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Tucker Max Grows Up: How To Own Your Emotional Truth, Redefine Your Story & Find Happiness

By June 28, 2015January 19th, 202432 Comments

“All life really boils down to, for humans, are the relationships with the people you love and the things you do that matter to other people.”

Tucker Max

This week I’m going out on a limb.

When the opportunity arose to sit down with Tucker Max, I admit to a little discomfort and trepidation. On the one, hand, I was genuinely honored he was interested in doing the show. On the other hand, I wasn’t convinced he was the right fit for what I do.

To be sure, Tucker Max is a high performing super-achiever. He is incredibly bright. He is insanely accomplished. And he has millions of fans the world over. Nominated to TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential List” of 2009, Tucker’s first book I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell* was a #1 New York Times Bestseller, spent 5 years on the list and ultimately sold over 2 million copies. He followed it up with two more books, both of which were also New York Times Bestsellers. Perhaps most impressive? Tucker is one of only three writers — along with Malcolm Gladwell and Michael Lewis — to ever have three books on the New York Times Non-Fiction Bestseller List at the same time.

Tucker Max is a publishing juggernaut.

Irrespective of whatever opinion you may hold about the content of those books, you cannot deny that is a towering achievement.

However, it’s these very books, the fratire genre he singlehandedly birthed, and Tucker’s very public persona as America’s foremost bro — well known for his healthy ego, brash opinions and candid chronicling of his outlandish partying exploits – that gave me considered pause.

Do I really want to talk to a guy who wrote a book called Assholes Finish First?* It’s just not my scene. It’s not what I’m about. I don’t support those ideas. I’m not interested in that guy. It’s not me.

But what is interesting, and why I ultimately decided to go forward with this interview, is that’s not Tucker either. At least not any more.

The Tucker Max of today is not the same hard drinking, hard partying, womanizing Tucker Max that made him famous and rich.

In the wake of his staggering success, Tucker woke up to realize that all the material benefits he worked so hard to attain just weren’t quite all they were cracked up to be. None of it made him happy.

So what then? Ego must submit to introspection. Entering a period of honest self-reflection, Tucker took inventory of his life. He underwent psychological analysis. He asked himself the hard questions. What is truly important?

In a word, Tucker Max grew up.

Emerging from that former guy far more self-actualized, Tucker is telling a new story. Retired from fratire writing and the partying lifestyle, Tucker is now happily married (yes, monogamous) with Bishop, his newborn son. Today he is an angel investor and start up entrepreneur with a successful and exciting new venture designed to democratize publishing called Scribe Media (formerly Book In A Box). He co-founded and co-hosts The Mating Grounds, a popular podcast designed to help men have successful relationships with women. And September marks the release of his new book Mate*, focused on helping men find Miss Right not by being assholes, but by becoming the best version of themselves.

Trust me, the irony of this arc is hardly lost on Tucker.

Here’s the deal. If this podcast is about anything, it’s about transformation. Getting honest with yourself and owning your truth. It’s about evolving. Overcoming negative habits. Letting go of things that no longer serve you.

It’s about growth.

I was keen to explore these themes with Tucker. I really wanted to know why he decided to change. What prompted it and how he did it. I wanted to know how he currently perceives his past; and what he’s interested in now. Most all, I wanted to know what can be mined from his experience that can be of benefit for all of us.

Don’t get me wrong. Tucker is still Tucker. Dynamic, charismatic, razor sharp, opinionated, unapologetic and at times characteristically ribald. But I also found him to be highly engaging; poised and pleasantly introspective.

This is a conversation that explores:

  • law school & law firm truths
  • what it’s like to be successful yet unfulfilled
  • alcoholism – addiction or disease?
  • the benefits of psychoanalysis
  • the importance of meditation
  • finding your emotional truth
  • the power of storytelling
  • the trauma of parental narcissism
  • navigating anger issues
  • pair bonding
  • why publishing needs a reboot

Quick note: there are a few instances of explicit language and a couple off color stories. But hey, its Tucker Max. It goes with the territory. So maybe pop in the earbuds if you’re at work or driving around with the kiddos.

In all honesty, I really enjoyed this conversation. We had a great time. I sincerely hope you enjoy the exchange & look forward to your thoughts in the comments section below.

Peace + Plants,


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Production, music & sound design by Tyler Piatt. Additional production by Chris Swan. Graphic art by Shawn Patterson.


Connect With Tucker: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Background, Context & Reference:

Notable People Discussed In Today’s Podcast:

Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy:

*Disclosure:Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

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  • No no says:

    It’s ‘uncharted’ not ‘unchartered’.

