Adam Robinson Interview | The Tim Ferriss Show (Podcast) | Transcription

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Intro (00:00)

At this altitude I can run flat out for a half mile before my hands start shaking. Can I answer your personal question? No, I would have seen it in a perfect time. What if I did the opposite? I'm a cybernetic organism, living tissue over a metal endoskeleton. The Tim Ferriss Show. This episode is brought to you by Wealthfront. Wealthfront is the future of financial advice. They become incredibly popular among my friends in Silicon Valley and across the country. Because they provide the same high-end financial advice that the best private wealth managers deliver to the ultra wealthy, but for any account size and at a fraction of the cost. For instance, they monitor your portfolio every day across more than a dozen asset classes to look for opportunities to rebalance or harvest tax losses. Now, would you do the same? Are you doing the same? Probably not. Wealthfront manages more than $4 billion in assets, which is up from $2.5 billion when they started advertising on this podcast. They're growing incredibly quickly. Unlike old-fashioned private wealth managers, Wealthfront is powered by innovative technology, making it the most tax-efficient, low-cost, hassle-free way to invest. They don't have bloated sales teams or retail locations, so they can deliver all of this sophisticated financial advice and these services at a fraction of the cost, of a traditional financial advisor. So, at the very least, go to and take their free risk assessment survey. It only takes a couple of minutes and Wealthfront will recommend a personalized portfolio of investments. In other words, they'll tell you exactly where they would put your money. So, even if you don't use their service, you have a huge leg up and you have additional information for making good decisions. They use investment theory to automate good financial behavior and decisions that people typically don't make, but should. So, go to to get your first $15K managed for free or just to get more details. Check it out. This episode is brought to you by 99designs. I've used 99designs for years for all sorts of graphic design needs. Whether you need a logo, website, book cover, or anything else, 99designs was created to make great designs accessible to everyone and to make the process of getting designs much, much easier. When I first started out, for instance, testing prototype covers and getting prototype covers for the 4-hour body, I went the contest route. That is one option. This is a great solution if you're looking for fast, affordable design work and the ability to choose from dozens of options risk-free. Let's say you need something late night, quick turnaround. Well, people in other time zones, other countries can also help you solve that problem. Since then, I've worked with 99designs on a separate path or a different option and that is the one-to-one project service. So, in a number of cases, and I'll give you one example, when I wanted to create the cover for my audiobook, The Tao of Seneca, this was a very important project to me. I decided to use their one-to-one project service. With this service, you can invite a specific designer to your project, agree on a price, and then work together until you're satisfied. I haven't shared it yet, but we also got some incredibly good, really some of the best illustrations I've ever seen from using this one-to-one project service with a handful of different designers and illustrators. It blew my mind. 99designs makes this all very easy and efficient. So, you can check out The Tao of Seneca Design and other work that I and your fellow listeners, for that matter, have done on 99designs at Again, that's Hello, boys and girls. This is Tim Ferriss and welcome to another episode of The Tim Ferriss Show. That is Molly chewing a bully stick, otherwise known as Bull Bizzle in the background. But you're not here for that. You are here for what we do every episode, that is deconstruct world-class performers, whether they are from the world of business, sports, entertainment, chess or otherwise, to tease out the habits, routines, philosophies, beliefs, etc., that you can apply to your own life. And this time around, we have someone by popular request who is perhaps all of those categories wrapped into one, Adam Robinson. Adam first appeared on this podcast in the Becoming the Best Version of You episode, which was number 210. So, episode number 210, alongside Josh Waitzkin, who is best known for chess, jujitsu, investing, and Ramit Sethi, best known for personal finance and entrepreneurship. So, we had this roundtable, How Do You End Your Year? All sorts of great stuff came up. So, I encourage you to listen to that as well. But this is a dedicated episode full of Adam's stories and life lessons. He came out to San Francisco to spend time with me. I wanted to learn from him, and that is how it came to be. Adam Robinson has made a lifelong study of outflanking and outsmarting the competition. He is a rated chess master who was awarded a life title by the United States Chess Federation. And as a teenager, he was personally mentored by Bobby Fischer in the 18 months leading up to his winning the World Championship. Bobby Fischer is considered by many to be the best chess player who has ever lived. Then, in his first career, Adam developed a revolutionary approach to taking standardized tests as one of the two original co-founders of the Princeton Review. His paradigm-breaking, or as they say in publishing, category-killing test prep book, the SAT subtitle, Cracking the System, is the only test prep book ever to have become a New York Times bestseller. Then, after selling his interest in the Princeton Review, Adam turned his attention in the early 90s to the then emerging field of artificial intelligence, developing a program that could analyze text and provide human-like commentary. He is a jack-of-all-trades master of many. He was later invited to join a well-known Quant Fund. We could get into that another time. But well-known Quant Fund to develop statistical trading models and since he has established himself as an independent global macro advisor to the chief investment officers of a select group of the world's most successful hedge funds and family offices. So in other words, he is brought in to give advice to billionaires, mega billionaires, and beyond. In his spare time, for instance, he's also become pen pals with Warren Buffett and we dig into lots that he's learned from Warren. This is a wide-ranging conversation with a lot of takeaways. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed recording it. So without further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Adam Robinson.

Important Insights & Personal Experiences From Famous Personalities

The day-planner anecdote (06:36)

Adam, good sir. Welcome back to the show. Thanks for having me, Tim. And we are sitting here in Casa Ferris on this comfortable couch in viewing distance of my lovely dog, Molly. And we could start just about anywhere. We have a thousand topics we could explore and I thought we would start with an anecdote that made an impression on me and I'd like to explore it a little bit. Could you talk about Warren Buffett and his day planner, please? Ha. So we were having dinner, 10 of us, with Warren and he held up with great dramatic effect his day planner for the year. And he said, time is the most precious thing I have. He said, I'm going to show you how precious it is. I'm going to show you my day planner. And he says little. Two inch by three inch. Little booklet that you get at any stationery store for the year. And he held it up for all of us and he riffed through it. And every page was empty. And that was his day planner for the year. So it's really important to warn that his time is his most valuable asset. And what does he do with all that empty space? He reads. All day every day? All day every day. Reads, thinks, and hunts for his next acquisition. So that's what he does with his time. Does he think of himself as an investor or an acquirer of businesses at this point in time? How do you think he thinks of himself? You know, everyone calls him the world's greatest investor and he's certainly the world's greatest something. But I think he's he's actually the world's greatest builder of businesses. And acquire of businesses. And so that's what he does. He acquires a business and tends to hold it forever. Let's talk about talk about investing, but take us a slightly different tack. We were chatting over Thai food a little bit about a book called and I might get title slightly wrong, but I believe it is. You can be a stock market genius. It's something along those lines by Joel Greenblatt. Absolutely.

Peter Lynch, Joel Greenblatt, the challenge of edges. (08:56)

And that that book had in him made an impression on me and had an impact on me when I was pretty young. I think I was a little too young for it. When I was around 16 or 17 and directly preceded my first stock purchase ever, which was Pixar. And when I when I met Joel many, many, many years later, this is probably just a few years ago. He said that in some respects. People should read his books in the. The reverse order of their publication, because the stock market genius book really covers a lot of what some people might consider event based investment or trading. And I was wondering if you had any thoughts you brought up, but I said, hey, let's let's talk about it in the conversation when we're recording. You mentioned, yes, you were familiar with with Joel and then also you brought up Lynch, Peter Lynch. And so I'd love to just hear you expand on what you were going to say, but I cut you off during dinner because I wanted to save it for this. Right. So so Peter Lynch went up on Wall Street and and and Joe Greenblatt, both brilliant investors, both. Investing geniuses and and my only concern about about. Empowering individual investors is that when you invest as an individual, you are entering the fiercest gladiatorial arena ever invented, and you're competing with highly incentivized participants around the world who are out for your lunch and going to eat it if you if if you don't have an edge. So I just want to be sure that individual investors, when they choose to do that, realize that it's, again, a gladiatorial pit and and you need an edge when you invest. So what is your take on then, say, a Lynch or a Greenblatt in that capacity? And I don't know if it was Greenblatt who could have been elsewhere when there was a discussion about the edges, the types of edges you could have. And one would be informational advantage. One could be a analytical advantage. Another could be, say, perhaps a behavioral advantage. And reading a lot about Buffett, it seems like at least one of his advantages behaviorally is very unemotionally. It seems like affected by market movements. Absolutely. And can divorce himself emotionally from these temporary ups and downs. But do you have any particular observations related to Peter or Joel as relates to advantages, edges or otherwise? You know, it's so funny. And before we go any further, you know, I because we this is so much more intimate than a conversation than we had at the 92nd Street Y in front of a thousand people. And this is almost like parkour jumping, but a conversational version of that where you leap from topic to topic, not knowing where you're going. So the edge, Warren Buffett, one of my favorite quotes of Warren Buffett is if you're in a poker game for 30 minutes and you don't know who the Patsy is, you're the Patsy. And so so you need an edge, but you need to know that you have an edge over the market in terms of information since 2000. The SEC. Published a regulation, FD, fair disclosure. So in a sense, everyone has access to the same information at the same time. So information edges are very, very difficult, especially with modern technology and and other resources. So information edges are tough. Behavioral edges are really important. And you said Buffett is completely unemotional. So, yes, when everyone is panicking is when he gets greedy. In fact, Buffett said Buffett articulated in one sentence the the secret to investing. And and that's he said that we meaning he and Charlie Munger. Are. Fearful when others are greedy. And we are greedy only when others are fearful. And so the secret to investing in public securities is knowing when to be afraid and knowing when to be greedy.

