Kevin Rose & Tim Ferriss on Forest Bathing, Fasting, Favorite Books, Japan, Tim’s Latest Book Project, and More – The Kevin Rose Show

Key Takeaways

  • “Automation is coming to pretty much every industry and every job. If it’s something that can be taught in a straightforward and predictable way, it will be automated. It’s the stuff that’s creative, it’s the stuff that’s unique, it’s the stuff that’s hard to do and produce at scale that will stand out and will always be secure.” – Kevin Rose
  • Find your superpower and go all-in
    • “Very often, your personal superpower is right next to your greatest defect or your greatest weakness” – Tim Ferriss
  • Change your perspective surrounding decisions and what you create:
    • Don’t view things through the lens of: “Is this good or bad?”
    • Instead, look through the lens of: “Is this beautiful or not?”
  • Surrender and let the universe unfold without your interference
  • In the process of writing a new book about how to better cultivate the ability to say “no,” Tim quit ~200 pages in
    • He plans to release the content on his blog as part of a website redesign
  • “Even when you feel like you don’t have many options, you always have options. You ALWAYS have options. They might not just be all that attractive to you.” – Tim Ferriss

Books Mentioned

Products Mentioned

Intro

  • This is another episode of The Random Show, what Tim Ferriss (@tferriss) and Kevin Rose (@kevinrose) term their not-so-regularly scheduled chats
    • Check out the Podcast Notes from the previous episode of The Random Show, which aired in August 2018
  • This interview was recorded in person at Kevin’s house in Portland
  • Tim & Kevin are drinking a Japanese whiskey – Ichiros Card Series
    • Kevin’s quite the fan of Japanese whiskey; he also has a bottle of aged Hibiki on deck

Why Kevin and Tim Love Japan

  • “The thing I love most about Japan is you can take any hobby or profession, and they do it at the highest level– Kevin Rose
    • One example: the Japanese take aged coffee to the extreme (Tim says the pour-over process takes ~45 minutes)
      • “There’s something amazing about being able to relax, sit there, and wait for it, and appreciate the coffee for the process and the craft. We don’t do that in the United States.” – Kevin Rose
    • An interesting thought – people who take their craft to the extreme are recession-proof (nothing will automate these types of jobs away)
      • “Automation is coming to pretty much every industry and every job. If it’s something that can be taught in a straightforward and predictable way, it will be automated. It’s the stuff that’s creative, it’s the stuff that’s unique, it’s the stuff that’s hard to do and produce at scale that will stand out and will always be secure.”Kevin Rose
  • Tim’s favorite part about Japan – “The attention to detail, the beautiful and borderline pathological obsession to detail, just scratches every itch for me”
    • Another: “It’s an art exhibit of pocket obsessions. You can walk through certain neighborhoods or down alleyways, and each shop will be the size of a broom closet but specialize in something as unique as succulent display containers that you put on a wall in a bathroom.” – Tim Ferriss
  • We can’t forget how clean Japan is
    • “You can eat off the ground pretty much everywhere in Tokyo” – Kevin Rose
    • Kevin recalls seeing a man polish his mailbox once while waiting for an Uber

Visit Japan if You Can

  • “If you want to feel totally lost like an alien on a new planet, but on the same time be in no danger whatsoever, Japan’s perfect for you” – Tim Ferriss
    • Kevin adds – “You’ll get off the plane and everything will be alien in all the right ways”
  • Kevin notes that everyone is super friendly, even if you have no knowledge of the language whatsoever

Find Your Superpower

  • “Almost every person has a superpower – something that’s easier for them to do than to most other people” – Tim Ferriss
    • When Tim talks with people who are thinking about starting a business centered around their superpower, he’ll encourage them to ponder the question – “What if you charged more than anyone else?”
    • And no matter what your superpower, there’s always a market for it
      • Why? – There’s always a desire for the best
    • “Very often, your personal superpower is right next to your greatest defect or your greatest weakness” 
  • Once you find your superpower, go all-in
    • You may not get rich, “But if you can be content and really enjoy what you’re producing, and it fulfills you, then that’s all you really need” – Kevin Rose

A Perspective Shift That May Just Change Your Life

  • Change your perspective surrounding decisions and what you create:
    • Don’t view things through the lens of: “Is this good or bad?”
    • Instead, look through the lens of: “Is this beautiful or not?”
      • (Tim says the Japanese do this particularly well – “You can get a great cup of coffee in many places in Japan, but can the coffee maker create a beautiful experience you’ll talk about 10 years later? There’s a value to that that’s hard to smack a label on.”)

