Sam Harris on Daily Routines, The Trolley Scenario, and 5 Books Everyone Should Read (#87)

The Tim Ferriss Show with Sam Harris
Sam Harris (Photo Credit: Steve Jurvetson)

“On one level, wisdom is nothing more than the ability to take your own advice.”

– Sam Harris

This is Sam Harris’s second appearance on the show. Sam is a neuroscience Ph.D. and the author of the bestselling books, The End of Faith, The Moral Landscape, Free Will, Lying, and Waking Up. His work has been discussed in The New York Times, Time, Scientific American, Nature, NewsweekRolling Stone, and many other journals.

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

#87: Sam Harris on Daily Routines, The Trolley Scenario, and 5 Books Everyone Should Read

Want to hear my previous interview with Sam Harris? — In this episode, we discuss spirituality, neuroscience, meditation, and more (stream below or right-click here to download):

Ep. 14: Sam Harris, PhD - Spirituality, Neuroscience, Meditation, and More

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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your biggest takeaway from this session? How has your thinking changed? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…


Selected Links from the Episode

Show Notes

  • What are five books you think everyone should read? [6:53]
  • In The End of Faith, you briefly discuss the challenging reality of having children. Why did you decide to have children? [18:58]
  • Why have you stopped doing public debates? Who would you like to debate? [23:18]
  • Could you talk about one of your differences with Christopher Hitchens on? Specifically, his pro-life stance. [29:03]
  • What fact/event has made you change your mind recently? [32:53]
  • What are Sam Harris’s morning rituals? I would especially like to know his meditation rituals. [36:03]
  • If you had to recommend one thing for brain health outside meditation or exercise, what would that be? [46:18]
  • Your first book, The End of Faith, featured a blistering attack on religious moderates. Now you strive to encourage religious moderation in the Islamic world. Have you changed your mind on religious moderation? [49:48]
  • Would you push the fat man in the trolley scenario? Do you think a society could occupy a peak on the moral landscape if it’s inhabitants would all push the fat man? [55:28]

People Mentioned

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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80 Replies to “Sam Harris on Daily Routines, The Trolley Scenario, and 5 Books Everyone Should Read (#87)”

  1. Can’t wait to hear! By far my most favorite scientist, and I have never enough of his speeches, books, interviews… Thank you, Tim!

    Hugs from Switzerland

  2. Tim you should have Tom House on the podcast! He is the private quarterback coach for Tom Brady, Drew Brees and other NFL quarterbacks. Based at USC he is the preeminent expert on the biomechanics of throwing and would be both a fantastic guest and a great look at how world class performance is trained and prepared for.

  3. The greatest gift we can leave the next generation is the ability to think critically. The worst thing we can do to our children is teach them things we think we know. Sam Harris is awesome.

    Tim: I’ve been considering his (Sam Harris) advice that great thinkers need to try (at least once) mushrooms (or similar), I was wondering if you’d consider doing some personal testing on this and reporting back?

  4. Superintelligence? Really?

    Human’s have evolved desires. AIs don’t.

    I wish Sam would answer Steven Pinker’s reply to the piece “The Myth Of AI”

    Pinker: “The other problem with AI dystopias is that they project a parochial alpha-male psychology onto the concept of intelligence. Even if we did have superhumanly intelligent robots, why would they want to depose their masters, massacre bystanders, or take over the world?”

  5. I enjoyed hearing Sam Harris speak. He is eloquent and not overly emotional. I can sense a true conviction in what he’s saying, so I respect that he authentically represents what he really thinks.

    I am concerned about a statement he made in his interview. It seems to be one of his less critically-developed thoughts.

    When discussing Francis Collins’ beliefs, Harris passes off a common misunderstanding of science and it’s function.

    Harris says that Francis Collins’s “commitment to evangelical Christianity” is “illegitimate [because] it is unscientific” (26:56). However, as a scientist, he knows that science doesn’t claim to measure anything that is supernatural. This is a fundamental starting point for scientific discovery. Since God is supernatural, it would be more appropriate to test His existence through other means, such as philosophy or experience, but science wouldn’t be the tool to measure anything supernatural.

