The Tim Ferriss Podcast: Filmmaker Jason Silva (#5)

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My guest this episode is the incredible Jason Silva.

Download it here.

Jason has been called the “Timothy Leary of the viral video age” by The Atlantic.

He is also host of Brain Games on National Geographic Channel. The show set a record as the highest-rated series launch in Nat Geo’s history, with an average of 1.5 million viewers for the first two episodes.

In this episode, we discuss his career, his skills, TV, his influences and tools, and much more.

Episode 5: Jason Silva

QUICK FAVOR – If you haven’t already, can you pretty please:

1) Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, even if you listen to it elsewhere?  This is critical for ranking and recruiting future guests.

2) Leave a review of the podcast on iTunes here? Even one sentence would be extremely helpful.

Hope you enjoy the episode!

You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

Would you like to sponsor the podcast (more than $5K per episode, less than $25K)? Please let me know by filling out this short form.

Below are the show notes, links to resources, and non-iTunes download options…

Select Show Notes for Episodes 5 (Thanks, Ian!)

  • Learn about epiphany addiction
  • How Jason uses flow states to create astonishing wordplay
  • The power of being open to “rhapsody”
  • Cognitive ecstasy and wonder junkies
  • Exploring discursive environments
  • What does the first hour of Jason Silva’s day look like?
  • The crappiest job Jason ever had
  • Why Chris Anderson, the curator of TED, is Jason’s ideal of a successful person
  • Why Jason would dream of working with director Danny Boyle
  • Advice for his younger self


“I think cinema is the last alter left…” – Jason Silva


Connect with Jason Silva: Twitter | Shots of Awe | Facebook | Personal Site


Just download the MP3 here, or you can stream it below:

Episode 4: Ryan Holiday

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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55 Replies to “The Tim Ferriss Podcast: Filmmaker Jason Silva (#5)”

  1. Hey dude,

    Never usually comment but I just wanted to say how deeply these podcasts are resonating with me.

    First came into contact with your stuff a month or two ago reading 4HWW. I’m in the final stages of product testing an infoproduct that I’m hugely passionate about and that has been getting a very encouraging market response right out of the gate, and have never felt happier or more engaged in my life.

    4HWW obviously made a huge impact on me – it has quite possibly been a more effective tool for me than any other book I’ve ever read (and I read A LOT). But I’m actually finding the podcasts even more inspiring. There’s something incredibly powerful about the window it offers into the lives and mental “operating systems” of all these uncommonly bright, ambitious, engaged people. It’s massively inspiring to know that all of these people (including you) are out there just keeping it real and killing it in their respective fields. It’s also an immensely valuable resource from a “belief modelling” pov.

    Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I think this project is incredibly effective at embodying the major values of freedom, optimism, intellectual engagement, etc, that your work has stood for, and I’ve really been getting a huge amount of value out of it in the context of my own journey (especially as I’m still pretty young and none of my friends are remotely interested in this kind of life). So yeah, I never usually comment on stuff online but I just wanted to say thanks for everything you’re doing! Sorry for the super long comment and I hope this finds you well.

    1. Thank you SO much for the kind comment, Michael. The podcast is a labor of love, and there are obviously critics who attack whatever I do, so it’s meaningful to hear this feedback.

      I promise to do at least another 5 more, then we’ll see how everyone is liking them (or not).

      In the meantime, I’m thrilled you’re enjoying them. Some really great guests coming 🙂

      Pura vida,


      1. Congrats on Episode 100, Tim 🙂

        We all really appreciate what you’ve created: The 4HWW, this podcast, and your blog.

        Keep it up!

  2. Really compelling interview with v. thoughtful questions, love the long form format. I’m reading Kotler’s book on flow now and as a surf-addict myself it’s insanely interesting to have that feeling (which all surfers know but few can properly articulate) deconstructed. Flow theory has connected so many dots for me and I agree with Jason that a life spent seeking these states is as good a goal as any to pursue – so much more concrete than some abstract and poorly defined notion of ‘happiness’.

    Would love to see a comprehensive post on ‘The Art and Science of Flow Hacking’ appear on the 4H Blog (perhaps this could be combined with an interview with Kotler?) such a powerful ‘meta-hack’ that I can imagine being applied to so many areas of learning and life.

    Just a friendly nudge for you Tim 😉

  3. This was really good, kind of short – not as good as some of the others. Number 2 has been my favorite to date! Great job man!

  4. Love the new podcast!

    Listened to everyone since its been mentioned on the random show.

    Looking to hear the next 🙂

  5. Ok, I went through the pain of subscribing in itunes because you asked so nicely. 🙂

    I have definitely found some value in these early episodes, and I think I’m finally inspired to give meditation a real go. I might even check out the early stoicism books again. Thanks.

  6. Your podcast just keeps getting better and better. I love the guests and your questions are great.

  7. Tim,

    Thank you for having Jason Silva on your show! What an amazing human being. When you first launched your podcast, I was hoping you’d have Jason on, and sure enough, you did.

    Listening to you guys chop it up right now, and loving every minute of it. Great combo. Keep up the stellar work — both of you. 🙂

    1. Thanks to Arman and everyone who’s commented! I really appreciate the feedback. I read it and take it seriously.

      – Tim

  8. dude… right out the gate you dominated your iTunes category!! do you have your how to on that just as u did your nytimes best seller domination??

  9. Hey Tim,

    I class myself as one of your 1,000(and more) true fans, I’ve been waiting for your podcast. I’ve listened to each one in the gym as soon as they’ve been released and enjoyed them immensely. This one was great also. I have to admit that *maybe* less wine makes for a better podcast…but it’s good to mix it up. That’s what Joe Rogan does – some his sober, others not so…

    I also like the longer format for deeper conversations. I know many do not, but, again, mixing it up and seeing what YOU are most comfortable with will make for a better production for the listener in the long run.

    Can’t wait to see what guests you have on in the future. I’m pretty sure this is going to be an ongoing thing for you. I hope so.



    1. Thanks, Chris! I’m having fun with this, and I aim to get better over time. Some really fun guests coming…

  10. Tim – Another great podcast! Really enjoying them.

    This is a little off topic but have you (or anyone else here) had any experience with kinesiology taping? Your thoughts?


  11. Enjoying the podcasts but the white males are weighing on me – a little more diversity and perspective please?

    1. More men and women of all sorts coming.

      But please realize that my first priority is good guests, not diversity for the sake of diversity. At least as it’s conventionally thought of.

      Keep in mind that “white” doesn’t mean non-diverse. The people I’ve interviewed are all incredibly different. Josh Waitzkin, for instance, probably has more in common with a black female high-level chess player than most of the other white male guests I’ve had on.

      But, yes, I hear you. Just interviewed a brilliant female MD yesterday 🙂


  12. Hi Tim,

    I’ve been devouring your podcasts. I’ve been a big fan, ever since 4HWW. I’ve applied a lot of the concepts to my work and life. Also, I have a 4 pack now (thanks to slow carb initially, and now leangains), and I’ve helped 5 friends/family shed over 10 pounds each with slow carb.


    I love your podcasts overall and also the Random Show. It feels like “virtually” hanging out with you guys and definitely contributes to the “the 5 people I surround myself with”.

    I was really looking forward to the Jason Silva episode, and it was interesting, but, I felt like you didn’t go as deep as you did with the others. I’m used to having at least a few “aha moments” during your podcasts, but at the end of this one, I was like, “that’s it?” 🙂

    My favorite podcast was the one with Josh & followed closely by Kevin & Ryan.



  13. One thing I really like about this podcast is that you bring people from different fields and when they start talking I find out so many interesting things which are new to me.

  14. Awesome!! I love J. Silva and his “Shots of Awe”/ BrainGames shows!! Tim, the pod cast is super rad and love that you are doing it!!! Episode 3 was sooo imformative!! Loved hearing you guys talk…look forward to many more!!!

