The Random Show – Drinking Urine, Exploring Japan, and Figuring Out Life


Photo credit: Kevin Rose

Coming to you from a late night in rural Japan, this is a special edition of The Random Show.

Per usual for The Random Show, I am joined by Kevin Rose (@KevinRose), serial entrepreneur, world-class investor, and all around wild and crazy guy. We discuss Japan and how to do it cheaply, building apps, urine drinking, love and marriage, beauty and absurdity in 2017, why Kevin doesn’t have New Year’s resolutions, favorite books, and much more.



Want to hear another episode of The Random Show? — Listen to this earlier conversation with Kevin Rose. In this episode, we discuss saunas and cold treatment, dating apps, and fitness apps (stream below or right-click here to download):

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Wealthfront monitors your portfolio every day across more than a dozen asset classes to find opportunities for rebalancing and harvesting tax losses, and now manages more than $5 billion in assets. 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. Go to to take the risk assessment quiz, which only takes 2-5 minutes, and it’ll show you — for free — exactly the portfolio it would recommend. If you want to just take the advice and do it yourself, you can. Or, as I would, you can set it and forget it. Well worth a few minutes: As a Tim Ferriss Show listener, you’ll get your first $15,000 managed for free if you decide to go with its services.

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

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How to Develop Mental Toughness: Lessons From 8 Titans


Amelia Boone, the world’s most decorated obstacle racer, after jumping through fire.

“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”
― Archilochus

Mental toughness can take many forms: resilience against attack, calmness in the face of uncertainty, persistence through pain, or focus amidst chaos.

Below are eight lessons from eight of the toughest human beings I know.

All are taken from the hundreds of tips and tactics in Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers.

(Jocko Willink, former Navy SEAL Commander)

“If you want to be tougher mentally, it is simple: Be tougher. Don’t meditate on it.”

TIM: These words of Jocko’s helped one listener—a drug addict—get sober after many failed attempts. The simple logic struck a chord: “Being tougher” was, more than anything, a decision to be tougher. It’s possible to immediately “be tougher,” starting with your next decision. Have trouble saying “no” to dessert? Be tougher. Make that your starting decision. Feeling winded? Take the stairs anyway. Ditto. It doesn’t matter how small or big you start. If you want to be tougher, be tougher.


(Arnold Schwarzenegger)  

TIM: In my interview with Arnold, I brought up a photo of him at age 19, just before he won his first big competition, Junior Mr. Europe. I asked, “Your face was so confident compared to every other competitor. Where did that confidence come from?” He replied:

“My confidence came from my vision. . . . I am a big believer that if you have a very clear vision of where you want to go, then the rest of it is much easier. Because you always know why you are training 5 hours a day, you always know why you are pushing and going through the pain barrier, and why you have to eat more, and why you have to struggle more, and why you have to be more disciplined… I felt that I could win it, and that was what I was there for. I wasn’t there to compete. I was there to win.”


(4-Star General Stanley McChrystal)

TIM: The following from Gen. McChyrstal was in response to “What are three tests or practices from the military that civilians could use to help develop mental toughness?”:

“The first is to push yourself harder than you believe you’re capable of. You’ll find new depth inside yourself. The second is to put yourself in groups who share difficulties, discomfort. We used to call it ‘shared privation.’ [Definition of privation: a state in which things essential for human well-being such as food and warmth are scarce or lacking.] You’ll find that when you have been through that kind of difficult environment, you feel more strongly about that which you’re committed to. And finally, create some fear and make individuals overcome it.”

(Caroline Paul, luger, firefighter, and more)

TIM: In the 1990s, Caroline illegally climbed the Golden Gate Bridge, rising to ~760 feet on thin cables. She’d mentioned “putting fear in line” to me, and I asked her to dig into the specifics.

“I am not against fear. I think fear is definitely important. It’s there to keep us safe. But I do feel like some people give it too much priority. It’s one of the many things that we use to assess a situation. I am pro-bravery. That’s my paradigm.

Fear is just one of many things that are going on. For instance, when we climbed the bridge, which was five of us deciding we wanted to walk up that cable in the middle of the night. Please don’t do that, but we did. Talk about fear—you’re walking on a cable where you have to put one foot in front of the other until you’re basically as high as a 70-story building with nothing below you and . . . two thin wires on either side.

It’s just a walk, technically. Really, nothing’s going to happen unless some earthquake or catastrophic gust of wind hits. You’re going to be fine as long as you keep your mental state intact. In those situations, I look at all the emotions I’m feeling, which are anticipation, exhilaration, focus, confidence, fun, and fear. Then I take fear and say, ‘Well, how much priority am I going to give this? I really want to do this.’ I put it where it belongs. It’s like brick laying or making a stone wall. You fit the pieces together.”

(Paul Levesque/Triple H, WWE superstar and executive)

“[Evander Holyfield] said that his coach at one point told him, something like his very first day, ‘You could be the next Muhammad Ali. Do you wanna do that?’ Evander said he had to ask his mom. He went home, he came back and said, ‘I wanna do that.’ The coach said, ‘Okay. Is that a dream or a goal? Because there’s a difference.’ “I’d never heard it said that way, but it stuck with me. So much so that I’ve said it to my kid now: ‘Is that a dream, or a goal? Because a dream is something you fantasize about that will probably never happen. A goal is something you set a plan for, work toward, and achieve. I always looked at my stuff that way. The people who were successful models to me were people who had structured goals and then put a plan in place to get to those things. I think that’s what impressed me about Arnold [Schwarzenegger]. It’s what impressed me about my father-in-law [Vince McMahon].”

(Amelia Boone, 3x World’s Toughest Mudder champion)

“I’m not the strongest. I’m not the fastest. But I’m really good at suffering.”


(Josh Waitzkin, chess prodigy, push hands world champion, first black belt under BJJ phenom Marcelo Garcia)

Back in the world of combat sports and Brazilian jiu-jitsu:

“It’s very interesting to observe who the top competitors pick out when they’re five rounds into the sparring sessions and they’re completely gassed. The ones who are on the steepest growth curve look for the hardest guy there—the one who might beat them up—while others look for someone they can take a break on.”

(Christopher Sommer, former men’s gymnastics national team coach)

TIM: We all get frustrated. I am particularly prone to frustration when I see little or no progress after several weeks of practicing something new. Despite Coach Sommer’s regular reminders about connective-tissue adaptations taking 200 to 210 days, after a few weeks of flailing with “straddle L extensions,” I was at my wits’ end. Even after the third workout, I had renamed them “frog spaz” in my workout journal because that’s what I resembled while doing them: a frog being electrocuted.

Each week, I sent Coach Sommer videos of my workouts via Dropbox. In my accompanying notes at one point, I expressed how discouraging it was to make zero tangible progress with this exercise. Below is his email response, which I immediately saved to Evernote to review often.

It’s all great, but I’ve bolded my favorite part.

“Dealing with the temporary frustration of not making progress is an integral part of the path towards excellence. In fact, it is essential and something that every single elite athlete has had to learn to deal with. If the pursuit of excellence was easy, everyone would do it. In fact, this impatience in dealing with frustration is the primary reason that most people fail to achieve their goals. Unreasonable expectations time-wise, resulting in unnecessary frustration, due to a perceived feeling of failure. Achieving the extraordinary is not a linear process.

The secret is to show up, do the work, and go home.

A blue collar work ethic married to indomitable will. It is literally that simple. Nothing interferes. Nothing can sway you from your purpose. Once the decision is made, simply refuse to budge.

Refuse to compromise.

And accept that quality long-term results require quality long-term focus. No emotion. No drama. No beating yourself up over small bumps in the road. Learn to enjoy and appreciate the process. This is especially important because you are going to spend far more time on the actual journey than with those all too brief moments of triumph at the end.

Certainly celebrate the moments of triumph when they occur. More importantly, learn from defeats when they happen. In fact, if you are not encountering defeat on a fairly regular basis, you are not trying hard enough. And absolutely refuse to accept less than your best.

Throw out a timeline. It will take what it takes.

If the commitment is to a long-term goal and not to a series of smaller intermediate goals, then only one decision needs to be made and adhered to. Clear, simple, straightforward. Much easier to maintain than having to make small decision after small decision to stay the course when dealing with each step along the way. This provides far too many opportunities to inadvertently drift from your chosen goal. The single decision is one of the most powerful tools in the toolbox.”



The above is a small sample of hundreds of tips in Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers.  Check it out!

Tools of Titans is available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Books-A-Million, iBooks, Indiebound, Indigo, and more.

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The Unusual Books That Shaped 50+ Billionaires, Mega-Bestselling Authors, and Other Prodigies

You are the average of the five people you associate with most. Choose your books and authors wisely.

You are the average of the five people you associate with most. Choose your books and authors wisely.

One of the questions I ask the most successful people I interview or meet is:

“What book have you gifted most to others, and why?”  

Below is a mega-list of the most-gifted and favorite books of 50-60 people like billionaire investor Peter Thiel, Tony Robbins, Arnold Schwarzenegger, elite athlete Amelia Boone, Malcolm Gladwell, legendary Navy SEAL Commander Jocko Willink, Dr. Brené Brown, music producer Rick Rubin, chess prodigy Josh Waitzkin, Glenn Beck, Reid Hoffman, Marc Andreessen, and many more.

Several books appear more than once, which might be where you start your own collection.

Important notes on the list:

  • Bolded books are “most-gifted book” answers.
  • Unbolded books were recommended or mentioned by the guest, but not specifically “most-gifted.”
  • Many of these answers were updated or added by guests AFTER their interviews, or the “guests” haven’t been on my podcast, so they are only found in Tools of Titans.

For the answers from 120+ world-class performers, and much more, please check this out.



Adams, Scott: Influence (Robert B. Cialdini)

Altucher, James: Jesus’ Son: Stories (Denis Johnson), The Kite Runner; A Thousand Splendid Suns (Khaled Hosseini), Antifragile; The Black Swan; Fooled by Randomness (Nassim Nicholas Taleb), Brain Rules (John Medina), Outliers (Malcolm Gladwell), Freakonomics (Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner)

Andreessen, Marc: High Output Management; Only the Paranoid Survive (Andrew S. Grove), Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future (Peter Thiel with Blake Masters), Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination (Neal Gabler), Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography (David Michaelis), The Wizard of Menlo Park: How Thomas Alva Edison Invented the Modern World (Randall E. Stross), Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life (Steve Martin), The Hard Thing About Hard Things (Ben Horowitz)

Attia, Peter: Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts (Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson), Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Richard P. Feynman), 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works — A True Story (Dan Harris)

Beck, Glenn: The Book of Virtues (William J. Bennett), Winners Never Cheat (Jon Huntsman)

Bell, Mark: COAN: The Man, The Myth, The Method: The Life, Times & Training of the Greatest Powerlifter of All-Time (Marty Gallagher)

Belsky, Scott: Life’s Little Instruction Book (H. Jackson Brown, Jr.)

Betts, Richard: A Fan’s Notes (Frederick Exley), The Crossroads of Should and Must (Elle Luna)

Birbiglia, Mike: The Promise of Sleep (William C. Dement)

Boone, Amelia: House of Leaves (Mark Z. Danielewski)

Boreta, Justin: Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain (Oliver Sacks), Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion (Sam Harris), This Is Your Brain on Music (Daniel J. Levitin), The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Milan Kundera)

Brown, Brené: The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)

Callen, Bryan: Excellent Sheep (William Deresiewicz), Atlas Shrugged; The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand), The Power of Myth; The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Joseph Campbell), The Genealogy of Morals (Friedrich Nietzsche), The Art of Learning (Josh Waitzkin), The 4-Hour Body; The 4-Hour Workweek (Tim Ferriss), Bad Science, Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients (Ben Goldacre), Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2003 to 2005 (Thomas Ricks), The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11; Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief (Lawrence Wright), Symposium (Plato)

Chin, Jimmy: Musashi: An Epic Novel of the Samurai Era (Eiji Yoshikawa and Charles Terry), A Guide to the I Ching (Carol K. Anthony), Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town (Jon Krakauer)

Cho, Margaret: How to Be a Movie Star (William J. Mann)

Cummings, Whitney: Super Sad True Love Story (Gary Shteyngart), The Drama of the Gifted Child (Alice Miller), The Fantasy Bond (Robert W. Firestone), The Continuum Concept (Jean Liedloff)

