Master Magician David Blaine — Fear{less} with Tim Ferriss (#546)

“God is love. Love is the ultimate god, so loving everything and everybody and not being filled with hate or animosity or fear and trying to find love. To me, that’s the ultimate in life.”

— David Blaine

Welcome to another episode of The Tim Ferriss Show, where it is my job to deconstruct world-class performers to tease out the routines, habits, et cetera that you can apply to your own life.

You’ll get plenty of that in this special episode, which features my interview with David Blaine from my 2017 TV Show Fear{less}. The “less” is in parentheses because the objective is to teach you to fear less, not to be fearless.

Fear{less} features in-depth, long-form conversations with top performers, focusing on how they’ve overcome fears and made hard decisions, embracing discomfort and thinking big.

It was produced by Wild West Productions, and I worked with them to make both the video and audio available to you for free, my dear listeners. You can find the video of this episode on, and eventually you’ll be able to see all episodes for free at

Spearheaded by actor/producer and past podcast guest Vince Vaughn, Wild West Productions has produced a string of hit movies including The Internship, Couples Retreat, Four Christmases, and The Break-Up.

In 2020, Wild West produced the comedy The Opening Act, starring Jimmy O. Yang and Cedric The Entertainer. In addition to Fear{less}, their television credits include Undeniable with Joe Buck, ESPN’s 30 for 30 episode about the ’85 Bears, and the Netflix animated show F is for Family.

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Podcast Addict, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Amazon Musicor on your favorite podcast platform. You can watch the interview on YouTube here.

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

#546: Master Magician David Blaine — Fear{less} with Tim Ferriss

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

It’s free, it’s always going to be free, and you can subscribe now at

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


Want to hear an episode with David’s friend and mentor Bryan Callen? Listen to our conversation in which we discuss the craft of comedy, fixing education, habits and tricks for boosting creativity, the process of writing, the general pursuit of excellence, eating corgis, and more.

#47: Bryan Callen on Eating Corgis (Yes, The Dogs) and Improving Creativity
  • Connect with David Blaine:

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube


  • A time when one of David’s public feats went sideways, and why things went awry. [05:24]
  • How long can I hold my breath? [08:02]
  • How David’s childhood prepared him to test his superhuman abilities, and what his mother did to encourage his capacity for imagination and support an early interest in magic. [09:08]
  • How enduring his mother’s fight with (and eventual loss to) cancer and candid advice from someone famous for fighting informed the way David lives his life. [11:50]
  • David shares what happened the night he got arrested for jumping a subway turnstile and wound up in a holding cell with some rough characters. [14:15]
  • The generalities that make people easy to read with enough practice, and what magician Harvey Cohen taught David about controlling audience expectations with a simple and understated approach. [17:54]
  • With his heart set on making a career in magic, why did David go to acting school? [19:29]
  • What David did to compensate for growing up without a father figure. [20:56]
  • When did David start fasting, and why? [21:38]
  • Have any of David’s endurance stunts wound up being more dangerous than he expected they would be? [23:25]
  • What does magic mean to David, and is it possible to take it too far? [25:39]
  • Are there any tricks or stunts that David hasn’t yet been able to figure out? [29:54]
  • Has David learned anything from hallucinations brought about by sleep deprivation? [32:14]
  • What does David fear? [34:27]
  • What everyday feats from the mundane world are beyond David’s ken? [36:04]
  • What is David’s secret reserve of strength for those times he feels his body or mind can’t push through? [36:43]
  • One of David’s childhood superstitions. [37:54]
  • How can someone maximize results if they’ve only got 90 days to prepare for a close-up magic performance? [38:33]
  • What is David focused on learning right now? [40:58]
  • What does “success” mean to David, and who does he think about when this word comes to mind? [42:35]
  • What drives David’s continuing pursuit of magic? [47:00]
  • David performs a couple of tricks for the live audience. [47:23]
  • What would David’s billboard say? [53:59]


“God is love. Love is the ultimate god, so loving everything and everybody and not being filled with hate or animosity or fear and trying to find love—to me, that’s the ultimate in life.”
— David Blaine

“When I was five I said to my mom, ‘I’m going to be a magician one day.’ And she went, ‘That’s amazing.'”
— David Blaine

“I’ve been obsessed with fasting since I was a kid, but I think it started when my mother gave me Siddhartha to read, the Hermann Hesse book. I read it when I was 11 years old. In it, he fasts and he stands and he does these things where he sees the world in a different way, and he realizes that he can control his body with his mind.”
— David Blaine

“One night I jumped over a turnstile and that’s when Giuliani was sweeping everybody, so I got locked up. But as I was going there, I kept breaking out of the cuffs for the cops.”
— David Blaine


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.

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