Edward Norton on Mastery, Must-Read Books, and The Future of Crowdfunding


Ed Norton and Tim Ferriss

“Hey, you want to be taken seriously? Take things seriously. Do the work. Don’t coast.” – Edward Norton 

This episode, I sit down with Edward Norton (@EdwardNorton). Edward is an actor, filmmaker and activist. He has been nominated for three Academy Awards for his work in Primal Fear, American History X, and Birdman. He has starred in scores of other films, including Fight Club, The Illusionist, and Moonrise Kingdom.

Unbeknownst to most people, Edward is also a serial startup founder (e.g. CrowdRise; here’s my current campaign), a UN ambassador for biodiversity, a massively successful investor (e.g. early Uber), a pilot, and deeply involved with wilderness conservation.

In this conversation, we cover a lot of ground, including:

  • His beginnings in acting, and what early mentors taught him
  • What separates great actors from mediocre actors, as illustrated through an early Marlon Brando story 
  • Edward’s physical preparation for American History X (and camera trickery)
  • The importance of surfing
  • His favorite books, documentaries, underrated films and filmmakers, and essays (The Catastrophe of Success, etc.)
  • His advice to his 20- and 30-year old self
  • And much more…

And here’s a bonus, another favorite book he remembered after we stopped recording: Buddhism Without Beliefs.



Want to hear another podcast related to the importance of entheogen research? — Listen to my conversation with Martin Polanco, M.D. and Dan Engle M.D. In this episode, we discuss the possibility that psychedelic drugs are the next medical breakthrough (stream below or right-click here to download):

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Check out wealthfront.com/tim, take their risk assessment quiz, which only takes 2-5 minutes, and they’ll show you—for free–exactly the portfolio they’d put you in. If you want to just take their advice and do it yourself, you can. Or, as I would, you can set it and forget it.  Well worth a few minutes: wealthfront.com/tim.

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What cause(s) do you care about that could benefit from the attention/resources of a platform like CrowdRise?  Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

  • Films mentioned starring Edward Norton:

The Painted Veil | American History X | Birdman

  • Other films mentioned:

The French Lieutenant’s Woman | Shogun Mini-Series |

  • Some of Edward Norton’s favorite documentaries and recent films:

The Cruise | The Century of the Self | The Power of Nightmares
The Beat That My Heart Skipped | A Prophet | Rust and Bone
Biutiful | Birdman | The Revenant

Show Notes

  • The role of surfing in Edward Norton’s life: injury recovery, mindfulness, effectiveness [6:41]
  • Morning rituals [11:54]
  • Edward Norton’s eating habits and physical preparation for his role in American History X [13:19]
  • How Edward Norton was introduced to acting [18:49]
  • First acting mentors [20:37]
  • Advice for adults planning to study acting [25:49]
  • Thoughts on helping a novice actor to act more natural [36:44]
  • Impressions and/or recollections of Rickson Gracie [38:44]
  • Time spent in Osaka, his attraction to Asian culture, and deciding to major in history [42:19]
  • The story behind CrowdRise, Humans of New York, and Syrian refugees [45:34]
  • CrowdFunding entheogen research [54:14]
  • When you think of the word successful, who is the first person who comes to mind and why? [1:05:02]
  • Most gifted books [1:09:49]
  • Edward Norton’s favorite documentaries and movies [1:13:34]
  • If you could have a billboard anywhere saying anything, what would you put on it? [1:17:29]
  • Advice to Edward Norton’s younger self [1:18:49]
  • An ask or request of the audience [1:20:39]

People Mentioned


Posted on: January 18, 2016.

The Tim Ferriss Show is generally the #1 business podcast on iTunes, and it was selected for iTunes' "Best of 2015." Each episode deconstructs world-class performers from eclectic areas (investing, sports, business, art, etc.) to extract the tactics, tools, and routines you can use. If you want to 10x your productivity, click here.

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73 comments on “Edward Norton on Mastery, Must-Read Books, and The Future of Crowdfunding

  1. Have been enjoying your intelligent podcasts for more than six months. About half of the emails you send out allow me to play the podcast directly from the email (on libsyn, I suppose), the other have state:

    This embed is invalid

    I can always go to itunes or stitcher and listen, but assume that you, as a perfectionist and someone who straightens shit out expediently, would want to fix this little glitch. Or, not. I enjoy your work regardless of the outlet.