    Moreover, the basic assumption that Harris states is self-contradictory. By stating that Collins’s belief in God is illegitimate because it is unscientific, Harris is holding Collins up to a standard that Harris himself is not keeping. Harris’s belief that “a belief in something must be scientific in order to be legitimate” is a scientifically untested belief and has no empirical evidence, so it would also have to be illegitimate. Because it is self-contradictory it cannot be true.

    I could be misunderstanding something. If he’d like to respond, I’d love to hear what he has to say about this. I’m also not working on a debate; discussion would be nice.

    1. With regards to Francis Collins, Harris appears to make perfect sense. Since Collins espouses evangelical, religious beliefs (i.e. not based on empirical evidence), he is coming from an inherently unscientific place. Science is about falsifiable propositions, testable assumptions, etc. Religion must be taken entirely on faith.

      If you take this one board, it’s obvious that Harris does not demonstrate the “self-contradictory” position that you you claim he does. Science is nothing more than a commitment to evidence. You could argue via reductio ad absurdum that no belief can ever be proven beyond any doubt. This is an old philosophical trick. But the worldview of science is global, unified, and evidence-based. The same cannot be said of religion. Collins’ point of departure is a commitment to Christian theology, sans any observable or quantifiable evidence. This is troubling because science and religion obviously say irreconcilable things about the cosmos. Only science relies on logic and reason, while religious texts may tell us any number of stories. If Collins expressed a deep belief in the power of Thor’s hammer, would people still take him seriously?

      But with millions of subscribers, Christian dogma is deeply ingrained in society. And Collins gets a free pass.

      1. Has Francis Collins said or done anything to indicate that his religious beliefs have caused him to perform poorly at his post? I honestly don’t know anything about him. I ask because, as a Christian, it seems (anecdotally) that atheists believe that religious faith should preclude someone from any scientific or governmental position. That feels like a “slippery slope,” if not a dangerous one. I understand why someone would feel that way. But in practice, I think it requires very careful consideration.

      2. What makes Christianity different than other religions is the fact that it’s God became man. There is no debate whether Jesus lived. By historical (Roman) records we know that he was crucified dead and his body was never recovered. The question is whether he is God. We know his life fulfilled over 300 prophecies written before his birth. I would argue there is as much evidence here for you to form your belief as there is with that of gravity. The fact that you deny it for one reason or another doesn’t change anything. It would be no different than me denying the existence of gravity.

      3. Thanks, Brian.

        First of all, I realize that these types of forums get bogged down with the same thing Harris mentioned in his interview – dogmatic debate where nobody is actually listening to each other, so from the jump I’ll just say that I won’t do that to you. It’s good to keep our minds open to growing, and I believe that we do that through open discussion with people who think differently than us. My response is so long in hopes of being clear, not wordy. (Sorry if length seems like a rant.)

        In light of that, I do agree with you that religious beliefs are not always based on empirical evidence and are therefore unscientific, and that religion is taken entirely on faith. And to clarify, I don’t mean that through reductio ad absurdum, because “no belief can ever be proven beyond any doubt” we might as well believe in God. (Pardon me if I understand you incorrectly, I’m not well-trained in formal/informal logic.)

        I hear what you’re saying, and I had not realized that my initial post was as ambiguous as you’ve helped me to realize. So, I think that responding to a few things you’ve said might help me clarify myself.

        You’ve said that the “the worldview of science is global, unified, and evidence-based.” By global and unified, at first I wondered if you meant that because so many people believe in it, it must be true – some sort of democratic science. But then I realized from the depth of your overall response that I must be interpreting it wrong. I think you mean that scientific observations have been globally confirmed through many experiments, and therefore unified in the strength of so many studies. That makes sense: science has served us so well because scientific observation is so well developed, and scientists so well trained. I also acknowledge that a lot of religious experiences come from people untrained in scientific observation, thus making their experiences harder to trust. So even the “millions of subscribers” (actually about 2.2 billion) to Christianity, I can see why we should be skeptical.

