 00:05:10

    Seth Godin: 00:08:11

    Hugh Howey: 00:15:44

    Full episode titles:

    Legendary Actor Scott Glenn — How to Be Super Fit at 85, Lessons from Marlon Brando, How to Pursue Your Purpose, The Art of Serendipity, Stories of Gunslingers, and More (#729)

    Barbara Corcoran — How She Turned $1,000 into a $5B+ Empire: PR Stunts, Sales Techniques, Critical Early Wins, Fighting Trump, and Becoming a Real Estate Mogul (#725)

    Seth Godin — Coaching Tim on Overcoming Resistance, Lessons from Isaac Asimov, Writing Secrets After 8,500+ Daily Blog Posts, The Dangers of Authenticity, Practices for Consistency, and Much More (#728)

    Hugh Howey, Author of Silo and Wool — A Masterclass on Writing, Unorthodox Self-Publishing, and Living in The AI Age (#726)

    *

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    Past guests on The Tim Ferriss Show include Jerry SeinfeldHugh JackmanDr. Jane GoodallLeBron JamesKevin HartDoris Kearns GoodwinJamie FoxxMatthew McConaugheyEsther PerelElizabeth GilbertTerry CrewsSiaYuval Noah HarariMalcolm GladwellMadeleine AlbrightCheryl StrayedJim CollinsMary Karr, Maria PopovaSam HarrisMichael PhelpsBob IgerEdward NortonArnold SchwarzeneggerNeil StraussKen BurnsMaria SharapovaMarc AndreessenNeil GaimanNeil de Grasse TysonJocko WillinkDaniel EkKelly SlaterDr. Peter AttiaSeth GodinHoward MarksDr. Brené BrownEric SchmidtMichael LewisJoe GebbiaMichael PollanDr. Jordan PetersonVince VaughnBrian KoppelmanRamit SethiDax ShepardTony RobbinsJim DethmerDan HarrisRay DalioNaval RavikantVitalik ButerinElizabeth LesserAmanda PalmerKatie HaunSir Richard BransonChuck PalahniukArianna HuffingtonReid HoffmanBill BurrWhitney CummingsRick RubinDr. Vivek MurthyDarren AronofskyMargaret AtwoodMark ZuckerbergPeter ThielDr. Gabor MatéAnne LamottSarah SilvermanDr. Andrew Huberman, and many more.

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    #733: Live 10th Anniversary Random Show with Kevin Rose — Exploring What’s Next, Testing Ozempic, Modern Dating, New Breakthrough Treatments for Anxiety, Bitcoin ETFs, Mike Tyson vs. Jake Paul, and Engineering More Awe in Your Life

    #733: Live 10th Anniversary Random Show with Kevin Rose —  Exploring What’s Next, Testing Ozempic, Modern Dating, New Breakthrough Treatments for Anxiety, Bitcoin ETFs, Mike Tyson vs. Jake Paul, and Engineering More Awe in Your Life

    This week is officially the podcast’s 10-year anniversary, and there is no better way to commemorate such a wild milestone than with Kevin Rose and a little tequila. As many listeners know, Kevin was my very first guest for episode 1, way back in April 2014. Timestamps for this episode are available below.

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    Timestamps:

    [07:20] First live Random Show?

    [07:50] Reasons to celebrate.

    [08:30] How long can this go on?

    [10:15] Mmm…Mmm.

    [11:53] Inflection points.

    [13:00] Interesting over impulse.

    [14:46] Bitcoin ETFs.

    [17:22] PROOF news.

    [18:41] What’s Kevin’s next project?

    [21:15] Don’t DIY your TMS.

    [22:57] The SAINT protocol and accelerated TMS.

    [23:42] Kevin wonders how magnets work.

    [24:27] How accelerated TMS has helped me.

    [28:02] Consumer access to accelerated TMS.

    [31:50] How TMS feels, and other possible uses.

    [32:49] Potential downsides.

    [35:10] How to find out more about accelerated TMS.

    [38:18] How to appear human in social situations.

    [45:20] Jinjer and Sohn.

    [46:24] Android and Gemini.

    [48:41] Content production and future fame.

    [49:58] Jake Paul vs. Mike Tyson.

