The New Media World, The Value of Family, and Why Boomers Need To Go | Ryan Holiday on The Portal with Eric Weinstein

Check out The Portal Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • People are on their phones and consume more information now than ever before
  • “It’s never been easier to reach a mass audience, to monetize your work, to control your own destiny as a creative person”Ryan Holiday
  • These days people try to find meaning in psychedelics, polyamorous relationships, traveling, and being an influencer
    • “We’ve emptied all these things of meaning and replaced them with nothing and we wonder why everyone is content to burn down this system” Ryan Holiday
  • Ryan’s advice: “Get married, have kids, live within your means, find work that’s purposeful and fulfilling for you”
    •  “We tore down marriage, replaced it with nothing. We tore down the office, the community, the small town square, all of the things we’ve torn them down and replaced them with nothing” Ryan Holiday
  • Eric and Ryan are both shocked at the baby boomer generation and how they seem more concerned about themselves than their kids
    • “They’ve hoarded all the stuff and they won’t retire and give it up”Ryan Holiday
  • Ryan’s found a lot of life advice from reading books from authors who have long since passed away: “I spend most of my time communicating with people that are dead”

Intro

Books Mentioned

  • Ryan calls the book The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America by Daniel J. Boorstin, fascinating
    • The book talks about how press conferences and presidential debates evolved over time–people used to listen to a single Presidential candidates talk for 3 hours without breaks but now people listen to a dozen candidates talk over themselves for an hour
  • The book Within the Context of No Context by George W.S. Trow talks about the new wild west of the media world
    • A Joe Rogan podcast video now gets more views than a traditional TV show
      • The author calls traditional media institutions empty shells–they have value because of the reputation of their brand, but their content has been decreasing for quite some time
  • Ryan enjoyed the book A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman but was surprised that it had so many positive reviews and he hadn’t heard of it
    • “Things can be flat out cultural phenomenons but have no cultural impact” – Ryan Holiday
  • Ryan’s book Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue got the most traditional media coverage, but has been one of his least selling books
  • Eric recommends reading The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Carroll

Technology & Attention Spans

  • People are on their phones and consume more information now than ever before
    • “We have more information about other people, I think the exhaustion from social media in a sense is keeping up with the Joneses times like a thousand”Ryan Holiday
      • Eric argues that people aren’t on their phones anymore, people have merged with their phones and it’s now a part of us
  • Technology has enabled people to be more independent–we no longer have to watch the same show simultaneously 
    • “Now we have gotten this ability to do everything on the demand” – Eric Weinstein
  • Ryan calls the book The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America by Daniel J. Boorstin, fascinating
    • The book talks about how press conferences and presidential debates have evolved –people used to listen to a single Presidential candidate talk for 3 hours without breaks but now people listen to a dozen candidates talk over themselves for an hour
  • Now, people rarely consume long-form content
    • Even with podcasts, people often consume it as background noise 
  • Why do some many people listen to Joe Rogan? He has an everyday-regular person type of vibe. 
    • Some reporters act nice but then write a negative article about the person, but with Joe Rogan, he doesn’t have a media agenda. He simply asks questions about things he’s curious about.

The Media Landscape Is Shifting

  • The book Within the Context of No Context by George W.S. Trow discusses the new wild west of the media world
    • A Joe Rogan podcast video now gets more views than a traditional TV show
      • The author calls traditional media institutions empty shells–they have value because of the reputation of their brand, but their content has been decreasing for quite some time
  • “It’s never been easier to reach a mass audience, to monetize your work, to control your own destiny as a creative person”Ryan Holiday
  • Ryan enjoyed the book A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman but was surprised that it had so many positive reviews and yet he hadn’t heard of it
    • “Things can be flat out cultural phenomenons but have no cultural impact” – Ryan Holiday
  • The public believes that The New York Times list shows the  best-selling books, but that’s not always the case
    • The list is heavily edited and weighs independent retail sales more than Amazon (even though Amazon is responsible for about 80% of all book sales), and it wasn’t until 2012 that the NYT list started to include ebooks
  • There is so much content in the world (movies, books, plays, TV shows, music, etc.) that it’s getting harderto create a cultural reference understood by a majority 

Want A Meaningful Life? Start A Family

  • These days people try to find meaning in psychedelics, polyamorous relationships, traveling, and being an influencer
    • “We’ve emptied all these things of meaning and replaced them with nothing and we wonder why everyone is content to burn down this system” – Ryan Holiday
      • “We tore down marriage, replaced it with nothing. We tore down the office, the community, the small town square, all of the things we’ve torn them down and replaced them with nothing”
  • Ryan’s advice: “Get married, have kids, live within your means, find work that’s purposeful and fulfilling for you”
  • Eric’s advice: Start a family and participate in your community
    • Having a family also puts you on a schedule–you have to wake up the kids and put them to bed around the same time 
      • “When you have unlimited options and unlimited choice, you are paralyzed” – Ryan Holiday
  •  When you become a parent, it makes you more comfortable with death because you know a part of you will live on 
    • “There was this weird evolutionary sense of having ticked all the boxes” – Ryan Holiday
  • Being a parent is hard, exhausting, and difficult, but it’s worth it
    • Evolution has designed us to feel wired to have kids and makes us feel good once we’ve successfully raised them

Move on Boomers

  • Eric and Ryan are both shocked at the baby boomer generation and how they seem more concerned about themselves than their kids
    • “They’ve hoarded all the stuff and they won’t retire and give it up”Ryan Holiday
      • Baby boomers don’t seem to be aware of how much more expensive college tuition and home prices are now compared to when they were young adults
  • Millenials have had a hard ride, they experienced: 9/11, the Iraq war, the 2008 financial crisis, massive student debt, and more
  • Ryan shares a ancient proverb: “A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit”
  • Ryan recites a Upton Sinclair quote that sums up boomers well: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it”
    • Similarly, a lot of people and news companies don’t like Trump, but they love that he’s been good for their business

Read More Books

  • Ryan’s found a lot of life advice from reading books from authors who have long since passed away: “I spend most of my time communicating with people that are dead”
    • Ryan tells the story of the ancient Greek, Zeno, who visits the Oracle and asks for life advice. The Oracle advises Zeno to have conversations with the dead. Sometime after, Zeno loses his wealth and finds himself in a bookstore and realizes this is what the Oracle meant by talking with the dead. Zeno would go on to become the founder of stoicism.

Additional Notes

  • The internet is filled with trolls and people who will try to make you feel bad
  • Ryan doesn’t block people on Twitter, he just mutes them
    • When Ryan posts a picture of bacon he gets a ton of likes but when he posts a picture of an invasive boar that he killed, he gets a ton of hate
      • “You have to make contact with the fact that there is no way out” – Eric Weinstein
  • Eric recommends reading The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Carroll
  • Too many politicians campaign on personality when should  campaign on ideas 
Portal with Eric Weinstein : , , , , , ,
Notes By Alex Wiec

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