Shane Parrish on Wisdom from Warren Buffett, Rules for Better Thinking, How to Reduce Blind Spots, The Dangers of Mental Models, and More (#695)

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“Outcome over ego.”

— Shane Parrish

Shane Parrish (@ShaneAParrish) is the entrepreneur and wisdom seeker behind Farnam Street and the host of The Knowledge Project podcast, where he focuses on mastering the best of what other people have already figured out. Shane’s popular online course, Decision by Design, has helped thousands of executives, leaders, and managers around the world learn the repeatable behaviors that improve results. His work has been featured in nearly every major publication, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes.

Shane is the author of Clear Thinking: Turning Ordinary Moments into Extraordinary Results.

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple PodcastsSpotifyOvercastPodcast AddictPocket CastsCastboxGoogle PodcastsAmazon Musicor on your favorite podcast platform. Watch the interview on YouTube here.

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

#695: Shane Parrish on Wisdom from Warren Buffett, Rules for Better Thinking, How to Reduce Blind Spots, The Dangers of Mental Models, and More

This episode is brought to you by AG1! I get asked all the time, “If you could use only one supplement, what would it be?” My answer is usually AG1, my all-in-one nutritional insurance. I recommended it in The 4-Hour Body in 2010 and did not get paid to do so. I do my best with nutrient-dense meals, of course, but AG1 further covers my bases with vitamins, minerals, and whole-food-sourced micronutrients that support gut health and the immune system. 

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Want to hear another episode with someone who spends his life learning how to solve problems and optimize time? Listen in on my conversation with Atomic Habits author James Clear, in which we discuss habitual accountability, systemic scaffolding, capturing good ideas, leveraging maximal results from minimal scale, defying algorithms, how success generates opportunities and distractions, building good habits while breaking bad ones, optimizing environment for habit adherence, and much more.

#648: James Clear, Atomic Habits — Simple Strategies for Building (and Breaking) Habits, Questions for Personal Mastery and Growth, Tactics for Writing and Launching a Mega-Bestseller, Finding Leverage, and More

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



  • Connect with Shane Parrish:

Farnam Street Blog | The Knowledge Project Podcast | Decision by Design | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


  • [05:43] The Stopwatch Gang influences a D student.
  • [10:54] How a low-grade troublemaker gets vetted for an intelligence job.
  • [17:23] The impact of frequent relocation on a child.
  • [21:33] The benefits of a challenging education (once the tears dry up).
  • [31:09] From 68131-1440.blogger dot com to Farnam Street.
  • [36:10] An early exploration of cognitive biases.
  • [39:39] “Ordinary moments determine your position, and your position determines your options.”
  • [45:55] Incisive, deliberate decision-makers.
  • [47:44] Defining mental models.
  • [50:47] The declaration of platform independence.
  • [52:50] A Farnam Street business breakdown.
  • [56:05] Scrutinizing the problem statement.
  • [1:03:12] The power of asking “And then what?”
  • [1:05:26] Setting yourself up for success with automatic rules.
  • [1:21:31] Doubling down on email and the evergreen.
  • [1:28:05] Investing with the benefit of deal flow.
  • [1:32:41] Thoughts on index fund investment.
  • [1:34:58] Factoring sleep into opportunity cost.
  • [1:43:33] How to make better decisions.
  • [1:48:10] Why should we write in the age of AI?
  • [1:52:08] Parting thoughts.


“Outcome over ego.”
— Shane Parrish

“Automatic rules turn your desired behavior into your default behavior, and they do it when you’re at your best.”
— Shane Parrish

“Why risk what you have and don’t need for what you don’t have and don’t want to begin with?”
— Shane Parrish

“Are you thinking independently of the circumstances, or are the circumstances thinking for you?”
— Shane Parrish

“Writing is the process by which we realize we don’t understand what we’re talking about. And it’s only when you sit down and put pen to paper or even type out an idea that you have, a decision you’re making, an idea you’re wrestling with, that you sort of see where you don’t understand it. And the process of writing is not only refining that idea and helping you reflect on it, but you actually generate new ideas in the process of writing.”
— Shane Parrish

“You tell yourself a story about why sunk cost doesn’t apply in this situation or why you’re not overconfident in this situation. And the smarter you are, the better those stories get and the more believable they get.”
— Shane Parrish