The Competitive Advantage Library. (13:22)

So what I'd like to do in this in this American Ninja Warrior course of conversational parkour is maybe maybe take a step back really far back and discuss a few of the experiences your childhood, because I was not aware that you had spent, was it two years, two and a half years, two and a half years. Yeah. In the hospital when you were when you were a kid. Could you describe why that was the case? What happened? Sure. Sure. Well, it was a Blightdale Children's Hospital, which was started in in. Wow. I think in the 40s by Eleanor Roosevelt. And it was for children with long term congenital illnesses and had a bone disease. And back then, the only way to cure it was to put you in a bed and wait for the disease to kind of run its course. And so if you remember Forrest Gump at the beginning, he had those leg braces. So between the ages of four and six and a half, I was wearing those leg braces in a bed in a children's hospital. So what was what was your childhood like? Ah. When where did you grow up? So I grew up, I was born in New York and then was put in the hospital. And then when I got out, we moved to to Chicago, to Evanston, Illinois, which is where Northwestern is. So if you've seen any of the movies like Ferris Bueller's Day Off or Home Alone, those were all filmed and within a mile of where I grew up.

The Consumer Price Index. (14:50)

So that was that was the where what would you and if you were to paint because we talked a little bit about in the last episode, Princeton Review. Yeah. We talked about that chapter of your life in part. But what were some of the formative influences in your life up to, say, end of high school influences or events, anything like that? You know, being in the hospital for two and a half years as you're growing up, you you get divorced from your body in a hospital bed and and you you get divorced from the world. The world is something out there that you can't touch and you can't participate in. And you but you observe it and you think about it. And I guess one of the formative influences was was meeting Bobby Fisher. How's my hero? How did you meet Bobby Fisher? And for those people who don't know who Bobby Fisher is, how would you encapsulate?

The 90 Dividend. (15:44)

Fisher is said by some to be the greatest chess player of all time. And I met him right before he won the world championship and knew him right through the world championship. And then sadly, afterwards, he began to lose his mind to paranoia and died in 2007. Sad. But I knew him at the height of his powers right before he won the world championship. And it's funny how I met him. He. Freshman year when I was in high school, somebody beat me in a game of chess in homeroom, beat me in like five moves. Like I knew how the pieces moved, but that was the extent of my knowledge. And this so frustrated me. I thought, OK, I'm going to challenge him a game the next day. And he beat me again. In fact, he beat me every day that week. So I resolved that I would study this game and just in order to beat this kid by the end of the year. That was my sole goal. And because I was really into swimming at the time, you know, swimming four or five hours a day, you know, six, seven days a week. And chess was really much a sideline for me. But I got into the game and. And I, I decided to go to the library, actually, a bookstore and get a chess book. And the only book that they had was a book called My 60 Memorable Games by Bobby Fischer. And at the time, this was four years before he would win the world championship.

Stalking the world champion Bobby Fischer, the boy who beat the best (17:09)

So I played over these games every night, these 60 games. And I realized, but wait a second, he's played hundreds of games. So I went to the library. This is pre-internet for for those of you millennials who don't know what a library is. And. And I, I got to one. It was the slow version of the Internet. Yes, the slow version of the Internet. Yes. When you actually had to look up things yourself. And I went through 20 years of back issues of chess magazines, laboriously, every chess magazine that I could find in the world. And went through page by page and I found a Fisher game, I would write it down. So I compiled my own notebook of about 700 of his games that he had played. And I played over these games for two, three years and I knew them by heart. When you say played over. Yes. Does that mean you would set up a board or did you do this in your head and you would go move by move through both players? Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. On a board. On a board. Yes. Some people could do it in their heads. I mean, like Magnus Carlsen, world champ or Josh Waitzkin, our buddy. They can do it in their head. I had to use a board. And so. So I remember it was my I was 16 years old with my mother on Easter Sunday and visiting her in New York. And we were walking up Sixth Avenue towards Central Park. Beautiful April day. And across the street. Across Sixth Avenue, right in front of Macy's, I saw Bobby Fisher. So imagine this was my hero. Right. And again, this was a year and a half before he would win the world championship. And again, for those of you who don't know that, it would be like spotting Bigfoot or I mean, he was or J.D. Salinger back. Sure. Right. Back in the day. And so I said, Mom, I know I I said I would spend. Today with you, but that's that's Bobby Fisher over there. I'll see you later. So I cut across traffic. I ran up to him and I I said, Mr. Fisher, Mr. Fisher, in 1962, when you were playing Rochevsky in the U.S. championship. You know, because I had years of questions for him and I knew all his games by heart. And he just and he was, by the way, he was a notorious recluse. He had maybe two friends in the entire world. And and he just looked at me kind of amused because I knew his game so well. And he said, I don't know, we're going to I'm going to lunch. Want to join me? And I said, sure, of course. Like, right. And that was the beginning of a friendship that lasted two and a half years. It actually stretched beyond that. But after the world championship, but I I fell out of touch with them for about a dozen years because he fell off the map, the map for a dozen years. You met him. You held at the time you said 16. He was twenty, sixteen. Yeah. What was that first? What was that first lunch like? If I mean, fantastic. I mean, imagine you're meeting your hero that no one gets to talk to. And here he is inviting you to lunch. I mean, a fantastic and I wish I realized at the time how how lucky I was and but I wasn't thinking about that. I was only thinking about him and his chess games. And and I remember talking with him and people don't know. I mean, I think of chess players as, you know, intellectual nerds and very not athletic. But he was built like an Olympic athlete. He was six, three and eight. Literally two meals over lunch, like two full simultaneous meals, two simultaneous meals. He just demolished again. And when I say Olympic athlete, I don't mean like a powerlifter. He was like a like an American football player, just very lean and had incredible energy. When we walked down the street again, I'm five, eight. He's six, four. He towered over me and walk with these huge strides. I mean, an incredible power. You know, and the amazing thing about Fisher was that. And I don't think this has ever been done in the history before he was entirely self-taught. He learned the game at the age of six and then decided to take on the Russians for whom chess was their national sport. It was proof of their superiority during the height of the Cold War. And single handedly beat them at their own game. He had no coaches, no nothing, and did it all on his own. And. Remarkable, remarkable guy. We are we we I remember debating Motown songs with him. We were at a diner. And we had we had dollars between us, but we had no coins. They used to have these little jukeboxes at each dining table you put in a quarter and you have three songs. We had a quarter between us. And so we were debating which three songs we we were going to choose. He loved Motown. And so did I. So I can't remember which songs we picked, but I remember doing that with him. How did that first? Lunch turn into an ongoing relationship and maybe a better question to be. What happened at in the last half or quarter of that meal that led to a second meeting? You can tackle it either way. I'm just so curious because people have these opportunities, these golden opportunities, right? And then they're not able to capitalize on them or it's a flash in the pan. They have a great single story, but that turned into an ongoing relationship. Why? Why? Because. I was totally focused on him and it never occurred to me when I first approached him that he would say, get lost, kid. I just had questions and and he was my hero and it was entirely innocent and and and I'd done my homework. I knew his games better than he did. So I remember talking about games and we played hundreds of games of speed chess. And so imagine playing pickup basketball and you're a very good basketball player, but you're playing with, you know, Kobe Bryant or or or or Curry. I mean, one of the greats. And I remember. I would play his moves against him because I knew all of his games by heart. And then he would correct me like he would. I'd say, oh, I don't understand why you played that because you said black is better in your book. And he said, I did. I said, yeah, you did. And I said, he said, oh, I was wrong. White's better. And he crushed me. And so it was I think it was just because I knew his game so well, I'd done my homework.

How to remind people what value you have even after the fact (24:01)

And I think the lesson for for everyone is, is if you've done your homework to to to be focused on the other person and not your fears and reservations and and. Yeah. So in terms of continuing the relationship focused on them in the sense of being curious about them as opposed to worrying what they're thinking about you exactly. Totally focused on them. And. It's interesting because he would then reflect it back on me. So the next year when he was preparing for the Spassky match and I got to spend two weeks with him, Spassky's World Championship, right for the World Championship. Right now, you think if there was any time that he wanted to be alone, it was like preparing for the world change. But I invited me to spend two weeks with him at at at Grossinger's. Now, Grossinger's at the time was a resort in the Catskills and Muhammad Ali used to train there. And so they invited Fisher to train for the Spassky match. And I got to spend a week with him, sorry, two weeks with him at there all alone and watched him prepare for the Spassky match, which was really fascinating. So he'd play over game studying and then he would turn to me and say, well, what would you do here?

The "long con" and Fischer's opening move (25:18)

And I said, when you say play over games and I apologize, I wouldn't consider myself a chess player, but sure, sure. That means that he's sitting in front of a board by himself. He's sitting over a board by himself. Well, with me, I'm sitting next to him or rather across the table from him. And he's got a full chess board and a book of Spassky's games. It was a red book, like six hundred games. And just as I did with Fisher's games, he had a little red book of Spassky's games and he just played over these over and over. And it was really fascinating. And I don't think people realized Fisher conducted the longest con. In sports history. A long con. And if you're not sure what a long con is, I mean, I know, you know, Tim, but but for your for listeners, a long con is a is a is a. Is when a confidence man sets you up and the payoff is years away, not like later that day. And so Fisher, when he was growing up, played always pawned to King four as his first move and and and had a very limited opening repertoire. In terms of in football terms, he had a very limited playbook and he always played the same opening moves and he defied the Russians and defied the world to beat him. Essentially, he's giving. Here's my playbook. These are my opening moves. Do your best. And so from the age of 12 till the age of 29, when he's right. So this is 17 years. He played exactly the same opening moves. And what was curious for me was that when I was with him about a month before the two or two months before the match began, I noticed he was playing studying games outside his opening repertoire. And I asked him, I said, Bobby, what do you like? Why are you studying those games? And he just kind of smiled cryptically. And he said, I don't know. We'll see. And and sure enough, again, Spassky. Now, mind you, Spassky was supported by the Russian chess machine. Right. Dozens of the world's top players were all Russian who were supplying Spassky with analysis of all of Fisher's old games. But then he played an entirely new opening repertoire. He set them up for 17 years. He said, these are the moves I'm going to play. So imagine it'd be like a boxer always bat, you know, leading with his right hand. And then all of a sudden he's leading with his left. And they didn't know what to do. They were totally flummoxed. Or Dread Pirate Roberts and the Princess Bride. I'm not left handed. That is exactly right. The Princess Bride. Yes. Iocane.

