biggest lessons from my favorite podcasts (2016-19)

Since I just started my own podcast, I thought I’d share this list that I have been writing very deliberately since 2016. I take good care of it. It’s a list of my favorite exchanges in podcast interviews. They are worth listening to because they are very thoughtful, contain interesting tricks and tactics for life. Some of them are convincing because of their brutal honesty.

I keep this list in my note-taking app called Evernote. I find myself searching through this list again and again looking for bits of conversations that I liked particularly much. I just scribbled down the topics of the exchanges, so I – and now you, too – can look for a topic of interest and check out the exchange about it on the respective podcast linked to it.

There is so many episodes of the Tim Ferriss Show on the list because it’s always been my favorite podcast. It’s actually the podcast that made me addicted to podcasts in the first place back in spring 2016. Tim is a very thoughtful, smart interviewer looking for interesting biographical lessons and for information on how the guests are improving their lives.

The two main reasons why I like the Tim Ferriss Show so much:

  1. He offers tools & thought exercises to identify and overcome limited thinking. With bigger thinking you can achieve bigger things.
  2. He and his guests talk in detail about routines and tactics that everybody can implement right away.

Look out for the episodes with the ***, as those are my absolute favorites. I listened to those many timea since 2016.

The Tim Ferriss Show

  • Rick Rubin, music producer for AC/DC, Johnny Cash, Metallica & more
    At 16:00 on how a low-carb diet changed his life.
  • Brené Brown, psychologist, professor at the University of Houston.
    At 16:00 on vulnerability and shame.
  • Stephen Dubner, author, journalist, radio and TV host.
    At 39:00 on having a mentor who is there for you, learn from good and bad writing.
  • Alain de Botton, author, philosopher
    At 25:00 about Proust and what you can learn from him.
  • “Becoming the best version of you”, with Josh Waitzkin, Ramith Sethi & Adam Robinson.
    At 83:00 on excellence as self-expression and finding your own path.
  • BJ Miller, palliative care physician
    At 20:00 on learning from death, at 46:00 on the idea of art.
  • Eric Weinstein, math PhD from Harvard, Managing Director of Thiel Capital
    At 57:00 on breakthrough ideas in science and other areas, at 75:00 on good science is aesthetics.
  • ***Debbie Millman, designer and podcast host
    At 26:00 on rejection and finding work you love, at 1:33:00 on her writing exercise “the 10-year-plan essay”. The whole interview is absolutely worth listening to. Tim himself said it’s one of the most important interviews of his podcast.
  • Soman Chainani, filmmaker and author
    At 1:47:00, don’t follow your passion and musings on life and death.
  • Seth Godin, author and marketing expert.
    At 27:00 on life/career transitions.
  • John Crowley, CEO of biological company Amicus Therapeutics
    At 14:00 on how well you deal with problems correlates to how well you do in life, at 1:28:00 about the importance of time in life.
  • Dr Zimbardo, psychologists, professor emeritus at Stanford University
    At 48:00 on balanced time perception.
  • Murray Carter, Canadian craftsman, bladesmith
    At 37:00 on learning 4 years of academic japanese in 12 months.
  • Tim Ferriss about ‘what [he] learned in 2016’
    At 23:00, How will this purchase affect how I use my time?
  • Noah Kagan, employee #30 at Facebook, founder of SumoMe
    At 50:00 on copywriting.
  • Maria Sharapova, professional tennis player, one of the few women to win all Grand Slams
    At 26:00 on being good at a young age.
  • ***Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, the biggest hedge fund in the world
    The whole episode but especially: at 14:00 on mistakes that are avoidable, at 16:00 on recognizing patterns in history and learning from them, at 25:00 on Transcendental Meditation.
  • Whitney Cummings, actor, author, comedian, producer
    At 37:00 on viewing failure as practice, you fail your way to success.
  • Eric Ripert, world famous chef
    At 37:00 on meditation generally and specifically on a visualization technique to cope with anger: “a dark cloud in front of my head and I have a laser to shoot it”.
  • ***Terry Laughlin: Tim’s episode intro about 1) pursuing dreams and not putting them off and 2) about doing what was/is perceived as impossible is very inspiring.
  • Esther Perel, psychologist, relationship coach
    At 34:00 what is essential for a long relationship; at 54:22 on advice for a couple looking to explore beyond the boundaries of monogamy; at 59:23 on how she helps people accept themselves?
  • ***Terry Crews, actor, author, artist
    At 44:00 on how “The Master Key System” by Charles F. Haanel helped guide the course of Terry’s life. Terry is a master storyteller and entertainer. The whole episode is great. Terry’s energy and his passion for life are contagious. Also check out the video of the interview here.
  • Whitney Wolfe Herd, founder & CEO of dating app Bumble
    At 43:00 on spirituality, instinct/gut feeling: learn to seperate anxiety from your instinct and really listen to your instinct.
  • Patrick Collison, CEO & co-founder of tech company Stripe
    At 1:58:00 on decision making, imagine what other (smart, successful etc.) people would do, do a approx. good decision that might turn out to be bad and then, if required, correct course along the way.
  • ***Gabor Mate, a doctor specialized in neurology, psychiatry, and psychology
    Really the whole episode is worth a listen. It’s about deep psychological introspection, identifying negative behaviour and self-talk in your life, about curing the root cause of mental health issues (working with the so-called inner child that we all carry within us). They talk about a book that I think every person in the universe should read: The Drama of the Gifted Child by Alice Miller.
  • Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram
    At 29:00 on failing fast and pivoting as most important success factor for startups
  • Chip Conley, 1:20:00 the question “What’s your soulful differentiator?” to gain focus of identity in business
  • ***Safi Bahcall, 00:06:30 on hypnosis, why it’s helpful and as technique for concentration and getting to sleep; 00:43:00 on depression as biochemical imbalance, you can’t just make depressed people look on the bright side
  • ***Tristan Harris: at 16:00 how does Tristan identify the invisible constraints in his own life? at 31:00 on neuro-linguistic programming and how you map your own reality

What do I like about those other podcasts listed below?

  1. They are all authentic. By authentic I mean unpolished, not rehearsed, without script.
  2. They are all long-form interviews that give you the possibility to kind of spend some time with the guests and get to know them.

other podcasts


You obviously like podcasts, right? Then please consider checking out my podcast The.Connecting.Dots.Podcast on your favorite podcast player: