Inside Out with Katie Couric (#308)

Katie Couric (IG: @katiecouric) is an award-winning journalist, New York Times bestselling author, and co-founder of the non-profit Stand Up to Cancer, which has raised more than $500 million to fund scientific research teams.

Katie launched her production company, Katie Couric Media, in 2015. Since then, the aptly named Katie Couric Podcast has featured conversations with some of the biggest names in politics, media, and popular culture.

Katie’s documentaries include Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric for National Geographic, Under the Gun, which aired on Epix, and Fed Up, which can be found on Netflix. Katie’s new six-part National Geographic series is called America Inside Out with Katie Couric, and I recommend you check it out.

Katie joined CBS as the first woman at the helm of an evening newscast after a 15-year run as co-anchor of NBC’s Today Show. Her awards include a duPont-Columbia, Peabody, two Edward R. Murrows, a Walter Cronkite, and multiple Emmys. Enjoy!

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

Inside Out with Katie Couric

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 Katie Couric:

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube

Show Notes

  • How did Katie land on her feet when faced with the challenge of an impromptu interview with then-president George H.W. Bush on live television? [08:46]
  • Is Katie’s moxie intrinsic to her DNA or something she developed? [15:09]
  • Why do I lean more toward putting out evergreen over topical content? [16:54]
  • What interviews have made Katie nervous? [19:04]
  • How did Katie prepare for her interview with Sarah Palin? [22:12]
  • The importance of letting the silence do the work. [26:16]
  • How does Katie deal with her more pugnacious or combative subjects? [27:16]
  • What interviews are Katie most proud of? [28:55]
  • On grieving and preparing for the death of a terminally ill loved one. [32:51]
  • Why cancer and other potentially terminal ailments often go undiagnosed until it’s too late. [37:49]
  • Regrets Katie has about her late husband’s final days. [41:43]
  • On using her role in the public eye as a platform for early cancer screening advocacy and co-founding Stand Up To Cancer. [42:41]
  • Katie talks about the real heroes in the multi-fronted fight against cancer. [47:55]
  • How does Katie select her involvement in projects? [49:33]
  • Katie tells us what we can expect from her upcoming six-part National Geographic series America Inside Out. [52:29]
  • On turning an inappropriate question into a teachable moment. [54:40]
  • What impact does Katie hope this series will have on viewers? [1:00:26]
  • What would Katie’s billboard say? [1:05:05]
  • Katie hits me with a “gotcha” question. [1:07:34]
  • Katie is intrigued to hear about  BJ Miller and advocates getting his story out to more people. [1:08:09]
  • Pondering the insights a crystal ball might offer. [1:13:11]
  • Parting thoughts on the ethical challenges faced by social media and technology. [1:14:22]

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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24 Replies to “Inside Out with Katie Couric (#308)”

  1. I was wondering if you are going to be doing any talk’s about the opiate crisis that is going on in America? I am a 48year old male that broke my neck and upper back cut my spinal cord and almost tore my right leg off I suffer from pain every day almost all day long and with what is going on right now in America they are starting to take away medication from people that need the medicine to live a half way normal life. Now I am suffering every day.i would love to talk and open up a discussion about the opiate crisis most of witch I believe to be heroin and other types of drugs that are killing people.not the legal medicine that some of us need to have a life without suffering.. please help..

  2. The validation of letting silence do the work in a discussion. Fantastic stuff happens after the pregnant pause.

  3. Two of my lifetime idols just did a podcast. Tim, you were a worthy ping pong opponent for someone that must be so daunting because of her skill, training and influence. I love that you asked for her advice on saying goodbye to a family member with cancer, and her regrets (41:50). I also appreciated that she still asks “clumsy,” perhaps ignorant, questions… as she recounts in the interview with Carmen Carrera, and her bravery for leaving those in and taking the heat. Masterful!

  4. I love how Katie really creates a dialogue with you, Tim (ie: asking what YOU would put on a billboard). This was such a great compilation of stories from both sides and on par with your very successful interview with Debbie Millman! Tim, I didn’t sense your nervousness whatsoever. I’d love for Katie to interview you!!

  5. Thanks Tim, I really enjoyed this interview. I didn’t sense any nervousness, although I was looking out for it after you mentioned how nervous you felt!

