How Seth Godin Manages His Life — Rules, Principles, and Obsessions

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Seth Godin (Photo: Brian Bloom)

(Photo: Brian Bloom)

“We can’t out-obedience the competition.” – Seth Godin

I expected this episode to be amazing, and Seth 10x’d expectations. He’s incredible.

Seth Godin (@thisissethsblog) is the author of 17 bestselling books that have been translated into more than 35 languages. He writes about the way ideas spread, marketing, strategic quitting, leadership, and — most of all — challenging the status quo in all areas. His books include Linchpin, Tribes, The Dip, Purple Cow, and What to Do When it’s Your Turn (and it’s Always Your Turn).

Seth has founded several companies, including Yoyodyne and Squidoo. His blog (which you can find by typing “Seth” into Google) is one of the most popular in the world. In 2013, Godin was inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame. Recently, Godin turned the book publishing world on its ear by launching a series of four books via Kickstarter. The campaign reached its goal in just three hours and became the most successful book project in Kickstarter history.

In this episode, we cover dozens of topics and stories, including some he’s never discussed publicly before. Here’s a small sample:

  • A list of the audiobooks he listens to repeatedly, some once per month
  • His morning routine, breakfast, dietary habits, and email processing
  • Meditative practices
  • Why he’s fixated on and mastered coffee and vodka, despite the fact that he consumes neither
  • Suggestions for going from “wantrepreneur” to entrepreneur
  • How to determine if you’re better off a “freelancer” or “entrepreneur,” and the differences in his mind
  • Why he has the most impressive cookbook collection our mutual chef friends have ever seen
  • His rules for saying “no” to opportunities, how he thinks about public speaking, etc.
  • His recipe for honey oatmeal vodka, and his favorite chocolates in the world
  • Thoughts on improving how parents educate their children
  • General philosophies and guidelines he uses for life management

Enjoy!

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Want to hear another podcast related to leadership and marketing? — Listen to my conversation with Derek Sivers. In my conversation with Seth Godin, he mentions that this was his favorite episode. “I love Derek,” were his exact words. In this podcast, Derek discusses developing confidence, finding happiness, and saying “no” to millions (stream below or right-click here to download):



This podcast is brought to you by Audible. I have used Audible for years and I love audio books. I have 2 to recommend:

  1. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  2. Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

All you need to do to get your free audiobook and a free 30-day trial is go to Audible.com/tim. Choose one of the above books, or choose between more than 180,000 audio programs. That could be a book, a newspaper, a magazine or even a class. It’s that easy. Go to Audible.com/Tim and get started today. Enjoy!

This podcast is brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. I have used them for years to create some amazing designs. When your business needs a logo, website design, business card, or anything you can imagine, check out 99Designs.

I used them to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour Body, and I’ve also had them help with display advertising and illustrations. If you want a more personalized approach, I recommend their 1-on-1 service. You get original designs from designers around the world. The best part? You provide your feedback, and then you end up with a product that you’re happy with or your money back. Click this link and get a free $99 upgrade. Give it a test run.

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What advice from Seth did you find most helpful? More importantly, how will you apply it to your life? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

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How to Practice Poverty and Reduce Fear

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The Tao of Seneca

“Establish business relations with poverty.”
– Seneca

These 10-15 minutes are gold. I revisit this letter of Seneca at least once a quarter, and I hope you find this episode equally powerful.

The careful listener will find an extremely practical blueprint (and exercises) for optimizing performance in high-stress situations.

If you only have 60 seconds for one highlight, pay particular attention to this passage.

If you enjoy the teachings, I highly recommend listening to more of Seneca’s letters. All of my favorites can be found in The Tao of Seneca: Practical Letters from a Stoic Master. For more audiobooks I love, take a look at audible.com/timsbooks.

Enjoy!