  2. Mr Norton I really admire you as an artist. There are very few hollywood actors in the present time that really really stand out for me as head and shoulders about the rest. You, and the late, great Phillip Seymour Hoffman, are two of them.

    by way of contrast to current day hollywood, my favourite ‘must see everything they do’ actors include Nina Hoss, Juliette Binoche, Marion Coitillard and Tom Hardy because, like you, they take their craft light years beyond what seems possible

    Mr Norton I also appreciate how articulate, clear, down to earth and humble you appear in interviews. This is not always the case with actors
    Notably, you have extensive theatre experience, direct produce and write. In such a competitive industry being super talented is not the only pre requisite – unfortunately. If you do a follow up I’d love to hear more about your getting established in hollywood and, once you achieved attention, maintaining and navigating your position in hollywood, and how you manage the frustration of not having total creative control owing to the demands of the studio and all the other players in a project. Also about how you ignore or cut away all the superficial banal crap that goes with the job, that goes with being famous, and including, the sorts of personalities you are required to put up with in an industry defined by narcissim and excess.
    to your credit it seems you are don’t get being an actor confused with being a celebrity
    On my previous line of enquiry about how you cope with managing creative control,I recall listening to you explain how it was never possible to fully own something, and how much you envied Radiohead because they have their own studio and no contracts to anyone – they do what they want, when they want, taking as long as they want, and release when they want
    Thanks for contributing the the medium and acknowledging your great resposibility as someone with influence and wealth, to contribute to making the world a better place for us all. Like Tim remembers to, too😉
    much love from Australia..


  3. I loved the conversation around the CrowdRise and Humans of New York most of all.
    I very often here people say something along the lines,

    “NOTHING an individual does matter because 1% of people own 99% of everything.”

    And that is so silly. Super rich people might own stuff but they don’t own people, they don’t own me, or anyone and gathered together, gathering our resources we can overcome any obstacle, any rich person in the way because PEOPLE, WE change the world, WE make decisions, WE make things happen. Or not.

    “We get together and get things done”.

    And I think we need more of that not only in US but in the rest of the world.
    It’s missing so much everywhere! Lived around the world for the past 6 years and people are so NOT inspired to do anything big, there is little self-belief.

    There is indeed so much potential in the “crowd”. And individual. People have so little belief in themselves just because they “don’t have enough money to influence anything”.

    I just started working on an idea that CrowdRise is perfect for!
    My big idea for the year is in the making! Thank you so much for sharing and telling about the platform!

    Thank you guys for giving me more inspiration and motivation!!!

    Loved the podcast! Absolutely loved it!


      • No it’s not. ‘Um’ is a hedgeword. ‘Um’ has been bred into society as a lazy crutch word. Toastmasters teaches people to use silence, rather than hedgewords such as ‘um’ or ‘uh’ or ‘like’, as the space to think.

        Society is so darn afraid of silence.

        I’d rather have a guest be silent & THINK about their response, vs use ‘um’ in place of their thinking. There are plenty of intelligent guests on Tim’s show who do the former, rather than the latter.


  4. I would like to see crowd rising to find a cause of juvenile diabetes. My daughter was diagnosed when she was 6 and has not been easy for us as a family, but the most frustrating thing is we don’t know why it has happened to her as there is no history of diabetes in our families.


  5. Tim. My wife and I are involved in an organization that started with helping widows and orphans in Uganda. That has expanded to working in Kenya and South Sudan. One of the big projects we care about is getting water to the remote villages through drilling bore holes. [Moderator: link removed} Thanks for your work and thanks to Mr. Norton for sharing.


  6. Norton Rocks. Follow up question: I’d love to hear how he prepared and executed a specific acting role.

    Another Marlon Brandon story:
    The class was told to pretend they were chickens with an Air Raid Siren going off. All the students ran around clucking. Brandon remained silent and just looked up. When asked what he was doing he said, “I’m a chicken. I don’t know what an air raid siren is.” Flippin’ Brilliant.

    Side note for public speaking nerves: Sports Psych exercise works really well for me (a stage actor):
    1. Close eyes, deep breaths.
    2. Visualize yourself doing something you’ve done really well in the past (sports, music, dance, whatever).
    3. Next visualize the speech or role you’re going to do, and visualize it as easy, excellent, perfect.
    Do that for a few days prior to the event or when rehearsing. On the day – do it right before going out.


