Let me tell you about Tim Ferriss. A few years ago, I started reading his best-selling book, The 4-Hour Body. Ferris detailed how he made himself into a one-man experiment – he’d make changes to his diet, checked his weight and his labs, maybe he even had metabolic studies done.
He’d take these measures after soaking in hot baths, then ice baths, and while I admired his discipline, he did lose me during the chapter where he was using steroids. In the end, he advised a dairy-free, low-carbohydrate diet of green vegetables, beans or lentils, and protein for four meals a day, 6 days a week, with free-for-all eating on the 7th day. Then, there was a weight-lifting routine with kettle bells and ice packs to be placed on your shoulders for a set amount of time each day.
I may not remember the program’s details, but something about Ferris fascinated me. He brands himself as being a “human guinea pig,” about “lifestyle design,” and whatever that is, I like it. Perhaps I am attracted to the idea that we might control the trajectories of our generally uncontrollable lives.
Tim Ferriss graduated from Princeton, he’s written five best-selling books and has a popular podcast, he’s been a, and he’s been on Fortune’s “40 under 40” list – and there’s so much more. Ferriss is brilliant, innovative, handsome, charismatic, prolific, extraordinarily athletic. I may have forgotten to mention that he was the National Chinese Kickboxing Champion and was a semifinalist in the World Champion Tango competition in Buenos Aires. He’s adventuresome and fearless, and if that isn’t enough, he speaks five languages. In the genetic dice roll, Mr. Ferriss did well, and he’s a driven and energetic hard worker who is open to new experiences.
I subscribe to the Tim Ferriss podcast – as of this writing, there are 466 episodes, with an incredible lineup of interviews with famous and successful guests. I also subscribe to his “” email list where he mentions the interesting things he is reading, watching, learning about, or eating, and the products he is trying – single-ply toilet paper gets a thumbs down – then ends with a thought-provoking quote. This gentleman spends a tremendous amount of time searching and striving, working on himself and his own emotional growth and self-improvement, and yet he still has time for incredible explorations and experiences.
A search for psychic peace
Honestly, were it not for a few little details, I would like to be Tim Ferriss. Who wouldn’t? But what stops me from actually wanting to be Ferriss is that early on while listening to him, I realized that his drive has been fueled by intense psychic pain. He talks openly about being very close to suicide in college, about a tormenting mood disorder, demons to tame, and productivity as an antidote to a fear of failure, not always as a joy for life. There are moments that I have felt so sad for this remarkable stranger. Tim Ferriss is a searcher and what I believe he searches for most is his own psychic peace.
In a forum for psychiatrists, I wish I could write that Ferriss has found solace with our Food and Drug Administration–approved pharmaceuticals and with psychotherapy, but that’s not what he says. What Ferriss has found helpful, however, is psychedelics, and a wide variety of psychological and philosophical teachings ranging from meditation to Stoicism. And most notably, Ferriss has been an advocate for using hallucinogens as a legal medical intervention. Ferriss was one of four philanthropists who donated a total of $17 million to fund the Johns Hopkins. He’s helped to move this field forward and to improve its credibility.
On Sept. 14, 2020, Tim Ferriss released a podcast he recorded with his dance partner and close friend,, and when he recorded it, he was not certain he would release it. None of his usual sponsors endorsed during the podcast. He starts Episode #464 with, “For me, this is the most important podcast episode I’ve ever published. In it, I describe the most life-shaping, certainly the most difficult, and certainly the most transformative journey of my 43 years on this planet. I’ve never shared it before.”
by a babysitter’s son. He worried about how this would affect his family, if they would be left feeling guilty or devastated. He says, “Please note that I expect to be completely overwhelmed emotionally and otherwise when this is published and please understand if I’m not able to reply to any outreach.”
Ferriss and Millman had a long discussion about their sexual abuse as children. Millman was abused by her stepfather at the age of 9, and she talks about confronting him many years later. Ferriss has not confronted his perpetrator, though he has contemplated doing so.
Sexual violence and violation at any age leaves people scarred. In a recent