“It’s freedom from oppression that you have a right to; it’s not freedom from obligation.”— Sebastian Junger
Sebastian Junger (@sebastianjunger) is the New York Times bestselling author of Tribe, War, A Death in Belmont, Fire, and The Perfect Storm, and codirector of the documentary film Restrepo, which was nominated for an Academy Award. He is also the winner of a Peabody Award and the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He’s based in New York City and Cape Cod. His newest book is titled Freedom.
For more Sebastian, you can find our first conversation from 2016 at tim.blog/sebastian.
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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 the last time Sebastian was on this show? Lend an ear to our conversation in which we discussed Thomas Paine and Stoicism, how to develop a writing style, the psychiatric effects of war, the lonely nature of society, how to really “support the troops,” and much more.
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Connect with Sebastian Junger:
- Freedom by Sebastian Junger
- Lessons from War, Tribal Societies, and a Non-Fiction Life (Sebastian Junger) | The Tim Ferriss Show #161
- Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger
- War by Sebastian Junger
- A Death in Belmont (P.S.) by Sebastian Junger
- Fire by Sebastian Junger
- The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea by Sebastian Junger
- The Last Patrol | Prime Video
- Aneurysm | Johns Hopkins Medicine
- How to Play the Accordion (with Pictures) | wikiHow
- The Beginner’s Guide to Boxing | Expert Boxing
- Difference Between Accordion and Bandoneon | Julian Rowlands
- Danny Boy, for Accordion Practice | Music for Fun
- How Music ‘Awakens’ Alzheimer’s Patients | Live Science
- 4 Types of Parenting Styles and Their Effects | Parenting for Brain
- About the BMWC | Bob Marshall Wilderness Foundation
- Myths and Truths About Co-Sleeping | The Bump
- How to Overcome Fear – Lessons from Firefighter and Luger, Caroline Paul | The Tim Ferriss Show #151
- Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation by Jonathan Lear
- Freedom | Merriam-Webster
- The Tiguex War of New Mexico | Legends of America
- Apache Tribes | Indians.org
- Fastest 1,000 Miles Ultra Distance (Men) | Guinness World Records
- MMA Top 10 Small vs. Big Fighters Knockouts | Top MMA 007
- A Historical Timeline of Afghanistan | PBS NewsHour
- Some Apes Jane Goodall Studied Fought a Years-Long War | AV Club
- Eight Reasons the Americans Won the Revolutionary War | The History Junkie
- A Brief Overview of the War of 1812 | American Battlefield Trust
- History of the American Labor Movement | ThoughtCo.
- The Irish Potato Famine (1845–1852) | Simple History
- January 12, 1912: Bread and Roses Strike Begins | Mass Moments
- Libya: Journalists Killed in Misrata | Human Rights Watch
- Pontiac’s War and the Paxton Boys | Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia
- The 15 Worst Torture Devices In History | Gizmodo Australia
- Flayed Alive by Indians by S.C. Turnbo | Springfield-Greene County Library
- The Inquisition: A Model for Modern Interrogators | NPR
- On Feb 07, 1904: Black Man and Woman Brutally Lynched in Mississippi Delta | Equal Justice Initiative
- Why 90 Percent of Danish Jews Survived the Holocaust | History
- D-Day Casualties: Operation Overlord by the Numbers | Warfare History Network
- Ecclesiastes 3:18 KJV | Bible Gateway
- Antisemitism Explained | Philadelphia Holocaust Memorial Plaza
- Gini Coefficient | Investopedia
- Yamna Culture: The Invasion That Wiped Out Every Man from Spain 4,500 Years Ago | El País
- Rubberbandits Guide to the 1916 Easter Rising | Vimeo
- Michael Mallin Wrote a Moving Letter to His Family in 1916 on the Eve of His Execution | Irish Examiner
- Drought Returns to Huge Swaths of US Fueling Fears of a Thirsty Future | The Pew Charitable Trusts
- Boy Scouts of America
- Guide to Donating Blood During Coronavirus: Who Can Donate, Where to Go | Health.com
- Califoria Lockdown Protest | All Gas No Brakes
- United We Serve?: The Debate Over National Service | The Brookings Institution
- Where History Meets Science in Parenting | Evolutionary Parenting
- Sebastian shares how he barely survived a recent experience he wouldn’t wish on anyone: an undiagnosed aneurysm in his pancreatic artery. [06:15]
- What profound truths were made clear in the aftermath of this traumatic brush with death? [09:21]
- Sebastian has always been willing to take risks (like reporting from war-torn countries). Did becoming a father and surviving the aneurysm change this? [12:48]
- What lessons did Sebastian learn from picking up two hobbies no ordinary 51-year-old would pursue: boxing and playing the accordion? What itch does boxing seem to scratch? [16:07]
- What compelled Sebastian to pick up the accordion, and how has it rewarded him? [18:37]
- How successful have Sebastian’s efforts to raise his two daughters in an “elemental, mindful, tribal manner” been thus far, and what is his foray into fatherhood teaching him? Why does he think he’s getting more from the experience in his 50s than he would have in his 20s? [21:54]
- How does Sebastian relate to the aging process of a warrior, and how did Crow chief Plenty Coups come to understand the role as one of protection rather than ego-driven aggression in order to ensure the survival of his own tribe into the 20th century? [28:42]
- What prompted Sebastian to write his new book, Freedom, and why is it divided into three sections: Run, Fight, and Think? [39:26]
- Why is the inclusion of women in insurgencies crucial to their success? [47:47]
- Sebastian shares the story behind The Last Patrol, and how walking hundreds of miles along American railroad tracks gave him an unparalleled sense of freedom. [52:05]
- Did the structure of Freedom change from conception to finished product? [57:44]
- While studying history and witnessing firsthand how terrible human beings can be to other human beings, how does Sebastian refrain from withdrawing into full-blown nihilism? [1:00:48]
- As an atheist, why did Sebastian choose to preface Freedom with a verse from the Bible? [1:07:21]
- On the mental trick that humans have used throughout history to downgrade people from “other” groups to subhuman status in order to remorselessly exploit, subjugate, torture, or kill them. [1:09:28]
- What is the Gini coefficient, and how does it tie in with the discomforting etymology of the word “freedom” and the relative inequality of history’s most dominant empires? [1:12:13]
- What does Sebastian hope people will take away from Freedom or perhaps ponder more closely after reading it? [1:19:07]
- As free individuals, what do we owe our society? [1:24:42]
- An ask of the audience: figure out what you owe. [1:30:51]
- Sebastian’s advice, as a new father, to aspiring parents. [1:34:31]
- Parting thoughts. [1:36:39]
- Josh Waitzkin
- Stuart Krichevsky
- Plenty Coups
- Joan of Arc
- Jonathan Lear
- Francisco Vázquez de Coronado
- Tim Hetherington
- Guillermo Cervera
- Malcolm Gladwell
- Corrado Gini
- Michael Mallin
The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.