  7. I always mourn for a video version of these great episodes.. If Chris set a camera up and sent me the video/audio from the mic and the camera, I could upload them to YouTube. I always struggle getting through podcasts when I don’t have anything to look at. Half the inflection comes from faces.


  8. Ed – perfect, thanks! Great recommendations! The “Catastrophe of Success” was a great read! Thanks!
    Tim – you quoted Saint-Exupery in your “The Next Web” talk about Mastering Skills, and that talk spawned a half dozen articles citing that quote. The quote is from “Wind, Sand and Stars”!
    “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
    It was instantly one of my favorites and remains today. I was blown away when you said you hadn’t read it! An absolute must to take Ed’s advice to read this one! Email back if you’d like to compare notes! Cheers and thanks for the interview!


  9. I really enjoyed this episode. Quite thoughtful and inspiring. Thank you Tim and Edward!

    Just out of curiosity, Vaclav Havel’s essay was mentioned and I can’t find it anywhere…was there perhaps a mistake? Either way, I was happy to hear this Czech national hero referenced.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Appreciate Tim having more entertainers and artists on the podcast. Love hearing from directors (Robert Rodriguez was fantastic) and actors. Since Tim loves documentaries so much it would be great to hear from some documentary filmmakers – errol morris, werner herzog come to mind.

    Back to Mr. Norton, really liked the story about Meryl Streep. Also, Tim and Edward’s discussion around the power of crowds was very empowering and made me want to donate to Tim’s campaign. However, this episode was a little frustrating. I wasn’t really able to parse out solid advice from the episode and learn from Edward. It felt more like an interview of information (stuff I could read on wikipedia) than direction (stuff that I can take away and improve my life).

    Again, appreciate the work Tim, and thank you Edward for taking the time. Hope this feedback helps in someway.


  11. Great interview Tim and Edward — especially enjoyed your thoughts on surfing. Great waves so far this year in Indonesia, seems the unseasonably sunny weather is one of the very few upsides of El Nino. You guys should come back for a wave soon!

    Selamat sore from Bali.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It’s great to see a more well rounded story of what your guests are up to. I’ve been an admirer of Edward Norton’s acting career but after this episode I realize (as is usually the case) I didn’t really know shit about him. He sounds like a down to earth person who has had a wide range of experiences in his life. Great episode! Nice work Mr. Ferriss.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Thank you Edward Norton for doing the podcast with Tim. Tim, excellent podcast as always.

    Have to ask this. Ed in Fight Club, scene where you let the car veer off the road and flip over. Was it intentional that you and Brad Pitt get out of the car opposite sides from before the car crashes? Or blooper?

    Also, Tim, ANYTIME you have a pilot on the podcast you have to ask them what their coolest or most scariest flying story is. We pilots all have one but usually too modest to just bring up on our own, unless drinking.


    • Fight Club needs to be added to the lists of book and film resources us fans of Timmys blog, compile. It is an important film

      a very smart person wrote a blog called ‘jackdurden’ after watching every single still frame of fight club. His highly plausible hypothesis which he backs up with examples, is that everything in the film, not just Tyler, are manifestations of the Narrator Jacks psychotic breakdown. There are countless clues all the way through that point in this direction. I can’t think of a film with such multiple layers of complexity- ehen viewed from this angle. Alk kinds of bizarre dialogue and actions have great significance when viewed from this perspective.
      Marla and Tyler alternate in having primary control over Jacks psyche. Remember the airplane scene ‘this is a change over. People dont realise anything has happened and the film carries on regardless’ thats where marla ( as Jacks mother) loses her grip on Jack and Tyler ( representing Jacks father) takes posssession
      David Fincher is a master! If you’re a fan of fight club you really HAVE TO read the blog and watch the film again. There are tons of hidden or veiled aspects to them film that make perfect sense in this new light
      This explains why they change positions after the car crash- so many subtle details like this are carefully designed to indicate Jack having multiple personality psychosis after or during testicular cancer and losing his manhood. Extraordinary- please read abd re watch! The original author of the book is a fan of the ideas on the blog

      Liked by 1 person


      This was no doubt intentional. Remember, the narrator and Tyler are the same person. Sometimes Tyler is in control, sometimes the narrator is in control. Having them swap seats in that particular scene was simply a clever way to demonstrate who was actually driving the car, without giving away the major reveal of the story.

