Guy Raz Interviews Tim Ferriss — How I Built This — Key Lessons, Critical Decisions, and Reinvention for Fun and Profit (#489)

Monica Nguyen-Vo for NPR

Welcome to The Tim Ferriss Show, where it is usually my job to deconstruct world-class performers, to tease out their routines, habits, et cetera that you can apply to your own life. This time around, the tables are turned. I was interviewed by Guy Raz (@guyraz) for his mega-popular NPR podcast How I Built This

In this episode, Guy traces my story from the very early days to the current day, asking me about key decisions, hard times, obstacles, lessons learned, and much, much more. We had a blast, we covered a lot of new ground, and Guy was kind enough to offer me the chance to post the audio, so that’s what you’ll hear.

For more Guy, check out his podcasts How I Built This, Wisdom from the Top, and The Rewind. He is also the co-creator of the acclaimed podcasts TED Radio Hour and Wow in the World, a children’s program. 

Happy holidays and a very happy new year to you and yours.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

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

#489: Guy Raz Interviews Tim Ferriss — How I Built This — Key Lessons, Critical Decisions, and Reinvention for Fun and Profit

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



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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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17 Replies to “Guy Raz Interviews Tim Ferriss — How I Built This — Key Lessons, Critical Decisions, and Reinvention for Fun and Profit (#489)”

  1. Dear Tim and his team.

    I always love when others interview Tim. I know he has been on a few (maybe many) other podcasts such as Jocko Willink’s and James Altucher’s.

    It is kind of hard to find all these podcasts though. Is there a list that has been published or could you publish a list of some of the other interviews Tim has done?

    All the best


    1. And just to add… That was an exceptional interview. It’s really nice to hear someone who has actually done a lot of homework come and ask interesting and focussed questions.

  2. There’s another Tim that people can listen to as well who has been interviewed by Guy Raz on his podcast – Tim Brown. Along with Joey Zwillinger, they are co-founders of B Corp Allbirds, a New Zealand-American company. I find it interesting that people can join together using the best advantages of what their country has to offer and to help solve world issues in the process. The future, although daunting, has some exciting possibilities to offer.

    GiveWell sounds amazing – I hope people give what they can. Although I think that giving your time is more valuable than money, but that’s not a possible option for most people at the moment. A life of service, however small at times, is definitely worth the effort.

  3. Hi Tim
    I’m a tennis player working very hard on my game. Can you recommend a supplement to improve reaction speed?
    Thank you
    Guy Vidal
    Los Angeles

  4. You talked a lot about sales techniques on this podcast. I actually used one the “downside to this is small and upside is big” and got a call with a tough client immediately. Can you share the books you used to find these strategies?

  5. “Sat on The New York Times Best Seller list for 4 years .” Also thought I heard Guy say, “4 million copies sold,” but it was only 2 million. What a shame.

  6. Tim,

    I remember the “4-Hour Workweek” being gifted to me by a dear friend back in 2007. The book REALLY had an impact, particularly on my university teaching. I started getting incredible class evaluations and people re-taking my courses, and I was teaching a load of 5 upper-level classes (without a PhD). Though it wasn’t quite a four hour week, it was much less than a 20 hour week and I certainly wasn’t killing myself. My colleagues were mystified as to how I was doing it all.

    You are certainly the real deal, and I just want to say that hearing these interviews really puts flesh on the skeleton of the original book. Even though the book was amazing, you came off to me as superhuman and somewhat unrelatable. Recently—I’ve concluded you are very much human and relatable.

    I want you to know it makes a difference. Hearing of your struggles, mistakes, etc., has been much more inspirational. Shifting your energy toward others and doing interviews sheds more light on who you really are as a person. It also gives permission to others to accept their flaws and re-negotiate what’s possible for them in life.

    There. I’m officially done gushing. Keep being your amazing self.


    J.C. O’Doud

  7. Is there a way to remove his music from the show that is in the background while you are talking. Super distracting. Totally unnecessary. The content is entertaining enough. We don’t need that music.

    1. It seems like the music Raz uses on NPR (…along with his dulcet tones…lol). I agree: there were times when it was tough to hear Raz’s voice due to the music. It pops in unexpectedly in strange places.

      J. C.

    2. I, too, found the background music to be distracting, if not downright intrusive at times and really detracted from the experience. Sounded over-produced. Plus, as a long time Ferriss follower, I didn’t glean anything new from the interview – and actually found myself wishing Raz had gone deeper or in slightly different directions in multiple places. I get that Raz was probably following the theme of his show. Just felt…tentative.

  8. Dear Tim,

    I just want to say THANK you! You are such an inspiring, curious, generous and heart centred human being!

    A month ago a friend shared with me one of your podcasts and since then I listen to almost one of them per day. I think I am pretty hooked :-)))))) The amazing part is that every podcast (and I chose them randomly) is exactly what I need in the moment. I love it!!!!! I love that it triggers me intellectually, it sparks my curiosity, it challenges me, it makes me laugh, … and most of all, it just feels so good to see and feel what is possible when a curious and extremely driven human being like you is co-creating from the heart.

    Thank you for doing and being who you are! It is absolutely amazing!

    Warm greetings from a far away Sofia.

  9. Hi Tim,

    Thank you for being so intelligent, forward-thinking, and influential. I’ve been meaning to comment about one of your tendencies but never got around to it until just now. I was listening to your interview with Guy Raz and it reminded me. Society has gotten into the habit of using the word “I” in place of “me”. In your interview where you address your parents and their encouragement of books, you say, “They said to my brother and I” instead of “my brother and me”. Sorry to be an annoying Ms Grammar Lady, but I always remind my friends and students that anytime you use the word “to” (or a preposition) at the end of a sentence, you should drop the other person to see if it makes sense. Just wanted to point that out since you seem to be very well spoken and aware of your words.

  10. Thank you Tim for another outstanding interview session.

    Will try to bookmark and possibly download so I can keep being fed with it.

    Thanks once again.