Charles Koch — CEO of Koch Industries (#381)

193 Comments

(Photo credit: Grant Miller)

“When goods don’t cross borders, soldiers will.”
— Charles Koch, quoting Frédéric Bastiat

This episode will no doubt surprise people, and my guest came to me through channels I wouldn’t have expected.


Charles Koch received a bachelor’s degree in general engineering and two master’s degrees, in nuclear and chemical engineering, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

He is chairman of the board and CEO of Koch Industries Inc., a position he has held since 1967. He is renowned for growing Koch Industries from a company worth $21 million in the early 1960s to one with revenues estimated as high as $110 billion by Forbes. It’s one of the largest privately held companies in the world, and by revenue, it’s larger than both Boeing and Disney. He has transformed the business into a diverse group of companies that employ nearly 130,000 people—making everything from Dixie cups to components in your cell phone. 

Charles credits the success of Koch Industries to applying proven principles of social and scientific progress, which led to the development and implementation of his Market-Based Management® (MBM®) business philosophy. He describes MBM and its applications in two of his books, The Science of Success and Good Profit.

Charles is now using those principles in philanthropy, as the founder of Stand Together, to tackle some of the biggest challenges in the U.S. Stand Together is partnering with thousands of social entrepreneurs to help them improve their effectiveness and scale at tackling poverty, improving K-12 education, bringing justice to our criminal justice system, and more.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Castbox, Stitcher, or on your favorite podcast platform.


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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 Stand Together:

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

  • Connect with Koch Industries:

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

Op-Eds:

Videos:

SHOW NOTES

  • What is Charles’s history with digging dandelions? [13:30]
  • Charles talks about the letter from his father that hangs framed on his wall and why it’s important to him. [17:59]
  • On being talked into returning to Wichita after graduating from MIT to run one of his father’s businesses, and how Charles switched from a mindset focused on instant gratification to one of long-term value. [19:49]
  • The authors who have had the largest impact on Charles’s thinking. [24:40]
  • How does Charles utilize scientific or engineering principles that he learned at MIT for business? Where do Karl Popper and Michael Polanyi figure into the process? [28:26]
  • Specifically, how has Charles applied concepts from Polanyi’s “The Republic of Science” to his work? [31:41]
  • Virtuous cycles of mutual benefit, creating value for others, and the two components of finding opportunities in this value. [35:15]
  • Now that we know what good profit is, what is bad profit — and how does it reduce value and diminish opportunity? [41:17]
  • Do Koch companies participate in bad profit? [44:23]
  • What are the major market distortions that Charles opposes? [48:39]
  • Within the company, how are disagreements hashed out? Is there a framework of principles in place to guide consensus? [49:43]
  • Driving principles: personal knowledge versus conceptual knowledge, three-dimensional learning, comparative advantage, synergy, creative destruction, free speech, property rights, decision rights, market-based management, and the human action model. [53:51]
  • If these principles seem so obvious, why are they so often ignored by countries, organizations, and companies? [1:02:15]
  • What Charles has found to be the three requirements of a good, successful partnership. [1:04:08]
  • How has Charles’s approach to policy coalitions changed over time, and what ground has been gained by finding common cause with former adversaries? [1:05:32]
  • What is Stand Together, and what does it aim to accomplish? [1:13:18]
  • How does Stand Together incorporate market-based solutions that have proven successful for Charles’s other endeavors? [1:16:22]
  • A hopeful look forward at Stand Together capturing the national imagination with the same intensity and bipartisan support as prison reform is enjoying today. [1:22:19]
  • Is Stand Together still accepting applications from social entrepreneurs? [1:25:37]
  • Charles weighs in on capitalism, the ideal role of a business in society, environmental priorities, and politicized corruption. [1:29:33]
  • The effect of higher taxes on GDP, the failure of trickle-down economics, and what Charles sees as the best course toward the pursuit of happiness. [1:35:10]
  • Does Koch Industries fund propaganda to confuse people about climate change? [1:39:20]
  • What does Charles consider to be the most legitimate existential threats to humankind? [1:44:20]
  • The cause that unites the seemingly unlikely pairing of Koch Industries and George Soros. [1:46:32]
  • For what would Charles be willing to bet his entire personal fortune? [1:48:37]
  • What would Charles’s billboard say? [1:49:43]
  • After whom was Charles named, and why? [1:50:54]
  • Where did the nonintuitive (to most Americans) pronunciation of “Koch” originate? [1:54:15]
  • Parting thoughts. [1:56:26]

PEOPLE MENTIONED

Posted on: August 11, 2019.

