Soman Chainani — The School for Good and Evil

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Soman Chainani

“I don’t like depending on my art for income, because then I start to think in a mercenary way.”
– Soman Chainani

Soman Chainani (@SomanChainani) is a detailed planner, filmmaker, and New York Times best selling author.

Soman’s debut fiction series, The School for Good and Evil, has sold more than a million copies, has been translated into more than twenty languages across six continents, and will soon be a film from Universal Pictures.

A graduate of Harvard University and Columbia University’s MFA Film Program, Soman began his career as a screenwriter and director, with his films playing at over 150 film festivals around the world. He was recently named to the Out100 and has received the $100,000 Shasha Grant and the Sun Valley Writer’s Fellowship, both for debut writers. Special thanks to mutual friend Brian Koppelman for making the introduction!

Grab a notebook, pay attention, and please enjoy my conversation with Soman Chainani!

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#220: Soman Chainani — The School for Good and Evil

Want to hear a podcast with an award-winning movie maker? — Listen to my conversation with Brian Koppelman, co-writer/producer of Rounders, The Illusionist, and Ocean’s Thirteen. In this episode, we explore how he got started, how he handles rejection, his big breaks, creative process, and much more (stream below or right-click here to download):

Ep. 10: Brian Koppelman, co-writer/producer of Rounders, Ocean's Thirteen, The Illusionist, etc.


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This podcast is also brought to you by Audible. I have used Audible for years, and I love audiobooks. I have two to recommend:

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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 any of the endless options they offer. 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.

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 Soman Chainani:

Twitter | Website | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube

Show Notes

  • How did Brian Koppelman help Soman get back on his feet after a failed filmmaking project? [06:33]
  • Soman gives us the current state of “The School for Good and Evil” series. [08:47]
  • Why did Soman continue tutoring well after getting lucrative book and movie deals that took care of his financial needs? [10:02]
  • Soman talks about the small island town where he grew up and the factors that contributed to habits of high performance. [12:10]
  • On coming out as openly gay: why he’s envious of the way it’s done now compared to when he did it, and how his parents reacted. [14:45]
  • What appealed to Soman most about the idea of filmmaking? [20:35]
  • What advice does Soman have for the tennis novice? [22:05]
  • What makes a good coach? [26:32]
  • What are some of Soman’s weaknesses in tennis that manifest elsewhere? [28:29]
  • “The School for Good and Evil” is a way to revisit the darker origins of fairy tales in which heroes sometimes died as a consequence of their decisions. [31:51]
  • We talk about the city-building aspirations of Walt Disney, and how it relates to a future project Soman has in mind. [35:12]
  • On the flaws of heroes. [37:45]
  • Favorite failures? [39:03]
  • How marketing books for kids is different from marketing books for adults. [43:24]
  • The disaster that occurred during one of my first book signing events. [45:04]
  • Soman fills me in on the nuances of categorizing fiction for children and young adults. [47:40]
  • How does Soman protect the integrity of his work — especially when translating it from book to screen? [51:27]
  • How does Soman minimize the likelihood of stupid studio notes getting forced into his script? [54:56]
  • With irons in so many fires, Soman shares time management tips. [57:01]
  • Favorite ways to wind down at the end of the day. [1:03:04]
  • Bedtime rituals. [1:03:30]
  • What’s Soman reading now? [1:04:01]
  • A contrast of training styles. [1:08:29]
  • How Soman chose his personal trainer and agent. [1:12:20]
  • As a young student filmmaker, how did Soman get into so much debt? [1:15:04]
  • Would Soman recommend film school? [1:17:08]
  • What’s the problem with Stanford? [1:20:32]
  • We consider ourselves the odds and ends who don’t fit in anywhere. [1:22:02]
  • Books and documentaries that will inspire artists. [1:25:35]
  • What books has Soman gifted the most? [1:33:31]
  • The best investment of energy, money, or time Soman has ever made. [1:35:13]
  • Health tips for frequent travelers. [1:42:47]
  • If Soman were to give a TED Talk about something for which he’s not known, what would it cover? [1:45:10]
  • The problem with “follow your passion” as advice. [1:47:50]
  • Soman’s billboard, and musings on life and death. [1:49:51]
  • Parting thoughts. [1:52:09]

People Mentioned

Posted on: February 8, 2017.

