Home > NewsRelease > Jim Collins and Ed Zschau (#741)
Jim Collins and Ed Zschau (#741)
Tim Ferriss - Productivity, Digital Lifestyles and Entrepreneurship Tim Ferriss - Productivity, Digital Lifestyles and Entrepreneurship
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: San Francisco, CA
Wednesday, May 29, 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 #361 “Jim Collins — A Rare Interview with a Reclusive Polymath” and #380 “Ed Zschau — The Polymath Professor Who Changed My Life.”

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.

Brought to you by Eight Sleep’s Pod 4 Ultra sleeping solution for dynamic cooling and heating, AG1 all-in-one nutritional supplement, and LMNT electrolyte supplement.

#741: Jim Collins and Ed Zschau

This episode is brought to you by AG1! I get asked all the time, “If you could use only one supplement, what would it be?” My answer is usually AG1, 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 AG1 further covers my bases with vitamins, minerals, and whole-food-sourced micronutrients that support gut health and the immune system. 

Right now, you’ll get a 1-year supply of Vitamin D free with your first subscription purchase—a vital nutrient for a strong immune system and strong bones. Visit DrinkAG1.com/Tim to claim this special offer today and receive your 1-year supply of Vitamin D (and 5 free AG1 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 daily, foundational nutrition supplement that supports whole-body health.

This episode is brought to you by LMNTWhat is LMNT? It’s a delicious, sugar-free electrolyte drink mix. I’ve stocked up on boxes and boxes of this and usually use it 1–2 times per day. LMNT is formulated to help anyone with their electrolyte needs and perfectly suited to folks following a keto, low-carb, or Paleo diet. If you are on a low-carb diet or fasting, electrolytes play a key role in relieving hunger, cramps, headaches, tiredness, and dizziness.

LMNT came up with a very special offer for you, my dear listeners. For a limited time, you can get a free LMNT Sample Pack with any purchase. This special offer is available here: DrinkLMNT.com/Tim.

This episode is brought to you by Eight Sleep! Temperature is one of the main causes of poor sleep, and heat is my personal nemesis. I’ve suffered for decades, tossing and turning, throwing blankets off, pulling them back on, and repeating ad nauseam. But a few years ago, I started using the Pod Cover, and it has transformed my sleep. Eight Sleep has launched their newest generation of the Pod: Pod 4 Ultra. I’m excited to test it out. It cools, it heats, and now it elevates, automatically. With the best temperature performance to date, Pod 4 Ultra ensures you and your partner stay cool, even in a heatwave. Plus, it automatically tracks your sleep time, snoring, sleep stages, and HRV, all with high precision. For example, their heart rate tracking is at an incredible 99% accuracy.

Pod 4 Ultra also introduces an adjustable Base that fits between your mattress and your bed frame to add custom positions for the best sleeping experience. Plus, it automatically reduces your snoring when detected. Just add it easily onto any bed. 

And now, listeners of The Tim Ferriss Show can get $350 off of the Pod 4 Ultra for a limited time! Click here to claim this deal and unlock your full potential through optimal sleep.

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


  • [05:00] Notes about this supercombo format.
  • [06:03] Enter Jim Collins.
  • [06:28] How Jim’s students influenced his entrepreneurial path.
  • [10:45] Why Jim carries a three-timer stopwatch.
  • [12:21] Using a spreadsheet to optimize discipline in service of creativity.
  • [13:42] Ideal minimum creative hours per year.
  • [15:19] Avoiding a life-distorting “funk.”
  • [17:41] Calculating an optimal end point.
  • [19:27] Patterns discovered using Jim’s time-tracking method.
  • [20:23] Three crucial components for living the life Jim wants to lead.
  • [22:18] The bug book and the hedgehog concept.
  • [30:31] Peter Drucker mic-drop lessons.
  • [34:39] Enter Ed Zschau.
  • [34:59] How I convinced Dr. Zschau to let me into his Princeton engineering course.
  • [37:38] Ed’s background in competitive figure skating and the lessons it taught him.
  • [41:45] The origin of Ed’s meticulous attention to detail.
  • [45:31] The benefits of learning by doing through the case method.
  • [49:21] Ed’s definition of entrepreneurship.
  • [50:50] The role of optimism in entrepreneurship and life.
  • [53:30] Ed’s aspirations as a teenager and young adult.
  • [55:32] What drew Ed to Princeton as an aspiring physics philosopher.
  • [58:21] How Ed got into teaching and his belief that career planning is overrated.
  • [1:03:37] How Ed learned to become a good teacher and the influence of extemporaneous speaking.
  • [1:06:53] Lessons from extemporaneous speaking competitions about preparation and adaptation.
  • [1:11:04] Ed’s thoughts on focusing for extended periods versus opening himself to opportunities.
  • [1:13:06] Ed’s decision to run for Congress.
  • [1:17:57] Advantages of committing to a maximum of three terms in the House of Representatives.
  • [1:21:29] Ed’s experience and self-reflection after losing his Senate race.
  • [1:23:40] Ed’s decision process when transitioning from investor to CEO.
  • [1:26:05] Differentiating between high-impact commitments and peer pressure.
  • [1:29:41] Comparing Ed’s parenting style to his teaching style.
  • [1:31:17] Ed’s belief in encouragement over direction and his own upbringing.
  • [1:34:45] The origin of Ed’s goal to live a life that matters.
  • [1:37:05] Influential books and recommendations for aspiring entrepreneurs.
  • [1:42:05] Ed’s current excitement and efforts to make higher education affordable through technology.
  • [1:48:37] The mantra by which Ed lives his life and his childhood nickname.
  • [1:50:57] How Ed brings the sound of music to his endeavors.
  • [1:57:34] Ed’s influence on others to continue his work of changing the world.
  • [1:59:40] Parting thoughts.


Connect with Jim Collins:

Website | Twitter | Facebook


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.

Pickup Short URL to Share
News Media Interview Contact
Name: Tim Ferriss
Title: Author, Princeton University Guest Lecturer
Group: Random House/Crown Publishing
Dateline: San Francisco, CA United States
Jump To Tim Ferriss - Productivity, Digital Lifestyles and Entrepreneurship Jump To Tim Ferriss - Productivity, Digital Lifestyles and Entrepreneurship
Contact Click to Contact
Other experts on these topics