D’Agostino, Dominic: Personal Power (Tony Robbins), Tripping Over the Truth (Travis Christofferson), The Language of God (Francis Collins), The Screwtape Letters (C.S. Lewis), Cancer as a Metabolic Disease: On the Origin, Management, and Prevention of Cancer (Thomas Seyfried), Ketogenic Diabetes Diet: Type 2 Diabetes (Ellen Davis, MS and Keith Runyan, MD), Fight Cancer with a Ketogenic Diet (Ellen Davis, MS)

de Botton, Alain: The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Milan Kundera), The Complete Essays (Michel de Montaigne), In Search of Lost Time (Marcel Proust)

De Sena, Joe: A Message to Garcia (Elbert Hubbard), Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand), Shōgun (James Clavell), The One Minute Manager (Kenneth H. Blanchard)

Dubner, Stephen: For adults: Levels of the Game (John McPhee); for kids: The Empty Pot (Demi)

Eisen, Jonathan: National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America (Jon L. Dunn and Jonathan Alderfer)

Fadiman, James: Pihkal: A Chemical Love Story; Tihkal: The Continuation (Alexander Shulgin and Ann Shulgin)

Favreau, Jon: The Writer’s Journey (Christopher Vogler and Michele Montez), It Would Be So Nice If You Weren’t Here (Charles Grodin), The 4-Hour Body (Tim Ferriss), The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien), Kitchen Confidential (Anthony Bourdain)

Foxx, Jamie: Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America (James Allen)

Fussman, Cal: One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel García Márquez), Between the World and Me (Ta-Nehisi Coates), Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln: 21 Powerful Secrets of History’s Greatest Speakers (James C. Humes), A Feast of Snakes; Car (Harry Crews)

Ganju, Nick: Don’t Make Me Think (Steve Krug), How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of Intangibles in Business (Douglas W. Hubbard), How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking (Jordan Ellenberg), Getting to Yes (Roger Fisher and William Ury)

Gazzaley, Adam: Foundation (Isaac Asimov), The Reality Dysfunction (The Night’s Dawn Trilogy) (Peter F. Hamilton), Mountain Light (Galen Rowell)

Gladwell, Malcolm: Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious (Timothy D. Wilson), Merchant Princes: An Intimate History of Jewish Families Who Built Great Department Stores (Leon A. Harris), Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; Little Drummer’s Girl; The Russia House; The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (John le Carré), The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine (Michael Lewis), The Checklist Manifesto (Atul Gawande), all of Lee Child’s books

Hamilton, Laird: The Bible, Natural Born Heroes (Christopher McDougall), Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien), Deep Survival (Laurence Gonzales), Jonathan Livingston Seagull (Richard Bach and Russell Munson), Dune (Frank Herbert)

Hoffman, Reid: Conscious Business: How to Build Value Through Values (Fred Kofman), Sapiens (Yuval Noah Harari)

Holiday, Ryan: Meditations (Marcus Aurelius), The War of Art (Steven Pressfield), What Makes Sammy Run? (Budd Schulberg), Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. (Ron Chernow), How to Live: Or a Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer (Sarah Bakewell), The Fish that Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America’s Banana King; Tough Jews (Rich Cohen), Edison: A Biography (Matthew Josephson), Ulysses S. Grant: Triumph over Adversity (Brooks Simpson), Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury)

Junger, Sebastian: At Play in the Fields of the Lord (Peter Matthiessen), Sapiens (Yuval Noah Harari)

Kamkar, Samy: Influence (Robert Cialdini)

Kaskade: Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath (Ted Koppel)

Koppelman, Brian: What Makes Sammy Run? (Budd Schulberg), The Artist’s Way Morning Pages Journal (Julia Cameron), The War of Art (Steven Pressfield)

McChrystal, Stanley: Once an Eagle (Anton Myrer), The Road to Character (David Brooks)

Miller, BJ: Any picture book of Mark Rothko art.

Neistat, Casey: It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be (Paul Arden), The Second World War (John Keegan), The Autobiography of Malcolm X (Malcolm X and Alex Haley)

Nemer, Jason: The Prophet (Kahlil Gibran), Tao Te Ching (Lao Tzu)

Norton, Edward: Wind, Sand and Stars (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry), Buddhism Without Beliefs (Stephen Batchelor), Shōgun (James Clavell), The Search for Modern China; The Death of Woman Wang (Jonathan Spence), “The Catastrophe of Success” (essay by Tennessee Williams), The Black Swan (Nassim Nicholas Taleb)

Ohanian, Alexis: Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days (Jessica Livingston), Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture (David Kushner)

Popova, Maria: Still Writing (Dani Shapiro), On the Shortness of Life (Seneca), The Republic (Plato), On the Move: A Life (Oliver Sacks), The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, 1837–1861 (Henry David Thoreau), A Rap on Race (Margaret Mead and James Baldwin), On Science, Necessity and the Love of God: Essays (Simone Weil), Stumbling on Happiness (Daniel Gilbert), Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness (Edward Abbey), Gathering Moss (Robin Wall Kimmerer)

Randall, Lisa: I Capture the Castle (Dodie Smith)

Reece, Gabby: Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand), The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)

Richman, Jessica: The Complete Short Stories (Ernest Hemingway)

Robbins, Tony: As a Man Thinketh (James Allen), Man’s Search for Meaning (Viktor E. Frankl), The Fourth Turning; Generations (William Strauss), Slow Sex (Nicole Daedone), Mindset (Carol Dweck)

Rodriguez, Robert: Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action (Simon Sinek)

Rose, Kevin: The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation (Thich Nhat Hanh), The Wisdom of Crowds (James Surowiecki)

Rubin, Rick: Tao Te Ching (Lao Tzu, translation by Stephen Mitchell), Wherever You Go, There You Are (Jon Kabat-Zinn)

Schwarzenegger, Arnold: The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History (Boris Johnson), Free to Choose (Milton Friedman), California (Kevin Starr)

Sethi, Ramit: Age of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion (Anthony Pratkanis and Elliot Aronson), The Social Animal (Elliot Aronson), Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got (Jay Abraham), Mindless Eating (Brian Wansink), The Robert Collier Letter Book (Robert Collier), Never Eat Alone, Expanded and Updated: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time (Keith Ferrazzi), What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School (Mark H. McCormack), Iacocca: An Autobiography (Lee Iacocca), The Checklist Manifesto (Atul Gawande)

Silva, Jason: TechGnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information (Erik Davis), The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance (Steven Kotler), The 4-Hour Workweek (Tim Ferriss)

