Dax Shepard on the Craft of Podcasting, Favorite Books, and Dancing With Your Demons (#480)

Illustration via 99designs

Be as kind and forgiving to yourself as you are to the people you love.

— Dax Shepard

Dax Shepard (@daxshepard) is an American actor, writer, director, and podcast host. He is known for his work in the feature films Without a Paddle, Zathura: A Space Adventure, Employee of the Month, Idiocracy, Let’s Go to Prison, Hit and Run, and CHiPs, the last pair of which he also wrote and directed, and the MTV practical joke reality series Punk’d. He is also known for portraying Crosby Braverman in the NBC comedy-drama series Parenthood.

Since 2018, Dax has hosted the juggernaut podcast Armchair Expert , 2018’s most downloaded new podcast on Apple Podcasts, and winning “Breakout Podcast” at the 2019 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards. His roster of guests includes Kristen Bell, Ashton Kutcher, Alicia Keys, Chelsea Peretti, Sarah Silverman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Rogen, 50 Cent, Jimmy Kimmel, Alanis Morissette, and hundreds more. You can find Armchair Expert on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform. You can also watch the conversation on YouTube.

Brought to you by ButcherBox premium meats delivered to your doorOura smart ring wearable for personalized sleep and health insights, and Vuori comfortable and durable performance apparel. More on all three below.


This episode is brought to you by ButcherBoxButcherBox makes it easy for you to get high-quality, humanely raised meat that you can trust. They deliver delicious, 100% grass-fed, grass-finished beef; free-range organic chicken; heritage-breed pork, and wild-caught seafood directly to your door.

For a limited time, new members can get 6 free grass-fed, grass-finished steaks when they go to ButcherBox.com/Tim. That’s 2 New York strips and 4 top sirloin steaks added to your first box for free when you go to ButcherBox.com/Tim. Act quickly! This offer is only good through Cyber Monday, November 30th.


This episode is brought to you by Oura! Oura is the company behind the smart ring that delivers personalized sleep and health insights to help you optimize just about everything. I’ve been using it religiously for at least six months, and I was introduced to it by Dr. Peter Attia. It is the only wearable that I wear on a daily basis.

With advanced sensors, Oura packs state-of-the-art heart rate, heart-rate variability, temperature, activity, and sleep monitoring technology into a convenient, non-invasive ring. It weighs less than 6 grams and focuses on three key insights—sleep, readiness, and activity.

Try it for yourself. The Oura Ring comes in two styles and three colors: Silver, Black, and Matte Black. For $299, you can give or get the gift of health by visiting OuraRing.com.


This episode is brought to you by Vuori clothingVuori is a new and fresh perspective on performance apparel. Perfect if you are sick and tired of traditional, old workout gear. Everything is designed for maximum comfort and versatility so that you look and feel as good in everyday life as you do working out.

Get yourself some of the most comfortable and versatile clothing on the planet at VuoriClothing.com/Tim. Not only will you receive 20% off your first purchase, but you’ll also enjoy free shipping on any US orders over $75 and free returns.


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

SCROLL BELOW FOR LINKS AND SHOW NOTES…

Want to hear an episode with a friend Dax and I share? Listen to my most recent conversation with Sam Harris in which we discuss pandemic coping strategies, taming anxiety, lessons learned about fear, cleaning the “gun” of mindfulness, bad trips, the messiah complex, worthwhile nonprofits, and much more.


SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE

  • Connect with Dax Shepard:

Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

SHOW NOTES

Note from the editor: Timestamps will be added shortly.

  • How I’ve lately been putting more effort into the craft of podcasting, in no small part, thanks to Dax’s work, and some other influences that have inspired me to up my game.
  • Why did Dax interview his mom on Armchair Expert, and what were some of his concerns going into the prep phase? How did his approach differ from the way he might have interviewed other guests, and what new insights were revealed — to both of them — in the process?
  • Coping with addiction is one reason Dax wanted to start Armchair Expert. When did he first think of himself as having a problem with substance abuse?
  • Dax found fulfillment especially elusive when he was regularly succumbing to addiction and hating himself for it. Since this realization, what levers do make him happy?
  • After 16 years of sobriety, Dax recently had a relapse — and he chose to go public with the news. What was the psychological process of sharing this lapse with the world, and what did he take away from the experience?
  • How did the relapse happen, and what has Dax changed about his own daily routines to decrease the likelihood of a future relapse?
  • Who is Armchair Expert cohost Monica Padman?
  • What did the planning stages of Armchair Expert look like?
  • How do Monica, producer Rob Holysz, and Dax (and sometimes Dax’s wife Kristen Bell) split responsibilities behind the scenes to make Armchair Expert come together?
  • With so many new podcasts coming out every week to divide the public’s attention, Dax attributes the seemingly unfaltering dominance of Armchair Expert in this space to one thing: vulnerability.
  • Dax addresses a personal vulnerability and how he’s channeled into a superpower: dyslexia.
  • How does Dax believe he’s improved most as an interviewer since the podcast began, and in what ways would he like to keep improving?
  • When he’s worked on so many projects that have consumed years of his life for less-than-stellar results, it was initially confusing to Dax that the runaway success of Armchair Expert came with comparably minimal effort. After some reflection, why does he think this is the case?
  • How does Dax get excited about the process of something a lot of actors dread — the audition — and in what way might we apply his attitude to our own endeavors and become less outcome-dependent?
  • Has the success of Armchair Expert changed what Dax will say yes or no to?
  • Does Dax ever fear straying from whatever it is that seems to make Armchair Expert resonate with his core audience? If so, how does he balance this concern with keeping things fresh and interesting?
  • Desiring to cover the week with more episodes of Armchair Expert and no shortage of eager sponsorships in sight, what’s holding Dax back from diving into such an expansion immediately?
  • Why does Dax hold Howard Stern in such high regard, and what, in Dax’s estimation, makes him such a compelling interviewer? Can we look forward to hearing him as a guest on Armchair Expert?
  • Aside from Howard Stern, who would Dax consider to be a dream guest?
  • What advice would Dax and I give to someone starting a podcast now?
  • Books Dax gifts most.
  • How the heartbreaking failure of his life’s ambition set Dax up for the success and flexible lifestyle he’s enjoyed with Armchair Expert.
  • What would Dax’s billboard say?
  • Parting thoughts.

PEOPLE MENTIONED

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 500 million 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.