“If you put Warren Buffett in a bad position where all of his options are bad—it doesn’t matter how smart he is, it doesn’t matter how Warren Buffett he is—everybody looks like an idiot when they’re in a bad position, and everybody looks like a genius when they’re in a good position.”
— Shane Parrish


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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5 Replies to “Shane Parrish on Wisdom from Warren Buffett, Rules for Better Thinking, How to Reduce Blind Spots, The Dangers of Mental Models, and More (#695)”

  1. Tim long time fan. I am curious if you have heard of a condition called Dilated Cardiomyopathy DCM and its association with boutique style diets in dogs. As a veterinarian it’s frustrating to hear multiple influencers recommend these diets and not understand the potential consequences. Easily google-able and important for your Molly and loads of other dogs out there.

  2. Hi Tim,

    I have a proposal which is slightly unorthodox.

    I have a very specific goal and I think you can help me on this path.

    I’m sure you’re reading this thinking “Yes, along with many others who post like this daily.” But if you can just take the 2 minutes to read through this message, that would be all I ask.

    I have been an avid follower of yours, and your guests, for many years. I have applied many principles and processes that you have discussed and covered. I used my 20’s to travel and ended up living in China for almost 4 years. A lot of those decision making processes were based on a lot of discussions I heard you have with your guests. I am now at the stage in my journey where I want to apply my awareness to build something of substantial value that multiplies financial returns, quickly.

    And I think you can help specifically because you have a set of tools and understandings that helped you get multiplied returns. That is my goal.

    My goal specifically is this:

    10m net worth by December 2025. The day I turn 35.

    I want to ensure my internal values are aligned appropriately so that I am working at the optimal level but one that sustains and results in an outcome of multiplied, rapid wealth. Basically, I don’t want to achieve this goal by selling my soul in the process or losing time with loved ones. The loved ones and the soul are part of the goal! I want the results to come from pure alignment to my values at the highest level, sustained over time. I want to expand as an individual as I move towards this goal.

    I have a very clear goal in my mind. I know exactly what I want. My struggle though is moving from those first steps of knowing my goal to the next step of applying a clear process that helps me decide and to act on ideas that can generate outcomes as quickly and effectively as possible.

    What I am proposing:

    1 hour video meeting every six months. 5 meetings total:
    – November 2023
    – May 2024
    – November 2024
    – May 2025
    – November 2025

    My specific considerations to cover in our meetings:
    – the absolute most effective processes and steps to take to move from idea to implementation with speed
    – the absolute most effective process to ensure that whatever I am working on stays optimised to my highest values

    Effectively, 5 hours of your time in total (+ thank you for taking your time to read this message)

    I am prepared to pay $100 per meeting ($500 in total) and in the likely event that I reach my goal by December 2025 I will be prepared to pay $10K USD at that time. Thhere will also be a nice bottle of wine in it for you too. I understand that the money probably doesn’t make a difference to you (it’s more to ensure you see that there’s a financial commitment from my side).

    Let me know what you think,


  3. Hi Tim, this episode brought together my probably two favorite podcast hosts. Absolutely mind-blowing number of applicable wisdom shared in this episode. I wanted to stop the podcast to take notes too often (while driving….)!

  4. Dear Tim,

    I’m a long time fan and I loved listening to this episode. I always think of Shane Parrish as the Canadian Tim Ferriss so it was great to listen to your conversation.

    When I listen to your show, I often hear you question your guests about parenting and I want to share that I have a twelve year old who has traveled and lived all over the world with us. We committed to staying in one place from kindergarten – grade 6 to provide a foundation and feeling of home. (In hindsight I don’t know if this was essential, but I think it was still a good choice.) Now, as we journey through grade 7 we are looking at moving to Europe for grade 8 and 9. He is 100% on board with this even though he will miss his friends and his life here. We are grateful for his adventurous spirit. If you long to be a dad, don’t miss out on it because you are worried about how it will change your lifestyle. There is no one way to be a good parent. Follow the child, let them love what you love and let them find their own passions within the world you create for them. Also, continue to live a life you love. If you feel unfilled, make changes within the world you have created for yourself – but you know this. Personal development is your wheelhouse so I will finish by thanking you for your work. I am inspired by you and your guests every time I listen. Commenting on blogs isn’t usually my jam but you’ve given so much to me that I thought it was important for me to give something back to you.