Be Useful — Arnold Schwarzenegger on 7 Tools for Life, Thinking Big, Building Resilience, Processing Grief, and More (#696)

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“Don’t just worry about climbing a ladder that someone else has built. No, build your own ladder. Just don’t wait for anyone else. That’s what I did.”

— Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger (@schwarzenegger) is an Austrian-born bodybuilder, actor, businessman, philanthropist, bestselling author, and politician. He served as the thirty-eighth governor of California. His new book, Be Useful: Seven Tools for Life, is out October 10th, and his daily email newsletter Pump Club recently hit more than 500,000 subscribers and continues to grow as a positive corner of the Internet. 

Schwarzenegger has made it his mission to give back. Since his time in the Governor’s house, he’s been working diligently to combat climate change, anti-semitism, ensure fair voting practices, help youth, work with Veterans, and inspire healthy living.

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.

#696: Be Useful — Arnold Schwarzenegger on 7 Tools for Life, Thinking Big, Building Resilience, Processing Grief, and More

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Want to hear the first time Arnold Schwarzenegger was on this show? Check out our conversation here, in which we discussed how Arnold uses psychological warfare to win, how Twins became his most lucrative movie, mailing bull balls to politicians, how Arnold made millions before his acting career took off, and much more.

#60: Tim Ferriss Interviews Arnold Schwarzenegger on Psychological Warfare (And Much More)

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



  • Connect with Arnold Schwarzenegger:

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube


  • [06:37] Recovering from heart surgery.
  • [11:19] Age 10 entrepreneurship.
  • [15:38] Arnold’s dad and the importance of being useful.
  • [21:02] Arnold and his brother: same upbringing, different outcomes.
  • [27:53] Building ladders and never thinking small.
  • [34:49] When Arnold’s self-bet to be a comedic lead paid off.
  • [41:26] We’re all in sales.
  • [46:43] The significance of shifting gears.
  • [50:24] Grieving Franco Columbu.
  • [54:53] Aging.
  • [1:02:17] Arnold’s current state of self-identity.
  • [1:05:07] What Arnold hopes readers take away from Be Useful.
  • [1:12:18] Parting thoughts.


“No country ever was built by people sleeping in. Austria was not built by people sleeping in. America was not built by people sleeping in. People struggled, people suffered, people worked their asses off to build this country.”
— Arnold Schwarzenegger

“Through comfort no one ever grows.”
— Arnold Schwarzenegger

“Don’t just worry about climbing a ladder that someone else has built. No, build your own ladder. Just don’t wait for anyone else. That’s what I did.”
— Arnold Schwarzenegger

“I realized then the importance of selling. That no matter what you have—if you have a podcast, if you have a movie, if you have a painting, if you have a car, a technology, a medicine, whatever it is—if people don’t know about it, you have nothing. The more people that know about your product or about your talent, the more you can go and be successful.”
— Arnold Schwarzenegger

“You can be the biggest celebrity in the world, but you still get your back pain. You still get your hip pain. You still get your shoulder pain. You still get your elbow pain. You still get numb fingers. You still have to watch your heart. You still have to watch the diet. … This is all so that we stay alive longer. The time you’re born, your time is set. It’s set. The only thing that changes it is you.”
— Arnold Schwarzenegger

“I’m the guy that climbs up Mount Everest and sees another bunch of peaks, ‘Oh, my God, I didn’t even know they were there.’ And I climb them. That’s what I do, just a continuous climb. Nothing changes.”
— Arnold Schwarzenegger

“In lifting, you can only know how much you lift if you’re willing to fail.”
— Arnold Schwarzenegger

“I’m not a self-made man. I have to recognize that my training, my money, everything comes from a lot of different people. … When you recognize that, you now have the responsibility of going out and helping others.”
— Arnold Schwarzenegger


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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3 Replies to “Be Useful — Arnold Schwarzenegger on 7 Tools for Life, Thinking Big, Building Resilience, Processing Grief, and More (#696)”

  1. Tim, this was a masterful interview. Having listened to this guest on other podcasts, it is clear that adapting your interview style to the guest is a highly underrated skill and draws out the most wisdom from the guest. A rare comment from me, a physician and closet listener and fan:) Thanks!

  2. Tim and team, thanks for the continued awesome work you do with the content you deliver on your podcast. The richness of perspective, insight and practical life and professional advice I’ve obtained from listening every week for the past few years has been invaluable. Some of my favorite podcasts are those that have totally caught me by surprise, I guess you could say I went in with low expectations and came out totally amazed. Some of those podcasts include Noah Feldman on state building (Oct 26,2021), Giuliana Furci on Funghi (August 5, 2021) and Jake Muise from Maui Nui. Others that I expected to be interesting and informative blew me out of the water including Anne Lamott, Dr Matthew Walker, Elan Lee and Dr Michio Kaku. There really is no such thing as a ‘bad’ episode from your series and I look forward to it every week.

    Keep up the great work

  3. As always, I enjoy your interviews and the different aspects you are able to reveal in an intimate way even with people like Schwarzenegger. I want to draw your attention to Cole Mannix and the Mannix ranching family five generations on the blackfoot river in Montana who are what Arnold proselytizes.. They have created a co-op with other long time ranchers up and down the rocky mountain front to process and bring meat directly to consumers in a sustainable way. Their slogan is “land is kin” He has degrees in philosophy, biology and a masters in theology. Was the only kid in his class in Helmville, MT growing up. Whip smart and inspiring. He is a leader in the zeitgeist. bringing a broad spectrum ideological thinkers with their common love of the land, community and desire to break from the system of more with a viable economic and environmental path forward. Someone I think you will dig. Listen to his interview on Mountain & Prairie podcast [Moderator: Link removed.]. Thanks for your work. I listen to every show. Please stop telling people about back country skiing. I am selfish and don’t want anymore people out there. I know. I will burn in hell.