Please check out Tribe of Mentors, my newest book, which shares short, tactical life advice from 100+ world-class performers. Many of the world's most famous entrepreneurs, athletes, investors, poker players, and artists are part of the book. The tips and strategies in Tribe of Mentors have already changed my life, and I hope the same for you. Click here for a sample chapter and full details. Roughly 90% of the guests have never appeared on my podcast.

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61 comments on “Soman Chainani — The School for Good and Evil

  1. I was going to recommend you The Inner Game of Tennis once I heard you wanted to get into the sport. Great choice! BTW, you should interview Guillermo Vilas. He would match most of your categories as explained in Tools of Titans: he was never # 1 (but very close) so he will be more willing to talk than Borg, Connors or McEnroe, he was not a natural, but learnt how make it work, etc. Plus, he was incredibly obsessive with his training. John McEnroe said recently of him that Vilas taught all players of their generation to become professional athletes. If you do it, you would meet a very interesting character, plus, you would end up being greeted by a bunch of porteños with yerba mate and Malbec!

    Like

  2. Tim, I love your show, I am reading your newest book (a gift which has caused me to engage in your podcast, “parcore,” interviewing style and come to appreciate your ability to connect) and I cannot help but notice there is a topic that is basically void from your interviews. As successful people, jedi-like at times, cross paths with you and share what makes them tick, their process, life stories, and more, there is almost no discussion about of one of our most basic human needs. Sex. This drive is one we all must confront to understand our place within the biological need to reproduce, or not, and how we need or value it with regards to pleasure seeking and relationship building. Successful people must have some deep understand( or perhaps are void of understanding) of this basic human need. Their relationship to and thoughts about sex would give context to the rest of their behaviors and processes that just might in turn help us hack our own lives even better. I am unsure why this topic as been a missing one. Maybe something to ponder? I am leaving to drive around the United Sates, starting from CA, on February 17th and will be hoping to connect with some high powered folks as part of a team seeking to help our populous reconceptualize the internet as a destination for civic engagement as we build out a new platform. Would love to connect. Thanks for your angle of vision and all you do to help conversations stay solution focused and life-affirming! Cheers!

    Like

  3. Hi Tim,

    My name is Robert and I’m a great admirer of your dedication and good hard work in helping others better themselves. I believe it’s important that you continue positively impacting others’ lives. You’re doing a great job. I also totally understand that it’s impossible for you to personally respond backto thousands of inquiries and that you carry a very busy schedule. So I’m apologizing ahead for taking up your precious time. But I really need to reach out to you…eventhough you might eventually ignore me anyway. But I must try because this really means a lot to me.

    Question: Do you have any special program for people of low income who interested in hypertrophic bodybuilding? I really can’t afford pricey consultation fees at the moment and I’m just looking to get a brief assessment from someone who has proven results. I have the “The 4-Hour Body” book, but I’m looking for something more individualized.
    . I don’t mean to sound like a sob story because I know everyone has their own problems and difficulties in life. I’m a 44 yrs old male..trying really hard to put my life back together and better myself. I just need a little help to get started. I’ve lost pretty much everything: my marriage, my job, my house, my car and not surprisingly I’m feeling pretty depressed. I recently started working again and I’m in the process of reinventing myself into a better me on all different levels….emotionally, psychologically and physically I would greatly appreciate if someone out of their kind heart can extend just a little help. I’m not asking for a hand-out…just a little help. I’m doing this not just because I love my two kids…but because for once in my life, I’m starting to love myself.

    Sorry for the long sobbing story…but I needed to express how much this means to me. I just need someone to lend me a helping hand. I would greatly appreciate your assistance from the bottom of my heart.

    PS…I’m gonna send you a short profile of myself.

    Sorry for the long ass book I just finish writing and for any inconvenience.

