Ezra Klein — From College Blogger to Political Powerhouse (#208)

Ezra Klein

“The things that I wanted and didn’t get are extreme blessings.”

– Ezra Klein

Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) is founder and editor-in-chief of Vox, an explanatory news organization that now reaches more than 100 million people each month through articles, videos, newsletters, and podcasts. Previously, he was a columnist and editor at The Washington Post, a policy analyst at MSNBC, and a contributor to Bloomberg. He was named one of the 50 most powerful people in Washington by GQ.

He’s written for The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books, and his primary podcast, The Ezra Klein Show, is a long-form interview show where he talks to the smartest people he can find, including past guests like Bill Gates, Rachel Maddow, Andrew Sullivan, Atul Gawande, Slack founder Stewart Butterfield, The Daily Show‘s Trevor Noah, and more. He also co-hosts The Weeds, a weekly policy podcast with his colleagues Matt Yglesias, and Sarah Kliff.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Influencing the rules of the game by which this country is run (overall politics — not partisan)
  • How Ezra lost 60 pounds
  • Ezra’s ascension into the ranks of the most respected media companies in the world
  • And much, much more

Please enjoy my conversation with Ezra Klein!

#208: Ezra Klein -- From College Blogger to Political Powerhouse

Want to hear a podcast with another media mogul involved in politics? — Listen to my conversation with Glenn Beck. In this episode, we discuss hitting rock bottom, Orson Welles, and finding common ground during debates (stream below or right-click here to download):

#69: Inside the Mind of Glenn Beck Is...Walt Disney and Orson Welles?

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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

  • Connect with Ezra Klein:

Twitter | Vox | The Ezra Klein Show | The Weeds | Facebook

Show Notes

  • Setting the tone. [07:24]
  • Ezra tells us about being bullied as a kid, and the way context decides people’s lives. [07:56]
  • Advice Ezra would give to his younger self during this time. [11:26]
  • How Ezra went from being a below average student in high school to excelling in college. [12:42]
  • Ezra counts himself lucky for having a second chance with education. [16:45]
  • Ezra talks about being rejected as a writer for City on a Hill Press, and why this rejection turned out to be a blessing. [19:22]
  • On absorbing information and coming up with ideas. [23:47]
  • What prompted Ezra to lose 60 pounds — and how he did it — as a sophomore in high school? [25:05]
  • Why Ezra learns best when it’s a secondary activity. [28:34]
  • What podcasts has Ezra listened to most in the last year? [31:02]
  • In Ezra’s opinion, what makes economist Tyler Cowen’s mind “different?” [32:00]
  • As someone who listens to a lot of podcasts, how does Ezra keep from being overwhelmed with input? [33:46]
  • What would Ezra cover if he had to give a TED Talk on something non-political? [34:26]
  • We talk about the ethics of vegetarianism, veganism, food production and consumption. [35:41]
  • Making a conscious diet change is easier (and more effective) in increments. [41:02]
  • Decisions and lucky incidents that helped Ezra go from an audience of 35 daily blog readers to where he is today. [44:41]
  • What makes politics so interesting to Ezra? [48:37]
  • Was there a piece Ezra wrote that he considers his big break? [52:17]
  • What is New Journalism? [53:42]
  • What is a non-state actor? [56:20]
  • Why Ezra loves working with politics but hates working on campaigns. [59:58]
  • Ezra talks about the time between his big break and the creation of Vox. [1:01:05]
  • On merging the techniques, ideas, and ideologies of blogging with the processes, skills, and tools of journalism. [1:07:07]
  • How Ezra poised himself as an expert in global health care policies by the time “Obamacare” became a national discussion. [1:11:41]
  • What approach would Ezra recommend to someone who’s been daunted by the complexity of politics but wants to understand it better? [1:17:52]
  • Is it better to write half-informed comments about politics on Facebook than not write at all? [1:21:17]
  • You have to choose your battles carefully in the political arena even when you’re in power. [1:23:21]
  • People overinvest in polarizing headline issues. Ezra wants to get them interested in the bigger picture. [1:26:43]
  • People underestimate and underinvest in city and state politics — but it’s an ideal place to start for anyone who wants to create change. [1:31:35]
  • What message would Ezra share on his billboard, and where would he put it? [1:34:14]

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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45 Replies to “Ezra Klein — From College Blogger to Political Powerhouse (#208)”

