The Tim Ferriss Show Transcripts: Ryan Holiday — How to Use Stoicism to Choose Alive Time Over Dead Time (#419)

Please enjoy this transcript of my most recent interview with Ryan Holiday (@RyanHoliday), one of the world’s foremost thinkers and writers on ancient philosophy and its place in modern life. He is a sought-after speaker and strategist and the author of many bestselling books, including The Obstacle Is the WayEgo Is the Enemy, and The Daily Stoic. His books have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold more than two million copies worldwide. He lives with his family outside of Austin, Texas. You can subscribe to receive his writing at RyanHoliday.net and DailyStoic.com. Ryan was also the fourth-ever guest on the podcast in the very beginning, and he has written multiple popular guest posts for my blog, which you can find at tim.blog.

His latest book is Stillness Is the Key, which was an instant #1 New York Times bestseller and Wall Street Journal bestseller.

This episode focuses on Stoic philosophy and how to apply it in our current uncertain times.

Transcripts may contain a few typos—with some episodes lasting 2+ hours, it can be difficult to catch minor errors.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform. You can also watch the interview on YouTube.

#419: Ryan Holiday — How to Use Stoicism to Choose Alive Time Over Dead Time
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Ryan Holiday: All right. So I was thinking, so we last talked podcast-related in January and man, life comes at you fast. I don’t think — 

Tim Ferriss: Certainly does.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah!

Tim Ferriss: The three great correctors of human population: war, pestilence, and famine. We certainly have number two in abundance and scaling rapidly. So things have changed quite a lot since January.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah. I was curious as someone who is a longtime fan of the Stoics, like yourself, how have you been thinking about these sort of ancient ideas or ancient strategies for dealing with what is a very timeless, ancient problem?

Tim Ferriss: Well, first thing I did was I looked into my stored belongings, because I moved from California to Austin, Texas three years ago, four years ago, but the vast majority of my stuff is still in storage. I’d been sent, as a gift, a bust of Seneca that was still wrapped in bubble wrap.

Ryan Holiday: Oh, really?

Tim Ferriss: I tracked that down, opened it up, and put it in an upstairs room where we tend to spend, my girlfriend and I, mornings so that I would at least see it.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah, sure.

Tim Ferriss: I think that there are a whole lot of different ways to attempt to answer this.

Ryan Holiday: Sure.

Tim Ferriss: I will begin with putting someone like Seneca, although he’s a very crafty, funny character, so we could spend a whole lot of time on him specifically —

Ryan Holiday: Sure.

Tim Ferriss: — Marcus Aurelius and so on as ideals that I, on some level, strive to emulate. I think the word ideal is important because it is very easy to beat yourself up for not being Stoic, or resilient, or calm enough, which in and of itself is very unstoic. It can turn into this spiral of self-loathing related to not being, one could say, Stoic enough or simply calm enough. The first is to really recognize that these are ideals that I’m striving for, but that they are not a pass/fail hurdle.

Ryan Holiday: Sure.

Tim Ferriss: In that respect. The second is I’ve been doing a lot of rehearsal. So premeditatio malorum: rehearsing of the worst-case scenarios, and combining that with the fear-setting exercise that I tend to do.

Ryan Holiday: Sure.

Tim Ferriss: Which is really just a written practice of writing out the worst-case scenarios: what you could do to decrease the likelihood of them happening, what you could do to decrease the damage if they do happen, et cetera, et cetera.

A big part of that for me has been deeply envisioning the worst-case scenarios and what they would not just look like, but feel like to observe and experience. I’ll give a concrete example. As is the case for many people, and is the case for me, I have seen my stock portfolio drop, I don’t know. Let’s call it 70 percent in value in certain cases. I had a good line of sight into coronavirus and its growth quite early on and began writing about it publicly in, I want to say second week of February, but I’d been tracking it prior to that.

I was able to sell a portion of my stock. Let’s just call it February 20, 21, whichever was the closest weekday, trading day. Then I decided to hold the rest.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Now that could prove to be a terrible, terrible, terrible decision.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: This could be the worst financial decision of my life. Could be, but after lots and lots and lots of discussion and lots of number crunching and lots of thinking about it, I decided to hold on.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: With the belief that, and in this case I’m referring to Uber, that I was an early adviser to. So it represents a disproportionately high percentage of my net worth.

Ryan Holiday: Sure.

Tim Ferriss: Now this video will be trapped in the amber, so people will go back and say, “What a fucking idiot” if it turns out poorly, but the decision-making process, I felt, was reasonable. I felt like it was defensible.

Now at the time, the stock was trading around $40 price per share. And I was talking to this much more experienced investor and he said, “If you’re going to hold this, you need to commit to yourself to hold for at least five years and you should expect that the stock will go down to $20 or $15.” Now at the time, it was about $40.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: This seemed not necessarily inconceivable, but probably far off in the distance.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: He said, “When it hits $20 and $15, you are going to want to sell more than you do now and you need to prepare for that.” That’s what I did. I really mentally committed to holding for an extended period of time. I prepared myself for $15 a share. Little did I know that something like two weeks later, two and a half weeks later, it would actually hit $14 a share or close to it.

Ryan Holiday: Oh, man.

Tim Ferriss: I have had many struggles throughout this coronavirus experience and considering the ramifications, not just for me, but for my family. I have family members in the service industries, for instance, for the economy, for people who are far less fortunate. I’ve struggled a lot in certain areas, but the areas where I have not struggled are the places where I have rehearsed to the extent possible what might happen.

Ryan Holiday: Sure.

Tim Ferriss: That has been one of the most powerful Stoic practices that I’ve been using in the last, certainly, two months.

Ryan Holiday: Well, I’ve got a bunch of stuff. This is my Marcus Aurelius statue. I bought this when I was writing The Obstacle Is the Way. This is, from what I read about it, this statue’s from 1840. I like looking at it and then thinking like, okay, this literal piece of stone survived through cholera epidemics, smallpox epidemics, polio, the Spanish flu, the flu of the 1950s. I like thinking about not just, okay, who are your ideals? But then also, how have humans gotten through — what sort of totems or reminders can you have that oh, life goes on? I’m talking to you from my office and my office was built in 1880, I think. This office got through the Spanish flu, the First World War, the Second World War.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah.