        Counting all religions combined, more than half of the world’s population believes in some sort of god. Just because they are not scientific observers, can we so easily discount the beliefs of this many believers as purely dogmatic or as followers of blind faith? Of course it would be some kind of fallacy for me to say that “with so many believers, there must be some credit to their claims.” It would be equally an argumentum ad ignorantiam to say that there is no god, right? So my point about Collins’ beliefs not being scientific is, twofold: (1) I don’t see where faith has ever claimed to be scientific – most religious texts discuss experiences, not scientific evidence; (2) it would be more honest to be agnostic (in the “I’m not convinced there is/isn’t a god” sense) than to be atheist, since the main claim of atheism is that there is no god – a claim that is also without scientific evidence. You may say I’m shifting the burden of proof, but I respectfully bow out – I’m not claiming to prove anything except that nothing is proven on either side of the argument.

      4. dlmoon,

        I appreciate the collegial tone of your response. I’ll start with where we seem to agree:

        – The scientific worldview is based on empirical evidence and falsifiable predictions, making it a common language for humanity. Religious beliefs have no such requirements and are often taken on faith.

        Our dialogues diverge on several other points – I will try to clarify my positions.

        -People can have profound “religious” experiences that are not adequately explained by science. This does not discount the claims of religious folks, but since people of all religions purport to have these transcendent moments, there must be something more fundamental. This is what Harris discusses at length in “Waking Up”: that these experiences are open to anyone and do not require an adherence to a particular set of beliefs, save a curiosity about the workings of our mind.

        -You argue that faith does not claim to be scientific, yet religion does impinge onto the domain of science in many areas. Take Christianity. In many schools throughout America, Creationism or Intelligent Design are taught in place of evolution. Stem cell research has also suffered mightily from Christian beliefs (Bush imposed an 8 year ban than ended in 2009). These are just a couple examples to illustrate a point: religion and science both make truth claims which are often incompatible.

        -Atheism, in the modern sense of the word, is simply a lack of belief in gods, not an outright denial of their existence. I don’t deny the remote possibility of a Christian deity in the same way I don’t deny the remote possibility of the moon suddenly vanishing. As Harris has pointed out, we don’t label folks “non-astrologers”, so it seems silly that lacking a set of religious beliefs is taboo. Perhaps your definition of agnostic is closer to my definition of atheist and we don’t totally disagree here… but the burden of proof is always on the side of the believer, and a lack of evidence to the contrary does not reify any particular notion. If we don’t plant our feet here, an infinite number of outlandish beliefs are lent credence, from distant moth-like overlords to planets made of swiss cheese.

    2. Regarding your paragraph about Francis Collins’ unscientific commitment:

      I’d imagine that Harris is implicitly stating that legitimate claims require scientific (or empirical) evidence. Also, that the idea of “supernatural” is a misleading term that implies that such concepts lie outside of science. Actually, there is an increasingly large field of science dedicated to explaining what many would call “supernatural” beliefs, such as belief in god. Science is indeed a tool to measure the supernatural; many psychologists have developed evolutionary theories as to why humans came to believe in gods.

      1. Thanks, James W.

        I appreciate the response. I’ve written a bunch in my response above to Brian Stanton’s reply that may address some of what you’re saying, so I’ll keep this response short(er).

        First, I agree with you, that “Harris is implicitly stating that legitimate claims require scientific (or empirical) evidence.” In fact, my point is that even this implicit statement is a claim and should therefore, by its own claim, require scientific (or empirical) evidence. I personally haven’t seen any scientific evidence to support this implied claim, but I’ll admit that I’m also not well-read on that issue. If you could point me toward any studies on this, I’d love to read them.

        Second, I’m aware of the psychological explanations for supernatural beliefs. However, as theories and with actual evidence (i.e., we have no time machines to go back and verify that the psychologists are right), and many of their explanations overlap. In fact, literary thinkers have also explored many of these ideas (read “Satan” by Kahlil Gibran, or “The Egg” by Andy Weir). Psychology is carried out scientifically and offers insightful, well thought out ideas, much like philosophy or sociology, but the theories that psychology offers about the origins of our beliefs can’t be called empirical – our beliefs begin far before possible observation.

        That said, I do enjoy reading psychology. Here’s a funny thought as well: peruse any Family Christian Bookstore and see how many books these days are mainly some form of Christian psychology, and so few are actual theology or philosophy. Maybe that accounts for Christianity looking far less logical these days than, say, CS Lewis, GK Chesterton, or St. Augustine.