What Fischer taught the author (28:10)

We're talking about Iocane powder yesterday. And what are some of the other things that you observed about Fisher or learned from Fisher? Does anything come to mind? He was very childlike, very simple. In his analysis of of the games, you know, Oliver Wendell Holmes, one of my favorite quotes is. He said, I wouldn't give anything for the simplicity on this side of complexity, but I'd give my life for the simplicity on the far side of complexity. And Fisher was the simplicity on the far side of complexity. It was the informed simplicity, not the uninformed. Yes. Like Picasso. You know, it's funny, I always dismiss Picasso as a painter. Not that I'm an art expert, but it's only when you when you see his paintings as a as a 16 year old and he's painting like Rembrandt. So when he went over and as an adult and started painting like a child, it was an informed simplicity. It was a choice. And Fisher was like that. In what other ways did the childlike nature manifest itself? His enthusiasm, always he was enthusiastic about everything in the way that he explained things like. I remember once we were looking at a position on the board and he had again, he was 6'4. He was enormous. And he he he he's trying to teach me a lesson about the position of chess pieces on the board. And he held his hand over a few pieces. And he said, if if your pieces. Can move outside of your hand, they're too far apart, they're not well coordinated, like it was a physical and intuitive. Mm hmm. Encapsulation of a very profound principle that that he illustrated again physically with his hand. Your pieces move outside your hand. They're too far apart. They can't coordinate. And you're like, do you mean your size pancake or my little right? My little. Exactly. Yeah. Because his hand practically is half the board. Yeah. So so so that's how genius manifests itself as a childlike simplicity.

Simplicity on the far side of complexity (30:33)

What are other if there are other essences of genius in your mind? Because you you and we talked about this a bit in the first episode, and I'm sure we'll touch on this in a few different ways in this conversation. But you have been successful in many different worlds and you've met many people who are geniuses in different domains. So aside from this. Childlike simplicity that is on the other side of complexity. What are other essences of genius in your mind? I think the American psychologist Maslow said, if your only tool is a hammer, you view every problem as a nail. And I would flip that and say that if you're the geniuses have very limited tool sets. They have a hammer and their genius is in looking for nails. Right. That's their genius, right? They have a very limited skill set, but they they master it and apply it incredibly well. You know, I'm reminded of the movie. Karate Kid, right? Or is wax on wax off, you know, sand the floor. Right. And then he had that crane kiki move and he won the California State Championship on the base of those three. And I'm goofing here on on on on on the Karate Kid. But but I think it illustrates a profound point to to master a few skills. Well. And and then look for domains when you can apply those skills and stay out of everything else.

Charlie Munger, Warren Buffet, Sam Zell (32:18)

Warren Buffett does the same thing with his. I was going to ask you and then then I want to come back to you. But in the case of, say, a buffet, what are his wax on wax off crane kick, etc? What is his what are his primary? Superpowers and. How much are they in eight versus developed or acquired? Maybe is a better way to put it. Right. Well, you know, the one of the great partnerships of all time was was Charlie Munger and and and and Warren Buffett and. And the two of them spend all their time just reading and just looking. And by the way, other great investors like Sam Zell do the same thing. They spend all their time on the prowl, the prowl for ideas or prowl for businesses. Are they reading primarily filings or are they reading far ranging books on different subjects on everything on everything? You just don't know where you're going to get your next idea. Not so much filings. I mean, they would read those two, of course, but read far and wide because you just don't know where you're going to get your next investment idea. And I think that's one of their superpowers and and the other is a long term focus with Buffett and Munger. So when everyone is panicking, say, and in in 2007, when the world seems to be imploding, they're eagerly looking for for values. So they invest for the long haul and they don't get distracted by vicissitudes, economic or or otherwise.

What have you overcome and what do you think your strengths and weaknesses are? (34:04)

You mentioned so I'm going to go back to you in the library. Sure. All right. You're going through hundreds of games and taking notes on the Bobby going through years back, issues of magazines and taking down all the Fisher games. I would imagine that's all I did. Right. So I'm imagining there were not many kids in your class or your school who did this. So the question is, what do you think your core strengths are and what are some of the core strengths you've developed that you didn't have at a young age? Right. Or weaknesses that you have have overcome? Well, I always look for. And we talked about this at the 92nd Street Y for things that don't make sense. I look for patterns. I look for for quirks, even in my own mind. I remember. Let's see how old I was, nine years old, and I was listening to Miss Callahan, who is my teacher, and I was in love with her. And she was using she she was talking about something again. I was just totally in love with her. And I don't forget what she was talking about. But she. She's spoken and I realized she spoke the word of. And I realized. Oh, I don't know how to spell that word. Now, what was fascinating is. I mean, I had learned how to read when I was five in the hospital, but I was stunned that I didn't know how to spell a two letter word. And so I spent the rest of the day trying to spell the word of. And this is the way I did it. Mind you, I was nine years old. I said, OK, I knew the first letter was a vowel. So on a sheet of paper, I wrote a E I O U and then I wrote why, because sometimes wise of all. And then I wrote all the consonants B, C, D and so on. And I spent the rest of the day going through every possible pattern like a B and it's the app. Is that of. OK, that's not. And then AC and AD. And I went through every single permutation trying to find the word of. And I never found it because others is not a it's not it's not phonetic stuff. And I like it. English is a tough language that way. Yes. I didn't realize that at the age of nine. But I think that was one of my core strengths. I looking for patterns and things that don't make sense and being amused by my own mind and failings. And but I. Can I interject for a second? Sure. Why did you check whenever you. Why didn't you ask how to spell it as opposed to going through that exercise? Because I I wanted to. Because the real question was why I couldn't spell it, not. Not what is the answer. What is the answer. And it's such an important thing. You know, thank you for bringing that up, because the questions you ask about the world determine the success you you get in the world. And one of my favorite questions is Tony Robbins. What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail? And so the questions we ask are our key. So I wasn't interested in the answer. How to spell the word of. I mean, I knew that was trivial. I knew it was a two letter word. But what wasn't trivial is that I couldn't. Spell it. Why do you think that is? Because that that's an odd. That is it strikes me as very unusual that you would have learned to read. But then four years, three, four years later would have this word that sticks out as something that you couldn't spell. Well, it was just one. It was one second. I knew it was the way you can forget somebody's, you know, the name of an actor in a movie or something. Like I knew it was a momentary glitch, but I was. I was fascinated by it. And looking back on it, I was I'm fascinated that the age of nine, I was very systematic. I had two columns and I spent the rest of the day ignoring Miss Callahan and the rest of the class since I spent most of my time daydreaming anyway. And she would just let me trying to figure out how to spell the word of very systematically. And that and I thought that was a good use of my time.

Personal Transformation & Unorthodox Practices

Deciding which opportunities to pursue. (38:15)

You mentioned questions and. I'd love to ask you, because I think they're related. And you can you can place this at any time. We're going to jump around chronologically because that's this is parkour. That's parkour. Never know what what's what obstacles coming up next. And decision making. What is your decision making process for. Choosing opportunities. Or your criteria or how do you think about choosing opportunities or more so than finding when you have. A number of different opportunities, a number of different paths you could go down. What is your decision making process or your selection process? The problem is, I'm so intellectually curious that I really have to be careful because it's going down a rabbit hole. I mean, I have to limit the things that I allow myself to be interested in. And I think I choose the one that's the most fun. And and and I guess my life is like parkour. Right. Just jumping in and knowing that you'll be resourceful and land on your feet and then be able to jump from there, too. So. I look also for for for areas that we touched on this, the ball bearings principle, right. For opportunities with things that people haven't explored before and or they've explored to death and they they're no longer interested in. And so I try to look for things with with fresh eyes. Yeah. And for the ball bearings, folks, we could go into it. But we we spent quite a bit of time on it in the first episode with Adam. So you guys can explore that there. I'd like to talk about. Post Fisher.

Attending Oxford and apples. (40:03)

Where did you go to college? I went to Wharton undergrad and then I got a law degree at Oxford. And how did you choose Oxford? And then then we're going to talk about apples. Oh, yes. Yes. Apples. Granny Smith apples. OK. I chose Oxford. My I you know, my my father died when I was 19 and I was pretty lost and I could have finished Wharton in in in two years. Two and a half years anyway, because it's take six or seven courses a term. And because I found everything really interesting and you were only required to take four and take six or seven. And my father died and I I didn't know what to do. And I I wanted to get away and. I don't speak any foreign language fluently enough to to go to a country other than, like, say, England. So I chose Oxford and I thought law would be an interesting way to beguile a couple of years, two or three years. So it was kind of a default, actually. And while I was there, I spent most of my time taking dance classes in London. Hip hop dance. Yes. London. Yeah. Yes. I I only I was the not the most conscientious law student at Oxford. But but anyway, so that's what I did. If you let me ask you, we don't have to get into it if you don't want to. But how did you how did your dad pass? He took his life.

Out of isolation: the importance of the other in unleashing magic. (41:37)

And he suffered from depression, as I did. And. You know, I remember the last thing he said to me before before he did so. He said, you know, I'll always remember that you did everything on your own. And I didn't realize that he was using past tense then. Right. He said, I'll always remember that you did everything on your own. This is the last two years. Two hours later, he was, you know, the police called and said he was dead. And I. And he did me a disservice because for and we'll get to this later in our parkour excursions. But, you know, for four decades, I did do everything out of my own. And it's only this last year that I realized the importance of the other with a capital T capital O that magic is is unleashed in the world. Only when you're. A circuit is is is is opened when you're when you're connecting with someone else. And that's where the magic and the miracles occur. And I wish I had known that earlier. Why don't you think you explored that earlier? I wasn't aware of it. You mean the other? Yeah. Yeah. The magic that occurs. Because I was always in my own world. Right. I mean, I was an introvert in high school. I didn't discover this till later. There were people that had never seen me speak. People were around me every day for four years, had never seen me speak. And and then and yet I was so animated with Fisher. Right. And running up to him. So I lived in my own world and and I the world of ideas. So. I mean, I was aware of other people and of course we all are, but I was an introvert to to an otherworldly extreme. And and then only this year have I realized and been excited, really excited by engaging other people. And, you know, and we should revisit those three rules of success that we talked about it at the 92nd Street. Why? Because they're all about other people. We can talk about them now, if you'd like, or we can come back to it. You have a preference? No, no. You're the I'm the I'm the conductor here. Yes, you're the ringmaster. All right. We're going to come we'll come back to that after the tragedy with your father. Involving your father. You head to Oxford. You're taking dance lessons. Ostensibly, you're there for law. Yeah. Yeah. This is this is a left turn yet again. But how do we talked about this a bit last night? And I just remember saying what?

