“Don’t feel powerless, ever.”
– Cory Booker
I generally have an allergy to politics, but Cory’s story is endlessly fascinating (e.g., he’s faced down death threats from gangs, run into burning buildings, and much more), and we have a few years of history together.
We cover a lot in this wide-ranging catch-up conversation, including his diet, lessons from early mentors and athletics, routines, books that have had an impact, learning how to “street fight” in New Jersey after receiving a Rhodes Scholarship, and much more.
Cory began his political career as a city councilor from 1998 to 2002 in Newark, New Jersey’s largest city. He later served as mayor of Newark, which under his leadership entered its biggest period of economic growth since the 1960s — the first new downtown hotels were constructed in forty years, the first new office towers in twenty.
He then won the Senate Democratic primary in August of 2013, and then won the general election on October 16, 2013, becoming the first African-American U.S. Senator from New Jersey.
Cory is also the author of The New York Times bestseller United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good.
I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did!
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Want to hear a podcast with an influencer in the world of politics? — Listen to my conversation with Ezra Klein. 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, and his ascension into the ranks of the most respected media companies in the world (stream below or right-click here to download):
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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 Cory Booker:
- United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good by Cory Booker
- The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
- The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat Loss, Incredible Sex and Becoming Superhuman by Timothy Ferriss
- Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Timothy Ferriss
- Cory’s episode of Finding Your Roots on PBS
- Housing Discrimination Based on Race and Disabilities Still Persists by Hope A. Lang
- Don’t Believe The Hype by Public Enemy
- Cory Booker college football highlights from Stanford’s upset win over Notre Dame in 1990.
- The Bridge Peer Counseling Center
- “Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
- How Far Apart Are Democrats and Republicans on School Reform? by Michael B. Henderson, Brookings
- What My Morning Journal Looks Like
- The Tim Ferriss Radio Hour: Meditation, Mindset, and Mastery
- Newark Mayor Cory Booker to SNAP Critic: ‘Let’s Try It!’ by Steve Holt, TakePart
- Sen. Cory Booker on the Spiritual Dimension of American Politics, The Ezra Klein Show
- Real Life Extension: Caloric Restriction or Intermittent Fasting?
- Gandhi: An Autobiography – The Story of My Experiments With Truth by Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi
- Utilize the “Steel Man” Tactic to Argue More Effectively by Eric Ravenscraft, Lifehacker
- The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
- The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin
- Mark Zuckerberg’s Goal For 2014 Is To Write A Thank-You Note Every Day by Steve Kovach, Business Insider
- How to Not Be Evil — Dr. Phil Zimbardo
- StarPower — Use & Abuse of Power, Leadership & Diversity
- Teach For America
- New Jack City
- Evicted, Newark’s Mayor Finds Another Blighted Street by Andrew Jacobs, The New York Times
- Street Fight, the Oscar-nominated documentary about Cory’s 2002 mayoral campaign.
- Cory Booker’s positions on policies related to drugs and addiction at OnTheIssues.org
- Taking It to the Streets by Marc Peyser, Stanford Alumni
- The Racist Housing Policy That Made Your Neighborhood by Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic
- Toxic Passaic River to Get $1.38 Billion Cleanup Over 10 Years By Noah Remnick and Rick Rojas, The New York Times
- Time: The Kalief Browder Story
- National Inventory of Collateral Consequences of Conviction
- Cory Booker Joins Bernie Sanders in Backing Drug Re-Importation Bill by Ryan Grim, The Huffington Post
- Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
- The Appalling Silence of Good People by PJ Mintner, The Huffington Post
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
- Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
- Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet by Jesse Itzler
- Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63 by Taylor Branch
- Neil deGrasse Tyson Explains Why We Have Dysfunctional Politicians by Paul Ratner, Big Think
- The Theory of Moral Sentiments by Adam Smith
- Cory Booker: We Need to Love Each Other by Sara Ashley O’Brien, CNN
- Even Cory Booker experiences imposter syndrome. [06:55]
- When it comes to parents, Cory feels he “won the lottery.” [08:40]
- Lessons Cory learned from his parents about being grateful and paying social debts forward. [10:50]
- Cory talks about his college football career. [16:42]
- What running a crisis hotline at Stanford taught Cory about empathy, counseling without judgment, and persuasion. [22:06]
- Cory’s tactics for defusing tense situations and the importance of relating to our heroes. [29:45]
- Cory talks about the benefits of intermittent fasting. [33:48]
- How personal experimentation takes us out of our routines and expands our boundaries. [40:05]
- On the idea of voluntarily experiencing life in an underprivileged community riddled with violence and drugs. [48:56]
- “I’m not here to help; I’m here to learn.” Cory talks about the challenges of trying to make changes in Newark as an outsider. [53:58]
- Cory explains the exclusionary policy of “redlining” that created slums, and the challenges these communities still face today. [1:12:06]
- On bipartisanship and friendship with Chris Christie. [1:21:15]
- What makes someone a good activist? [1:24:15]
- “How to Get Straight A’s in College If You’re a Dumb Person” by Cory Booker and Tim Ferriss — coming soon to a bookstore near you! [1:26:45]
- Is this podcast really one of the few spaces in America where people of all political persuasions can come together? [1:32:06]
- Cory explains what a superfund is, and how it’s a symptom of deeper problems that need to be addressed from both sides of the political aisle. [1:32:39]
- On the importance of Americans preserving “an irrational commitment” to one another. [1:36:07]
- Even the mayor of Newark doesn’t get to cut in line to vote. [1:37:24]
- As overwhelming as we might find the world’s problems, we can’t allow our inability to do everything undermine our determination to do something. [1:38:58]
- Cory’s mission statement. [1:42:48]
- Being successful at activism is like being successful at anything: start small and build momentum. [1:43:35]
- Books Cory has gifted the most. [1:47:03]
- A question Cory wishes more people would ask themselves. [1:49:45]
- As a man of faith, Cory finds the frontiers of science to be very spiritual — and non-partisan. [1:50:39]
- Has capitalism lost its way? [1:53:15]
- Parting thoughts and Cory’s ask of the audience. [1:54:32]
- Cary Booker
- Carolyn Booker
- James Baldwin
- Abraham Lincoln
- Franklin D. Roosevelt
- John F. Crowley
- Lou Holtz
- George Gipp
- Rudy Ruettiger
- Todd Lyght
- Donald Trump
- Bryan Johnson
- Lyndon B. Johnson
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Santa Claus
- Ezra Klein
- Dom D’Agostino
- Valter Longo
- Peter Attia
- Mohandas Gandhi
- Charles Darwin
- Benjamin Franklin
- Mark Zuckerberg
- Phil Zimbardo
- Virginia Jones
- Sharpe James
- Bryan Callen
- Elaine Sewell
- James Bevel
- Dorothy Cotton
- Bull Connor
- Barbara Martinez
- Kalief Browder
- Chris Christie
- Maya Angelou
- Alice Walker
- Toni Morrison
- Jeff James
- Ronald Reagan
- Mitch McConnell
- Bernie Sanders
- Bryan Stevenson
- Jesse Itzler
- Taylor Branch
- Matthew B. Klapper
- Neil deGrasse Tyson
- Adam Smith
- Bill Bradley
- Deb Fischer
- Tim Scott
- Rand Paul
- Frank Hutchins
The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 500 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.