    The idea of doing a podcast about death and dying would be amazing, and yes it would be a public service. Going to the Zen hospice and talking to patients who are comfortable and will to talk would be so wonderful for listeners and also could be very special for the patients too. Author Elizabeth Kubler Ross would be great research for you, if you can get your hands on any film clips they would be well worth watching, her work is still so relavant today. I feel I do know what to say to someone who has lost a loved one, but I feel at a loss at what to say to someone who is dying with a terminal illness. I’d love to hear frank answers from people who are dying. Thanks again Tim.

  6. Amazing interview! I also loved how she started asking the questions at one point… priceless. I wanted to comment something on the “vote or don’t complain” topic that Katie broached, but I figure I would open a huge can of worms and possibly have my comment deleted, so I will have to swallow it…. Keep up the great work, Tim! I am so happy I came across your podcast – now the hours of driving around between meetings are not wasted time anymore….

  7. Hey Tim! Great work. I love your work and l don’t mind your podcast going long. However I had the impression you cut it short with Katie, towards the end she was still in the mood of talking but you were like in the mood of wrapping up. May be it is because you were a little nerveous as you said?? Or probably I was simply over enjoying this podcast. I can’t wait for a second round with her or her interviewing you as she mentioned.

    It is pointless to say to you that keep up the good work because I know you will. However I will say THANK YOU!! Your work has changed my life.

  8. Hello Tim. Really awesome interview! You make it better everyday and Katie is just great! I wanted to comment in your question about grief. Although I think there’s no possible advice that would prepare you for that sort of pain, I feel compelled to share with you some thoughts about the process since my mother died 3 years ago and my father just passed away this January. Hopefully this thoughts will help you. In Katie’s line of argument, talking about regrets, my mother was a very intelligent woman that battled with cancer for a year and a half and still didn’t seem to be ready for the final outcome. I am deeply sorry for not have been able to provide her with some peace or closure. Her last words were “I don’t want to die” . It still breaks my heart. So if there’s anything you can do to provide some conscience or comfort in those moments don’t hesitate even if you think it’s hard. The other advice I would give is make shure you know him as deeply as you can and that he really knows your core identity before passing. My father died unexpectedly, and it hurts me more than anything that he never really got to discover the most important things about me. So if you have some questions about his life, ask them (you are a genius asking ) and if you think that there’s something that he should know about you, then share it. Finally to overcome grief, the only thing that is actually helping me, is to embrace the big change that these experiences have brought to my life. These events definitely redefine your identity. You do your fair amount of soul searching, so I think it’s possible that beeing open to rethink yourself can serve you well. I hope my words in lousy English (Spanish is my mother language) will bring you some comfort.

    On a totally different subject, you asked about the facial expression and body language for the screen, and call it coincidence, but I ‘ve been analyzing your work in that area and have some pretty constructive feedback I would love to share in a less public way. (I studied theatre direction).

    Thank you for the great value you give to us every week. I am longing for your tv show!!!

  9. Tim, I’m just now finding your stuff, and I love it. Thanks so much.

    Currently listening to your Google Talk about the monkey brain, and the judo example is fantastic because my daughter started wrestling this year. She went 0-5, but is spending the off-season on a full-year AWA team and is learning throws and sweeps.

  10. Loved the BJ Miller mention (one of your best podcast guests). Such a great dialogue around death and grief with Katie. I think it would be great to hear you spread the word about advanced care plans and how to broach the subject of death with loved ones. A couple of podcast guests that would be great: Atul Gawande, Ellen Goodman (The Conversation Project), Ira Byock.

  11. What I really liked about this episode is that she was able to show her skills. She is an master interviewer and even though you were interviewing her, she still got a lot out of you. I laughed when she sent the Billboard question straight back to you.

    Also, I’m sorry to hear that you have had lots of loss in the last year, Tim. Grief counselling is a good option if you feel like you have something unresolved. I’m a big fan, it is nice to hear when people are honest about how they are feeling. I really respect that.

  12. Dear Tim!

    I know how busy you are, but if you have just one minute: I’m not sure how to comment on the 5 minute friday, but you should definetaly check out Marine biologist, shark conservationist, fish relocator, professor, writer, motivational speaker entrepreneur + a hell of a lot more: Joao Correia and his books! The Sex, Sharks & Rock n’Roll series.