Ryan Holiday: The Cold War, and you know what I mean? I think part of one of the things I think the Stoics would ask us to do is like zoom way out and sort of be reminded that, hey, as bad as it is, history does go on. There’s no guarantee you and I will be a part of that history. You know what I mean?

Tim Ferriss: I do.

Ryan Holiday: We’ll either get through it or we won’t.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.

Ryan Holiday: I’m curious about the stock market thing because that’s something I was going to ask you because one of the things I’m dealing with. I think the loss aversion is a big part of it and it’s hard for people to manage. What I’m struggling with is kicking myself. I wasn’t as early as you, but you and I had some conversations, and so I took it seriously. I went and stocked up on food, I cut back on my travel.

I basically said like — hey, I’m sort of a buy and hold kind of guy, and I don’t have the exposure that you do to some of those stocks — the thing I said is like, “Hey, this is going to be bad, but it’s not going to be literally — it’s not going to be the worst decline in market history.” I didn’t think that, so I didn’t do anything. One of the things I’m struggling with is regret. You know what I mean?

Tim Ferriss: Sure.

Ryan Holiday: I’m wondering sort of how you deal with some of that? Are you mad that you didn’t sell more? How are you dealing with decisions you made that you can’t undo, but now you have a lot of time to sit and think about them?

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. Well that’s the nature of all decisions, right?

Ryan Holiday: Yes.

Tim Ferriss: I mean as I understand the etymology, the word to decide, a decision, is like an incision. It is a cutting away. Once you have cut away — now that could be some fake, attributed to Mark Twain —

Ryan Holiday: Sure.

Tim Ferriss: — Abe Lincoln-type quote, maybe Oscar Wilde if we’re on the internet. But nonetheless, that’s what I’ve been told before. All of our decisions are irreversible.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: At least temporarily speaking. This is something that I didn’t grapple with until reasonably far after the COVID-19 and the coronavirus came on to the main stage, so to speak.

Ryan Holiday: Sure.

Tim Ferriss: When I was campaigning in part for the cancellation of South by Southwest, which brings 400,000 plus people to Austin —

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: — I was just attacked by almost all sides and viewed as an alarmist, as fill-in-the-blank. I did not have trouble with that because I felt like the data were on my side, but I was so focused and I think rightly so on my household, on my family, on my girlfriend and her family, and ensuring that everyone were prepared that I did not — I really wasn’t looking at, say, investment as an example.

Ryan Holiday: Sure.

Tim Ferriss: Now there are — and part of the reason I’m not beating myself up is that I, at the time, at least in retrospect, I was beating myself up for a while. Then I realized, “Well do I even have the toolkit to have taken advantage of that effectively?”

Ryan Holiday: Sure.

Tim Ferriss: By “take advantage of that,” one might be talking about shorting the market in some fashion. Well, it turns out it’s very easy to get your face ripped off trying to short the market.

Ryan Holiday: Right.

Tim Ferriss: It’s very, very easy to lose that game or at least those bets.

Ryan Holiday: Sure.

Tim Ferriss: I do have friends who are career investors who have the toolkit to take advantage of something like this. I gave them a heads up that — I gave them a preview of what was coming early. Let’s call it late January or early February, and they missed those opportunities, and they are beating themselves up because they do have the toolkit and the experience and yet they didn’t take the actions.

Ryan Holiday: Sure.

Tim Ferriss: Whereas you have, say, some people who did, like Bill Ackman at Pershing, who, I don’t know, made $2.6 billion from short positions or something like that.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Not bad. I feel as though my perspective on that, specifically, has been honed, if I could use such a dignified word, through a lot of the startup investing I’ve done in the sense that it doesn’t matter how many opportunities you miss, it matters how many opportunities you take advantage of.

Ryan Holiday: Sure.

Tim Ferriss: Does that make sense?

Ryan Holiday: Totally.

Tim Ferriss: Just like if you’re putting together a book, or a podcast, or a fill-in-the-blank, it doesn’t matter how many people don’t get it. It matters how many people get it.

Ryan Holiday: Sure.

Tim Ferriss: By that, I mean if you are really waiting for the fat pitches, as Warren Buffett would say, not necessarily with his style of investing —

Ryan Holiday: Sure.

Tim Ferriss: — but if you understand where your core competencies are and can focus on the most appealing opportunities, you can miss a lot of opportunities and net/net still do very, very well. I view — I try to keep that in mind, as you said a little bit earlier, to zoom out and not look at this as an anomaly of a few weeks. It could be that, a year from now, we look back and the lowest low was in fact whenever it was. I can’t remember when the lowest low was. March 12th, or whatever it was. That might be off, but early March.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Something like that.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: 2020. At the same time. This could be, and I suspect it will be on some level, a marathon and not a sprint.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: There will be more opportunities. Then the reframing of the question for me relieves a lot of stress. Instead of asking, “Why didn’t I take advantage of X? What could I have done that I didn’t do?” Those are fruitless questions that just create a lot of stress.

Ryan Holiday: Sure.

Tim Ferriss: If you were to ask, “How might I look for opportunities that do not have the time-sensitivity of trying to time the stock market?” And one could say the futility of trying to time the stock market, because even in a bear market, and look, I’m not a professional public equities investor, so no one should take investment advice from me and I’m not giving investment advice.

Even in a bear market, there are these rallies that can really hurt you. Not necessarily financially, although they can, but psychologically. Where you buy and then they spike. Right now the volatility, meaning the kind of simplistically, the sort of amount of up and down, is just unbelievable. You’re going to get whipsawed no matter what.

Ryan Holiday: Right.

Tim Ferriss: That can be super stressful. I’m asking myself, well, rather than look at my God-awful computer screen all day, like everybody else in the world —

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: — look at all the same information and develop the hubris and ridiculous delusion that I can somehow parse out a unique conclusion from that —

Ryan Holiday: Right.

