Please enjoy this transcript of another episode of “The Random Show” with technologist, serial entrepreneur, world-class investor, self-experimenter, and all-around wild and crazy guy Kevin Rose (@KevinRose). In this one we discuss Japanese whisky, domestic speakeasies, wooden saddles, the rebooting power of Anthony de Mello’s Awareness, poetry, the art of surrender and letting go, mushroom cultivation in the Pacific Northwest, fasting, learning to say no, and much more! Transcripts may contain a few typos—with some episodes lasting 2+ hours, it’s difficult to catch some minor errors. Enjoy!
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Tim Ferriss: Hello, boys and girls, ladies and germs. This is Tim Ferriss, and welcome to Kevin — always cheating with a little —
Kevin Rose: I’m just having a little sip of the whiskey that we poured. Another Random Show.
Tim Ferriss: This is a Random Show slash crossover. Tim Ferriss of, wow. I haven’t even had any booze yet. Tim Ferriss Show slash wherever this gets cross posted.
Kevin Rose: This is more like one of your episodes that you do when people, or where you drink and people call in?
Tim Ferriss: It’s kind of like the Drunk Dial episodes.
Kevin Rose: The Drunk Dial. Yeah. Have you done one of those in a while?
Tim Ferriss: I have not done a Drunk Dial in quite a long time, so we can consider this a Drunk Dial among friends.
Kevin Rose: Yeah. And you’re here in person like we’re —
Tim Ferriss: I am.
Kevin Rose: — not doing this remote, which is awesome.
Tim Ferriss: I have to say that it’s really good to see you, man.
Kevin Rose: Yeah, it’s good to see you as well.
Tim Ferriss: It’s my first time getting to check out your pad in Portland. Undisclosed location, Portland. I wasn’t sure how secret that was or not. And it made me think as we were prepping to sit down and do a Random Show how long I’ve known you because you mentioned that Toaster, your dog, just turned nine. He’s getting older. And I remember when he ate the cables during one recording of the Random Show. I don’t know if you remember that, when he was a little pup.
Kevin Rose: Oh, dude. He was eating everything back then. He actually, the scariest thing that ever happened with Toaster, this shows you what a bad parent I am, he ate through an actual entire plugged in outlet. No, sorry, it was not plugged in. It was a heating pad that had — but he ate through the entire thing and I didn’t even notice and I looked down and, can you imagine if that was plugged in? There would be no toaster.
Tim Ferriss: He would’ve turned into a toaster.
Kevin Rose: Right, exactly. He would have been burnt big time.
Tim Ferriss: So we have a bunch of display items that are out on this table in front of us. But before we get to that, do you want to describe where we’re sitting?
Kevin Rose: Yeah, we’re sitting — so I have, gosh, I would say that one of the things that is awesome about living in Portland, Oregon versus living in the Bay area is that I was actually able to afford a place that is bigger than the size of a little apartment in San Francisco. So I built a house out here in Portland. So it took us three years to build it, finally got it done. And I think when you’re like, not 12 because I guess I would’ve wanted alcohol. When you’re 18 years old, you always think how cool would it be to have a secret passageway that leads into a bar or something.
Tim Ferriss: A speakeasy.
Kevin Rose: Yeah, a little speakeasy. And I always wanted something like that. And we were going to put in a little entertainment room that would be bar slash listening to vinyl, a place to go and just hang out anyway. And so I talked to the architect and I was like, “Can you put a secret door to get in here?” And so we built this fake bookcase and it swings open and then you have a bar. So we’re in our little bar here.
Tim Ferriss: It’s really minimalist, very Japanese in feel. Reminds me of some of the bars we’ve been to.
Kevin Rose: Yeah, absolutely. I mean it was definitely inspired —
Tim Ferriss: In Tokyo.
Kevin Rose: Yeah. And what was that one bar we went to? Gen or something or other? There’s Bar Gen, which is —
Tim Ferriss: It might be Bar Gen.
Kevin Rose: Yeah.
Tim Ferriss: And the bartender has something like six or eight seats inside. And amazingly enough, I had met him many years before and we sat down, you might remember this a couple of years ago, Tokyo. And he’s like, “I think I know you.” And I was like, “I think I know you.” And it turned out that for the food marathon that I did for The 4-Hour Chef, which was 26.2 dishes in 24 hours, and these are large portions generally, we went to a restaurant called Brushstroke, I think it was called. And at the time he was their superstar master bartender who would chip these softball-sized ice fears by hand with a little ice pick —
Kevin Rose: That’s one of the best parts of Japan is when they make their ice by hand with a pick.
Tim Ferriss: Very high labor. And this has that feel. And in fact if you look at the wall, I’ll try to paint a picture for those of you listening, there is this beautiful black wood behind the bar where the floating shelves are, which have down lighting coming up onto these beautiful bottles of various types of alcohol and the liquor and so on. What is the texture or the technique behind what I’m looking at? It has, I’m not going to say scalloped, but if you could imagine if you had pure black slate in a shower on the wall and water rivulets were running down that wall, it has that look. It’s shiny. What is that?
Kevin Rose: Well this is a wood that I first learned about in Japan where they take these planks of wood and they actually use it for the exterior of houses, and they burn it. And so they actually take a torch to it, set it on fire, let it burn for a certain amount of time. It gets all the oils out and just really hardens the wood. They put it out and then it has this really beautiful aged burnt wood look to it. So we decided to use that rather than have wallpaper or something in here. We decided to use that as the backdrop. So it’s all this Japanese burnt wood. So it does, when you shine light on it, it looks like there’s water coming down it or a little scaly, but it’s really beautiful stuff.
Tim Ferriss: It’s gorgeous. And we will put a link in the show notes to the actual technique and you can see how it’s done because it’s also used obviously as you can see here outside of Japan. It’s a technique —
Kevin Rose: I actually had this brought in from Japan.
Tim Ferriss: Oh, they were brought in from Japan.
Kevin Rose: I don’t know if they do it here.
Tim Ferriss: All right, well, so if you want to go super [foreign language 00:06:00] is like the real deal. The real McCoy in Japanese, they would say [foreign language 00:06:03]. And if you want to go real, real super [foreign language 00:06:07], then you can bring the wood from Japan.
Kevin Rose: Well, the nice thing about doing it, bringing it in from Japan, honestly, is that —
Tim Ferriss: The cost?
Kevin Rose: Well no, we weren’t doing an entire house. This is not an exterior. It’s one little room. So it really wasn’t that expensive to bring it in.
Tim Ferriss: Okay. And what are we drinking? I haven’t had a sip yet.
Kevin Rose: All right.
Tim Ferriss: Am I skipping ahead?
Kevin Rose: No, no, no, let’s do it. Let’s do it.
Tim Ferriss: So what is this?
Kevin Rose: To kick things off, this is a very special Japanese whiskey —
Tim Ferriss: Which I’ve never tried.
Kevin Rose: Yeah, it’s called the Card Series. And so essentially what you’re looking at here is this is the joker and it’s done by Ichiro’s Malt. And so this is basically what happened is they had all these whiskeys, 52 different whiskeys that were put into barrels and then forgotten about for a while. And then the distillery went under, they found the barrels, and they decided to put it into 52 different bottles with different card faces. So this is the joker right here. And essentially every card has a different quantity. So this one here, this is the least rare with 3,690 bottles of the joker that were produced. And the most I think were like 50 bottles or something like that. So if you want to collect them, you can get the entire 52 cards and they’re really hard to find because it became very culty and sought after and now you can find them up at auction and things like this. So this was a little gift to me that I tend to consume rarely when I have good friends in town because they are really expensive. But you always got to have a couple awesome ones in on the top shelf.
Tim Ferriss: Well cheers, man.
Kevin Rose: Yeah, cheers.
Tim Ferriss: It’s so nice to see you and your family. And to see —
Kevin Rose: It’s different isn’t it?
Tim Ferriss: The previously grievously irresponsible Kevin Rose as a doting father is quite a —
Kevin Rose: It’s different.
Tim Ferriss: — Twilight Zone experiences.
Kevin Rose: It’s nice, actually. Like honestly, the other night when you guys got in, we had a dinner, didn’t go crazy on the wine, just had a little bit of wine, jumped in the sauna, got in the hot tub, and called it a night at 10. And so that’s what you have to do when you have to wake up for kids at 7:00 a.m.
Tim Ferriss: This is a spectacular —
Kevin Rose: Isn’t that amazing?
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, it’s really good stuff.
Kevin Rose: This is single malt whiskey.
Tim Ferriss: This is really nice, and I’m not a whiskey guy, I hate to admit. Because that makes me, demotes me 17 levels on the manliness scale for some people. But there are few types of whiskey that I like. This is one. And then you happen to have —
Kevin Rose: Oh, dude, I have the six of hearts up there. That one was another gift where I went to a tasting where they were doing the card series tasting and they had — you can see how much is left in that bottle, I mean probably one finger worth in terms of height. There was probably two fingers in total when I got it. And the lady that was doing the tasting was like, “You can just take the bottle with you,” like take it home. And the bottles alone sell for, that one I think is about $15,000 bottle, which is crazy. And —
Tim Ferriss: “Just take the bottle.” And you’re like, “I will, thank you.”