Skenes, Joshua: Cocktail Techniques (Kazuo Uyeda)

Sommer, Christopher: The Obstacle Is the Way (Ryan Holiday), the works of Robert Heinlein

Tan, Chade-Meng: What the Buddha Taught (Walpola Rahula), In the Buddha’s Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon (Bhikkhu Bodhi)

Thiel, Peter: Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World (René Girard)

von Ahn, Luis: Zero to One (Peter Thiel), The Hard Thing About Hard Things (Ben Horowitz)

Waitzkin, Josh: On the Road; The Dharma Bums (Jack Kerouac), Tao Te Ching (Lao Tzu), Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (Robert Pirsig), Shantaram (Gregory David Roberts), For Whom the Bell Tolls; The Old Man and the Sea; The Green Hills of Africa (Ernest Hemingway), Ernest Hemingway on Writing (Larry W. Phillips), Mindset (Carol Dweck), Dreaming Yourself Awake: Lucid Dreaming and Tibetan Dream Yoga for Insight and Transformation (B. Alan Wallace and Brian Hodel), The Drama of the Gifted Child (Alice Miller), Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging (Sebastian Junger), Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance (Angela Duckworth), Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise (Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool)

Willink, Jocko: About Face: The Odyssey of an American Warrior (Colonel David H. Hackworth), Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West (Cormac McCarthy)


And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

For more answers, tactics, habits, and routines from 120+ world-class performers, please check out my labor of love Tools of Titans.

Tools of Titans is available at Barnes & Noble, AmazonBooks-A-MillioniBooksIndiebound, Indigo, and others. If you found the above interesting, I guarantee you’ll enjoy the whole thing.

Thanks for reading!

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The Tim Ferriss 2016 Holiday Gift Guide



Getting festive with Chris Sacca, who suggests mullet wigs for every occasion.

Getting festive with Chris Sacca, who suggests mullet wigs (long story) for every occasion.

I dislike shopping, but I love finding the perfect gift.

Finding that gift, though, gets harder with time. People seem to have everything they need.

Alternate versions of the shirts I got last year? No, thank you. More ring pops? I’ll pass. In the eternal quest to eliminate clutter, I now give Santa a not-to-buy list instead of a wish list.

After testing and vetting hundreds of products and gadgets this year, here are 17 that make the cut.  I own all of these and have gifted them to friends.

Gifts Under $25

Butternut 2013 Chardonnay — $16 

I’m a red wine guy. There are very few white wines that make me defect. The first I met was a 2004 Rombauer Chardonnay. The most recent is this delicious Butternut 2013. Every person at the table — all self-described red-wine people — loved it and remarked upon it. If those both sell out, try my current favorite sake, Hitori Musume.

RAD Roller — $25

I travel with one of these at all times. Many folks use the RAD for thoracic mobility work, but I prefer to focus on the feet and forearms (pressing down into a table and rolling). Tip… Think your hamstrings are tight? Try rolling out your feet, doing 30 calf raises, stretching your Achilles, then testing your hammies again. Both Amelia Boone and Coach Sommer would agree—a lot of “hamstring” inflexibility is related to lower-leg mobility.

Metal “Tap” Knife — $6 

I don’t know how I lived without these until now. I order almost everything I need on Amazon Prime, so I’m constantly opening and breaking down boxes. These puppies are so much better than knives or standard box cutters that there is no comparison. Perhaps I’m a weirdo (of course, I am), but these were a game changer. NOTE: These are ONLY for opening boxes. I stupidly used one to open a plastic package and almost cut my damn hand in half. Be careful!

Sleep Master Sleep Mask — $24

This was given to me by Jeffrey Zurofsky (remember “JZ” from The 4-Hour Chef?) as a birthday present. It’s been a godsend. After testing every sleep mask imaginable, and tested black-out blinds, etc. over the years, this is—bar none—my favorite to sleep and travel with. It uses thin velcro instead of elastic, and satin wraps around your ears instead of over them. Remember the first time you saw luggage with wheels and thought, “Why didn’t someone come up with this earlier?” I felt the same when using the Sleep Master Mask for the first time. Simple, great design. One caveat: If you sleep in a very warm room, this mask may be too hot.

Jackery Mini Portable Charger — $13

This thing is a lifesaver when my phone is running low on battery. It was recommended to me by my friend Matt Mullenweg (CEO of Automattic), who I interviewed in this episode of my podcast.

Tools of Titans — $17

OK, I’m clearly biased on this one, but I (and dozens of proofreaders) think it makes the perfect holiday gift. The book is split into three sections–Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise–and there is something for everyone.

Over the past 2 years, I’ve interviewed 200+ of the world’s best performers – everyone from super celebs (Jamie Foxx, Arnold Schwarzenegger, etc.) to athletes (icons of powerlifting, gymnastics, surfing, etc.), Special Ops commanders, and black-market biochemists. In this brand-new book, I painstakingly distilled the best tools and tactics you won’t find anywhere else, including at least 40% brand-new content and tips from experts. Even if you’ve heard every podcast episode, you’ll have 250-300 pages of new goodies.

Everything in this book has been applied to my own life. I’ve used many of the recommendations in high-stakes negotiations, high-risk environments, or large business dealings. The lessons have made me millions of dollars, remade my body, and saved me years of wasted effort. I wrote Tools of Titans, my ultimate notebook of high-leverage tools, for myself. It’s changed my life, and I hope the same for you.

Gifts Under $50

Soma Glass Water Bottle —$30

The Soma Bottle is the healthy way to stay hydrated everywhere. Made from high quality, shatter-resistant glass, with an easy grip protective sleeve, it’s perfectly designed to fit into your bag, your cup holder, and your life.

MobilityWOD Gemini — $35

OK, this isn’t a sex toy, but it sure as hell looks like one. Kudos to Kelly Starrett, the supple (sexy?) leopard and PT to the stars, for thinking multi-purpose. I travel with the Gemini and use it often for my chest and paraspinals (muscles along the spine). To dumb, reckless people reading this: please do NOT stick this tool inside yourself.

Original Buddha Board — $33

A Zen-like Etch-a-Sketch. Use the included brush to paint designs onto the board with water. As the water evaporates, your image will fade within 30-60 seconds.. This is a great tool for learning to let go… or rekindling your artistic side. If you have 60 seconds a day, you have time for the Buddha Board.