Tim Ferriss: — when millions of people are doing the same thing, what do I have access to? Where are my strengths? Where are my weaknesses? What can I do that, if this is a marathon, or if this is going to last at least six months, there are opportunities that I might be able to take advantage of. Where do I have unique domain expertise or an informational advantage?

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Maybe that’s — I’m making this up, but maybe that is distressed real estate in Austin. Let’s say, since I’m here.

Ryan Holiday: Sure. Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Maybe that is any number of other things, but it’s probably not going to be figuring out whether Google or Berkshire Hathaway is going to move one direction or another and how much they’re going to move.

Ryan Holiday: Sure.

Tim Ferriss: That is being the sucker at the poker table, I think.

Ryan Holiday: Interesting.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. That’s maybe a very long-winded way of saying it, but my belief is there are times when I make very fast good decisions, but I almost never make good rushed decisions. If I feel rushed to make a decision because oh my God, it might go up. It might go this. It might go this. It might do that. The likelihood of me making a bad decision is very high.

Ryan Holiday: Right.

Tim Ferriss: The cost of undoing that bad decision can also be quite high. That is to say that if you have dry powder, meaning cash, I don’t think it’s a terrible place to be right now, but again, I’m not a registered investment advisor, nor am I giving investment advice, but that’s how I’m thinking about it personally.

Ryan Holiday: No. I think for me it’s less like opportunities I didn’t take advantage of and steps that I should have taken to protect myself.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. Sure.

Ryan Holiday: So that connects to another emotion I think a lot of people are feeling that I’d be curious, your sort of Stoic take on it. Like, the South by Southwest example is a great one. So you and a handful of other people campaign, they shut down South by Southwest early. Who knows how much impact that had. Probably a significant amount because it was so early.

Then government officials in Texas and all over the country basically — and this goes back to when it was first coming out of China, sort of sat on that time. It’s not we used that time and built a bunch of ventilators and you know — so how are you processing or maybe you don’t have any, but for someone who has a lot of anger about how this went, or is feeling anger, how do you suggest sort of — what do you think the Stoics say about processing that anger? I do know that the Stoics did not tend to see anger as a productive or healthy emotion.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. I’d be curious to hear your take on that. So maybe I’ll turn it around.

Ryan Holiday: Okay.

Tim Ferriss: So my default gear for decades was anger. But right now my focus is related to my locus of control. In the sense that my sort of sphere of control has been constrained down to the family, effectively. And to my closest friends. And ensuring to the extent possible those people are safe and prepared. And financially capable to cover their expenses and so on.

Ryan Holiday: Sure.

Tim Ferriss: I am more active, as you know, on the national level as well.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: But I suppose, I mean this is maybe cliché, but I would think of the serenity prayer. You probably have the full text somewhere, but you know, in essence the sort of strength to act on the things that you can act upon, and the wisdom to know that which you cannot act upon or influence. I would say also that I don’t think that the time bought by canceling South by Southwest was used optimally. But just in having that time and delay, there was a huge benefit.

Ryan Holiday: Sure.

Tim Ferriss: It wasn’t used optimally, but I’m satisfied with that outcome. Because it has allowed us to see case studies like New York City that then spur local and state governments to do more, so that they do not become the next case study. Also, in retrospect, looking at, for instance, Mardi Gras in New Orleans — 

Ryan Holiday: I was just going to say that.

Tim Ferriss: Spring Break in Miami and Florida. I don’t think those are uncorrelated to those two locations among a handful of others becoming the next hotspots. I’m very confident in the benefits of South By being delayed. Let me think about anger for a second. I am a somewhat, I’m a connoisseur. I’m like a — 

Ryan Holiday: What I was thinking about anger is, like, okay, in war, you could see how anger is a somewhat productive emotion. It’s sort of a fury that you could direct at the enemy. So you might at least be able to make the argument that it has some productive benefits.

Obviously a pandemic doesn’t care how much you hate it. Cancer doesn’t care what names you call it, right? When you’re fighting something like this, I think you always want to think about is anger productive? Yes or no? And then one of my favorite Marcus Aurelius quotes, it’s a quote we know from Euripides the playwright, but he says, “Why should you feel anger at the world as if the world would notice?”

That’s the other end. Trump doesn’t care that you’re angry at him. The governor of Texas doesn’t care that you’re angry. In fact, if you are active in politics or at the national level, you have to work with these people. I think you’re also seeing some of the governors, Democrat and Republican, having to figure out, “Oh, hey, if I yell at this person on television, that might feel cathartic. But then the next day I have to call them and ask for ventilators, or ask for the National Guard.”

So I think what the Stoics talk about is, is anger making things better or worse? 90 percent of the time it makes it worse. That doesn’t mean that there wasn’t something wrong and you can’t be upset about it, but you’ve got to control that anger because there’s a problem to solve.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, I agree. What I’ve also been trying to do, and this actually came out of an interview I did some time ago with Bozoma Saint John, who is an incredible woman. One sort of philosophical tenet of hers that she underscored was applauding what you want more of, not just berating what you want less of. I think the internet has enabled a lot of things, including the dominance of the noise that is just bitching and moaning without any clear proposal for solutions.

I have been spending the majority of my time reinforcing — particularly politicians — who are in the game. Everyone’s playing a game. You and I are playing games. We all play games. There are rules, there are stakes, there are rewards. Sometimes there are punishments. And step number one is figuring out what game or games you are playing.

One of the games politicians play is reelection. You have to think about if you want to persuade someone who is playing that game, or not just persuade, but to collaborate in some way, or enable someone who is playing that game, you have to think about the incentives at play. To that end, I’ve been trying to support people who are making good decisions even if they are late. If they are better late than never decisions.

And that’s coming from someone who, I mean, has had a lifetime of anger. I do think the, certainly the Stoic philosophies, and philosophers and writing, have had a tremendous impact on my intellectual understanding of why anger can be counterproductive. But it’s really been getting on the playing field and trying to get shit done that has reinforced how imperative it is from a practical perspective.