Kevin Rose: I’m like, “That’s like four grand right there. Absolutely. Thank you so much.” So it was amazing. So those are the only two bottles, I do not collect these. I think it’s —
Tim Ferriss: And the Pappy up there is also —
Kevin Rose: That’s good stuff as well.
Tim Ferriss: That is just incredible stuff.
Kevin Rose: Yeah. I also started collecting the Japanese whiskeys, like the Hibiki, aged Hibiki you can see up there as well. So what’s interesting about Hibiki and Tim, you probably remember this, but when we were going to Japan back in the day, Japanese whiskeys, you could go in Tokyo and down in the train station, there’s actually one of my favorite places to buy Japanese whiskey. And you go in there and I was buying a bottle of Hibiki 30 year for right around, you could get them for like $400 for an entire bottle. I mean that’s a lot of money for a bottle. That’s crazy. And you buy it and you’d let your friends try it and it’s crazy 30 year Japanese whiskey. And then probably about seven or eight years later they started running out a bit because it became very popular. And now they don’t produce it at all.
Tim Ferriss: Did it become popular with Japanese people or was it —
Kevin Rose: Westerners.
Tim Ferriss: — with foreigners? Foreigners.
Kevin Rose: Yeah. So foreigners, they started realizing the Japanese were doing whiskey at a really high level and then they bought up all the 30, and so they ran out. And so now what’s crazy is the bottle that was just a few hundred dollars, and that same goes for the 17 up there, which they also discontinued, which I heard they’re bringing back for a short amount of time. But anyway, the bottles went like 10x in price. And so now I think those are like four grand a bottle or something like that. It’s crazy. But if you were buying it back in the day, it was like, nobody knew, it was just like, “Oh, wow, this is just a really crazy expensive, I’ll just get one bottle. I’ll try and —”
Tim Ferriss: It makes me wonder also if there’s something to be said for developing a taste for whatever is unpopular at the time or unrecognized. So if Japanese whiskey is really popular, you could look at whiskey from a much lesser known location and get the best of that. Or you could look at something that maybe has lost its sex appeal temporarily, like saké. We did a tasting trip through part of Japan. You must remember that.
Kevin Rose: Of course.
Tim Ferriss: And we had —
Kevin Rose: You’re talking about for my birthday?
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, and we had the saké right out of the —
Kevin Rose: Oh, God, that was so good.
Tim Ferriss: — I’m not going to say barrels, but right out of the containers and —
Kevin Rose: Yeah, I still have some of that, by the way.
Tim Ferriss: — with the ladle, and it’s stellar and very, very, very reasonable in terms of price. You could really get something that was only found in Japan, beautifully done. Something that you could share with friends on a special occasion that would not break the bank.
Kevin Rose: Right. I mean, the thing about, you know this Tim, way better than I do, but the thing about, I think I love most about Japan, is that you can take any hobby or any profession — and they do it at the highest level. So it can be aged coffee. Remember when we had that aged coffee?
Tim Ferriss: Yes I do.
Kevin Rose: It’s 30-year-old aged coffee by a little guy in a shop, and there’s six or seven other people sitting around the table.
Tim Ferriss: Good news: delicious. Bad news: it’s a 45-minute pour over.
Kevin Rose: Right. It’s a really long process, you have to sit there and wait. But there’s something amazing about being able to relax and sit there and wait for it and appreciate that person for their craft. And we don’t do that in the States, man. We don’t have that appreciation for people, individual people doing something in a high level. And you know what’s awesome about that? Is that guy is recession-proof. Nothing’s going to automate his job away. It’s the commodity stuff that’s getting completely destroyed by technology.
Tim Ferriss: It makes me think of something that as a general theme I bring up a lot when I’m talking to people who are starting businesses or thinking of starting businesses and they have a high level of skill in anything. And almost every person has a superpower. Something that is at the very least easier for them to do than for most other people. They may recognize it, they may not recognize it. But when I am talking to friends or acquaintances who are thinking of say, starting a business, that’s part of the reason why I always like to start with the conversation of what if you charged more than everyone else? What would you have to create that is based on the superpower related to it that would then be worth a price that is at the highest end? In part because it makes you recession-proof. You have to look at things through such a different lens, and the market doesn’t have to be large to have a successful coffee shop like that. The market isn’t large. But this guy is such a specialist and has ritualized something into the plug and play cult format for people like you or like me.
Kevin Rose: I mean, you like that shit. You got horse saddles and shit at your house that you collect.
Tim Ferriss: I do. I do. I do. I do. I’m an unapologetic Japanophile. And I can see the good, the beautiful, the bad, and the ugly in Japan as I can say, in the US. But the attention to detail, the beautiful and bordering on pathological obsession to detail just scratches every itch for me. And for that reason, you mentioned the saddles. I don’t think I’ve ever talked about this, but when — I don’t spend a whole lot of money on toys, and I do spend money on a handful of things. But it’s been very slow in development just growing up with a family that was very, very money scarcity-minded in a way.
But for The 4-Hour Body, when I was writing The 4-Hour Body, I remember promising myself, if, not if, at that point it was when I finished writing this book, if it is number one in The New York Times, not number two, but if it’s number one, I’ll reward myself with buying a Japanese antique of some type. Which I’d never bought any antiques of any type. And I love Japan and have always had, I mean for decades, this obsessive fascination with martial arts. And around the same time, actually, I was exploring a television series that involved doing horseback archery in Japan, which people can find online actually if they search Trial by Fire, I think it was Trial by Fire, can find this weird video of me in Japan doing horseback archery.
And so I decided to get a saddle — that was what I would reward myself with. And so I ended up with one of these saddles. And in fact one was really cheap. Some of these auctions are so weird, I haven’t participated in many of them. But you’ll see the unpredictability of auction dynamics where you’ll see one item that for whatever reason has like two big swinging dick muckity-mucks who are just punching each other in the face to win with the ego reward of having this item. And so it goes for five times what was anticipated. And then there’s another one because that happened, like knocks out a bunch of folks and it’s just empty. Like no one’s doing anything. So I ended up getting two saddles for the price of one because who the hell wants Japanese saddles? Turns out not a large market.
Kevin Rose: Wooden Japanese saddles.
Tim Ferriss: Wooden Japanese saddles. And I love them. They give me so much joy every day. And something I’ve been thinking about, I want to give someone credit and I think I’m getting the pronunciation right here, but Adeo Ressi, who’s been involved in the startup scene for a very long time. I think it’s Founder Institute, am I getting that right? Maybe not. In any case, but Adeo was recently in Austin where I live and he was doing a panel with a number of folks who were all very, very good and it was a discussion of mental health. And he said something that I wrote down because it makes sense to me and I think I’ve bumped into this occasionally and I’m like, oh, there is some truth to this. And that is, the benefits of looking at things in the world and decisions, things you create and so on, not just through the lens of is this good or bad, which can often be an ethical choice, right? Like is this good for me in the world? Is this bad for me in the world, but also through the lens of is this beautiful or not?
And I think that the Japanese pay a lot of attention to this. You can get a cup of coffee, perfectly great cup of coffee in many places in Japan. But Ken, this guy we’re talking about, for instance, just created a beautiful unusual experience that you talk about 10 years later, case in point, he can. And there’s a value to that. It’s hard to really smack a label on it, but there’s something in the essence of that, that I’ve grown to appreciate more over time.
Kevin Rose: I hope some of that starts to carry over more into the United States, and our appreciation of that as a culture. Because I feel like, as a technologist, I can just see it 10, 15 years from now, automation in a serious way is coming to pretty much every industry in every job. And if it’s something that can be taught in a very easy, predictable way, it will be automated. It’s the stuff that is creative, the stuff that is unique, the stuff that is hard to do and produce at mass, at scale, that will stand out and you’ll always be secure. Now you’re not going to make, that guy that’s doing the 30, 40-year-old aged coffee, he’s pouring 15 of those a day or whatever. The guy’s not in a mansion living it up in Tokyo. But he takes a lot of pride in that. I think that if you can be content and really believe in it and enjoy what you’re producing and it fulfills you, then that’s all you really need.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. And Japan’s a great, in a way it’s like an art exhibit or a zoo of pocket obsessions. Do you know what I mean?
Kevin Rose: Exactly.
Tim Ferriss: You can walk through certain —
Kevin Rose: Every alleyway.
Tim Ferriss: You can walk through — exactly. You can walk through certain neighborhoods down alleyways and each shop is, I mean the size of a broom closet, but specializes in — there’s one that specializes in, I’m making this up, but like succulent display containers that you put on the wall in a small room, like a bathroom. And that’s the entire shop. That’s all they do.
Kevin Rose: Yeah. I love that.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah.
Kevin Rose: It’s great.
Tim Ferriss: They go really deep down one particular little avenue that is their own that they can own.
Kevin Rose: Totally.
Tim Ferriss: What else appeals to you most about Japan? Because I think there are many things I could talk about that appeal to me about Japan. I’ve lived there. I have a total love affair, long-standing love affair with the language. What appeals to you about Japan?
Kevin Rose: Well, I think the cleanliness is a huge piece of it. You could eat off the ground pretty much everywhere in Tokyo. And it’s a massive city.
Tim Ferriss: It is unbelievably clean. Which, not to interrupt, but I will. Which reflects not just a priority on the state or government level, but a collective behavior. That doesn’t happen top-down. It’s a collective behavior.
Kevin Rose: I don’t know how they cultivate that. How does that, at a young age, how do you make sure that carries on to the next generation?