Adidas slip-ons — $40 

I’ve needed Adidas slip-ons for years. No idea why it took me so long to get them. They’re perfect as indoor Japanese-style slippers, or for wearing outside when you don’t want flip-flops killing your toe webbing. I’m typing this, I’m wearing them with socks. #GermanStyle

Chemex — $34

The all-American Chemex is unique because of its thicker coffee filters, which are 20-35% thicker than the usual paper filters. This means they hold back more of the lipids and sediment that can result in bitter flavors, delivering an incredibly clean, sweet cup.

Nayoya Needle Pad — $45

This was recommended to me by a Cirque du Soleil performer (Andrii Bondarenko) after I pulled my shoulder and lat. In the Ukraine, he used this type of mat daily after strenuous practice, particularly for back pain. I’ve found 6-10 minutes per session, 1-2 times per day, to have a near-miraculous effect on mid-back issues (and thoracic mobility, oddly). Could be placebo, of course. Start slow, my eager little friends. The “thorns” are sharp.

Gifts Under $100

Epsoak Epsom Salt — $58 (39.5 lbs.)

I take hot baths every night when at home in SF. Nearly always, I add epsom salt (typically 4-8 cups), which facilitates muscular relaxation and recovery. Rather than buy small boxes at CVS or Safeway, I buy in bulk and store it in rolling dog-food containers.

Casa Dragones — $75

This was introduced to me by a Navy SEAL who enjoys sipping this nectar while disassembling and cleaning firearms (unloaded, obviously). It is VERY expensive, but I have no hangover or cognitive slowness the day after a big night, which makes it worth it. If looking for something less expensive but also easy on the brain, try “Hitori Musume” sake mentioned up above.

Hario Skerton Hand Mill — $50 

Use this manual hand grinder alongside the AeroPress and you can make an incredible cup of coffee on the go. I’ve used this grinder and the Porlex hand grinder. I like both but favor the Hario as A) it’s half the cost and B) it has a single-dose measurement on the plastic for eyeballing when you can stop grinding.

Myles Everyday Shorts — $58 

I originally got these as a gift from Huckberry, and they are now my go-to shorts for nearly everything. I swim in them (quick drying), I wear them while working at coffee shops, and you can even wear them to a nice dinner if you have decent shoes. Multi-purpose rocks.

Waterpik Ultra Water Flosser — $60

I’ll keep this one short. I have hated flossing my entire life. Each year, I got a lecture from the dentist, and each year, I’d attempt flossing for 2-3 days and throw in the towel. No longer. Using the WaterPik in combination with the free app got me to floss consistently for the first time. Now, I look forward to it. Weird.

Happy holidays, all!

Much love to you and yours…


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EXCLUSIVE: Unpublished Material from NYT Magazine Story on Cancer Metabolism


This post is very exciting for me.

It covers a subject I care deeply about (cancer), and it’s exclusive, unpublished material from a New York Times Magazine feature entitled “An Old Idea, Revived: Starve Cancer to Death.” Written by Sam Apple, this piece got a lot of attention.

Now, here on this blog, you can read what didn’t make it in.

First, some context and definitions are in order, as I can’t reproduce the NYT piece in full. Let’s set the tone with a few paragraphs from a previous cancer-related post with Peter Attia, MD. These words are mine:

“With 19 billion capillaries in our bodies, on average, virtually 100% of us have microscopic cancers by the time we’re 70 years old, more than 40% of us by age 40. There’s a good chance you have pinhead-size cancers in your body right now. These “cancers without disease” aren’t typically a problem, as they can’t grow larger than 0.5 mm without a blood supply.

But if cancer cells get constant blood and glucose? Well, that’s when you can end up dead.”


“It’s also important to realize that killing cancer cells isn’t hard. Doctors have known how to do this for 100+ years. The real questions is: how do you exploit a weakness in cancer that is NOT a weakness in normal cells? Killing cancer is easy. Killing cancerous cells while not killing non-cancerous cells has proven incredibly difficult.”

Moving on to definitions, the most important is the “Warburg Effect.”

Below is a summary from the same Dr. Attia piece, and the words are his this time. Citations can be found in the original:

“In 1924 a scientist named Otto Warburg happened upon a counterintuitive finding.

Cancer cells, even in the presence of sufficient oxygen, underwent a type of metabolism cells reserved for rapid energy demand – anaerobic metabolism. In fact, even when cancer cells were given additional oxygen, they still defaulted into using only glucose to make ATP via the anaerobic pathway. This is counterintuitive because this way of making ATP is typically a last resort for cells, not a default, due to the relatively poor yield of ATP.

This observation begs a logical question: Do cancer cells do this because it’s all they can do? Or do they deliberately ‘choose’ to do this?

The first place to look is at the mitochondria of the cancer cells. Though not uniformly the case, many cancers do indeed appear to have defects in their mitochondria that prevent them from carrying out oxidative phosphorylation.”

How can we capitalize on these apparent defects?

Researchers will continue to debate the causes of cancer and best treatments, but–in the meantime–there appear to be promising dietary interventions we can use with little to no downside.  I’m no doctor, nor do I play one on the Internet, but that’s my current conclusion.

I’ll let Sam pick up the thread from here. Any comments in brackets are mine. Enjoy!

Enter Sam Apple

Hello, Tim Ferriss readers. I’m writing here today because I recently wrote a feature for The New York Times Magazine on Otto Warburg and the revival of cancer metabolism research.

I’m happy about how the piece turned out and very flattered by the kind responses I’ve received. But, as is almost always the case when I publish magazine articles, a significant portion of what I wrote never made it into print. That’s the bad news. The good news is that Tim has been nice enough to offer to publish some of the snippets that the Times didn’t have enough space for. As his loyal fans will know, Tim has been at the forefront of this story for a long time, so I’m really delighted to be able to contribute to this blog.

Another bit of good news: I’ve recently heard from some editors at publishing houses who are interested in a book on this topic. If you’d like to be notified if and when the book becomes available, please email me at samapple.update [at] with “book” as the subject.

