Cover image of Big Questions with Cal Fussman

Big Questions with Cal Fussman

As a bestselling author, speaker and one of the greatest interviewers of this generation, Cal Fussman has sat down with some of the world’s most influential individuals: Muhammad Ali, Mikhail Gorbachev, Serena Williams, Jeff Bezos, Jack Welch, John Wooden, Al Pacino and hundreds of others, digging deep into their hearts and delivering their wisdom to the rest of the world. Now, in Big Questions, Cal continues his journey. Uncovering the heart, head, and soul of his guests in thoughtful, deep and entertaining conversations.

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Simon Sinek: The Infinite Game

Simon talks about the theme of his upcoming book -- and his message hits Cal’s ears like a symphony. Perhaps this should’ve been expected. The concept behind Simon’s book, Start With Why, led to a Ted talk that reached 42 million people. And Leaders Eat Last was a New York Times bestseller. The Infinite Game shows us that business should not be treated like it’s in a sporting event that has a definite period of time and ends with a win or a loss. If we do treat our business like it’s in a sporting event, Simon warns, there will be a decline in trust, a decline in cooperation and a decline in innovation. Simon makes a case that the most successful companies now tend to be guided by leaders with an infinite mindset. There are so many takeaways in this episode that it might be wise to pull out a notepad before you get started.

1hr 29mins

12 Mar 2019

Rank #1

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Michael Wright: Surviving On 9/11

Cal reconnects with the man who had the World Trade Center fall on his head and finds the lessons he learned even more powerful over time. The two reflect upon the conversation they had shortly after Michael survived the deadliest attack on American soil. That conversation was turned into a noted Esquire Magazine story published in Michael’s own words in the January 2002 issue. The takeaways in this episode are vast. Michael has lived through the type of experience that most of us will never know - and has come to understand life in ways that most of us were never forced to ponder. Yet, in the end, his voice is positive and reflective and offers insight to all of us on how to move forward from the most difficult of experiences.

1hr 10mins

11 Sep 2018

Rank #2

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My First Big Question

Today, Cal takes us all the way back to November, 1963, when he first realized the power of his curiosity in one of the nation’s most difficult moments. 


21 Dec 2017

Rank #3

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Jocko Willink: On Going to War with Your Weaknesses

Jocko Willink, the former Navy Seal Commander, explains how his fundamental laws of combat translate into leadership in business, and gets Cal to wonder how he might incorporate aspects of military training into his own life.    Takeaways from this episode: How to create a team where everybody leads. How to get in people’s heads to make them see things they wouldn’t have seen otherwise. The value of keeping communications simple — and how good questions can simplify a complicated plan. Prioritizing tasks and executing them.

1hr 29mins

7 Aug 2018

Rank #4

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How To Defeat Your Internal Saboteurs

While doing a storytelling workshop, Cal meets Shirzad Chamine, the chairman of CTI, the largest coach and training company in the world. CTI has trained execs and managers at most of the Fortune 500 companies, as well as faculty at Yale and Stanford Business Schools. Cal is immediately enthralled with the way Shirzad uses positive energy to lift the workshop. He inquires and learns that Shirzad has a program that enables people to locate their inner saboteurs and defeat them. Cal takes the short test available to everybody over the internet and comes face to face with his own inner saboteurs. You’ll find out how you can locate yours and take them down, as well. 

1hr 4mins

22 Oct 2019

Rank #5

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Dandapani: On Learning to Concentrate

When Cal turns into a salesman to try to generate a million dollars in new business by the end of May, he is unprepared for the constant buzzing of his cellphone and the new lifestyle this brings. When it begins to feel like his brain has fragmented into 500 pieces, Cal reaches out to his pal, The Monk Dandapani, for lessons on how to focus and concentrate. The world-renowned monk gives Cal advice on harnessing his energy, that can lift everybody’s life.


30 Apr 2019

Rank #6

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Dr. Oz: Life Changes that Matter

Cal and Dr. Mehmet Oz talk about getting more out of yourself and your life in a time that demands it.


13 Feb 2018

Rank #7

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Larry King on Sinatra and The Meaning of a Life’s Work

A conversation between Cal and The King for the ages.

1hr 14mins

17 Apr 2018

Rank #8

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James Altucher: A Business Strategy Masterclass

When Cal needs to develop a business strategy for his new company, James comes to the rescue. Altucher has started many businesses over the years, making millions, losing millions, making more millions, losing more millions and making more millions. A prolific blogger and podcaster, author, angel investor and owner of a comedy club in New York where he often appears, James shows Cal how to define, shape and monetize his new business helping companies tell their stories. The strategy session is a gift for anybody who’s thinking about starting a business – and fun for everybody else.

1hr 35mins

23 Apr 2019

Rank #9

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Jim Kwik On Never Forgetting a Name Again

The celebrity memory coach hones Cal’s mind. Takeaways from this episode: Turning what might be seen as a weakness into your greatest challenge and ultimately a strength. Tips for memorization.