    From the first time I picked up the first volume I had a feeling he would be a perfect interviewee in your series. He IS a top performer in a LOT of ways and a lot of areas of life. He is a marine biologist who is committed to shark and marine life conservation, runs multiple businesses from marine animal collection and transport to selling lingerie! He flies airplanes, runs marathons, plays the drums, write books, and a super-super good guy, and I’d love to have him on the show.



  13. Salüt Tim

    Wow – this was an amazing and rich talk between two curious human beings. I appreciate the empathetic and careful reflexion on a hole host of topics.

    I was surprised when you touched on the “ethics of automation”. Not a theme I heard you talk on the podcast lately. As an ethicist in the field of economic ethics, I’m deeply invested in that subject, and if you’re planning a podcast on ethical dilemmas of AI, I can highly recommend Prof. Dr. Martin Booms (a German scholar).

    Merci Tim & I appreciate you,


  14. Thank you for your interview with Katie Couric, and thanks to Katie. It was such a positive interview with a lot of good answers to very tough questions. I’ve always liked Katie as a journalist and that is now reinforced. What an exceptional woman. The downside it that now I won’t be able to listen to your podcast as often Tim since I’ll now also be listening to Katie’s. Once again, thanks for this. I consider it one of my favorites in a long time.

  15. I’m going to try to get a critical comment through since my last got rejected.

    So, toning it down… did anybody else find it suspicious that she’s personal friends with the head of the CFR (she mentions calling him somewhere in the first half of the interview)?

  16. Ah yes Tim; comforting the afflicted shows we have compassion….and maybe not afflicting, but waking up, the comforted or comfortable, helps make the world a little bit better. As folks wake up to the world around them, focusing on serving others, we can all be comforted. The afflicted only exist because mass consciousness is slowly beginning to shift more towards love and less towards fear.


  17. I enjoyed the interview. Tim always does a great job. However, Katie made a remark comparing killings in the U.S. by white men compared to muslim men. She cleverly noted that white men have killed more people than muslim men which may be the truth. However, there are many, many more white men that live in the U.S. than muslim men. Statements like these should be based on a percentage basis, not numbers only.

  18. You asked Katie how she got through grief, and I’m going to answer since she avoided the question by giving (albiet excellent) advice. “The Grief Recovery Handbook” by James and Friedman helped me. It has some exercises that by themselves are a bit lack luster but when I did the work the cumulation moved me past what they call “short term energy relieving behaviors” or what Gabor Mate calls addiction and I felt more open to love again.

  19. I enjoyed the conversation between Tim and Katie, whose Nat Geo docuseries is great so far! The exchange of interview tips and career anecdotes were insightful. I was especially fascinated by Katie’s curiosity with “public grieving” in the context of her post-Columbine interview with sufferers who lost loved ones.

    When Tim went on to question her more personally about grief, I was so curious! However, the conversation left me flat. I’m not sure that Katie offered what Tim sought, in terms of a balm or “do this” instruction that we so crave in times of vulnerability. Moreover, the topic of grief (anticipated grief) and its counterpart (Death) are such fundamental explorations.

    I hope that Tim pushes his “self-experimentation” model in this area and allows himself to experience such a difficult process with his Japanese host-father. If he shares his experience and – perhaps in time – his learnings, I believe many people will benefit… especially males – often highly productive and highly intelligent males – who are often least incentivized by societies (globally) to be emotionally self-aware and vulnerable.

    Personally, I believe that suffering is unavoidable as part of the human condition. Therefore: grief is a very difficult process that cannot be circumnavigated nor should it be. However, I believe that great relief is found “in the togetherness”, in sitting with someone in our suffering, in finding a feeling of communion, however that comes for different individuals. I hope that Tim finds relief during a difficult time. Thanks to him – and his team – for such interesting work!

  20. Tim,

    The book I have gifted the most is A Grace Disguised. I give it to friends after a loved one dies and many have thanked me after reading and commented how helpful and meaningful it has been. After hearing you talk about your second father I would like to send a copy to you. I know you are extremely protective of your personal address; is there a place I could send a copy to where you would eventually receive it?

    Kyle Jaeger