Okay, enough chitchat. Let’s get to the science…

The Ketogenic Diet

I’ve received a number of emails asking why I didn’t mention the ketogenic diet in my article. After all, if the aim of metabolic therapies is to disrupt cancer’s use of nutrients, it follows that a diet that lowers glucose and insulin levels may be beneficial. In fact, I had discussed the ketogenic diet and the fascinating research being carried out by Thomas Seyfried and Dominic D’Agostino, among others, in my original draft. Here’s a passage that got lost along the way:

On the surface, the strategy of using drugs to cut off a tumor’s supply of nutrients is not unlike the strategy advocated by Thomas Seyfried, at Boston College, who is the author of Cancer as a Metabolic Disease. Seyfried is among the few researchers who believe Warburg got the whole story right and that cancer originates with the cell’s inability to produce sufficient energy with oxygen. Other researchers aren’t seeing the damage to respiration, Seyfried argues, because they’re looking at cancer cells outside of the body and failing to appreciate that cells in culture behave differently. Warburg “had this thing pegged,” Seyfried says.

Unlike most cancer metabolism researchers, Seyfried is primarily focused on non-toxic therapies, particularly the ketogenic diet, which has been used as a therapy for epilepsy for decades. The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, very low-carbohydrate diet, though Seyfried believes the diet also has to restrict calories to be effective against cancer.  Without access to carbohydrates, which breakdown to glucose, the liver turns to fat and produces ketone bodies, an alternative fuel source that very few cancers are able to use.

[TIM: On such a diet, 95%+ of the ketones produced are derived from beta-oxidation of fatty bodies. A small % comes from ketogenic amino acids (AAs) such as leucine and lysine. That said, a high-protein diet doesn’t work well for inducing ketosis, as the liver will convert AAs into glucose via the process of gluconeogenesis.]

Seyfried, together with Dominic D’Agostino of the University of South Florida College of Medicine [TIM: Dom’s advice has led me to conduct monthly fasting experiments], is now investigating the combination of ketogenic diets and non-toxic therapies. When Seyfried, D’Agostino, and colleagues combined a ketogenic diet with hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT) in a mouse model of aggressive metastatic brain cancer, they were able to dramatically shrink tumors and increase the average survival time from 31.2 days for mice on a standard diet to 55.5 days, a significant increase for an advanced cancer.

[TIM: For HBOT protocol, Dominic used 2.5 Atmospheres (2.5A) for 60 minutes on Mon, Wed, and Fri. Including pressurization and depressurization, each session was ~90 minutes.]

When they did the experiment again and added synthetically made ketone supplements to the non-toxic therapies, the results were even better [TIM: Here’s the study. Dominic adds, “Therapeutic ketosis with hyperbaric oxygen targeted tumor metabolism while simultaneously inducing oxidative damage in cancer cells by triggering an overproduction of oxygen free radicals”]. “Everybody’s always saying, ‘We want something that targets the cancer cell but spares the normal cell,’” Seyfried says. “The ketogenic diet does that.”

More on Diet, Glucose, and Insulin

Insulin, among its other roles in the body, tells a cell to take up glucose, a fact that makes it a natural suspect for a connection to the Warburg effect. When insulin resistance develops, cells are no longer as responsive to insulin, and the pancreas responds by producing more and more, at least until it wears out and diabetes begins to develop.

Too much insulin signaling and glucose uptake aren’t necessarily a problem for all cells, at least when it comes to cancer. Muscle and fat cancers may be extremely rare because the cells of those tissues have a way to store excess glucose and don’t need to metabolize it right away. Craig Thompson, the president and chief executive of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, thinks the same would be true of liver cancer, if not for inflammation from hepatitis infections. Breast, endometrial, and colon cells, by contrast, are rarely exposed to insulin signaling under normal conditions. “It’s a little scary to think that those pathways are getting turned on by 50 times higher insulin in your serum, 24-hours a day,” says Lewis Cantley,  the director of the Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medical College.

It was Cantley who brought the worlds of insulin signaling and cancer metabolism research together with his discovery of the of the enzyme phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) in the mid-1980s. PI3K is part of a pathway of proteins that regulates the effects of insulin and IGF-1 (a closely related hormone) inside of a cell. When Cantley made his initial discovery, it wasn’t immediately obvious that it had implications for cancer, though by the end of the decade Cantley had become convinced he was onto something significant. The rest of the cancer community began to pay attention in the late 1990s, when other researchers discovered that PTEN, the tumor suppressor gene that has the job of slowing the PI3K pathway down — Cantley calls it “the braking system for PI3K” — is one of the most commonly deleted genes in many cancers. Mutations in the PI3K pathway have since been found in up to 80 percent of all cancers. These are the same cancers that use the Warburg effect and show up on PET scans.

According to Cantley, the PI3K pathway can be activated by mutations even when there is no extra insulin around or by extra insulin even when mutations haven’t yet appeared. But there’s reason to think that long-term elevated insulin, driven by diet, is often the first step in the process. Once the cells begin to take up more and more glucose, Cantley explains, they also produce more and more reactive oxygen species, or free radicals, which can lead to mutations — including mutations in the PI3K pathway. These mutations can further accelerate glucose uptake until the cell no longer even needs the insulin to obtain its steady influx of glucose.

Thompson found his interest turning to PI3K pathway upon his discovery of the role of AKT in regulating glucose uptake. AKT is part of the same pathway as PI3K, which is now also referred to as the PI3K/AKT pathway. That insulin signaling could be driving many cancers fit perfectly with Thompson’s research. Thompson had discovered that cells are supposed to be able to carefully control when other cells eat. The bombardment of insulin and IGF-1 signaling makes a mockery of that delicate regulation.

It’s also possible that, in some cases, insulin resistance contributes to cancer only indirectly, by causing the pancreas to peter out and stop producing enough insulin. When that happens, glucose levels rise in the blood and diabetes begins to set in. Whether it’s the elevated insulin or the elevated glucose that follows that’s driving the growth of tumors can be difficult to tease out. Matthew Vander Heiden, a leading cancer metabolism researcher at MIT, says that whether insulin or glucose is playing a more important role may depend on the given cancer. “Both probably contribute,” he says.

[TIM:  This is one reason I tend to avoid not only high glycemic-load foods (the usual carb-rich suspects), but also insulinemic (insulin-spiking) foods that fly under the radar due to low glycemic load/index, including many types of dairy and non-caloric sweeteners. Explanations for the latter range from bitterness to microbiome impact.]

Other Top Cancer Metabolism Researchers and a Note of Caution

Writing an article of this nature is always a bit of a balancing act. On the one hand, I’m genuinely enthusiastic about the Warburg revival and think it holds enormous promise for cancer treatment, and, in particular, the role of diet in cancer prevention. But with respect to treating most cancers, there remains a long way to go before we’ll know if metabolic therapies live up to their promise. Many of the researchers I spoke with see a future of metabolic therapies used in conjunction with other therapies. And while almost everyone I talked to was optimistic about the future of metabolism drugs, a number of the researchers stressed the challenges ahead.

Matthew Vander Heiden of MIT (mentioned above), studies the biochemical pathways that cells use to fuel their growth. He believes that targeting metabolism might leave tumors with fewer opportunities to evade treatments than targeting mutations, but also stresses that metabolism is extremely complicated. “I really push the idea that there’s not one cancer metabolism,” says Vander Heiden, noting that a liver cell that becomes a tumor might require different metabolic changes than a lung cell that becomes a tumor.

David Sabatini of MIT’s Whitehead Institute, also struck a note of caution during our conversation. Sabatini discovered the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) while still a graduate student at Johns Hopkins. The mTOR pathway is a critical regulator of growth in many species, but despite — or perhaps because of — his significant contribution to the field, Sabatini has come to appreciate the many challenges cancer metabolism researchers still face: “Pathways,” according to Sabatini, “can go in many, many different directions and change very, very quickly.”  Sabatini says that he currently sees the most hope for therapies that are able to target cancer cells where they differ from other proliferating cells, which can also turn to the Warburg effect when growing.

Peter Attia, a prominent doctor who spent two years as a surgical oncology fellow at the National Cancer Institute [in Steve Rosenberg’s immunotherapy lab] and served as the president of the Nutrition Science Initiative, has been publicly drawing attention to the promise of metabolic therapies for a number of years on his blog, The Eating Academy. But Attia also told me that it’s naïve to assume that metabolic therapies are going to be “the Holy Grail.” “We have to give cancer a hell of a lot more respect than that,” Attia says. Attia sees a future where chemotherapy, and perhaps also radiation for local control, remain in the arsenal but are accompanied by immune-based therapies, possibly hyperbaric oxygen, and “huge amounts of metabolic therapy” — including dietary changes. “I think that at that point you can turn cancer into a chronic disease,” says Attia [TIM: I spoke with Peter and he added “Basically, think of HIV. You die with it, perhaps, but not necessarily from it.”]. “You’ve got to be able to exploit every weakness.”

I was also sorry that I didn’t have more room to discuss the work of Peter Pedersen, a biochemist at Johns Hopkins, who was among the relatively few cancer researchers who continued to pursue Warburg’s ideas about tumors and energy long after they fell out of fashion. Pedersen still remembers the day, around the time he came to Johns Hopkins in 1964, that he spotted parts of a device known as a Warburg apparatus left out in the hallway with the trash. The Warburg apparatus, which measures respiration, had already been replaced by more modern technology, but the symbolism was hard to miss. According to Pedersen, there was already “little or no interest” in Warburg at the time. (Pedersen also wanted me to flag that the critical research on 3-bromopyruvate was carried out by Dr. Young Ko.)

More on Otto Warburg and the Nazis

While working on the history portion of my article, I received extremely valuable assistance from Petra Gentz-Werner, who has written several books about Warburg in German. Here’s a bit more detail on Warburg, including the story of how Hitler’s inner circle protected him:

Warburg was a short, handsome man with penetrating blue eyes. He had a deep knowledge of literature and history and became a lifelong Anglophile after a visit to Cambridge as a young man — he collected antique English furniture and would travel to England to buy his suits. In his written reflections on meeting Warburg at his institute in Berlin, the German biochemist Theodor Bücher recalled Warburg’s elegant woolen waistcoat, gray tweed trousers and carefully polished Scottish shoes.

Why Warburg took an interest in cancer as a young man is not entirely clear. In his slim biography of Warburg, the Nobel Prize-winning biochemist Hans Krebs, who worked in Warburg’s lab as a young man, writes that Warburg first became interested in cancer while still a medical student after becoming aware of the “ravages” of the disease and the lack of successful treatments. But cancer was likely on Warburg’s mind for the same reason it was likely on Boveri’s mind at the time. In the early 20th Century, the prevalence of cancer in Germany was greater than in almost any other nation and rising rapidly

That Warburg believed he would be the one to cure cancer was an early sign of what would later become an almost legendary arrogance. Dr. Richard Veech, a metabolism researcher at the National Institutes of Health, who did his doctorate at Oxford in the lab of Hans Krebs, remembers the day the then 65-year-old Krebs, a world-renown scientist, showed up in the lab in his pinstriped suit. Warburg had just sent Krebs a telegram telling him to come to Berlin. “I do not want your opinion,” Warburg wrote. “I want an audience.” Krebs spent two days listening to Warburg’s theory then flew back to England.

Of course, Warburg was the rare megalomaniac whose belief in his own greatness was fairly well founded. Warburg enlisted in the Germany military upon the outbreak of World War I, serving as a physician and an assistant to a senior officer in a cavalry regiment that fought on the front lines. In 1918, Einstein, prompted by Warburg’s mother, sent Warburg a letter in which he urged him to come home. In making his case, Einstein suggested to Warburg that his survival was important to the future of German physiology, and Einstein, as usual, turned out to be right. Warburg would return to Berlin and go on to become perhaps the greatest biochemist of the 20th century, making enormous contributions not only to the study of cancer, but also to the study of photosynthesis and metabolic enzymes.

[Skipping ahead here so as not to republish material from The Times] Still, the most remarkable fact was not that the Nazis prevented Warburg’s award but that Warburg was alive and well in Nazi Germany in 1944. The Nazis began purging universities and academic institutes of Jewish scholars as early as 1933, but Warburg, despite his Jewish ancestry, was left almost entirely unbothered. Worse yet for Warburg’s prospects in Nazi Germany, he lived with another man, Jakob Heiss. After serving in World War I, Heiss, according to Krebs, moved in with Warburg to “keep house” and then never left. Krebs writes that the two were “virtually inseparable.”

