Jocko Willink Takeover — On Quitting, Relationships, Financial Discipline, Contrast Baths, and More (#395)

Photo by Echo Charles

“You might have to make some tactical retreats in order to win the long war, but never quit on your strategic vision. Never quit on getting to the ultimate place where you want to go.” — Jocko Willink

Jocko Willink (@jockowillink) takes over the show for a special episode. Jocko is one of the scariest human beings imaginable. He is a lean 230 pounds and a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt who used to tap out 20 Navy SEALs per workout. He is a legend in the special operations world, and his viral podcast interview with me was the first public interview he ever did. Jocko spent 20 years in the U.S. Navy and commanded SEAL Team Three’s Task Unit Bruiser, the most highly decorated special operations unit from the Iraq War. Upon returning to the United States, Jocko served as the officer-in-charge of training for all West Coast SEAL Teams, designing and implementing some of the most challenging and realistic combat training in the world.

After retiring from the Navy, he co-founded Echelon Front, a leadership and management consulting company, and co-authored the #1 New York Times bestseller Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win. He is also the author of The Dichotomy of Leadership, Way of the Warrior Kid, and Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual. His new book, Leadership Strategy and Tactics: Field Manual, is coming out in January.

Jocko also discusses human nature through the lens of war, leadership, and business on the top-rated Jocko Podcast.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, StitcherCastbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

#395: Jocko Willink Takeover — On Quitting, Relationships, Financial Discipline, Contrast Baths, and More
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This episode is brought to you by LegalZoom. I’ve used this service for many of my businesses, as have quite a few of the icons on this podcast, such as Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg of WordPress fame.

LegalZoom is a reliable resource that more than a million people have already trusted for everything from setting up wills, proper trademark searches, forming LLCs, setting up non-profits, or finding simple cease-and-desist letter templates.

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This episode is also brought to you by LinkedIn. If you’re looking for a job, knowing where to look is the first step toward finding the right fit. LinkedIn has more than 20 million job postings—from software engineer to robotics engineer, project manager to HR manager, or associate attorney to associate veterinarian. LinkedIn also has one of the largest communities to help you connect and network with people who can open doors for you, give you valuable career advice, help you learn new skills, and introduce you to new people at companies and organizations that are hiring and looking for exactly your skill set.

No matter what kind of job you’re looking for, or where you are in your career — whether you’re just starting out and wondering what to do, switching to a new role, or starting over — there are people on LinkedIn who can help you. With more than 20 million jobs posted, there’s a good chance that LinkedIn has exactly what you’re looking for. Find the job meant for you at LinkedIn.com/jobs.


Want to hear the last time Jocko was on this show? — Listen to this episode about the success mindset, how to stop laziness and procrastination, behaviors that lead to failure, exact workouts, training while traveling, and much more. (Stream below or right-click here to download.):


QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

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Q&A With Tim — On Wealth, Legacy, Grief, Lyme Disease, Gratitude, Longevity, and More (#394)

Photo by Patrick W. Gavin (@pwgavin)

Welcome to another episode of The Tim Ferriss Show, where it is my job to sit down with world-class performers of all different types to tease out the habits, routines, favorite books, and so on that you can apply and test in your own life. This time, we have a slightly different episode.

As many of you know, I tested a “fan-supported model” earlier in the year, but I ended up reverting back to ads. It’s a long story, and you can read more about it at tim.blog/podcastexperiment.

After the experiment ended, I offered an additional live Q&A with supporters as a way to say thank you. This episode is that Q&A. (If you’d like to hear the first one, you can find it here: Q&A With Tim — On Happiness, Dating, Depressive Episodes, and Much More.)

We covered many topics: abundance mindset, balding, how I think about building a legacy, how to improve verbal tics, Lyme disease, cultivating gratitude, the grieving process, my morning routine when on a book deadline, and much more.

Please note that there were a few small glitches in the audio, but we cleaned it up, and it should be A-OK.

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, StitcherCastbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

#394: Q&A With Tim — On Wealth, Legacy, Grief, Lyme Disease, Gratitude, Longevity, and More
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This episode is brought to you by LinkedIn Jobs. Hiring can be hard, and it and be super expensive and painful if you get it wrong. Today, with more qualified candidates than ever — but also more noise than ever — employers need a hiring solution that helps them find the right people for their businesses. LinkedIn Jobs provides just that by screening candidates with the hard and soft skills you’re looking for so you can quickly find and hire the right person.