    Thanks Rob

    Liked by 1 person

    • Robert Ceballos

      Bio/Physio Information:
      Male….44 yrs old / Weight: 87.5 kg / Height: 5.8 ft
      No medical Issues / No Medications or Supplements
      Non-smoker/social drinker
      Sedantary lifestyle / Low activity
      Sleeping Habit: 5 hrs

      Lab Tests:
      Hemoglobin: 17.2 g/dl
      RBC: 5.2/McLean
      WBC: 8 83/L
      Fasting Glucose: 73.7 mg/dl
      (1 hour ) Reactive Glucose: 76.3 mg/dl
      B.M.I: 29.3. / Blood Pressure: Good Range

      Body Measurements:
      Chest: 101.6 cm
      Shoulders: 116.84 cm
      Neck: 39.37 cm
      Waist: 104.1 cm (includes belly fat)
      Thigh: 58.43 cm
      Calf: 35.56 cm
      Forearm: 27.94 cm
      Bicep: 35.56

      Braverman Test Scores:
      Part 1: Dope 29, Acetyl 28, GABA 30, Sero 18
      Part 2 (Deficiencies): Dope 6, Acetyl 12, GABA 8, Sero 13

      Like

    • You’re looking for a special program for people of low income who are interested in hypertrophic bodybuilding? WTF does that even mean? If you were able to leave a comment on this blog than you have access to the internet which means all your bodybuilding questions are a quick google search away. It seems to me that finding a program is not your problem, being resourceful is.

      Like

    • Agreed. I would love for Soman, or another fiction writer, to focus on their approach to actually writing. Maybe a part two dedicated to it? 🙂

      As a writer myself I’d love to know how he develops his stories. A lot is in his head, so is he drafting out milestones according to one of the more general structures (very basic 3 act, Storyfix, Save The Cat) and using that to guide the story? Does he write chronologically? How much do his characters and plots change from his initial thoughts on them, i.e. does he have a core idea for them, then flesh them out, or does he evolve them so even their core principles are prone to change? Does he focus on one book at a time? What tools does he us? Dramatica? Scrivener? Word? Google docs?

      Writing fiction is on tricky beast, and I’d love to see that being really explored. So much of the podcast is dedicated to non-fiction, but the creative process of fiction is all about the birth and development of innovation on such a scale and to such a degree that most can’t and won’t do it. And that’s something a lot of these guests go through in different ways and walks of life.

      Like

  4. On the podcast you’ve referenced yourself as being a somewhat black and white performer when it comes to habits or goals, meaning you’re either fully invested and dedicated towards a project or not at all. How do you recommend finding balance between the two, and how did you discover this solution? Thanks

    Like

  5. First of all, wow….. This episode made my brain explode! Might be the best one I’ve heard. So inspiring and so much in it…. at times I almost couldn’t keep up because there was so much good stuff being talked about… And a fellow Indian also!

    How do we learn more about his meditation technique for removing the “I” and also about meditating on death? Did he learn this from books?

    Like

  6. Hi Tim. Long time fan, loved this episode. I’m a dancer in a professional training program in New York City. Dance has a very misconstrued and undervalued reputation in the US, and it is exciting to hear someone reference Ballet 422 on a show with the ability to educate a wide range of audiences. Unfortunately, because the documentary was mentioned in passing, some of the facts noted are incorrect, and the relationship of Justin Peck with the grand scheme of dance choreographers in the world today is misrepresented. The company is New York City Ballet, not American Ballet Theatre, in case anyone wanted to look up Justin Peck on the website.

    Some Dance artists making waves in the dance world today are William Forsythe, Crystal Pite, Ohad Naharin, Jiri Kylian, Wayne Mcgregor, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, and Liam Scarlett, to name a few. I highly recommend trying to see the documentary Mr. Gaga for a window into another dance artist’s life. There are so many spectrums across the dance medium that no one person or description could represent its functions for both the dancer and the audience members.

    As an artist in a field that requires pushing mental and physical limits simultaneously, your guest discussions are incredibly pertinent to a dancer’s mind set. Dance is a melting pot of meditation, Jiu Jitsu, chess, physics, and poetry; and this excludes the cultural and business integral side of connecting with audiences. Dance is an art, a business, and to some, it is like a religion.

    Thank you so much for what you do and for your positive influence, it would be wonderful to hear dance represented more seriously because in today’s world, it is more important than ever to keep people present, alive, and involved in live art. It requires all of the senses, including inherent human connection that we so often neglect with the dawn of technology. Thank you so much for your time and once again, such an amazing podcast. Your work has impacted my life positively in more ways than one.