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Want to hear another segment of The Tao of Seneca and dig deeper into stoicism? — Listen to On Groundless Fears. In this episode, I dig deeper into the value of stoicism and examining unfounded fears and untested assumptions (stream below or right-click here to download):



This episode is brought to you by Headspace, the world’s most popular meditation app (more than 4,000,000 users).  It’s used in more than 150 countries, and many of my closest friends swear by it.  Try Headspace’s free Take10 program —  10 minutes of guided meditation a day for 10 days. It’s like a warm bath for your mind. Meditation doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive, and it’s had a huge impact on my life. Try Headspace for free for a few days and see what I mean.

This podcast is also brought to you by Wealthfront. Wealthfront is a massively disruptive (in a good way) set-it-and-forget-it investing service, led by technologists from places like Apple. It has exploded in popularity in the last two years and now has more than $2.5B under management. Why? Because you can get services previously limited to the ultra-wealthy and only pay pennies on the dollar for them, and it’s all through smarter software instead of retail locations and bloated sales teams.

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. Well worth a few minutes to explore: wealthfront.com/tim.

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: How has listening to Seneca’s teachings changed or improved your life? Share your thoughts in the comments

Scroll below for links and show notes…

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Naval Ravikant on Happiness Hacks and the 5 Chimps Theory

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Naval Ravikant on the Tim Ferriss Show

Naval Ravikant By Kris Krüg | CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

“I actually think happiness is the absence of suffering. It comes from peace. That comes from being careful about desire, judgment, and reaction.” – Naval Ravikant

When a guest is nominated for “Podcast of the Year,” that’s a good reason to bring them back for more. That’s why Naval Ravikant (@naval) is here for round two, and this time, he’s answering your most-requested questions. For those of you who missed his first episode, Naval is the CEO and a co-founder of AngelList. He has invested in more than 100 companies, including many “unicorn” mega-successes.  He is the person I call most for start-up advice.

Most important, he has developed a diverse set of skills and rules-of-thumb that can applied nearly everywhere . Even if you have no interest in startups or investing, this is well worth your time. In this episode, Naval answers your top-10 questions from Reddit, including such topics as:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Most-recommended books
  • Happiness hacks
  • Conflict resolution
  • Start-up tips
  • And much, much more…

Enjoy!

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Want to hear another podcast from a world-class philosopher/entrepreneur? — Listen to my conversation with Derek Sivers, who sold a company for $28 million and gave all of it to music education. In this episode, we discuss developing confidence, finding happiness, and saying “no” to damaging trappings and temptations (stream below or right-click here to download):



This podcast is brought to you by Wealthfront. Wealthfront is a massively disruptive (in a good way) set-it-and-forget-it investing service, led by technologists from places like Apple. It has exploded in popularity in the last two years and now has more than $2.5B under management. Why? Because you can get services previously limited to the ultra-wealthy and only pay pennies on the dollar for them, and it’s all through smarter software instead of retail locations and bloated sales teams.

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. Well worth a few minutes to explore: wealthfront.com/tim.

This podcast is also 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. Get 50% off your order at Athletic Greens.com/Tim.

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: In terms of making or saving money, what have been your most valuable lessons learned? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

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Luis von Ahn on Learning Languages, Building Companies, and Changing the World

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luis von ahn

“The [common trait in] people that we have noticed are best at learning a language is that they have no trouble sounding stupid.” – Luis von Ahn

Luis von Ahn (@luisvonahn) is an entrepreneur and computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He is known for inventing CAPTCHAs, being a MacArthur Fellow (“genius grant” recipient), and selling two companies to Google in his 20’s. Luis has been named one of the 10 Most Brilliant Scientists by Popular Science Magazine, one of the 20 Best Brains Under 40 by Discover, one of the Top Young Innovators Under 35 by MIT Technology Review, and one of the 100 Most Innovative People in Business by FastCompany Magazine.

Luis is currently the co-founder and CEO of Duolingo, a language learning platform created to bring free language education to the world. With more than 100 million users, it is the most popular way to learn languages in the world, and it is the most downloaded app in the Education category on both iTunes (5-star average, 3,300+ reviews) and Google Play.