It certainly helped that Warburg was already a famous scientist and that the Rockefeller Foundation had funded the institute he ran in Berlin. And Warburg was well connected in German society. But fame and connections had not been enough to make other German scientist of the era untouchable. The most common explanation is that that Warburg was kept alive because a number of leading Nazis, including Hitler, were thought to be terrified of cancer. Hitler’s mother died from breast cancer in 1907 and Hitler believed his stomach cramps could be an early sign of the disease. So it’s easy to picture the bind Warburg must have created for the Nazis. In a country where cancer was genuinely dreaded, and where Jews were regularly referred to as tumors in the German body, Nazi leaders likely had come to see their best hope for a cure not only in a man of Jewish descent, but in a Jew who happened to have one of the most famous Jewish last names in the world and who lived with another man.

In 1941 Warburg’s scientific rivals did manage to have him dismissed from his position as director of Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Cell Physiology on the grounds that he had non-Aryan blood. At this point Warburg appeared to be in great danger and was likely saved by several influential connections who persuaded Philipp Bouhler, the head of Hitler’s private chancellery, to reconsider Warburg’s case. Bouhler, who oversaw the euthanizing of more than 70,000 disabled adults and children, wasn’t likely to be sympathetic. He reached out to a number of German scientists to assess Warburg’s importance before coming to the conclusion that Warburg should be returned to his position. After the war, Warburg said that Bouhler’s chief of staff, Viktor Brack who had directly intervened on his behalf, told him, “I did this not for you or for Germany, but for the world.” As part of the process of reinstating Warburg at his institute, his ancestry was reexamined. Despite his father’s two Jewish parents, Warburg was reclassified as only one-quarter Jewish.

Why the Nazis left Warburg alone is only half of the mystery. The other half is why Warburg stayed when he might have fled in the early 30’s like so many other Jewish scientists. Petra Gentz-Werner, a German scholar who has written books and articles about Warburg is convinced he had no sympathies for the Nazis. Gentz-Werner cites the book written by Warburg’s sister, Lotte, which highlights Warburg’s disgust for the Nazis.

The rest of the narrative picks back up in my published article for The New York Times Magazine.

The Last Word

Finally, because he has done so much to draw attention to the research of Otto Warburg and the metabolic roots of cancer, I was hoping there would be enough space to give Thomas Seyfried the last word on Warburg. Here is the ending I’d used in the longer version of the story, which, even if there had been space, probably would have been inappropriate for The Times:

With respect to his hypothesis that cancer begins with a problem of oxygen consumption, the mainstream scientific community has concluded that Otto Warburg was wrong. But in his recognition that cancer is deeply rooted in how our cells obtain and use energy, Warburg has been redeemed. Or, as Thomas Seyfried of Boston College puts it, “We found out that the son of a bitch is right!”

Afterword by Tim Ferriss

It’s a pleasure to publish Sam’s unpublished writing on this blog, and I suspect it will be widely spread.

If you write — or have written — for major outlets (NYT, WSJ, The Atlantic, etc.) and have feature-length pieces that are unpublished or that have been “killed,” I’d love to hear more about them.  My blog, newsletter, podcast, etc. easily reach 10+ million people per month.  In addition to Sam’s piece, I frequently publish on the sciences (e.g. unpublished chapters from Gary Taubes), travel, business, and more.

If you fit the above profile and find this interesting, please see this page for reaching out.  Thanks for not using this form for any other types of inquiries.

Suggested resources and further reading:

Books — 
Tripping Over the Truth

Interviews —
Dominic D’Agostino on Fasting, Ketosis, and the End of Cancer
Dr. Peter Attia on Life-Extension, Drinking Jet Fuel, Ultra-Endurance, Human Foie Gras, and More
Optimizing Investing, Blood, Hormones, and Life (see #65)

Articles —
Potential Tactics for Defeating Cancer — A Toolkit in 1,000 Words

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Inside an “Anything Goes” Sex Club


“Those who are easily shocked should be shocked more often.” – Mae West

In this post, we’ll look two alternatives to monogamy: an “anything goes” sex club and living with three lovers at once.

It’s very graphic, definitely not suitable for work (NSFW), and guaranteed to offend most of you.

If you’re chomping at the bit to express mock outrage, please check this out instead. For the rest of you, I’m hoping the below is hilarious and somehow helpful.

Lifestyle design is, after all, about a lot more than work.

And if anything below shocks or appalls you, please ask yourself: why does this make me so uncomfortable? Dig into the discomfort. Looking inward before lashing outward is good for the world.

Now, on to the taboo.


As some of you know, I’ve been conflicted about monogamy for a long time. I love intimacy, but my biology craves novelty… Read More

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General Stan McChrystal on Eating One Meal Per Day, Special Ops, and Mental Toughness

Chris Fussell and Stan McChrystal on the Tim Ferriss Show

General Stan McChrystal (Photo credit: David E. Alvarado, ISAF Public Affairs)

Stanley McChrystal (@stanmcchrystal)  retired from the U.S. Army as a four-star general after more than 34 years of service. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates described McChrystal as “perhaps the finest warrior and leader of men in combat I ever met.”

From 2003 to 2008, McChrystal served as Commander of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), where he was credited with the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

His last assignment was as the commander of all American and coalition forces in Afghanistan. He is a senior fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and the co-founder of McChrystal Group, a leadership consulting firm.

In this episode, we discuss everything imaginable, including:

– Why he only eats one meal per day, and what he eats
– His exact exercise regimen
– Tactical and psychological lessons of combat
– Self-talk used before and after difficult missions
– The development of mental toughness
– Favorite books, documentaries, etc.
– And much, much more

Chris Fussell (@FussellChris), who also joins the conversation, is a former U.S. Navy SEAL officer, former Aide-de-Camp for General McChrystal, and a current senior executive at CrossLead.


Want to hear a podcast related to personal security in the digital age? — Listen to my conversation with Marc Goodman, a former FBI futurist focused on defeating high-tech crime. Learn how not to be an easy target — stream below or right-click here to download:

Also, don’t miss my interview with hacker Samy Kamkar. — Listen to our conversation on conquering online dating, opening locked cars, and his story of accidentally taking down MySpace with the fastest-growing “worm” of all time (stream below or right-click here to download):

This episode is sponsored by Athletic Greens. I get asked all the time, “If you could only use one supplement, what would it be?” My answer is, inevitably, Athletic Greens. It is my all-in-one nutritional insurance. I recommended it in the The 4-Hour Body and did not get paid to do so.  Get 50% off your order at Athletic

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

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY:  In your opinion, what makes a good leader, and who exemplifies those qualities? Please share in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes… Read More

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