    To any dance enthusiasts who read this, I invite your to add to or correct any of my input. The dance community is large and there are so many artists worth mentioning.

    Like

  7. I’ve noticed a trend of moms writing in about their boys, and I’m going to be another one.

    The second Soman suggested that you do this for kids, I had to comment! My 16 year old son who is just beginning to grapple with depression, and only really has jujitsu as an outlet, could very much use a ToT for kids. I’ve already been asking him the question, “If money and time were no obstacle, what would you do?” His response was so interesting, he said he’d like to learn “interesting” things and he rattled off 5 or 6 things you actually teach.

    Tim, I know how much it takes out of you to write, but based on what I know about you, I think it would also be very fulfilling as well.

    Such a great episode with Soman. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The description of creative energy being like a volcano was so fascinating – it is quite true, the problem is that sometimes it lies dormant while we are working on other projects or goals in life, but there comesa point it cannot be ignored. I did like his point about it being advantageous to undertake creative projects on your own terms (timeline, budget, etc.) and not having your creativity bounded by worries around income (depending on art as income.). I am finally unleashing creativity in my early 30s in the form of side projects & it has been incredible. Creativity thrives under a lack of constraints. it’s also interesting hearing how childhoods immersed in fantasy & high fantasy books go on to influence us later in life. Such a rich genre for young people developing the inner landscapes of imagination & possibility. Some of the most fascinating creatives I’ve met all shared the experience of the book that is Dune by Frank Herbert in their teen years & it forever changed them in some way.

    Like

  9. Refreshing to hear Soman talk so intelligently and openly about being gay. I was wondering if that’s always been the case when touring the States and doing school visits? How does he cope with it still being off limits to so much of the audience in certain parts of the country? And does he consider himself a role model to young people dealing with their sexuality and working it out at a young age?

    Like

  10. I am just starting on my second life (i am 69) and need a lot of back filling to appreciate this interview. So continue mentoring and i will catch up and maybe appreciate this later. I am re-reading 4HWW for the third time looking for my muse to get me back to the twelve year old in dreaming of what i can be. Thank you for the journey so far.

    Like

  11. Great podcast as always. Soman’s parting words about following your passion is definitely a big wake up call to most of us. Your advice on knowing what you are good at and starting from there makes it more realistic in this crazy world.

    Like

  12. Hello Tim,
    Hope you’re keeping well. I’m really enjoying your
    podcast show, I’m just wondering is there any chance
    you could invite and deconstruct habits of some of the most successful visual artists? People such as Damien
    Hirst, Marina Abbramovich, David Hockney….etc.
    Thanks

    Like

  13. Great interview! Particularly loved hearing about Soman’s life-changing (or delaying) office hours session with his professor. I think all artists have a few those defining moments early on where we’re casually encouraged or discouraged from following our best voice, and it leads to doubt, shame, or in some cases overconfidence. Overall a very perceptive guy when it comes to the trajectory of his path, and refreshingly humble throughout. Selfishly I’d love to hear more about what it’s like for someone so obsessed with Disney and fairy tales to navigate a Tinder account in NYC. Fingers crossed the movie turns out well!

    Like

  14. I think you need to get Andre Agassi on the show. You can pick his brain about tennis, among other things. “Open” is a fantastic book, as you know.

    Like

  15. AMEN! Tim you DO need to market these books to kids. I’ve had my thirteen year old listening to your podcasts almost since I started listening. I bought him Tools of Titans for Christmas (and he loves it).

    I can’t begin to imagine how I would have slayed had someone handed me those “tools” at the start of high school.

    p.s. We were listening to the second Cal Fussman interview while I was laboring with my last son five months ago. Talk about getting them started young!

    Like

  16. Hi Tim, I really enjoyed the part about Soman’s obsession with technique and form and how having a good coach made all the difference. He also mentioned the importance of having a coach that is focused on your success. I think good coaching deserves it’s own episode and hope you’ll consider interviewing a great coach (in whatever field) in a future episode. Thanks.

