Cal Fussman Corners Tim Ferriss (#324)

12 Comments

“All the pieces are coming together here!” — Cal Fussman

I’ve interviewed legendary storyteller Cal Fussman (@calfussman) on this show before (here and here), but this time the roles are reversed, and he interviews me!

If you are not yet familiar with Cal, he is a New York Times bestselling author and a writer-at-large for Esquire magazine, where he is best known for being a primary writer of the “What I Learned” feature. And this interview originally aired on Cal’s podcast, “Big Questions with Cal Fussman.”

Cal has transformed oral history into an art form, conducting probing interviews with the icons who’ve shaped the last 50 years of world history: Mikhail Gorbachev, Jimmy Carter, Ted Kennedy, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Jack Welch, Robert DeNiro, Clint Eastwood, Bruce Springsteen, Dr. Dre, Quincy Jones, Woody Allen, Barbara Walters, Pelé, Yao Ming, Serena Williams, John Wooden, Muhammad Ali, and countless others.

Enjoy!


TF-StitcherButton

Want to hear another episode with someone who’s collected a lifetime of great stories? — Listen to my interview with Shep Gordon, the man behind some of the biggest names you’ve ever heard, including Alice Cooper, Wolfgang Puck, Anne Murray, and Teddy Pendergrass. (Stream below or right-click here to download):

Shep Gordon - The King Maker on His Best PR Stunts, Hugest Failures, and Practical Philosophies
Download


This podcast is brought to you by Four Sigmatic. While I often praise this company’s lion’s mane mushroom coffee for a minimal caffeine wakeup call that lasts, I asked the founders if they could help me—someone who’s struggled with insomnia for decades—sleep. Their answer: Reishi Mushroom Elixir. They made a special batch for me and my listeners that comes without sweetener; you can try it at bedtime with a little honey or nut milk, or you can just add hot water to your single-serving packet and embrace its bitterness like I do.

Try it right now by going to foursigmatic.com/ferriss and using the code Ferriss to get 20 percent off this rare, limited run of Reishi Mushroom Elixir. If you are in the experimental mindset, I do not think you’ll be disappointed.

This episode is brought to you by “5-Bullet Friday,” my very own email newsletter, which every Friday features five bullet points of cool things I’ve found that week, including apps, books, documentaries, gadgets, albums, articles, TV shows, new hacks or tricks, and — of course — all sorts of weird stuff I’ve dug up from around the world. 

It’s free, it’s always going to be free, and you can subscribe now at tim.blog/friday.

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 Cal Fussman:

Website | Podcast | Twitter | Kevin “The Manager”

SHOW NOTES

  • How does Cal approach an interview with someone he knows pretty well — like me, for instance? [09:44]
  • A story about Brian Grazer and Ron Howard and how their teamwork reminds Cal of me. [11:09]
  • Is my origin story anything like “Iceman” Wim Hof’s? [12:58]
  • Childhood wrestling and adaptation to thermoregulation woes that led to lifelong self-experimentation. [14:58]
  • Why growing up when I did probably influenced my interest in nutrition. [20:53]
  • Contrasting the characteristics of the people who raised me and piecing together what I’ve inherited from them. [22:25]
  • How does my interest in persuasion and salesmanship tie in with my night owl tendencies? [24:43]
  • Even if Cal doesn’t think I have the mindset of an artist, I did grow up with serious artistic aspirations. [28:43]
  • What the “get the crowd first, then sell the product” approach gets you. [30:48]
  • Contrary to what seems to be popular opinion, I don’t consider myself a risk-taker. [31:47]
  • How did the way I think about money and efficiency get me fired from one of my first jobs in high school? [32:15]
  • Other high school jobs that were better suited to my efficiency-centered work ethic. [35:15]
  • On taking a class with John McPhee at Princeton, a writer who can mesmerize readers with entire books about seemingly mundane subjects like oranges, rocks, tennis, and the time-honored tradition of the bark canoe. [38:36]
  • How my love for minimalism and elegance relates to my love for Japan. [46:38]
  • What I learned from John McPhee’s class that translated into better grades in all my other classes. [47:46]
  • At what point did the ability to control my own journey come into play? [48:10]
  • My brief career as a safeguard (bouncer) at Princeton. [51:34]
  • High-tech entrepreneurship field studies on a Radio Shack budget. [59:38]
  • Learning to speed read through the coursework at Princeton — while coping with dysgraphia. [1:01:34]
  • What I learned by collecting and analyzing the advertising that caught my eye. [1:05:12]
  • My first taste of failure as an entrepreneur. [1:06:03]
  • In marketing, what is a dry test? [1:07:02]
  • My first taste of success as an entrepreneur. [1:07:52]
  • My first investment. [1:13:56]
  • When did the concept for The 4-Hour Workweek really start to formulate? [1:16:07]
  • Negotiating with Ed Zschau for a seat (or spot on the floor) in his class after I missed the registration deadline. [1:17:48]
  • Hustling for a job after college. [1:20:57]
  • Laying the groundwork for my next business venture. [1:27:26]
  • When success became a series of liabilities and the company I ran started running me. [1:31:41]
  • How a twice-a-year lecture for Ed Zschau and some time off the grid helped me begin to put what would become 4-Hour Workweek principles in effect. [1:32:14]
  • The exact moment when business scaling became lifestyle design. [1:33:57]
  • How insomnia, lack of a television set, and a snarky Princeton student’s feedback led to me writing my first book (in spite of an earlier vow to never write again). [1:34:51]
  • If you’re going to bother volunteering, make a point of being a good (and memorable) volunteer. [1:36:32]
  • How Chicken Soup for the Soul co-author Jack Canfield helped me begin the process of writing a book. [1:37:34]
  • The real reason I was annoyed at The 4-Hour Workweek being rejected over 25 times. [1:39:50]
  • What sealed the deal at my final pitch. [1:42:21]
  • How I upheld my part of the bargain and finalized the winning book title. [1:45:17]
  • Putting a cap on Chapter One: Tim Ferriss — The Early Years. [1:49:41]
  • Asking better questions and what you can expect if you haven’t had a chance to read Tribe of Mentors yet. [1:49:58]

PEOPLE MENTIONED

Posted on: June 30, 2018.

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.

Who was interviewed? Here's a very partial list: tech icons (founders of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Craigslist, Pinterest, Spotify, Salesforce, Dropbox, and more), Jimmy Fallon, Arianna Huffington, Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York), Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ben Stiller, Maurice Ashley (first African-American Grandmaster of chess), Brené Brown (researcher and bestselling author), Rick Rubin (legendary music producer), Temple Grandin (animal behavior expert and autism activist), Franklin Leonard (The Black List), Dara Torres (12-time Olympic medalist in swimming), David Lynch (director), Kelly Slater (surfing legend), Bozoma Saint John (Beats/Apple/Uber), Lewis Cantley (famed cancer researcher), Maria Sharapova, Chris Anderson (curator of TED), Terry Crews, Greg Norman (golf icon), Vitalik Buterin (creator of Ethereum), and nearly 100 more. Check it all out by clicking here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration)

12 comments on “Cal Fussman Corners Tim Ferriss (#324)

  1. Great interview, Tim. That filled in the blanks. While we are each a rich tapestry of experiences hearing the whole progression of many of the major ones was helpful.

    The thing I kept asking myself during the middle and later portions of the podcast was, “has he posted his sales scripts somewhere?” So I’ll ask: have you ever published the direct sales scripts/algorithms you developed over your years of learning them from others and using them yourself? If so where? If not, will you? They would be invaluable guides/templates for those of us who have not yet mastered the post-no close.

    Like

  2. Good evening, maybe here is not the right place for this comment, but I’m slow on the 4HWW book, and on page 73 there’s an example worksheet for dream delinquency. In the book says that in the blog url tim ferriss has the online spreadsheet and calculator online, I searched here and did not find it. Can anyone give me the link of this tool? Thanks

    Like

  3. Tim! Long time listener/subscriber/reader, first time commenter. I listened to this podcast hours ago, yet I just received the email telling me it’s available. This happens most every week. Am I just over-eager or do you find the timing of the e-mail to generate the most opens at that time? I can’t imagine you would leave something with the ability to be automated to chance. So what’s the deal?

    Like

  4. Cal prises open the early days of Tim’s life…with some fascinating (and new. I think) insights into just how “this leads to that…” as we all explore curiosities and make decisions….

    For all of us enjoying marching around in the Ferriss benevolent army of life-long learning, this episode may just serve to help you know yourself more, too – in terms of how one thing leads to another. The episode is stacked with example of key decisions, influences and pivot points.

    Thanks Tim, a real privilege to have you open the vaults of your early days.

    Like

  5. Hi Tim,

    Looking forward to the next 9 parts of this life story series with Cal Fusman, although it might take some time.

    ~Felix

    Like

  6. Loving your life story: Since you love wrestlers thought you might like:
    [Moderator: promo for wrestling documentary “350 Days” removed.]

    A H.S buddy’s director debut..

    Like

  7. What stood out for me were a number of things. I too can’t stand inefficiency and never understood the concept of making someone do the same task again, at least he should have been efficient and given you more to do, since you were so quick.:^) I like that Mcfee’s class made you a better thinker. That’s a great product from any class, imagine if most classes made one a better thinker. Curious about the heat sensitivity and your mention of potassium– I think there is a connection, for me. I’ve been trying to solve my own sensivity. I’m curious if you have gotten to the root of yours? And lastly, I ordered the Reishi – because it has no sweetners, ty. I’m looking forward to trying it. Thanks for your thoughtfulness.

    Like

  8. Loved this episode. Cal Fussman has a great skill of figuring out a person. It felt like he was peeling the onion – only it was the other way around. Totally awesome episode. Learned so much about Tim and what ticks him, and why ! Thank you for sharing it on your podcast else I would have missed it.

    Like