        Thanks again, James W.

      2. dimoon pointed out that claims that legitimate claims require empirical evidence is itself a claim that requires empirical evidence and then he said he is not aware of any.

        I completely disagree that we lack evidence about the need for evidence. All of modern knowledge about how the universe functions was acquired on a best fit with the empirical evidence basis. Furthermore, much of modern knowledge about the universe functions is non-intuitive and counter-intuitive which further closes the door to any alternative approach. Furthermore, all success lies on the side of naturalistic methods and conclusions, which further closes the door to supernaturalism. The evidence here is huge in quantity and in and clear in direction. Anyone who continues to be a philosophical supernaturalism is ipso-facto not following a best fit with the evidence approach regarding both their method and their conclusion.

  6. Tim, I heard you mention Sam Harris a couple of times in your podcasts, but I thought to myself, it cannot be the Sam Harris I know. Being a Muslim, Sam Harris is to me one of the most extremely bigoted human beings that there exists. This is what he has to say about 1.6 billion people:

    We should profile Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim, and we should be honest about it.

    I understand that he is otherwise expectational and worthy being interviewed by you, but my only hope is does not turn you into a bigot too. 🙂 As a long-time fan, I would be really disappointed.

    1. Banago, I agree. For the most part I think Sam Harris is quite reasonable, yet the profiling statement is fraught with risk. When we look at the diversity of Muslim people, the only thing I can think he meant was racial profiling, which is a shame, since he has some worthy things to say.

      1. One snippet from the blog where he has an email debate with Bruce Schneier, Sam states, “In your article, you declare that my profile isn’t accurate because “it isn’t true that almost all Muslims are out to blow up airplanes. In fact, almost none of them are.” Unfortunately, this gets things exactly backwards. The question is not, What is the probability that any given Muslim is a terrorist? The question is, What is the probability that the next terrorist will be a Muslim? You can bury the signal in as much noise as you want; it will not change the fact that the threat of suicidal terrorism is coming from a single group.”

        There are other Sam Harris books, videos, and blog posts where he talks about the this issue at length (below is a link to his blog and views on profiling), and from what I’ve read and heard, he is talking about airport security only. He includes himself as one of those that should expect to be more inconvenienced at airports simply because of the way he looks; as opposed to an elderly couple for example. In my view, he is merely suggesting that treating every single passenger entirely equal, whether it be that we all get heavily scrutinized or we all get treated with an equal level of trust or leniency, for the sake of being politically correct and not hurting people’s feelings, is not the most efficient use of limited security resources and that spreading these resources too thin will make it less likely to prevent the next disaster. He is also not talking about incarcerating, unlawfully detaining without due process, or that we should treat airline passengers like the prisoners at Abu Ghraib. He is also not suggesting that anyone’s luggage go unchecked. He is talking about being honest about who should be getting most inconvenienced at airports vs. the least inconvenienced.

        Btw, I am an Italian with dark hair and dark skin. I fit the profile from an appearance perspective, and his viewpoint does not upset me.

    2. He includes himself in that cathegory though.

      He is not bigoted at all, which you would have known if you had read him rather than all the people strawmanning his positions.

    3. How is Sam Harris a bigot? He makes no claims that are not laid out in the Holy Qur’an. If belief in this document is what constitutes a Muslim – is it unfair to assert that a Muslim practices its contents? And if a Muslim practices its contents, can we not make certain assumptions/predictions about their actions based on the Qur’an’s content? My assertion is YES. Most religious doctrines are not all peaceful, loving documents. They make assertions about acceptable violence, subjugation and punishment for non-compliance.

      If you do not believe the Qur’an 100%- separate your self from it – if you do not agree with some items – you are not Muslim in a religious capacity, you believe something uniquely different from Islam. Perhaps you are Muslim by culture if that is the case, but that means your affiliation with the religion is superficial, and only so you ‘fit in’ with those around you. If you do believe the religious documents , accept that there are some assumptions that can be made about you – because they dictate your life, as mandated by the document itself. In religion – there is no middle ground. You are or you are not. My suspicion is that you are not.

    4. I think Sam means we need to take a more critical look at our belief systems and the reality they create. Islam is the easy target but no more dangerous to ignore than any other belief system that is not based on a scientific understanding of what us Earthlings actually are and why we do what we do.

    5. There is a new interview with Sam Harris by Dave Rubin, where they discuss all the legends that are circulating about Sam Harris. This phrase, as many others, is taken out of contest and blown to the extent that people start believing that Sam Harris hates muslims… if you are really open minded you can check that interview on youtube. I’m sure that anybody, regardless of religion, could benefit from what he is talking about.

    6. back to the banjo, banago! as an abject slave of the runt of monotheism you must surely check in with modernity on occasion – do they have anything other than iron age idiot tablets around? – my 83yr old vietnamese grandmother being profiled is a waste of resources – you however are a profile candidate and you can thank that celestial dictator allah for earning you the privilege. Now join modernity and GROW UP!

  7. Sam, in order to appeal to religion, got himself deep into trying to identify with eastern religious meditation and now draws back a bloody stub on his testimony of how he fulfills his daily meditation routine. True meditation requires tuning out the physical world and tuning into the spiritual, which is not accomplished lightly, as Sam suggests in his answer.

      1. People want gurus and to get recognized as such, start with a best seller, and the next thing you know, the author becomes an expert on everything, simply because people expect it from him, thus putting him upon a pedestal to high for any mortal. Religion, like that of bad science, promotes ignorance, and enlightenment in these areas are needed, just as Sam’s work suggests, but falling into the same quicksand that you are trying to get others out of, only leads to the downfall of the hopeful rescuer and his attempts to deliver. In short, I believe it is quite obvious that Sam Harris is now promoting his own stile of religion and seeks a following of such, while not even realizing, himself, that into which he has fallen. Like the many before him, Sam’s efforts will only stand the test of time if and when he awakens, himself, to the problems he is trying to solve. True genius is not reflected in how many of the puzzle pieces you may think you have or even how well you might think that you can assemble them, but how well they match the picture on the box and your willingness to accept change and conformity to that big picture, regardless of your ideas of reality, whatever those ideas might be. And of all people, Sam knows what the term “self determination” means and the evils it has, and continues to impact upon society, preventing World Peace. When I first met Sam I had great hopes that he was on the right track with his work on the subject of the Illusion of Free Will, which, if understood, could be the seeds to that Peace and brotherhood of mankind, but I soon realized that Sam didn’t really understand the gravity of what he had, and I watched him, to soon, fall prey to the same old demons, Self determination keeps alive.

  8. The subject, “secularized religion” opened the thought floodgates for me; exposing the hypocrisy and silliness of popular religion in a new light.

  9. Sam, your claim that we have a “soul” betrays your claim of atheist or scientist, which neither believes or has evidence to such even existing.

    1. Sam Harris disputes that we have literal souls that can be detached from bodies. He uses that word differently. If you read more of his literature, you will discover this.

  10. Great podcast. Thanks Sam and Tim.

    I’ve heard the trolley scenarios a million times. Each time I wonder, what if one of the four workman you saved was a “Hannibal Lector?” Or what if the fat-man was about to make a great contribution to society which would helped many people for years to come? The only way to simultaneously maximize the number of lives saved and to spare yourself a lifetime of being haunted by the thoughts and consequences of your decision is for you to be the one to jump in front of the trolley; voluntarily.

  11. I only read four blogs: this one, Sam Harris’s, MDA, and Chris Kresser’s. You can imagine my ebullience to see the planets aligning here.

    It was a pleasure to hear Sam’s thoughtful responses to these questions. When he started talking about his daily rituals, I nearly rewound the episode in disbelief! Perhaps because Harris seems to remain in an imperturbable state of Zen during any public appearance, I found the mental image of him getting sidetracked by a flurry of morning emails almost comical. But in defense of his psyche, it sounds as if his many weeks on silent retreat have inured him to some of the exigencies of modern life. One can bring mindfulness to any task, even the dreaded Inbox review.

    I’ve practiced meditation for nearly a year now, but not for a dedicated stretch. I wonder…how might my conscious approach to life change with a retreat? Could my brain undergo a permanent shift? Tim covered neuroplasticity on his recent episode with Adam Gazzaley and also with Arnold Schwarzenegger. It appears that, yes, our brains can be rewired via specific experiences and habits of attention. But would entering a retreat with some kind of goal be counterproductive? In my view, the human mind functions most calmly and effortlessly when we simply allow it to notice and act without constraint (the constrainer, in this case, is analogous to the “illusion of self” that Sam speaks of). With the realization that the constrainer is the constrained, one stops trying so hard and simply lives in a unencumbered state. This is somewhat hypothetical. I don’t speak from extensive experience in this state. If Tim, Sam or anyone else would care to expand on this thread, I’d be interested to read.

  12. Tim,

    I think its only fair that you also interview a Christian Apologist like James White (PhD, recently on Dr. Drew), Pastor and Successful writer like Dr. Tim Keller, (NYT Bestselling Author). Pastor Doug Wilson, did a dvd debate with the late Christopher Hitchens (Collision) or even Dr. William Lane Craig who actually debated Sam Harris on the subject of God. There is more than one side of the story. Thank you for consideration on this.

  13. Here is a challenge for you: Learn liberty in 2 weeks. You think you know about freedom, but your shows clearly indicate you have no idea. With your speed reading and meditation you should be able to read Murray Rothbard’s “Man Economy and the State” in about 8 days. Then you can probably take on Sam Harris on a debate, because if he’s looking for a challenge, he’s not really looking that hard. I’d love to see him stumble on the Tom Woods show or in an exchange with Larken Rose.

  14. I’m impressed Tim (not that I wasn’t impressed before!). You’ve really been pumping out the podcasts lately. Thanks for bringing us great content and can hardly wait to hear your conversation with Sam Harris.

  15. Sam is without a doubt one of the greatest thinkers of our time. I don’t agree with all of viewpoints, but he always makes me think a little more critically about complex issues.

    From this session, I was surprised by his comments about meditation and how a vipassana retreat brought him to another level. I’ve always been in the “just be still and breathe” camp when it comes to meditation, but now I’m rethinking that after hearing Sam talk about how much deeper his meditation practice has gotten over time. I might have to seriously consider doing a vipassana retreat now.

  16. I am new on this forum and this is the first time I have listened to Sam Harris. I hear people talk allot about the topics that Sam Harris touched upon i.e ( religion, Islam and science ) but don’t know where to start learning about them more so if any of you could help me and suggest a starting point it would be a great help.

    1. Shahbaz, my humble suggestion, God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens is a must-read. It is also suggested in the list above. Then follow up with Hitchens’ other books. If English is your second language (it is my second language) Hitchens’ books are not easy reads, as he uses every single word in English language and you will need a dictionary. Christopher Hitchens is one of the smartest and knowledgeable people ever walked on this earth. I would also suggest reading from some philosophers, if you haven’t already. Bertrand Russel is a great one to begin with.

  17. Great interview with Sam Harris.

    I really like Sam’s criticism of the Islamic faith the most as it is very taboo politically to do so. And it is obviously the most pressing issue of our time, lives depend on it. I hope peer pressure doesn’t force Sam to give up on discussing Islam in the media as he has eluded to. Hitchens would have never consider it.

  18. Tim:

    can you also include your affiliate links to the books on audible? (if something like that exists, like on amazon…). I prefer to listen to audio books and always look for the titles mentioned in your podcasts on audible. So just as another way to support your blog 🙂

  19. Around the 14 minute mark Sam says there isn’t really a book out there that takes a look at meditation without the religious aspect, the superstition, and whatnot. There is! I wrote it. It is a very popular book at Amazon, and was at one point selling 30 copies per day. It is, “Meditation for Beginners – A 22-Day Course.” I do hope you read it Sam! I began meditating in the late 1990’s. I wanted to follow a process that was strictly physical and mental, without the religious aspect. I basically just removed it all from Buddhist and Vipassana texts in which the breath was the focus of the meditation. I think you’ll like it. Cheers from Thailand!

    1. Nice, I hope your sales continue to grow. I think for the most part, there hasn’t been much of a market for non-religious meditation material, but that’s definitely changing as hardcore atheists like Sam Harris talk about their meditation practices.

  20. Tim-

    Have you done research on male pattern baldness? I am trying to weed through the paid advertisements online and find real data in regards to PRP & Acell therapy, or any other stem cell type therapy on the horizon? Would you be able to point me in the right direction? Or better yet, do a podcast on the topic with an industry leader? Thanks for the consideration, as I am sure this is a long shot.


  21. Tim … In his primary description of religion without being specific is unfounded and inaccurate. I think Sam needs to reevaluate the kindness of all religions and that radicalism has nothing to do with gentleness of most religions. Very smart man! He should research his information better ….his doctrine are incorrect! He is confusing the culture of religion as apposed to the religion itself.

  22. Love podcast but what keeps scientists engaging and interesting for me is when there is back and forth. I listen to every podcast but feel I don’t want to listen when they are just answering a list of questions without you in the room as well.

    Still love the podcast.

  23. Tim, please accept my gratitude for helping me take a big decision in my life. Your book 4HWW has done wonders to my perspective.

    You’ve done the 4 hour body, amazing stuff. You impressed me with your scientific approach in the 4HB. What I am finding challenging are two things, internal health wise. Ayurveda and other sciences claim they have found a cure for Diabetes. A family member has diabetes and I am trying to find a cure for it. I believe, there is a cure out there undiscovered by allopathic medicine system.

    Secondly, hair loss, again, Ayurveda and Yoga claim they can arrest the ill effects of hormonal imbalance such as DHT, and cause normal hair growth in men. Now, you know, how men feel about balding, the impact on their psyche. Also, how many companies out there are cheating men, preying on their insecurities, selling harmful products.

    I was impressed by your commitment and courage in experimenting on yourself to find the most effective way to easy weight loss. I believe, with your systematic and innovative approach to a problem, you can find solutions to both the listed problems above. More than a problem, it’s a dire requirement for millions of people around the world. I request you to take this up seriously. Thank you.

  24. Daily routine in the morning is such an important part of getting a productive day started. Kudos for a great interview 🙂

  25. Hey Tim,

    I am a huge fan and have been for te past 4 years now back when I got The 4 Hour Body. Your work has inspired me and I would like to help spread your content over a podcast. Are you open to having a 20 minute conversation on air?

    Thanks so much for all your content, it truly interests and inspires me.

    Best wishes,


  26. Love the 5-Bullet Friday emails. Ferriss content is always worth reading, but sometimes a short read is better than a long read, and sometimes text is better than podcast.


  27. Hi Tim! Love your content. Are you planning to release “The Tim Ferriss” experiment outside of iTunes? I’m not an apple user and I won’t install iTunes on my PC (it messed up my music library once.)

    By far one of my favorite podcasts.


  28. Loved this episode. Thanks for the intro to Sam Harris. I heard you are coming to Australia – are you doing any public talks whilst here – please say you are. I Googled but nothing came up.

  29. Sam Harris nailed it – “Wisdom is the ability to take your own advice”! In the end it all revolves around having a good relationship with yourself…if you have a low self-esteem, you won’t do much in life.

    [Moderator: link removed]


  30. Not a real fan of this format, the follow ups. The best ones are specific, like Pavel giving additional instructions, while this one is the worst kind, the person talking to themselves justifying opinions. I think if you were to select the questions based on actual facts rather than justifications it would be more useful. One of the charms of a podcast is the interplay between people. This format loses that, leaving the educational aspect as the main reason to listen.

  31. Love this podcast – Sam mentioned that he takes concentrated turmeric (curcumin) as a supplement to prevent dementia. Which brand do you take and where do you get it? I’m in Australia so would love a web site that ships world wide if possible.

  32. This was great to listen to. Sam has the driest humor on the planet and it suits him well. He was able to deliver his points with conviction in an unemotional way. Was happy to hear Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj’s book mentioned on the cast.

  33. Out of all your guests, Sam Harris is my least favorite. All the guests seem human and practical. I am way more influenced through their personal stories and find their experiences more memorable than Sam’s style of lecture. I think you put it best in four hour body when you said that executives just wanted the index card to a perfect body but wouldn’t follow it. I find that one of your strengths is that you are have focus on to how to practically get results while Sam Harris seems like to sit on top of his Ivory tower…which is strange because the issues that he lectures about(spirituality and religious extremism) seem at their core a very practical subject.