      The narrator imagines he is in the passenger seat, but after the accident, we see he was actually driving all along. It was his imagination.

      During the final reveal: “Sometimes you’re still you. Other times you imagine yourself watching me.” – Tyler Durden

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Hey Tim,
    I would like to offer you an awesome place to stay for your future travels this spring or summer.
    135 acres of brush and trouble in the rolling hills of Lancaster Co. Pennsylvania. Photos will describe the setting better than my fingers banging away.

    Why Peach Bottom as a way to improve your life and outlook, you say?
    It comes down to a great family, idyllic lifestyle, awesome food, plenty of decent wine and the potential to see the Amish for who they really are.
    If interested, I could arrange an intro to some great Old Order Amish characters.

    No we are not Amish, rather godless seekers of experience and good people. We have offered our hospitalities to touring musicians, directors, feature films and a host of general rebel-rousers.

    I am the father of four and always look to expand their vision of what is possible. Though we cater little to mainstream culture, I feel their impression of seeing ‘famous’ people opens the pathways of, anything is possible.

    Accommodations: You will have free range to a private, dog friendly apartment that is above a detached three car garage.
    References Available: Ones that have stayed with us, so you know we are not an awkward bunch of rednecks.


  15. Loved interview with Edward Norton. It’s very interesting to hear from the person behind the actor & Hollywood brand. Thank you!

    PS if you don’t use FOCUSATWILL check them out http://www.focusatwill.com Comes recommended by Salim Ismail of Exponential Institute. Magic for high productivity and output, especially writing.


  16. I’ve listened to nearly all of the Tim Ferriss podcasts and have noticed that while nearly all of the interviewees say they think that morning routines and meditation are important, they almost all (including Norton) admit that they don’t have a morning routine, and don’t meditate that much. It seems that successful people generally have the same bad habits the rest of us do, and our habits don’t have much to do with our success.


    • I agree. I noticed that too. I tried meditation, but I realized I don’t want to be in a calm mood in the morning. I wake up very energetic and I need to listen to some upbeat music to boost it while I am doing my morning routine. Meditation in the morning puts me back to sleep. I probably need it later at night to get the load of the day off my back. And for that wine comes to the rescue. I trust Tim Ferriss that if he insists something is beneficial (not just suggest it one time but he insists on it multiple times) then it must be beneficial. But I also think when it comes to habits one size doesn’t fit all. We all come from different backgrounds and life styles. So the suggestions here may work for a lot of people but not everybody. I noticed one common habit that every person I find inspirational (not a fan of the word “successful” in the western term, which refers to economic power) in this podcast and everywhere has is exercising regularly. They don’t exercise to be bulky but just to be fit. I exercise regularly too. And, I don’t know anything else that makes you think clearer than exercising.


  17. Tim,
    Please don’t “go Hollywood” on us in pursuit of ratings. It’s great to hear from Ed Norton, Jamie Foxx, etc. But actors and celebrities get to be heard all the time. There is no shortage of platforms for their views and their voices. YOUR unique contribution is your great network of brains that the world all too rarely hears from, like Josh Waitzkin, Raval Navikant, Kevin Kelly, Peter Diamandis, Sam Harris, Dom D’Agostino, Ryan Holiday, Derek Sivers, etc. These are the underrepresented and much-needed voices in our culture. Interviewing a celebrity once in a while is fine, but you seem to be trending in this direction, and I beg you to keep bringing us the unsung heroes, and not too many Hollywood headliners.