  1. I liked how Ezra Klein brought up a practical approach to being vegan/vegetarian and just overall societal reduction of eating meat. Many vegans I know are super hard core about being strict with their diet, rather than having a practical approach to it. I’ve been experimenting with being a “vegan” for 2 1/2 years (coming from a paleo background of 4 years previously). I aim for 100% vegan, but usually fall in the range of 95% vegan / 5% egg/dairy split (and every few months, a piece of salmon thrown in due to cravings). Being flexible about it is the way to go in order to enjoy your life and optimize your body’s performance. This should be brought up into larger discussions about reducing meat consumption for the betterment of animal rights / environment / etc.

  2. Tim, enough of you promoting FAKE news people. I love your Podcast but it’s so hard that you have 90% of people on who have your globalism, false global warming BS folks who base it on false data that was exposed a few years ago in ClimateGate. It’s sickening that college corrupts fully – anyone who believes in America. What’s wrong with America First you fools. It’s one of the only free country left in the world.

    1. I agree with you Mark, global warming is a lot of BS but you gotta free yourself from it. People believe what they want to believe, promote what they want to promote and that’s that. Being angry or sickened by something is the best way to tie yourself deeper to that thing. Freedom is not a country, it’s a state of mind.

      1. Anyone who doesn’t believe that humans are altering Earth’s atmosphere should try this at home: Put your car in your garage, close the door, turn the car on, breathe the air – now answer this question – Has the atmosphere in your garage changed? now extrapolate this to the billions of planes, trains and automobiles operating daily on the good planet earth. Where do those emissions go? do they just vanish?

  3. Good morning! Firstly Mr. Ferriss… don’t you ever think for one moment that you can produce uber-quality podcast in long form faster than I can listen to them! You will not beat me sir! 😉 On to the serious stuff… This has to be, hands down, the most important podcast episode of my life to date. I don’t say that lightly as I have heard all of your other 200+ (some more than a couple times) and each one speaks to me in a different way. Although only 42 min in this morning, I really am able to relate to Ezra in a few ways that I am not able to equate with everyone else. The bullying thing is a pretty big buzz word in the last few years and I really think it is something that needs to be figured out.. not so much from fixing the bully but rather from the perspective of equipping all of our children with the tools to be the better person, to know the exit strategies, and to maintain dignity. Just saw a video from my current favorite rapper (just started a year ago @17 yrs old) https://youtu.be/70gxUXEUjK4. A really great narrative about this topic in particular. I would also say the mental processes Ezra went through growing up and trying to navigate the toils of teenagedness. I had a lot of the same struggles and I know I am not alone. I know you have the most amazing people on your podcast and I greatly and truly appreciate every one of them… but I would venture to say the Ezra is one of the few whom a lot of not as successful people can relate to on a very personal level. Hell, I am sure there are plenty of people out there right now who have gone through a ton of shit growing up and are still trying to figure it all out. There is no silver bullet but I think Ezra has some very interesting and helpful insights into managing the psyche. Sorry for the long form comment (its contagious). You should definately check out the video above when you have a moment. Thank you once again for amazing work. Ps. 1/3 done with “Titans” and love all of the easter eggs hidden in there!!!

  4. Thank you Tim for another fantastic episode with two very smart and thoughtful men. I am happy Ezra brought up the vegetarianism-veganism topic. Being a titan in the eyes of the world is a wonderful achievement but only a part of the equation. You can be the strongest, most powerful, most famous or most brilliant person in the world, if you haven’t learned the art of being as light as a feather on this earth, your titanism is heavy and tied to a vertical vector. This world needs titans that expand horizontally, that are more interested in becoming wide, wise and conscious than by being at the top. I love your podcast because most of the people you interview have a softness, a consciousness and a humility to them that is very touching, you included.

    I have been living on low sugar raw vegan foods for 14 years. I don’t eat any cooked food what so ever, I just never crave it. I eat one meal a day, I’m 38 looking 25, strong, muscular and flexible. My grand-mother taught me how to hunt when I was a kid. I can shoot a deer, gut it, butcher it and scrape the fat off the hide. As weird as it may sound for a raw foodist, I adore cooking (to the point of becoming the head chef of a conventional 4 star resort on BC’s West Coast for 3 years) even if I don’t eat what I cook. I don’t think vegetarianism or raw foodism veganism is the way to go. If one day you find yourself there, it was just meant to be. Meat-no meat, dairy-no dairy, cooked-raw- none of it truly matters. I’ve seen the sickest vegetarians and the healthiest meat eaters and vice versa. What matters is being aware of what you eat and what works for you, buy from local folks and strive to walk gently on this earth. Not in a hippie way. In a smart, educated, evolved and refined way.