Forest Bathing

  • After moving to Portland, this became an interest of Kevin’s
    • Forest bathing started in Japan – because of their intense work culture, doctor’s prescribe going into the forest as a way to unwind 
  • What are the benefits?
    • Improvement in a variety of blood biomarkers, most importantly cortisol
  • Trees give off a specific aroma – their scent has since been formed into a variety of essential oils
    • Kevin’s favorite is Hinoki; he also has Hiba Wood
      • (You can put the oils in a diffuser or on the rocks in a sauna)
  • Kevin recently read Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness by Qing Li

Tim’s Most-gifted Books

  • Tim has read Awareness by Anthony de Mello 5-6 times over the last 18 months
    • The book was recommended by Peter Mallouk during his appearance on Tim’s podcast (check out the Podcast Notes
      • Peter told Tim – “Every time I read this book, for a few weeks afterward I feel an incredible sense of peace”
    • “The book has a lot of ‘oh f**ck’ or aha-caliber moments” – Tim Ferriss
    • Tim compares reading the book to the feeling of resetting your phone or computer when it’s running slow – it’s a mental reboot for the mind
    • “This is one of a handful of books that I now buy by the dozen in paperback to have in my house to give to friends” – Tim Ferriss
      • “This book has a 90% hit rate with people I recommend it to”
  • What other books does Tim frequently give to others?
    • How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan
    • The Gift, a collection of poems by Hafiz
      • Tim’s also a massive fan of Mary Oliver‘s poetry
      • “Hafiz is a really funny f***er… If this guy were alive today, he would be in the top 10 people I’d want to have drinks with.” – Tim Ferriss

SURRENDER

  • Kevin recently took an 8-session video course by Michael Singer, author of The Untethered Soul
    • The course takes a deep dive into how to embrace the act of surrendering 
    • The course also discusses how we all have stories running throughout our minds, whether we’re aware of them or not, that affect our interpretation of reality
      • (Think of these stories like our brain’s software program)
      • “This idea of surrendering is being able to identify these stories, and understand which programs are no longer serving you, and being able to release and let them go. When you can release and let go of these little scars we’ve been accumulating for decades, you can just become free.” – Kevin Rose
    • Kevin adds – “It’s so amazing when you can finally just rest and let the world unfold”
    • The act of surrendering may seem like the weak thing to do but in reality… it’s the most difficult
      • What’s harder when someone cuts you off in traffic: getting angry or letting the anger pass through you?
    • “After taking this course, I realize now that most things really don’t have a lot to do with you. If someone’s really pissed off at you, they’re dealing with something. Why should it then come effect you and your being? You should have compassion for that person who’s going through a rough time.” – Kevin Rose

Meditation

  • Kevin created Oak, a meditation app
  • “I think Sam Harris has the best meditation course [Waking Up] for people who want to take it seriously” Kevin Rose
    • Both Kevin and Tim have completed his 50-day course and highly recommend it

DRAM Sparkling Water

  • Tim has been downing them like crazy since he got to Kevin’s house
  • Kevin adds – “They’re an order of magnitude better than anything you find in the store”
  • Kevin and Tim are considering investing in the brand
  • Check out DRAM’S Beauty Bubbles CBD Sparkling Water – “You wouldn’t even know there’s CBD in it; that’s how you know it’s good” – Kevin
    • (Matthew Walker, author of Why We Sleep, has recommended 25 mg of CBD before bed to improve sleep quality)

What else has Kevin been up to?

  • Investing in a variety of startups with True Ventures
  • He’s recently taken an interest in growing mushrooms
    • Kevin bought a few thousand lion’s mane mushroom plugs and then inoculated several oak tree branch cross-sections them
      • If you’re really curious as to the specifics:
        • You drill about an inch into the wood and then fill the holes with the mushroom spores
        • Then, you apply a thin layer of wax over each spore to prevent anything from getting in the drilled hole
        • Lastly, cover the spores with a cloth and water them once a day
        • In about a year, you’ll have mushrooms you can eat
          • Kevin’s preferred method of consumption: sauteing them with garlic and butter 

