Rick Rubin on Cultivating World-Class Artists (Jay Z, Johnny Cash, etc.), Losing 100+ Pounds, and Breaking Down The Complex

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500-358492-894__1Our conversation took place in a barrel sauna like this.

“It’s [about] getting closer to the source and not being distracted by any nonsense…”
– Rick Rubin

Rick Rubin has been called “the most important [music] producer of the last 20 years” by MTV.

Rick is also revered as something of a Zen master, and he is as deep as he is soft-spoken. He rarely grants interviews, and one condition of doing this one was the setting: his hyper-heated barrel sauna at home.

In this episode, we delve into how Rick helps artists (e.g. Jay Z, Shakira, Johnny Cash, etc.) produce their best work. Not only that, we also discuss Rick’s step-by-step experience losing 135+ pounds. He describes underwater weightlifting stories, training with Laird Hamilton, testing different diets, and much more.

Rick’s resume includes everyone from Johnny Cash to Jay Z. His metal artists include groups like Black Sabbath, Slayer, System of a Down, Metallica, Rage Against the Machine, and Linkin Park. He’s worked with pop artists like Shakira, Adele, Sheryl Crow, Lana Del Rey, and Lady Gaga. He’s also been credited with helping to popularize hip hop with artists like LL Cool J, The Beastie Boys, Eminem, Jay Z, and Kanye West.  And that’s just a small sample.

This conversation teaches a cohesive lesson in breaking down complex skills with deep and subtle problem solving.

The sauna caused the microphones to burn our hands and us to nearly pass out. DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME, folks! I think it adds a hilarious element to the whole thing, but it’s not without risks.

[Last but not least, if you haven’t seen my new TV show, which is #1 on iTunes as I write this, please check out The Tim Ferriss Experiment! There are 13 episodes, including ones with surfer Laird Hamilton and “top 10 drummer of all-time” Stewart Copeland.]

Enjoy!

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Interested in learning more about world-class musicians? — Check out my interview with Amanda Palmer who left her record label and raised more than $2 million via crowd funding. (stream episode below or right-click here to download):

Also, don’t miss Justin Boreta of The Glitch Mob, one of the biggest electronic groups on the planet. In my conversation with Justin, we play their never-before-heard draft versions of their songs and then explore what it takes for Justin to move that draft through 300+ versions to a final version which will knock your socks off (stream below or right-click here to download):


This episode is sponsored by OnnitI have used Onnit products for years. If you look in my kitchen or in my garage you will find Alpha BRAIN, chewable melatonin (for resetting my clock while traveling), kettlebells, maces, battle ropes, and steel clubs. It sounds like a torture chamber, and it basically is. A torture chamber for self-improvement! Ah, the lovely pain. To see a list of my favorite pills, potions, and heavy tools, click here.

This podcast is also brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. Did you know I used 99Designs to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour Body? Here are some of the impressive results.  Click this link and get a free $99 upgrade.  Give it a test run…

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: Rick Rubin cites “heart work” as critical for creatives. What is the balance of heart work and head work in your creation process? 50/50? 70/30? How did you realize what works best for you? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes… Read More

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How Facebook’s #30 Employee Quickly Built 4 Businesses and Gained 40 Pounds with Weight Training

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Noah Kagan on The Tim Ferriss Show
Noah Kagan was #30 at Facebook, #4 at Mint.com, and is the Chief Sumo (founder) at SumoMe, which offers free tools to help grow website traffic. To keep things extra spicy, he’s become a taco connoisseur and created 4 separate products that have generated more than 7 figures.

This podcast conversation is about all of the tools and tricks he uses to do it all.

Noah was my co-teacher in the “Starting a Business” episode of The Tim Ferriss Experiment, which is now the #1 TV season across all of iTunes. In the episode, we help a novice entrepreneur named Cindy to develop and launch her business in a single week. See all the details here, and be sure to watch the bonus hour of behind-the-scenes footage.

But back to the current podcast…

Noah and I cover a ton, including his favorite tools, apps, books, routines, and more.  It ranges from apps for preventing distractions, to how he blocks out time every Tuesday for learning, to how he gained 40 pounds of (mostly) muscle in the last six months or so.

