#395 – Walter Isaacson — Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Einstein, Da Vinci & Ben Franklin - Lex Fridman Podcast ![rw-book-cover|200x400](https://wsrv.nl/?url=https%3A%2F%2Flexfridman.com%2Fwordpress%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2Fpowerpress%2Fartwork_3000-230.png&w=100&h=100) ## Metadata - Author: **Lex Fridman Podcast** - Full Title: #395 – Walter Isaacson — Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Einstein, Da Vinci & Ben Franklin - Category: #podcasts - URL: https://share.snipd.com/episode/940e78ae-2504-497a-91d0-ba52d4ecfdab ## Highlights - A New Podcast Merch Store: Shopify Makes Selling Easy Key takeaways: - There is now an official podcast Shopify store at luxfredement.com/store. - Setting up the store was incredibly easy. - Shopify makes it easier to sell things. - Some successful individuals have had happy childhoods. Transcript: Speaker 2 Myself and say that there's now a official podcast Shopify store. You can go there by clicking on I think luxfredement.com slash store and it'll take you there and it was so incredibly easy to set up. It just works. In this case, I'm just selling t-shirts, but it was so easy to go from zero to hero, although I never quite got to hero, but get the store set up super easy. I love it. So if you want to get the merch for this podcast, you can go there and get merch for all kinds of podcasts and all kinds of things by going to all the amazing stores that Shopify supports. I mean, it just really makes it easier to sell stuff. So if you have stuff to sell, I highly recommend Shopify is obviously the thing you should be using to sell that stuff. Sign up for a $1 per month trial period at Shopify.com slash Lex. All lowercase, go to Shopify.com slash Lex to take your business to the next level today. This is the Lex Friedman podcast. To support it, please check out our sponsors in the description. And now, dear friends, here's Walter Isaacson. What is the role of a difficult childhood in the lives of great men and women, great minds? Is that a requirement? Is it a catalyst? Or is it just a simple coincidence of fate? Speaker 1 Well, it's not a requirement. Some people with happy childhood do quite well. ([Time 0:09:14](https://share.snipd.com/snip/ac2bfc0c-3cb4-408f-851f-26e219e2c5f5)) - The Influence of Childhood on Drive and Ambition Key takeaways: - Many of us may relate to the idea of having a gentle and kind upbringing. - A supportive upbringing may contribute to a less driven personality. - Having fewer childhood difficulties can lead to being an observer rather than a doer. - Respecting those who actively engage in challenging pursuits is important. Transcript: Speaker 2 To a degree is that true for many of us, do you think? Speaker 1 I think it's true, but in many different ways. I'll say something personal, which is I was blessed and perhaps it's a bit of a downside too. But the fact that I had the greatest father you could ever imagine and mother, they were the kindest people you'd ever want to meet. I grew up in a magical place in New Orleans. My dad was an engineer, an electrical engineer. And you know, he was always kind. Perhaps I'm not quite as driven or as crazed. I don't have to prove things. So I get to write about Elon Musk. I get to write about Einstein or Steve Jobs or Leonardo Da Vinci, who as you know, was totally torn by demons and had different difficult childhood situations, not even legitimized By his father. So sometimes those of us who are lucky enough to have really gentle, sweet childhood, we grew up with fewer demons, but we grew up with fewer drives. And we end up maybe being Boswell and not being Dr. Johnson. We end up being the observer, not being the doer. And so I always respect those who are in the arena. ([Time 0:16:34](https://share.snipd.com/snip/dd366f39-2b53-465d-acf8-ae32f77f9726)) - Harnessing your demons and knowing your strengths Key takeaways: - All individuals, regardless of their childhood, have internal struggles. - It is important to understand and control one's personal demons. - Self-awareness and recognizing personal strengths are beneficial. - Examples such as Elon Musk and Leonardo DaVinci illustrate the importance of these principles. Transcript: Speaker 2 One other aspect of this, given a difficult childhood, whether it's Elon or DaVinci, I wonder if there's some wisdom, some advice almost that you can draw, that you can give to people With difficult childhoods. Speaker 1 I think all of us have demons, even those of us who grew up in a magical part of New Orleans with sweet parents. Yes. And we have demons. And rule one in life is harness your demons. Know that you're