    I like how Ezra says he allows himself to not be a perfect vegetarian. There is a sweetness to not being perfect at anything.

    P.S. I have finished the ‘Health’ section of Tools of Titan and having so much fun with it. If books were alive I’d become friends with that one. I disagree with it sometimes, it makes me laugh, it gives me news ideas, I like to hear what it has to say many times a day these days. lol. Thank you for creating such a non-linear book that can be read and re-read any ways you want. I can’t stand boring and serious things and Tools of Titan is everything but boring.

  5. QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode?

    Two things that really got me thinking.

    1. A piece of a talk about being in the right environment to succeed. Anyone can be dumb or smart in the “right” circumstances.

    “Everybody is a Genius. But If You Judge a Fish by Its Ability to Climb a Tree, It Will Live Its Whole Life Believing that It is Stupid” ~Einstein

    2. Veganism, vegetarianism etc. – it’s all about mindful consumption really. I lion has no problem with killing and eating a gazelle, nor should he/she. Why? Because that’s how he is designed for the environment and life he has.

    We, people should do the same.

    In the circumstances and the environment provided make reasonable choices without getting all judgemental.

    People in Tibet survive on Yak meat being Buddhists. Why? Because it’s the most environmentally friendly and reasonable choice at the place where there is not so much food of any kind available. Would it make sense to import vegan food instead to feel better about themselves? I don’t believe so.

    I used to be in a vegan camp getting all upset about people still not seeing how eating animals is wrong.

    I got over it.

    I consume fish once in a while. Wild, as local as possible. Just enough to cover my needs when my body asks for it. Not on schedule but when I crave it and it’s the easiest most reasonable choice (as I see it). If everyone ate animal products like that – we wouldn’t even need to think about all that synthetic meat etc.

    Make reasonable choices and most of the problems and ethical issues never come up.

    What’s unreasonable is to waste all the food I see at 4 am in the morning of NYC.

    What’s unreasonable is to stuff ourselves 6 times a day (or once a day on schedule) because we NEED more protein. Every single day. ?!

    What’s unreasonable is to bring food all the way from the other part of the world to have better nutrition because we are not smart enough to figure out a local solution.

    …I could go on forever. The point is – solution is simple. It doesn’t require technology and 3D printing.

    Make reasonable choices.

    Makes sense?

    And YES, I use questions here as a prompt before my writing session 🙂

    Thank you guys for the great episode that made me think!!!

    Looking forward for more!!!

  6. Klein’s anecdote of being bullied is perfectly sums up the man who would later grown up to now bully others into his Leftist state of mind. Vox is at the epicenter of cry-bully entertainment, and a sustainer for veganism, 3rd-wave feminism; and a gravitational pull for entitled millennials. It is the heart of “fake news”- itself a made-up term that Klein and the other Leftist power houses he mentions in the interview invented, and are propagating to utterly censor Conservative points of view, and Klein should now once again be counter-bullied and vilified for his philosophical nonsense.

    1. I concur with Lars, VOX is primarily left leaning … just look at 2 headlines from the Jan 14, 2017 website “Donald Trump is remarkably unpopular” and “A former CIA analyst explains how to read the Trump dossier”. This is NOT independent balanced credible reporting.

      Tim was very open about his desire to learn more about politics and his desire to get involved and make a difference. Klein was right about getting involved in politics at the local level to make more of an impact. It is very important and what is happening in San Francisco is why California is one of the top states that people are moving away from (facts based on moving van statistics).

      Tim, Please continue to read and interview a variety of guests on both sides of the political spectrum to obtain ALL viewpoints. Like everything else, it takes time to accumulate the knowledge of politics and government to get the basics and be able to discern and understand the biases and different perspectives of both sides. Read the WSJ, NYT, Chicago Tribune and Wash Post daily to see how the same story is covered differently. Living in San Francisco, a self-proclaimed sanctuary city, is a very different world than most rural cities in middle America. The great divide in our country is becoming more rural vs. urban. The differences are reflective of those who believe government should be smaller and less invasive as most self-sufficient people want freedom and personal responsibility, while others prefer bigger government types who desire greater control over our personal lives, while continuing to increase government power, spending and taxes.

