Derek Sivers

Derek Sivers podcast

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Season 3

make believe

Kids scream, “Monster in the hallway!”, and hide behind the couch. They stack up cushions for protection, and plan their defense. They know it’s not true — there’s not really a monster in the hallway — but it’s exciting to feel the adrenaline of panic, then make a shelter and feel safe.

a daily run, part two

In my previous post, “a daily run” — (please read it first) — running was a metaphor for whatever actions you take in your life. The story is about how we choose beliefs because they’re useful, not true. Beliefs make emotions. Emotions make actions.

a daily run, part one

Every day you go on a long run through the forest.

Your explanations are not true

We all confabulate without realizing it.

shortest date, and ketchup

Here’s a story about my shortest date, and ketchup.

Anything You Want — third edition for 2022

In 2011, I got a phone call from a number I didn’t recognize.

scuba, panic, empathy

I used to scoff at those people who had panic attacks. “The cake is late! Oh no! I’m freaking out! I can’t breathe!” Ridiculous. Hysterical. Over-reacting.

writing one sentence per line

My advice to anyone who writes: Try writing one sentence per line. I’ve been doing it for twenty years, and it improved my writing more than anything else.

the joke that changed my life

Growing up in America, I didn’t know much about other cultures.

Ancestors, Luck, and Descendants

My Sivers ancestors came from Grantham, Lincolnshire, England on a boat to America in 1849. The boat crashed on rocks in the Irish sea, caught fire in the Atlantic Ocean, got pushed off course repeatedly by storms, and finally landed in New Orleans after two months. New Orleans was overcome with cholera, so they hopped a steam boat up the Mississippi River to St. Louis. Cholera killed nine passengers and the pilot of the boat. Days after they arrived in St. Louis, the city caught fire so they escaped in a covered wagon to Glenwood Iowa, finally arriving after three more months. In 1890, one of their sons ventured to the wild west of Colorado to pursue an opportunity.

Why I left America

I was living on the beach in Santa Monica, California, and life was perfect. I was in paradise, and deeply happy.

Considerate book pricing

I love having my own store so I can make things the way I think they should be.

How many pets do you have?

I used to have too many pets.

$250K books sold. $250K to save lives.

Six weeks ago I emailed my private email list with a secret link to buy my new books.

Season 2

Transformative Principal: Jethro Jones

On education, parenting, and encouraging focus

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Productivityist: Mike Vardy

Why I don’t like holidays, How to Live, how constraints give you more freedom

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The Speaking Show: David Newman

Making a shift in your life, goals, a specific plan to only do what makes you happy, being rich

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Long Distance Love Bombs: Jeremy Goldberg

Big fun questions. Five types of thinking and how to improve them, achieving success and motivation, deliberate daydreaming.

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Pausecast: Rachel O’Meara

A guided pause, living life as a series of grand experiments, asking yourself questions, possible futures, and the Muppets

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Elevate Podcast: Robert Glazer

Success, radical honesty, doing the things that scare you, why I love changing my mind

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Vitamin Joy: Shelby Stanger

How to say no, the importance of reflection, and joy.

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Cold Email Outreach: Jeremy Chatelaine and Jack Reamer

Tips on connecting with people through email.

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On the Map Music: T. Jay Johnson

Why music can’t speak for itself, never underestimate the power of imitating a great song, why I love the underrated, behind the scenes heroes in music.

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Knowledge Project: Shane Parrish

Directives, 2¢, reading, mental models, Tony Robbins, living a meaningful life and the biggest mistake I ever made

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Far Out: Julie-Roxane Krikorian and Alasdair Plambeck

Local vs. global, why we travel, singing the counter melody, freedom, expired identities.

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Disruptive Entrepreneur: Rob Moore

Fun questions. Ideas versus execution, why business is about being generous, amplifying your niche, my one wish for everyone on the Internet.

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Erno Hannink Show: Erno Hannink

Being prepared for the worst, why I like email, writing, being succinct

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Ali Abdaal: Deep Dive

One of my favorite people. On friendship, writing, music, goals, and more. My last interview of the season.

Notes at notion.soor subscribe to Ali at YouTube.

Inside Education: Seán Delaney

Education and learning. Why being smart is a choice, the qualities of a great teacher, how I learn, focus, tech independence, my future projects.

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You are techY: Ellen Twomey

Women in tech, parenting + learning, procrastination, goals, and tech independence.

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What You Will Learn: Adam Ashton

Fun conversation. Reading, what makes a great book, the definition of a philosopher, how to get rich, being meta-considerate.

