Guy Raz — Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs, The Story of ‘How I Built This,’ Overcoming Anxiety and Depression, and More (#462)

Illustration via 99designs

“There is a natural skepticism that you develop as a journalist, which I think is important. But oftentimes that develops into cynicism.”

— Guy Raz

Guy Raz (@guyraz) is the Michael Phelps of podcasting. He’s the creator and host of the popular podcasts How I Built This, Wisdom from the Top, and The Rewind and the co-creator of the acclaimed podcasts TED Radio Hour and Wow in the World, a children’s program. He’s received the Edward R. Murrow Award, the Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize, the National Headliner Award, the NABJ Award… basically, all the awards.

His brand-new book is titled How I Built This: The Unexpected Paths to Success from the World’s Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs. Past podcast guest Adam Grant has this to say about it: “[This book is] the mother of all entrepreneurship memoirs. It’s a must-read for anyone who wants to start a business, grow a business, or be inspired by those who do.”

Please enjoy!

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

Brought to you by Wealthfront, Pique Tea, and LinkedIn Jobs. More on all three below. 

The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#462: Guy Raz — Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs, The Story of 'How I Built This,' Overcoming Anxiety and Depression, and More
Download

This episode is brought to you by Wealthfront! Wealthfront pioneered the automated investing movement, sometimes referred to as ‘robo-advising,’ and they currently oversee $20 billion of assets for their clients. It takes about three minutes to sign up, and then Wealthfront will build you a globally diversified portfolio of ETFs based on your risk appetite and manage it for you at an incredibly low cost. 

Smart investing should not feel like a rollercoaster ride. Let the professionals do the work for you. Go to Wealthfront.com/Tim and open a Wealthfront account today, and you’ll get your first $5,000 managed for free, for life. Wealthfront will automate your investments for the long term. Get started today at Wealthfront.com/Tim.


This episode is also brought to you by Pique Tea! I first learned about Pique through my friends Dr. Peter Attia and Kevin Rose, and now Pique’s fermented pu’er tea crystals have become my daily go-to. I often kickstart my mornings with their Pu’er Green Tea and Pu’er Black Tea, and I alternate between the two. Their crystals are cold-extracted using only wild-harvested leaves from 250-year-old tea trees. Plus, they triple toxin screen for heavy metals, pesticides, and toxic mold—contaminants commonly found in tea. I also use the crystals for iced tea, which saves a ton of time and hassle.

Pique is offering 15% off of their pu’er teas for the first time ever, exclusively to my listeners. Simply visit PiqueTea.com/Tim, and the discount will be automatically applied. They also offer a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, so your purchase is completely risk free. Just go to PiqueTea.com/Tim to learn more.


This episode is also brought to you by LinkedIn Jobs. Whether you are looking to hire now for a critical role or thinking about needs that you may have in the future, LinkedIn Jobs can help. LinkedIn screens candidates for the hard and soft skills you’re looking for and puts your job in front of candidates looking for job opportunities that match what you have to offer.

Using LinkedIn’s active community of more than 690 million professionals worldwide, LinkedIn Jobs can help you find and hire the right person faster. When your business is ready to make that next hire, find the right person with LinkedIn Jobs. You can pay what you want and get $50 off your first job. Just visit LinkedIn.com/Tim.


What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

SCROLL BELOW FOR LINKS AND SHOW NOTES…

Want to hear my interview with an entrepreneur mentioned in this episode? Check out my conversation with Joe Gebbia, co-founder of Airbnb. In this wide-ranging and hilarious interview, Joe shares the decisions, hardship, failures, and successes that prepared him for Airbnb.


SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE

  • Connect with Guy Raz:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

SHOW NOTES

  • Is Guy willing to come to this interview and surrender? What are some of the things he’s found helpful for putting interviewees at ease? [05:30]
  • As a lifelong journalist, what does the prep work for one of Guy’s podcasts look like? During the research phase, how does he find information not commonly known to the general public, and how might it affect the outcome of an interview? [08:11]
  • Since Guy can be somewhat self-effacing, how might his wife explain why How I Built This became as popular as it has become? [13:49]
  • How did the name for How I Built This come about? [20:58]
  • Why was the period between 2009 and 2012 such a turning point for Guy (and, to a larger extent, the state of journalism)? [25:00]
  • What is it that makes George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia and Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon especially revealing about the human condition to Guy? [31:54]
  • How has Guy’s relationship with depression changed over time? [40:44]
  • What factors were involved in Guy’s decision to stop taking antidepressants after relying on them for five years? [49:22]
  • How did Guy make the transition from serious military correspondent to NPR host — especially after being told he didn’t have the right personality for it? [53:38]
  • How did the Nieman Journalism Fellowship at Harvard help transform Guy’s outlook on an industry he’d been part of for his entire professional life? What would he recommend to anyone who wants to break out of a professional or personal rut? [57:14]
  • How Guy’s wife performed a journaling intervention to help him get some sleep one night when his anxiety was being particularly relentless, and what he noticed when he read that passage three months later. [1:03:31]
  • What does Guy believe separates wildly successful entrepreneurs from the masses? [1:05:24]
  • We each share a story about times when we’ve seen Ring’s Jamie Siminoff work to, as Jason Roberts would say, increase his luck surface area. [1:10:30]
  • Habits, practices, and characteristics Guy has picked up from his countless interviews over the years. [1:14:12]
  • What does Guy think the podcasting landscape will look like in two or three years? [1:19:38]
  • What stories and lessons from Guy’s book, How I Built This: The Unexpected Paths to Success From The World’s Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs does he think will still resonate in a few years’ time? [1:24:22]
  • In what ways is Guy conducting business beyond the world of podcasting? [1:30:53]
  • What would Guy cover if he were to give a TED Talk about something for which he’s not already well-known? [1:33:16]
  • What would Guy’s billboard say? [1:39:51]
  • Parting thoughts. [1:41:25]

PEOPLE MENTIONED

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.

Leave a Reply

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

7 Replies to “Guy Raz — Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs, The Story of ‘How I Built This,’ Overcoming Anxiety and Depression, and More (#462)”

  1. 34″: when Guy discusses the situation in Spainduring the thirties, that’s essentially what happend in Yugoslavia. As someone who’s family has stories from both sides, it sounds very familiar. What we experienced was basically a civil war atop of WW II

  2. Guy mentioned that news organizations are super rigid, his reasoning being that there are archaic rules and that it’s different from other industries – but that cannot be the reason, that’s part of the observation.

    From talking to friends who work in different industries I believe the reason is the “value of people”. Companies in industries which need to value people highly (for example tech), need to evolve rapidly based on feedback they receive, because otherwise the companies would lose people to their competition.

    You can compare this with news publishing or medicine. In news, the value of people is low because there are so many people who have the skills needed to do the job (or at least learn how to do it), and there is a few jobs because news can easily be broadcasted. In medicine (this varies by market, I’m taking Central European example here), the value of people is low because so many people are eager to do the job (because of its high positive impact), but there is a few jobs because there’s a lack of resources in the system.

    This is essentially a market dynamic.

  3. Hi,Tim. Although it’s not super-related to this episode, I just wanted to say ‘thanks.’ I read “Tools of Titans,” finished it and started over. Just made it through what you wrote on page 616 for the second time. Thanks for writing that, man. I’d love to tell you about it sometime. All the best,
    Nick

  4. Dear Tim Ferriss,

    I hope that you don’t mind my leaving this message in the comments here. I was a Fulbright Research Scholar at the University of Toronto and in 2019 I graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University, where, like you, I studied writing with John McPhee. I deeply admire your work, and I’m reaching out to see if I might be able to help you in your work in any way, even free of charge. I have particular experience in working on writing, researching, and editing projects.

    Thanks very much for considering this.

    Warmly,
    Alec Gewirtz
    [Moderator: email address removed here but preserved in intake field.]

  5. With a straight face says journalists are objective and then goes on to say communist Russia in the 30’s wasn’t proper communism. After that, I found it hard to believe it when he tells us he truly wants other view points rather than ones that confirm his own world view. Still love the Tim Ferriss podcast!

    1. Yeah, I’ve been listening to the TF podcast since the start and this guy was the worst guest Tim’s ever had. Wish Tim would have at least questioned him on the statement that journalists are too objective.

  6. ¨The anger is relative to the hurt and the grief¨. That is a wonderful description of what I feel because I was also molested as a child