  7. Tim’s frustration about his foray into politics was more so than any other topic I’ve heard on the podcast, save maybe for “Bigoteers”.

    A couple practical thoughts on politics:

    Understand “politics” is a profession for the “top performers” just like anyone else you interview. That mean operatives and observers have been having conversations about it for decades, just like fitness folks, tech investors, and everyone else does. Every industry develops shorthand terms for big ideas that seem like a foreign language to those starting – your episodes with coaches and coders go well over my head. Don’t see it as an impediment.

    Change your mental frame: out with “politics” (cable news trench warfare) and engage in “governing” (statesmen deciding policy). Cable news is were the cheap ideas are discussed. Governing has a longer time frame, where decisions are made for the next generation, not the next election. There is a distinct difference between who engages in the two, the both are grouped in the “politics” parlance.

    Interview Sen. Ben Sasse. He is doing a lot of thinking on governing, not politics. He’d be happy to have a conversation free of the Right vs. Left dialogue.

    Excited to read TfT – getting it for my soon-to-be Brother-in-Law for Christmas as well.

  8. Ezra,

    Thanks for your time and sharing your very inspiring story. Your recount of being bullied throughout most of your childhood/teen years was gut wrenching and really inspiring.

    Re: the environmental/ethical consideration around eating meat, two intelligent counterpoints that I’d love your opinion on:

    1) Alan Savory’s work with the Savory Institute. Ted Talk here: https://www.ted.com/talks/allan_savory_how_to_green_the_world_s_deserts_and_reverse_climate_change

    2) Sheldon Frith’s “Letter to a Vegetarian Nation”, outline here:


    They both are staunch critics of factory farming, yet are strong proponents of regenerative/natural grazing practices for roving ungulates (i.e. four legged mammalian herbivores). To sum their argument up:

    1) Herds of roving ungulates are essential for restoring soil and sequestering carbon in grassland ecosystems.

    2) There ungulates WILL be killed via predation of some kind (or will suffer mass die offs due to overpopulation induced starvation)

    3) Human beings are evolved to consume meat and are uniquely equipped to provide the most humane death possible to these animals (in contrast to say, a pack of wolves)

    Awesome interview! Thanks again for sharing your story.

  9. Jó napot kívánok, Tim. (Hungarian, btw)

    I have something really important to say/ask, and you’ve managed to make it fiendishly difficult to find an actual direct personal method of contacting you, which is what you tell people to try to do. Well played, sir. 😉

    Okay, I get it: you are a master of collecting optimal methods for changing/improving yourself and a genius at communicating those methods to others. That is fantastic and thank you for that on behalf of myself and my therapist. Wrestling 30 years of chronic drug-resistant depression into some form of submission takes a lot of self awareness and mindfulness, and your books have certainly been a great help.

    Today, especially this past year, that challenge has been flipped on its head and it’s about how to convince or lead others towards changing their minds or opinions or beliefs in the face of facts and evidence and reason. You’d think that would be easy, but it is proving to be anything but.

    So much so that there have been research studies done to try to figure out how to do just that. Surprisingly, it was found that simply presenting them with facts and evidence only served to strengthen their positions in the face of objective reality. Now your country is being run based on that, so it’d be amazingly helpful and super-relevant to get your take on how to get people to accept reality when it doesn’t mesh with their personal beliefs.

    It’s always best to start with yourself IMHO, so have you ever had to change or let go of a cherished personal belief or opinion in the face of new evidence or a different perspective?


    Pete (aka some guy you’ve never heard of)

  10. Great interview once again. I’m a little surprised he didn’t mention “Why Americans Hate Politics,” by E.J. Dionne, Jr., one of the most respected political reporters of his time.

  11. Tim, This has been one of my favorite podcasts because of the exploratory nature of your questions. They were thought provoking and you got great responses.

  12. On politics and change.

    Often, I believe, we overestimate the power of presidents and central governments and change happening top-bottom and underestimate the change we can start and spread locally – bottom-up.

    I moved to NYC and connected with a few people working on local projects and connected to mayor’s office – MUCH less bureaucracy there and anyone ready to lead and work for a change can make a difference.