If you loved the resource-rich business interviews with Ramit Sethi and Tracy DiNunzio, you’ll love this one.

So, here’s the interview, chock full of tools, cursing, and sexual innuendo…

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If you can’t see the above, here are other ways to listen:

This podcast is brought to you by Athletic Greens (AG), my all-in-one nutritional insurance policy. It’s a whole food-derived greens powder that I’ve used since 2008 or so to cover my bases in a busy world. If I need to skip meals or eat sub-optimal food, AG allows me to worry less. For travel, I take pouches with me to prevent fatigue. For a limited time, you can try AG at 50% off! Click here.  It ain’t cheap, but I find it totally worth it.

This podcast is also brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. Did you know I used 99Designs to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour BodyHere are some of the impressive results.

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY:  Are you afraid of doing the “coffee challenge” that Noah describes? If so, why? If not, please do it and share the results in the comments. Feel free to share any other experiences with “comfort challenges” like those in The 4-Hour Workweek.

Scroll below for all show notes, links, resources, etc…. Read More

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Triple H on Pre-Fight Rituals, Injury Avoidance, and Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

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“His way of telling you that you did something wrong was hitting you in the head with a phone book in a shopping bag.”
– Triple H (Paul Levesque) on learning from Killer Kowalski [10:05]

“Why would I be wound up? I’m either ready, or I’m not. Worrying about it right now ain’t gonna change a damn thing.” 
 Floyd Mayweather, Jr. just before a fight, as recalled by Paul Levesque [34:20]

Paul Levesque, more popularly known as Triple H (@TripleH), is a 13-time World Heavyweight Champion in World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE). Not only that, he is also the Executive Vice President of talent, live-events, and creative at the WWE.

In this episode we explore everything, including the teachings of Killer Kowalski, how he avoids and repairs injuries (even if on the road 200+ days of the year), pre-game rituals, and habits developed with the support of trainer Joe DeFranco, The Undertaker, and even boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr..

This podcast is not limited to athletic performance. We dig deep into Triple H’s inspirations, and how he manages his responsibilities as a husband and father of three daughters.

[Also, if you missed it, I’m giving away a once-in-a-lifetime zero-gravity flight! If you’ve ever wanted to float like a astronaut, this is your chance. Click here for details.]

Enjoy!

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Have you heard my previous blockbuster episode with Tony Robbins? — Triple H listened to this episode while preparing for our interview. In my episode with Tony, he shares his bizarre morning rituals, thoughts on punching Barack Obama, and how to master the game of money (stream below or download by right-clicking here for part 1 and right-clicking here for part 2):


This podcast is sponsored by LSTN Headphones. LSTN Headphones are gorgeous headphones made of real exotic, reclaimed wood. Proceeds from each purchase help a hearing-impaired person hear for the first time through the Starkey Hearing Foundation. Check out the headphones that I love and travel with here: LSTNHeadphones.com/Tim. On that page, use the code “TIM” to get $50 off orders of $99 or more!

This podcast is also brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. Did you know I used 99Designs to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour Body? Here are some of the impressive results.  Click this link and get a free $99 upgrade.  Special offer: For the month of April only, you can get an additional $30 off. Give it a test run and share your results!

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received for injury prevention or repair? Please share (or read) in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Enjoy!

Selected Links from the Episode

Show Notes

  • How Paul Levesque answers the question, “What do you do?” [05:10]
  • Common misconceptions of Triple H and the WWE [6:30]
  • Important lessons learned while training with Killer Kowalski [9:40]
  • Emotional story telling: the critical factor behind each WWE event [12:45]
  • Why a regimented daily workout schedule is critical for longevity as an athlete [16:25]
  • Training as mediation [21:55]
  • Pre-game rituals with the help of Joe DeFranco, The Undertaker, and Floyd Mayweather [23:05]
  • Learn about Triple H’s models of success [35:10]
  • Insights on fatherhood [40:55]
  • Describing the first 60-90 minutes of every day [43:25]
  • Triple H’s current role in the WWE and his responsibilities as Executive Vice President [47:45]
  • Rapid fire questions:
  1. Most played band/song [52:39]
  2. If you could only do 1 or 2 exercise movements for the rest of your life what would they be? [53:00]
  3. Advice for your 20-year old self [53:40]
  • The story of meeting Tony Robbins [55:15]