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, that’s a great question. I don’t have a ready answer for that, but I would say that very often, I mentioned personal superpowers earlier, they’re very often right next to our greatest defects. Like they’re somehow also very close to our greatest weaknesses. It’s very frequent. And I think in Japan there is this light and dark side to —
Kevin Rose: The shame side?
Tim Ferriss: — shame. Exactly. I was going to bring up shame. So embarrassment, losing face, shame, bringing shame upon your family. Very big deal.
Kevin Rose: Remember, I don’t know, they’re embarrassed for you, which is crazy. Sometimes like when you do something that’s awkward, they’ll rush out to give you something so that you’re not embarrassed because they’re embarrassed for you.
Tim Ferriss: Oh, yeah. There are multiple levels of recursive humiliation in Japan. Just like the language and like the culture has so many complex etiquette rules around hierarchy and there is honoring language, there is what you would call in English I guess, humbling language for yourself, which is self-deprecating. All these different layers of grammar and words that change based on how you relate to someone else. And it’s the same with embarrassment. I think that’s something that they’ve teased out into a very complex set of rules and awkward interactions.
Kevin Rose: Yeah.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, for sure.
Kevin Rose: I think the thing that sealed it for me is one time I was waiting for an Uber out there in Tokyo and I was looking around and I saw this old man coming outside of his house and he had a rag in his hand and he was polishing his mailbox like seriously putting — and I was there waiting like 20 minutes for the Uber and the guy’s polishing it nonstop and I’m like, wow, I don’t polish my mailbox. That’s like next level commitment to cleanliness and just respect for your items. Like how often do we just throw shit out and just don’t recycle and — I wish we had more of that in our culture. But you’re right. It’s a double-edged sword. There’s a shame component as well.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. But it’s worth exposing yourself to if you have the opportunity or the means to do so. I get asked a lot, “What is your favorite place to travel?” And it’s an impossible question for me to answer because it really depends on —
Kevin Rose: China?
Tim Ferriss: — for what? China. I love parts of China. I’ve had great trips to China, I’ve spent time in Taiwan, but there are also some really rough — I mean, having lived in Beijing where I decided it was healthier not to run outside because I would just blow soot out my nose afterwards.
Kevin Rose: We had the worst trip. Well, not the worst, it was awesome, but —
Tim Ferriss: We had a tricky trip. Yeah. Where you got completely scammed with artwork.
Kevin Rose: Yeah. Well, not only that, but think about — Tim and I went out to the middle of nowhere,
Tim Ferriss: There is a Random Show, if you searched probably Random Show China edition —
Kevin Rose: You’ll see.
Tim Ferriss: You can flash back a couple of years.
Kevin Rose: A couple of years. That was like —
Tim Ferriss: A long time ago.
Kevin Rose: — eight years ago or something. Anyway, there was maggots that we were having to shit into and it was really disgusting.
Tim Ferriss: It was a rough trip.
Kevin Rose: It was rough.
Tim Ferriss: It was a rough trip. Yeah. And there are many answers that I could give, right? I mean, I have really enjoyed some trips in China. I’ve really enjoyed, but it depends on what you want to get out of the trip, right?
Kevin Rose: Right.
Tim Ferriss: If you want to feel totally lost like an alien on a new planet, but at the same time be in almost no danger whatsoever, Japan’s perfect.
Kevin Rose: A hundred percent Tokyo. Yes.
Tim Ferriss: If you want to visit an alien landscape, and really feel like an alien —
Kevin Rose: You will get off the plane and everything will be alien and in all the right ways. Like people. The cool thing about Japan is no one’s a dick to you if you don’t know Japanese.
Tim Ferriss: Which is amazing.
Kevin Rose: Which is amazing.
Tim Ferriss: If you think about it.
Kevin Rose: Everybody’s super friendly and obviously if you’re going to be a good tourist as you should, you should pick up a half dozen little phrases that you can say to people. But outside of that, you really don’t need to know the language.
Tim Ferriss: And they have the most, from a linguistic perspective, the most lay-up friendly, over-reactive encouragement you can imagine. Let’s contrast this. I love Paris. It’s one of my favorite cities in the world. But there are certain people, actually this is more common in Montreal. Not to throw them under the bus, but if you don’t speak really good French, then you’ll get scoffed at. And it’s very hard.
Kevin Rose: Dude. I have gotten it, taxi drivers in Paris are dicks, straight up. You know that.
Tim Ferriss: Right.
Kevin Rose: So in other words, even if you speak, if you’re 80% of the way there, if you’re a B plus student, you’re still going to have a tough time impressing anyone or getting a pat on the back. Whereas in Japan, if you can — and when we were there with a couple of friends, including our mutual friend Tony Conrad, and Tony thought this was hilarious. I’m like, imagine for a second what you sound like to them. If you can imagine somebody in the most broken English possible being like, “Can you, where is, hunger, bathroom please.” That’s basically what you sound like in Japanese to them. But you say that and you sound like Sloth from The Goonies and they’re like, [foreign language 00:27:15]. And they give you this handclap for performing like a seal at SeaWorld and it feels really good.
Tim Ferriss: But yeah, all you need to know is “Good morning,” and “Where’s the bathroom?” and you’re like the Michael Jordan of Japanese to most folks you’re going to encounter. What else do we have here? We’ve got some other random items laid out.
Kevin Rose: The thing is with this, people have listened to it before. We’ve done these Random Shows where we talk about books that we’re reading and we’re talking about products that we’re liking, things like that. So I mean I just grabbed a couple of things that are actually — I might as well continue down the Japanese theme. So I, moving to Portland, had been into forest bathing, which started in Japan. And the idea is that there are so many people because of the work culture out there that doctors prescribed going into the forest and using it as a way to walk and relax and unwind.
And there’s been a bunch of research that’s been done in these forests trying to figure out what is it that’s dropping people’s cortisol levels, that’s dropping, increasing their, what is it? Killer cell count? They did all these studies where they drew blood and they checked on people that were walking in the forest and all these different biomarkers improved. And so there were a few things that they were able to conclude. One, there’s a certain bacteria in the soil that’s supposed to be really good for you that’s in Japan. And the second is I’m sure just disconnecting and being in the forest is a big part of it, but also the sense and the aromas that the trees were putting off. And so there was a few trees in particular that they pulled out and distilled down into essential oils. And then in the hospitals, they would diffuse them out. They saw a dramatic decrease in people getting sick at the hospitals in terms of people getting flus and colds and things like that.
So I basically read this entire book on forest bathing and decided to buy a few of these essential oils and use them. You can either diffuse them in your room or you can pour them over hot coals in a sauna. Hinoki is obviously a very popular tree out there. So I got some hinoki oil. I think there’s four or five different ones. Another one is hiba wood. This is another one here that you can smell.
They smell fantastic. I’m not here to sell you essential oils. I don’t have any brands to recommend, but they’re — I mean, smell that. It smells like a Japanese spa.
Tim Ferriss: Which one is that?
Kevin Rose: That’s the hiba wood.
Tim Ferriss: Hiba wood. That does smell fantastic.
Kevin Rose: Yeah, it’s really cool stuff. But anyway, so there’s a couple different books out there on forest bathing. You can just search Amazon for that. If you’re really into just trying to figure out how to slow down a little bit and learn more about the kind of Japanese way of disappearing into the forest and walking in the forest for longevity and health, you can learn a lot about it in this book. They outline all of the different essential oils there.
Tim Ferriss: Do you remember which one you read?
Kevin Rose: I do. If you were to — you know what? I can pull it up and —
Tim Ferriss: I just searched “forest bathing” on Google and the third result — well, let’s go in order for — These are the suggested results for forest bathing, forest bathing book, forest bathing Portland is number three.
Kevin Rose: No way. Well, that’s because it knows you’re here. It’s using GPS.
Tim Ferriss: Fuckers. So creepy. Well —
Kevin Rose: We did some forest bathing today, which was nice.
Tim Ferriss: We did. I’d say Portland is one of the — certainly from a mycological whatever, a fungi mushroom perspective, one of the most incredible forest bathing opportunities out there.
Kevin Rose: Yeah. This is the book that I read right here. Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness by Dr. Qing Li. That was one of the researchers that was doing all of this out in Tokyo.
Tim Ferriss: Forest bathing in Japanese is shinrin-yoku. S-H-I-N-R-I-N yoku. Yoku is the bath portion of that. Is that one of your items right over there?
Kevin Rose: Yeah, I don’t really want to talk about that.
Tim Ferriss: All right. We’re going to skip that.
Kevin Rose: We have so many oils. This is another oil.
Tim Ferriss: That’s another oil.
Kevin Rose: It’s like a beard oil I use. It’s great. I’m not going to show this.
Tim Ferriss: One of the books that I am rereading, and I don’t reread a lot of books, but this is one that I’ve read probably five or six times in the last 18 months. Is one that came through a recommendation from someone you also know, Peter Mallouk. He was a podcast guest, mostly involved in finance and wealth management and things along those lines, investing.
But the book he recommended was Awareness by a Jesuit priest also, as I recall, a psychotherapist named Anthony de Mello. Have you ever read this book?
Kevin Rose: No, I haven’t.