It’s one thing to understand logically why anger is counterproductive. It’s quite another to not just keep your anger in check, but to sort of sublimate it into a different area that you can strengthen. Right?

Ryan Holiday: Yes.

Tim Ferriss: I’m not the paragon of this. I still get pissed off. But — 

Ryan Holiday: There’s a difference between being angry and doing things out of anger.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, totally. You’re allowed to feel angry. Look, I get pissed off. It’s not so much a question of suppressing anger. It’s more of a question of, I think, taking notice of what angers you so that over time fewer things hopefully anger you. And one thing that’s been very helpful to me also, and this is, I can’t remember — well I do remember one quote from Krista Tippett, who has a podcast called On Being, which I believe — I’m going to paraphrase it. But that anger is fear shown publicly.

Ryan Holiday: Okay.

Tim Ferriss: I try to, at least as an exercise, if I’m really angry, to journal, or sit and just think about for a moment, if this were traceable to a fear, what would the fear be? So it’s presupposing that it’s accurate for the sake of a thought exercise. Because anger, at least for me, it’s harder to wrestle in the sense that — head-on, treating anger as an object, it’s harder for me to grapple with and to disarm, if that makes sense.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Because the story I tell myself that perpetuates anger is, well, “It’s the principle. Justice must be served. This is dah, dah, dah, dah.”

Ryan Holiday: That phrase, “How dare they?” Like, “How could you do this?”

Tim Ferriss: I get on my high horse of righteousness. You can justify a lot of stupid behavior that way. But I don’t quite know how to defuse it. Whereas, if I can take the anger and turn it into fear, or not necessarily turn it into fear but find a source that is related to fear, then I can use fear-setting or other exercises, premeditatio malorum, et cetera, to turn down the volume. That’s a step that I’ve found very helpful also.

Ryan Holiday: I’m curious about fear, because obviously you have your fear-setting stuff, which you talk about in your TED Talk, which is probably very timely for people right now. But, you know, having sort of two young kids, you get this sort of pit in your stomach, right?

People are really afraid. I’d be curious — well, so, two things. One, I’d be curious what you say to someone who is afraid. And then the other thing, which maybe you want to riff on, I was kind of thinking — I was trying to think of — so I was born in ’87, so I was like, “What scary things did my parents go through with kids?”

Which was actually really helpful. So it’s like, Black Monday, there was obviously 9/11, there’s the tech bubble bursting, there’s the financial crisis, there’s the end of the Cold War. I tried to go through and think of — there are two wars in the Gulf, right? That was something I did. But I’m just curious, how are you thinking about fear? And what would you say to someone who is being overwhelmed by fear?

Tim Ferriss: It’s a very good question. It’s a very timely question. I don’t have confidence in a single answer for that. In the sense that I do think it’s very highly dependent on what you’re afraid of. I have relatives who had restaurant jobs and so on. They’re in very tough positions. I wouldn’t want to make this purely an academic exercise and lose sight of the fact that fear is a gift in many cases. It tells you what is wrong.

I don’t want in any way to seem like I’m detached from reality by making it — 

Ryan Holiday: Sure.

Tim Ferriss: — a sort of mental gymnastics exercise. Let’s start there. I would say that — and I’ve been telling myself this so I can — which is just because you’re feeling afraid — I have, for instance, older parents in poor health who are in New York. That has caused me quite a bit of fear and anxiety. There’s very little I can do. There’s very little I can do and I can do a lot. I have very good contacts and I have very good contacts in New York itself.

To an almost complete extent, there’s next to nothing I can do if they get sick. That has produced a sense of feeling helpless, or hopeless, or unable to help that I’m very unaccustomed to. What I’ve been telling myself, and it might be helpful to others, is number one, it’s okay to feel afraid. That doesn’t make you flawed.

That means that your sort of evolutionary machinery is intact. And there’s a lot of value to that, right? I would say that you’re not alone. You’re not flawed. Millions of people, tens of millions, probably hundreds of millions are feeling the same thing right now. There are reasons to be afraid. It does not mean there’s nothing you can do. You always have options, right? That’s the other thing I would say, and this is what I’m saying to myself, it’s like, you always have options. You may just not like those options.

Ryan Holiday: Sure.

Tim Ferriss: For instance, if you look at the plight of some workers right now who have gone from kind of getting laid off from one job to say, delivering groceries for fill-in-the-blank app or company and want more personal protective equipment in order to do that job, it’s a very, very difficult situation to be in. Because number one, no matter how much those companies would love to give you personal protective equipment, right now, healthcare workers don’t even have enough PPE, personal protective equipment.

You might be inclined in such a position to say, “I have no choice.” You do have choices. They just may be very unattractive, right? You could stop working for a period of time. You could move in with your parents, you could ask a friend for a loan, you could sell some of the belongings you have that you have great sentimental attachment to, or maybe your only car, whatever it might be. I’m not saying these are all viable, I’m just brainstorming.

Ryan Holiday: Or that they’re fair.

Tim Ferriss: Or that they’re fair. I mean, for me, I just take fair out of the equation. I think, I don’t think fair, except perhaps under the law as equal treatment of citizens, I don’t think fair is a very — I don’t think it’s an enabling concept.

Ryan Holiday: I think the Stoics would agree. Epictetus, he goes, “It’s not things that upset us. It’s our judgment about things.” So fair is an opinion we have about an objective reality that we’re in.

Tim Ferriss: Right. So if I were trying to train a group of 1,000 people to be a really effective, autonomous army, benevolent army for handling — not just weathering, but benefiting from the crisis — and if they were just computers — Westworld hosts that I could program —

Ryan Holiday: Yeah. Put on an operating system.

Tim Ferriss: there’s certain concepts and questions I would remove. Right? I think that “unfair” is — as true as it may be subjectively, or even objectively, it is a disabling word that even if you are a victim, puts you into the passenger seat of life, where you feel you do not have options, nor should you take actions. That is paralyzing and it’s just going to compound your fear.

So, I would remove that. And then there are questions, right? I alluded to this a second ago. We’re probably straying from the Stoics, but I feel I’ve been so infused — I don’t know if you’ve heard of any of these large trees in the Pacific Northwest that have 30 percent salmon DNA from salmon being dropped off from bears and so on.

They become these hybrids. I feel that’s maybe too long a story to explain now, but I believe Radiolab has a good episode on this. The Wood Wide Web, if you want to look it up. W-O-O-D. But the point of that extremely confusing sidebar is that I feel like Stoicism, from having read it and ingested it and ruminated on it and reread it and so on over the years has kind of infused my thinking to a very large extent. Then there are questions of, and this definitely hearkens back to certainly some of The Moral Letters to Lucilius if we want to cite some of the sources.

Ryan Holiday: Which he wrote in difficult times.

Tim Ferriss: Super difficult.

Ryan Holiday: At the end of his career he was threatened by a tyrant. He wasn’t writing this in a fun, joyful vacation.

Tim Ferriss: No. No, he wasn’t. That’s Molly who’s going to — Molly’s my dog who is in the habit of going ape shit these days. Molly, you feeling stressed because coronavirus? I know. She’s actually pretty stoked to have her humans home. But I digress. This is audio-video verite, quarantine edition. So I was going to say that if you look at, say, one of Seneca’s letters where he’s composing this letter and it’s somewhat petulantly written, which I find hilarious, as are many of his letters. But one of them, he’s writing as he’s discussing the, I suppose you would call it like a spa/gym underneath him. I don’t know if you remember this.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Where he can hear the slapping of flesh and the grunting of lifting weights and all this.

Ryan Holiday: I opened Stillness with that letter. I love that one.

Tim Ferriss: It’s a great letter. It’s a really, really great letter. This may not be the perfect citation, but the point I was going to make is that the question I was asking myself early on for me and my family, and it’s the question you should be asking initially, was how do we ensure we don’t die and physically, financially, how do I ensure that my clan doesn’t die? That sounds dramatic. I don’t think it’s going to seem that dramatic.

Ryan Holiday: No, those are the stakes.

Tim Ferriss: Those are the stakes, right? There are 85 refrigerated double-wide trailers that were just brought into New York yesterday as temporary mortuaries, right?

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: This is real and I have relatives in a number of hotspots, so these are stakes. Now what I’m trying to ask since I have checked off, at least for the time being, the lower rungs of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and not everyone is in a position to do that. Nonetheless, I do think this question is really worth asking. I owe my girlfriend credit also reinforcing this because she’s very good at this. That is how can you make the next three to six months some of the most enjoyable or productive of your life? Or if that’s too much pressure, you can phrase it different ways. How can you make the next three to six months something you look back upon as a sacred time that you really treasure, not just survive, right?

Ryan Holiday: Yep.

Tim Ferriss: Look, I’m not — whatever. I’ll use it, but I heard a Nelson Mandela story once from Tony Robbins actually, who asked — he asked Nelson Mandela, during his time in prison, how did [he] survive? Something along those lines. He said, “Oh, I wasn’t surviving. I was preparing.” I think that that type of question, not how I can survive — how you can survive, in a sense, is sort of like extreme frugality and I’ve had my cup of coffee so I’m off to the races, but it’s kind of like extreme frugality in a sense that if you’re trying to find financial freedom through one tool and that is extreme frugality, you have a finite ceiling to that.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah, sure.

Tim Ferriss: You make, let’s just call it for simplicity, $1,000. I’m making this up, $1,000 a week and you can cut from that. You may make some Faustian bargains and cut things that materially detract from your quality of life, but nonetheless, the most that you could possibly subtract is $52,000 a year, right?

Ryan Holiday: Yeah, sure.

Tim Ferriss: This is ignoring taxes and everything. Whereas if you’re building a business, you have or you have income generation and you’re also focused on that, you have a much broader scope of options. Similarly if you ask, “How can I survive?” Survive is a binary pass/fail. I feel like that places a ceiling on the options that are visible to you, if that makes any sense.

Ryan Holiday: No, totally.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. So when I ask how could I most — and I’m going to use a word here that might bother people, but if you were to ask, “How could I most profit and benefit from the next three to six months? What is this an opportunity to do that I would never otherwise do?” So I’ve been, for instance, getting rid of clothing that I’ve had for years and cleaning up the garage and doing this stuff that seems so mundane, but it would otherwise not get done. So I’m trying to ask myself, “If this were a sacred time, what can I do or not do that will lead me, say we’re out of this in a year to some extent, to look back and say, ‘Wow, I’m so glad we had that time in a sense because it allowed me A, B, C.'” As opposed to, “Shit, I didn’t realize that was going to be so valuable in so many ways and I was blind to it at the time.”

Ryan Holiday: Yeah. The dichotomy that I use that Robert Greene gave me, and I have this written around somewhere I was going to show it to you, but he says, “Alive time or dead time, what will it be?” I think whether this quarantine goes for two more weeks, obviously it’s going to go much longer than that, or whether it goes for two more years, all you know is that you have that block of time. What you do control is how you use that time and what you get out of it. I have one thought on fear. There’s a Hebrew saying that I love, it’s from the 1800s, but it goes, “The world is a narrow bridge and the important thing is to not be afraid.” The point is when you’re walking on a narrow balance beam or a narrow bridge, the one thing you can’t do is be scared, because it’ll mess you up and you’ll fall.

I think that’s sort of the predicament we’re in. It’s not fair. Nobody chose it. It’s not our fault, but you’ve got to cross this bridge now. Fear, as you said, it has some evolutionary reasons, but courage is going to be important, right? And that’s one of those sort of core Stoic virtues, which is like — there’s another quote I love from Faulkner. He says, “You can be scared. It’s okay to be scared, you can’t help that.” He says, “But don’t be afraid.” Do you know what I mean?

Tim Ferriss: Yeah.