People Mentioned

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Hit Filmmaker Jon Favreau’s Techniques and Routines

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“The laughter doesn’t last if there is no story. Story is king. You think it’s about the laughs, but, really, it’s about investing in the story and being drawn in.”
– Jon Favreau [58:55]

Jon Favreau is a man of many talents. He burst onto the acting scene with his role in Rudy.

He established himself as a writer with the iconic cult hit Swingers, in which he starred.

Then, Favreau made his feature film directorial debut with Made, which he also wrote and produced. Other directing credits include Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Cowboys & Aliens, Elf, Zathura, and Chef, which he wrote, produced, directed, and starred in.

Lots of commas! This man does everything.

Most recently, he appeared in The Wolf of Wall Street as an actor, and he’s currently directing a live-action film with groundbreaking technology that will blow your mind — an adaptation of Disney’s Jungle Book, set to be released on April 15, 2016.

This episode goes deep into everything —
– How did he get started?
– What role did Dungeons and Dragons play?
– What made Swingers unique, and how was Elf an inflection point?
– What are the creative (and control) choices he made Chef and why?
– What are his writing techniques, routines, and tools?
– And much, much more.

If you create anything, Jon is a prime example of reinvention, doing it all, and doing it well.  Enjoy the lessons!

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Want to hear another podcast with a world-class comedian and actor? — Listen to my conversations with Bryan Callen. In his episode, we discuss improving creativity, optimal performance, eating Corgis, and more (stream below or right-click here to download):


This episode is sponsored by OnnitI have used Onnit products for years. If you look in my kitchen or in my garage you will find Alpha BRAIN, chewable melatonin (for resetting my clock while traveling), kettlebells, maces, battle ropes, and steel clubs. It sounds like a torture chamber, and it basically is. A torture chamber for self-improvement! To see a list of my favorite pills, potions, and heavy tools, click here.

This podcast is also brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. Did you know I used 99Designs to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour Body? Here are some of the impressive results.  Click this link and get a free $99 upgrade.  Give it a test run..

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What is the best advice on creativity you’ve ever received or read? Please share in the comments and check out other responses.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Enjoy!

Selected Links from the Episode

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Show Notes

  • Jon’s go to albums and bands while growing up [4:30]
  • On growing up in the Bronx [6:40]
  • Deciding to dedicate himself to entertainment [10:40]
  • On dropping out of college [13:30]
  • The spark that led Jon to cross the country on a motorcycle and lessons learned [17:50]
  • Deconstructing Dungeons and Dragons shame and how the game inspires filmmaking [22:50]
  • Jon’s process for learning to sculpt quickly and efficiently [28:30]
  • Important themes and lessons from the creation of Chef [31:50]
  • The ingredients Jon Favreau is focused on, plus the value of family/friend cooking experiences [35:25]
  • About George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch [38:45]
  • The process Jon used to write Swingers and Chef [45:20]
  • On being a writer for hire [51:50]
  • Jon’s meditation practice and how the practice inspired Chef [1:04:15]
  • Making, selling and distributing movies [1:10:55]
  • Rapid fire questions:
  1. Who is the first person and director who comes to mind when you think of the word, “successful”? [1:23:20]
  2. Most gifted book? [1:27:30]
  3. Advice to your 30-year old self? [1:28:20]

People and Places Mentioned

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Inside the Mind of Glenn Beck, You Find…Walt Disney and Orson Welles?

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CROP EXAMPLE - Ferriss_Glenn_Beck_IMG_3184_JPG

“When I turned 30, I knew my life was at a crossroads. It was either over, or I was going to restart.”
– Glenn Beck [9:10]

The goal of my blog and podcast is to push you outside of your comfort zone and force you to question assumptions.

This is why I invite divergent thinkers and world-class performers who often disagree. I might interview Tony Robbins and then Matt Mullenweg. Or I might have a long chat with Sam Harris, PhD, and later invite a seemingly opposite guest like…

Glenn Beck.

