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Rick Rubin and Mary Karr (#745)
Tim Ferriss - Productivity, Digital Lifestyles and Entrepreneurship Tim Ferriss - Productivity, Digital Lifestyles and Entrepreneurship
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: San Francisco, CA
Tuesday, June 11, 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 #76 Rick Rubin on Cultivating World-Class Artists (Jay Z, Johnny Cash, etc.), Losing 100+ Pounds, and Breaking Down the Complexand episode #479 Mary Karr — The Master of Memoir on Creative Process and Finding Gifts in the Suffering.”

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.

This episode is brought to you by AG1 all-in-one nutritional supplement, Eight Sleep’s Pod 4 Ultra sleeping solution for dynamic cooling and heating, and LinkedIn Jobs recruitment platform with 1B+ users.

#745: Rick Rubin and Mary Karr

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


  • [05:11] Notes about this supercombo format.
  • [06:15] Enter Rick Rubin.
  • [07:58] How Rick lost over 135 pounds in his late 30s.
  • [16:03] How artists can hurdle the obstacles that hinder their best work.
  • [19:31] Where to find world-class contemporary music.
  • [20:24] Approaching music production with a fan’s-eye view.
  • [22:53] Recommended reading.
  • [24:22] Helping artists break their creative blocks.
  • [26:54] Rick’s advice for his younger selves.
  • [29:06] Why practicing self-kindness isn’t just nice — it’s a necessity.
  • [32:01] Enter Mary Karr.
  • [32:25] Growing up in “The Ringworm Belt.”
  • [34:44] The catalyst for Mary expressing herself and publishing to the world.
  • [37:47] The role reading played for young Mary.
  • [40:31] The feeling that inspired Mary’s desire to become a poet at a young age.
  • [44:27] “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.”
  • [45:17] How Mary, a high school dropout, got into college and became an A student.
  • [49:13] Mary’s struggle with bringing darkness with her even after leaving her traumatic past.
  • [53:23] The highly selective process for getting into Mary’s graduate seminar at Syracuse University.
  • [54:33] The first day of Mary’s class and what it illustrates about processing memoir-building memories.
  • [1:00:20] The value of a commonplace book and helping others find alternative perspectives.
  • [1:04:19] The importance and utility of prayer in Mary’s life and sobriety.
  • [1:17:09] The significance of Ignatian exercises in Mary’s Catholic faith and gratitude practice.
  • [1:23:10] Obligatory Texas talk about weaponry and hunting.
  • [1:26:41] The origins of Mary’s unique wordsmithing.
  • [1:34:24] Mary’s process of rough drafts, revision, and using past memories for storytelling.
  • [1:42:34] How Mary copes with the pain of dredging up memories through writing.
  • [1:46:09] Why Mary feels the happiest at 65 and her advice to her younger self about therapy.
  • [1:49:26] The most and least effective types of therapy for Mary.
  • [1:53:25] Mary’s solution to fear and getting through uncomfortable times.
  • [1:58:14] Recognizing the gifts from suffering through difficult times in retrospect.
  • [2:06:28] Mary’s billboard.
  • [2:07:35] Parting thoughts.


Connect with Rick Rubin:

Website | Twitter | Instagram

Connect with Mary Karr:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


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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