    • Good comment about hollywood vs lesser known people. An oblique example is when Tim asked Tony Robbins what person defined success. I thought, wow someone as influential and experienced as Tony can really give someone a leg up here- get an unknown genius into the spotlight. And he answered Richard Branson! Because he ‘is having fun and doing what he wants’. I was devestated- not finding Branson to be noteworthy at all, apart from a talent for ruthless self promotion i suppose. Anyway, to answer your concern, we don’t know exactly how Tim comes to be in contact with his guests. But our impression that Tim can just pick up the phone and reach whomever he wants is probably inaccurate. While a lot of folk are Tims friends the appearance of many seems to coincide with something the guest is promoting- a new book, film, tour etc. So Tim is a viable promotional opportunity for them on their press tour rather than simply doing Tim a favour ( as much as they no doubt delight in connecting with him and doing a real, personable interview for a change) It appears Edward Norton is supporting the depression drug research Tim is behind.
      I’d enjoy a break from guests that have being rich or accumulation of money as part of their identity or description. And that includes sillicon valley and ‘Tech’ as I believe the parlance to be🙂 Can we talk about something else🙂 i’d like straight up traditional artists. Painters. Sculptors. Dancers. Get back to old fashioned basics. Ballet dancers are the most kick ass superhuman athletes of all time – there are quotes from the original stoics in their letters long the lines of ‘ if ballet had been invented i would want those damn tutus to lead my troops. They would kick persian butt, kick trojan and spartan butt, and toughen up those pansy panted flower pot softies that pass for roman soldiers and make them men!!’ Something like that anyway- i may have quoted out of context. Or missed something from the Latin. Get Misty Copeland on air Tim! She rocks baby!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. This is a comment for the podcasts itself and not particularly this episode (didn’t know where else to put it. Couldn’t find a general forum on the show itself. Maybe on Reddit but I have not checked). But if Tim or one your assistants are reading this, if you guys are looking for more people to have on the podcast then consider either Mark Manson (well known writer with a website that gets over 1 million hits per month) and Tim Urban (writer of the website Waitbutwhy.com)


  19. I have new found respect for Edward Norton and his understanding of cinematic technique. I was elated to discover that is an entrepreneur in the tech space. I wish they would have discussed his other ventures. I think Tim should make these episodes two part in the future.

    Part 1: The current format. I wouldn’t change a thing. I might bring back the “punchable question” again. I understand why it was removed though.

    Part 2: ‘XYZ with Tim’. In this case, it would be ‘Surf with Tim”. I would enjoy watching them surf and be human together. If you are worried about liabilities or production value, you could teach people how to properly promote a campaign on CrowdRise.com

    I love the information from these podcasts but I think more instructive material would be beneficial.

    I have been a fan for 10 years.


  20. Great conversation with a very interesting man – surprising as so many Hollywood successes present with a protective opacity. Edward Norton was disarmingly free of the Hollywood opacity and came across un-self conscious and deeply thoughtful.

    And he reads books and watches serious films/documentaries! Wonderful.

    A comment on your interviewing skills Tim:
    I admire for what you do – you are unabashed in your clunky style and do not let it get in the way of speaking to some deeply fascinating people.
    I cringe when I hear you ask your standard questions
    Message to your younger self, billboard, gifting a book etc etc…
    Questions like this are reductionist and limit the potential for deeper more insightful interview. The people I find interesting (many of your guests) do not keep top ten lists in their head, or have a mental mood board with inspiring quotes.
    While I’m fascinated to hear what inspires people I admire, could you not just ask them to provide a list to go in your excellent show notes?

    By the way add to EN’s reference to UK filmmaker Adam Curtis. Watch his documentary series All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Watched_Over_by_Machines_of_Loving_Grace_(TV_series). Curtis really works the medium unlike anyone else


    • Fair enough point about your issue with the questions. But there are examples of exceptional interviewers having a list of questions they ask every guest.
      Psychologists also rely on standard interview questions for types of profiling. persoality testing or whatever. Also Ti, with his interest in standardising and reliability in testing, being objective etc – think 4 hour Body – he says don’t change the variables. Follow an established pattern of behaviour when experimenting. It’s of value to ask 10 people excelling in 10 diverse fields the same question and compare the radical difference in perspectives
      I find it interesting to hear the difference between, say, a military general, an A list actor, a rock climber, and a painter, approach the question of what they’d have on a billboard. The questions are designed to probe and unveil – it’s the opposite of what you term reductionist and limited, in fact


  21. This was a fabulous episode. Edward is surprisingly well-read and articulate. His comparison of crowdfunding with early American self-organization, then tying it back to Tocqueville was a wild leap of intuition, but spot-on!