LinkedIn can make sure your job post gets in front of people you want to hire — people with the skills, qualifications, and other insights that help LinkedIn paint a better picture of potential candidates. It’s no wonder great candidates are hired every eight seconds on LinkedIn. Find the right person meant for your business today with LinkedIn Jobs. You can pay what you want, and the first $50 is on LinkedIn. Just visit LinkedIn.com/Tim to get $50 off your first job post! Terms and conditions apply.


This episode is also brought to you by FreshBooks. I’ve been talking about FreshBooks — an all-in-one invoicing+payments+accounting solution — for years now. Many entrepreneurs, as well as the contractors and freelancers that I work with, use it all the time.

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Want to hear the first Q&A I did for supporters? — You can hear it here, where we discuss politics, depression, dating, Austin vs. San Francisco, taking notes, and much more. (Stream below or right-click here to download):

#390: Q&A With Tim — On Happiness, Dating, Depressive Episodes, and Much More
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

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Edward Norton — On Creative Process, Creative Struggle, and Motherless Brooklyn (#393)

It’s nice to be reminded that it’s been hard for other people when they were getting things done that you admired, because it maybe gives you that extra little bit of determination or patience to persevere a little more.” — Edward Norton

Edward Norton (@EdwardNorton) is one of the most celebrated actors of his generation. He has been nominated for three Academy Awards for his performances and has starred in, produced, written, or directed more than 30 films. His most recent film, Motherless Brooklyn, which he wrote, directed, produced, and stars in, will be released on November 1st.

People mostly know Edward for his acting, but he has a substantial parallel career as an entrepreneur, investor, and activist in both technology and environmental sustainability ventures.

In 2010 Norton co-founded and was chairman of CrowdRise, a charitable crowdfunding platform which raised more than $500M for U.S. nonprofit organizations before being acquired by GoFundMe, the largest social fundraising platform in the world, which Norton now serves on the board of. He also co-founded EDO, which applies advanced data science and machine learning to the analysis of audience engagement signals for the media and advertising industries. EDO’s data and software are used by every major film studio in their media rotation planning, and virtually every major television network now includes EDO data alongside Nielsen data within their pricing metrics.

He is the founding board president of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, an award-winning Kenyan conservation and community development organization, and in 2010 he was appointed the first United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity.

Edward seems to do it all. In this wide-ranging conversation, we go deep into his creative process and creative struggles, both inside and outside of film.

If you’d like more Edward after this episode, you can listen to my 2016 interview with him at tim.blog/edward. And take my word for it and go see Motherless Brooklyn in theaters. It’s absolutely outstanding.

You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, StitcherCastbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

#393: Edward Norton — On Creative Process, Creative Struggle, and Motherless Brooklyn
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This episode is brought to you by Zapier. If you run your own business, think about all of the hours you spend moving information from one software program to another, or one window to another, one social media platform to another, copy and pasting, all because those things don’t easily work together. With Zapier, now they do, automatically.

Zapier is one of the best pieces of automation software I’ve ever come across, and it supports more than fifteen hundred business applications, so the possibilities are virtually endless. It is the easiest way to automate your work. Best of all, it’s easy to build the exact solution you need in minutes, without writing code or asking a developer for help. Join more than 4.5 million people who are saving an average of 40 hours per month by using Zapier. Go to Zapier.com/tim and try Zapier for a free, 14-day trial.


This episode is also brought to you by SuperFat Nut Butters.These little beauties are great. I’ve been using them as quick mini-breakfasts and on-the-go fuel for a few months now. They’re 200–300 calories each, depending on which ingredient cocktail you eat (MCT, protein, macadamia, caffeine, etc.); 3–5g of net carbs per pouch; keto- and Paleo-friendly; and easy to throw in a backpack or pocket. The first time I tried SuperFat, I finished the entire box in a few days, so watch your portion control.

I suggest ordering the Variety Box and you can try all 5 SuperFat flavors in one box, and it has 2 pouches of each flavor. Get 15% off your order by going to SuperFat.com/tim.