I first met Luis as an early investor in Duolingo, and every time I meet him, I learn something new.

In this conversation, we talk about:

  • What 2-3 books and resources he’d recommend to entrepreneurs
  • Language learning tips
  • The clever way he caught cheating students at Carnegie Mellon
  • Early mentors and key lessons learned
  • The story of building and selling reCAPTCHA
  • How to recruit and vet technical talent
  • Duolingo’s most surprising sources of users, and much more…

Enjoy!

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Want to hear a conversation with an entrepreneur who sold a company for $800 million? Bryan Johnson, the rags to riches philosopher, tells the story of founding Braintree and later selling the company to eBay (stream below or right-click here to download):



This podcast is brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. I have used them for years to create some amazing designs. When your business needs a logo, website design, business card, or anything you can imagine, check out 99Designs.

I used them to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour Body, and I’ve also had them help with display advertising and illustrations. If you want a more personalized approach, I recommend their 1-on-1 service. You get original designs from designers around the world. The best part? You provide your feedback, and then you end up with a product that you’re happy with or your money back. Click this link and get a free $99 upgrade. Give it a test run.

This episode is also brought to you by Headspace, the world’s most popular meditation app (more than 4,000,000 users).  It’s used in more than 150 countries, and many of my closest friends swear by it.  Try Headspace’s free Take10 program —  10 minutes of guided meditation a day for 10 days. It’s like a warm bath for your mind. Meditation doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive, and it’s had a huge impact on my life. Try Headspace for free for a few days and see what I mean.

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: In this episode, Luis laments that he didn’t get more formal business management training while at Carnegie Mellon. What resource has supported you most to make better management decisions? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

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The Tao of Seneca: Letters from a Stoic Master

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The Tao of Seneca

“It is precisely in times of immunity from care that the soul should toughen itself beforehand for occasions of greater stress, and it is while fortune is kind that it should fortify itself against her violence.” Seneca the Younger

After 10+ years of fantasizing about it, I have turned my favorite writing of all time (Seneca’s letters) into an audiobook series! The title of the series is The Tao of Seneca: Practical Letters from a Stoic Master.

This podcast episode gives you a sample, one of my favorites: On Groundless Fears (Letter 13). I listen to it at least once a quarter.

Here’s a description of the full monty:

The Tao of Seneca: Practical Letters from a Stoic Master is an introduction to Stoic philosophy through the words of Seneca.

Thought leaders in Silicon Valley tout the benefits of Stoicism, and NFL management, coaches, and players (Patriots, Seahawks, etc.) alike have embraced it because the principles make them better competitors. If you study Seneca, you’ll be in good company. He was popular with the educated elite of the Greco-Roman Empire, but Thomas Jefferson also had Seneca on his bedside table. This philosophy is a no-nonsense system designed to produce dramatic real-world effects. Think of it as an ideal operating system for thriving in high-stress environments.

The Tao of Seneca is your guide.

My suggestion: get Volume One, listen to my Preface (the origin story is fun), then skip to one of my favorite letters, several of which I list off in the first 10 minutes.

I love listening to one letter per day — they average 10-20 minutes in length — as I walk to get coffee or go to the subway. It’s the perfect way to prime yourself for better results with less stress each morning. Warning: the first “On the Shortness of Life” version is an essay and LONG (1-1.5 hours); I suggest skipping that and sampling the shorter letters to get hooked.

These letters have repeatedly changed my life, and I wish the same for you.

Enjoy!

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Want to hear another podcast related to Stoicism? — Listen to my conversation with Ryan Holiday. In this episode, we discuss the “big three” stoics, how Stoicism applies to the modern world, and how to improve your decision-making when stakes are high (stream below or right-click here to download):


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. Get 50% off your order at Athletic Greens.com/Tim.

This podcast is also brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. I have used them for years to create some amazing designs. When your business needs a logo, website design, business card, or anything you can imagine, check out 99Designs.