    Like

  17. Hi Tim,

    Absolutely love your show! As a tennis coach, I was super pumped to hear that you’re considering taking up the sport. But, I feel the need to comment that the way this episode’s guest recommended you learn tennis is the absolute worst way possible!

    From what I understood of what Soman was saying, he was recommending you perfect your technique in a closed environment before doing anything in an open environment. This will teach you to have excellent technique, but absolutely no ability to use it in a match. Instead, I would highly recommend learning in an open environment, then addressing your technical shortcomings in closed situations afterward (then putting it back into an open environment). This open-closed-open learning pattern is endorsed by most coaching certification bodies, including Tennis Canada and the Professional Tennis Registry (both of which I hold certifications from).

    As well, connecting tennis technique to movements you are already familiar with (I.e. Throwing, rotation, etc) will speed up your learning and get you ready to enter an open situation right off the bat. I of course do recommend you get a coach to supervise all of this, just not one who advocates for the highly outdated way the sport has been taught in the past.

    Both my personal experience working with countless athletes of all ages and levels, and current literature support the methods I’m bringing up today. Try it out and the results will speak for themselves!

    Thanks again for all the excellent content you put out!

    -Colin

    Like

  18. Gosh I could have listened to another 2 hours of this. I’ve listened to a lot of these podcasts, but this stood out as Top 5. Did anyone else have that experience?? It just felt AMPED. I was writing notes like a maniac.

    1) First off at the end threw in that he “simulates death” in meditation. What?! How does that work?? 2) Also wishing he explained the process of how he got into tutoring in the first place to support his career. 3) What’s it like to write fantasy versus other books or screenplays? How did he get into fantasy to begin with? Is it teachable?

    Like

  19. I just came across an awesome Netflix original series called “Abstract: The Art of Design.” There are 8 episodes (so far). It’s an absolutely brilliant behind the scene look at how creatives produce their Good Art (a look at how the sausage is made, as Soman put it). It was interesting for me to hear the quote you have often used “Amateurs look for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work” by Chuck Close. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Very good one!!

    I was wondering why you didn’t ask him about tutoring. You always speak of your tutors being moved by how many of their students got in their first choice, so they play it safe. I was wondering what were Soman’s thoughts on that.

    Like

  21. Tim, I often listen to your podcasts on my way to work or while I’m getting ready in the morning. Most of the time I can’t get through an entire episode and will have to return to it later. The problem is that the audio player isn’t very user friendly for navigating the content if you pause it or come back later trying to find your spot. I’m wondering if you could get another audio player that will allow us to rewind or fast forward through your podcast so we can listen to what we missed or get to the part we left off at more efficiently?

    Like

  22. I found Soman’s passionate commentary about the phenomena inevitably experienced by those of us who think of ourselves as “outsiders” to be significantly insightful.

    Specifically, the anecdote he delivers at ~39:40 stood out to me as a telling slice of mindset. He says, “There was something in that moment that I took badly … had I reacted with a little more self-confidence, I would’ve [emphasized to myself] the positive comment [that the professor] had given me more than the negative one…”

    The cultivation and subsequent maintenance of a positive, sturdy mindset is undoubtedly crucial for everyone due to the many benefits associated with the ability to shield one’s self from life’s inevitable adversities, but I believe that it’s of the utmost importance for those of us who, on some level, have never felt like we “fit in.”

    Tim, thanks for having Soman on the podcast. I’d love for you to invite him on again at some point and to pick his brain further about the development of the sort of mindset that I’ve come to believe is somewhere near optimal for the achievement of success and happiness.

    Like

  23. So wise of Soman to keep his ‘day job’ (tutoring) for an extended period so as not to mesh financial dependency with the creative flow.

    Like

  24. Excellent interview, void of self-aggrandizing and ego. I plan to listen to it again. It felt like you could have been sitting at my dining room table over dinner. As the parent of a junior in high school, I so appreciated the discussion on “good” college debt. My son attends an art-focus high school and many of his peers are considering film school. I appreciated Soman’s frankness about the changes in the independent film industry. For writers, I appreciated his candor about discipline and his “anchors” in his day which allow him to focus on work when he’s working and taking care of his physical and mental health. I agree with Soman that Tim should curate a book for teenagers–although in their fast-paced screentime lives, I realize it is getting harder and harder for them to sit down and read for pleasure. I would say it’s difficult for adults, too. So much information flying at us at warp speed and it’s difficult to always decide what to cut out–what changes us and what distracts us. My morning routine currently involves reading an essay from each section of Tools for Titans. I’m also part of the Portland facebook TOT group–we are really rooting for Tim to come hang with us when he’s on his next book tour/podcast!