Want to hear Edward’s previous appearance on this podcast?Listen in on our pier-side conversation about the importance of surfing, early mentors, what separates good actors from mediocre ones, favorite books and movies, and much more. (Stream below or right-click here to download):

#133: Edward Norton on Mastery, Must-Read Books, and The Future of Crowdfunding
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Ben Horowitz — What You Do Is Who You Are >> Lessons from Silicon Valley, Andy Grove, Genghis Khan, Slave Revolutions, and More (#392)

Photo by Elisabeth Fall

“One of the key insights from Bushido is that a culture is not a set of beliefs, it’s a set of actions.”

— Ben Horowitz

Ben Horowitz (@bhorowitz) is a cofounder and general partner at the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Hard Thing About Hard Things, and the upcoming Harper Business book, What You Do Is Who You Are, available October 29th. He also created the a16z Cultural Leadership Fund to connect cultural leaders to the best new technology companies and enable more young African Americans to enter the technology industry.

Prior to a16z, Ben was cofounder and CEO of Opsware (formerly Loudcloud), which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard for $1.6 billion in 2007. Previously, Ben ran several product divisions at Netscape Communications, including the widely acclaimed Directory and Security product line.

Ben has an MS and BA in Computer Science from UCLA and Columbia University, respectively.

You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, StitcherCastbox, or on your favorite podcast platform.

#392: Ben Horowitz — What You Do Is Who You Are >> Lessons from Silicon Valley, Andy Grove, Genghis Khan, Slave Revolutions, and More
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This podcast is brought to you by Athletic Greens. I get asked all the time, “If you could only use one supplement, what would it be?” My answer is, inevitably, Athletic Greens. It is my all-in-one nutritional insurance. I recommended it in The 4-Hour Body and did not get paid to do so.

As a listener of The Tim Ferriss Show, you’ll get a free 20-count travel pack (valued at $79) with your first order at athleticgreens.com/tim.


This episode is also brought to you by Hello Monday with Jessi Hempel, LinkedIn’s podcast now in its second season, and it is full of advice you can start using today.

Each week, Jessi sits down with featured guests to investigate the role work plays in our lives, and how to make it work for us. This season, one of the first episodes I recommend checking out is with Jerry Colonna. I’ve worked with Jerry in the past, and he is one of the start-up world’s most in-demand executive coaches. In the episode, Jerry shares his approach to meetings, explains how to ask good open-ended questions, and he also goes through his approach to daily journaling.

Whether you’re starting your first job or gearing up for retirement, Hello Monday helps you tackle Monday — and the rest of the workweek — with tactics and strategies you can use. Find Hello Monday with Jessi Hempel on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.


Want to hear an episode with the other half of Andreessen Horowitz? — Listen to my conversation with Marc Andreessen, in which we discuss debating Peter Thiel, investing rules, artificial intelligence, the future of cryptocurrency, and much more. (Stream below or right-click here to download):

#163: Marc Andreessen — Lessons, Predictions, and Recommendations from an Icon
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

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The Random Show — On Fasting, Forest Bathing, How to Say NO, Rebooting the Self, and Much More (#391)

Technologist, serial entrepreneur, world-class investor, self-experimenter, and all-around wild and crazy guy Kevin Rose (@KevinRose), rejoins me for another episode of “The Random Show.” In this one we discuss Japanese whisky, domestic speakeasies, wooden saddles, the rebooting power of Anthony de Mello’s Awareness, poetry, the art of surrender and letting go, mushroom cultivation in the Pacific Northwest, fasting, learning to say no, and much more!

You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, StitcherCastbox, or on your favorite podcast platform.

#391: The Random Show — On Fasting, Forest Bathing, How to Say NO, Rebooting the Self, and Much More
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This podcast is brought to you by 99designs, the global creative platform that makes it easy for designers and clients to work together to create designs they love. Its creative process has become the go-to solution for businesses, agencies, and individuals, and I have used it for years to help with display advertising and illustrations and to rapid prototype the cover for The Tao of Seneca. Whether your business needs a logo, website design, business card, or anything you can imagine, check out 99designs.

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This episode is also brought to you by LinkedIn Jobs. Hiring can be hard, and it and be super expensive and painful if you get it wrong. Today, with more qualified candidates than ever — but also more noise than ever — employers need a hiring solution that helps them find the right people for their businesses. LinkedIn Jobs provides just that by screening candidates with the hard and soft skills you’re looking for so you can quickly find and hire the right person.