  15. Hi Tim,

    I think this is the one of the best, or if not the best podcast on my radar right now. I am a fan of Joe Rogan and his crew. I love that this podcast has a similar feel, but that it is a little more intellectual and that it goes deep into the thought process of successful people. If these 5 are an indication of what is to come, I will listen to every podcast that you produce. Thank you so much for allowing us to be “flies on the wall” during your insightful discussions. Don’t be afraid to go longer! I would love all if all of these podcasts where 3 hours. (Or 4 to keep the branding going)!

    1. Thanks, Kevin! Yes, the plan is to have all of my podcast eps of this quality or higher. Some really fun ones coming.

  16. Hey Tim,

    Big fan of your work, read the 4Hour series and have listened to every podcast up to this point. Just to give you some context I can’t remember the last time I have commented on a blog site, so it just shows how captivating your work is!

    I enjoy the depth of your questions and can’t wait to hear the next few. You were inquiring about all the movies and soundtracks that inspire Jason but this was one of the few times we didn’t get any reading material! Ever since you had the post with the pictures of all the book shelves of incredibly successful people I for one have been obsessed with what successful go-getters read. As someone who is still a little young to figure out what field to get into I have found these books incredibly enlightening. I also find that a lot of the alpha-dogs of the world are actually reading the same material. Hell, Jason remembered the exact place he read your work.

    Other than the books I have really been enjoying every episode, and I think your best podcast has been with your buddy Josh Waitzkin, without question. Please, please, please continue the podcasts!!



  17. Loving the podcast! Extremely rewarding to hear you talk to such great minds and being able to learn from them. There’s one mind in particular that I couldn’t fathom taping into, and that is the mind of Christopher Nolan, he, in my mind, has yet to make a bad film, and Inception, The Prestige, and, especially, Memento are such mind boggling films, that I would enjoy hearing about his thought process. Do you think it would be possible for you to interview him ever? A true master, in every sense of the word, and his next film “Interstellar” involving, space travel, time travel, gravity, relativity, black holes, etc. really adds more questions onto how the incredible mind of Christopher Nolan works.

  18. Best podcasts ever listened to. Even I’m French with mediocre English, still many times I had spontaneous “Waaooh” moments…

    That’s a dream for me because more than “Tim Ferriss”, I love and learn from the ecosystem of these genius around Tim.

    Episode with Joshua Waitzkin is a must listen to. Incredible.

    Just please don’t stop these podcasts. They’re at very high level, so by definition maybe won’t have the greatest quantitative success.

    I love every minute of them and can’t wait to discover these guests, your 80/20 questions… Waaooh…

    As Kevin in comment said, Thank you so much for allowing us to be “flies on the wall” during your insightful discussions.

    Other point, other interviews sometimes you were on Skype with mediocre sound and missing words. These podcasts have great sound too.

    So if I wasn’t clear enough, PLEASE DON’T STOP even if quantitative success doesn’t come quickly 😉

    Your podcasts are like your blog, interviews and books. References I read and listen to sometimes for the 14th time.

    These are long term knowledge you’re generously giving us.

    So please as long as you have fun making them, please continue that was a dream became reality to listen you asking 80/20 questions to genius.

    Cheers and many thanks again

    Alexandre (Nasal guy 😉 if you remember the nasal dilator)

    P.S. For next guests, suggest them to come “empty stomach” for having the wine effect already in the second half of the episode 😉

    1. BTW just to let you know, “Notify me of follow-up comments via email” is cut in 2 lines and the box to check too far of it.

      Another point, when I commented in blog before, there were no need to log to WordPress this time it asked me to. And my WordPress account is our Company’s account.

      Now everywhere to comment, it became need to log in with twitter, FaceBook or now WordPress… Just an observation 😉 Not everybody has even neither Twitter nor FB account, still their comment could be interesting.

      These times webmasters are used to put out beta versions and wait if the owner asks for more.

      Why not themselves check if everything is fine, like “Notify me of follow-up comments via email” not being cut in 2 lines like I see below.

      And your blog has this problem on Chrome, Safari and Firefox.