ambitious or not ambitious or lazy or whatever. Leonardo DaVinci knew he was a procrastinator. I think it's useful to know what to eat in that you, know how to harness it. Also know what you're good at. I'll take Musk as another example. ([Time 0:18:52](https://share.snipd.com/snip/34d5b1a4-106b-4061-b962-d8d60fe42fa3)) ## New highlights added September 17, 2023 at 9:58 PM - Pushing Forward with Confidence and Adventure Key takeaways: - Pushing forward with a vision requires confidence and an interesting evolution. - Being adventurous is necessary for taking risks and exploring unknown territories. - Iterative brain cycles, processing information, and feedback loops are essential for success. - Taking risks can result in failures and things blowing up, but it's important to learn from them. - Fear of failure can hinder progress and innovation. Transcript: Speaker 2 Like push forward with a vision there's an interesting to watch that kind of evolution as long as it's backed by this confidence there are a couple of things that are required for that Speaker 1 One is being adventurous one doesn't enter a dark room without a flashlight and a map unless you're a risk taker unless you're adventurous the second is to have iterative brain cycles Where you can process information and do a feedback loop and make it work the third and this is what we fail to do a lot in the United States and perhaps around the world is when you take risks You have to realize you're going to blow things up you know first three rockets that the falcon rocket that must does they blow up even starship three and a half minutes but then it blows Up the first time so i think Boeing and NASA and others have become unwilling to enter your dark room without knowing exactly where the exit is and the ([Time 0:46:56](https://share.snipd.com/snip/9074c0f3-5c98-4b27-8632-bcfb9b21516c)) - The Importance of Deleting and Hiring A Players for Success Key takeaways: - An algorithm is used to determine how much to delete when revising content. - It is important to add back 20% of what was deleted during the revision process. - Deleting too much shows a lack of confidence and may require hiring more people to compensate. - Hiring highly skilled individuals sends a strong message to the team. - The success of Elon Musk and Steve Jobs can be attributed to their ability to build and manage great teams. - Steve Jobs considered the team that created products to be his greatest achievement. Transcript: Speaker 1 Too much i think that he has an algorithm that we mentioned earlier that begins with question every requirement but it's up to his delete delete delete delete every part and then a corollary To that is if you don't end up adding back 20 percent of what you deleted then you didn't delete enough in the first round because you were too timid well so he asked me did he overdo it he Probably overdid it by 20 percent which is his formula and they're probably trying to hire people now to keep things going but it sends a strong signal to people that are hired back or The people that are still there the the a-pier idea and what Steve Jobs and many other great leaders felt and certainly vazos and certainly in the early days of microsoft bill gates it Speaker 2 Was hardcore only a players so how much of elan success would you say elan's and uh Steve Jobs's success is the hiring and managing of great teams when i asked Steve Jobs at one point what Speaker 1 Was the best product you ever created i thought he'd say maybe the mac and dash or maybe the iphone he said no those products are hard the best thing i ever created was the team that made Those products and that's the hard part is creating a team and he did you know from john eiv to temkook ([Time 1:14:42](https://share.snipd.com/snip/56037d60-73c1-4238-bb8f-9243771bba57)) ## New highlights added October 4, 2023 at 9:50 AM - Episode AI notes 1. The official podcast Shopify store, luxfredement.com/store, is incredibly easy to set up and use thanks to Shopify. 2. Having a supportive upbringing may contribute to a less driven personality and being more of an observer rather than a doer. 3. It is important to understand and control one's personal demons and recognize personal strengths, as demonstrated by individuals like Elon Musk and Leonardo DaVinci. 4. To push forward with a vision, confidence and adventure are crucial, along with iterative brain cycles and learning from failures. 5. Leaders like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk emphasize the importance of hiring top talent and building strong teams for success. ([Time 0:00:00](https://share.snipd.com/episode-takeaways/f4057985-d0f2-4406-b5fd-c61b7f5ae937))