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The Knowledge Project with Shane Parrish

The Knowledge Project takes you inside the heads of remarkable people to explore the frameworks and mental models you can use to make life more meaningful and productive. Learn more at https://fs.blog
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Now displaying: 2017
Dec 14, 2017
The quality of your outcome depends on the quality of your questions.

Through asking the right questions we can spark innovation and creativity, gain deeper knowledge in the topics that are most important to us, and propel us forward in our personal and professional pursuits.

Yet very few of us do it well — if we do it at all.

My guest on the podcast today is Warren Berger — journalist, speaker, best selling author, and self-proclaimed questionologist.

His insightful book A More Beautiful Question shows how the world’s leading innovators, education leaders, creative thinkers, and red-hot start-ups ask game-changing questions to nurture creativity, solve problems, and create new possibilities.

In this episode, we discuss the importance of asking the right questions, why they’re critical to your success, and how you may be one great question away from a major breakthrough.

You’ll also learn:

  • How Warren manages the constant input and stimulation from online consumption when it’s time to create.
  • The small habits that pack the biggest punch and make the most difference in Warren’s life
  • What makes a question more or less effective
  • How to create a culture where questions are welcome and encouraged
  • Why answering all your kids’ questions may be doing them a disservice — and what to do instead
  • What “collaborative inquiry” is and how to use it to get the most out of your teams in the workplace
  • How Warren transformed one of his most painful failures into one of his most proud achievements
  • Why Warren insists that everyone is creative, and what we can do to fan the flames of our own creativity

If you think you could improve the quality (and frequency) of your questions to enhance key areas of your life, this is not a conversation you’ll want to miss.

For comprehensive show notes on this episode and more go to https://www.fs.blog/podcast/

Our free weekly email, Brain Food, helps you get better results through intelligent preparation and offers great reading recommendations. Don't miss out, sign up at https://www.fs.blog/newsletter/

Follow Shane on Twitter (https://twitter.com/farnamstreet) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/FarnamStreet/) to go to bed smarter than you woke up. 

Nov 30, 2017

It seems that nowadays, aside from religion and politics, one of the most hotly debated topics is that of nutrition.

Should we eat high carb diets? Low carb? High fat? High protein? What about wheat or gluten? Should we eat meat or adopt a vegan diet?

There are as many opinions as there are people — and books, magazines and websites are overflowing with information showing you the “right” way to eat and exercise to lose weight.

But if “eating less and moving more” is all it takes to lose weight and enjoy a healthy lifestyle, why are so many of us fat and getting fatter?

In this episode, I chat with Gary Taubes, bestselling author of three books, The Case Against Sugar (2016), Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It (2011) and Good Calories, Bad Calories (2007).

We talk about the sharp rise of obesity and diabetes in America, the structural hurdles to effective nutrition research, and explore the common myth that a calorie is just a calorie.

Here are a few other things you’ll learn in this interview:

  • How diets shifted in the last century, and what impact it’s having on our bodies today.
  • Why a carb isn’t just a carb — and why you should know the difference
  • Is the sugar industry the new Big Tobacco?
  • What role genetics play in our health, and how much is under our control
  • Why humans are so attracted to sugar and how to break the habit
  • Gary’s suggestions to improve your health, drop body fat and feel terrific
  • The benefits of fasting and how you can try it out yourself

And a bunch more.

If you think at all about your health, give this podcast a listen. 

***

For comprehensive show notes on this episode and more episodes go to https://www.fs.blog/podcast/

Our free weekly email helps you get better results through intelligent preparation and offers great reading recommendations. Don't miss out, sign up at https://www.fs.blog/newsletter/

Follow Shane on twitter @farnamstreet and Facebook to go to bed smarter than you woke up. 

Nov 1, 2017

For decades, introversion was looked at as something to overcome, almost like an illness. The way to win in life was through charisma, outspokenness, and self-promotion.

Even now, in an increasingly noisy world, introverts may feel added pressure to take one of two paths: force themselves into more extroverted behavior, or become even more reserved and shrink back to themselves.

My guest Susan Cain says both paths are wrong and in fact, rob the world of the unique contributions introverts make when they choose to be true to themselves.

Susan knows what she’s talking about. A self-proclaimed introvert, she wrote the New York Times bestselling book, Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking and delivered one of the most popular TED talks ever delivered, with nearly 18 million views to date.

Whether you consider yourself an extrovert, an introvert, or an ambivert (those lucky bastards in the middle) you’ll find a ton of value in this interview.

***

For comprehensive show notes on this episode and more episodes go to https://www.farnamstreetblog.com/the-knowledge-project/

Our free weekly email helps you get better results through intelligent preparation and offers great reading recommendations. Don't miss out, sign up at https://www.farnamstreetblog.com/newsletter/

Follow Shane on twitter @farnamstreet and Facebook to go to bed smarter than you woke up. 