Tim Ferriss: He mentioned it somewhat briefly in our conversation. But the sales pitch, which wasn’t intended to be a pitch, that got me was every time I read this book, for a few weeks afterwards, I feel an incredible sense of peace. I’m paraphrasing, but he said something like that, and I was like, “That’s an odd statement coming from the rest of the conversation.”
It was a sharp contrast to a lot of the subject matter and I thought, “Interesting. All right. Well, Awareness.” I looked it up and I think the subtitle — There are two different subtitles for some reason, but one of the subtitles is The Promises and Perils of Reality, or something like that. I was like, “Interesting subtitle.”
Read this book, pairs very well with Sam Harris’s Waking Up app, actually. But has a lot of sort of “Oh, fuck,” caliber aha moments —
Kevin Rose: Really?
Tim Ferriss: — in this book. From the perspective of self-awareness and distinguishing between, say, the labels and stories you use from yourself and the self. It’s also a very funny book. It’s effectively a transcript of lessons or weekend courses that were given by Anthony de Mello.
As I am always, I was very skeptical going into this book because I thought it might just be another collection of woo woo, hand-wavy bullshit because a lot of these books are. It really had an impact on my life —
Kevin Rose: Crazy.
Tim Ferriss: — immediately and has become this sort of reboot in the sense that occasionally — I’m sure everyone has had the experience that your phone is just kind of slow, things aren’t working. Maybe your bars are dropping. Shit’s just going kind of wonky, and you’re like, “You know what? I need to restart my phone.”
Kevin Rose: Yeah, you have real phone issues. I mean, outside of that, I can’t text you. It turns into those green texts.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, my phone needs an update. This is a very old phone. I’m very dull edge when it comes to phones. I want as many bugs to be fixed, found, and fixed with new versions of iOS. New phones —
Kevin Rose: Such an old man thing to say, dude.
Tim Ferriss: It is.
Kevin Rose: Like, “Give me the old —”
Tim Ferriss: I have an iPhone 6s or whatever this is. It’s ancient. Eventually I’ll get a new phone. But the point that I’m making is when your phone isn’t working, when you’re having trouble with your computer, when you’re having trouble with iCal, one of the first things that someone’s going to ask you if you go to a Genius Bar or deal with a tech, sort of tech-savvy person is, “When’s the last time you rebooted this? When’s the last time you quit and restarted?” For me, this book, Awareness by Anthony de Mello, has that effect —
Kevin Rose: That’s awesome.
Tim Ferriss: — psychologically and emotionally.
Kevin Rose: You’re going to sell a hundred thousand copies of this by saying this. Sounds awesome.
Tim Ferriss: And I’m happy to. This is one of a handful of books that I now buy by the dozen in paperback. It’s a short book. It’s a very fast read. That I buy by the dozen to have in my house so that I can give them to friends. I literally have an entire shelf in my guest bedroom. I can tell you what the other books are.
Kevin Rose: Well, I appreciate you — this is the first time I’m hearing about. Where’s my copy, dude? It’s like, what the —
Tim Ferriss: Well, you have to visit —
Kevin Rose: “I give them to all my friends. You don’t understand, I have dozens of them.”
Tim Ferriss: My friends who visit Austin, I know you have an entire brood, sort of pending soccer team that you need to cart around the world, but the — it’s Awareness.
Kevin Rose: It’s not on Audible, dude. It’s not on Audible. You don’t see it there, right?
Tim Ferriss: If it’s not on Audible, I probably tried to get the rights at some point to make —
Kevin Rose: Did you?
Tim Ferriss: No, then I must not have.
Kevin Rose: You should.
Tim Ferriss: But Awareness by Anthony de Mello. You can get it on Kindle. That much I know.
Kevin Rose: I have the new Kindle right there.
Tim Ferriss: Great. Yeah.
Kevin Rose: That’s one of the things I was going to talk about.
Tim Ferriss: This book has a probably 90% hit rate with people I recommend it to.
Kevin Rose: That’s awesome.
Tim Ferriss: It’s really good. The other books that I have are How to Change Your Mind, Michael Pollan.
Kevin Rose: Of course.
Tim Ferriss: I have a whole rack of that book. And then also, The Gift, which is a collection of poems by Hafiz, H-A-F-I-Z. Which is just a wonderful and very funny collection of poems. I’m not the person historically who has read poetry, by any stretch.
Kevin Rose: That’s so crazy. Are you starting to get into poetry?
Tim Ferriss: In the last few years I’ve been reading a few poets. Not many. And also become very open to — It seems like maybe unrefined poetry in the sense that I’ve been turned off of poetry many times in the past. I think because there’s a breed of poet or a breed of poetry fan who seems to be similar to the hoity-toity fan of, say, abstract art, where it’s like if you need an explanation, then you don’t get it kind of thing.
There’s a lot of poetry where I’ve read it and I’m like, “I don’t fucking get it,” and I’m not into that kind of poetry. But Hafiz makes perfect sense to me. Maybe spending a little bit of time, second dog space helps with that.
Then poetry like Mary Oliver. Mary Oliver’s amazing. I’ve really become a huge fan of her work. Handful of folks. I don’t have a lot of exposure. But have you been reading poetry?
Kevin Rose: Well, I just got a book on how to read poetry actually, that I thought was pretty interesting. I went down to Powell’s probably just a month or so ago and I was — Powell’s is a, for people that don’t know —
Tim Ferriss: Powell’s is amazing.
Kevin Rose: It’s like one of the best — well, I would say it’s the best bookstore in the United States for sure. That’s actually still an independent bookstore that’s thriving and doing really well here in Portland. It’s massive. It’s the size of like a Costco or something. Well —
Tim Ferriss: It is truly enormous.
Kevin Rose: Yeah, and they have a whole poetry section. For me, I’ve always been a fan of — I invested in a company called Jour that does guided journaling on iOS and iPad.
Tim Ferriss: How do you spell it?
Kevin Rose: J-O-U-R. It’s short for journaling. They do these encrypted guided journals that you can do. The reason I wanted to get into that is I’ve just read about the benefits of actually kind of just opening up your heart and pouring out a little bit of what’s going on inside as a way to be very therapeutic and just kind of release certain things that you may be holding onto.
Obviously, that’s a big part of poetry as well. So I was like, “Well, I’d like to read what other people are — how they’re releasing their emotions and also maybe eventually get into this myself.” Not in a way that I would ever share publicly, but just something like — yeah, I think that you and I are the same in that we’re both wont to experiment with different things all the time, right?
Tim Ferriss: Sure.
Kevin Rose: Trying new things. So this was just one of those things where I was walking down the aisle and was like, “Sure, I’m going to pick up a book on poetry. Why not?”
Tim Ferriss: Grab The Gift. It’s really good.
Kevin Rose: Cool.
Tim Ferriss: It’s funny. The guy is a really funny fucker. He’s very funny and very irreverent. Actually got into a fair amount of trouble back in the day. From present-day Iran and just — You read 50 pages and you’re like, “If this guy were alive today, he would be my top 10 people I would want to have drinks with.”
Kevin Rose: That’s awesome.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, he’s very, very funny and profound. It requires a very high level of sensitivity and artistry and wordsmithing. Of course, these are translated by Daniel Ladinsky in this case. To achieve that, it’s a very hard effect to produce in such a short format well, I think.
Tim Ferriss: What else are you reading?
Kevin Rose: Well, I will say that —
Tim Ferriss: Or have read recently?
Kevin Rose: — the thing in the last three months that probably — well, it just consumed me this summer. Was a course by Michael Singer who wrote The Untethered Soul. He has a course over that was on Sounds True. You know that — they’re like a publisher?
Tim Ferriss: I do.
Kevin Rose: Yeah. He has of course, it’s a video course and it’s a five session, like hour and a half, two hours per video. No, sorry, eight session. Eight or nine session, hour and a half, two hours per video. On surrender and just really how to embrace surrender and incorporate it in your everyday life, and how that is one of the most powerful things that you can do. It just really, really simplified letting things unfold for me.
Tim Ferriss: How do you — or could you give an example of how you might use this concept of surrender without becoming driftwood in the flow of life?
Kevin Rose: Sure.
Tim Ferriss: Because it sort of, for some people, myself included, has a connotation, which is from my own experience I suppose or just perception of passivity.
Kevin Rose: Sure.
Tim Ferriss: Right? That you —
Kevin Rose: Yeah, I get that.
Tim Ferriss: Like you’ve lost your free will and you’re just sort of an impassive creature taking whatever life throws at you.
Kevin Rose: Yeah. Well there’s a couple things. One of the things that I appreciated about the course and one I’m still continuing to learn because I’m going back and listening to it — you know it’s good when you’re going back and listening to it like two or three times. One of the things that he talks about is just this idea, that I think we can all agree on, that we have these little programs that are essentially in us that have been either handed down to us by teachers, or parents, or whatever it may be that are how we interpret the world as it hits us.
For example, if you were cheated on by a girl in the past and something kind of comes close to that by a new person that you’re dating, maybe they stayed out too late and didn’t call you, or something just happens that activates that little scar that you have, you can then go and really work yourself up, right? That applies to so many different things. I mean, it’s like — we were talking about coffee earlier. I can enjoy an amazing single origin coffee from a Japanese artisan. But you hand that same cup of coffee to someone that’s Mormon that has been told that coffee is a sin and it’s against your religion, you’re going to have a completely different experience when trying to consume that beverage, right?