From introverted to extreme: a year of only bombing Granny Smith apples. (44:30)

So how do how do apples enter the scene? Oh, yeah. You mean my nutritional odyssey? Yes, your nutritional odyssey. And why? Why did it? Why did it become what it was? Yeah. So so I arrived at Oxford and I had prepaid for room and board. And, you know, it's a cliche to say again, this is back then, actually, the food you can get in England now is fantastic. But back then, when I was a student, it was a cliche to say English food was was awful. But then English institutional food was it was inedible. And I and I couldn't afford I could only afford to eat one meal a day and out. You know, pay in a restaurant. And because I'd already paid for room and board and I refused to eat the food. So I used to go to this the only restaurant that I could afford in Oxford was a vegetarian restaurant. And I. Started eating just vegetarian food and I and I realized as the days went on that that there were three food groups. There are foods that made me feel really good. Foods that were neutral and foods that made me feel bad. And the foods that made me feel good. The Granny Smith apples, carrots, raisins. Oh, I remember what the fourth one cabbage, cabbage, cabbage. And the neutral foods were vegetables, green vegetables, red vegetables. But not white like rice or corn, anything, any grains were negatives. Meat was a became a negative and dairy products were negative. And so my whole life I've been training four or five hours a day swimming plus weightlifting. And then at Oxford, I do nothing except eat Granny Smith apples, basically. How did the negative affect you? Oh, oh, if I had. Oh, I love, for example, milk with my coffee, and if I had so much as a teaspoon of milk in my coffee, I'd get a sore throat.

The Granny Smith Wine diet in context. (46:42)

I'd get instantly congested. I'd get tired. And so I just weeded all those things out so that by the end of the year, I was basically a fruitarian. I think Stephen Jobs for a while was a fruitarian and and so was I. And I was a bore to be around because people would say, let's go out for lunch. And I'd I'd have like a salad or a fruit cup. The Mr. Ed special, please. Yes, exactly. The Mr. Ed special. And so I come back and I had lost 20 pounds. And to put that in perspective for people, I mean, you are not Bobby Fischer. Right. So at the time before you lost the 20 pounds, what was what were your dimensions like? I was 135. Pretty solid muscle because I've been an athlete my whole life. Right. And at five eight, you said? Yeah. Yeah. So then you you lost 20 pounds. Yeah. Yeah. And. But I wasn't aware that I was that skinny because you're I guess you're pretty skinny. Because your body shifts with it. But I just wasn't hungry. Like a meal for the for the day might be a pound of apples or two pounds of apples. Maybe some carrots. Really, Mr. Ed. Right. And then I just wasn't hungry. And some days I wouldn't eat at all. And anyway, so I come back to to New York, where I was living at the time my mother was living. And I go to my brother's health club because I decide I should get back in shape. I hadn't trained for a year. I'd imagine you, Tim Ferriss, not training for a year. Right. And so I remember the first machine I sat on was this Nautilus shoulder press. And I set it for five plates, like 50 pounds. And because I didn't want to overdo it and my arm shot up. They were weightless. And then and then I asked my brother, who was standing next to me, I said, Matt, you just lowered a couple of plates and then make it 70. And it also shot up. And I said, OK, Matthew, lowered a couple more because I need a little weight. That's too light. So he does so. And then I, I pressed like 20 times. I said, yeah, that's about right. And he comes around the front of the of the machine. He said, OK, I'm not going to do anything. I just want to come back around to the because the plates, the setting were behind you. Right. Where I set it. And he'd set it on the very lowest setting, like the full stack, like the football players. Right. And every machine was like that. I could max out on all the machines easily with no effort.

Lone Graves and the tremendous (monkey boy) ratio of fruits and vegetables. (49:09)

So it's so odd because I had, you know, lost all this weight, hadn't hadn't trained for for over a year. And even at that when I was at peak condition, I wasn't able to do that prior to the dietary odyssey that I went on. And how do you explain that to yourself? Well, I, I actually then started doing research, like I discovered, for example, that primitive man ate only fruit. They've done they did a molar studies of they found of skeletons and things and primitive man. If you ate vegetables, there were fiber scratches on the. On the molars and there were none, so they concluded that primitive man had basically eaten mostly fruit. And so I don't know, I think that was just. You know what? Now that I think about it, Tim, it's exactly what you do. You endlessly experiment to find the optimal. Combination of whatever to max out your performance on whatever dimension. And that's what I did unwittingly. And, you know, I weeded out the foods that made me feel bad and focused increasingly on the foods that made me feel good. And that's what I did. So I was at I was a Tim Ferriss acolyte before you were around. Have you and I'm guessing you have probably not replicated the no, the Granny Smith experiment. I'm very curious and I'm not recommending folks, by the way, that you go out and do the the apple only diet. But we were joking last night about how there are at least two foods that I've experienced during certain training periods that seem to have an odd performance enhancing effect.

Dealing With Health Challenges & Achieving Personal Growth

Charting a food diary and \$hit List\" of forbidden foods." (51:00)

One. So this is a long story, guys. I'm not going to get into this too much, but for whatever reason, tart apples. Yeah. And lentils for me also, which which many people don't respond well to. But very, very odd. And well, you know, it's not odd. And, you know, and again, neither of us is advocating, you know, that you start consuming Granny Smith apples exclusively. But certainly you should pay attention to your body's responses to any food. And and again, I I had a taxonomy of three food groups, those that made me feel good, those that were neutral and those best avoided. And and and all of us should do that, not just with our foods, with everything in our lives. Right. Optimize our functioning. And that's what you're all about. It is a lot of ways now these days, though, you do consume your coffee with milk. Sure. So then I think this is how the IOK powder came up. So if you did you gradually reintroduce these foods, including negatives that you wanted to include or. Sure. I mean, I was a bore to be with because people invite me out to a Japanese restaurant and I'd say, oh, I really can't eat anything on the menu. Do you have apples? Right. Apples. And so so it took me a couple of years actually to get back to normal eating. And so right now. I eat healthily, but I eat some negatives, you know, I I try to limit dairy products, but but I love I love milk in my coffee. So what the hell? You know, I know it's not optimal for my body, but but I enjoy it. Was it it was maybe Elizabeth Taylor, I want to say, who said. Something along the lines of the problem with people who don't have vices is that you can be pretty sure they have very annoying virtues. You all need a few vices here and there. Let's let's go back to the three rules for success. Can you I'll let you take it from here. The mic is yours. Sure.

A taxonomy of food groups. (53:11)

Well, you know, and just by way of of of background, it began when you asked me how you you mark the end of a year. And I said, well, I reflect on the lessons I learned the past year and I make a conscious effort to apply them in the coming new year because you asked me this, what, a month ago. Right. And it's right. Right back in December. And and so I thought you asked me what did I learn in 2016. And I said. I learned three things. And and I. I learned the importance of fun, enthusiasm and delight in everything you do. Absolutely everything. And first and foremost, fun, enthusiasm and delight. And we'll come back to that. The second is connecting. With everyone you encounter on however fleeting a basis. And you've been with me and you say I do that Uber drivers, Matri D's, everybody, you name it. I write I put that into action. You really connect with the person in in however fleeting that connection is. But you make an effort to make a connection. And. And the third is to lean into each moment and each encounter. And everyone you meet expecting magic or miracles. And and those were the three things I learned. And the interesting thing about all of them is that none of them have anything to do with me. It's all about the other person. Right. And when I say fun, delight and enthusiasm, it's to create fun, delight and enthusiasm for the other person. And that that goes for if you're going to a meeting and you want to with a venture capitalist because you're looking for funding for your startup or you're going on a date or you're you're you're going on a job interview. Forget the fact that it's an interview. You're going to delight the other person. That's what you're there for. First and foremost, and to make a connection. And if you do, if that's your focus as opposed to getting the job or getting the funding. Then you get magic and miracles, but that should be your primary focus. And and what it does. Is it? It gives you infinite power because you want nothing and you're offering everything. All I want is what I in this moment now with you sitting is sitting in front of you on your couch is to is to connect with you and to delight you. So it's I'm playing a game I can't lose and I'm in total control and I don't want anything. And so that's such a revelation for me. And I wish I had known that earlier. How did how did that be curious to hear how that revelation came about? So you mentioned depression earlier, which I definitely want to talk about.

When a diagnosis backs you into a corner (56:21)

And I've certainly talked and written about my own battles with extended depression and some very severe episodes over the years. And you mentioned Tony Robbins earlier. So Tony Robbins, I remember underscored something for me maybe a year and a half ago, which was effectively. Suffering is an excessive focus on yourself. There you go yourself, right? That was a lesson that I underlined and highlighted and revisited many times since he imparted that to me because it seemed like the best medicine for fixing myself was to stop focusing on myself in many respects. Absolutely. And I Tony Robbins. One of the greats, right? However, with respect to depression, one of the insidious things. Now, insidious isn't the right word. One of the sinister things about depression is that it it's a. It works by getting a vice grip on your thinking, so you're incapable of thinking outside of yourself that. And really, the worst aspect of depression. Between the ages of. Oh, golly. 14 and say 30. There wasn't a day I I didn't wrestle with the Hamlet question to be or not to be. And the worst thing about and some days, for example, I remember a period. For a couple of months, I didn't leave my apartment, either the blinds drawn, I would order in from from a deli. And the worst aspect of of depression is that you you come to despise yourself and you you believe that only now in depression are you thinking clearly? Yes. And that before you were delusional. Yes. This is. And you hate yourself for it. You you hate yourself for being deluded and that nobody understands now. Now. I am thinking clearly now nothing matters. And and and that's that's really the devil at work. That's why I say sinister, because depression traps your thinking and it hijacks your thinking like a virus. And and you despise yourself, you despise yourself for being deluded previously. And a lot of people in their lives despising themselves. What took you out of that? Pattern you mentioned, I'm blanking on the exact ages, but you said something like 14 to 30 years. Sure. And then and then episodically after that point, I mean, between 14 and 30, it was it was unrelenting. It was a siege. Of me against my my depression. And then it was episodic. And then I'm not sure it just. I don't know if it was biochemical, but it just lifted and how if you want me asking him how when it lifted, how old were you? When I say lifted it again, it would get could come back. Sure.