    Plus you can actually influence the very community you live in much faster with much better understanding of what you do and try to achieve.

    Much faster feedback too.

  13. Yes, please a follow up in the not too far future! This episode goes in the category to remember, to look at the notes, to read, to think, to try the podcasts mentioned (many new for me). I really appreciated Ezra Kleins Ted talk on the spot about his thoughts about meat eating, vegans and vegetarians, which were completely to the point (a veggie myself, still touching some eggs, dairy and fish from good sources – thinking about the same things ) As important: your very honest questions and asking for advice on your personal and possibly professional approach of politics. I greatly appreciate, was a bit touched by it honestly, and I am sure good stuff will come out of it. And: I have read all your previous books with great interest (none from A to Z), a lot of smiling and taking notes from all of them, but Tools of Titans is the first one I bought and will keep and the one I will definitely promote the most. This book truly makes me happy. Skipping a lot in the wealthy part, but definitely noting down very welcome and sometimes much needed good intentions, ideas and plans. I will keep it in my sight the next months as a reminder. As a totally different teacher, heart to heart: thank you teacher. Really happy for you about the launching and the success.

  14. Please no second interview with Ezra Klein. If people are still bewildered as to why Donald Trump won the election (I did not vote for the man) it is because people in fly-over-states have to listen to California liberals talk about treating chickens inhumanely. Certainly there must be more important issues that require our collective cognitive horsepower. If in the future, as Ezra Klein proposes, history judges us harshly because of the way we treat poultry, that is a future in which I do not care to be living.

  15. Tim….any chance you can put the time length on the podcast icon within your email? Many times I want to listen in the car but I never know how long it will be until I start it (while driving)…only to be disappointed because I find out the podcast is going to be longer than my drive and so I usually don’t finish them. Another words, if I know I have a 30 minute drive and then looked at your podcasts, I would pick one that was 30 minutes or less before starting the drive…if I knew that they were 30 minutes or less. Make sense?


  16. Hey Tim, I know you probably won’t reply to this, but with you’re 5 minute journal, do you do that in the mornings and the evenings, or in the morning every day?

  17. Thanks so very much for making the case about the number of animals suffering and our dietary choices. One Step for Animals understands that many people want to make a difference, and cutting chicken out of our diets is the easiest way to cut our support of cruelty to animals and factory farms!

  18. Tim, I really enjoy you because you appear to be apolitical, then you go and spoil it by inviting a guy like this on. You should’ve asked him why he insists on bringing his brand of politics into the MMA world via his Bloody Elbow site. It’s bad enough we have ESPN doing it in mainstream sports, now it’s leaking into MMA thanks to this guy.

    Disappointing to say the least….

  19. In the immortal words of Steve Jobs, “This was shit.” Tim, I have supported you like no other, but please balance this unhinged asshole with someone of the right leaning intellect soon. I trust you to do better than this.

  20. I really enjoy Tim’s books and podcasts because I have always been interested in fitness and self-employed for the past decade. Most of my life I was politically libertarian with a conservative financial leaning, but I had a religious conversion experience about 10 years ago and I gradually became conservative on most social issues. I did not know of Ezra Klein prior to this interview. He seems to be a witty, clever and likeable guy and after I read several of his articles and watched one of his podcast I find that I disagree with many of his political views. Use abortion as an example – Ezra and his fellow commentators addressed abortion on this podcast –http://www.vox.com/2016/7/6/12106044/weeds-impact-supreme-court-abortion-decision. They basically reflect the Democratic party’s position that abortion = “women’s health” (books could be written on what all this term incorporates – Tim’s concern about failing to understand political issues is easy to see) and the podcaster assumed that pro-women’s health is good. (After all, who could be against women’s health?) I find Ezra’s concerns about how we treat chickens a bit odd given the lack of compassion for unborn babies exhibited in his podcast. I guess when a society raises a generation that has always known abortion; it is not surprising that our values could be a bit screwed up. I think Ezra’s point to be politically active on the local level is a good one. For several years I have been active with an anti-Planned Parenthood group in Texas – we silently picket every Planned Parenthood location every day that they are open. We also help to fund the White Rose organization which has an office within a block of most Planned Parenthoods medical sites. (The White Rose organization explains alternatives to abortion.) In addition, my group sends members to the state legislature to discuss abortion legislation twice a year. With regards to Ezra’s infatuation with Gary Hart – Gary Hart challenged the national media to find any dirt on him, and within a week they found that he was an adulterer. Yet on Tim’s podcast, Ezra implies that Trump private comments about grabbing a women’s private parts was worse than Hart cheating on his wife – again typical Dem propaganda and morally inconsistent. By far, I found the most interesting part of the interview was at the end when Tim expressed his frustration over understanding the political landscape.