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.

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193 comments on “Charles Koch — CEO of Koch Industries (#381)

  1. Wow! Someone here mentioned that seeing the name on this podcast was like a “gut punch” and I have to agree. I could NOT believe Tim Ferris would distribute / allow access to his peeps for these folks. I was so shocked that while I usually jump right in and almost always come away inspired by what has so far been an incredible list of inspirational, progressive guests – this time I stopped dead and checked the comments first. Glad to see I’m not alone on this one.
    Of course, I have to check it out and try to understand what would make you do ths. But unless you were under duress then I suspect whatever you meant by this intro: ” and my guest came to me through channels I wouldn’t have expected” says a lot more than we can know.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I heard it something like “keep industry here by not crushing it with overreaching regulation that will send it to China and other terrible polluters” but that might be too sophisticated of an arguement for all these crazed deplatformers.

      Like

  2. I just listened to your intro to the Charles Koch interview. So sad that your listeners are so close-minded that you had to share “Snowflake Alert” ahead of time. Your subconsciously admitted that your liberal listeners are the close -minded ones. Interview whomever from whatever part of the political spectrum without apology. I’m glad you interviewed but am disappointed that you had such little faith in your listeners.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great podcast! We can learn from interesting and smart people no matter their politics!

    By the way, the climate has cycled hundreds of times during the earth’s history. There have been a dozen world-wide ice ages in the last 1.5 million years, just a sliver of geological time. Of course there’s climate change!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Koch even agreed that reducing carbon is a high priority and that one of the best ways to do that is to keep industry in the west, not driving it to china and india with climate alarmist overregulation.

      Like

  4. Tim,

    Glad you did this interview. It was informative and interesting. I definitely learned a thing or two though I do agree with some you could have pressed harder with some of the questions.

    While I rarely read the comments, I knew this one would be worth a look and was floored by the emotional responses from the outrage brigade.

    People just came out hurling insults, largely without facts or evidence… just regurgitating the usual clickbaity accusations. Then to top off their rants they reveal they didn’t even listen to it. *That* is the epitome of willful ignorance. Is that how we are supposed to make the world better?

    Maybe if they’d actually listened to the show they’d realize that was the chasm Charles Koch is trying to bridge.

    You don’t have to agree with him but for crying out loud have a reasoned thought or two of your own before throwing a fit.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I encourage you to listen to this interview on NPR with the author of “Kochland” and read the book. https://www.npr.org/2019/08/13/750803289/kochland-how-the-koch-brothers-changed-u-s-corporate-and-political-power

    Then perhaps interview him again being better prepared. I understand you cannot rip a marquee guest like Charles Koch but your audience expects you to not just roll over like you did and accept on face value his comments about top down and helping people.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Just plain curious: would you (Tim and fellow listeners) have someone like Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, or the leaders of ISIS on the show? I get the differing viewpoints thing. But is there any line to be drawn?

    (Arguably, Charles Koch’s impact on the planet will actually be much more negative than the combined impact of the gentlemen mentioned above.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Generally speaking, I would rather hear people’s views unmediated by the media. The more controversial the guest the more you need to do your homework about the subject matter so that you can challenge their views.

      In this case, TF did his homework about CK but not the subject matter such as climate change and the other topics people have mentioned. At one point, TF says he “doesn’t have a dog in the fight” because he’s not well educated in the subject. That’s honest but nothing to be proud of. It was a wasted opportunity.

      It’s possible that the pre-interview agreement was for TF not to reply to CK’s answers. The first question he asks (about capitalism) takes 20 seconds to ask, which is followed by 40 seconds of watering down by TF before he lets CK answer! Listen at 1 hr 30 min 40 sec.

      When interviewing controversial figures like CK (i’m British and don’t know too much about him), it would be nice if the interviewer presented the strongest case against the person, which would give a more balanced view for neutral listeners.

      I’m now left puzzled because CK came across sometimes as mild-mannered and even, at times, likable. His organisation, Stand Together, also seems a good idea in theory. Maybe he pulled the wool over my eyes. I’m contrasting that with some of the comments here, which paint CK as a monster.

      At times, TF just seems starstruck. He’s so happy he’s got such a big guest that he was never going to challenge him. Then again, I’m not sure TF challenges anyone and that may be his appeal to interviewees and some listeners.

