“We need to realize that we know how to impart expertise, but we don’t know how to impart creativity or genius.” – Eric Weinstein
My guest this episode is my friend, Eric Weinstein (@ericrweinstein), managing director of Thiel Capital, a Ph.D in mathematical physics from Harvard, and a research fellow at the Mathematical Institute of Oxford University. We recorded at my house after Eric emailed me this question: “Wanna try a podcast on… psychedelics, theories of everything, and the need to destroy education in order to save it?”
We cover a lot of ground, including:
- Living from first principles rather than the “consensus reality”
- The genius of Kung Fu Panda
- What it’s like working with Peter Thiel and how Peter hired him
- How to innovate when you risk being crucified by close-minded communities (and experts)
- His favorite books
- Why one of his favorite documentaries is about pornographers
- And much more…
- Listen to it on iTunes.
- Stream by clicking here.
- Download as an MP3 by right-clicking here and choosing “save as”.
Want to hear another podcast related to Peter Thiel? — Listen to the podcast where Peter discusses differentiation, value creation, competition and much more. It is a treasure trove (stream below or right-click here to download):
This podcast is brought to you by Wealthfront. Wealthfront is a massively disruptive (in a good way) set-it-and-forget-it investing service, led by technologists from places like Apple and world-famous investors. It has exploded in popularity in the last 2 years and now has more than $2.5B under management. In fact, some of my good investor friends in Silicon Valley have millions of their own money in Wealthfront. Why? Because you can get services previously limited to the ultra-wealthy and only pay pennies on the dollar for them, and it’s all through smarter software instead of retail locations and bloated sales teams.
Check out wealthfront.com/tim, take their risk assessment quiz, which only takes 2-5 minutes, and they’ll show you—for free–exactly the portfolio they’d put you in. If you want to just take their advice and do it yourself, you can. Or, as I would, you can set it and forget it. Well worth a few minutes: wealthfront.com/tim.
This podcast is also brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. I have used them for years to create some amazing designs. When your business needs a logo, website design, business card, or anything you can imagine, check out 99Designs.
I used them to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour Body, and I’ve also had them help with display advertising and illustrations. If you want a more personalized approach, I recommend their 1-on-1 service, which is non-spec. You get original designs from designers around the world. The best part? You provide your feedback, and then you end up with a product that you’re happy with or your money back. Click this link and get a free $99 upgrade. Give it a test run.
QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What is a philosophy or mindset that you find fascinating, but that you struggle to apply to your life? Please let me know in the comments.
Scroll below for links and show notes…
Selected Links from the Episode
- Drugs over Dinner
- Learn more about Thiel Capital
- Simonyi Lectures and Unification in Physics: Geometric Unity
- Migration for the Benefit of All by Eric Weinstein
- Learn more about equal temperament
- Learn more about the Overton window
- Read Eric Weinstein’s Quora post regarding Kung Fu Panda
- The Emperor of Scent by Chandler Burr
- Debunking the myth of Americans unable and unwilling to do science and engineering (presented at the National Academy of Science)
- Heraclitean Fire by Erwin Chargaff
- Kayfabe Essay
- Learn more about T4 bacteriophage
- Learn more about the Milgram experiment and the Asch conformity experiment
- Rate it X, a documentary about pornographers
- Winning a bet against a Nobel laureate
- Connect with Eric Weinstein
- The unique career of Eric Weinstein and how he accidentally became an economist [5:23]
- How a mathematician found a place at Thiel Capital [8:03]
- Examples of first-principle thinking and facing criticism [13:28]
- When Eric Weinstein started experimenting with different musical instruments [17:18]
- On learning languages, even when they don’t seem useful [21:58]
- Explaining the Overton Window [29:58]
- Kung Fu Panda and the question of, “How does an innovator leave a successor when it’s his time to go?” [36:33]
- How autodidacts can pave a path for successors [40:43]
- How someone in a low-agency area can see the world like those in high-agency areas [44:28]
- Most gifted books [47:18]
- Advice for those contemplating a move to the Bay Area [49:58]
- The key to understanding the philosophy behind Peter Thiel’s Zero to One [51:33]
- Can people be taught to see things that other people don’t see? [54:23]
- How Thiel Capital approaches problems to find creative solutions [59:18]
- Canonical design and creating commonplace solutions [1:01:58]
- If you were to design a class for a group of students between 9th grade and college, what would it look like? [1:06:38]
- When you think of the word successful, who is the first person who comes to mind and why? [1:14:43]
- What purchase of $100 or less has most positively affected your life in recent memory? [1:18:33]
- Morning rituals and work cycles [1:20:33]
- If you could have one billboard anywhere, with anything on it, what would it say? [1:25:18]
- Advice to Eric Weinstein’s 30-year-old self and what his life was like at that time [1:26:43]
- An ask or request for the audience [1:28:28]
- Eric Weinstein’s first experience with psychedelic drugs [1:31:33]
The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 700 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.