Ryan Holiday: You have to keep going. That’s just the reality, so you might as well — 

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. If afraid is being paralyzed, right? For instance — a few more comments on fear because you just reminded me of a few things. This could be apocryphal, but I believe, based on the sources I had at the time, I have no idea what they are, that this is true. So Dean Martin, now that name may not mean much to a lot of people, but in his day, Dean Martin was the consummate entertainer, sort of top tier, top five most recognizable names in the United States probably. He used to vomit. He would get so nervous and, one could say, afraid that he would vomit before every performance.

Mike Tyson, same story. The trainer who really made Mike Tyson Mike Tyson, Cus D’Amato, you can find video or at least audio of Cus D’Amato saying this. He would say, “The hero and the coward feel the same thing. They feel the fear. It’s what the hero does that makes him different.” And Tyson was also terrified. Terrified may not be the right word, but fearful before he got into the ring. One of the most dominant boxers of all time. And if they can’t get an immunity bracelet for fear, it’s unreasonable to expect yourself to. I would also say, if this is helpful to anybody, and it’s very specific to the United States, but the United States at this point in time, we’re recording this April 1st, happy April Fool’s Day, and New York City is the WHO Bay of the United States. In fact, it’s the global WHO Bay right now. So right now New York is the WHO Bay of the US, the global WHO Bay effectively. It’s the new global epicenter, or it will be. This is going to continue. The United States is going to be the largest hotspot. Unless things change dramatically in Russia, it’s probably going to be the largest hotspot in the world for some time to come. Prior to Pearl Harbor, the strategic belief on the part of the Japanese was that by destroying the Pacific fleet, the morale and capabilities of the US would be completely shut down or paralyzed for a period of time. What instead happened when the bear got stabbed in the eye with a stick, meaning the US, is that within a very short period of time that would have previously been inconceivable, suddenly we were producing more tanks than civilians in all of Japan.

I know that’s an exaggeration, but the capacity of the United States when it is forced into a corner or feels as though it’s been forced into a corner through extreme states of duress and crisis —

Ryan Holiday: It’s not something you want to bet against.

Tim Ferriss: — are truly staggering, right? And we’ve fucked this up so many ways. It’s really hard to overstate how badly we’ve screwed this up in terms of supply chain management and so on. But nonetheless, I think give it six months, things are going to look very, very different. And like it or not, the global economy is dependent on the US in large measure, right?

Ryan Holiday: Sure.

Tim Ferriss: Not that it’s too big to fail. Every empire comes to its close, but at this point in time, it is in everyone’s best interest that the United States not collapse, almost everyone’s best interest. So Russia has gas to sell, China has products to export, and so on and so forth, right?

Ryan Holiday: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim Ferriss: So I’m very confident that crisis will overcome incompetence, if that makes any sense.

Ryan Holiday: Sure.

Tim Ferriss: And I’m very confident that things will get worse. The economy is going to get sort of kicked in the nuts for a while. This is not going to be a one-quarter affair at all. And the US is going to have to take very extreme, what might be seen as extreme measures to have any chance of survival economically speaking. So that gives me a degree of optimism, if that makes sense.

Ryan Holiday: Interesting. Sure.

Tim Ferriss: That gives me a degree of optimism. Maybe it will prove unfounded. I hope that’s not the case. But that also, the example of Pearl Harbor — and it’s not the perfect example, it’s just a very easily grasped visual example — I think shows, and there are many examples of this, what the US can do in times of crisis. So that gives me some degree of optimism as well.

Ryan Holiday: I’m sure you’ve got to go. So as far as this sort of a place to close, because I think this ties in well to the fear and I think it ties well into Stoicism. What I love about the Stoics in particular, the Stoics and the Epicureans were actually much closer philosophically than people thought, right?

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, sure.

Ryan Holiday: And you love the good life. You have Epicurean tendencies, but what I suspect draws you to the Stoics and ultimately draws me to the Stoics and I think why there is this thread of Stoicism going not just in the Roman Empire, but to the founding of America, to the US Civil War, to a lot of the great movements in history, is the Stoics felt that we were obligated to participate in public life, to serve the common good, to help other people. Most of the greatest Stoics were famous not because of what they wrote, but because the actual heroism that they did in their life. Marcus Aurelius specifically is the Emperor for 15 years of the Antonine Plague. He doesn’t flee Rome, at one point famously — it’s one of my favorite stories in all of history — as the Roman economy is collapsing under the weight of this pandemic, he forgives most of the debts owed to the empire and then he goes through the Imperial Palace and he marks down the treasures owned by the Emperor for sale on the palace lawn to sort of get the economy going.

So this to me is what, I think this goes to your point, when stuff breaks down, real leaders stand up. So maybe as a place to close for people who are afraid but want to put that energy somewhere productive, what do you advise people as far as how can they help? How can they make a difference? What good can individuals do? Obviously we all have different resources and skills, but what would you advise people to think about as far as making a difference and using this as an opportunity to do that sort of ultimate Stoic duty?

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, thanks for the question. That’s a good question. I want to just make an observation first and that is you basically have the trifecta of books for understanding and handling this entire chapter of our history right behind your head. For those people who aren’t watching the video you have, and I’ll read from the bottom up, you’ve got The Black Swan, you have, is it The 48 Laws? I can’t read it.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah, 48 Laws.

Tim Ferriss: 48 Laws of Power and then Mastery. So The Black Swan by — 

Ryan Holiday: And then I have Meditations right here.

Tim Ferriss: And then Meditations.

Ryan Holiday: So quartet. Yes.

Tim Ferriss: But The Black Swan perhaps just as much so Fooled By Randomness by N.N. Taleb, T-A-L-E-B.

Ryan Holiday: Antifragile.