      Like

  7. Not sure how many of the people here think they can make a positive difference by projecting all their hate on one men, refuse to listen to him and even attack the people that do.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Agreed. Open mindedness to all views is the first step to deriving your own opinion. Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s sidekick, and a brilliant man, says that one should be able to argue both sides of an argument better than his opposition to fully understand the points each make. Could anyone in this comment chain do that effectively without ad hominem criticism? Koch admits his company has made mistakes, but some of the accusations are way overblown, and his philosophy now is considerably evolved. Listen and learn to those who off handedly criticize, please.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is the worst person you’ve ever interviewed, by far.

    Someone like Jocko Willink I can respect. He kills people as his profession, but he’s doing it for his country and for a greater purpose. (We can argue if all those wars are justified, but that’s no slight on him.) Koch, on the other hand, kills people for pure personal greed.

    You’ve lost a subscriber.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have been a reader of your newsletter for some time as well as a listener of your podcast. I have learned much from both you and the people you have interviewed. You are usually so selective about the folks you invite to the conversation, and I am deeply disappointed in your choice today. Koch’s ideology is objectively destructive, and he has worked very hard–and very successfully–to undermine so much that is good in our country. Please consider me a former reader and former listener now.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Don’t normally comment on any blogs or podcasts but I feel like I have to come to Tim’s defense here. He repeated that people would have issues but anyone that has issues with Tim for doing this is really being close minded. He is not asking you to agree with this guy just keep an open mind and learn from hearing another persons perspective. Free speech and open dialogue is one of the greatest strengths we have and to be “disgusted” or “disappointed” in Tim for this is just immature. Great job Tim and truly appreciate what you do!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Free speech is a given. But the premise of Tim’s show is to learn from people who are not only successful, which Koch is, but also admirable and worthy of learning from, which Koch decidedly isn’t. By putting him on his show, Tim is conferring legitimacy on someone whose actions, via his vast corporate policies, are truly despicable. He deserves no such honor. And Tim’s previous guests are disgraced by being placed in his presence.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Why would you expect Tim to suddenly turn into a Social Justice Warrior? Tim’s messaging has been authentic & consistent – dissecting the strategies, habits, tips & tricks of world class performers – he does not generally skewer his guests for their character flaws. Koch is one of the wealthiest humans on the planet, like it or not – that is not in itself a good, bad, or even a desirable thing to me. In listening to the interview, Tim’s questions were consistent with those he asks of all of his guests, and Koch’s answers were consistent with other guests that have been successful in business – he acts according to his own principles/codes of ethics, he applies logic and reason where others fail to, he maximizes his strengths, looks for areas of weakness, he reads a lot/learns deeply, and he cultivates relationships and seeks to find common ground with people who can help him achieve the ends he seeks. If you are truly opposed to Mr. Koch, then wouldn’t you want to hear his reasoning & learn his playbook? I would think that gaining insight into how he thinks would be far more useful if you wanted to oppose him than pouting with a Care-Bear-Stare of moral outrage.

    I understand where people would rail against his actions and point out the hypocrisies, but wouldn’t you want to learn some truth if it were there to be revealed? It is a bit simplistic to suggest that he has built his wealth on the backs of helpless innocents at the expense of the common man. His companies sell products, that most of us buy unknowingly. He is not Monty Burns. History has been full of great ideas that came from less than stellar people (would you disavow DNA because James Watson was a blatant racist? Would it matter if you did?). If you listen to this podcast you will find neither great nor “dangerous” nor novel ideas in the words he speaks, and generally there was a lot less wisdom than I was hoping for. If Koch was given a platform, he didn’t really say much from it.

    Thank you, Tim, for presenting your listeners with a chance to practice some critical thinking. This is a test…. it is only a test…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Koch does far more than “sell products.” He manipulates policy in his own interest through strategic deployment of his vast fortune. To not address this in a 2 hour interview is gross negligence of any broadcaster. Tim has a large platform and influence and while he may not be an investigative journalist, he is a responsible for what he puts out into the world. By giving Koch a 2 hour softie interview, he confers societal acceptance and social legitimacy on a man who deserves no such honor.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Different ideas? Like all the positive things Koch has done for democracy and the environment? I’m not “scared” to hear those things–if they were true I’d welcome them, but those facts don’t exist. The only people who should be giving Charles Koch airtime are serious journalists with hard questions. What the Kochs have done in the interest of their bottom line to our democracy and the environment are well-documented and despicable.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Boy Tim, that Charlie Koch sure is a good fella.