Tool: Beware of starting the spiraling descent into depression. (59:56)

But I haven't, for example, now I haven't had an episode in depression and probably a decade. That's a long, that's a long, very long stretch. And I, I think it's a biochemical shift because depression also, as you know. And the word depression. Reflects not just the mental state, but the physical state, your energy level is low. And I think, you know, and to go back to Tony Robbins, you know, one of the great things about Tony Robbins is his high energy. And you think about all like Richard Branson and Elon Musk and you, Tim, high energy and and one way to to to. Escape from slipping into depression is to be ever vigilant about keeping your energy level high and to notice the biochemical markers that precede depression. So you can head off at the pass before you you slip into it because once you slip into it, I mean, you know, you're very difficult. You're essentially you're going to go down that slope for a while and then it's going to take, you know, days or weeks or months to come out of it. What are some of the, I guess, not red flags, but orange flags for yourself, the biochemical markers that would tell you check engine light. OK, something something's going in the wrong direction. Well, certain seasonal things like in the winter and people suffer from seasonal affective disorder. I think it's really just noticing your energy levels day to day. For me personally, that was the marker for me. And each individual will have markers that will be if you suffer from depression. By the way, neither of us is giving medical advice. No, of course, we're not saying or investment advice or advice of any kind. Informational purposes, informational purposes only. But but but all of us should become aware of. And again, this is a Ferris principle. First first principle or axiom is is to is to be aware of what works and what doesn't work and keep experimenting and and and doing more of what works and less of what doesn't work. And and and eventually you you you optimize and become a very high functioning individual. So I'm going to come back to depression. I'm going to shift gears a little bit. I'm going to come back to because in my interactions with you, I know that your brain works very well in this conversational format. Sure. So I'm going to allow. The question on depression, which is going to be 10 years ago, when you seem to click out of that sure condition, what things correlated, were there other things, new people in your life, new behaviors, dietary changes, whatever might be. We don't have to hit it right now, but I'm going to let that leave added as a parenthesis. We'll come back to it. We'll come back to it because I know that that will be working on the back burner in your head.

The 3 Bs of creativity. (01:02:56)

Things that work and to provide some some context for folks who you were very kind to come out and visit me in San Francisco and you brought a lot of ideas with you. And I remember this was after at the 92. Why? Josh agreed that you were one of the best gift givers in the world. Yeah. And the gift said would take you some time to prepare. And then there were ideas for me and you came out to share them and we've been spending a lot of time together. Yeah. You have also been writing a book and you've been taking a lot of baths. And I remember asking, do you always take baths when you are working on some type of creative product project? And you said, well, are you familiar with the three B's of creativity? I said, no, I am not. So speaking of things that work, can you describe the three B's of creativity? Sure. The three B's of creativity. You know, creativity is getting in touch with your unconscious. And you consciously pose a question to your mind and you allow your unconscious to percolate on it. And Josh, our bestie, has written extensively about this and few people in the world do it better than he does. But the three B's are bed, bath and bus. And bus is a metaphor for traveling. So when you want to, when you have a problem that your conscious mind has thoroughly exhausted, then you give it over to your unconscious. And so you go to sleep. Right. That's bed. For me, which could be a long overnight sleep or could be a nap. Right. Could be a nap. You want to get to the dream state bath, which you could do at any point also. Or you switch location. Bus is again a metaphor just for alliterative purposes. You switch your location and that allows your unconscious mind to address the problem. And again, that's where the magic occurs. Your unconscious mind. In Western civilization over the last few thousand years, we've deified logic and rationality. And the irrational intuitive mind has gotten, you know, short, the short end of the stick and we dismiss it. But that's actually our intuitive mind and our unconscious mind. I would say our primitive mind in that sense is far more advanced and far more powerful than the advances we've made in logic and deductive thinking, which is, you know, our unconscious mind is like a supercomputer. Compared to the trivial apparatus of, uh, of our logical mind. I've been, this is something I've been thinking about a lot in the last three years. And some of it relates to psychedelic research. We'll call it. Uh, but, uh, that's, there are two episodes on that for people interested. Uh, so Martin Polanco, Martin Polanco and, uh, Dan angle and James Fodiman. If you want to look those up, we're not going to dig too deep there right now, but I've tried in the last three years to really pay more attention to and sensitize myself to these tiny perturbations. Is that a real word? And, uh, my, my visceral response to things and to really hone what I had trained myself to ignore for so long. And you were talking last night and also today about being detached from your physical body after the, the hospital experience and so on. And only sort of reintegrating those sensory inputs and really relishing them and paying attention to them right recently. And for me, I've been doing the same thing in the last three years instead of powering ahead and ignoring all these physical cues and what you might call intuition, which has gotten a bum rap for very understandable reasons. I think it's abused and misapplied in a lot of places, but I've been paying attention, trying to pay more attention to this, what we might call primitive, but certainly evolved instinctual, reflexive response to things. Absolutely. And you know, the, the thing is that actually I'll share a fascinating experience. Um, I was at a chess tournament 20 years ago and I'm, I'm a rated master, very, very strong. And I was playing another rated master at a big tournament, the world open in Philadelphia.

Moving from self-talk to 'Self 2.0' (01:07:47)

This is like 20 years ago. And, um, and I had had a strong opening advantage against this opponent. And if you're unfamiliar with the game of chess, it would be imagine a wrestling match where, where you haven't pinned the opponent yet, but you've, he's having a hard time moving. And, and, and if it goes on much longer, you are going to pin him. So my opponent was squirming and cause I had the opening advantage and then I blundered, I lost a piece. Actually, I lost what's known as the exchange, a rook for a night. Um, and which is, I lost one of my stronger pieces for one of his weaker pieces. So he had an edge and he was really happy and I knew I'm going to lose the game. I mean, I was really pissed with myself cause I blundered. I wasn't paying attention. And as I'm staring at the board and again, I'm just really pissed with myself. I hear a voice, somebody whispers from behind and says, uh, you can win this position just like that. And I spun around cause a chess tournament you're not allowed to give advice, give advice. And there was no one there. And I, I thought, oh, well that's odd. I was like, sure. Someone had just whispered in my ear and you know, just to jump ahead. It was my unconscious mind that was tapping me on, on the shoulder. And, uh, but it manifested itself as a voice and a really distinct. So I, I, um, if you can imagine I'm looking at the chessboard and I don't want the opponent to see that, uh, that I have any hope or anything. So I'm doing my best Woody Allen imitation, you know, like, ah, I'm going to lose this. And, but meanwhile I'm studying the board really closely and I see an incredible combination, like the kind of combination that Magnus Carlsen would have, would have been pleased with himself if he had seen. And, um, and I won the game and, uh, I, I lost every game after that in the, in the, in the, um, in the tournament because I wasn't interested in the games anymore. I wanted to hear the voice that spoke to me. And, uh, and the thing is that your unconscious mind, um, the muses, the gods, the universe, um, are all whispering to you all the time. And, and, and you need to close out your conscious mind, find ways to shut it down, to hear those voices. Cause they're whispering all the time and, um, and, and you need to hear, hear them and heed them. Um, so, uh, like you, I, uh, have been actively looking for ways to, to hear those voices cause they're there all the time. And, uh, I think for myself, at least I prided myself on not being distracted by some of those things, meaning emotional insights that were not tapping me on the shoulder, probably punching me in the shoulder for many years. And I remember at one point, this is probably 2004, 2005, I was agonizing over this, uh, contract. It was, uh, uh, it was going to be a longterm business deal. And I had a number of issues, a number of issues with it as well as the parties involved. And I created these huge pro and con lists. And I remember at one point agonizing over this for weeks and it was just consuming my thoughts 24 seven. My girlfriend at the time asked me, she goes, do you even trust this guy? I looked at her and I go, not really. And she goes, then don't do the deal. And I was like, good advice. Right. And of course, if I had, I immediately knew the answer and I was trying to override it with some type of hyper rational logical apparatus. Yes. And it would have been self-defeating in retrospect. I absolutely should not have done the deal. And I'm glad that I didn't. Right. So, so, so three things, uh, jumped to mind. Um, so first you had a choice there, right? You didn't have to do the deal, but because you wanted to do the deal, you were looking for ways to rationalize what your unconscious mind was telling you. Right. Your unconscious mind was saying, don't do the deal. Um, and, uh, in the same way that, uh, so you don't have to take every deal. And that's one of the, to jump back to Warren Buffett. That's one of his advantages is, and he's, he's written extensively about this, that, uh, it's like the market is a pitcher. And, and every day it's going to pitch lots of balls to you and you don't have to swing, but you don't swing at any of them that day. You just wait for a fat pitch and then you swing for it. Um, so, so one of the, one of the dangers when you really want something, whether it's a relationship or a business deal, your conscious mind will rationalize and will shut down your unconscious mind, which is screaming at this point, don't do it. Walk away. Whenever things seem a little strange or a little off, that's your unconscious mind telling you they're really strange and really off and walk away. Cause you always have a choice again, whether it's a relationship or a business deal, just walk away.