  34. Great podcast, as always, in regards to spiritual books without religious ideology I would say Happiness by Matthieu Ricard is worth diving into; despite the slightly “self-helpish” title, the book is quite scientific and philosophical. Matthieu Ricard is a former molecular biologist turned Buddhist monk who come from a prominent Parisian family of intellectuals, despite the abundance of interesting people in his life, he felt there was something more to existence. Long story short, he spend his life finding the scientific connection between ancient philosophy, spirituality and modern science, in the book he shares his findings with cunning wit. It’s a profound book, I had to read it 7 times while gradually applying the principles he lays out, I’m sure when I read again I’ll get an even deeper understanding of the concepts he lays out. It’s filled with excellent metaphors on meditation that helped me gain a greater understanding and deepen my practice. Highly recommend it. Maybe check out his TED talk first, and if it spikes your interest, read the book.

  35. Tim, can you have someone on the show to elaborate on the pitfalls and benefits of AI, and what we might see in our lifetime? I found Sam’s comments about recently warming up to the real dangers of AI surprising. I always assumed with any AI you can simply “unplug” the box. It would be interesting to hear why it isn’t that simple.

  36. I would love if Tim did a write up of the income he generates from affiliate marketing on this blog. Of course he makes specific deals with his sponsors, but he also uses Amazon Associates for every book or product mentioned in these episodes. It would be interesting to see his conversion rates (I assume they are higher than average)

  37. It was a great experience listening to Sam, who – form me – is a “mastermind” and a very modest person at the same time, with a calm voice, talking to all the listeners, as if he was giving all his attention to one person.

  38. He gave in to siring spawn because he is weak and didn’t wrap his junk.

    He could have told his horse-faced wife that if she wanted to be a mother they could adopt. Certainly they can afford it and as a logical man, he knows adding more kids to an overpopulated and dying planet while children are dying is unethical.

  39. This is a real interesting podcast, I just listened another interview with Sam Harris on AoC. I like the fact he talks about so many points of interest and his facts are based on science.

  40. The hardest part of following your work is coming to your website. Please, for the sake of modernity and aesthetic decency, please update this platform. It’s very hard to navigate, and even look at.

  41. Tim is batting close to 1000 with his guests, and I don’t think he realized the extent of Sam Harris’ bigotry when inviting him to be on the show. If by some random chance this is your first episode of The Tim Ferris Show, please don’t let it influence your opinion of Tim. Unlike Sam Harris, I seriously doubt Tim believes that one billion muslims are violence-obsessed lunatics at war with everyone else.

    1. “Unlike Sam Harris, I seriously doubt Tim believes that one billion muslims are violence-obsessed lunatics at war with everyone else.”

      Sam Harris does not believe anything even close to this [Moderator: Additional text removed.]

      If you’re going to make disgusting allegations, have a cursory glance at the man’s work first.

  42. Love seeing this in my inbox…I will be listening to this in the car on the way home this afternoon ! Thanks to you Tim for introducing me to Sam Harris, I am now the proud owner of a number of his books and I am working my way through them, in between listening to his podcasts and watching videos on Youtube…cheers for Australia – p.s. I was born in Buenos Aires !!

  43. Please can someone tell me why I’m wrong.

    Here’s my solution to the trolley problem, assuming the classical version where you have the option to flick the lever to change the points and divert the trolley down either the left or the right branch.

    Assume fairly standard boxcar dimensions of 15m length, with 12m between the front and rear wheels. Assume a speed of 20mph, you have approximately 1 second between the two sets of wheels crossing the points.

    Pull the lever as the first set of wheels crosses the points, sending the rear wheels down the other track and derailing the train down the middle of the two tracks.

    Outcome 1: you derail the train, and no-one dies
    Outcome 2: you derail the train, some people get hit by flying train/debris
    Outcome 3: you fail to derail the train, and five people die
    Outcome 4: you fail to derail the train, and one person dies

    In every scenario you are morally acquitted because your intention was to achieve outcome 1, and the outcome that actually occurs is outside of your control.