    The mistake here is not having him on, but failing to ask even one hard question regarding the damage this man and his brother have done to American democracy and our environment. Shame on you.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This could have been your Oprah moment.

    Obviously this episode and interview subject have touched a nerve and I don’t believe unreasonably. This episode comes into conflict with the value and brand proposition that you, Tim, have established. You have consistently stated your goal of:

    “deconstructing world class performers, teasing out the habits, routines, favorite books, etc. that you can apply to your own life and test immediately. Whether those experts are coming from the worlds of chess, or entertainment, or sports, business, or otherwise; it is my job to dig into the details.”

    The unique situation here is that while Koch could easily be described as wealthy and influential there is an absence of critical context around Koch’s methods in business and politics. By so many metrics, Koch might fit into a “world class” category, and yet look at how many people are upset with this episode.

    I actually don’t believe this is due only to who you interviewed. I believe this is due, in-part, to how you conducted the interview and how you crafted the episode description and promotion.

    This interview crosses into a sphere of topicality that goes beyond “experiments in lifestyle design” and into, frankly, news. Koch is a controversial figure. While you did admit that this episode “will no doubt surprise people” I don’t think you grabbed hold of the opportunity to not merely probe tools and tactics but get at something deeper. Something more human. Something that would TRULY transcend this polarizing figure and offer insight to his detractors and his followers alike. (WWOD: What would Oprah do?)

    A big part of this is in your ability to interview without fear of insulting your guest OR your audience. Your ability to reduce the amount of prefacing and qualifying (as Praful says above) would be a start. Let your questions “hold the air.” You can have a point of view. You can be respectful. But the more polarizing the guest, the greater the opportunity (and perhaps imperative) to push deeper, to lean into the unique opportunity you have to be in front of someone that millions of people have strong feelings about and, critically, to get something new.

    Might I humbly suggest it’s time to get your hands dirtier, Tim. You don’t owe anyone an apology for who you interview. It’s your show. But I believe you missed an opportunity with this interview. This could have been an Oprah-moment for you. Oprah has interviewed the good, bad and ugly. But her audience sees her for her, rarely conflating these spheres of distinction between guest and host. And the result: Oprah’s interviews make news. Tim Ferriss interviewing Charles Koch should have made news. A quick Google news search of your name yields nothing.

    And that’s the real shame. The kerfuffle around this episode isn’t about your interview. It’s in spite of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Tim,

    Obviously a lot of controversy in providing yet another platform (they ‘own’ so many) for one of the infamous Koch brothers… I wonder if you could please elaborate on two things:

    1) Your detailed reasoning for having him as a guest (Was it well thought out?)
    2) How you were connected

    Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Tim, my man, were you biting your lip all the way through? I mean WTF? This whole interview was hypocrisy at its finest. About climate change denial. “Oh I hope we’re not spreading denial messages…” Christ, they have founded whole institutes to do just that. These are the lords of dark money. One of the reasons the country is circling the drain. Were you that wowed that you get to talk to this guy that you just let everything go? Embarrassing….

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Tim,
    The Koch Bros are beyond the pale.

    From the New Yorker:

    “ ‘Kochland’ is important, Davies said, because it makes it clear that “you’d have a carbon tax, or something better, today, if not for the Kochs. They stopped anything from happening back when there was still time.” The book also documents how, in 2010, the company’s lobbyists spent gobs of cash and swarmed Congress as part of a multi-pronged effort to kill the first, and so far the last, serious effort to place a price on carbon pollution—the proposed “cap and trade” bill. Magnifying the Kochs’ power was their network of allied donors, anonymously funded shell groups, think tanks, academic centers, and nonprofit advocacy groups, which Koch insiders referred to as their “echo chamber.” Leonard also reports that the centrist think tank Third Way quietly worked with the Kochs to push back against efforts to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, which could have affected their business importing oil from Canada. Frequently, and by design, the Koch brothers’ involvement was all but invisible.“ https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/kochland-examines-how-the-koch-brothers-made-their-fortune-and-the-influence-it-bought

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tim’s listeners, in aggregate, are among the smartest and most open minded souls imaginable. It also means they are among the best-informed community to judge the moral, social, and environmental impact of the Koch family’s extensive lobbying spends.

      You may have enjoyed Tim’s interview, but sadly he focused only on topics favorable to Koch, while completely ignoring the MASSIVE investments this family makes to paint anthropogenic climate change as “fake news” — to continue buying elections and lawmaking through Dark PAC “money as speech” — to support “supply side tax policies” that disproportionately benefit the wealthy — to destroy the United Nations and America’s deep bonds with other nations — to promote the sale of automatic weapons and hobble gun laws — to rewrite the US Constitution to enshrine greed as a fundamental national premise — to deny basic medical care to all citizens (and on and on).