This interview is a wild ride, and it happened — oddly enough — thanks to a late-night sauna session. I was catching up with an old friend, who is mixed-race, a Brown University grad, and liberal in almost every sense of the word. I casually asked him, “If you could pick one person to be on the podcast, who would it be?”

“Glenn Beck,” he answered without a moment’s hesitation. “His story is FASCINATING.”

He described how Glenn hit rock bottom and restarted his life in his 30’s, well past the point most people think it possible. Fast forward to 2014, Forbes named him to their annual Celebrity 100 Power List and pegged his earnings at $90 million for that year. This placed him ahead of people like Mark Burnett, Jimmy Fallon, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Will Smith. Glenn’s platforms — including radio, tv, digital (TheBlaze.com), publishing, etc. — get somewhere between 30 and 50 million unique visitors per month.

This interview is neither a “gotcha” interview nor a softball interview. I ask some tough questions (e.g. “If you were reborn as a disabled gay woman in a poor family, what political system would you want in place?”), but my primary goal is to pull out routines, habits, books, etc. that you can use. This show is about actionable insight, not argument for argument’s sake.

First and foremost, this is a story of entrepreneurship, and whether you love Glenn, hate Glenn, or have never heard his name, there is a lot to learn from him.

After listening to this (no tirades before, please), I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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At one point in this episode, we discuss billionaire Peter Thiel, who was previously on the podcast. Here is Peter and my experimental “conversation.” We delve into his principles of entrepreneurship, building massive companies, value creation, and competition, among other things (stream below or right-click here to download):


This podcast is brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. Did you know I used 99Designs to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour Body? Here are some of the impressive results.  Click this link and get a free $99 upgrade.  Give it a test run..

This episode is also sponsored by The Tim Ferriss Book Club. In my book club, I highlight amazing books that I love. The most recent addition is We Learn Nothing by Tim Kreider. You can find all of the books at audible.com/timsbooks or here.

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: For you, what were the most valuable takeaways from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Enjoy!

Selected Links from the Episode

Show Notes

  • The story of Glenn Beck’s sole class at Yale [8:15]
  • Facing the dark periods, and how bedtime stories helped him identify his alcoholism [17:10]
  • How to avoid the temptations of the past [20:22]
  • On common misconceptions [32:15]
  • Suggestions for finding common ground during debates [37:45]
  • Glenn Beck’s most often gifted book [41:30]
  • Why Glenn has made the decision to be less divisive [45:30]
  • Advice for becoming great on radio (or in audio) [49:00]
  • “What controversial thing do you believe that few people agree with you on?” [53:30]
  • What to focus on when building a fast-growing company [1:03:00]
  • Why he sometimes asks people “How is your soul?” [1:15:05]
  • Morning routines and habits [1:17:50]
  • What makes Glenn Beck effective as the center of a $90-million+ organization [1:22:45]
  • “Who’s the first person to come to mind when you think ‘successful?'” [1:26:50]
  • Glenn Beck’s fascination with Orson Welles and the story of Citizen Kane [1:28:05]
  • On Walt Disney [1:34:25]
  • Glenn Beck’s advice to his 30-year old self [1:38:25]

Podcast Listener Questions (Submitted via My Facebook Page)

Matt Brand – “If you were to be theoretically reborn as a disabled gay woman in a poor family, what political system would you want in place?” [1:43:05]

Alex Kirby – “What are some of the things we can do to ‘rebrand’ capitalism and encourage entrepreneurship here (in the US) and abroad?” [1:39:35]

[Name sadly inaudible] – “If you were to leave people with one piece of advice, or a question they could ask themselves, what would that be?” [1:44:35]

People Mentioned

208 Comments / Leave a comment or question

Amanda Palmer on How to Fight, Meditate, and Make Good Art

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The Tim Ferriss Show with Amanda Palmer

“Work with the man when the man can help you make your art…”
– Amanda Palmer

“When in doubt, remember: At the end of the day, you get to do whatever the fuck you want.”
– Amanda Palmer

My guest this episode is Amanda Palmer, who first came to prominence as one half of the internationally acclaimed punk cabaret duo The Dresden Dolls.