Understanding Risk & Building Emotional Resilience

Jesses relationship with risk (01:13:20)

Okay. Uh, in a minute, I'm going to come back to the clicking out of repeated episodes of depression and ask what might've correlated or corresponded. Sure. Even if it's not causal, I'm just curious, but I'm going to give you a taste of things to come. This is a new exercise. I'm going to be, Hey, wait, wait. Where's, where's, Oh, there she is. I was looking for Molly. She's asleep. Oh yeah, no Molly's Molly's resting in her typical pose, which is half of her body on. Dog bed, head on the extremely hard floor. You know, for those of you who don't know that Molly is, if I have ever met a sweeter, better behaved, more beautiful dog in my life, I don't recall. And, and, uh, so I was hoping she would come on over, um, and just sit in my lap while, by the way, she's 60 pounds and not like an easy sit in the lap, but, but, um, she's maybe she'll grace us a little later with her, with her, with her presence, with her, with her joy. She's she's, she's being a good intra interview dog. She's, she's figured out that this is, this is usually a sideline gig, but, uh, I'm going to pull out a random question. Allah, the doubt a Chang, which is one of Josh's favorite books. So in the spirit of Josh, who is in a, in absentia here at the moment, just going to pick a random question if I don't like any of these. Okay. More parkour. Let's jump and do it. What do you, okay, here we go. This is just pulled out of a, a selection of questions. What are you most daring about? Well, Oh boy, that, that, that, that, that, um, I got to think about that. What am I most daring about? Well, I'll tell you something. Um, 2017 is a year about being daring about everything. I don't know that there's a most daring. I'm daring about everything. I'm daring about the future. Do you view yourself as a risk taker? You know, it's funny, let's reframe risk. I would love that. Yeah. Which is why I throw it out there. Sure. Of course. Um, uh, so there are two ways to, to, to, to live life. And one is, is in the pursuit of gain or to avoid loss. And, uh, those are the two options. I think I don't know if there's another, I think it's a pretty binary. Um, and, uh, you know, nature has, has evolved us as a species to be risk averse, um, to avoid taking chances and, and not to lose and to overreact to perceive threats. Right. Because the penalty for overreaction to perceive threats is less than underreacting. Right. And to go back to Fisher, the great thing about Fisher was he wasn't afraid to lose. He wanted to win. And if it meant he was going to lose a game, so be it because he wanted to win and, and he was willing to lose in order to win. And, um, you know, I, I play a game now with myself, with the world, um, that I can't lose. So there's no risk. It goes back to those three things, connecting with people, which I can do. And I think I do pretty well, um, creating fun and delight and approaching each person with enthusiasm. Um, which again, I'm in total control of, um, and leaning into each moment, expecting magic. I'm in control of all three. So what's the risk? I mean, I have nothing to lose and, and, um, I mean, it's a game that, uh, yeah, it's a game you can't lose. So what's the risk?

Hedge funds. (01:17:13)

Simultaneously, you made an astute observation earlier, which we don't necessarily have to get into the weeds on, but I do think it's a, it's a good observation and it came up, we were having Thai food and I mentioned a book that I enjoyed a great deal. Uh, that when I read it about, I'm guessing now maybe seven or eight years ago called more money than God by, I think his name is Sebastian Malloy. I'm not sure, but which I thought it was a very intelligent overview of the origins of the hedge fund and some of the, the characters and styles in the, in the hedge fund world. Yeah, I know. Well, but you observed that many hedge funds do not in fact hedge hedge. Yeah, right. Um, so, so yes, so hedge funds, the concept of a hedge fund was originated, God in 1948, however many years ago that is, uh, um, I'm not going to interrupt the flow of the magic of the moment to try to calculate that. We'll go with 42. Wait, I'm going to do it right now. 52 at 16, it's 68 years ago. Oh no, it's 69 cause this is 2017. Um, so the notion of hedge funds was invented 69 years ago. And, um, but yeah, most, most funds do not truly hedge and by hedge that means taking a position, say buying Apple stock or selling gold or whatever it is, and then simultaneously executing another transaction that'll protect you if you're wrong about the first. Um, um, so yeah, most hedge funds don't hedge. Um, even though they, they think they are, they're various strategies like being long and short, but, um, yeah, they're hedge funds in name only. Uh, not, not in fact, let me grab another question. Okay. Another card. We just call this the parkour debt. This stack conversational parkour. We have the rapid fire questions, many of which we hit the last episodes. We're not gonna, uh, we're not gonna beat those to death, but okay. Uh, I'm going to, I'm going to pick a new one. Oh, come on, come on. I'm not afraid to ask away this question. I, I'm not, this is, this is ridiculous. This is a presumptive question. I didn't zoom away. I didn't, I didn't write this. Why is it suspicious when your lover starts talking baby talk? That's ludicrous. Let me pick it. Let me pick a different one. Uh, when have you lost your way? Oh, well, I, I think I lost my way years ago. I think I only found my way this last year. Um, and, um, again, it was, it was getting out of myself and realizing it's all about the other person. Um, you know, by way of metaphor to create an electric circuit, you need to, you can't do it alone.

Stoicism. (01:20:32)

Right. And when you, when you're charged with another person, um, you, you, you, you open up a cosmic circuit. I don't, I, it's very hard to explain. Um, but I've seen it in real time and, and, uh, you, you create magic and, um, so I'm, I'm on the hunt for it all the time. I'm, I'm, um, um, I'm on the hunt for magic. So let's, let's talk about that hunt for, for a second or a, a potentially related tangent. Sure. At some point over the last two days, you said, let's talk about stoicism. And then you mentioned, uh, you mentioned hedonism. Yeah. And so I'm going to let you run with that. And you got what you requested. I got what I was hoping for. Molly's right next to me. Um, so, so stoicism, which is an enlightened philosophy, but at the same time that stoicism, oh, Molly, you can't see this, but I'm getting, I'm getting licks from Molly here. Sweet dog. Um, um, hedonism in modern culture has a, you know, the pursuit of, of pleasure, physical pleasure, but in fact it was, it was a profound Greek philosophy that originated simultaneously, roughly three 50 BC, uh, with, uh, with stoicism. And it was the pursuit of pleasure, but for them, the highest pleasure was a spiritual pleasure and intellectual pleasure. And for me, the highest pleasure is, is creating delight for the other person. Um, so, so I'm a, I'm a heatness about creating delight and magic for others. Um, and, um, so to go back, I I'm forgetting what the question is now, but it wasn't really a question. It was more of a statement that I wanted you to comment on. Maybe you're a, well, you know, with so pathetically hedonistic stoic. Well, yes. Well, I admire the stoics, but for me, the stoics are stoics are impassive, impassive, meaning not feeling and to, to greet a success and failure with indifference. And, and, and I disagree. I believe life should be celebrated. Um, and the stoics for me, and again, they're enlightened Aurelius and Seneca. These are such wise people. Um, but, but for me, there's something lacking in, in, in stoicism because it's a, to go back to our, our earlier choice, it's playing not to lose as opposed to playing to win. And we are physical creatures on this plane to delight. Um, and I think that's what life is all about creating delight for others. And in doing so you, you, you have the light for yourself. Um, and, um, which is why I joked on stage and, you know, Josh agreed, you know, I said, I'm, I'm the world's best gift giver and I, I came here bearing gifts for you and, uh, I'm really, really excited because, uh, my pen pal Warren buffet. I'm, I'm, uh, I'm creating a gift for him. He keeps encouraging me to write, uh, cause he sends the stuff I write, he sends it onto his friends. And, um, and so I'm, I'm writing a book, um, that I started right after our podcast, a parable. And I'm, I'm, I'm rushing to finish it because, uh, I'm going to see him on the 19th, um, in a couple of weeks. So I have a week to finish this bloody thing and give it to him as a present. Um, and I, I'm, I'm really excited about the book. Um, I get such the light giving away presents, uh, and people don't realize I'm totally selfish cause I'm the one relishing and enjoying it, whatever pleasure they get nowhere close to what I'm getting out of it. And I think that also whether it's hedonism or stoicism, that those are in fact large umbrellas under which there are many different species and, uh, derivative types of stoicism or hedonism. Sex almost. Right. Right. So if you look at say stoicism, there are those who would, who might talk about the practice of stoic joy, which is joy, but a joy that is not in tandem with a commensurate emotional overreaction to negative events. But I've always, for instance, one of the things that, um, I've always thought, well, you know, if I, if I'm say 80% stoic, let's just say for, for the sake of thought exercise, if I were 80% stoic, what would the other 20% be? And, uh, what Seneca did, which is actually what in a way, what Charles Darwin did with, um, to, to effectively hater proof or critic proof, uh, his writing was to insert his position of his staunchest opponents in a, in a not only plausible, but almost complimentary way in his own work. So Seneca knowing this as a incredible order and, uh, also just, uh, what would he be called? A rhetorician or a debater and so on took, uh, he was his letters in his letters to Leukilius. One of his students who he knew was a fan of Epicurus. He would take choice tidbits of Epicurus of the Epicurean school and insert them into his own letters, the moral letters to Leukilius. And, uh, and the Epicureans in a lot of ways were viewed as being the opposite of the stoics. They were, they were happy to tend their gardens and they focused on the little pleasures and I'm simplifying it here, but I always thought, well, he did such a good job of embedding those that I would probably be at least 10% Epicurean. And then the last 10%, maybe that's, maybe that's a, some type of, some type of a sympathetic hedonist, or at least maybe that's the aspiration. Yeah.