  • Tommy F says:

    Grown-up.. perhaps. Transformed? I don’t believe so. I think Tucker settled down out of aging necessity and his girlfriend found a psychoanalyst to civilize him, so he’d continue bringing home $USD’s not STD’s. He didn’t really do the inside work (spiritual work), to truly transform. Psychoanalysis is a great intellectualizing tool, to reset the algorithm of your ego.. but not for coming to terms with it and ultimately overcoming it. Just my opinion though, as everyone has to experience their own individual journey from the inside, and I’m no-one to judge, as I have my own ego to overcome to realize enlightenment.

    The fact that he’s trivialized Yoga as “The Typical Easy Stuff” and battles his way through meditation, demonstrates how strong of a hold his ego has on him. I have compassion to his soul for his struggle and unawareness. He’s intellectualized that his ego is in control, and seems pretty dismissive of surrendering to a higher source. This is also evident as he creates a slippery slope to bi-pass the incredible healing power of AA (also a surrender to a higher source). There’s no gratitude in his words. There’s no remorse for the womanizing vibration he’s cast out into the world. Respect him as a “publishing juggernaut”? No thanks. This would be in the same spirit as idolizing Hugh Heffner and Larry Flint for de-volving the vibration of our world with their smut publishing. I’m just not down for that.

    Perhaps Tucker will eventually find his way back to the crossroad of the spiritual path.. but for now, it is evident he is far, far away from it. To hear Tucker’s giggle, as he reminisces about the womanizing expacades of his past, it’s evident that he’s “clinging” by living vicariously through his prior un-civilized ego. And he’s still profiting off of book sales, from this bad vibration he’s left out in our world.

    Rich.. your podcast is on another level. I absolutely love it! This particular one just didn’t have the same high vibration of the typical RRP.. Tales of extraordinary people doing inspirationally extraordinary things, in the spirit of surrendered transformation.
    Couldn’t get through this entire podcast. Look forward to the next one though! You are awesome!! 🙂


  • JasonRH says:

    I agree. Tucker Max grew up, but I don’t get the sense that Tucker Max transformed himself in the way it was presented. A lot of men in their college years and 20s sleep with a lot of women and party a lot. Just because they eventually get married and have a kid doesn’t mean they’ve changed.

  • Edward Stevens says:

    Who cares. He got a word wrong. How dare he. gheez man.

  • kaitbrady says:

    Wow. As a feminist, I kind of rolled my eyes when I saw his name come up, but I also had narcissistic parents and all of the difficulties that come with them. It turns out Max and I have much in common in terms of of our life trajectories.

    I can’t believe how much I learned about myself from this podcast. I think his experiences are very common, which is probably why so many young men have responded to his message and I’m glad to hear that he’s taking up really a feminist mantle of trying to teach men a new and better for of masculinity, different from our culture’s very destructive idea of what a man is.

  • Cara says:

    I agree with Jason & Tommy I felt the same thoughts about yoga, meditation, gratitude and much more in his conversational exchange.
    I was triggered in this conversation having recently split up from a disorderd man. From the pauses between the content and expression to the cadence and non verbal speak, I “heard” a lot more than the average person probably would.
    Having said that I still enjoyed the intellectual content.

  • Mitchell J. Katz says:

    I think Rich should have gone with his gut instincts and not bothered with this interview. Max’s opinions on many of the topics are no more Interesting than any other well read person, and on most of the topics evidently less informed. His opinion on addiction (“it is not a disease”) was laughable. I could not bring myself to listen to the entire podcast. Sorry Rich, but this one got away from you and there was no saving it.

  • Shane Kenney says:

    Simply put…as a proud Husband and Father I wouldn’t even consider listening to a second of this interview. I picked up his first book and refused to finish it. Pure filth. Bad call on this interview Rich. As you know I have many content choices. This won’t be one of them.

  • Robert Williger says:

    So you will judge without listening. I have not yet listened but intend to. I have heard Tucker Max on several other podcasts and I have found his change quite interesting. He acknowledges what he was when younger and how that wasn’t how he wanted to continue living.

    Rich, I haven’t been listening to the podcast as often as I am so overloaded on podcasts but actually saw this and am moving it up higher in my queue as I am sure it will be an interesting conversation.

  • VeloNomad says:

    Awesome interview.

    FWIW, his old stories, when I was in the same place (single) cracked me up.

  • Dean K says:

    I’m sorry Rich, like the others here, this one missed the mark for me – although I notice that this is one of your most commented on podcasts.