LinkedIn can make sure your job post gets in front of people you want to hire — people with the skills, qualifications, and other insights that help LinkedIn paint a better picture of potential candidates. It’s no wonder great candidates are hired every eight seconds on LinkedIn. Find the right person meant for your business today with LinkedIn Jobs. You can pay what you want, and the first $50 is on LinkedIn. Just visit LinkedIn.com/Tim to get $50 off your first job post! Terms and conditions apply.


Want to hear another episode of The Random Show? — Listen to this 2017 conversation with Kevin Rose in which we discuss traveling in Japan on the cheap, love and marriage, beauty and absurdity, and urine drinking. (Stream below or right-click here to download):

#227: The Random Show — Drinking Urine, Exploring Japan, and Figuring Out Life
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

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Q&A with Tim — On Happiness, Dating, Depressive Episodes, and Much More (#390)

Welcome to another episode of The Tim Ferriss Show, where it is my job to sit down with world-class performers of all different types to tease out the habits, routines, favorite books, and so on that you can apply and test in your own life. This time, we have a slightly different episode.

As many of you know, I tested a “fan-supported model” earlier in the year, but I ended up reverting back to ads. That’s a long story, and you can read more about that at tim.blog/podcastexperiment. One of the bonuses that I offered to supporters was a live Q&A with me, and this audio is from the first round that we did.

We covered 40 or so questions! It was a lot of fun, the questions were great, and while it was scheduled as a one-hour session, we went for longer.

I answered questions on dating, depressive episodes, major life transitions, networking, uncoupling happiness from achievement, what I would hypothetically ask Richard Feynman, and much, much more.

Please note that there were a few small glitches in the audio when the connection was poor. That’s one of the unfortunate risks of doing these live sessions. We’ve cleaned it up and it’s not too bad.

I also want to reiterate how grateful I am to everyone who contributed to and supported the podcast, as well as to all of you who listen to the podcast. I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without you, so thank you.

You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, StitcherCastbox, or on your favorite podcast platform.

#390: Q&A With Tim — On Happiness, Dating, Depressive Episodes, and Much More
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This podcast is brought to you by Peloton, which has become a staple of my daily routine. I picked up this bike after seeing the success of my friend Kevin Rose, and I’ve been enjoying it more than I ever imagined. Peloton is an indoor cycling bike that brings live studio classes right to your home. No worrying about fitting classes into your busy schedule or making it to a studio with a crazy commute.

New classes are added every day, and this includes options led by elite NYC instructors in your own living room. You can even live stream studio classes taught by the world’s best instructors, or find your favorite class on demand.

Peloton is offering listeners to this show a special offer: Enter the code you heard during the Peloton ad of this episode at checkout to receive $100 off accessories with your Peloton bike purchase. This is a great way to get in your workouts, or an incredible gift. That’s onepeloton.com and enter the code you heard during the Peloton ad of this episode to receive $100 off accessories with your Peloton bike purchase.


This episode is also brought to you by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, the go-to tool for B2B marketers and advertisers who want to drive brand awareness, generate leads, or build long-term relationships that result in real business impact.

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Want to hear another episode that had me answering listeners’ questions? — Give this one a listen, in which I tackled how to reassess existing projects, how to learn to care less about what other people think, how to ask better questions, and much more. (Stream below or right-click here to download):

#330: The Return of Drunk Dialing Q&A: How to Ask Better Questions, Take Better Risks, and More!
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

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Neil deGrasse Tyson — How to Dream Big, Think Scientifically, and Get More Done (#389)

Photo credit: Amazon

“What matters is: Are you a good problem solver? Are you moral? Are you a hard worker? Are you a good leader? Do you have insights into the field? These are the questions that matter.”

— Neil deGrasse Tyson

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) was appointed the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium in 1996. Dr. Tyson’s professional research interests are primarily related to the structure of the Milky Way galaxy, and the formation of stars, supernovas, and dwarf galaxies.

Dr. Tyson graduated from the Bronx High School of Science, received his BA from Harvard, and earned his PhD in astrophysics from Columbia University in 1991. In 2001 he was appointed by President Bush to serve on the 12-member Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry. In 2004 Dr. Tyson received a second appointment from President Bush, this time to the nine-member President’s Commission on the Implementation of the United States Space Exploration Policy (dubbed the “Moon, Mars, and Beyond” commission). In 2016 he was appointed by the US secretary of defense to be an advisor to the DoD on the future of sci-tech innovation.