So there are all these little things, these little programs that have been installed, whether we know it or not. A lot of them we don’t know. So it can just be a reaction to something that has previously happened to us in our childhood or even through our parents yelling at us. Thankfully, I’m the opposite of my father. My father was a very verbally aggressive human. So when I hear certain types of aggression like that, I tend to kind of back away from it because it’s hitting that stuff inside of me.
His whole thing is this idea of surrender is really being able to identify when that is happening, and seeing when that’s happening, and understanding which programs aren’t really serving you any longer, and being able to just to release and let them go. When you can release and let go of those little scars that we’ve been accumulating over decades, we can just become free. It’s so amazing when you can finally just rest and let the world kind of unfold and not get pissed off about the person that cuts you off in traffic or any number of little events that happen throughout the day.
He has really some amazing, really compelling examples throughout this entire course. But it’s helped me really examine my reactions. It goes hand in hand with meditation in that way.
Tim Ferriss: You’re going to love Awareness.
Kevin Rose: Awesome. Yeah, it sounded like I would.
Tim Ferriss: These sound like birds of a feather, very complementary. Very complementary ways of feeding your mind and emotions. You’ve been talking about this surrender course for a while now in our conversations. So I’m definitely intending to check it out. The Untethered Soul, his book, has been recommended to me on a number of occasions. So I’m going to give it a taste or —
Kevin Rose: I think you’d really enjoy his course because you get to sit back and it’s video and I would just let it play when I had some downtime.
It’s funny what people think of. Your reaction was the exact same one that I had initially, where surrender is this kind of passive thing. It’s like, “Gosh, it seems like — ” It feels like a weak thing actually, if you think about it. You’re surrendering. That’s the weakest thing.
But think about it this way, it is the hardest thing to do. Someone cuts you off in traffic and you’re like, “That motherfucker,” right? What’s harder — to get angry at them or to surrender and just let that pass through you rather than hit you? It’s hitting you in some way, right?
This course is not about having people step all over you because obviously that would be a horrible thing and no one wants that. But it’s really about understanding and being able to choose and let go of probably 98% of it, right? There’s still things that I get amped up about. Certain things aren’t going well in our country. Or there are certain things that — people are getting mistreated or there’s things that will really still charge me to do things.
But I realize now after taking this course and kind of revisiting it, that most things you realized really don’t have a whole lot to do with you. If someone’s really pissed off at you, they’re dealing with something. Why should it then come out and affect you and your being? You should have compassion for that person because they’re going through a rough time. There’s a way to flip this stuff that gets really interesting.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. Even if you don’t have compassion, just taking this second to pause and recognize that it’s not serving you. It’s not going to translate into any action that is productive. What are you going to do? Chase the guy down that cut you off and get out of your car at his office that he’s running into because he got into a fight with his wife and punch him in the throat? I mean, it’s not —
Kevin Rose: People do that.
Tim Ferriss: People do, but it’s not — that’s —
Kevin Rose: Well, especially —
Tim Ferriss: It’s bad energy allocation, right? It’s just —
Kevin Rose: And something that’s predictable. That’s going to always happen to you. Getting cut off is going to happen to you for the rest of your life, hundreds of times. Why are you going to get so charged up about it every single time? It’s ridiculous.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, for sure. I’m excited to hear what you think of Awareness.
Kevin Rose: Yeah.
Tim Ferriss: It’ll pair very well with that.
Kevin Rose: Yeah, I love stuff like that. Any way that we could just kind of get a little better understanding. To your point earlier about Sam Harris’s course, I think that Sam has the best meditation course for people that want to take it seriously.
I made a meditation app thinking of just doing a free unguided timer and some very basic instructions, but that’s great if you want something that’s free. Sam’s is a paid course and I think that he goes deeper. I love it. It’s not just window dressing. It’s really taking meditation seriously. I know you completed the 50 days as well.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kevin Rose: Yeah, I just finished up the 50 days and I thought it was phenomenal.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, it’s super strong. There are different strokes for different folks in terms of meditation styles and —
Kevin Rose: For sure.
Tim Ferriss: His style is not for everybody. But for the right person, it’s really helpful as a skill progression. As a sort of logical progression of skill development.
Tim Ferriss: What am I holding up here? This is something — might as well talk —
Kevin Rose: Yes.
Tim Ferriss: Can we talk about this?
Kevin Rose: Yeah, let’s talk about it.
Tim Ferriss: Might as well talk about it. This is something that I’ve been downing —
Kevin Rose: Since you’ve been —
Tim Ferriss: — a lot of since I got to your house. On the can it says DRAM, D-R-A-M, and then the particular — so that’s the brand. And then cardamom and black tea. Below it it says, “No sugar, zero calories.” What is this thing that I’m holding?
Kevin Rose: Yeah, so this is interesting. This is a company that actually someone that I know here in Portland was like, “You’ve got to try this sparkling —” Because she —
Tim Ferriss: A chef.
Kevin Rose: — she knows — yeah, she’s a chef. She knows that I drink sparkling water and she’s like, “You’ve got to try this sparkling beverage. It’ll change your world.” And I was like, “Well, why? There’s so many of them out there. Every Whole Foods aisle or whatever has a hundred of these,” right? And she goes, “No, this is different. They’re actually bitters makers.”
So remember bitters in cocktails? They create these concentrates from real herbs and spices and very bitters focused, and then put them in sparkling water. You’re never going to see on the side of one of these cans, like, “Natural flavorings.” That’s not what they do. They’re hand pressing their ginger, they’re doing all that. They make these zero calorie beverages.
I would say, I don’t know if you agree with me, but it’s like an order of magnitude better than anything you find in the store.
Tim Ferriss: They’re really, really good.
Kevin Rose: They’re really good. The black tea and cardamom’s my favorite, by the way. I think that’s —
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, this one — I tried a bunch. This is the current fave. You have an entire refrigerator full of these. You and Tony, who I mentioned earlier, brought this to my attention. I had never tried it before that. But —
Kevin Rose: We should say, just in full disclosure, we’re looking at it and I’ve talked to the founders and we’re considering investing. Neither you or I have invested in this company.
Tim Ferriss: No, we haven’t. But whether I invest or not, it’s really good stuff.
Kevin Rose: Yeah, it’s really good stuff.
Tim Ferriss: It’s really solid.
Kevin Rose: They do a CBD one. Can I say that you tried it? You’re okay with that. You do psychedelics and shit.
Tim Ferriss: Sure. Yeah, I’m fine with that. What was that?
Kevin Rose: I said you do psychedelics and shit. You’re fine with saying you did a little CBD at my house. They make a CBD one that has 25 milligrams of CBD, which is what Michael — Michael Singer. It’s —
Tim Ferriss: Michael Singer loves CBD and cardamom. Wait, no, I take that back. Don’t sue us.
Kevin Rose: Yeah, exactly. Matthew Walker from Why We Sleep, the Berkeley scientist that has a sleep lab in Berkeley, he recommends 25 milligrams of CBD for sleep. They do some of the best. There’s one called Beauty Bubbles that is the best CBD — You wouldn’t even know there’s CBD in it. That’s how you know it’s good.
Tim Ferriss: You have no idea.
Kevin Rose: You have no idea.
Tim Ferriss: From a taste perspective —
Kevin Rose: It doesn’t taste like weed.
Tim Ferriss: No. It’d be terrible.
Kevin Rose: Yeah, it’d be terrible. And it has a bunch of different adaptogens in there as well. But these things are awesome. You can buy them on their website. You can just search DRAM, D-R-A-M, sparkling beverage.
Tim Ferriss: DRAMApothecary.com.
Kevin Rose: Dot com, yeah.
Tim Ferriss: From Colorado.
Kevin Rose: Anyway, it’s my favorite sparkling beverage. They do direct to consumer. They’re not in all the stores yet, but —
Tim Ferriss: It’s really good. I mean, I’ve had, sorry, Kevin, probably like nine of these in the last —
Kevin Rose: It’s all good.
Tim Ferriss: — 24 hours. They’re fantastic. What else is on your mind, man?
Kevin Rose: Gosh. Just trying to kind of do less work stuff. Not in terms of taking on less startups. Not actually building stuff, more just investing. So I’ve been doing that through True Ventures. And then also just exploring — rather than do 20 things at once that I want to explore and get excited about, picking two or three and then just really following through on them and doing them really deep.
This summer for me was all about, because I live in the Pacific Northwest now, it was all about mushrooms. So I went out and bought a couple thousand mushroom plugs, cut down some oak trees. Not big oak trees, but branches. And then inoculated those branches with lion’s mane and a couple of other specimens.
Tim Ferriss: That means, just to paint a picture, you’re drilling holes into these logs that kind of simulate branches that would have fallen —
Kevin Rose: Exactly.
Tim Ferriss: — in the forest.
Kevin Rose: Exactly.
Tim Ferriss: Then you’re —
Kevin Rose: You’re drilling about —
Tim Ferriss: — injecting mushroom spores into this wood.
Kevin Rose: Right. So you drill about an inch into the wood and then you get these little wooden dowels that are inoculated. So they look like little pieces of round peg wood and they are all frosty with fungi growing on them, or mycelium I guess. Then you pound it into the log with just a rubber mallet. Then you put a thin layer of wax on the outside of that to prevent anything else from getting in there. Then you cover them mostly in the summer with — because it does get a little hot here, so we cover them with some shade cloth. I went out there and watered them kind of once a day, just kind of keep the logs a little moist.