Many of you have no doubt seen her surprise hit TED presentation, “The Art of Asking,” which has been viewed more than 6 million times. But her story goes much deeper, and, in this conversation, we delve into her routines, habits, creative process, relationships, business models, and more.

Her new book is aptly titled The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help.  I finished 50% and fundamentally upgraded my life in an afternoon of asking for help.  It’s one hell of a read.

Amanda is also widely known as “The Social Media Queen of Rock-N-Roll” for her intimate engagement with fans via her blog, Tumblr, and Twitter (1,000,000+ followers), and has been at the vanguard of using both “direct-to-fan” and “pay what you want” (patronage) business models to build and run her business. In May of 2012, she made international news when she raised nearly $1.2 million pre-selling her new album, Theatre is Evil, which went on to debut in the Billboard Top 10 when it was released in late 2012.

We get into it all, including war stories, cursing, and meditation techniques. It’s a fun ride. Enjoy!

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Want to hear another podcast with a world-class musician? — Listen to my conversations with Justin Boreta of the Glitch Mob or Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park. In the fomer, we discuss his meditation practice, morning routines, and creative process (stream below or right-click here to download):


This podcast is brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. Did you know I used 99Designs to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour Body? Here are some of the impressive results.  Click this link and get a free $99 upgrade.  Give it a test run…

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: Have you ever overcome the fear of asking for help? Please share stories or examples in the comments!

Scroll below for links and show notes… Read More

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Optimizing Investing, Blood, Hormones, and Life (Podcast Double-Header: #63 and #65)

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Raoul_-_MPEG_Streamclip_1_9_2_©_2004-2008_Squared_5Discussing life and investing with Mark Hart and Raoul Pal.

[DISCLAIMER: I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on the Internet. Speak with a medical professional before doing anything medical-related, m’kay?]

There is something here for everyone.

This post details two jam-packed discussions  — one with world-renowned macro investors and investment strategists (Mark Hart and Raoul Pal), and another with a top performance doc you’ve referenced hundreds of times (Peter Attia, MD).

In both, we address dozens of topics, including:

– How do you choose an optimal investment style?
– What’s the most useful definition of “ROI” for lifestyle purposes?
– What are the 5 lesser-known physical tests you should consider?
– How does hormone therapy fit into the bigger performance and longevity picture (or not)?
– Productivity and exercise/diet tips from all participants.

Below, you’ll also find the most comprehensive show notes and links I’ve done to date. They’re DEEP.  If you like them, please let me know in the comments, as these take a TON of time to transcribe and summarize.

EPISODE 63 — I am interviewed by Mark Hart and Raoul Pal for Real Vision Television, which was created to combat the dumbed-down approach to finance in traditional media. Mark predicted and bet on the subprime mortgage crisis, the European sovereign default crisis, and more. As Forbes put it, related to Mark, “Sometimes, combing through a mountain of manager letters felt like reading the newspaper years in advance.” We talk about nearly everything in this roundtable.

EPISODE 65 — Peter Attia, MD, answers your most popular 10-15 questions (e.g. top blood tests, hormone therapy, increasing VO2 max, long-term ketosis, etc.), as voted on by thousands of you. Peter is President of NuSI and a tremendous endurance athlete in his own right.

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This podcast is brought to you by Mizzen + Main. Mizzen + Main makes the only “dress” shirts I now travel with — fancy enough for important dinners but made from athletic, sweat-wicking material. No more ironing, no more steaming, no more hassle. Click here for the exact shirts I wear most often. Order one of their dress shirts this week and get a Henley shirt (around $60 retail) for free.  Just add the two you like here to the cart, then use code “TIM” at checkout.

This episode is also brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. Did you know I used 99Designs to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour Body? Here are some of the impressive results.

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What is the best investment advice you’ve ever read or heard? Please share and explore answers in the comments here.

Do you enjoy this podcast? If so, could you please leave a short review here? I read them, and they keep me going. Thanks!

And here are the copious show notes and links for both episodes… Read More

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