    I have a request/question: Have you done any research on an accelerated way to cure nicotine addiction? Is there a supplement that can accelerate the atrophy of nicotine receptors? I think there are a lot of us out there who are on a great path to health with this one giant caveat. It would be great if you did a habit-breaking episode.

    And thank you Tim! I’m not sure you’re changing my life, but you sure are expanding my horizons and vision of what’s possible.


    • curing nicotine addiction is only (extra) difficult for those whom don’t look to naturopathy, homeopathy, nutritional support, and in general be inclusive of holistic approachs. Patrick Holford has written a couple of books ”How to quit without feeling like shit’ is one – it’s for addictions in general. Explaining how to use amino acids amongst other remedies to totally get through alcoholism and cigarettes and other dependencies.
      Jost Sauer is another successful author using traditional chinese medicine as the
      framework for healing drug addiction. He’s an ex addict himself.
      I’m amazed when people ignore the needs of their body – nutrition – when trying to quit. Obviously the body goes through some big changes. people are funny, as if its a 100 percent mental willpower exercise!! Tobacco is cured in sugar so a sugar hit is part of the high. The adrenal glands miss that. thats a need that needs to be balanced else one will return to smoking again

      For cigarettes, avena sativa plugs nicotine receptors as does Niacin. Sunflower seeds help with something to do with the hands and mouth, and are high in niacin. One can take herbs to detox the liver and lungs, include avena sativa to quench the physical craving…et cetera.
      There’s quite a lot you can do but it’s not popularly known because doctors and pharmaceutical companies etc don’t publicise. they have narrow minds. They just say ”oh yes it’s oh so hard you’ll never stop – so why don’t you try some toxic nicotine patches and electronic cigarettes”

      Allen Carrs books are famous and extremely successful – read him first!!

      For me I used a guided meditation which worked very quickly and I focused on the positive – fresh air, good diet, exercise – etc – rather than the negative ‘cigarettes are bad, must avoid anyone whom smokes, must eat as much chocolate and coffee as i can because my cravings are so bad”
      negative reinforcement isn’t helpful!!


  22. Another incredibly enriching podcast. The long form interview format is amazing which always gets me to thinking who else would I really enjoy listening to in that format (and who might not otherwise do an interview).

    One person in particular that often springs to mind is Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots. No, I am not a football fan or a fan of the New England Patriots however I am a great admirer of this man for many reasons not the least of which is the consistency and the very business like, unemotional approach that he takes to what many people treat as a very emotional sport.

    He is a world class performer who has built an incredibly successful machine. I think that he would be a really interesting subject for a Tim Ferriss deconstruction.


  23. This was such a great episode. I had no idea that Ed Norton was so intelligent, thoughtful and involved. I probably stopped the recording 3x’s to ask Siri to ‘remind me later to get x book or look into x”. There were moments in here where I literally bust out laughing. And what I loved about this, perhaps more than episodes nominated for best podcast last year, was Tim’s involvement, it’s one thing to have a super-celeb come on the show and be entertaining, but somehow, it’s even better when there’s equal banter and Tim gets a chance to dig in, contribute and ask his questions that lead to unique discoveries for the guest and us listeners. This podcast has quickly become my #1.


  24. Great podcast, thank you Tim. Any chance you can add Vaclav Havel and his essay to the list – I was looking for it and couldn’t find it in your notes. Thank you!


  25. As much as im a fan of Ed Norton’s acting (im actually a big fan), this interview was disappointingly just as painful as the one with Sophia Amoruso. Certainly not representative of the otherwise great interviews Tim does – these are the only two that were not only boring and uninformative, but hard to listen to. Ive never listened to another interview with Ed, so im not sure if this was par for the course for him, but his answers werent well thought out, he seemed distracted, and had a hard time answering any one question completely, which became annoying very quick. He would stray off on these tangents, often times getting lost in his own thoughts and never getting back to the original question.


  26. Would it be illegal / copyright infringement if I were to transcribe TFS episodes and post the transcripts online on my website for people to use (free of charge)?

    It’d be good to know before I do it, so I don’t face any legal action after the fact. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


  27. Based on the positive comments so far, maybe i listed to a completely different Ed Norton interview. Im a big fan of his acting, but for me this one was nearly as bad as the Sophia Amoruso interview. Ive listed to just about all of Tim’s podcasts, and aside from these two, all were entertaining, interesting, had valuable information and gave unique insight into the interviewee.
    In this interview, Ed could hardly get a clear answer out without rambling on, going off on tangents and generally losing his way. It was painful to listen to at times, and part of me couldnt wait for it to be over. I guess they all cant be winning interviews. Otherwise, keep up the good work Tim!