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Music Tech Fest: Andrew Dubber

Music, CD Baby, my past, etc.

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Inspired Money: Andy Wang

How to be wealthy at $500/month, focus time vs making time, and what's enough.

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Yo! Podcast: Rob Hope

Wonderful conversation with lots of music references. Why your favorite things are magic spells, Hendrix is like Darwin, and you should remove the marketing from your website.

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Yoga Talks: J Brown

On balance, viewpoints, play, formative times, screen time, focus, curiosity, self-expansion

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Famous Failures: Orzan Varol

Dealing with criticism, how quantity leads to quality, separating decisions from the outcomes, why I don’t believe in failure.

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Flowgrade: Max Gotzler

How to maintain flow and keep your momentum, How to Live, time and schedules

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Live Your Mission: Peter Awad

Great interview with smart questions. How to make the difficult things fun, my thoughts on money, failure, finding your mission.

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Live Wild or Die: Dan Vinson

Fitness, consumerism, creative travel, how to live, school, hot-and-cold, discipline, and the importance of nature.

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Smart Brand Marketing: Tom Libelt

Centered around a topic I really care about: focus and distraction. Tips for eliminating distractions, monk mode, when playing hooky is a good thing, why we should commit to a problem but not the solution, building willpower and discipline, deliberate consumption

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Balancing Dads: Mike McQuaid and Paul Campbell

The most I’ve ever talked about parenting. Fun conversation.

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Renaissance Life: Josh Waggoner

A travel alternative, being creative, making money, serving others, finding the opposite point of view

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The Darius Foroux Show: Darius Foroux

Caring about the things no one else cares about, solitude, why I enjoy changing my mind, knowing when to quit, why no one invites me to parties

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Indie Music Marketing: Richard Hearn

Timeless marketing strategies for artists: Launch before you’re ready, let people see you improve, keep in touch with hundreds of people, remember that marketing is the last extension of your art

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Gap Year for Grown-Ups: Debbie Weil

Why I respond to every email, ignoring the daily and looking at the big picture instead, why difficult times are great catalysts for personal reinvention.

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Modern Wisdom: Chris Williamson

Smart conversation. Why minimalism is considerate, how to make your website future-proof, how to stop procrastinating, achieving excellence, why truth isn’t succinct, why I’m self-publishing

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Making It: Chris Goyzueta

Fun conversation about music. Creative ways to pursue your music career, developing an alter ego, mastering distraction, how the only wrong choice is to do nothing, faking it as an introvert, mentors.

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Misfits: Bryan Victor Lim

48 rapid-fire questions about dating, Singapore, value, and life

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Productivity for Perfectionists: Deborah Hurwitz

The difference between what you want now and what you want most, letting go of goals, getting things done, why I’m never busy, when to focus and when to explore

Future Thinkers: Mike Gilliland and Euvie Ivanova

Really fun conversation. Lots of topics I rarely talk about. Building your values, learning and growth, How to Live and my directives, leaving a legacy through what you create, being a life explorer, minimalism

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Asia Professional Speakers Singapore: APSS

Private call to an association of professional speakers. Tips for giving a good talk, building an audience, keeping people surprised, being social as an introvert, sharing one idea at a time, how inspiration meets us halfway

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Jordan Paris: Growth Mindset University

Introversion, world travel, writing, learning & creating as ultimate values, and a new definition of retirement

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Erich Wenzel: Feeding Curiosity

Different approaches to curiosity, self-reliance, becoming a world citizen, seeing things from a different point of view

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Matt Ward: The Disruptors

Our competitive advantage over AI, minimalism, why you should think like a geologist with technology, and more

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Mojo Radio: Gary and Robbo

Beliefs expire. Add value to others. Understand what works for you. You don’t need more. Operating at a different pace, and more. Fun talk.

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Brian Funk: Music Production

Making music and the creative process. Really fun conversation.

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Jovana Miljanovic: Podcast

Changing identities, tea, thinking through things slowly, why you shouldn’t be attached to plans

Scott Perry: Creative on Purpose

How goals shape our actions, accidental success, work as a public service, Sethlings, and listening to your audience.

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John Fitch: Time Off

subtracting to add value, unlearning, play as work, shallow happy vs. deep happy, doing what you want most

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Jeremy Ryan Slate: Create Your Own Life

Living abroad, Stoicism, why you should write your own autobiography

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Cathy Heller: Don’t Keep Your Day Job

Great conversation on letting go of goals, developing laser focus for the most impact, finding a different angle on perseverance, questioning your own answers

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Sam Matla: EDM Prod

Music: creative process, motivation, originality, and smart career building.