Tim Ferriss: Antifragile, but The Black Swan or Fooled By Randomness specifically, I think, help to explain what we are contending with and why it is so difficult for humans to grasp what is happening and properly prepare for it. So I think that is worth reading. Then if you want to understand how seemingly confusingly and irrationally different leaders are behaving and how polarity is affecting our response to this in the United States and elsewhere, not just here, you look at Brazil, it’s the same story, then The 48 Laws of Power do a great job of explaining that. Then if you take Mastery and The 48 Laws of Power combined, those can act as a possible roadmap for the abilities you want to develop in this sacred pause that is being provided to you, not inflicted upon you, necessarily.

I understand there are some very serious costs, but that’s just a way that you could plausibly or try to frame it if you want to feel enabled and not disabled. Those are three fantastic books for the quiver. I’m just going to say that first.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah, sure.

Tim Ferriss: As far as Stoic/civic duty, and like you said, many of these Stoics per se, if we just put aside the best-known names, if we put aside Marcus Aurelius, if we put aside Epictetus, if we put aside Seneca and so on, you still have George Washington, Thomas Jefferson. These people are not known as Stoics, and yet they were very much informed and directed by much of Stoic philosophy.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: And to the extent that George Washington, I guess at Valley Forge, had the troops perform — I’m blanking on the name of the play, but it was a play about — 

Ryan Holiday: Cato.

Tim Ferriss: It was Cato, right?

Ryan Holiday: Yeah, mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, it was Cato, to boost morale and continue the fight.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: So I want to make a comment in response to something you said — 

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: And then I’ll answer super direct super directly, and that is that I do have Epicurean tendencies. I find the Epicureans to be of great interest, but what allows me to tend the garden, to drink my wine, and derive great pleasure from simple things is the safety net that is Stoicism.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: For me, I do not think as someone who, maybe a story for another time, but had some very traumatic experiences in childhood and has always been hyper-vigilant, without Stoicism and tools that are complementary to Stoicism, I don’t feel like I have the safety net underneath me with which I can then walk across that narrow bridge. Right?

Ryan Holiday: Yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tim Ferriss: And that is what allows the Epicureanism. So it really is the precursor and a necessary antecedent to those things.

As far as helping, how can you help? There are two different levels of answers. The first would be my most common recommendation, and that is don’t try to save the world; help the people around you.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: And think of, if you are fortunate enough to be in a stable financial position, even if you are suffering financial hardship, but you have time, think of how you could reach out to people and offer your support. That support could be a weekly Zoom or Skype chat with a handful of friends who are all sharing difficulties.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: It could be reaching out to your barber. I’m bald, so I don’t have a barber! 

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: But reaching out to your barber or your local coffee shop owner, or fill-in-the-blank, someone to offer to help in some fashion because you know they are also suffering from financial hardship. That could be paying them some amount of money if you have the financial means — 

Ryan Holiday: You could buy like a gift card and then cash it — like, buy six months of haircuts in advance.

Tim Ferriss: Right. It could be something like that. It could also be simply reaching out to them and asking, “How can I help?” And more often than not, because I’ve done this with say, the dog walker who I’ve used, who’s just fantastic and I want them to survive this, the say, house cleaners who help with my home, I’ve reached out with these offers and asked, “How can I help? Would you like me to pay in advance? Would you like to simply have me continue paying?”

Ryan Holiday: Sure.

Tim Ferriss: Most of them have declined, but the act of asking “How can I help?” — 

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: — and then possibly offering, if you have the means or the space, is tremendously, I think, reassuring in times of uncertainty.

Ryan Holiday: Sure.

Tim Ferriss: And the gift doesn’t have to be capital, the support doesn’t need to be money, it could just be group cohesion and people feeling that they have a safety net of sorts in your offer. So acting locally in that sense, I think it’s tremendously compelling. If you try, as I have done for the last few weeks, to figure out how to save the world or, early on, just how to stem the tide for the United States to buy time, there were certain things that I could do say as it related to South by Southwest and so on, but I am in a very unusual position and I have a large platform.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: For others to feel compelled to do something like that is, I think, very unproductive because it’s going to be like shouting into gale force winds.

Ryan Holiday: Sure.

Tim Ferriss: It’s going to be very frustrating and I don’t think terribly healthy for people to try. So act locally, number one.

If you are looking for outfits and ventures that are focused on this crisis and you want to contribute in some fashion, there is a GoFundMe campaign going on right now, depending on when this is published, which is a collaboration. I’m blanking on the exact organizations. Flexport I know is one of them, flexport.com or flexport.org/donate, but they, along with a number of organizations, have put together a large GoFundMe campaign. If you just search Flexport GoFundMe campaign — 

Ryan Holiday: It’s Frontline Responders Fund.

Tim Ferriss: That’s right.

Ryan Holiday: I believe is what it’s called. Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: That’s right. So Frontline Responders Fund, I would say, appears to be well-vetted. I’ve had conversations with the CEO of Flexport and feel confident in their integrity at this point. I don’t know them that well, but they certainly have checked a lot of good boxes.

There’s another organization which may be part of the same, maybe not, called Operation Masks. Operationmasks.org is cofounded by a number of people I’ve had some contact with. And that is, this landscape is very rapidly changing, and access to personal protective equipment and other items is in a state of constant flux — 

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Particularly since we have states competing against one another and driving prices up. I mean, the entire thing is quite a fucking spectacle of messiness. But I do think the, you said the Frontline Responders Fund — 

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: This GoFundMe campaign, which includes Flexport, and Operation Masks are two that have kind of checked a few boxes for me.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: I can’t vouch for either 100 percent, but there is a lot of noise, and those are two that seem to have cut through the noise. So those would be another two options. Food banks — 

Ryan Holiday: Yeah, I was going to say food banks. Anything that you can do to prevent people from having to leave their houses or go to the store is very important.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. So food banks I think are another good option for helping, say, locally or helping where you grew up.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Or both. So those would be a few that come to mind. And last but not least, I would say one way you can help is commit to be constructive and consider perhaps experimenting, and I’m considering doing this myself because I think right now it could be particularly valuable, something like the 21-day no-complaint experiment — 

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: That Will Bowen, B-O-W-E-N, wrote about long ago in, I believe it was his first book. But this, if you just search 21-day no-complaint experiment, it’ll come right up. I do feel like complaining is easy. It’s in vogue, it’s seductive, it is reinforced socially, and it, for me at least, is utterly counterproductive.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: I think that complaining and anger are similar in the sense, and I can’t recall the attribution for this, but there’s an expression as it relates to anger, that a vessel that holds acid is damaged more than anything it pours acid upon. And if you are the vessel for anger or complaining, I think it does more damage to you than that which you point it at.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah. Sure.