    • i have no critisicm for Mr Norton but I agree it was discordant and he was not this way in other interviews I have witnessed. I didn’t mind as much as frustrated sometimes when I was absolutely enthralled to hear him follow a particular train or couldn’t wait to hear his particular answer and then…he changed trains at the station and went in a different direction. That was very frustrating. I didn’t listen to the Sophie one but the comments were fairly disparaging (Actually why I didn’t listen:-/ ) but there were suggestions she was stoned. Maybe Ed was in this one – may explain the pregnant pauses. No judgement but, intoxicants don’t lend themselves to quality interviews. Lets face it. Tim maybe it’s a good policy for you and guests (both of you! hahaha) to abstain from any and all intoxicants for the purposes of a clear and concise delivery . You only have so much time -you want to squeeze as much in as you can
      With Josh Waitzkin I noticed reccently just HOW MUCH he squeezed in, so much valuable feedback, other guests very much less so
      Tim some supportive feedback – you really behaved like an interviewer here. Sometimes you are too much like a friend having a chat – lapsing into conversational mode – I find that detracts from an interview. Here, you were really controlled and focused, didn’t talk much at all ,asked questions, waited for an answer, didn’t feed-back just kept yourself out of it and asked the next question. This was essential and appreciated. You are doing great😉


  28. Great interview as usual. I’ve always been fascinated with how successful people become successful. Obviously that’s been a big driver for Tim as well. It’s driven me to be a golf professional and a professional Halo 5 coach. There is nothing more thrilling than seeing talents come to fruition, whether it’s your own or other peoples. Obviously, it all comes down to putting in the work, but even more importantly having the right processes.


  29. Someone very close to me at a young age of 29 has major depression and has been undergoing all kinds of treatments with little success including Ketamine, Electric Shock and many others. I’d love to speak further with you about this experiment and her involvement. Nothing seems to be working.


  30. Yo Tim You didn’t mention Stella Adler in the show notes

    In terms of mapping ‘success’ it is notable that the two people Mr Norton first thought of as successful were his brother and father. This is salient. It suggests Edward had two very profound pillars of inspiration on hand as a foundation, from a young age. This is really important. I guess we don’t get a choice in that but I hope it can encourage parents in the present time, to offer great role models for kids

    Tim you discussed your fears with public speaking and Edward discussed the tendency to freeze up when being witnessed in a performance. Being natural is, as discussed, a primary component of being an actor. This means being fluid and spontaneous and adaptable. It makes me think of Bruce Lee. Being natural, means being utterly relaxed so then you have the capacity to choose where to go.
    We may think of acting as a craft that comes from the inner world – and this is true to a partial extent. But in fact it is so, so much to do with the body.
    Firstly, to touch upon the inner world component: I liken it to having a great vast resovoir of life force and emotion inside from which to dip into and craft and shape and create a presence for a performance. The rational, logical, so called left brain mindset set is absolute anathema to this. It is death to it. We don’t want Apollo. We want Dionysus. wild, free, creative, loose, seductive. Not that thats all that acting is – but those qualities of wildness are what are required to access and tap into that inner resovoir of life force and emotion.
    And thats where being natural will spring from. Tim I am thinking back to your interview with Tara Brach and your descriptions of being too in your in head.
    now, to tie this in with the other component which is the BODY
    Contact Improvisation (Contact Improv) and, free movement or dance eg 5 RHYTHMS are two essential disciplines for activating natural, spontaneous expression and, again, concious connection with the dionysian wellspring of emotion within.