    [52:02] Kevin’s deflated balls.

    [55:49] My single life.

    [59:39] Extending experiential lifespan.

    [1:06:12] This is (Henry Shukman’s) The Way.

    *

    For show notes and past guests on The Tim Ferriss Show, please visit tim.blog/podcast.

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    Past guests on The Tim Ferriss Show include Jerry SeinfeldHugh JackmanDr. Jane GoodallLeBron JamesKevin HartDoris Kearns GoodwinJamie FoxxMatthew McConaugheyEsther PerelElizabeth GilbertTerry CrewsSiaYuval Noah HarariMalcolm GladwellMadeleine AlbrightCheryl StrayedJim CollinsMary Karr, Maria PopovaSam HarrisMichael PhelpsBob IgerEdward NortonArnold SchwarzeneggerNeil StraussKen BurnsMaria SharapovaMarc AndreessenNeil GaimanNeil de Grasse TysonJocko WillinkDaniel EkKelly SlaterDr. Peter AttiaSeth GodinHoward MarksDr. Brené BrownEric SchmidtMichael LewisJoe GebbiaMichael PollanDr. Jordan PetersonVince VaughnBrian KoppelmanRamit SethiDax ShepardTony RobbinsJim DethmerDan HarrisRay DalioNaval RavikantVitalik ButerinElizabeth LesserAmanda PalmerKatie HaunSir Richard BransonChuck PalahniukArianna HuffingtonReid HoffmanBill BurrWhitney CummingsRick RubinDr. Vivek MurthyDarren AronofskyMargaret AtwoodMark ZuckerbergPeter ThielDr. Gabor MatéAnne LamottSarah SilvermanDr. Andrew Huberman, and many more.

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    #732: Martha Beck — The Amazing and Brutal Results of Zero Lies for 365 Days, How to Do a Beginner “Integrity Cleanse,” Lessons from Lion Trackers, and Novel Tactics for Reducing Anxiety

    #732: Martha Beck — The Amazing and Brutal Results of Zero Lies for 365 Days, How to Do a Beginner “Integrity Cleanse,” Lessons from Lion Trackers, and Novel Tactics for Reducing Anxiety

    Dr. Martha Beck has been called “the best-known life coach in America” by NPR and USA Today. She holds three Harvard degrees in social science and has published nine non-fiction books, one novel, and more than 200 magazine articles. Her recent book, The Way of Integrity: Finding the Path to Your True Self, was an instant New York Times Best Seller.

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    Timestamps:

    Note from the editor: Timestamps will be available shortly.

    *

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    Past guests on The Tim Ferriss Show include Jerry SeinfeldHugh JackmanDr. Jane GoodallLeBron JamesKevin HartDoris Kearns GoodwinJamie FoxxMatthew McConaugheyEsther PerelElizabeth GilbertTerry CrewsSiaYuval Noah HarariMalcolm GladwellMadeleine AlbrightCheryl StrayedJim CollinsMary Karr, Maria PopovaSam HarrisMichael PhelpsBob IgerEdward NortonArnold SchwarzeneggerNeil StraussKen BurnsMaria SharapovaMarc AndreessenNeil GaimanNeil de Grasse TysonJocko WillinkDaniel EkKelly SlaterDr. Peter AttiaSeth GodinHoward MarksDr. Brené BrownEric SchmidtMichael LewisJoe GebbiaMichael PollanDr. Jordan PetersonVince VaughnBrian KoppelmanRamit SethiDax ShepardTony RobbinsJim DethmerDan HarrisRay DalioNaval RavikantVitalik ButerinElizabeth LesserAmanda PalmerKatie HaunSir Richard BransonChuck PalahniukArianna HuffingtonReid HoffmanBill BurrWhitney CummingsRick RubinDr. Vivek MurthyDarren AronofskyMargaret AtwoodMark ZuckerbergPeter ThielDr. Gabor MatéAnne LamottSarah SilvermanDr. Andrew Huberman, and many more.