Oct 11, 2017

Are you in love with your own ideas regardless of how good they are Would you like to make better decisions and fewer mistakes? Would you like to improve the most important relationships in your life?

These are just some of the topics I discuss with my guest, Ray Dalio.

Ray Dalio is the founder of the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, and is the author of the new book Principles: Life and Work. He is also a leading figure in the world of philanthropy, is an avid supporter of transcendental meditation, and has appeared on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Ray gave me over an hour and a half of his time, and I didn’t waste a minute of it. 

***

For comprehensive show notes on this episode go to https://fs.blog/ray-dalio/

For more episodes go to https://fs.blog/the-knowledge-project/

Our free weekly email helps you get better results through intelligent preparation and offers great reading recommendations. Don't miss out, sign up at https://fs.blog/newsletter/

Follow Shane on twitter @farnamstreet and facebook to go to bed smarter than you woke up. 

Sep 21, 2017

Are you a giver or a taker? Have you ever struggled to find work/life balance? How do you build resilience in yourself, your team, or your children?

I tackle these topics and many more in this interview with my special guest, Adam Grant.

In this interview, we cover a lot, including:

  • How to tell if you are a giver or a taker (Spoiler: if you just told yourself you’re a giver, you might be in for a rude awakening)
  • How Adam filters down hundreds of ideas and opportunities to the select few he focuses on
  • How to tell if your business idea is a winner or a huge waste of time
  • Why “quick to start and slow to finish” is great advice for budding entrepreneurs
  • How to nurture creativity and resilience in your children (or team culture)
  • How to create positive competitive environments that bring out the best in people
  • Adam’s two core family values and how he instills them in his children
  • “Mental time travel” and how it can make you resilient to any challenge or obstacle
  • Why “how can I be more productive” is the wrong question to ask (and what to ask instead)
  • How Adam and I each address the topic of work/life balance

And so much more.

***

For comprehensive show notes on this episode go to https://fs.blog/adam-grant/

For more episodes go to https://fs.blog/the-knowledge-project/

Our free weekly email helps you get better results through intelligent preparation and offers great reading recommendations. Don't miss out, sign up at https://fs.blog/newsletter/

Follow FS on twitter @farnamstreet and Facebook to go to bed smarter than you woke up. 

Aug 9, 2017

Ed Latimore (@EdLatimore) might be the most interesting person you'll ever meet.

Ed is a professional heavyweight boxer, physics major, and philosopher. He's also the author of the cult-hit Not Caring What Other People Think Is a Superpower. If there's anything Ed feels like doing, he simply does it.

This interview explores the physics of boxing, the value of a coach, and much of Ed’s hard-fought wisdom. You’ll discover:

  • How the painful end to a relationship lit a fire under Ed that hasn’t stopped burning
  • How Ed knows when he’s bitten off more than he can chew and needs to ease up on the accelerator
  • Why motivation is a terrible way to achieve great things (and what to do instead)
  • The unlikely way that Ed’s runaway best selling book came about
  • Why Ed thinks every person should step into the boxing ring at least once in their life
  • How people get stuck on the “dopamine treadmill” which feels productive but actually gets you nowhere (this is the kiss of death if you want to accomplish any important goal)
  • Ed’s brilliant philosophy on pain and suffering that will change the way you view hardships in your life
  • Ed’s somewhat controversial approach to coaching children and getting the very best out of them
  • The most important element of creating a positive habit (most people get this wrong)

And more.

After listening to this warrior poet, you won’t look at life the same again.

Enjoy this amazing conversation.

For comprehensive show notes on this episode, including a full edited transcript, go to https://fs.blog/podcast/

Is your brain hungry for more? Don't miss out sign up for our weekly "Brain Food" at https://fs.blog/newsletter/

Follow @farnamstreet for mind-expanding content. 

Jul 2, 2017

Marc Garneau (@MarcGarneau) is a Canadian politician, Engineer, and the Minister of Transport. This interview was recorded live in front of an audience in Montreal. As a bilingual country, you'll hear bits of French from the audience questions here and there but the interview is predominately in English.

In this interview, we discuss the future of transportation (including self-driving cars), infrastructure investments, space, what it means to be a liberal in 2017, how we — as citizens — can judge an elected politician, how he ensures he's getting accurate information in a political system and so much more. 

Enjoy this amazing conversation.

May 30, 2017

Rory Sutherland (@rorysutherland) is the Vice Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Group, which is one of the largest and most renowned advertising agencies in the world.

Rory started the behavioral insights team and spends his days applying behavioral economics and evolutionary psychology to solve problems that traditional advertising agencies haven't been able to solve.