    Contact Improv – I just tried a search on youtube and theres a ton of videos. Have a bit of a browse. Some of them convey the essence of the discipline better than others – it is a physical discipline people spend their lifetimes practicing. I saw one from Earthdance festival that was really good
    I urge you to try out a few teachers – and someone that teachs the nuts and bolts, the technical background, of 1 + 1 =2, 2 + 2 = 4 will really help you develop a foundation. There are teachers that don’t take that time, and just teach a superfical appearance of contact improvisation that doesn’t develop your inner awareness and outer capacity. It’s a bit like playing a hand drum. You can be a hippy drummer in a drum circle for 10 years and have fun bashing away but never really learn anything. Or you can train in the fundamentals of west african drumming, actually understand whats going on, take longer with a bit more hard work before you really learn to let fly, but then actually become a real, kick ass drummer with amazing rhythms

    Free Dance is the other side of the coin. Contact Improv is like using control to get to freedom, and free dance is like using freedom to get to freedom. Thats MY experience anyway – my way of articulating it. To do this properly one still needs structure, and a practise known as 5 Rhythms is free dance with a loose form, a bit of structure, a roadmap. It’s not just flapping around crazy for two hours, there is a path to follow, a trail designed to access all various parts of yourself, the parts that are a bit blocked and the parts that are a bit more open.
    relax, it’s really not as hippy as I may make it sound. as I keep saying, it’s simply a way to find the natural, spontaneous energy inside yourself which will make all of your life much fuller, brighter, more engaging, and authentic.
    The bits inside us that are blocked, get softened through these two physical practices. Forget acting – these are life tools and you WILL change your life, you WILL learn SO much about yourself very quickly. But if you want to be an actor- you need these practices, too

    5 Rhythms has no choreopgraphy, no steps to learn, no physical fitness requirements. anyone from 2 to 120 can do it. People without legs or in wheel chairs participate. It’s simply about moving! Moving meditation
    It is all over the world. And it rocks, man. It’s fun. It is so much fun

    just as an aside while I’m here. Guys, if you go to 5 rhythms don’t go chasing women after one class to give them your phone number . Women want to go there to feel safe and move and be free and guys have that right too. It is a wonderful place to connect in silence with other people and learn how to be yourself, in your body. Bring respect for the sanctity of the space and the practice – it’s not a pick up joint


  31. Mr Ferriss,

    Thanks for all you’re doing in the world – you’ve really helped me with many things in life, in particular how life can be lived and the freedom and passion that you can have and breathe from day to glorious day – very pertinent to the crossroads that I’m navigating at the moment.

    You rock, good sir, and are an enormous inspiration.

    Much love


  32. I’d have to agree about the power of people. I don’t think humans understand what can happen when people team up for a cause. I think a lot of us get caught up in our self interest and direction. It blurs the vision of what can be.

    Excellent interview!


  33. Hey Tim, just listened to this podcast and it inspired me to attempt a message to you…I feel ending the war on drugs is the only way to save our planet. I appreciate the work you are doing in regard to medicinal psilocybin. I personally understand the potential, it’s just reassuring, someone of your caliber is pushing in the right direction. Thank you, this means more to me than you know.


  34. Most boring Tim Ferriss show ever. Had to switch to other things after a couple of minutes. Edward Norton is such a talented actor, but the way he represented him self and his voice almost put me to sleep. And mind you, that’s when I was jogging


  35. Hey – nice episode with Ed Norton – he surprisingly comes off different in person than on screen which is always a pleasant discovery. In talking about Rickson Gracie, I realized that it would be awesome if you got a Gracie on your show! Royce would be the obvious choice. I wanted to bring to your attention that Ryron and Rener Gracie (GracieAcademy.com) are amazing teachers of the “gentle art” and I think you’d enjoy digging into their perspectives on training (the “Keep it Playful” movement), nutrition and general self-care and success. Looking forward to all the gold you dig up as this podcast continues to collect knowledge!


  36. Thank you for asking us to share the causes that we care about that could benefit from crowdfunding!

    There are two different causes/projects that are close to my heart in how they are helping bring greater awareness to personal healing and evolution through psychedelics.

    The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS); an organization dedicated to research and development of psychedelics and marijuana as legal medicines, and are currently working toward legalizing MDMA.

    A documentary named Sublime Visions (my personal project); which is a multi-platformed fine art documentary aimed at demystifying controversy of psychedelics by sharing the personal stories of the professionals working with them as legitimate medicines.

    Both causes that ultimately are in service to our greater human good, and are dependent on support from the public to bring their missions to fruition.


  37. This was a wonderful episode. I got a deeper understanding of Edward Norton and love how his family was important for my childhood hometown, Columbia, MD. Thanks again Tim! Great work and service you do.