      Deeply puzzling that none of this was even remotely touched upon by Tim. Many of us will never see Tim in the same light again — he’s revealed a gaping void in his very heart and soul.

      Liked by 2 people

  17. “Focus on the thought process”, yeah I’m sure Joseph Goebbels had a pretty interesting thought process as well, but that’s not a reason to give them a platform to spread their lies. What a disappointment. Unsubscribed.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hello. Will likely be posted sometime next week. It won’t show up in the feed, but you’ll be able to search for it by entering “Koch” and “transcripts” in the search field at the top, right of the blog and/or by clicking on “The Tim Ferriss Show Transcripts” under “Topics.”
      —Moderator

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I found this an interesting podcast, not just because of it’s content but the context I listened to it from. As a foreign listener I have little pre-conceived emotion about your guest so was able to listen to what he said without any emotion or anger or other information. I found what he said to be not dissimilar to your other good guests, and in fact as someone (if I was in your country) who would align more with Democratic notions than Republican, I found helpful his take on why he prefers ‘bottom up’ to ‘top down’. I had not heard the theory that way before, and again because of my lack of pre-conceived belief that he was evil, I could absorb it. I write this only so those who are clearly reviled by the man enough to not even listen to him etc, might see that context make a bit difference. If you heard someone from my country speak, and say exactly the same stuff…you may listen with an open mind…whereas if I knew some history or what I had read had coloured my view, or they were from the party I did not support..perhaps my listening would also be coloured. I thought it was great Tim, and I’m sure you know this, but i have no expectation of you being the ‘counter puncher’ when it comes to questioning.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I want to believe that a man this powerful is trying to do the good he claims (according to this, his first priority is his employees, his second is the environment), but there seems to be so much evidence to the contrary.

    I think you missed the opportunity here to present that contradictory evidence – on climate change, worker treatment, politics etc, to really probe some of that, and hear his side of the story. That would have been very valuable. There were no hard questions at all, and you didn’t challenge when his answers contradicted the info which is out there (which may or may not be true).

    I think you did both him (if he’s being truthful) and yourself a disservice.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I have no problem with a prominent podcaster whom I admire inviting Koch on, but if and only if
    1. The purpose is to engage in a rigorous exchange of ideas
    2. The process included probing follow up questions and use of crap detector, aka hacking integrity
    3. The host is adept at this type of interview

    This was not your purpose, you did not use this process, and you are not that type of host.

    You are amazing at what you do. I suggest you stick to that. Leave interviews with Koch and all political topics to others more suited to the purpose—or spend the next year teaching yourself politics.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Unsubscribe. Arguably no one has done more to damage the economy and our democracy than Charles Koch. The only people who should be putting Charles Koch on the air are serious investigative journalists who have done months of research and are prepared to hold him to account. This week real broadcaster Terri Gross interviewed the author Kochland, which you should have read before giving this man a platform. https://tinyurl.com/y3c4zkze

    My first impression of Tim was that he was a huckster (4 Hour Everything), but I was won over by his seemingly sincere personality. Nope. As Maya Angelou says “When someone shows you who they really are, believe them the first time.” Clearly all Tim cares about is fame, money, and access to the powerful.

    Oh, and Ascent protein and all of Tim’s other advertisers are now in my garbage pile as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I thought this was a great interview. You can tell he’s an incredible thinker. I especially liked the part about climate change, and just how complex these issues can be. (Imposing stricter emission laws on US companies actually increases emissions globally as more jobs are outsourced to China). There’s often not an easy answer for many of these complex issues, but just because we approach certain issues in different ways doesn’t necessarily mean we want different outcomes. “The left wing and right wing are part of the same bird.”

    I expected to see a lot of charged comments here, but I am amazed at the number of comments of people saying they refuse to even listen to the interview. It doesn’t get any more closed minded than that. Real change starts with an open dialogue.

    Also…it would be nice if people did their homework…not every company with “Koch” in the name is owned or even affiliated with the Koch Brothers.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Hey Tim. I’m catching up on non-essential emails and just saw your 5 Bullet Friday from 8/2. As an audio engineer with a BS in Audio Production that works on podcasts, please reach out if you want to talk about improving your setup. Big fan of the books and recently started listening to your podcast! Hope all is well.