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    #731: Dr. David Spiegel, Stanford U. — Practical Hypnosis, Meditation vs. Hypnosis, Pain Management Without Drugs, The Neurobiology of Trance, and More

    #731: Dr. David Spiegel, Stanford U. — Practical Hypnosis, Meditation vs. Hypnosis, Pain Management Without Drugs, The Neurobiology of Trance, and More

    Dr. David Spiegel is Willson Professor and Associate Chair of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Director of the Center on Stress and Health, and Medical Director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, where he has been a member of the academic faculty since 1975. He is the founder of Reveri, the world's first interactive self-hypnosis app.

    Timestamps for this episode are available below. Links to everything discussed: https://tim.blog/2024/04/10/dr-david-spiegel-hypnosis/

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    Timestamps:

    [07:00] How Herbert Spiegel was exposed to hypnosis.

    [10:14] Using hypnosis to cure non-epileptic seizures.

    [11:53] What is a forensic psychiatrist?

    [14:43] How hypnosis works.

    [17:54] Hypnosis and the flow state.

    [21:03] How hypnosis differs from meditation.

    [22:38] Determining one’s susceptibility to hypnosis.

    [27:21] I take the eye-roll test.

    [29:33] Thoughts on EMDR.

    [36:29] Therapeutic psychedelics and ego dissolution.

    [41:05] Potential adverse effects of hypnosis?

    [42:34] Accelerated TMS improves response to hypnosis.

    [44:25] Hypnosis as a tool for stress and pain relief.

    [48:56] David treats my back pain with hypnosis.

    [57:09] Replicating this effect with self-hypnosis.

    [57:57] Understanding the science of pain relief.

    [1:03:18] Filtering the hurt from the pain.

    [1:06:37] For us, not against us.

    [1:09:12] Hypnosis vs. other addiction interventions.

    [1:11:41] A mesmerizing tale of hypnotic history.

    [1:16:10] Most surprising patient outcomes.

    [1:24:53] Finding connection to treat the agitated.

    [1:28:40] Who is Reveri designed for?

    [1:31:15] Hypnosis as a first rather than last resort.

    [1:35:02] Further resources and final thoughts.

    *

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    #730: Reed Hastings, Co-Founder of Netflix — How to Cultivate High Performance, The Art of Farming for Dissent, Favorite Failures, and More

    #730: Reed Hastings, Co-Founder of Netflix — How to Cultivate High Performance, The Art of Farming for Dissent, Favorite Failures, and More

    Reed Hastings became executive chairman of Netflix in 2023, after 25 years as CEO. He co-founded Netflix in 1997. Reed is also a majority owner of Powder Mountain. He is currently on the board of several educational organizations including KIPP and Pahara.

    Timestamps for this episode are available below.

    Sponsors:

    AG1 all-in-one nutritional supplement: https://drinkag1.com/tim (1-year supply of Vitamin D (and 5 free AG1 travel packs) with your first subscription purchase.)

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    Timestamps:

    [06:34] Alfred Lee Loomis and Tuxedo Park.

    [07:53] Risk tolerance: nature or nurture?

    [10:56] Cultivating culture that “eats strategy for lunch.”

    [15:41] The logic behind generous severance.

    [17:02] Adapting to Pure chaos.

    [18:44] Reference checking potential hires.

    [20:29] Context vs. control.

    [22:35] Radical candor.

    [24:15] Guardrails for maintaining work/life balance.

    [27:04] Farming for dissent.

    [28:39] Believing in the green crystals.

    [30:54] High-performance team, not family.

    [31:59] The keeper test.

    [32:49] Fire and replace, or replace and fire?

    [33:59] Beyond Entrepreneurship and other recommended reading/viewing.

    [37:46] A favorite failure.

    [40:32] Outstanding leaders.

    [41:10] Reed’s two “religions.”

    [42:19] Powder Mountain.

    [44:44] How Powder Mountain differs from Reed’s other projects.

    [46:24] Powder Mountain’s biggest challenges ahead.

    [47:02] Could Reed ever really retire?

    [47:19] Best investments of time, energy, or money.

    [48:49] How can we improve education in the US?

    [52:48] What class would Reed teach?

    [53:59] Juggling projects without losing focus.

    [55:04] Philanthropy: Why Africa?

    [55:32] Being “big-hearted champions who pick up the trash.”