Dr. Tyson has been awarded 21 honorary degrees as well as the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, and he has authored multiple books on the universe, including Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier, Death by Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandaries, which was a New York Times bestseller, and The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet, chronicling his experience at the center of the controversy over Pluto’s planetary status.

His newest book is Letters from an Astrophysicist, a companion to his 2017 bestseller Astrophysics for People in a Hurry.

Since 2006 Dr. Tyson has appeared as the on-camera host of PBS-NOVA’s spinoff program NOVA ScienceNOW. He also hosts a popular radio show and podcast called StarTalk in addition to the Emmy-nominated StarTalk TV show on National Geographic.

In 2014 Dr. Tyson hosted a reboot of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos.

You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, StitcherCastbox, or on your favorite podcast platform.

#389: Neil deGrasse Tyson — How to Dream Big, Think Scientifically, and Get More Done
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This episode is brought to you by Helix Sleep. I recently moved into a new home and needed new beds, and I purchased mattresses from Helix Sleep. It offers mattresses personalized to your preferences and sleeping style without costing thousands of dollars. Visit HelixSleep.com/TIM and take the simple 2-3 minute sleep quiz to get started, and the team there will match you to a mattress you’ll love.

Their customer service makes all the difference. The mattress arrives within a week, and the shipping is completely free. You can try the mattress for 100 nights, and if you’re not happy, it’ll pick it up and offer a full refund. To personalize your sleep experience, visit HelixSleep.com/TIM and you’ll receive up to $125 off your custom mattress.


This episode is also brought to you by ShipStation. Do you sell stuff online? Then you know what a pain the shipping process is. Whether you’re selling on eBay, Amazon, Shopify, or over 100 other popular selling channels, ShipStation was created to make your life easier. ShipStation lets you access all of your orders from one simple dashboard, it works with all of the major shipping carriers, locally and globally, including FedEx, UPS, and USPS.

Tim Ferriss Show listeners get to try ShipStation free for 60 days by using promo code TIM. There’s no risk and you can start your free trial without even entering your credit card info. Just visit ShipStation.com, click on the microphone at the top of the homepage, and type in TIM!


Want to hear another episode with a curious mind dedicated to science? — Listen to my conversation with Bob Metcalfe, the man behind ethernet, Metcalfe’s Law, and more. (Stream below or right-click here to download):

#297: Bob Metcalfe — The Man (and Lessons) Behind Ethernet, Metcalfe’s Law, and More
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

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Lisa Ling — Exploring Subcultures, Learning to Feel, and Changing Perception (#388)

“It requires time and energy to get invested in other people’s stories, but I do in my heart of hearts believe that you emerge a better and smarter human as a result of taking that time.”

— Lisa Ling

Lisa Ling (@lisaling) is the host and executive producer of the CNN Original Series This Is Life with Lisa Ling. It returns for its sixth season on Sunday, September 29, at 10 p.m. ET. In each episode, Lisa immerses herself in communities across America, giving viewers an inside look at some of the most unconventional segments of society. In 2017, the series won a Gracie Award.

Lisa is also host of the CNN Digital series This Is Sex with Lisa Ling, which explores the taboos around sex in America and This Is Birth with Lisa Ling, which explores how healthcare legislation, income inequality and cultural shifts shape how people have children in America.

Before coming to CNN, Lisa was a field correspondent for The Oprah Winfrey Show and contributor to ABC News’ Nightline and National Geographic’s Explorer. She has reported from dozens of countries, covering stories about gang rape in the Congo, bride burning in India, and the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda, among other issues that are too often ignored.

Lisa got her start in journalism as a correspondent for Channel One News where she covered the civil war in Afghanistan at 21 years of age. She later went on to become a co-host of ABC Daytime’s hit show The View, which won its first daytime Emmy during her time at the show.

Lisa has also served as a special correspondent for CNN’s Planet in Peril series and is a contributing editor for USA Today’s USA Weekend magazine. In 2011, her acclaimed documentary journalism series Our America with Lisa Ling began airing on OWN.

Lisa is the co-author of Mother, Daughter, Sister, Bride: Rituals of Womanhood and Somewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and the Other’s Fight to Bring Her Home, which she penned with her sister Laura. In 2014, President Obama named Lisa to the Commission on White House Fellows.

You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, StitcherCastbox, or on your favorite podcast platform.