    During the first half it’s clear that he doesn’t really know much about you or what the podcast is about, and it’s listeners. He’s talking about meditation/yoga/addiction etc as though he’s teaching you something and telling you what it is and isn’t. I’m not sure how you felt during the interview but you seemed a little more ‘confrontational’ to what he was saying. Not aggressive but more disagreeing with his opinions and defensive against his nonsense. It seemed as though you were feeling that he was talking shit too.

    Tucker is one of those people who talks very fast and says lots of words, but most of it has little meaning. When pushed on specifics he is unable to provide them, when a counter is levy towards the things he says he agrees with that too. Basically trying to bamboozle people into thinking he’s cleaver/important by speaking fast and using the gift of the gab.

    He has obviously used this ability to his advantage, and fair play to him for that, but for me, this was well below par on the normal fantastic guests you have, and the amazing vibes you normally put out.

    Anyway, thanks for the great work you do. Please don’t get Dan Bilzerian on next week ;o)

  • Lisa says:

    The thing I really like about this interview is that it has sparked some debate. Learning means being open minded and hearing opposing view points. This can either reafirm your point of view, or maybe there can be a shift. I am not in any way saying that one should beilieve any one thing, but if you are not informed can you really have an opinion?
    We all have our journey, hopefully we are striving to better ourselves, by having a conversations like this one can grow and change.

  • Edward Stevens says:

    Agreed 100%. Rich, you have so many authentic, genuine people on your show. The well adjusted adults that listen to your show saw through this guy in about ten minutes. It was a good reminder to us all though to appreciate the really great guests you have on.

  • Joe Conti says:

    As a 25 year old currently studying for the bar exam this was an outstanding interview. Luckily I am doing patent prosecution so it does change frequently and you are actually helping, not just pushing document. This is my first rich interview and will be listening to more. The point that gets made by Tucker on this podcast and many other interviews is that you should not have to justify your actions at that given moment if it makes you happy.

    Sleeping with a lot of women made him happy when he was 23. Sleeping with one women and having a child makes him happy at 40 and there is nothing wrong with that. I think Rich and Tucker combined did an really good job exposing each others method of helping themselves and realizing that there is not a one size fits all model for helping people.

    For example, I think it is fair for Tucker to criticize the AA model alcoholics. The relapse rate is really high on AA and it is fair to ask and question if there are other ways to change the lives of those who suffer from alcohol dependency. It is also fair for Rich to question the finishing and methods of stopping psychoanalysis. It shows that there is a one size fits all model for any treatment and you cannot assume those providing treatment actually help you.

  • Alix says:

    Please interview James McWilliams. He’s brilliant. An activist and an ultrarunner.

  • Laura K says:

    Completely agree with Tommy. I love the RRP and always have found it educational or uplifting or both, but Tucker Max was neither. His dismissive attitude towards AA and addiction was very disappointing, as was his over-relishing and over-emphasizing his sexual conquests. I felt like he was on the show as a way to promote his Book in a Box company, and that part of the discussion was actually the most sincere in my opinion.

    Please return to guests who can educate, inform or inspire. Not promote a business for CEOs to enhance their careers and wax longingly about sexual conquests.

    How about getting Hillary Biscay back on the show? THAT is an inspirational guest!

  • mich says:

    Hi Rich,
    I’m sorry but I couldn’t listen anymore! Its funny, I had just finished listening to the episode with the lovely Julie, which of course was great,
    then thought I’d listen to Tucker Max….I have to say I kind of felt uncomfortable. After 15 minutes or so I realised that I wasn’t enjoying the conversation and that I could turn it off…so I did. Sorry, I love your work but this one, not so much.

  • Jennifer Charpentier says:

    Thank you Rich for being willing to go in a direction you wouldn’t typically travel with your podcast and dialogue with a guest who is a bit outside of the comfort zone. For me, whenever I stretch beyond my boundaries I find out more useful stuff about myself and my world. I find out what works for me and what doesn’t. I don’t have a definitive judgement about the show or your guest, Tucker Max, other than to say I got about an hour into it and realized I can turn it off, so I did. Not my typical response to your show. Usually I listen to your podcast while I am working out or when I am at work, pushing through estate planning and entity documents (ironically, I am a legal assistant in a non-litigating, contractual law firm – good to know I will still have a job when AI takes over!). To me, as a recovering alcoholic, I can’t afford to entertain the seductive idea that through sheer willpower or self realization I can control or stop my drinking. So today my solution is to change the channel. I think I will switch over to the “ask me anything” segment with you and Julie. A much better fit for me at this point in my life. Keep up the good and challenging work!

  • Cindy says:

    i really couldn´t finish either

  • Jeff says:

    Sometimes you take a chance and hit it big (Tom Hardin) and sometimes you don’t (Tucker Max). Oh well. Tucker is not my cup of tea, but I appreciate your effort to broaden the podcast. I know he’s a favorite of James Altucher, so I get how the link was made. It was an interesting experiment having him on your show. Thanks for taking a chance and I look forward to the next person outside of your normal rhelm.