I used them to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour Body, and I’ve also had them help with display advertising and illustrations. If you want a more personalized approach, I recommend their 1-on-1 service. You get original designs from designers around the world. The best part? You provide your feedback, and then you end up with a product that you’re happy with or your money back. Click this link and get a free $99 upgrade. Give it a test run.

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What philosophy or philosopher has had the biggest impact on your life or business? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

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

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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.

Enjoy!

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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):


This podcast is brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. I have used them for years to create some amazing designs. When your business needs a logo, website design, business card, or anything you can imagine, check out 99Designs.

I used them to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour Body, and I’ve also had them help with display advertising and illustrations. If you want a more personalized approach, I recommend their 1-on-1 service. You get original designs from designers around the world. The best part? You provide your feedback, and then you end up with a product that you’re happy with or your money back. Click this link and get a free $99 upgrade. Give it a test run.

This podcast is also brought to you by Wealthfront. Wealthfront is a massively disruptive (in a good way) set-it-and-forget-it investing service, led by technologists from places like Apple and world-famous investors. It has exploded in popularity in the last 2 years and now has more than $2.5B under management. In fact, some of my good investor friends in Silicon Valley have millions of their own money in Wealthfront. Why? Because you can get services previously limited to the ultra-wealthy and only pay pennies on the dollar for them, and it’s all through smarter software instead of retail locations and bloated sales teams.

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…

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Chris Sacca on Shark Tank, Building Your Business, and Startup Mistakes

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Chris Sacca

“Mullet wigs change everything.” Chris Sacca

Sometimes one interview just isn’t enough. That was certainly the case with my good friend, Chris Sacca. Chris (who I interviewed before) was recently the cover story of the Midas Issue of Forbes magazine. He was on the cover because he’s a newly minted billionaire and the proprietor of what will likely be the most successful venture capital fund in history: LOWERCASE Capital.

He’s an early-stage investor in companies like Twitter, Uber, Instagram, Kickstarter, and many more.

Also, he wears cowboy shirts, has a great beard, and is hilarious, which is reason enough to bring him back for more. In this episode, he answers all of your most pressing questions based on your votes and feedback. You’ll find some fantastic responses, ranging from life advice to business recommendations and everything in between.

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Want to hear another episode with an entrepreneur on Shark Tank? — Listen to my conversation with Daymond John. In this special episode, Daymond asks me the questions that can help you turn any weakness into a strength (stream below or right-click here to download):



This episode is brought to you by Foodist Kitchen. Sometimes the most life-changing habits are the ones we put off, and learning to cook is at the top of that list. I only finally took the plunge when writing The 4-Hour Chef, and it turned my eating and my life into high definition. Foodist Kitchen is a 30-day program that teaches you how to cook without recipes, and I highly recommend it. Chopping and sautéing are just a small part of the whole deal — you also need to know what flavors taste good together and what it means to cook until done.

Foodist Kitchen brings all these skills together so you can walk into the kitchen, open the fridge, and have an intuitive sense of what to cook and how to do it. It was created by Darya Rose, who’s a friend of mine and one of my cooking mentors for The 4-Hour Chef. She has offered a $15 discount off your membership, so check out FoodistKitchen.com/Tim to learn more about the program.

This episode is also brought to you by Exo Protein. These guys are making protein bars using cricket protein powder. Before you look disgusted, I bet they taste better than any protein bar you’ve ever had before! With recipes that were developed by a three-Michelin-star chef, the bars are paleo-friendly, with no gluten, no grains, no soy, no dairy, and they won’t spike your glycemic response. In fact, they’re less processed than any other protein bars you’ll be able to find.

Exo Protein is offering a deep discount to Tim Ferriss Show listeners — if you go to ExoProtein.com/Tim today, you can try a sampler pack with all of the most popular flavors for less than $10. This is a startup with limited inventory that sells out all the time, so act fast!

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: If you could team up with any entrepreneur to help your business grow (like on Shark Tank), who would it be and why? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

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44 Comments / Leave a comment or question