The Craft of Podcasting, Favorite Books, and Dancing With Your Demons | Dax Shepard on The Tim Ferriss Show

 Check out The Tim Ferriss Show Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • What makes Dax Shepard happy today?
    • Exercise plays a major key in his happiness
    • Going to Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) meetings to stay sober 
    • Being of service to others
  •  Dax’s advice for dealing with a relapse:
    • 1) Understand the small steps that led to the relapse 
    • 2) Ask yourself, what am I trying to escape?
    • 3) Come clean and be honest with everyone
  • How did Dax build such a successful podcast?
    • He had an existing audience of fans from years of being a celebrity
    • He used his connections to get celebrities guests on the show
    • Once he had a few big-name guests on, it became much easier to get more incredible people (like Bill Gates) on the show
    • He often shares vulnerable moments in his life which helps the guest open up about their life and share things they usually don’t share on other podcasts
    • He gives guests the final say about the recording. The guest has the option to cut out any part of the podcast they want.
  • Advice for young podcasters from Dax and Tim: 
    • Talk less and let your guests talk more
    • Don’t spend time trying to prove to your guest that you’re smart
    • Enjoy the process of podcasting and don’t spend all your time staring at how many downloads you’re getting
    • Podcasting is a long-term game, you have to like the format of your show (interview, solo, produced, etc.)
    • Talk to people and about topics that you personally find interesting
  • A lot of public speakers and personalities tend to be afraid about getting vulnerable with their audience but Dax has only received positive comments when he’s opened up about his life
    • “I’ve yet to see vulnerability met with shittiness thus far” – Dax Shepard

Intro

Books Mentioned

Dancing With Demons

  • Growing up, Dax romanticized creative individuals who were also addicts (like Waylon Jennings and Charles Bukowski)
    • Dax became addicted to alcohol and was a frequent cocaine user. He would go on a sober streak when he was shooting movies but as soon as it ended, he went back to drugs and alcohol.
  • Dax believed that getting the job he wanted, making a lot of money, and finding a great girl would make him happy. He ended up ticking all of those boxes, but he was still unhappy in his life. 
    • “I was lucky enough to get all of those things and I was very unhappy and so I really had to ask why and I had to figure out how to be happy because it wasn’t those things.”Dax Shepard
  • Why wasn’t Dax happy?
    • He had a decade of shame from all the terrible ways he acted while drunk or on drugs
    • He also had low self-esteem and sought validation from external sources
  • What makes Dax happy today?
    • Exercise plays a major key in his happiness
      • “If I had to pick one thing in my life, it would be that I exercise” – Dax Shepard
    • Going to AA meetings to stay sober 
    • Being of service to others

Dax’s Lifelong Sobriety Battle

  • Dax still struggles with alcohol and drugs to this day. He recently relapsed after a 16-year sobriety streak.
    • He had a prescription for Percocet after getting into an accident, but since it’s easy to build up a tolerance to it, Dax found himself taking more and more doses
      • Dax was embarrassed to share his relapse with his audience because he was afraid his audience would love him less and that his sponsors wouldn’t work him anymore. Fortunately, no big changes took place.
        • Dax experienced a huge sense of relief when he stopped lying to people that he was doing well and finally shared the news that he had relapsed
  • Dax’s advice for dealing with a relapse:
    • 1) Understand the small steps that led to the relapse 
    • 2) Ask yourself, what am I trying to escape?
      • Dax is currently going to therapy to better understand and overcome his answer to that question
    • 3) Come clean and be honest with everyone

The Craft of Podcasting

  • How did Dax build such a successful podcast?
    • He had an existing audience of fans from years of being a celebrity
    • He used his connections to get celebrities guests on the show
    • Once he had a few big-name guests on, it became much easier to get more incredible people (like Bill Gates) on the show
    • He often shares vulnerable moments in his life which helps the guest open up about their life and share things they usually don’t share on other podcasts
    • He gives guests the final say about the recording. The guest has the option to cut out any part of the podcast they want.
      • “They know that if they say something regrettable they can just get rid of it” – Dax Shepard
  • Advice for young podcasters from Dax and Tim: 
    • Talk less and let your guests talk more
    • Don’t spend time trying to prove to your guest that you’re smart
    • Enjoy the process of podcasting and don’t spend all your time staring at how many downloads you’re getting
    • Podcasting is a long-term game, you have to like the format of your show (interview, solo, produced, etc.)
    • Talk to people and about topics that you personally find interesting

Learning From Howard Stern

  • Dax is a huge fan of Howard Stern. Why?
    • In almost every show, Howard gets his guest to say something they’ve never shared before 
      • “The notion that you’re going to learn something about them that doesn’t exist anywhere is exciting” – Dax Shepard
    • Howard has a passionate and genuine interest in his guests
    • He’s an professional interviewer
      • “He is the most skilled, there’s no question” – Dax Shepard
    • Howard has a high-level of status where any guest that comes on the show is trying to impress him
      • “I know I wanted him to like me when I went on” – Dax Shepard
    • He’s brutally honest and tells everyone what he’s thinking, even if it’s embarrassing

Dax’s Favorite Books

  • One of Dax’s favorite books of all-time is Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. by Ron Chernow. It completely changed his view of Rockefeller.
    • For starters, Rockefeller created research medicine
    • He has unified medicine by paying universities to follow best practices from Johns Hopkins
    • He also helped get rid of hookworms
    • “There’s not been an American that’s had a bigger impact on life than him” – Dax Shepard
  • One of Dax’s favorite writers is Jon Krakauer
  • Dax is a huge fan of books that prove his assumptions wrong. That’s why he’s a big Malcolm Gladwell fan.
  • A book recommendation from Tim: Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford

Additional Notes

  • A lot of public speakers and personalities tend to be afraid about getting vulnerable with their audience but Dax has only received positive comments when he’s opened up about his life
    • “I’ve yet to see vulnerability met with shittiness thus far” – Dax Shepard
  • Dax sees himself as a control freak and has trouble delegating tasks because he’s afraid the person won’t do it to the same standard as he would
    • Fortunately, he’s been able to find great people that help him with his podcast
  • Dax is dyslexia which makes reading tough, but he does have a fantastic oral memory and can remember stories people told him from years ago
  • Growing up poor, Dax’s strived to become climb the financial ladder. He’d take a movie that paid him more money even if he liked less than another offer.
  • Dax’s list of dream guests: Bill Gates, Barack Obama, and Bill Murrey
    • Dax recently had Bill on the show
  • What message would Dax put on a billboard?
    • Be as kind and forgiving to yourself as you are to the people you love
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Notes By Alex Wiec

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