10 Questions with Tim Ferriss, Author, Interviewer

Springs native, #1 New York Times bestselling author and podcaster Tim Ferriss adds yet another notch on his ever-growing belt of accomplishments this month with his new interview television show Fear{less} with Tim Ferriss, premiering May 30 on AT&T’s Audience network.

Ferriss, known as one of the world’s top technology angel investors, who famously wrote The 4-Hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Body, The 4-Hour Chef and, most recently, Tools of Titans, made his name writing about maximizing efficiency, learning new skills from world-class experts and quantifying one’s self. He’s brought those skills to the small screen with two previous efforts—a pilot for History Channel called Trial by Fire way back in 2008, and The Tim Ferriss Experiment on HLN in 2013, but neither took off as hoped.

More recently, however, his in-depth interview podcast The Tim Ferriss Showfeaturing everyone from actors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Foxx to chess prodigy Josh Waitzkin, author Sebastian Junger and fellow self-help megastar Tony Robbins—has become a bonafide hit. And those long-form conversations clearly paved the way for Ferriss’ latest foray into television.

Produced by actor Vince Vaughn, Fear{less} takes advantage of Ferriss’ skill for intelligent, insightful and entertaining conversation, as heard on his podcast. On the new show, Ferriss chats with world-class performers in front of a live studio audience, “focusing on how they’ve overcome fears, made hard decisions and won at the highest levels imaginable.” Guests will cover a range of interesting people, including famous icons, more obscure phenoms and everything in between. While Ferriss has a knack for getting his subjects to open up and enjoy candid conversation—the kind that leave you feeling satisfied and inspired—the show will also take a hard look at revealing the tactics and strategies these extraordinary people use in the real world.

Ferriss, who has millions of devoted followers and fascinating friends from all walks of life, is hoping Fear{less} will inspire viewers around the world to embrace discomfort, think big, and carve unique paths through life. He recently agreed to sit on the other side of the interviewer’s table so he could answer our 10 Rapid Fire Questions, which you can read below.

Tim Ferris at work

Tim Ferris at work, Photo: Courtesy Tim Ferriss

1. Favorite book (or last one you read, if you can’t decide)?
The last book read was one I’m rereading for the fourth or fifth time: Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. Favorite books include Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!, Dune, and The Moral Letters to Lucilius (Seneca, public domain).

2. The last thing that took your breath away?
Doing a cold plunge at the Russian baths (Archimedes) in San Francisco. I need it 3–4 times per week, so I also have a dedicated garage freezer for ice at home. After a few rounds of hot and cold, nothing in the world bothers you. If we’re not taking the question too literally, I’d say Mattie’s restaurant outdoor evening seating in Austin, Texas. It surreal.

3. The last thing that made you cry?
Taking my pup in for spinal surgery. She’s recovering like a champ.

4. It’s the eve of your execution… What would be your last meal?
Something that reminds me of my family and my parents. Could be breaded pork chops and a diagonally cut PB&J sandwich.

5. Something worth fighting for?
Freedom of speech and intellectual bravery on college campuses.

6. Something worth giving up?
Sweeteners. Try cinnamon, vanilla or other spices instead. Even non-caloric sweeteners can cause problems, and don’t let “natural” fool you. Agave nectar is one of the worst, right up there with high-fructose corn syrup.

7. Spend an afternoon with anyone—alive or dead—who would it be?
Ben Franklin. We need more merry pranksters, and I want to learn from the best. He and I would probably need some wine.

8. An interesting object in your home or office?
Antique wooden Japanese saddles. These were a dream item after spending time in Nikko, Japan studying yabusame (Japanese horseback archery) for a TV show. It’s a long, long story.

9. Last film you watched?
Neil Gaiman: Dream Dangerously, a documentary profile of one of my favorite writers.

10. What’s your greatest fear?
Slowly descending into the madness of Alzheimer’s. It’s common on both sides of my family, and I’ve watched its horrible progress. This is definitely one place I’ll put up a good fight, and I’m already working with scientists and MDs in various capacities. We’ll be able to 3D print or grow most organs in 5–10 years, and we can do so with many already. The brain is going to take some time, so it’s worth fortifying. As Dylan Thomas might say, “Do not go gentle into that good night.”

Fear{less} with Tim Ferriss debuts May 30 on AT&T’s Audience network, available exclusively on DirectTV, as well as live and streaming on AT&T U-verse.

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