“Just because you love something doesn’t mean you can’t suck at it.” – Mike Rowe
Mike Rowe (@mikeroweworks) is perhaps the best storyteller and pitchman I’ve ever had on the show.
You might know Mike from his eight seasons of Dirty Jobs, but that’s just a tiny piece of the story.
His performing career began in 1984 when he faked his way into the Baltimore Opera to get his union card and meet girls, both of which he accomplished during a performance of Rigoletto. His transition to television occurred in 1990 when — to settle a bet — he auditioned for the QVC Shopping Channel and was promptly hired after talking about a pencil for nearly eight minutes. There, he worked the graveyard shift for three years, until he was ultimately fired for making fun of products and belittling viewers. Now, he is a massively successful TV host, writer, narrator, producer, actor, and spokesman.
Why listen to this episode? You will learn:
Secrets of the perfect pitch
How Mike flew around the world for free (until he got caught)
Why to pursue opportunity instead of passion
How being different can help you win in business and life
- The business of Mike Rowe
- Favorite books, voice-over artists, and much, much more…
If you’re in a rush and just want a fantastic 5-minute story about his selling pencils for the QVC audition, click here.
- 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 from someone transforming the way we enjoy modern storytelling? — Listen to my conversation with Dan Carlin of Hardcore History. In this episode, we discuss his meditation practice, morning routines, and creative process (stream below or right-click here to download):
All you need to do to get your free 30-day Audible trial is go to Audible.com/Tim. Choose one of the above books, or choose between more than 180,000 audio programs. That could be a book, a newspaper, a magazine, or even a class. It’s that easy. Go to Audible.com/Tim and get started today. Enjoy!
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What did you do after high school? How do you feel that decision impacted your life? Please let me know in the comments.
Scroll below for links and show notes…
Selected Links from the Episode
- Five Complete Travis McGee Novels by John D. MacDonald
- A Curious Discovery by John Hendricks
- The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz
- Dune by Frank Herbert
- Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis
- Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa
- A Walk in the Woods, The Lost Continent, At Home and In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
- Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem
- Levels of the Game and Giving Good Weight by John McPhee
- The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (on Audible)
- About Face by Colonel David Hackworth and Julie Sherman
- Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
- The Baron In The Trees by Italo Calvino
- Listen to Dan Carlin’s Wrath of the Khans or Blueprint for Armageddon I
- Learn more about Samasource
- Listen to Mike Rowe’s Podcast:
- Connect with Mike Rowe:
- Dirty Jobs and the surprising respectability of biting the balls off a sheep [7:22]
- Developing the skill of impromptu performance [15:40]
- How Mike Rowe started working at QVC [18:30]
- Describing the QVC audition process and selling a pencil [21:00]
- The distinguishing characteristics of the best sellers on QVC [24:12]
- How Mike Rowe was fired from QVC three times [29:18]
- American Airlines and unlimited access to first class travel [32:57]
- On being a sanguine freelancer from the age of 28 to 42 [39:24]
- When hubris led to a change [42:44]
- On selling Dirty Jobs to Discovery and the authenticity critical to the show’s success [46:22]
- Constraints, antagonists, and parameters for creative projects [57:06]
- The Ford project [1:00:31]
- Pursuing opportunities when you’re not passionate about the projects [1:02:41]
- Daily practices or morning rituals [1:07:27]
- Procrastination and managing distractions [1:09:38]
- Most gifted books [1:13:34]
- Most astonishing narration work [1:24:16]
- While William Shatner was always ahead of his time [1:29:06]
- Why do great storytellers find it hard to tell their own stories [1:33:07]
- On starting “The Way I Heard It,” Mike Rowe’s podcast [1:39:22]
- When you think of the word “successful,” who is the first person who comes to mind and why? [1:50:02]
- If you could have a billboard anywhere with anything on it, what would it say? [1:50:55]
- If you could have every high-school graduate in the US read/watch/consume 2-3 things, what would you prescribe? [1:55:41]
- Advice to your 30-year-old self [2:10:56]
- Jeff Corwin
- John Hendricks
- Morgan Freeman
- James Earl Jones
- Peter Coyote
- Ray Donovan
- Liev Schreiber
- Sally Kellerman
- Orson Welles
- William “Bill” Shatner
- Paul Harvey
- Ira Glass
- Bruno Mars
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.