Then in the fall, either this year or next year in the fall, the lion’s mane will really start to just come out of them and I’ll have these massive lion’s mane that’ll turn into — chop them up, saute it with a little bit of garlic and butter, and you’ll have just an amazing mushroom that is also really good for the brain. There’s been a lot of studies done on lion’s mane and the brain and brain health. Helping you with memories and recall. Yeah, it’s good stuff.
Tim Ferriss: You are also doing a lot of fasting.
Kevin Rose: Yes.
Tim Ferriss: You want to talk about that?
Kevin Rose: Yeah, man. So —
Tim Ferriss: I talked to you when we checked in when I first got here and we were chatting about fasting and you’re like, “Yeah, I’ve been fasting for 18 hours now.” And I was like, “Really? How often are you doing that?” Then we had a whole discussion about it. But how often —
Kevin Rose: Yeah. I mean —
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, what are you using technologically?
Kevin Rose: Well, I started Zero, the fasting app, about two years ago. That really has taken off. We’ve had, gosh, close to I think over 40 million fasts now or something like that.
Tim Ferriss: That’s really wild.
Kevin Rose: Yeah, and we’ve got a million people fasting on a month. It’s growing like crazy.
Tim Ferriss: Zero.
Kevin Rose: Yeah. It’s completely free. Peter Attia just joined as the chief medical officer to really help put some medical rigor around what you should be doing, especially with extended fasting. There’s magnesium and some other supplements and things you want to be considering when you’re doing longer, especially water only fast.
For me, I do a quarterly, five-day fast. And then I will try and do at least five days a week of 18 hours. That for me, I can find — I’ve got to tell you, I still do love these Portland beers out here are really good. Well, this is the hell that I have to face, right? Because I love meditation and all these things, but I also like to have a couple beers.
Tim Ferriss: On the other side, Kevin is fasting 18 hours a day. All of his other calories he consumes are from beer.
Kevin Rose: Right, exactly. I have a window of two hours where I just get hammered. No, seriously though. In the summertime, the beers are so amazing that I will just become a little piggy. I’ll just get super fat because I’m just having these amazing beers and they go right to my gut.
I find that at 18 hours, I can pretty much throw anything — I mean, not that I want to because I want to try and eat healthy and pretty well-rounded. But I can slim up quite well and not have issues with weight, which — my dad’s side of the family was all obese and had heart disease and all that stuff. So it’s something that I take pretty seriously and try and maintain a pretty lean physique. So 18 hours is kind of my sweet spot there.
Tim Ferriss: When you do your five-day fast once a quarter, are those water fasts? Are they fast mimicking diet fasts?
Kevin Rose: I did only one five-day water fast and it was so brutal. It was brutal not because of the hunger, but because of the sleep. I had a really hard time sleeping and I got really cold.
Tim Ferriss: Rapid heart rate.
Kevin Rose: Yeah, exactly. Rapid heart rate, all that good stuff. Magnesium will help with a little bit of that stuff. But yeah, if you ever do anything like that, you want to talk to a doctor, be under the supervision.
Tim Ferriss: You want supervision.
Kevin Rose: A hundred percent.
Tim Ferriss: You really want supervision.
Kevin Rose: I’m doing something called fasting mimetic, which is you do limited calories, about 500 calories a day.
Tim Ferriss: This is the Valter Longo —
Kevin Rose: Yes.
Tim Ferriss: — FMD, fast mimicking diet.
Kevin Rose: Exactly. Valter Longo is a scientist out of USC, and he basically developed this protocol for cancer patients. It really helps reduce the effects of chemotherapy. So you’re not getting a lot of the nausea and things of that nature and —
Tim Ferriss: Makes it more effective too, as I understand it.
Kevin Rose: Makes it more effective. Yeah, absolutely.
Tim Ferriss: And we know friends — I mean, I’m not going to mention names, but who —
Kevin Rose: He’s come out. The CEO of Zero —
Tim Ferriss: Yes. Great. All right.
Kevin Rose: — right now, Mike Maser, has come out and talked about this. He had stage four cancer and he used —
Tim Ferriss: Remarkable.
Kevin Rose: — this fasting as part of his regimen in conjunction with chemotherapy.
Tim Ferriss: Pre-treatment.
Kevin Rose: Yeah.
Tim Ferriss: He would do the three-day fast or something along those lines?
Kevin Rose: Yeah, I think it was two days prior to chemo, and then during chemo, and then two days after. So that was his five days.
He was in a lot better shape. I remember one time he called me up and he’s like, “I didn’t fast for my last round of chemo and I’m just obliterated.” He could really tell the difference.
Valter has done some amazing work. You can go on and search his work on YouTube and you’ll see the videos of the rats and mice that he’s inoculated with chemotherapy, and he does the fasting ones with the non-fasting ones. The ones that had fasted are running around the cages. Same dose of chemotherapy. The ones that have eaten food are just on their sides, just like —
Tim Ferriss: I want to say that that was also, if I’m remembering correctly, Mike’s experience. Where he did the fasting and other folks he got to know who were undergoing treatment at the same time are like laid out on the couch having a tough time moving and he was doing like 10-mile runs.
Kevin Rose: Yeah, he was running, which is crazy. Actually the one study that I really love was this one that they had these women that had had breast cancer but were in remission and it was something like 2,500 women, it was a decent-sized pool. They had them do just a very simple circadian rhythm kind of fast, which is you don’t have any food after sunset and then you fast for 13 hours. So it’s mostly just kind of sleeping.
Tim Ferriss: Sun up, you’re allowed to eat.
Kevin Rose: Yeah, basically. And of those women that followed the protocol, they had 36 or 38% reduction in re-occurrence of breast cancer just by fasting 13 hours, which is nothing. That is the easiest fast you could do. So there’s a lot of benefits to it in terms of inflammation markers, in terms of obviously better glucose levels. If you’re not nighttime snacking, you don’t have elevated glucose when you go to bed, which was huge.
Tim Ferriss: I think we blew the nighttime snacking yesterday.
Kevin Rose: Well you went whole hog on that tub of ice cold.
Tim Ferriss: Oh, I went whole hog.
Kevin Rose: Well we split it.
Tim Ferriss: Yes. Engaged in some behaviors that make one —
Kevin Rose: Eat ice cream. Indulge in things like ice cream. Ah, fun —
Tim Ferriss: That ice cream was amazing.
Kevin Rose: Yeah it was!
Tim Ferriss: I don’t know what that is, but it has this layer of ganache.
Kevin Rose: Ganache! Yes.
Tim Ferriss: It’s about the chocolate. It’s got about a quarter inch of ganache on the top.
Kevin Rose: With sea salt on top of that. And then it’s a caramel ice cream underneath it.
Tim Ferriss: What is that stuff?
Kevin Rose: It’s a Ruby Jewel, dude. It’s a local place here.
Tim Ferriss: What is it called?
Kevin Rose: Ruby Jewel.
Tim Ferriss: It is unbelievable. If you don’t want to eat an entire pint of ice cream, do not buy it because it will not last.
Kevin Rose: Yeah, that’s the problem I have. I because it’s local here and they always come out with these summer flavors with like the strawberries and stuff and the — so you can see why I do the 18-hour fast.
I really am good most of the time, but I do go off the rails. I’m like you dude, you used to do those cheat days. I remember going with you in the morning to the bakery and you’d get these massive bear claws.
Tim Ferriss: Oh yeah, they were delicious.
Kevin Rose: And put those — those were like huge. Those were like nine-inch bear claws.
Tim Ferriss: I miss those. They were so good. Yeah. Ah, man. Time for din din?
Kevin Rose: Yeah, I think we’ve got to go to dinner soon. Anything else to plug or talk about?
Tim Ferriss: Ah. Well I would say —
Kevin Rose: ‘Cause I’m going to put this on my podcast too. Could you talk about the fact that you’re doing anything with the new book or anything or no? I can cut this out —
Tim Ferriss: No, I can talk about it. And actually I’m surprised I haven’t told you this. So I was working on a new book. I’m not going to —
Kevin Rose: Oh my God, you pulled the plug on it?
Tim Ferriss: I pulled the plug.
Kevin Rose: Oh my God.
Tim Ferriss: So this was a book about — this is an exclusive. So I was working on a book entirely about saying no.
Kevin Rose: Right. I knew that.
Tim Ferriss: And gathering — I know you knew that, but people listening —
Kevin Rose: Oh, yeah, there’s other people listening.
Tim Ferriss: A book on saying no, and gathering tactics and systems and rules and language and so on from many, many people who are good at this. And one of the challenges of writing a book on no, at least for me, is that I kept on coming up with all these reasons why I shouldn’t write the book. And so I said no to the book. I returned the advance, I canceled the contract.
Kevin Rose: Wow, holy shit.
Tim Ferriss: But I have, and I can go into that — Well, let me go into it. I think this is maybe worth talking about for a minute. What I realized was it was putting a real strain on my relationship with my girlfriend, who I love dearly and —
Kevin Rose: She’s awesome by the way. This is the first time I’ve met her, which is crazy.