    Like

  25. I know this is a long shot but I’m gonna put it out there nonetheless. Every time you come up in my twitter feed, etc. I can’t help but think, “Tim needs some new photos!” I’ve only seen a handful that do you justice and they don’t look very recent. I’ll be in CA on 2/21/17 and will be shooting some folks at Google and hopefully SoftBank as well on or around 2/24/17. I’d love to get you in front of my lens at some point. Consider this an open invitation in the off chance you actually see this! Cheers, Tim.

    Like

  26. You know you’ve listened to all the podcasts when the second after Soman mentions his agent being selective on what to do, you think to yourself…”Cue the Derek Sivers quote…” and there we go 🙂

    Thanks for making this podcast!

    Like

  27. This was one of two episodes recommended to me. I was skeptical of a two-hour interview format, but I found that I loved the depth of discussion that the length allows. I’ll definitely check out more.

    I’m really digging Soman’s philosophy on not relying on his art for income. A lot of creators make a similar distinction between the work they do for money and the work they do for love, but Soman took it to a new level that was impressive to hear about. Even after two hours, I’d love to hear more.

    Like

  28. I loved this episode. I’m a former teacher and loved that the author has a graphic novel option for reluctant readers. And that he kept tutoring for so long! Also I am inspired to be more disciplined. No more excuses. Good luck to both of you in your creative endeavors–writing and beyond–and thanks for the podcast!

    Like

  29. Super enjoyable episode, thank you. The quote that stuck with me this time is the bit about not chasing your dreams but pursuing that which you are the ‘best’ or better than others at (paraphrasing).

    Like

  30. Went from listening to the Kara Swisher ep which was the worst to this one which was one of the best. Think the most valuable part was hearing how a fiction writer structures their day around exercise! Would have liked to hear more of comparing your actual writing processes and how you get the actual writing of a book done.

    Like

  31. So many things about your chat with Soman resonated with me; the discipline, mediating on death, and being authentic. I have been involved in LGBT advocacy for well over a decade now and I know many LGBT people struggle to live authentically. Beyond it being soul crushing for the individual who can’t be his/her authentic self, we don’t know the cost to our greater society of when people can’t tap into their creativity. I would be interested to hear more from Soman about the struggle to unleash what had been bottled up. Did he notice a flood of creativity all at once, or a difference in what he was creating? My guess is that could translate to more than just the LGBT community, but for anyone who has not been living authentically.

    Like

  32. Tim and Soman, thanks for a great podcast. I enjoyed the conversation and I’m looking forward to reading/watching some of your recommendations. One of the topics I found the most interesting was at the beginning around authenticity vs. in-authenticity. So a follow-up question:

    For someone who is coming out / depressed, what would you recommend to people on learning more about who they are and being authentic?

    Like

  33. What’s the oil that Tim recommends for the vaporizer? The one that is the perfect combination for relaxation without sleeping? Is it geranium…? Thanks.

    Like

  34. Tim, Enjoyed the podcast. I’m always surprised at the number of times I hear Julia Scott’s article mentioned. I went to school with one of the researchers quoted. If your experimenting or curiosity takes you further into the field of microbiomes you should talk to him, He’s right in San Francicso, http://fischbachgroup.org/. He’s best known for working Bob Dylan into a graduation speech, but you’ll find he’s doing some pretty interesting things related to microbes as well.

    Like

  35. Isn’t it a good idea to be a mercenary? A romanticised view of creating art often leads to doing nothing and encountering “resistance” of the Steven Pressfield variety.

    Trollope sat down for 3 hours every morning and wrote – hail, rain or snow. Neil Gaiman spoke about this too.

    Like

  36. I always get a ton of inspiration and education from all the podcast interviews but I especially liked Soman’s what he would do a TED talk on answer about the four things that have been found to universally make people laugh… and Tim’s response that number 3 (‘a swift fart delivered in silence’) could be the title of his memoir.