Fasting

  • Kevin started Zero, a fasting app
    • It’s growing like crazy – the app has logged 40 million fasts to date
    • Peter Attia is their Chief Medical Officer
  • Kevin does a quarterly 5-day fasting mimicking diet
    • What is it? – You can eat, but you’re forced limit your calories to ~500/day
    • Why not water-only?
      • “I’ve only done one 5-day water-only fast, and it was brutal, mainly because of the sleep” – Kevin Rose
  • Kevin also tries to time-restrict his eating to ~6 hours, 5 days a week
  • Many report that fasting (or doing a fasting mimicking diet) before and shortly after receiving chemotherapy significantly limits the adverse side effects
    • An example protocol: fasting for two days before the chemotherapy treatment and for one day afterward
  • Kevin recalls a study that had women in breast cancer remission follow a simple fasting protocol: avoiding food after sunset (equivalent to a daily ~13 hour fast)
    • “Of those women who followed the protocol, they had a 36-38% reduction in the recurrence of breast cancer” – Kevin Rose

Tim’s Book That Never Came to Be (but you’ll still get to read)

  • In the early summer, Tim began working on a new book entirely about saying “no”
    • He was deep into the process of gathering tactics, systems, and rules from many of the best, but… 
      • “One of the challenges of writing a book on saying ‘no’ was that I kept on coming up with all these reasons why I shouldn’t write the book, so I said ‘no’ to the book. I returned the advance and canceled the contract.” – Tim Ferriss
        • “I realized the process of writing was putting a significant strain on my relationship with my girlfriend”
        • “I misjudged how long the book would take to complete; I thought I could sprint over the summer and do it in 3-4 months. It turned out to be way more complex, and it required a lot more writing on my part. Completing it would have forced me to extend the writing period at least another 6 months, which would have required me canceling the vast majority of things on my calendar and disappointing my girlfriend on several levels.”
        • “So I said, ‘For what?” To write a book for the world to jeopardize this relationship? No.”
          • “Younger Tim would have viewed returning an advance and canceling a book as a gigantic sign of weakness… I would have forced it. But I was able to zoom out and say, ‘Wait a second… At this point in my career, I’m very fortunate that I don’t have to publish anything on any given timeline.'”
  • Now, Tim is left with ~200 pages of top-notch material
    • “I’m going to completely redesign and relaunch my website, which hasn’t been done in forever… Now, I’m going to get back to writing on a regular schedule. I’m going to start putting stuff out in a way that mimics how this all started – writing blog posts.” – Tim Ferriss
      • “It’s some fantastic content. I really found some people who are f***ing incredible when it comes to saying ‘no.'”
  • Tim gives some more background:
    • He decided to write the book in the first place because he wanted to gather more tools/resources/techniques for saying “no” 
    • You want to avoid writing a “good” book – write a f***ing GREAT book
      • Tim realized that it would just take too much effort to complete, with a bit too much downside on his personal life
    • At the end of the day, you have to put in the deep work
      • “You can get the best language, template emails, and auto-responses for saying ‘no.’ That’s what I thought I needed. It’s necessary, but not sufficient. If you don’t do a major psychological overall on your own patterns and the stories you tell yourself, where you feel like you’re responsible for managing the emotional states and responses of other people, the templates will seem attractive, but a week later you’ll be back in your email doing all the same sh**.” Tim Ferriss

Remember This

  • “Even when you feel like you don’t have many options, you always have options. You ALWAYS have options. They might not just be all that attractive to you.” – Tim Ferriss

Psychedelic Research

  • Johns Hopkins just launched the world’s largest psychedelic research center
  • The most significant benefits of all the funding – the scientists no longer have to spend as much time writing grants 
    • One of the Hopkins scientists stated: “This should allow a quantum leap forward in the productivity of scientific researchers in the realm of psychedelics”
  • As part of his blog relaunch, Tim plans to put out a post detailing the top 10 options the general public can use to support psychedelic research
  • Watch the Trip of Compassion documentary to learn more about how these guided psychedelic sessions are run

Additional Notes

  • Kevin’s dog, Toaster, just turned 9
  • As part of his book, The 4-Hour Chef, Tim ate 26 dishes in 24 hours 
  • Kevin has a speakeasy-type room in his house
    • He also has a sauna
  • During the process of writing The 4-Hour Body, Tim made the promise that if the book topped the New York Times bestseller list, he’d reward himself by buying a Japanese antique of some type
    • His dream came true, and he ended up buying a pair of Japanese saddles
  • Check out this video of Tim doing horseback archery in Japan
  • Tim still has an iPhone 6s
  • Powell’s, in Portland, is the world’s largest independent bookstore
  • Kevin is an investor in Jour, a guided journaling app
  • Kevin and Tim LOVE Ruby Jewel ice cream
  • Tim’s 5-Bullet Friday newsletter has ~1.6-2 million subscribers
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