Tim Ferriss: She’s great and really, really wonderful and I was putting a strain on the relationship and particularly I’d misjudged how long the book would take to do. I thought I could sprint over the summer and do it in three to four months. Turned out it was going to be much more complex, would require a lot more writing on my part and would have to be extended at least six months. And that would require canceling the vast majority of things in my calendar and disappointing my girlfriend on a number of levels that were important to me and her, that I donot bend on.
And I was like, “For what? For what? To write a book for the world broadly speaking, to jeopardize this relationship? No.” That’s a decision that young Tim would’ve been like, “Fuck that.”
Kevin Rose: I was just going to say that!
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, younger Tim, I mean I’m embarrassed to say probably not that much younger Tim, but younger Tim would have viewed returning an advance and canceling a book as a gigantic sign of weakness, and quitting. And I’ve spent a lot of my life developing a very high pain tolerance and being able to just out endure. And I would have forced it, but I was able to zoom out — and it sounds like this is right along the lines of the surrender course, right along the lines of the Awareness. I was able to zoom out and say, “Wait a second, I’m viewing this as a very binary thing. Maybe this isn’t a binary thing.” And what I realized was at this point in my career I’m very fortunate that I don’t have to publish anything on any given timeline. And by returning the advance and canceling the book, I still have 200 pages of material. That’s a lot of material.
Kevin Rose: I was just going to ask you about that.
Tim Ferriss: And I’ll give a teaser for folks. I’m going to completely redesign and relaunch the website, the tim.blog website, which hasn’t been done in forever.
Kevin Rose: Do you have a designer?
Tim Ferriss: It’s basically done, yes.
Kevin Rose: Oh, wow, crazy.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah. It’s basically done.
Kevin Rose: You did it yourself. Microsoft FrontPage.
Tim Ferriss: I got back in the HTML. Looks great.
Kevin Rose: Dreamweaver.
Tim Ferriss: Looks like GeoCities. Great help from Matt Mullenweg and the folks at Automattic. And I am actually going to get back to writing on a regular schedule.
Kevin Rose: Oh that’s awesome.
Tim Ferriss: I’m going to start putting stuff out. That’s the plan at least. In a way that mimics how this all started. Before the book, before The 4-Hour Workweek. the blog was what helped launch things.
Kevin Rose: I was just going to ask you, why not use this content? It’s going to be great content.
Tim Ferriss: Oh yeah, I’m going to use a bunch of it and there’s some fantastic stuff. And I can say there’s some fantastic stuff because it’s not dependent on me. I really found some people who are just fucking incredible at this.
Kevin Rose: Give me a little hint on the book though. I want to know. Since we are doing a little exclusive here. What was the AHA! moment for you where you realize like, “Wow, I have something that is new and unique enough that I need to go write a book about this?” What was that moment?
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, So I’ll answer it maybe in a way that is a bit lateral, but I decided to write the book, not because I said, “I know the magic sauce for giving the answer or that people need.” It was because I wanted to gather more tools and resources for myself to become better at it myself. Turns out that I think I’m pretty good at it. In other words, I would go to a lot of friends asking them for advice and they were like, “Dude, you’re the best person I know doing this. You should be writing that.” And in some cases that was true. In other cases, there’re folks like our friend Josh, who’s incredible at it, but he doesn’t view himself that way, right?
Kevin Rose: Oh, Josh Cook?
Tim Ferriss: Yeah.
Kevin Rose: Oh, he’s really good at it.
Tim Ferriss: He’s really good. But in his position in his work relative to maybe some other Michael Jordans of saying no, he didn’t consider himself to be very good, even though he is. Looking at any normal group of people, he’s excellent.
So it started out, as almost all my books do, as a very personal journey to learn how other people do this so that I could borrow their principles and techniques and so on. The AHA! moment I would say that I had, and this also coincided with realizing, “Oh shit, this is going to take at least another six to nine months. This is not a sprint for three months.” And I can do a lot in three months. I mean, I did 200 pages in three months, but to get it right to make it — because I have no interest in writing good books. And I’m not saying my books are the best thing since sliced bread. I’m not saying they’re good literature compared to Tolstoy or anyone you might pull out of a hat, but my goal at least is not to write a good book because if you’re going to put in that much effort, that’s like running 20 miles of a marathon.
It’s like no, do the last 6.2, which is really like the second half of the marathon.
Kevin Rose: Right.
Tim Ferriss: Which is the hardest, because you want to put out a great book. And I was like, all right to do a good book, I could do a good book and my fans would buy it and it would be helpful, but it wouldn’t be enough. And I’ll tell you what that means. You can get the best language in the world, template emails, auto responses. and so on, to give people and that’s part of what I thought I needed — and it’s necessary but not sufficient. If you don’t do a pretty major psychological overhaul and develop this awareness that we’ve been talking about, like the observer status of your own patterns and stories and co-dependence also. Where you feel like you’re responsible for managing the emotional states and responses of other people.
Kevin Rose: Right.
Tim Ferriss: The templates and so on are are going to seem really attractive, and then a week later you’re going to be back in your email doing all the same shit. It’s just not going to work.
Kevin Rose: Crazy! You should write this book. This sounds awesome.
Tim Ferriss: I wrote a lot of it. I wrote a lot of it. And there were some really important pieces to touch upon. And what I realized is that you have topics that are sort of independently treated well in like five different genres, and to write a book on saying no that actually works, that provides a systematic approach that really, really, really works. You kind of have to take those five genres and put them all into a book.
Kevin Rose: Yeah. I’m curious did you plan on having this be something that you could apply to things outside of say a work scenario? ‘Cause I know a lot of people would say, “Tim, like, dude, that’s nice that you have a 100,000 people wanting things from you. I don’t have those demands on me.” But I think there’s even more power in saying no to things like Netflix or saying no to something else and just sitting. It’s not that you have to fill the time with something. I feel like that’s what we’re always trying to do. Like how can I fill the time with something better?
Tim Ferriss: Right.
Kevin Rose: But it really is —
Tim Ferriss: All right. So you’re also touching on something that made this book very difficult. Which is when you start to really investigate and know and — a book on saying no also has to be a book on why people have trouble saying no. Which is also a book on why people say yes to too many things.
Kevin Rose: Right.
Tim Ferriss: And before you know it, the book is about everything in the fucking universe. It bloats.
Kevin Rose: Sure.
Tim Ferriss: Very quickly. And I put in a quote in actually the first chapter, from John Muir I think it was, which was in effect like, “Whenever you try to separate out one thing in the world, you find it hitched to the rest of the universe.” And constraining this book was very, very challenging.
Kevin Rose: I bet.
Tim Ferriss: Because as you pointed out there are many different types —
Kevin Rose: So rabbit holes to go down.
Tim Ferriss: — there are many different types of temptations to which you should say no. Broadly speaking, they could be put into two categories internally generated distractions and then externally imposed invitations, distractions, requests, et cetera. And they both depend on certain types of psychological reformatting and I decided to focus on some of the commonalities. But the book, even though it’s not going to be a book, but when I say it’s not going to be a book, here’s the thing, I could put a bunch of stuff on the blog. Fine tune it, make it better, and then publish it as a book a year from now.
Kevin Rose: Why don’t you just do a series of blog posts to the start?
Tim Ferriss: Well that’s the plan.
Kevin Rose: Yeah, that’d be great.
Tim Ferriss: And then if I decided to do a book, it’s going to be a better book if I do it later. It will be more refined. And the saying no is really not limited or specific to work or personal. Some of the scripts are specific to work or personal. Because, say, declining going to a work meeting where someone of a similar level in the hierarchy as yourself or below is requesting your attendance, is very different from, say, declining the baby shower invitation from someone who thinks that you’re their best friend or one of their best friends and you don’t feel the same about them.
That’s different. And the language you’re going to use is probably very different. The consequences could be very different. The way you might have to do damage control on those consequences, which is also a chapter that I started working on, is like if shit really goes sideways and you feel like you need to fix it, what do you do? What’s the cleanup procedure? How do you become the Harvey Keitel character in Pulp Fiction, the cleaner. What do you need to do? And a lot of those skill sets apply not only to work situations — I think that work is actually the easiest. Even though many people may not view it that way. Even in the beginning stages of your career or when you feel like you don’t have many options, the fact of the matter is you always — now I’m like getting into it, but you always have options.
You always have options. They might just not be very attractive to you, right? You always have options. Always. And so the book was intended to explore that. Why do we artificially constrain our options? And if you are seeing a binary choice of A versus B and both are unattractive, what are you missing? And can you zoom out? What are the tools for zooming out so you can see the other paths you could take. So there were aspects of it that were really fun to work on that were really, really useful to me immediately, right? That was part of the litmus test for each chapter was like, “All right, is this something that I can literally use in the next 12 hours?”
Kevin Rose: Yeah, I want these templates, dude. I mean I really need those templates.
Tim Ferriss: I’ve got a bunch of them, I’ve got tons.
Kevin Rose: That’s awesome. Just create a book to sell a template pack. Tim’s Template Pack of Saying No.
Tim Ferriss: Tim’s Template Pack. Upsell. When all that fails, when you come back and you have all of your old behaviors still intact, here’s the psychological makeover. So yeah, that’s something I’m really excited about. And I’ll just give a shout out also and a congratulations to the entire team at Johns Hopkins for the successful launch of the world’s largest psychedelic research center.
Kevin Rose: That’s awesome.
Tim Ferriss: And the first psychedelic research and consciousness research center in the United States ever, which just launched at Johns Hopkins.
