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Jerry Seinfeld and Maria Popova (#746)
Tim Ferriss - Productivity, Digital Lifestyles and Entrepreneurship Tim Ferriss - Productivity, Digital Lifestyles and Entrepreneurship
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: San Francisco, CA
Thursday, June 13, 2024


This episode is a two-for-one, and that’s because the podcast recently hit its 10-year anniversary and passed one billion downloads. To celebrate, I’ve curated some of the best of the best—some of my favorites—from more than 700 episodes over the last decade. I could not be more excited. The episode features segments from episode #485 Jerry Seinfeld — A Comedy Legend’s Systems, Routines, and Methods for Successand episode #39 Maria Popova on Writing, Workflow, and Workarounds.”

Please enjoy!

Bios of guests may be found at tim.blog/combo.

Listen to the episode on Apple PodcastsSpotifyOvercastPodcast AddictPocket CastsCastboxYouTube MusicAmazon MusicAudible, or on your favorite podcast platform.

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#746: Jerry Seinfeld and Maria Popova

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


  • [05:16] Notes about this supercombo format.
  • [06:19] Enter Jerry Seinfeld.
  • [06:46] Jerry’s writing process for survival in the comedy ecosystem.
  • [15:43] Lessons Jerry would teach in a writing class and how they relate to his fitness methods.
  • [15:43] Soliciting creative feedback while preserving pride over doing the work.
  • [20:33] Routines essential to Jerry’s well-being and their frequency and duration.
  • [24:50] How nurturing creativity is like parenting, and Jerry’s belief about pain and knowledge.
  • [26:17] Additional ways Jerry mitigates depressive episodes.
  • [27:27] A resilience-building failure.
  • [32:05] The importance of playing the game well.
  • [33:42] “Survival is the new success.”
  • [36:12] Jerry’s billboard.
  • [39:06] Enter Maria Popova.
  • [39:30] Are you correctly pronouncing names you’ve only read but never heard?
  • [41:13] What does Maria do?
  • [41:50] What is Brain Pickings (now The Marginalian)?
  • [42:31] What percentage of New York Times best sellers are a result of Maria’s coverage?
  • [47:55] The common denominator that guides Maria’s reading list.
  • [49:16] The importance of writing for an audience of one.
  • [52:07] Contending with the temptation to create BuzzFeed-like content.
  • [59:44] The daily discipline required for Maria’s well-being.
  • [1:07:10] Maria’s note-taking system.
  • [1:12:53] Seneca and the time-tested challenge of presence vs. productivity.
  • [1:16:08] Start-up opportunity? Build a note-taking tool for heavy readers/highlighters.
  • [1:22:52] About the team behind [The Marginalian].
  • [1:24:28] Collaborative proofreading and copyediting.
  • [1:27:21] Self-reliance pathology and how to overcome it.
  • [1:29:56] Finding a professional personal assistant and learning to delegate.
  • [1:34:36] Maria’s weightlifting regimen and favorite bodyweight-only exercise.
  • [1:37:22] Designing content infrastructure to be evergreen.
  • [1:39:28] Cutting out the commentary contrarians.
  • [1:46:13] Scheduling social media.
  • [1:48:25] Coping with email — and sometimes snail mail.
  • [1:50:31] How to cultivate a personal inner circle and pre-screen book review requests.
  • [1:54:54] What donation model works best for site revenue?
  • [2:01:22] Recommended reading from [The Marginalian] and parting thoughts.


Connect with Jerry Seinfeld:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Connect with Maria Popova:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Threads


The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than one billion 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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Name: Tim Ferriss
Title: Author, Princeton University Guest Lecturer
Group: Random House/Crown Publishing
Dateline: San Francisco, CA United States
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