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Amy Jo Martin: Why Not Now

on slow thinking, how actions reveal your true values, goal-letting vs. goal-setting

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Ariel Hyatt: Cyber PR Music

First interview in over three years. About being an introvert in the music industry, finding balance as a creative, the benefits of a stage name, and conferences.

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Season 1

Time is personal. Your year changes when your life changes.

A new day begins when I wake up, not at midnight.

That’s version infinity. First launch version 0.1.

I hear lots of business plans.

Is there such a thing as too much freedom?

I’ve always used freedom as the compass to guide my decisions.


Watch Elizabeth Gilbert’s great TED talk called “Your elusive creative genius”.

How to take a compliment

You would think this would be a basic life skill, but it seems almost nobody knows it, so please spread the word.

And if only 1% of those people…

A musician had manufactured 10,000 copies of his CD in anticipation of 10,000 orders that were sure to come through that week.

How I became Ryuichi Sakamoto’s guitarist

In 1991 I was 22 years old, and had moved to New York City to be a professional musician.

Sammy Cahn said thank you

In 1990, at the age of 20, I moved to New York City and got a job as the tape room guy for Warner/Chappell Music Publishing.

Human Intervention as a Competitive Advantage

The listening algorithm

Experiments in music and life

One approach to music is to do whatever you want.

Cross the world four times

Cross the world four times.

My old clothes don’t fit

I was uncomfortable, unhappy, and restless.

The art of selfishness

David grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, with five brothers and sisters.

Doors and windows and what’s real

Like everyone, I live in a little house with many doors and windows.

Benefits of a daily diary and topic journals

You know those people whose lives are transformed by meditation or yoga or something like that?

How I got rich on the other hand

I don’t usually talk about money, but a friend asked me what it was like to get rich, and he wanted to know specifics, so I told him my story.

When in doubt, try the difference

If you’re in doubt about something that’s not in your life, try it.

Why experts are annoying

When someone becomes an expert at something, you know what else they become?

What you learn by travelling

I wanted to learn about the world, so I went travelling.

PostgreSQL example of self-contained stored procedures

First, see my previous article about PostgreSQL functions at

Mastery school

Here’s an idea.

Monthly self-expansion project

Here’s an idea.

Living according to your hierarchy of values

My “daily” blog was silent the last four days, because I took my kid on a spontaneous trip to another country.

How to ask your mentors for help

I have three mentors.

When you win the game, you stop playing

Someone asked me today why I don’t charge money for the things I do.

Digital pollution

You couldn’t just roll down the street leaving huge piles of garbage everywhere you go, making life slower for everyone as they climb over your mountains of junk, just to get on with their life.

Cut out everything that’s not surprising

This is my advice to anyone writing something for the public — especially a talk on stage.

Heed your fears

People often ask me how they can get over their fears.

Daydreaming is my favorite pastime

Somewhere in our past, we were told it’s bad to daydream, because it meant doing nothing — staring out the window — instead of doing what we’re supposed to be doing.


I don’t know why I have this rebellious nature.

Where we do and don’t want automation

I used to use Gmail.

Human nature to focus on the one bad thing

Today my bus was delayed, and I was really annoyed.

Back and forth between super-hot and super-cold

The most relaxed feeling I know is after going back and forth between a super-hot pool and super cold pool.

Err on the side of action, to test theories

I spend a lot time thinking of alternate ways to approach life.

Blowing off work to play

What do you call it when you skip school or work for a day, to do whatever you want instead?

What happens when we ignore plans?

I took my 7-year-old to London today.

Tour -isms

Since I’m living in Europe now, I thought it would be good to tour everywhere in Europe, and get to know it better.


My friend has a huge crush on someone.

Daydreaming the downside, for once

A few years ago, I thought it would be fun to get into camping.

Where to find the hours to make it happen

When you experience someone else’s genius work, a little part of you feels, “That’s what I could have, would have, and should have done!”

Your heroes show which way you’re facing

People with many interests often ask my advice on which industry or career path they should follow.

Don’t quote. Make it yours and say it yourself.

Which sounds better to you?

Have a private email account

I used to like the internet.

Future posthumous autobiography

I’ve started writing my autobiography.

What I did belies why

Imagine you host a dinner party with two doctors and two accountants.

Would you make your art if you were the last person on earth?

Musicians, photographers, writers, and artists of all sorts…

Travel without social praise

I met a couple who were thinking of quitting their jobs and travelling the world for a year.

Travel without a phone

The first time, it was an accident.


I’m starting a podcast today.