Arianna Huffington, Media Maven (#274)

“You can’t run your life from your inbox.”

– Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington (@ariannahuff) is the founder and CEO of Thrive Global and founder of The Huffington Post. She has been named to Time magazine’s list of the world’s 100 Most Influential People and Forbes’ Most Powerful Women list.

Originally from Greece, Arianna moved to England when she was 16 and graduated from Cambridge with an M.A. in economics. In late 2005, she launched The Huffington Post, a news and blog site that quickly became one of the most widely read, linked to, and frequently cited media brands on the Internet. In 2012, she won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting. In August of 2016, she launched Thrive Global with a mission of ending the stress and burnout epidemic by offering companies and individuals sustainable, science-based solutions to well-being.

Arianna serves on a lot of boards — including Uber and The Center for Public Integrity — and she is the author of 15 books, including Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder and The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time.

This is a wide-ranging conversation, and we get into plenty of tactics. Arianna is an expert storyteller and very funny — enjoy!

You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

Arianna Huffington, Media Maven

Want to hear another podcast with an influencer in the media? — 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):

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

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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 Arianna Huffington:

Website | LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Show Notes

  • Introductions. [05:13]
  • What does Arianna have for breakfast? Lunch? [05:52]
  • What practices have stuck with Arianna over her life of experimentation? [06:48]
  • What type of meditation does Arianna practice, and what does a typical session look like? How has it affected her sleep habits? [09:15]
  • How did Arianna make the transition from reclusive bookworm to socialite? [15:10]
  • What led Arianna to move from Greece to the UK (even though she didn’t speak English at the time)? [16:50]
  • The life lessons and parenting approach Arianna inherited from her mother. [20:03]
  • What turned Arianna from someone who never intended to become a writer to someone who has15 books under her belt? [26:20]
  • What was Arianna’s stance on feminism in the early ’70s? [28:57]
  • Would Arianna give the same advice to a young man and a young woman charging into the business world? [30:42]
  • What ultimately led to Arianna relocating from London to New York? [32:53]
  • How has Arianna’s writing and editing process changed over time? What has made her output so prolific? [37:11]
  • How did The Huffington Post come to life? [41:15]
  • How did Arianna recruit so many big names to write for The Huffington Post at launch? [44:15]
  • Where did Arianna hone her persuasive pitch acumen? [47:37]
  • How would Arianna best prepare a small class of young students for professional business life? [49:25]
  • Tools Arianna would recommend for defending against burnout. [51:35]
  • Helpful microsteps for positive changes. [54:52]
  • Arianna tells us what her typical morning looks like — and how it’s influenced by the previous night’s bedtime. [58:03]
  • Arianna talks about the health scare that led her to radically change her lifestyle, become a sleep evangelist, and create Thrive. [1:05:07]
  • What speech does Arianna give during interviews with prospective hires? [1:18:30]
  • What advice does Arianna have for people not used to initiating difficult conversations? [1:22:28]
  • As far as Greek gods and goddesses go, is Arianna more of an Athena or Hermes? [1:24:18]
  • How Henry Kissinger got Arianna to embrace her Greek accent instead of trying to change it. [1:26:59]
  • Parting thoughts on the power of sharing stories. [1:29:20]

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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22 Replies to “Arianna Huffington, Media Maven (#274)”

  1. Hey Tim! You have been killing it lately! I have really enjoyed listening to Ariana H., Eric R., Walter I., Ray D., and Stewart C.! Many thanks for all you do! I have a 90 minute commute most days, and these podcasts are like listening to a great lecture each morning. I have listened to many of them, and have enjoyed AND gifted Tools of Titans. Thanks again, and keep up the good work! My favorite comment on this recent podcast with AH was about how her mother took her to Cambridge for an early visit, and maybe without realizing it, but helping her to previsualize and make her goal seem realistic. And also, it seems that a great unintended consequence of being told you can’t do something, is that the statement ultimately helps you to actually do it!

  2. Hello Tim,

    I haven’t listened to this yet but I am commenting because I remember you mentioning on social media that this was a podcast in which you found more value than you expected if I remember correctly. I am going to listen to it tomorrow because I don’t want to rush it, but I’ll leave another comment as soon as I finish and will pay close attention to this podcast since I’m pretty sure you’ve prepared your questions carefully to get the most out of it.


    1. Well, after listening I would suggest bringing Mrs Huffington back for a few other podcasts, the overall value and entertainment of this discussion is off the charts. I know it’s because of your experience as a guest as well, but there were so many ways this discussion could have gone and it definitely went the right way.



  3. I was so excited to see this interview with Arianna! Loved the part where she talks about going hiking for meetings rather than going out to lunch. Also, inspiring that Jeff Bezos needs 8 hours of sleep and can see a direct decline in his performance if he only gets 6. Tim, how much sleep do you average? Fantastic podcast, as always!

  4. Fantastic interview! One of my favorites that you’ve done, filled with gems of wisdom and conducted in such a relaxed, easy flowing manner. Add to that, Arianna seems to have a wonderful sense of humor.

    Thanks for this!

  5. Awesome interview Tim. Yes sleep has been getting a good rep of late. It is absolutely vital to have high energy. When you sleep well you feel so much better.It has the greatest payoff for good health. Her book Thrive which talks about the third metric of success is important because it is not just about money or power. It is about being fulfilled about life and enjoying the journey.