In this wide-ranging interview we discuss:

  • Why advertising agencies are being asked to solve airport security problems
  • How to reframe problems to synthesize happiness for customers even in the lousiest conditions
  • How great storytelling can do everything from increase sales to make beer taste better
  • Why companies are more willing to throw money at infrastructure than they are to invest in behavioral change (and why it backfires)
  • What doormen, London’s black cab service, and ancient medieval guilds can teach Silicon Valley about business
  • One of the most interesting studies ever done that shows how irrational humans are
  • “Transaction utility” and how context and expectations wildly influence how much we are willing to pay for goods and services

And that just scratches the surface. We tackle how to mess with self-driving cars, Rory’s reading habits, the intersection of advertising and psychology, why dry toilet paper is a Western abomination, and so much more.

Don’t miss this episode. Rory will forget more about advertising and behavioral psychology than most of us will learn during our lifetime. This is truly a masterclass from a persuasion technician that has few equals.

If you want to get better at divergent thinking, persuasion, or just want to know why we do some of the silly things we do, this episode is a must-listen.

Enjoy this amazing conversation.

Feb 27, 2017

Naval Ravikant (@naval) is the CEO and co-founder of AngelList. He’s invested in more than 100 companies, including Uber, Twitter, Yammer, and many others.

It’s difficult to nail down exactly what we discuss in our conversation because I had so many questions to ask him. Naval is an incredibly deep thinker who challenges the status quo on so many things. This is an interview you’ll want to listen to, think a bit, and then listen to again.

Here are just a few of the many things we cover in this episode:

  • What a “typical day” looks like (not the answer I expected, and not one you’ve likely heard before)
  • How Naval developed his legendary reading habits and how he finds time to read no matter how busy life gets
  • How the internet has impacted book reading (both good and bad) and how to make sure you’re getting the best information from the most reliable sources
  • What popular habit advice Naval thinks is BS and why
  • Naval’s habit stacking technique that helped him overcome a desire for alcohol and other potentially destructive habits
  • How Naval’s core values give direction to his life and how those values developed over time
  • Naval’s thoughts on the current education system and what we can do to facilitate better learning for our children
  • Naval’s favorite mental models for making critical high-stakes decisions
  • His brilliant two-factor calendar authentication concept to keep him focused on only the most important projects
  • Naval’s definition for the meaning of life (buckle up for this one)
  • His amazing response to the investor who wanted to be just like Steve Jobs

And so, so much more.

Just a heads up, this is the longest podcast I’ve ever done. While it felt like only thirty minutes, our conversation lasted over two hours!

And although it is the longest, it’s also our most downloaded episode on the Knowledge Project, so make sure you have a pen and paper handy. There’s a lot of wisdom up for grabs here.

Enjoy this amazing conversation.

***

Follow FS on Twitter (https://twitter.com/farnamstreet)

For comprehensive show notes on this episode, including a full edited transcript, go to https://www.fs.blog/podcast/

Upgrade your thinking with my free weekly email digest. Don't miss out, sign up at https://www.fs.blog/newsletter/

Jan 5, 2017

This is one of 2 interviews that I conducted while visiting Greece this summer. Greek history is deep routed in many things as philosophy, democracy and culture and has laid the foundation of so much of what we know and how we live today. Today I speak with Aristotle Koskinas (@aristotlekoskin), a guide with Athens walking tours. He's one of the best guides you can find in Athens. In order to be a guide in Greece, an individual must complete a 2½ year program at the School of Tourist Guides in Greece - which is a state school under the Ministry of Development. Some of the courses in the curriculum include Ancient Greek history, Byzantine history, Prehistoric Archaeology, Mythology, Geology, history of Theater –and psychology of the tourist. Listen in for details on the history of Athens over the past 3000 years, the influence Greek culture has had across the world, and some insight on what surprises him meeting visitors from different countries.

Jan 5, 2017

The island of Santorini has not only has breathtaking views but also a fascinating history. Traces of its first inhabitants have been linked back to 4500 BC. In 1613 BC the most powerful volcanic event in the last 10,000 years took place – completely destroying all the islands within a 60 km radius. It has been estimated that 90 billion tons of molten rock was injected into the air, the sea swallowed the volcano, and a massive tsunami swept across the Aegean Sea. Along with the obvious devastation of nature, it is believed that the eruption also sealed the deal for the most civilized nation on the island at the time, the Minoans. Thanks to the thick layer of ash cause by the event, the Bronze Age settlement of Akrotiri was so well preserved that we are able to see how prosperous the area had once been with an elaborate drainage systems, multi-storied buildings, incredible wall paintings, furniture and vessels. The site has as much of a significant importance as does Pompeii. The island’s main volcanic rock, its mineral rich soil, and the amazing climate, has produced some incredibly unique wines. Santorini is known for some of the oldest vineyards in the world. And we know that wine is one of my favourite topics. On today’s podcast I speak with Panayiota Kalogeropoulou about Santorini’s wines. Panayiota is the Director at the Domaine Sigalas vineyard. Paris Sigalas, a mathematician with a goal to make his Santorini vineyard a world heritage site, focuses on grapes that thrive in Santorini (these include the Aidani, Athiri, Plantana – and the prime Greek grape Assyrtiko).

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