Philosophy book recommendations. (01:27:02)

Uh, are there any particular, you've, you're a very widely read human being. Are there any particular philosophers who draw your attention or who you wish people would pay more attention to? Or I realize this is a lot of commas. Uh, if you had to prescribe, say high school seniors to become familiar with one or more philosophers, do any, any names or even schools come to mind? Oh, gee. Um, could just be thinkers. Doesn't have to be philosophers. Right. Well, I mean, I mentioned this, you asked a similar question at the 92nd street. Why? And I, I'm going to start just to buy myself a little time as I, as I, I search my memory for philosophers that I would broadly recommend is Rumi, the poet Rumi. And the wonderful thing about Rumi as a poet, and he was also a philosopher is, um, as he gets you in touch with the magical and the mysterious. And, and I think we need to be in touch with that all of us in everyday life. Um, and so I would say that, um, the, I would read Plato, um, because Plato in the dialogues would, would create an interlocutor. He would start arguing against himself. Um, and again, in, in philosophical discourse and in your own reasoning, you have to place yourself in the position of the other. And if there was one theme today, and certainly in my life in 2016 and moving forward in my life is the importance of the other. And, and what is he or she thinking, uh, or what is he or she want as opposed to what I want or what I think. And, um, and by the way, you have to do this in chess. Um, you know, you're, you're playing against an opponent who also has plans. In fact, plans diametrically opposed to yours. Um, and so you it's well to take the other person, uh, in mind and, and, and what they're planning. We're going to jump back to that bookmark that I set a while ago, the depressive ongoing depressive period intermittent episodes. And then about a decade ago or since lifting a lifting. Did anything correspond to that? Well, there are any things you introduced or remove? I think there was at that point in my life. So this is 20 2007. I, I just made an abrupt decision to, to move away from everything in the past, um, that I had made many mistakes. Gosh, I've made so many mistakes in my life, but, but I, to, to, to, to re to go back to first principles and fundamentals and, and, uh, and by the way, I turned my back on, on, on, on, on a couple of successful careers and, and decided to embark on, on a new one. And, and to set myself up as a advisor to, to, to major hedge funds. And, uh, um, so I, I think it was a decision, a break from the past and, and a, and a conscious one. And I think that was, that was the marker. And on a, on a, let's just say you decide that on a macro level to break from the past and many things in the past, let's say you do that after dinner one day, you go to bed. How is your next day different? Are you separating yourself from contact with certain people? Are you identifying when old thought patterns come up and stopping and trying to replace them? What, what is, what is the difference between, you know what the differences we talked about it when, when, when we were walking Molly earlier. So, um, again, you're listening. So you, you, the, the, the, the, the, the, the audience, you, you, you just, uh, you have to imagine this we're walking Molly on, on the streets of San Francisco and, uh, you know, in, in a wonderful Sylvan. Canyon enclave, uh, that, that I've never known about and we're anyway, uh, uh, Tim resides. And so we're walking Molly and, uh, Molly, when we're walking on the left side of the street, you always want Molly away from the traffic. And so we're walking along and, and on, on the left side, Molly is okay. But when we switched to the other side of the street, Molly has to be on your right side, which is again, away from the traffic and, and, and Molly again, this is by way of metaphor. You said that Molly is, is more, it's a little more awkward for her. So she's gotta be a little more conscious and, and thoughtful about what she does when we're walking on the right side of the street. And when I made a conscious break to end, uh, I mean, I ended a relationship and I ended a business and, and decided to start a new and, um, you become conscious. You know, I think too much of our lives are an automatic pilot. And, and so like Molly walking on the right side of the street, she has to, it's, it's a little different for her. So she becomes conscious of everything she does. And I think that's really important to, to be, to live consciously and mindfully. And one way to do that is to get yourself out of old ways of being, um, take a new path to work. I'm not saying you should be dramatic and, and, and everything as I did and start a new, but, um, you can, uh, you can make little choices and again, to, to live mindfully and consciously.

Living a more conscious life. (01:33:23)

Um, yeah, so that, that's the, the decision you made and you've pointed out some very cool word origins or, uh, I should say word components at the very least. And I always make up, mix up etymology and entomology, but I'm pretty sure this is etymology. Etymology. We're not talking about if we're eating paleo, for instance, what would we, what would a new replacement for companion be if companion, which if you were to look at this, let's just say, since I don't speak Latin Spanish, combine with bread, with bread, breaking bread with someone else. You know, what would the paleo equivalent of that be or matrix? The fact that if you look at matriarch or matrimony, uh, there, there's a mother component mother related, uh, the, the decision you made and, uh, I might be making this up, but I'm, I'm, I don't think I make it up incision decision to cut away. Yes. Cutting away to decide is to cut to cut away incision. Correct. So the cutting away of relationship, business, all these things. If, well, I shouldn't, I shouldn't project, but for myself to do something like that, it's very often something I know I need to do. It's something that on many levels I want to do, but I put it off for a very, very long time. I get close and then I, then I flinch and then I go back to my easier automatic way of doing things or the devil that I know the comforts that I'm afraid to replace because of the unknown. What led you to get to the point and was there a certain conversation, a certain journaling exercise was there? What led you to finally make the break and make the break? I, I think you just realized that, uh, for me, I mean, it's different for each person. You just, whether you're being authentic and I realized I wasn't being authentic and I had to make a break and, and, and, um, and start a new life. And, and, uh, and so I think authenticity is a big thing. Um, it's hard to be authentic and, and, uh, but it's, and there are challenges and, and, and, uh, I was going to say risks, but I, again, to go back, I don't know that there are risks if you play a game and the game is all about creating fun and delight for everyone around you. And, uh, you know, this reminds me of a joke. Um, so, uh, I don't know if you've heard this one. So a guy walks into a bar and, uh, by the way, this is a profound philosophical point that I'll make, but it'll only become clear once I tell you the joke. So, um, this guy walks into a bar and, um, and, uh, goes into the bartender and orders a drink and the bartender looks at me and goes, I haven't seen you in the bar before. Uh, and the bar, the, the, the, uh, customer says, well, no, I'm, I just came to town and the bartender goes, oh, well, what brings you down? And what do you do? And he says, I'm a gambler.

Peeing all over a stranger in a bar (01:36:40)

And the bartender says, really? And, uh, and, and he says, yeah, I, I, I, uh, I'm a gambler, a professional gambler. It's what I do for a living. And the bartender goes, really? You can make a living at that? And he says, uh, yeah, I never lose. And the bartender goes, oh, give me a break. And the gambler guy, the customer says, yeah, no, I've never, I don't lose. And, um, so, uh, the bartender goes, okay, uh, give me an example. Let the, uh, make me a bet. And so, uh, the customer says, uh, to the bartender, look, I'm warning you. I'm a, I'm a professional gambler. I just warned you that I never lose. Are you sure you want to do this? And the bartender goes, absolutely. And he says, okay, uh, I'll bet you $50. Hold on. I got to make sure I get this bet right. I'll bet you $50 that I can, um, bite my left eye. And the bartender rolls his eyes and slams down 50 bucks and, and goes, you're on, you're on. And, um, so, uh, the, uh, the, the, um, the gambler guy takes out his left eye and, and, and bites it in his mouth and, and, and pops it back in. And the bartender is furious, but the gambler guy says, I warned you and scoops up the money. And, um, and, and the, and the, uh, have you heard this one before? Oh, okay. So, um, again, the payoff is really funny and then I'll make the philosophical point about life. And, um, so, uh, the, the bartender goes, uh, okay, give me another chance. And, and the gambler guy says, look, I'm a professional. I just warned you. I just took $50. Are you sure you want to do this? And the, and the bartender goes, yeah, give me another chance. And the, and the gambler guy says, okay, I'll bet you another $50 that I can bite my other eye. And the bartender goes, wait a second. Okay. I missed the fact that that one eye was glass, but there's no way that you're blind. I know you don't have two glass eyes. Okay. You're on. And he throws down 50 bucks. And by the way, other patrons are now circling around watching what's going on and egging the bartender on. And, um, so the gambler guy takes out his dentures and, and gently, uh, bites his eye, his other eye with the, with his dentures and the bartender is steaming now. Cause he's lost two bats. He's furious. And, uh, the gambler guy says, I warned you. And anyway, the gambler guy throughout the evening is getting drunk. He's buying drinks for everybody. He goes to the back of the bar and then he comes back to the bartender and says, uh, look, I'm going to make it up to you. I'll make another bet. And now the whole, the whole bar is around him. And, um, and so he says, I'll bet you $500 that I can stand on this bar right here on the bar, stand up on one leg. And you see that vodka bottle behind you. I can pee into that bottle and not a drop of pee will go anywhere else, but that bottle. And the bartender goes, there is no way that that's going to happen. And he puts down 500 bucks. And so is the gambler guy. So the gambler guy, and by the way, he's pretty drunk at this point. He can barely stand up. He gets up to the top of the bar. Um, uh, uh, pulls it out and pees everywhere, but the vodka bottle pees all over the bartender and the bartender's laughing his head off. And, and so is everyone else. Right. And, uh, and the, um, the guy, the gambler guy gets, uh, you know, does his finishes business and gets down off the bar and, and the, and the bartender triumphantly grabs the 500 bucks. Uh, from the gambler guy. And he says, uh, ha, I, uh, I, uh, thought you never lose. And the gambler guy says, uh, I didn't. He's what do you mean? I just took $500 from you. And he said, uh, the gamer guy says, yeah, but you see that table, those guys back there, those college guys, I bet them $2,000 that I could stand up on this bar and pee all over you. And not only would you not object, you'd be laughing when I did it. And, and so, so, so the interesting thing there, talk, we'll talk about a hedged bet, right? The, as we were talking about hedge funds earlier is that the payoff is, uh, there's a huge payoff. He lost the 500, but there was a much bigger payoff. And in life, if your focus is on the other person and delighting the other person again, whether it's a job interview or a relationship, a date, or you're looking to get funding for your, your startup or pee all over him and give him $500. Right. But the pay out, the universe pays you back on the backend and, and, and that's a faith. So that's, that's the gospel that I preach is the gospel of the other and, and focus on the other and exclusively, and you'll get tremendous delight yourself. And, and, uh, and the universe has a way of throwing you, uh, uh, extra, uh, uh, so much more than you could think.

Learning Opportunities & Personal Anecdotes

An example of the magic. (01:42:09)

And I'll give you an example of magic. And I said before, the, the, the, uh, it's something I, I, stop me if I said this to the nice secretary, right? Did I talk about getting a present for Warren Buffett and then, and then, uh, the, the gallery? Okay. So, so I, I, I, I, I create a Christmas present for Warren Buffett and I want to send it to him. Right. And my pen pal. And, uh, and so I created a framed pack of Beeman's gum, which used to sell as a child. And so it took me the Beeman's gum. For those of you who don't know, um, the company that made Beeman's gum went out of business about a decade ago. And, um, and Warren Buffett, when he was a child, used to sell it. And, and I tracked down on the internet, a candy collector and, and asked him if he had a pack of Beeman's gum from like 50 years ago, like, like an old ancient pack. And he said, I might in my warehouse in Montana. And sure enough, he found it. And I said, I'll pay any price for it. I bought it. And then I had a calligrapher right from small beginnings. Anyway, I had a framed pack of gum that I was going to send to Warren Buffett for Christmas. So this is December 20th or so. And I'm in, I'm in a gallery in Tribeca and the gallery owner says, New York City, New York City. Yes. I'm sorry. And, um, the gallery owner says, do you like the frame? It had just been framed. And I said, oh, this is so beautiful. He's just going to love this. Not, she doesn't know who I am and doesn't know who this is going to. It doesn't say for anybody. And, um, and I said, oh, how am I going to get this to Nebraska? And she said, what do you mean? I said, well, if I send it FedEx, I don't care how many times I bubble wrap it, the gum will fall off the frame. Like it'll fall off the backing. It's shadow boxed. Right. It's shadow boxed. Right. And I thought, oh, it's going to, it has to be courier. And I said, how am I going to get it there? And she said, oh, I'll take care of that. And I said, oh, great. You know, a delivery service. And she said, uh, that'll deliver personally. She said, yeah, I'll take care of it. I said, well, what delivery service? Cause I'd like to know just for future reference. She said, oh, I'm sorry. I don't think I'll deliver this personally. I said, what? I squinted at her. I said, what? She said, yeah, I'll take care of this free of charge. I said, excuse me. This is Nebraska. Right. It's not like going to some fun location. Like this is with respect to those of you from Nebraska. I'm going to get all kinds of hate mail. Um, but it's the winter. It's the winter. It's the winter. Right. Right. Fair. Right. Why would you want to be going to Nebraska? And, um, she said, she looked at me and she said, uh, I'll do it for free. I can see how important this is to you. And I, I was so stunned. And I just looked at her young woman, maybe 28, 29. And I said, um, I said, you know, I can't let you do that. That's the best gift anyone's ever given me. And I'm the world's best gift giver. And here I was, I got like, like you got one up. I got one up. And I said, uh, I said, oh my gosh, um, really, that's the kind of thing I would have said. And I said, I can't let you do that. I, I'll pay for you to do it. I'm not going to ruin the magic because there was some impulse in you that wanted to do that, to offer that to me. And I'm gonna have to, I'll, I'll pay for the trip. So thank you. And, and that's an example of the magic. She didn't know who it was going to, uh, didn't know who I was. She just knew it was important to me. And in the, in the, because I was so focused on getting this present to someone that I cared about and she could see that, she was swept into the magic. And that's an example of the magic that happens when you're just focused on someone else instead of yourself. And, uh, boy, I was humbled by that. I mean, wow. I'm, I'm really went up in the, in the present giving department. Um, so the magic of focusing on the other, on the other. Yeah. Yeah. Well, I think you're a master of, and I didn't know the pre let's say, I don't, we might, when did we, do we first meet? I'm not sure if it was 2014, 15, 14, I think probably 14. Yeah. I didn't know the Adam pre 2014, but you strike me as an expert in what another podcast guest, uh, Gabrielle Reese, Gabby Reese. Sure. Going first. She said, go first. Yeah. I asked her if she, if she had any parting requests for the audience, she said, go first. Meaning smile first, make eye contact first to say hi first. You're very good at that. And I think that's part of, uh, eliciting the potential magic of, of that situation.

On the Magic Lessons podcast with Elizabeth Gilbert. (01:47:23)

Absolutely. When you're really the secret to everything to creating in the world, whether it's creating a relationship or creating a business. I don't care what it is, is you have a vision of what's possible and you. Convey that vision to the potential partner, whether it's a business or a romantic partner of what's possible. And, and you get them excited about it and you get other people excited about it if it's a business and so on. And, um, and so, yeah, it's about having visions, positive visions of what's possible. Um, you know, and this is 2017 and I'm, I think the world is in a very perilous.

The fulcrum moment. (01:48:20)

Place right now, but I'm very excited for the world because, because this is a fulcrum moment. And by fulcrum moment, I mean a moment when you can achieve great results. Maximally leveraging whatever resources you've got. Like now is the time to act. Um, and we get fulcrum moments in our lives, um, as individuals and, and as countries and as a planet, and this is a fulcrum year. Um, and we all sense it, um, that great changes, positive or negative, we gotta be careful. Um, and, and, and to seize the fulcrum moment, now is the time to press hard. Um, and I think the world's got to do that, um, with, with positive visions and excite, again, it's all about the other. Excite everyone with a positive vision and we can create magic in the world or not. And then we're in trouble. Um, I'm really excited about 2017 for myself and for the world. Um, yeah. Before we wrap up, I think we might, we might have a date with a Russian bath in our future, but, uh, before we close up the conversation, do you have any parting requests for the audience? Questions for the audience, suggestions for the audience, anything you'd like them to take with them? Well, that was a big one that this is a fulcrum year. I'm telling you just intuitively, I know for myself, and I'm sure as, uh, as you, the listener reflect on your life and, and there are great opportunities. The world is such tremendous beauty and possibility. It's so exciting right now. And, and, and yet everyone's focused on the negative and, and instead focus on the other and positive and creating magic. Uh, lean into each moment and each encounter creating magic and, um, and by the way, that's a great editing principle. Like when you're, you're in an argue, you're about to argue with the cab driver or, or, or with your spouse or with your best friend or whatever. Ask yourself is what you're going to say, create delight in the other person or magic. And if not, don't say it. Um, and. Well, I saw you do that last night with a, uh, with a hostess at a restaurant when the restaurant was fully booked up, it's raining outside. We walk in and, uh, and in fact, it wasn't, we, it was just, uh, the two of us walked in because we had, we had another party with us waiting in the Uber because we didn't think it would be possible potentially to get a table. Right. And I don't remember the exact wording that you used, but you walked up and, uh, To Bryn, I remember smiling at her. Yeah. And, uh, and you just walked into the exchange opening first, second, expecting us to get a table. Right. And lo and behold, she said, I feel like your chances are very good after 30 seconds of Adam turning on the charm and then called, call their whole party in and a few short minutes later after some, a little bit of, uh, of, of me drinking wine and all of us drinking sparkling water, we got, uh, arguably the best table in the house. It was the best table in the house. Yeah. And, uh, because I just could, I really, I still remember, um, was just about creating some fun for her and she realized we were fun people and fun energy and damn straight. She was going to give us a table. Shazam. Shazam. Yeah.

Where to find more from Adam Robinson (01:52:20)

Adam, uh, I always love our conversations and, uh, many more had, I'm sure. Our conversational parkour. Exactly. Which is my favorite kind of parkour because I can't damage my knees. And, uh, is there any where you would like people to learn more about you online or elsewhere? Website, anything else that you'd like to mention? Well, they can always get in touch with me through my website, Robinson global strategies. There's a contact form there and they want to talk about global strategy or, or magic. Um, they can always drop me a line and, and, uh, and I'll respond. All right. Well, on that note, I think this is a great place to, to, uh, temporarily table this ongoing conversation that we have and for everybody listening, anything that we mentioned, if it is linkable on the internet, you can find all of the resources and whatnot at the show notes with every other episode. And those can be found at four hour work forward slash podcast, all spelled out for our work forward slash podcast. And until next time, thank you for listening.

Five-Bullet Friday (01:53:35)

Hey guys, this is Tim again, just a few more things before you take off. Number one, this is five bullet Friday. Do you want to get a short email from me? Would you enjoy getting a short email from me every Friday that provides a little more soul of fun before the weekend and five bullet Friday is a very short email where I share the coolest things I've found or that I've been pondering over the week. That could include favorite new albums that I've discovered. It could include gizmos and gadgets and all sorts of weird shit that I've somehow dug up in the, uh, the world of the esoteric as I do. It could include favorite articles that I've read and that I've shared with my close friends for instance. And it's very short. It's just a little tiny bite of goodness before you head off for the weekend. So if you want to receive that, check it out. Just go to four hour work that's four hour work all spelled out and just drop in your email and you will get the very next one. And if you sign up, I hope you enjoy it.

99Designs (01:54:37)

This episode is brought to you by 99 designs. I've used 99 designs for years for all sorts of graphic design needs. Whether you need a logo, website, book cover, anything else. 99 designs was created to make great designs accessible to everyone and to make the process of getting designs much, much easier. So when I first started out, for instance, testing prototype covers and getting prototype covers for the four hour body, I went the contest route. That is one option. This is a great solution if you're looking for fast, affordable design work and the ability to choose from dozens of options risk free. Let's say you need something late night, quick turnaround. Well, people in other time zones, other countries can also help you solve that problem. Since then, I've worked with 99 designs on a separate path or a different option and that is the one to one project service. So in a number of cases, and I'll give you one example, when I wanted to create the cover for my audio book, The Tao of Seneca, this was a very important project to me. I decided to use their one to one project service. And with this service, you can invite a specific designer to your project, agree on a price and then work together until you're satisfied. They allow you to iterate and provide feedback and all this stuff. And I haven't shared it yet, but we also got some incredibly good, really some of the best illustrations I've ever seen from using this one to one project service with a handful of different designers and illustrators. It blew my mind. 99 designs makes this all very easy and efficient. So you can check out the Tao of Seneca design and other work that I and your fellow listeners for that matter have done on 99 designs at Again, that's

Wealth Management

Wealthfront (01:56:18)

This episode is brought to you by Wealthfront. Wealthfront is the future of financial advice. They become incredibly popular among my friends in Silicon Valley and across the country because they provide the same high end financial advice that the best private wealth managers delivered to the ultra wealthy. But for any account size and at a fraction of the cost. For instance, they monitor your portfolio every day across more than a dozen asset classes to look for opportunities to rebalance or harvest tax losses. Now, would you do the same? Are you doing the same? Probably not. And the power is in the software. Wealthfront now manages more than $4 billion in assets, which is up from around $2.5 billion when they started advertising on this podcast. They're growing incredibly quickly. Unlike old fashioned private wealth managers, Wealthfront is powered by innovative technology, making it the most tax efficient, low cost, hassle free way to invest. They don't upload at sales teams or retail locations, so they can deliver all of this sophisticated financial advice and these services at a fraction of the cost of a traditional financial advisor. So at the very least, go to and take their free risk assessment survey. It only takes a couple of minutes and Wealthfront will recommend a personalized portfolio of investments. In other words, they'll tell you exactly where they would put your money. So even if you don't use their service, you have a huge leg up and you have additional information for making good decisions. They use investment theory to automate good financial behavior and decisions that people typically don't make, but should. So go to to get your first $15K managed for free or just to get more details. Check it out.

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