    [56:28] Reed’s billboard.

    [58:01] Parting thoughts.

    *

    For show notes and past guests on The Tim Ferriss Show, please visit tim.blog/podcast.

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    Past guests on The Tim Ferriss Show include Jerry SeinfeldHugh JackmanDr. Jane GoodallLeBron JamesKevin HartDoris Kearns GoodwinJamie FoxxMatthew McConaugheyEsther PerelElizabeth GilbertTerry CrewsSiaYuval Noah HarariMalcolm GladwellMadeleine AlbrightCheryl StrayedJim CollinsMary Karr, Maria PopovaSam HarrisMichael PhelpsBob IgerEdward NortonArnold SchwarzeneggerNeil StraussKen BurnsMaria SharapovaMarc AndreessenNeil GaimanNeil de Grasse TysonJocko WillinkDaniel EkKelly SlaterDr. Peter AttiaSeth GodinHoward MarksDr. Brené BrownEric SchmidtMichael LewisJoe GebbiaMichael PollanDr. Jordan PetersonVince VaughnBrian KoppelmanRamit SethiDax ShepardTony RobbinsJim DethmerDan HarrisRay DalioNaval RavikantVitalik ButerinElizabeth LesserAmanda PalmerKatie HaunSir Richard BransonChuck PalahniukArianna HuffingtonReid HoffmanBill BurrWhitney CummingsRick RubinDr. Vivek MurthyDarren AronofskyMargaret AtwoodMark ZuckerbergPeter ThielDr. Gabor MatéAnne LamottSarah SilvermanDr. Andrew Huberman, and many more.

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    #729: Legendary Actor Scott Glenn — How to Be Super Fit at 85, Lessons from Marlon Brando, How to Pursue Your Purpose, The Art of Serendipity, Stories of Gunslingers, and More

    #729: Legendary Actor Scott Glenn — How to Be Super Fit at 85, Lessons from Marlon Brando, How to Pursue Your Purpose, The Art of Serendipity, Stories of Gunslingers, and More

    Scott Glenn’s acting career spans nearly 60 years. His impressive film resume includes performances in Apocalypse Now, Urban Cowboy, The Right Stuff, Silverado, The Hunt for Red October, The Silence of the Lambs, Backdraft, The Virgin Suicides, and The Bourne Ultimatum. This year, Scott will return to HBO to join season 3 of The White Lotus.

    Timestamps for this episode are available below. Links to everything discussed: https://tim.blog/2024/03/27/scott-glenn/

    Sponsors:

    Momentous high-quality supplements: https://livemomentous.com/tim (code TIM for 20% off)

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    Timestamps:

    [07:10] Idaho vs. Los Angeles.

    [13:26] Apocalypse Now, self-confidence soon after.

    [17:26] Burt Lancaster’s movie star lessons.

    [23:06] The birth and death of Wes Hightower.

    [32:22] Catching the attention of James Bridges.

    [35:42] Scarlet fever.

    [37:29] From Marine to police reporter.

    [42:12] Berghof Studios and parental advice.

    [50:44] Converting to Judaism.

    [53:36] Lao Tzu: the ultimate mystic?

    [58:16] Letting go with Killer Joe.

    [1:02:53] “Crazy Whitefella Thinking.”

    [1:08:31] Getting out of the way and Erwan Le Corre.

    [1:11:51] Lessons from the “morally phenomenal” Marlon Brando.

    [1:16:26] How Scott’s childhood bout with scarlet fever informed his life’s course.

    [1:19:05] Daily routines and exercises of an in-shape 85-year-old.

    [1:35:12] Securing a serendipitous skill set.

    [1:42:13] Thailand talk.

    [1:46:18] Increasing surface luck.

    [1:47:04] How Scott met and fell in love with his wife.

    [1:53:04] “Just dance.”

    [1:53:46] Mistakenly calling Rudolf Nureyev Russian.

    [1:55:57] Poetry.

    [2:00:01] What Laurence Olivier knew about the value of tenacity.

    [2:01:41] Parting thoughts.

    *

    For show notes and past guests on The Tim Ferriss Show, please visit tim.blog/podcast.