1hr 41mins

22 May 2018

Rank #10

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Alex Banayan: Learning From Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Jessica Alba, and more

Cal dives deep into the stories of Alex Banayan's unprecedented adventure—from hacking Warren Buffett’s shareholders meeting to chasing Larry King through a grocery store to celebrating in a nightclub with Lady Gaga. https://twitter.com/alexbanayan https://www.facebook.com/AlexBanayan/ Book Preorder Link: http://amzn.to/2HNLeaA

1hr 23mins

27 Feb 2018

Rank #11

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Charles Schwab: How To Own Your Tomorrow

Cal sits with investment guru Charles Schwab on the stage at the Money 2020 conference in Las Vegas to discuss the philosophies behind his success and how all of us need to look at retirement in an age when we may live 20 years longer than we expected. Plenty of takeaways from the man who’s gotten through a series of stock market bubbles while increasing the value of his company 21,000 percent over the last three decades. You read that right. Twenty-one thousand percent!


5 Nov 2019

Rank #12

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Double Your Productivity With Tim Campos

Tim Campos doubled productivity for Facebook while he was Chief Information Officer between 2010 and 2016. Now, Tim tries to do the same for Cal by introducing him to his latest project: Woven. Woven is a state-of-the-art digital calendar that we can all use to get the most out of our time while studying the analytics behind how we’re using our most precious resource. Tim’s company in the testing phase and Woven is free for all who want to give it a test drive. Old school Cal puts the pedal to the metal and loves the feeling on the cutting edge.


24 Sep 2019

Rank #13

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Tucker Max: On Books and Personal Growth

The best-selling author tells Cal how he transformed from writer of the New York Times bestsellers I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell and Assholes Finish First to a dad playing Candyland with his kids. That, in itself, is quite a story. But that’s not all. He’s also founded a publishing company called Scribe to help people write their books. This also has Cal very curious. Many takeaways on the state of the publishing industry and personal growth from a master raconteur.


24 Dec 2019

Rank #14

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Daymond John: Goals and Grinding

Cal gets tips for success from the man who turned a $10 hat into a $6 billion business. TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS EPISODE: Tips for seizing your day in the morning, that will help you rise and grind. The small idea that ended up being Daymond's shot to rise to the top.

1hr 2mins

6 Feb 2018

Rank #15

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John Livesay: Selling Through Stories

Cal The Journalist meets John The Salesman and things will never be the same – not for Cal, anyway. For years, Cal had been told to stay on his side of The Wall that separated the editorial and sales departments of newspapers and magazines. But the Internet has changed that world and now everyone must sell themselves in some way, shape or form. Cal is delighted to find out that, at its best, sales is all about his passion – storytelling. Cal learns how John used rejection to create a new story that turned him into salesman of the year at Conde Nast. Cal learns how to be proactive through new forms of cold calling. Cal learns how to shape a story toward the sale and artfully close the deal. And Cal comes to understand that he had it in him all along.

1hr 8mins

5 Feb 2019

Rank #16

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Tom Junod: Lessons From Mr. Rogers

Cal sits with his old pal, Tom Junod, after they see a preview of the upcoming movie about the children’s television host that stars Tom Hanks. A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood is based on the Esquire Magazine cover story that Junod wrote in 1998, and Junod’s friendship with Mr. Rogers in the years that followed. While the film creates a tortured relationship between Junod and his dad to advance the plot, there was actually tremendous tension in Tom’s life as a writer for Esquire when the story was published that was not known even to his closest friends. Cal was startled, at times, during this talk with his friend of three decades – a conversation that will allow everyone to see the upcoming movie in a new light. 

1hr 9mins

19 Nov 2019

Rank #17

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Chris Voss: On Negotiating Better in your Everyday Life

Cal finds out how a man who worked on the FBI Crisis Negotiation Unit for 24 years incorporates what he learned on the job into day-to-day life. Cal’s biggest take-away is that people who are good at asking questions have the essential elements to negotiate well. Many of the characteristics inherent in successful interviewing apply – especially mastery of tone of voice and observation of body language. Negotiation, Cal learns, is a perishable skill and must be honed every day. Voss, now the CEO of the negotiation training company Black Swan, shows Cal how a misplaced piece of luggage at the airport can be a great opportunity to practice. And how careful listening can get you where you want to go in life.

1hr 5mins

27 Nov 2018

Rank #18

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Andy Grammer: On Creation

The singer and songwriter talks to Cal about how life experiences turn into music. The conversation leads to the background behind Andy’s hits: Honey I’m Good, Keep Your Head Up and Fresh Eyes. But at its deepest level the discussion delves into the process that we all must go through to create. The takeaways are many. How to keep going when nobody around you seems to be paying attention to what you’re doing. How having a hit can be just as stressful to the creation process as striving for the first. And how to keep expanding. The lessons of a man who started out singing for coins on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica and went on to sing the national anthem at the World Series apply far beyond music and can be integrated into everyone’s life.

1hr 23mins

8 Jan 2019

Rank #19

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What If You Never Had To Work Again?

Cal poses the question after hearing the wondrous story of Dr. Sabrina Kay – who came to the U.S. from South Korea while in college without speaking English, started out as a janitor and began an entrepreneurial journey that took her to the cover of Fortune Magazine.  By the time she’d reached her 30s, Sabrina had amassed enough wealth so that neither she – nor any of her family members – ever needed to work again. But that was only the beginning. Sabrina went on to get a master’s degree at USC and a doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. Now, after buying Fremont College, she’s reinventing the entire education system. This episode is packed with takeaways that will make you think about what you would do if never needed to work again.


13 Aug 2019

Rank #20