Kevin Rose: And we should definitely mention, you probably won’t, but dude, you’ve helped fund a lot of this, which is a big deal. Thank you for doing that.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, my pleasure.
Kevin Rose: So many people that had reached out to me being like, “I can’t believe Tim did this, blah, blah blah,” because they don’t know you directly, but they know that I know you. People are freaking out about it dude, it’s a big deal.
Tim Ferriss: It is a big deal symbolically and practically for the field. A lot of conditions that are poorly treated, or viewed as untreatable currently, whether that is say end of life anxiety after terminal cancer diagnoses, treatment resistant depression, eating disorders like anorexia nervosa, which has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder, people don’t realize that. Nicotine addiction, opioid dependence, et cetera.
Kevin Rose: PTSD from war —
Tim Ferriss: PTSD from war, sexual trauma. These conditions seem to be treatable through paradigm shifting frameworks utilizing psychedelic compounds and the results thus far are pretty staggering. I mean they’re very unlike anything that’s been seen in the world of psychiatry. Up to this point. And the center at Hopkins for me was about a year and a half in the making, so it was a very involved process and there were a couple of folks who along with my contribution were able to get this funded.
The foundation who provided the most money was the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation. They’ve done a lot of incredible work with veterans and they put in a large slug. About half, maybe a little bit more than half of the total required, which is 17 million, for this center, which is a five-year commitment. Very important, because it allows Hopkins to not only attract, but also retain some of the best people in the country for doing this type of research. And then you have yours truly, Matt Mullenweg, just a beautiful human being, CEO of Automattic, which I mentioned earlier, AutoM-A-T-T-I-C, if you see what he did there, has about a thousand distributed employees. They run WordPress.com, among other things. Blake Mycoskie, founder of Toms.
Kevin Rose: Oh, awesome. I don’t know Blake was involved that’s great.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, Blake’s involved and then a Craig Nurnberg who’s an investor, who’s done some incredible things. He’s very shy so I won’t get into much, but it was important that everybody be willing to allow their names to be used for this. I did not want any anonymous donors.
Kevin Rose: Yeah.
Tim Ferriss: Because it just reinforces undeserved stigma for these compounds that have so much therapeutic potential and very, very demonstrated low toxicity at this point. And anti addictive properties. So that was a year and a half and you’ve had this feeling I’m sure, but it’s kind of like after so much work and so much looking forward to this moment off in the distant future, after shipping it, there’s this kind of — it’s an odd feeling. There’s just kind of like postpartum, what now? Oh shit, we kind of kind of shipped it and of course the scientists now get to do the fun stuff and the exciting stuff on their side. But my job is mostly done.
Kevin Rose: Let me ask you a question before we wrap up. I know they had been doing some research there. Was it just a very small scale? Like what did this funding enable them to do that’s different than what they were doing before.
Tim Ferriss: So Hopkins has done a lot of research. When you consider how many sessions say they’ve administered of psilocybin, which is in the hundreds. So probably somewhere between, I’m guessing here, but between 500, 700 sessions. That has really reinvigorated the entire space. Some of their early studies helped to galvanize the resurgence of scientific research. What the center allows them to do is dedicate their full attention to this field. Up to this point, and this is true at other places like NYU, UCLA, UCSF, Yale, people who’ve wanted to do psychedelic research have generally needed to spend anywhere from 30 to 75% of their time writing grants. We have a scientist in the room.
Kevin Rose: My wife.
Tim Ferriss: Your wife Darya. So she’s seeing this firsthand, I’m sure, that people need to write grants to ensure they have salaries. And in the case of psychedelics, because there is effectively zero federal funding from agencies like the NIH or an NIMH, there’s a relative lack of funding and therefore these people who truly in their heart of hearts would like to spend 100% of their time unlocking the full potential of psychedelics and understanding the mechanisms, need to write grants for other studies that don’t involve psychedelics just to pay the bills.
Kevin Rose: Right.
Tim Ferriss: And so you have the most productive teams in the world, including Hopkins, who are spending only a fraction of their time on psychedelic research.
Kevin Rose: Yeah. ‘Cause writing grants is a whole job by itself.
Tim Ferriss: It’s a whole job by itself. So when you create a center that has say, five years of salary support, you just open the floodgates. And I think the, I think the quote was from a perhaps the chair of the psychiatry department, but one of the higher ups at Hopkins who said this should allow a quantum leap forward in the productivity of scientific researchers in the realm of psychedelics. What it also allows, and this is why I hope that the center catalyzes multiple centers around the country and more ambitious thinking around building big things in this space, is that it also allows huge cost savings per study. So let’s just say this opioid dependence study, by itself done piecemeal because there’s no sharing of resources, you have to recruit and staff each study independently otherwise. Let’s say that might cost, and I am kind of pulling these numbers out of my ass, but something like 3.2 and then within the structure of the center, it’s like 1.7, 1.8. The cost savings are enormous.
So you just get a lot more done much more quickly. And if you look at the opioid crisis, you look at depression, you look at the costs associated with some of these conditions, these are problems that are compounding. And I think it pays to be ambitious and aggressive with funding tools that could identify completely new pathways and mechanisms of action by which we can treat these things that up until this point have been largely untreatable.
Kevin Rose: Yeah. I think that this is a very noble cause and something that I’ve been tracking for the last few years and watching these kind of studies come out and as someone that has benefited from a high-dose psilocybin guided session, I can tell you that a large chunk of the trauma that I was dealing with, with my father being so verbally aggressive over the years and causing, like, that impression upon me, I was able just to release in six hours, which was amazing.
Tim Ferriss: That’s wild.
Kevin Rose: And the lightness you feel from that afterwards sticks with you. And I mean, and I have it easy. Like think about the people that are addicted to opioids or all of these other people that came back from fighting Wars and have PTSD. I mean there’s so many applications for it.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, it’s really exciting. Yeah. And then there’s some organizations, if you’re not interested in engaging directly with universities. Although if you happen to have a close relationship with one and are say, an alumni or trustee providing funding, then consider this as an avenue of exploration. It’s remarkable.
Kevin Rose: How can people help out? I mean obviously the funding is done for this next five years, but can people actually still donate and get involved and extend that runway some?
Tim Ferriss: They can, and they can do it at other universities. What I’m going to do, hearkening back to what I said earlier about relaunching the blog, one of my top priorities when I relaunched the entire site is to put out a post, which is effectively the top 10 options for supporting the psychedelic scientific renaissance. And I will point out the targets that I think are extremely high leverage.
Kevin Rose: That’s awesome.
Tim Ferriss: In different places.
Kevin Rose: And just keep that up to date so it will be a resource for people?
Tim Ferriss: It’ll be a resource. And an easy place to learn more is maps.org, and I would also recommend that people check out a documentary, if you want to see what these sessions actually look like. Actual session footage, go to tim.blog/trip and that will take you to a documentary called Trip of Compassion. It’s very intense, but worth checking out and you can learn more.
Kevin Rose: Sweet! Dude, well thank you for doing that. I know that you’ve got a massive New York Times article out of that as well.
Tim Ferriss: Yeah, it was wild. Thanks to everybody who helped make that happen. Benedict Carey, the writer who really took the time to ask a lot of questions to a lot of people and look at the nuances. Alan Burdick, the editor, and certainly all the people behind the scenes, Michael Pollan, also, for his great work and ongoing work.
Kevin Rose: Oh man. The credibility that he added to the space by launching that book is so massive.
Tim Ferriss: How To Change Your Mind, which really, really just added so much momentum to the scientific research and increased the interest level of potential funders and allies and so on who recognize that we have a lot of problems that are not being well addressed. And in oncology and neurology and immunology, all these other fields there have been these massive breakthroughs over the last few decades and in psychiatry there have been relatively few discoveries that would be considered breakthroughs. Very few, and if we look at the costs of mental illness, the prevalence of mental illness, the number of people that I’m sure people listening know who take antidepressants and nonetheless are still depressed. Those affected by opioid dependence and addiction. The scale of these problems is so gigantic that if there are tools that have demonstrated low toxicity and anti addictive properties, they’re worth investigating. So I’m as gung ho as ever.
And they’re not panaceas. There are risks involved, but I think the risk benefit ratio is incredibly compelling. So to be continued.
Kevin Rose: Awesome. Well that is it for this episode of the Random Show.
Tim Ferriss: Yes it is!
Kevin Rose: Slash Tim show slash Kevin show, depending on what feed you were listening to. Yeah, exactly.
Tim Ferriss: Where can people find you?
Kevin Rose: Yeah, so people can find me @KevinRose on Instagram. Kevinrose.com also links to my podcast there that I do every few weeks, and I think that’s it. Yeah.
Tim Ferriss: Cool. People can find me at tim.blog, the podcast, Tim Ferriss show and the newsletter. I have a free newsletter that goes out every Friday to somewhere between 1.6 and 2 million people now. And Five Bullet Friday is the five coolest things or most interesting things I’ve found that week. A lot of them recommended to me by you. Every once in a while, so yeah. So Five Bullet Friday is found at tim.blog/friday and that’s free. It’ll always be free. And that’s one of the things I enjoy doing each week.
Kevin Rose: Sweet. Awesome.
Tim Ferriss: All right.
Kevin Rose: Let’s get some food.
Tim Ferriss: Off to food, later guys.
Kevin Rose: See ya.
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