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    Past guests on The Tim Ferriss Show include Jerry SeinfeldHugh JackmanDr. Jane GoodallLeBron JamesKevin HartDoris Kearns GoodwinJamie FoxxMatthew McConaugheyEsther PerelElizabeth GilbertTerry CrewsSiaYuval Noah HarariMalcolm GladwellMadeleine AlbrightCheryl StrayedJim CollinsMary Karr, Maria PopovaSam HarrisMichael PhelpsBob IgerEdward NortonArnold SchwarzeneggerNeil StraussKen BurnsMaria SharapovaMarc AndreessenNeil GaimanNeil de Grasse TysonJocko WillinkDaniel EkKelly SlaterDr. Peter AttiaSeth GodinHoward MarksDr. Brené BrownEric SchmidtMichael LewisJoe GebbiaMichael PollanDr. Jordan PetersonVince VaughnBrian KoppelmanRamit SethiDax ShepardTony RobbinsJim DethmerDan HarrisRay DalioNaval RavikantVitalik ButerinElizabeth LesserAmanda PalmerKatie HaunSir Richard BransonChuck PalahniukArianna HuffingtonReid HoffmanBill BurrWhitney CummingsRick RubinDr. Vivek MurthyDarren AronofskyMargaret AtwoodMark ZuckerbergPeter ThielDr. Gabor MatéAnne LamottSarah SilvermanDr. Andrew Huberman, and many more.

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    #728: Seth Godin — Coaching Tim on Overcoming Resistance, Lessons from Isaac Asimov, Writing Secrets After 8,500+ Daily Blog Posts, The Dangers of Authenticity, Practices for Consistency, and Much More

    #728: Seth Godin — Coaching Tim on Overcoming Resistance, Lessons from Isaac Asimov, Writing Secrets After 8,500+ Daily Blog Posts, The Dangers of Authenticity, Practices for Consistency, and Much More

    Seth Godin is the author of 21 international bestsellers that have changed the way people think about work. Seth’s books include Tribes, Purple Cow, Linchpin, The Dip, and This Is Marketing. Seth writes one of the most popular marketing blogs in the world, and two of his TED talks are among the most popular of all time. His latest book is The Song of Significance: A New Manifesto for Teams

    Timestamps for this episode are available below.

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    Timestamps:

    [06:14] Writing a provocation rather than a prescription.

    [13:08] Divvying up concepts.

    [16:25] Comprehension over complication.

    [18:58] How Seth fulfills a blog post’s purpose.

    [22:28] Claude AI vs. ChatGPT.

    [23:41] How Seth Godin as a Service (SGaaS) maintains consistency.

    [27:23] Simplification over exaggeration.

    [31:56] Working with Isaac Asimov and getting a Clue.

    [36:53] How Seth moves life’s story forward (even when he loves the current chapter).

    [43:28] Why does Seth write?

    [44:59] Is an ounce of prevention worth a pound of sinecure?

    [45:15] Parting thoughts.

    *

    For show notes and past guests on The Tim Ferriss Show, please visit tim.blog/podcast.

    For deals from sponsors of The Tim Ferriss Showplease visit tim.blog/podcast-sponsors

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    Past guests on The Tim Ferriss Show include Jerry SeinfeldHugh JackmanDr. Jane GoodallLeBron JamesKevin HartDoris Kearns GoodwinJamie FoxxMatthew McConaugheyEsther PerelElizabeth GilbertTerry CrewsSiaYuval Noah HarariMalcolm GladwellMadeleine AlbrightCheryl StrayedJim CollinsMary Karr, Maria PopovaSam HarrisMichael PhelpsBob IgerEdward NortonArnold SchwarzeneggerNeil StraussKen BurnsMaria SharapovaMarc AndreessenNeil GaimanNeil de Grasse TysonJocko WillinkDaniel EkKelly SlaterDr. Peter AttiaSeth GodinHoward MarksDr. Brené BrownEric SchmidtMichael LewisJoe GebbiaMichael PollanDr. Jordan PetersonVince VaughnBrian KoppelmanRamit SethiDax ShepardTony RobbinsJim DethmerDan HarrisRay DalioNaval RavikantVitalik ButerinElizabeth LesserAmanda PalmerKatie HaunSir Richard BransonChuck PalahniukArianna HuffingtonReid HoffmanBill BurrWhitney CummingsRick RubinDr. Vivek MurthyDarren AronofskyMargaret AtwoodMark ZuckerbergPeter ThielDr. Gabor MatéAnne LamottSarah SilvermanDr. Andrew Huberman, and many more.

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    #727: In Case You Missed It: February 2024 Recap of "The Tim Ferriss Show"

    #727: In Case You Missed It: February 2024 Recap of "The Tim Ferriss Show"

    This episode is brought to you by 5-Bullet Friday, my very own email newsletter.

    Welcome to another episode of The Tim Ferriss Show, where it is my job to deconstruct world-class performers to tease out the routines, habits, et cetera that you can apply to your own life. 

    This is a special inbetweenisode, which serves as a recap of the episodes from last month. It features a short clip from each conversation in one place so you can easily jump around to get a feel for the episode and guest.

    Based on your feedback, this format has been tweaked and improved since the first recap episode. For instance, listeners suggested that the bios for each guest can slow the momentum, so we moved all the bios to the end. 

    See it as a teaser. Something to whet your appetite. If you like what you hear, you can of course find the full episodes at tim.blog/podcast

    Please enjoy! 

    *

    This episode is brought to you by 5-Bullet Friday, my very own email newsletter that every Friday features five bullet points highlighting cool things I’ve found that week, including apps, books, documentaries, gadgets, albums, articles, TV shows, new hacks or tricks, and—of course—all sorts of weird stuff I’ve dug up from around the world.

    It’s free, it’s always going to be free, and you can subscribe now at tim.blog/friday.

    *

    Timestamps:

    Cal Newport: 00:03:17

    Claire Hughes Johnson: 00:07:56

    William Ury: 00:15:52

    Soman Chainani: 00:23:38

    Full episode titles:

    Cal Newport — How to Embrace Slow Productivity, Build a Deep Life, Achieve Mastery, and Defend Your Time (#722)

    Claire Hughes Johnson, Building Stripe from 160 to 6,000+ Employees — How to Take Radical Ownership of Your Life and Career (#724)

    Master Negotiator William Ury — Proven Strategies and Amazing Stories from Warren Buffett, Nelson Mandela, Kim Jong Un, Hugo Chávez, and More (#721)

    Life Lessons from Taylor Swift, Conquering Anxiety, Coaching Teens, Career Reinvention, Supposedly Gay Bulls, Your Shadow Side, and More — Soman Chainani (#720)

    *

    For show notes and past guests on The Tim Ferriss Show, please visit tim.blog/podcast.

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    Sign up for Tim’s email newsletter (5-Bullet Friday) at tim.blog/friday.

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    Past guests on The Tim Ferriss Show include Jerry SeinfeldHugh JackmanDr. Jane GoodallLeBron JamesKevin HartDoris Kearns GoodwinJamie FoxxMatthew McConaugheyEsther PerelElizabeth GilbertTerry CrewsSiaYuval Noah HarariMalcolm GladwellMadeleine AlbrightCheryl StrayedJim CollinsMary Karr, Maria PopovaSam HarrisMichael PhelpsBob IgerEdward NortonArnold SchwarzeneggerNeil StraussKen BurnsMaria SharapovaMarc AndreessenNeil GaimanNeil de Grasse TysonJocko WillinkDaniel EkKelly SlaterDr. Peter AttiaSeth GodinHoward MarksDr. Brené BrownEric SchmidtMichael LewisJoe GebbiaMichael PollanDr. Jordan PetersonVince VaughnBrian KoppelmanRamit SethiDax ShepardTony RobbinsJim DethmerDan HarrisRay DalioNaval RavikantVitalik ButerinElizabeth LesserAmanda PalmerKatie HaunSir Richard BransonChuck PalahniukArianna HuffingtonReid HoffmanBill BurrWhitney CummingsRick RubinDr. Vivek MurthyDarren AronofskyMargaret AtwoodMark ZuckerbergPeter ThielDr. Gabor MatéAnne LamottSarah SilvermanDr. Andrew Huberman, and many more.

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.