The Tim Ferriss Show: Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park – Making Art, Making Music, Getting To 60+ Million Albums (#21)

Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park.
Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park.

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Ep 21: Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park -- On Music, Creativity, Selling 60+ Million Albums

This podcast is brought to you by The Tim Ferriss Book Club, which features a handful of books that have changed my life. Here’s the list.

Now, on to our guest…

Mike Shinoda is best known as the rapper, principal songwriter, keyboardist, rhythm guitarist and one of the two vocalists (yes, an insane list) of Linkin Park, which has sold more than 60 million albums worldwide and earned two Grammy Awards in the process.

Mike has collaborated with everyone from Jay-Z to Depeche Mode, and he’s also the lead rapper in his side project Fort Minor, which I’m a huge fan of.

As if that’s not enough, he’s also provided artwork, production and mixing for all the projects mentioned above. The man is a beast… but did he start out that way? His answers might surprise you.

This episode covers how Mike got started, advice for aspiring musicians (or creatives/artists of any type), navigating “entertainment” and Hollywood, daily rituals, how he writes songs, how he rehearses, and much more.


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

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Show Notes and Select Links from Episode 21…

  • Mike’s first love, and what he thought he would do with his life
  • The humble, “boots-on-the-ground” beginnings of Linkin Park
  • From Linkin Park to Fort Minor, how Mike fills the void in music with what he wants to hear
  • How Linkin Park band members stood up to a major record label to get signed on their own terms
  • The story of how a few 19-year-old kids with red hair, tattoos, and facial piercings told Warner Brothers execs how to do their jobs
  • The importance of developing a fine-tuned radar for the subtle edits that can completely change your art into a “watered-down commercial nightmare”
  • An inside look at the various techniques to recording music
  • How songs are born
  • How Mike finds inspiration for his craft in things unrelated music
  • Why he will either delete your email or reply with a dissertation
  • Linkin Park’s rehearsal process
  • The software Linkin Park uses for rehearsals and shows
  • The one thing he would change about himself, if he could
  • And much more… Here’s the episode.


Books Mentioned in the Episode

Music Mentioned in the Episode

Movies Mentioned in the Episode


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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25 Replies to “The Tim Ferriss Show: Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park – Making Art, Making Music, Getting To 60+ Million Albums (#21)”

  1. Tim and Mike both emphasize the importance of loving the art, as oppposed to loving the material and status gains that come from sales of your art. Such an important point. Warren Buffet was also quoted as saying, “We enjoy the process far more than the proceeds, though I have learned to live with those also.”

    You’re far more likely to succeed if you love and are passionate about something. You’ll wake up every day thinking about it and how to improve it or take it to the next level. You’ll always be one important step ahead of the competition.

    Great job, as always.

  2. Hey Tim, I’m visiting Tokyo and I just went to @home maid cafe as part of a suggestion I saw you make on Trippy. It was pretty interesting, I don’t know if I like people calling me “Master”, but overall a lot of fun. Our maid actually lived 6 years in my hometown and went to a neighbouring high school for her high school years. WEIRD! Moe moe kyuuu… haha.

    I’m really enjoying these artist-centric episodes you’re posting. These are wonderful and me and my friends are enjoying them as we come from a technical engineering background. Mike Shinoda is a big inspiration of mine and listening to him talk about his process is wonderful. Cheers and looking forward to the next one.

  3. GREAT interview! Thank you Tim for your great questions and Thank You Mike for your candid and thoughtful responses! Keep it up!

  4. The Tim Ferriss Show is by far the best podcast I’ve ever come across. I’m curious, what movie directors would you want to interview if you had the chance? Perhaps one day we’ll see Christopher Nolan on the podcast?

  5. I continue to love all of the guests you bring on Tim. This one on the creative process about making great art and music is always fun to learn about.

  6. Tim – I’m always looking forward to your podcasts. I appreciate listening to this one, which allows me to connect the dots between art and life.

  7. OH MY GOD!

    That is what I call timing: since last week I became an addicted (again) to Linkin Park, and now, lo and behold, MIKE SHINODA on Tim Ferriss’ show, this is so awesome I don’t even have words, thank you Tim, for making this happen, will check it out now

  8. Fort Minor “Remember The Name” has been one of my workout songs for a couple of years! (I named the playlist “Hungry Music”. There are good pump-you-up tracks there!)

  9. Thanks for this Tim. Your podcast is truly the shiz. I was truly blown away when I saw that you got Mike Shinoda as a guest. Keep up the great work man.

  10. Hey Tim,

    You’ve made a mistake in your blog post. You wrote “Show Notes and Select Links from Episode 20…” and “SELECT LINKS FROM EPISODE 20” although it’s the episode 21.



    1. Tim – If you do…you’ll def need to deep dive into his 30-40lbs weight cut for a movie role. Not exactly the way the 4HB would design the cut, but interesting nonetheless.

    2. I support this cause 100%, Jared Leto is a beast in productivity AND in body maintenance… not to mention his voice is amazing

  11. Great stuff, I love what you said about people not believing they are artistic. I was always an artist but thought I’d better stay away from other stuff, like business. Guess it works both ways.

    Very inspiring podcast, I’ve always admired Mike.

  12. Mike Shinoda is one of my role models and I just love listening to his thoughts on various topics. Thanks a lot for getting him here for close to an hour. I hope Linkin Park play a show in India soon !!!

  13. Awesome post! This is my first time commenting but just had to say something because I’m a long time follower of yours who is a producer/engineer/music business head and just wanted to say I love how you always post such a wide range of topics across such diverse fields of interest. Always great content. Thanks for the inspiration, as usual.

    I would love to see a post on music that inspires you for certain activities/tasks. Who are some of your favorite musicians/artists/bands?

  14. Tim, thanks a lot for the interview! Mike is amazing 🙂 I’m so much looking forward to the Linkin Park concert in Zurich in November this year!

  15. Awesome podcast! As a drummer and lifestyle design enthusiast myself, I love how Mike combines both his kind of entrepreneurial world with art and music. Also great book suggestions, will check them out 😉

  16. I had stopped listening to Linkin Park after being an avid fan in the early 00’s. Listening to Mike here piqued my interest and I’m so glad to find such a rich back catalogue. Linkin Park are unmatched in quality, and I’m glad to have them as my new favourite band. Looking forward to seeing them return to Australia. Thanks for bringing him on Tim.

  17. Dear Tim,
    somehow I started digging in your old episodes and really enjoyed the Mike Shinoda talk. I was wondering if you ever gonna do another talk with him. I will be for sure one of the first listeners. Have a mindful week. Cheers Lukas