  6. I’m dying to know why Ariana took money from investors, specifically, how she invested it.

    Thanks to you Tim, I started a podcast that focuses on stories from people who have recovered from addiction, and I would love to do it full time.

    However, I can’t afford to quit my job and I have considered asking for investors to help. It’s a project that has the potential to save lives and the feedback has been so positive!

    How would I invest money to make it grow into a business like Ariana did??

  7. Fantastic episode and a privilege to get insights into so many aspects of Arianna’s life and leadership, going back to her school days in Greece. I especially enjoyed the section giving a sense for the earliest days of blogging and how media was changing at that time.

    Arianna’s riffs on the difference between success versus living well are so important, a critical modern conundrum and especially in America (the French have it right!).

    The episode is packed with insights and tidbits as to the “small things that are big things” in living well and measured – in a warm conversation between two people that are no doubt incredibly busy. And, as ever, it is just fascinating to have Tim draw out such details in the making of modern-day leaders.

    Tim – the segment on the evolution of the internet and blogging made me want to suggest an episode with Evan Williams, founder of Medium!

  8. I absolutely love these episodes with Women Leaders.

    Thank you Tim and Arianna for making it happen!

    Each one is my favorite.

    I feel especially connected to this episode with Arianna Huffington because of her immigrant background, her challenging all the women “standards” – how women are supposed to live their lives, what roles in our society women “should” embrace (and she did seems like since she was very young all the way through).

    I loved the combination of grit, perseverance, hard work, wisdom and philosophy, mindfulness, playfulness in Arianna’s character(I guess having Hermes as a role model helped)

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

    Life is not just about our current definition of success, it’s also about living.

    And a funny one, to embrace our accent, if we have one, as part of us and our personality, to make it our strength and feature, not some flaw to avoid.

    1. Yes, Angela! We have to embrace our accent. It is actually part of who we are 🙂 I am so glad Arianna Huffington talks about this freely in this episode.

  9. Hey Tim,

    GREAT podcast, been hooked for a couple weeks now. However, I keep having issues with the streaming. Every episode I listen to drops out after about 50 – 55 minutes, and starts from the beginning. If I advance to that time slot, it drops out again. I listened to it on multiple devices and the results are always consistent so I typically only hear the first out of every episode.

    Any suggestions on how to fix this?

  10. While Arianna Huffington deserves her many accolades, she did not win the Pulitzer Prize in 2012. David Wood, the military reporter for the Huffington Post, won it for National Reporting for his 10-part series, “Beyond the Battlefield.” He deserves the credit for his reporting. Huffington deserves credit for founding the site and hiring him.

  11. Hi Tim,

    I enjoy listening your podcasts. Thanks for helping us grow intentionally or unintentionally.

    Did Arianna Huffington send you the information about the pen with a light? If so, would you please share with us?

    All the best!


  12. Hi Tim,

    I am new to this world of the podcast and started listening to yours recently on my commute which is 3hrs both ways.Glad that I found your podcast, the interviews you do with these influential people mean a lot to me, especially the type of questions you ask them which help us to relate ourselves and get motivated.

    I loved your chat with Arianna Huffington and even amazed after knowing her work.

    Thanks for bringing these lovely people to the show and keep up the good work.



  13. Hi Tim, first of all DEEP GRATITUDE for these inspiring and enriching interviews. Love your interesting and pertinent questions. Love your humility and respect. I’ve now heard the interviews with Maria Sharapova, Eric Ripert, and now Arianna. We learn so much…

    I saw Arianna at the Emerging Women conference 3 years ago. She’s one of my heros. My favourite thought is her view for success: resilience, inner mindset and power are the prerequisite for success. Also – start making small changes. The path to thriving can be reached through small steps. Wherever we are.

    Thank you for the time and effort in creating these great and inspiring materials! Sending you many blessings and wishes for creative inspiration, flow and fulfilment!

  14. Thank you Arianna for sharing your idea that not being able to sleep at night, or better yet waking and not being able to go back to sleep, is an opportunity to meditate. I have found I almost look forward to waking in the middle of the night so I can meditate; and before I realize time passing, it is morning! I started practicing TM in Beirut, Lebanon while at boarding school in 1975. I have not been consistent, but when I do practice it always rewards. And now I put it to use nightly. Mahalo and Aloha.

  15. Hey Tim,

    I really enjoyed this podcast and was pleasantly surprised by how much i related to a lot of the thoughts put forward by Arianna. Now, i know you warned her of giving out her email, but i wanted to let you know that i did actually reach out her and was amazed to get a timely response from Arianna herself that was personal and warm. This conversation actually resulted in me writing an article for Thrive Global [Moderator: link removed.]. so it goes to show that sometimes giving out an email address can work, and considering how busy Arianna is, it definitely goes to show how dedicated she is, and that has left a profound impression on me.

    Thanks for another great episode, they are the focal point for my self development and the antidote to my long commute!

  16. Question for Arianna: Do you think you could have set up HuffPost, and enjoyed all of the success you have had, if you had your current ‘Thrive’ mindset from the outset, rather than working 24/7 for the first 2 years? Thanks!