  21. Excellent interview, and I’m so happy to hear One Step for Animals mentioned. As a dietitian, an animal advocate, and a vegan, I do recognize that many people find it too challenging to even contemplate becoming a vegan or vegetarian. But just that one step–eliminating chicken meat from your diet–has a tremendous impact on animal suffering. And it’s really something that anyone can do. So thank you, Ezra, for addressing this and also for talking about in vitro meat (which I’m convinced is going to save the world!)

  22. Can you do an online Index combined with a search function that creates a subject index based on a search term (area of interest) -not just an alphabetical index?? Since the entire book is somewhat interconnected this seems a necessity.

  23. Tim, I have been following you for years and my life is immeasurably better because of your work, thank you. You are like Morpheus, and thanks for offering a steady dose of the red pill. I am also always pleasantly surprised when I discover through the podcast that we have common interests (plant medicine and Dan Carlin come to mind). I consider you a friend and when I discover something new, I oddly wonder if you know about it. I never commented before, but this seems like the time to start.

    You asked about New Journalism, and just the other day I was introduced to the term in a NPR interview with Gay Telese (apparently the father of New Jouranlism). Check out his piece Frank Sinatra Has a Cold: http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a638/frank-sinatra-has-a-cold-gay-talese/ . The title alone had me hooked.

    Also, totally unrelated, are you familiar with NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts? Awesome musicians (usually unknown to me) playing at some dude’s cubicle.


    This one is one of my favorites: http://www.npr.org/event/music/212633651/mother-falcon-tiny-desk-concert

    That’s all I got for now.

    Cheers Tim and Happy New Year.


  24. “Fifty or hundred years from now, when it`s really easy not to eat factory-farmed meat, people will look back at the way we treated animals in this era and judge us very-very harshly.”

    I completely agree and am so glad this is being talked about. I don`t think that substituting chickens with cows is a smarter or more ethical alternative (1.it would be damaging to our health; 2. damaging to the environment; 3. cows are intelligent and affectionate animals).

    I just finished watching documentary “Forks Over Knives” which explains so well the effect food, and meat and dairy specifically, has on our overall health. If people were aware of this, the choice to eat, or not to eat meat and dairy would be simple. And in the end it would benefit everyone – people and animals. But we also have to remember not to support production of leather, down, fur, and products tested on animals. In many countries animals (including dogs) are being skinned alive for fur and leather (car seats, clothes, etc.), geese are plucked alive, while we are ignorantly sponsoring their tortures.

    I am also “allergic” to politics. I just think that people are passionate about different topics, and for many people politics happens to be that topic.

  25. Ezra turned me upside down a few times, helpfully, in this episode…particularly in other angles on meat eating, and reminding how context is so influential on how our lives play out. One can never be reminded enough: “Don’t try and find acceptance” and that there are different ways you can define your life: by achievements is just one; by things that you didn’t do is another – and so provoketh a question for journalling this week from TimTimTalkTalk! Thank you Tim and Ezra.

  26. Props for including One Step for Animals in your blog–not enough people are aware of the amount of good you can do just by cutting out chicken. Thank you!

  27. Hello Tim! On one of your podcast (sorry, I can’t remember which one!), you mentionned ‘trying’ to learn French (I believe it was followed by: argh, I tried really hard!). I’m a French tutor and would love to help you. Would you like to connect?

  28. Tim, Honestly I’m a bit surprised about the aversion to politics. I get avoiding parties and their baggage. I get that it is painful and messy, but so is cold therapy . In pursuit of being a Junzi, the ability to understand and manipulate the political process is as integral as speaking another lanuage.

    1. Excellent point, like most public figures, many are averse to taking a stance because both sides have become so polarized. It is important to have a basic civics 101 understanding of how government works.

  29. Great podcast. Thanks. Nice to hear someone who had learning issues but found success.

    I love conversationalists who present counter and unique ideas like Erza and Scott Adams. Thanks Erza for he book recs and the podcasts you listen to.