  19. Hey Tim,

    I’m wondering how your month without alcohol is going? Do you miss the taste? I often have a drink have work or towards the end of the night because it helps me to relax and alleviate worries. Drinking at night provides a kind of joyous feeling, at least for a little while, even just the thought of having a drinking after putting in a productive day. I wonder do you ever feel this way?

  20. Thank you for this amazing series thus far! I am blown away by your Q&A with these really cool people. Your style is incredibly engaging. I cannot wait for next cast.

    Question: how do I get to the essay you referenced? Something about makers v managers?

  21. I’m loving the diversity of people these podcasts are done with. It’s refreshing to have people outside of the tech/entreprenerneuer circle. I also love that Tim’s obsessions shine through (ritual ritual ritual).

    The structure is coming together nicely and, in this instance, my only request is “moar!”.

  22. 🙂 Thanks for sharing Tim Ferriss! What Jason Silva is doing is extremely inspiring! I was the curator for TEDxOslo a few years back and he let us included his video on Radical Openess in our program. It was not only Jason who said “Wow!” when the video ended. Check this one:

  23. Thanks for these podcasts Tim! Any chance you could have another outsourcing experiment and have transcripts for the podcasts you make available?

      1. Transcripts would be great. I think they would get you a much bigger audience. Btw, podcast 7 with Stephen Dubner was excellent.

        Thanks, and keep doing what you’re doing! Josh

  24. This interview gave me a mindgasm for sure! I am digging Shots of Awe. I shared with my student, a 17 year old autistic farmer, today. He picked “Heroes Jouney” and “Fall in love or die trying”. Thank you for introducing us to such amazing and inspiring souls!

  25. Hey Tim,

    great podcast, this one and all the others. I listen them while running and content is entertaining. Glad to hear excellent minded people about life and daily routines.

    Also, the short podcast is also superb, don’t edit them and keep them short.

    Gracias Tim por tu trabajo e ideas. Estás ayudando a muchísimas personas con tus proyectos. Sigue adelante y vamos aprendiendo junto contigo.


  26. Tim, love your podcasts!!! Incredible work. Unfortunately Jason Silva does not come out as a genuine guy like you do! He is more words pasted together than real meaning. Keep up with the good work Tim. Always loving your work!

  27. Indeed, control is a common male challenge, that is why you need either woman or female energy to balance it.

  28. fantastic put up, very informative. I wonder

    why the opposite experts of this sector don’t realize this.

    You should continue your writing. I’m confident,

    you’ve a huge readers’ base already!

  29. Hey Tim,

    Another great, refreshing podcast! I have all your books and just recently stumbled onto the podcast series, which I eagerly started consuming during running sessions. I wanted to share one observation I had when listening to Jason Silva, which might in part explain why he is such a good public speaker… That is the good use of his voice as an instrument. I noticed a striking resemblance between his voice and the voice of Roger Love, a celebrity voice coach (there is a video of him on youtube on how to project confidence, posted by Victor Cheng). Since, you mentioned in the previous podcast with Ryan Holiday that you are not thrilled about the sound of your own voice, maybe this might help. Keep up the good work!

    Grtz from Belgium,


  30. What if Chris Anderson worked only 4 hours a week? Would TED exist?

    That may sound snarky but it’s not an attack. I’m literally curious about passionate work and huge projects that become something else. Doesn’t one have to be more present than 4 hours for something of the magnitude of a TED program?

    I just started listening to these podcasts, and there is some great stuff here as well as on the blog in general.

  31. Hey Tim,

    This is the first time I have ever left a comment on the internet! I find your work so meaningful to individuals who share your same stoic outlook on life. I have read all your books and enjoyed thoroughly the content. I feel your outlooks and real life experimentation of different hypothesis a most intelligent and productive means of mental evolution. I am hooked on your pod casts and after listening to them realize there are other people that share the same thought patterns. You have made a difference in my life. Thank you.


  32. Just wanted to leave a note letting you know, the podcast still has new “addicted” listeners. Thanks for getting Jason Silva on the show(personal fan), and keeping the show relaxed and so varied by guest. It’s bringing me some positive energy and insights into lives that I’d otherwise not know of.

    Thank you! -William