#388: Lisa Ling — Exploring Subcultures, Learning to Feel, and Changing Perception
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This episode is brought to you by ExpressVPN. ExpressVPN is an app you run on your computer or mobile device that easily secures your Internet connection, hides your public IP address, and lets you bypass regional restrictions on content.

ExpressVPN is consistently rated the fastest VPN service on the market, and it’s incredibly simple to use. Just download the app, tap one button, and you’re connected to a secure VPN server. Visit my special link ExpressVPN.com/TIM, and you’ll get an extra three months of ExpressVPN protection for free!


This podcast is also brought to you by the Wondery network’s Business Wars. Hosted by David D. Brown, former anchor of the Peabody award-winning public radio business program Marketplace, Business Wars shares the untold and very real stories of what goes on behind the scenes with the leaders, investors, and executives that take businesses either to new heights or utter ruin.

I suggest starting with the latest series, “WWF vs WCW.” It’s a pretty epic one filled with all your colorful cast of wrestling characters—Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and others. You can search for Business Wars on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast provider, or you can just go directly to wondery.fm/tim to start listening right now.


Want to hear an episode with another journalist who got an early start? — Listen to my conversation with Ezra Klein in which we discuss influencing the rules of the game by which this country is run, how Ezra lost 60 pounds, and his ascension into the ranks of the most respected media companies in the world (stream below or right-click here to download):

#208: Ezra Klein — From College Blogger to Political Powerhouse
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

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28 Ways to Find the Stillness You Need to Thrive

NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: The following is a guest post from Ryan Holiday (@RyanHoliday). Ryan is one of the world’s foremost thinkers and writers on ancient philosophy and its place in everyday life. He is a sought-after speaker and strategist and the author of many bestselling books, including The Obstacle Is the Way, Ego Is the Enemy, and The Daily Stoic. His books have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold more than two million copies worldwide. He lives outside Austin, Texas, with his family. You can follow him @ryanholiday or subscribe to his writing at RyanHoliday.net and DailyStoic.com. Ryan was also the fourth guest on the podcast, and he has written multiple popular guest posts for this blog. His new book, Stillness Is the Key, is coming out October 1st.

Enter Ryan…

The Buddhist word for it was upekkha. The Muslims spoke of aslama. The Hebrews, hishtavut. The second book of the Bhagavad Gita, the epic poem of the warrior Arjuna, speaks of samatvam, an “evenness of mind—a peace that is ever the same.” The Greeks, euthymia and hesychia. The Epicureans, ataraxia. The Christians, aequanimitas.

In English: stillness. To be steady while the world spins around you. To act without frenzy. To hear only what needs to be heard. To possess quietude—exterior and interior—on command.

Stillness is that quiet moment when inspiration hits you. It’s that ability to step back and reflect. It’s what makes room for gratitude and happiness. It’s one of the most powerful forces on earth. We all need stillness, but those of us charging ahead with big plans and big dreams need it most of all.

Still, the word “stillness” can feel vague or ephemeral. It doesn’t need to be. There are, in fact, concrete and actionable ways to bring it into your life. It doesn’t just happen. You have to put in the work. You have to follow the guidance of the masters.

For many years, I have been a student of, and writer about, Stoicism, an ancient philosophy popular in the Roman Empire. Tim published my first two books about Stoicism as part of his Tim Ferriss Book Club (The Obstacle Is the Way and Ego Is the Enemy). For my latest book, Stillness Is the Key, I looked at not just Stoicism, but Buddhism, Confucianism, Epicureanism, Christianity, Hinduism, and countless other philosophical schools and religions, and I found that the one thing all these schools share is a pursuit of this inner peace—this stillness—and a belief that it’s the key to a happy and meaningful life. As a result, here are 28 proven exercises from across all the wisdom of the ancient world that will help you keep steady, disciplined, focused, at peace, and able to access your full capabilities at any time, in any place, despite any distraction and every difficulty. 

These steps will work… if you work them. 

***

Journal. Michel Foucault called the journal a “weapon for spiritual combat.” According to her father, Otto, Anne Frank didn’t write in her journal every day, but she always wrote when she was upset or dealing with a problem. One of her best and most insightful lines must have come on a particularly difficult day. “Paper,” she said, “has more patience than people.” I journal each morning as a way of starting the day off fresh—I put my baggage down on the page so that I don’t have to carry it to meetings or to breakfast with my family. I start the day with stillness by pouring out what is not still into my journal. But there’s no right way or wrong way to journal. The point is just to do it.

