Rank #1: Kobe Bryant: Storytelling and the Awareness of Fear
Cal uncovers how Kobe made the leap from one of the NBA's greats to Oscar nominee.
Rank #2: 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.
Rank #3: Jocko Willink: On Going to War with Your Weaknesses
- 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.
Rank #4: Seth Godin: Seeing the World Through a Different Frame
The best-selling author teaches Cal how to think like a marketer.
Rank #5: Larry King on Sinatra and The Meaning of a Life’s Work
A conversation between Cal and The King for the ages.
Rank #6: 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.
Rank #7: 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.
Rank #8: James Altucher on Reaching For Your Future and Letting Go of Your Past
Cal discovers how the best-selling author, investor, financial analyst, blogger, podcaster and delightful conversationalist once reduced all his worldly possessions to15 items that could fit in a small satchel that he carried with him from Airbnb to Airbnb. A tad extreme, yes, but the takeaways on discipline can elevate anybody's life.
TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS EPISODE:
- What James learned from giving up everything -- it wasn't all positive!
- Tips for downsizing your belongings, how to choose what stays and what goes, and best of all how to make best use of the things you keep.
- How the "access economy" is superseding the "ownership economy" and what that means in practical terms.
Rank #9: Dan Pink: On WHEN To Get The Best Out Of Yourself
The author of the New York Times best-seller When joins Cal at Chicago Big Ideas week and gives him advice on the best time of the day to eat, exercise and hold meetings. Not to mention the worst time of day to make important decisions.
He also explains to Cal how people will be watching television and consuming podcasts at different times and in different ways, and why it’s wise to think about serving up Big Questions in a new format. The takeaways in this episode may make you decide to live your life in a new way.
Rank #10: George Clooney and Charlie Engle: On Telling A Story
Cal goes to the archives and pulls out a childhood tale George Clooney told him about how his eccentric family taught him to tell a good story. The podcast continues with the story of how drug addiction was transformed into a landmark run across the Sahara Desert for Charlie Engle.
So many takeaways from this episode: The basics of storytelling. Overcoming addiction. The power of discipline. Seeing the world through fresh eyes. Inventing new challenges. A primer in how to get the most out of life and tell the story.
Rank #11: 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.
Rank #12: Amy Morin: On Mental Toughness
The international best-selling author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do gives Cal some lessons on training your brain for happiness and success. And it couldn’t have come at a better time for Cal, who was recently challenged to lift his game as a CEO . . . and responded with an outlandish goal of bringing in a million dollars of new revenue by the end of May . . . without having the slightest idea how he was going to do it. Once she hears Cal’s background, Amy, a psychotherapist, actually thinks it’s a good thing for Cal to embrace this crazy idea and encourages him to get tough and go after it. Anybody who listens to this episode will be stronger for it – and have some laughs along the way.
Rank #13: 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.
Rank #14: Ben Nemtin: On The Power of Change
The Buried Life star once again finds the best within himself.
Takeaways from this episode:
- How helping others is really helping yourself.
- How doing something that inspires you - even if the initial ambition is small - can be the catalyst to your next great adventure.
- The patience, persistence, and ultimately throwing in the towel that got Ben to meet President Obama.
Rank #15: 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.
Rank #16: 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.
Rank #17: Yes Theory: On Helicopter Bungee Jumping With Will Smith
From sharing a couch for almost two months to challenging Will Smith to bungee jump out of a helicopter over the Grand Canyon, three young guys from different places around the world form bonds that create an ever-deepening friendship.
Ammar Kandil, Thomas Brag and Matt Dajer go on adventures that define the group’s name: Yes Theory. They say yes to tasks that make them uncomfortable, and the difficulties they encounter lead to authenticity – which intensifies their friendship.
They film everything they encounter in their path and produce mini-documentaries for their Youtube Channel – attracting millions of viewers.
As soon as the conversation starts, Cal instantly feels like a friend to these best of friends.
Rank #18: Kevin Hines: Whatever your difficulties, never count yourself out. Never. Never. Never.
Kevin tells Cal how mental illness pushed him to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco 18 years ago – and how he survived only because a sea lion kept him propped up on the water’s surface.
Kevin became one of only a few people to walk away from such a fall, and the chain of events that followed led him to find the love of his life, and his work helping all of us to understand mental illness.
His fight contributed to the creation of a barrier on The Golden Gate Bridge that will stop others from committing suicide there in the future.
TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS EPISODE:
- Whatever your difficulties, never count yourself out. Never. Never. Never.
- Simply reaching out to somebody you notice in emotional pain might save his or her life.
- And how a 23-second hug can change your day.
That's just for starters . . .
Rank #19: 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.
Rank #20: Mike Posner: The Power in Speaking Your Truth
The singer reveals the journey that produced the hit song I Took A Pill in Ibiza.
TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS EPISODE:
- When Mike gained fame but lost his way, and how he came home to himself when he got a second shot.
- Mike's grounding relationship with his mother, and the grief process he’s gone through following the loss of his father.
- How Jake Owen, Hank Williams, and Merle Haggard inspired the artist’s most recent hit song, “I Took A Pill in Ibiza”.