Tim Ferriss: And for that reason, if you want to improve — maintain or improve — your health, your well-being, and your ability to function as a contributor in society, I think a no-complaint experiment goes a long way. And, by the way, if you address complaining, which is easier to identify and measure sometimes than anger, there is a very significant carryover effect into decreasing anger.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Very, very large carryover effect. So those would be a few things that come to mind as possible actions people could take.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah, and I think for Daily Stoic, we’ve been doing this sort of alive time, dead time challenge. Like how are you going to use this time? I think that’s the — so it’s locally, what can you do for your family? What can you do for your neighbors? You know, if you have old people that live near you, what can you get them so they don’t have to leave their house? Right?

But then I think also, this is now a time for entrepreneurs and business people. Like if everyone is sitting at home watching Netflix for the next three months, that’s going to be worse economic damage from that than if people are at home being productive thinking about — you know what I mean? Like there is a real economic damage to the world grinding to a halt. It’s not just, “Hey, you can’t go to the pizza restaurant anymore,” but it’s like, if you cease working and you cease thinking and you cease taking care of the people that you’re supposed to be taking care of, there’s going to be even longer lasting residue from this as well.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, I agree. I think this is an unfortunate and special set of circumstances that can really foster a sense of community where community has largely broken down.

Ryan Holiday: Yes.

Tim Ferriss: Right? I mean, I — 

Ryan Holiday: This has hit us where we’re weakest, as David Brooks has said.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, and I mean, I remember when I moved from San Francisco to Austin and my first neighbors approached me and like knocked on my door, and I felt like — in a karate stance because it was so shocking to me since that never happened in San Francisco.

Ryan Holiday: Right.

Tim Ferriss: And I’ve had more contact at a distance — 

Ryan Holiday: Sure.

Tim Ferriss: With my neighborhood in the last few weeks than in the last few years. And I do think there’s something really unusual about that that will disappear. It will, or at least dissipate. Let me say that, it will dissipate once business gets back on track. And we have a very unusual window of time in which, as you put it, and I really like that expression that you said that’s from Robert Greene, the alive time, dead time — 

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: Could you speak to, just for my benefit since I don’t remember reading about this — 

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: What characterizes alive time versus dead time or how does he talk about it?

Ryan Holiday: So actually, it came up when I was thinking about leaving my job to become a writer. I had about a year left that I owed American Apparel, and so I said, “Robert, I’m thinking about leaving to become a writer. What should I do?” And he said, “This year for you could be alive time or dead time. You could show up to work every day, cash your paycheck, sit at your desk, or you could learn as much as possible, you could meet as many people as possible. You could, the day you leave your job, have all the research and preparation that you need done for your book, right?”

And so I actually ended up writing about this in Ego Is the Enemy, but I tell the story of Malcolm X. Malcolm X goes to prison. At this point he’s known as Malcolm Little. He’s sentenced to about 10 years. He spends every day in that prison cell reading, writing, studying. He basically gives himself a college education in this prison.

And so I think Nelson Mandela spent a far worse time in prison than any of us are going to be spending during this quarantine. Shakespeare, Isaac Newton, they all spent time in quarantine, you know, fleeing the plague, but how they chose to use that time to write some of their greatest works, to develop relationships, to come up with theories about the universe, to study, to learn, to get in touch with themselves. That’s alive time.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah. Isaac Newton had one of the most productive years of his entire life.

Ryan Holiday: Of course. Yeah. And I think that’s what’s so beautiful and haunting about history is like, “Oh this actually isn’t new.”

I was telling you about the statue. This is another thing I keep on my desk. This is a pen knife. It’s from I think the year 200 AD.

Tim Ferriss: Okay.

Ryan Holiday: So like this knife — 

Tim Ferriss: Speaking of prison, it looks like, for those people who aren’t watching the video — 

Ryan Holiday: It looks like a shiv.

Tim Ferriss: It looks like a shiv that you would make out of mattress coils.

Ryan Holiday: But you just think about the amount of times that human beings have spent doing exactly what we’re doing, which is I can’t go outside, a lot of commerce and business has ground to a halt. This situation is not new at all, and the question is, some of those people used that time productively, Isaac Newton, Shakespeare, and then far more people — other people were in the exact same quarantine as William Shakespeare and they did not write Macbeth. So you don’t control that you’re in this situation, the Stoics would say, but you do control how you respond to the situation, what you use it for, and I think that’s ultimately, that’s what we should all be focused on here.

Tim Ferriss: Hear, hear!

Ryan Holiday: All right, do you want to close it there?

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, let’s close it there.

Ryan Holiday: All right, man. This was awesome. Appreciate it.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, for sure. And I mentioned the fear-setting — 

Ryan Holiday: Yes.

Tim Ferriss: For people who want to check that out, they can just go to tim.blog/ted. It’s also a talk, but the text can be quite helpful as a supplement.

Ryan Holiday: And you have the exercise there, right? You show how it works?

Tim Ferriss: I do. It’s all there. There’s no paywall, there shouldn’t be any kind of block. If there’s a pop up, you can just close it.

Ryan Holiday: No, I mean, you actually show the — like it’s more than just watching the talk. You give people how to do the exercise, so it’s really helpful.

Tim Ferriss: Oh, I give them all the instructions and examples — 

Ryan Holiday: Yeah.

Tim Ferriss: In the text since this is something I use myself as well.

Ryan Holiday: Awesome, man. Really appreciate it.

Tim Ferriss: Yeah, my pleasure. Good to see you!

Ryan Holiday: All right. Yeah, good to see you too!

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.

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