  • june2 says:

    The whole point is that Tucker went through an
    amazing transformation – what’s not inspiring about that?? Rich would have been unlikely to publish the podcast if the guy didn’t
    have a story to share…

    Listening to people with very different opinions or lifestyles specifically to hear why and how they are managing with it and to helps one see things from another facet of the gemstone we call life. It’s one way to deepen our understanding of the world and its people. I really recommend giving that a try opposed to judging when you haven’t even listened to his story. It’s almost always worth it to peek for a moment into a success story from a world outside your own!

  • tunie says:

    What was the company he said he invests in locally? Somewhere around min. 49. Thank you!

  • Anon says:

    AI: Why is Elon Musk building a space escape as fast as he can if he isn’t worried? He has said publicly THAT was his original motivation.

    Read the superbly researched Wait But Why blog post on AI. Supercedes human intelligence by 100,000x inside 10 years according the the exponential curve. So. Yeah. Craig Ventor is gonna sink us all if someone doesn’t check him…

  • Patricia says:

    I appreciate your taking a risk, Rich, and I thought you handled this interview superbly. Your laugh when Max declared that “alcoholism isn’t a disease” was priceless (so genuine). I aspire to your ability not to take things personally! (But you did set him straight on some things, too, which was good to hear.) Unfortunately, I didn’t get much more out of it. Despite his flashy brain and successful career, at the level of personal development he seems very, very ordinary. Even his desire to improve the world by making information accessible seems superficial (to my mind). He said that future generations would wonder how we let so much “knowledge” disappear without capturing it (important things like how to build a pop-up business? this is what future generations will wonder about?). In contrast, I think future generations will wonder why we prioritized the sharing of this type of “knowledge” over ensuring a habitable planet, for starters. Humility. Our species needs a ton more humility. (P.S. His son is super cute.)

  • Mandy says:

    I love your podcasts, Rich. This one too with Tucker Max who I had never heard of. I really enjoyed it. Listening to other peoples’ life stories is so very interesting and thought provoking and widens the view of our small worlds. Thanks for all you do Rich.

  • Chris says:

    Rich, I enjoyed the podcast. I had heard of Tucker but had never read his books so I came in with a pretty open mind. It was a very interesting interview although I started getting the feeling that like many smart people, Tucker seems to think his experiences and ideas were the correct ones and that other experiences and ideas were not. He seems hyper-focused on his own life and not very interested in others. I like when you step outside the box and interview people that don’t fit the plant based mold.

  • I enjoy most of you interview very much. The one with Tucker was out of the box and a departure from the norm but I was thoroughly engaged. I did notice that his machismo and big ego seemed to bring that out of you as well. I think at this point you can let the guests speak more and guide them with questions instead of continually sharing your journey in every interview. Don’t get me wrong I love your story, I’ve got your books and am a subscriber but when you have a guest on I want more of them and less of you… Hope that is taken with the air of love and respect that is intended.

  • Jason Stefanko says:

    At a much different time in my life I read and very much enjoyed Tuckers books. I was shocked, surprised and intrigued to see Tucker featured on the RRP. After resisting for a couple of weeks my curiosity got the better of me. Wow was I surprised at how good this conversation was! Brilliant interview! I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that Tucker has so much enthusiasm, intelligence and entrepreneurial spirt. Rich as usual was great at making the interview well balanced, he stepped in when he needed to to challenge some of Tuckers confident opinions and outlooks. A very different interview for the podcast and a nice change to break up some of the usual (awesome) themes, this episode was definitely worth my 2 hours.

  • Caitlin says:

    I totally agree. I could not get through this one. Every word out of this guy’s mouth made me cringe. Then I made the mistake of going to his website…

  • Kris McPeak says:

    I was intrigued, as well, to see Tucker Max as one of your guests. I haven’t read his books but I did see the film I HOPE THEY SERVE BEER IN HELL that Matt Czuchry starred in before he was in THE GOOD WIFE….fun movie….but I digress. However, I had to turn the podcast off with about 30 minutes to go because I got so tired of Tucker talking over you. He may be a grown up now, but I think he’s still a narcissist. You, however, did a brilliant job of keeping it together and trying to draw more out of him than his rants. I adore your show have learned so much – this is my first time commenting 🙂

  • Thomas says:

    My favorite episode so far by far!

  • Scott says:

    This was pretty bad. It was clear his only reason for being there was trying to sell his new book writing business to your audience. I think he’s still in need of a transformation.

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