See The World Like An Artist. Marcus Aurelius, who is supposedly this dark, depressive Stoic, seems to have seen beauty everywhere. Why else would he write so vividly of the ordinary way that “baking bread splits in places and those cracks, while not intended in the baker’s art, catch our eye and serve to stir our appetite,” or of the “stalks of ripe grain bending low, the frowning brow of the lion, the foam dripping from the boar’s mouth”? While other people are oblivious to (or overwhelmed by) what surrounds them, we want to practice really seeing. Try to notice the little things. Look at that tree like you’re a painter and trying to understand its essence. Observe that interaction with your parents like you were a stand-up comedian looking for material. An artist must be present. An artist must notice. An artist is still. 

Manage Your Inputs. As a general, Napoleon instructed his secretary to wait three weeks before opening any mail or correspondence. He wanted to see what would handle itself. One way I do this is with email filters. If I see an email is not urgent or not from a trusted source, I put it in a folder and sit on it (I like to reply on airplanes, without Wi-Fi, weeks or months later). Another way to do this is through gatekeepers. Having an assistant or an agent or a chief of staff means that trivial things have a harder time getting to you. You’re the boss—and the boss’s time must be protected! So that with stillness, you can give what matters your full attention. 

Take Walks. Nietzsche said that the ideas in Thus Spoke Zarathustra came to him on a long walk. Nikola Tesla discovered the rotating magnetic field, one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time, on a walk through a city park in Budapest in 1882. When he lived in Paris, Ernest Hemingway would take long walks along the quais whenever he was stuck in his writing and needed to clarify his thinking. The cantankerous philosopher Søren Kierkegaard walked the streets of Copenhagen nearly every afternoon, as he wrote to his sister-in-law: “Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being.” I take a two-to-three mile walk each morning with my son—ideas for this very post came to me there.

Detach From Outcomes. Archery master Awa Kenzo spent little time teaching his students how to deliberately aim and shoot. What Kenzo wanted students to do was to put the thought of hitting the target out of their minds. He wanted them to detach even from the idea of an outcome. “The hits on the target,” he would say, “are only the outward proof and confirmation of your purposelessness at its highest, of your egolessness, your self-abandonment, or whatever you like to call this state.” This is something writers know well: You can’t think about the bestseller lists or awards or even the act of publishing. You must focus only on the page in front of you. You must learn how to let go and let the process take over. 

Continue reading “28 Ways to Find the Stillness You Need to Thrive”

Tristan Harris — Fighting Skynet and Firewalling Attention (#387)

“Big Brother isn’t watching. He’s singing and dancing. He’s pulling rabbits out of a hat. Big Brother’s busy holding your attention every moment you’re awake. He’s making sure you’re always distracted. He’s making sure you’re fully absorbed. He’s making sure your imagination withers. Until it’s as useful as your appendix.” Chuck Palahniuk

Tristan Harris (@tristanharris) was named by Rolling Stone as one of the “25 People Shaping the World.” He was featured in Fortune’s 2018 “40 under 40” list for his work on reforming technology, and the Atlantic has called him the “closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience.

Formerly Design Ethicist at Google, he is a world-renowned expert on how technology steers our decisions. Tristan has spent nearly his entire life studying subtle psychological forces, from early beginnings as a childhood magician, to working with the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, and to his role as CEO of Apture, which was acquired by Google.

Tristan has briefed heads of state, technology company CEOs, and members of the US Congress about the attention economy, and he’s been featured in media worldwide, including 60 Minutes, PBS News Hour, and many more. He is the co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology, which can be found at Humanetech.com, and cohost (with Aza Raskin) of Your Undivided Attention podcast, which exposes the hidden designs that have the power to hijack our attention, manipulate our choices, and destabilize our real-world communities.

You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, StitcherCastbox, or on your favorite podcast platform.

#387: Tristan Harris — Fighting Skynet and Firewalling Attention
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Want to hear an episode with someone who understands the importance of peace and quiet? — Listen to my conversation with Susan Cain about her love for minor key music and how she became a public speaking introvert. (Stream below or right-click here to download):

#357: Susan Cain — How to Overcome Fear and Embrace Creativity
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

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