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  37. Episodes like this are why I keep returning to this show- a thoughtful, wide-ranging conversation with someone I didn’t previously know but would like to learn more about.

    Thanks Tim and Soman!

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  38. Magical episode. I had to listen twice. And will be going back. Thank god for how TimTimTalkTalk is winning market share over the news…!

    Notes to self, from Ferriss-Chainani moments of profundity:
    – use body over mind: weaknesses in athleticism / exercise regimen weaknesses translate to other aspects of life…
    – being single as part-time job! Oh yes, thank you
    – not having a calendar: interesting tool, love it, in fact, led much of my life like this
    – the morning head steam: I’m in!
    – on meditating approach: 15 mins of finding the conscious I-ego and observing it (1:06), and thanks Tim for digging out the details from Soman here.
    – “Why is there something when there should be nothing” from Tao Te Ching
    – Really appreciated hearing your opposite thinking on training solo versus with trainer: Tim’s use of athletic practise as meditative time, with cadence calibrating this…and Soman’s observation of Tim as a somatic person
    – ‘a swift fart delivered in silence’. Turns of phrase must be shared and proliferated…I’ll sign up here..!

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    • I had to re-listen for the reference to research on four things that unfailingly make people laugh! They are (at 1h45m):
      – beating someone with a kitchen utensil, falling down a small flight of stairs, “a swift fart delivered in silence”, parading adults dressed as twins!

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  39. Such an inspiring listen and conversation – felt like a part of it. Now I have homework to do – if only I could be as disciplined. Meditation, ballet documentaries…love that the broadcast includes a list of everything mentioned. Thank you! And Soman, don’t give up the tutoring – kids need teachers like you. Maybe write a book for students on what you have learned from years of tutoring on how to prep for college? I would buy it.

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  40. i have read your The Man Who Studied 1,000 Deaths to Learn How to Live, it was so inspiring and left a positive impact on me ,,i started looking the world in a new way which is the reason of my success so far

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  41. Tim,

    Loved this interview. If you do a Round 2 with Soman, would be cool to hear the answers to the following questions:

    – Having gone to a top school for undergrad, did you feel tempted to go into a career like banking or consulting (which I’m guessing many of your peers did)?

    – How did you know you could make the leap into a creative field where there’s a lot more uncertainty for success? Did you / do you ever doubt yourself?

    – What are you most proud of / regretful of in your life so far?

    – How has being different (only Indian kid at your school, being gay) informed and shaped who you are (for better or worse)?

    Thanks!

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  42. Tim: How could you not have gone into how Soman solved his stomach problems? Taking different probiotics, different brands, and now it’s all gone! What are the details? Tim? You of all people?

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  43. “If you look at fashion, its where you get 100% undiluted creativity because its on such a short cycle with all the different fashion shows” – Soman…COULD NOT BE MORE WRONG!!!

    Exalted fashion designer, Raf Simons stated that “fashion became pop… Now high fashion is for everybody.”

    Fashion became consumer-driven (much less concerned with creating “art”) and now has such “BUY, BUY, BUY” mentality. The industry is moving too fast focusing more on output- more clothes, more shows and less about the input- the quality of materials used and the quality of design!

    With so many shows, there is not enough time to develop ideas & allow the creative process to truly take form. Fashion shows are happening one after another so quickly that they end up being an extension of the last show. There is nothing truly new and fashion has become SO BORING!

    The majority of the spectators don’t even recognize that some designers are just copying and pasting from previous collections that occurred 10+ years ago! Of course things come back in style… but FASHION is about evolution through innovation- taking a different look & widening the perspective.

    And the concept of fashion as art has engender so much bullshit. People are not willing to criticize fashion designers for the shit the let walk down the runway because its “art’… People don’t want others to think that they “don’t get it” so they don’t question it… mindless like going mainstream

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  44. Tim,

    Long time lurking listener here.
    This episode is among my top 3 favorite ones from your podcast, and I am sure I have listened to about 3/4 of them by now.
    Because you like audio books, I wanted to point out the audio version of His Dark Materials: Beautifully rendered, certainly better than the Golden Compass movie!

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