“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.”
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 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.
Background, Context & Reference:
- The Mating Grounds Podcast
- I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell* by Tucker Max
- Assholes Finish First* by Tucker Max
- Hilarity Ensues* by Tucker Max
- Sloppy Seconds* by Tucker Max
- Assholes Finish First* by Tucker Max
- Mate: Become the Man Women Want* by Tucker Max
- When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice For Difficult Times* by Pema Chödrön
- The Trauma of Everyday Life *by Mark Epstein, MD
- Get Some Headspace: How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life in 10 Minutes A Day* by Andy Puddicombe
- The Buddha in Blue Jeans * by Tai Sheridan
- The Unquiet Mind * by Kay Redfield Jamison
- How Tucker Max Got Rejected by Publishing and Still Hit #1 on the New York Times Best Seller List by Tucker Max
- HuffPost: Why You Should Not Go to Law School by Tucker Max
- Forbes: Tucker Max Gives Up the Game: What Happens When a Bestselling Player Stops Playing? by Michael Ellsberg
- LinkedIn: This Investor’s Strategy To Share His Conference Is Your Next Marketing Lesson by Tucker Max
- NYTimes: If an Algorithm Wrote This, How Would You Even Know? by Shelley Podolny
- UK: IBM’s Watson is better at diagnosing cancer than human doctors by Ian Steadman
- Headspace Meditation App: iTunes | Google Play | Amazon
- Blow* starring Johnny Depp & directed by Ted Demme
Notable People Discussed In Today’s Podcast:
- Robin Dunbar
- Watson (computer)
- Sam Harris
- Andy Puddicombe
- Pema Chödrön
- Scott Jurek
- Murray Gell-Mann
- Jeffrey Miller, PhD
- Khalil Rafati
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 Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
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