Altered States

Insights from Tara Brach, Ryan Holiday, Maria Popova, and Cal Newport (#626)

Welcome to another episode of The Tim Ferriss Show, where it is usually my job to deconstruct world-class performers to tease out the routines, habits, et cetera that you can apply to your own life. 

This episode is something different. It’s an experimental format that I’m super excited about, and it’s back by popular demand.

This is an episode that scratches an itch I’ve had for years. I am not always able to listen to every great podcast episode out there, even when they are by some of my closest friends. The answer to my predicament was to ask them to send me a top segment from their podcast that I could listen to and—more importantly—also share with you, my dear listeners. 

My team edited them together, and here we are! This episode is a compilation of 15-to-30–minute clips from some of the best podcasters—and also best interviewees—in the world and certainly some of my favorites.

At the beginning of each clip, you will hear an intro from the host and where to find their work and podcast. I’ll also share one or two of my favorite clips from episodes of The Tim Ferriss Show.

You can view this episode as a buffet, and I strongly suggest that you check out the shows included. If you like my podcast, you will very likely enjoy the featured shows in this episode.

And before you go: Do you like this format? Please let me know on Twitter at @tferriss and also mention @TeamTimFerriss.

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Podcast Addict, Pocket Casts, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Amazon Musicor on your favorite podcast platform.

Brought to you by Maui Nui Venison wildly delicious venison, Eight Sleep’s Pod Cover sleeping solution for dynamic cooling and heating, and Athletic Greens all-in-one nutritional supplement.

#626: Insights from Tara Brach, Ryan Holiday, Maria Popova, and Cal Newport

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This episode is brought to you by Athletic Greens. I get asked all the time, “If you could use only one supplement, what would it be?” My answer is usually AG1 by Athletic Greens, my all-in-one nutritional insurance. I recommended it in The 4-Hour Body in 2010 and did not get paid to do so. I do my best with nutrient-dense meals, of course, but AG further covers my bases with vitamins, minerals, and whole-food-sourced micronutrients that support gut health and the immune system. 

Right now, Athletic Greens is offering you their Vitamin D Liquid Formula free with your first subscription purchase—a vital nutrient for a strong immune system and strong bones. Visit to claim this special offer today and receive the free Vitamin D Liquid Formula (and five free travel packs) with your first subscription purchase! That’s up to a one-year supply of Vitamin D as added value when you try their delicious and comprehensive all-in-one daily greens product.

This episode is brought to you by Eight Sleep! Eight Sleep’s Pod Cover is the easiest and fastest way to sleep at the perfect temperature. It pairs dynamic cooling and heating with biometric tracking to offer the most advanced (and user-friendly) solution on the market. Simply add the Pod Cover to your current mattress and start sleeping as cool as 55°F or as hot as 110°F. It also splits your bed in half, so your partner can choose a totally different temperature.

And now, my dear listeners—that’s you—can get $250 off the Pod Cover. Simply go to or use code TIM at checkout. 

What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Want to hear the previous Insights episode? Listen here for nuggets of wisdom from Dr. Andrew Huberman, Greg McKeown, Jocko Willink, Brené Brown, and Naval Ravikant about tuning your dopamine system for discipline and motivation, finding flow through the genius of routine, understanding the opportunities presented by problems, reconciling self-acceptance with the urge to achieve and improve, how to get rich without getting lucky, and much more.

#616: Insights from Dr. Andrew Huberman, Greg McKeown, Jocko Willink, Brené Brown, and Naval Ravikant



Connect with Tara Brach:

Website | Email List | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube

Tara Brach’s Appearance on The Tim Ferriss Show podcast:


Connect with Ryan Holiday: | Daily Stoic | Email List | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Ryan Holiday’s Past Appearances on The Tim Ferriss Show podcast:


Connect with Maria Popova:

The Marginalian (Formerly Brain Pickings) | Twitter | Instagram

Maria Popova’s Past Appearances on The Tim Ferriss Show podcast:


Connect with Cal Newport:

Website | Blog | YouTube

Cal Newport’s Past Appearances on The Tim Ferriss Show podcast:



  • [08:39] Who is Tara Brach?
  • [10:29] How meditation allows us to be present in the moment.
  • [12:56] Disentangling from self-judgment.
  • [19:07] The meaning of radical acceptance.
  • [20:24] RAIN: recognize, allow, investigate, and nurture.
  • [28:01] A brief RAIN meditation.
  • [34:17] A gift to a stranger.
  • [38:55] A short prayer.
  • [40:00] Who is Ryan Holiday?
  • [40:54] Who am I spending time with?
  • [41:36] Is this in my control?
  • [42:25] What does my ideal day look like?
  • [43:27] To be or to do?
  • [45:11] What am I missing by choosing to worry or be afraid?
  • [45:54] Am I doing my job?
  • [46:37] What is the most important thing?
  • [47:39] Who is this for?
  • [48:20] Does this actually matter?
  • [49:17] Will this be alive time or dead time?
  • [50:15] Is this who I want to be?
  • [50:58] A bonus question from Viktor Frankl.
  • [53:01] Who is Maria Popova?
  • [54:21] What does Maria’s current day look like?
  • [56:04] Good sleep makes everything else possible.
  • [59:13] Meditation.
  • [1:01:22] Workouts.
  • [1:01:46] How Maria reads at the gym.
  • [1:02:32] Methods of note-taking.
  • [1:08:53] Seneca as a gateway drug into philosophy.
  • [1:12:41] Who is Cal Newport?
  • [1:14:16] Three properties any time management system should have.
  • [1:17:03] Capture.
  • [1:19:23] Configure.
  • [1:20:49] Control.
  • [1:23:36] How Cal implements this system.
  • [1:29:47] How this system will benefit you.
  • [1:31:17] A bonus property: Constrain.


The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 800 million downloads. It has been selected for “Best of Apple Podcasts” three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it’s been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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