    Like

  24. Thought long and hard about this interview. Hate to say that I am out on Tim Ferriss. Lending a platform to a person who has done more damage to this country’s political system both at the state and federal level is unforgiveable. And without any pushback. THat is very unfortunate and sad. You had many opportunities to push back, challange and question this evil dude, but you gave him a pass. Sorry Tim, but I am out.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Feedback for Tim from a longtime fan, who has bought all your books, and your shows when you asked, who uses the affiliate links from your podcast sponsorships, sends your shows to friends, and continues to read your books daily for inspiration:

    You’ve demonstrated time and again that with a deconstructive approach, you can become proficient with complex skills and subjects in a much shorter span of time than the conventional wisdom. You’ve made it your brand. So it is hard for me, as a dedicated listener, to understand why you deprecate yourself as ‘not an expert’ or ‘not knowledgeable enough to have an opinion’ when it comes to the subject of politics.

    You’ve occasionally had guests on the show who are known for an overt political viewpoint, from presidential candidates to politically-charged media personalities, so you’ve already dabbled at the edges of your comfort zone.

    Why do you not choose to take your same branded approach to deriving an informed political viewpoint?

    You are publicly funding research into the medicinal applications of psychedelics because you’re passionate about the ways it can end suffering and heal trauma, with the ultimate aim of changing laws. In this, you are taking a political stance. So I know you have a political viewpoint.

    I have personally benefitted, as have all your fans, from your deep-diving into a subject and then sharing the results. Will you not apply that same practice here?

    Some relevant quotes by you from your Ezra Klein interview:

    “This time we did something that I’m usually allergic to. We actually talked about politics.”

    “And before you cut bait and run because I said politics, realize that I never talk about politics. I feel like an ignoramus, and that is by design.”

    “For those people, and quite frankly myself who are wondering, because I have always had maybe the exact opposite inclination. Mostly due to family, but who talked a lot about politics a lot all the time and got into huge fights; I developed an allergy to it.”

    So it is uncomfortable.

    How many of your guests, in their many variations of excellence that you unpack and share with us all, have ever said that you should stay in your comfort zone?

    I understand that there are realities to running a business like yours, that you don’t want to just plunge into fruitless tribalist flamewars, and that your platform is predicated on giving others a voice, rather than emphasizing your own. But in the name of reaching for the next level, I encourage you to work on this aspect of your craft, so that the next time you interview someone like Charles Koch, you can go deeper. Even if your viewpoint vastly challenges my own, I want to hear it because it will make me stop and think (a la Mark Twain).

    Your friend Joe Rogan has become an important neutral platform for parlay in a highly polarized era of ‘Cold Civil War,’ giving voice to many important folks across the political spectrum and disseminating that marketplace of ideas across a paradoxically diverse audience. Ray Dalio says that one should seek out the opinions of people who disagree with you, and try to understand why they see the world that way. So yes, it’s important for there to be a venue to hear people like Charles Koch to try to understand their minds, especially when all of our lives may depend on it in the next decade or two as the climate crisis escalates.

    

As your audience continues to grow, and attracts guests that get higher in the upper echelons of power, I think it would be wise to move deeper into the journalist’s credo of speaking truth to that power. As a previous commenter said, “There is a real discrepancy between what many people believe about Charles Koch and, for example, what he says about climate change. This podcast did not clear that up or any of the other controversial topics. As a neutral, I feel you missed an opportunity.”



    You and your guests intend to teach us how to optimize our lives and reach for our full potential. But I don’t see how can we do that if the world we live in descends into climate crisis, water wars and geopolitical chaos, the way the IPCC scientists of the world are warning us with increasingly dire alarms. So when you say to Charles Koch ‘I don’t have a dog in this fight,’ that’s not really true.



    The truth is, you’ve reached a level of influence in the world where there’s a higher level of responsibility to be informed on the big questions of how we govern ourselves, because you’re steering a lot of hearts and minds now. Whether you want to play that role or not, you’re a leader. And we badly need bold, educated leadership at this moment in history.

    

Recommended reading:

    -“The Uninhabitable Earth” by David Wallace-Wells

    -“Falter – Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?” By Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org

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  26. This interview, unexpectedly, pulled back the curtain …. exposing things for what they really are. I’m afraid I can never again take Mr. Ferriss seriously.

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  27. To all of you who call someone evil because they disagree with you on climate change or some other political view. That kind of rhetoric is the biggest problem in this country.

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