  30. Tim-

    I can teach you US National Security Policy in 2 hours. I just finished my Master’s at Georgetown in Security Studies – where I taught International Relations to undergrads this fall – and I am an Army intelligence officer. I speak Arabic fluently and can offer you insights into how US national security policy is conducted, couterterrorism, the military (particularly the Army), among other defense and foreign policy issues. I studied under prominent Georgetown professors Matt Kroenig and Dan Byman, to name a few.

    Planning to fly to SF over President’s Day weekend and would love a few hours of your time to give you an “all you need to know” about national security policy.



  31. Ok Tim – after listening to this I thought I’d get in touch. The advice in the podcast about picking something you can have impact on is good – honestly, I also worry a bit about what your political perspective might be. We can’t help but be shaped by our surroundings and people, and you live in a very different way to many – this is mostly great, bringing loads of things forwards, but it means there might be some blind spots too 😉 If you ever want to talk politics with someone from a different perspective (credentials available), I figure that my impact by having a small influence on your bigger impact is worth it.

    Anyway, two things came to mind that I think you would be on board with and have a huge impact. May be things you are aware of already.

    1) Universal Basic Income. This is a huge, societal game-changer. Could be so impactful – partly because it aligns with almost all political perspectives (theoretically – not in practice, because there is so much vested interest). Capitalists like it, socialists like it, liberals like it – only corporations do not like it. You have enough money and the right mindset of experiments and challenging norms that you could do a lot here – in making some experiments and campaigning on it, based on the results. It wouldn’t take much to fund a pilot project – people are already doing this but I think having you on board would add a lot.

    2) Compassionate education – something the Dalai Lama has been promoting. Funding a local programme for this. You’ve been pushing meditation for awhile, there’s a particular aspect of meditation that moves a bit away from what you do and more towards compassion. Easy to fund a local programme, get people on board, measure results, and take it forward. At a time when there is such divisiveness in politics and crises facing the world, this is a bridge-builder.

    I’m well up for discussing each of these further if you would like.

    – Alex

  32. Loved this, I would be really excited to hear more about practical approaches to creating change. I would *love* to hear you interview Janette Sadik-Khan on this topic — former NYC transportation commissioner, made massive changes to NYC streets really quickly and cheaply via pilot projects.

  33. I just wrapped up a cross-country road trip (CA to OH) and listened almost exclusively to your podcasts (thank you, “long form” podcasts!) I’ve got a background in public policy and politics and have worked in all three branches of government thus far in my career so this podcast was particularly relevant to me.

    I must admit that I’d noticed your failure to comment on current political events and was confused by it. This podcast helped me understand why and I truly appreciate the raw honesty with which you spoke about your prior history with political discourse and the blatant discomfort you felt at trying to dissect what everything means. I applaud you for coming to the realization that sticking one’s head in the sand is not an appropriate or desirable solution.

    That being said, if you happen to read this comment, here’s my bit of unsolicited advice: Take this particular personal journey offline. At least until you reach a baseline level of comfort with the issues you wish to discuss/debate/influence, etc. You are so well-connected, you will have no trouble finding intelligent and thoughtful people with differing (but reasonable) views on all sides of every issue imaginable. If that doesn’t appeal to you, try to find a non-toxic online space in which to discuss and share politics – and then for the love of all that is holy, share that with us!

    Good luck on your foray into politics! I look forward to reading about your experience sometime in the future. 🙂

  34. Finally catching up on some deferred podcast listening. I’ve been a fan since episode #1. Keep up the good work Tim!

    Ezra’s plea to focus on the local is smart. Super smart actually. You had Pete Adeney on a while back as well, I bet he has a few insights on that topic for you too. My favorite blog on the power of local change is http://www.strongtowns.org – I’d highly recommend you do an interview with Chuck Marohn (the founder). He’s a very thoughtful guy.

    The other thing I couldn’t stop thinking was that if you want to learn more about politics it is wise to start with first principles. Before jumping into the more modern debates, read the founders and their Roman and English predecessors. A lot has changed since the 1700’s, but I think we’ll all be shocked one day to discover how much hasn’t.

  35. Fabulous show! I know I’m listening to it a little late, but if you are still considering getting involved in state and local government, I’m happy to help in any way. I’ve been in the field for 15+ years. Thanks for all the inspiration and information you provide; it’s a real service.