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Made You Think

Dec 15, 2022

In today’s episode, Nat Neil and Adil discuss the Tao Te Ching by Laozi. We each picked a few of our favorite chapters from the book to read and discuss, resulting in a wide-ranging discussion of work, happiness, ambition, finance, philosophy, and all our usual favorite subjects. 

Some of the topics we covered were:

  • The importance of not over-extending yourself, being moderate and patient
  • What does it mean to prioritize “inaction”? 
  • The balance between short and long-term productivity
  • Which parts of the Tao do we each struggle with the most
  • What it means to seek a “middle path.” 
  • Plus lots of tangents around fitness, entrepreneurship, work, other books, and more.

Be sure to stick around for the end, where Nat and Neil discuss our new plans for the show and where it’s going in 2023. 

Remember to subscribe if you haven’t, and leave us a review on iTunes or Spotify if you liked the episode!


(1:10) - How different drugs created different financial crashes & philosophies

(3:22) - Background on the Tao Te Ching

(11:15) - Variations in the translations of the Tao Te Ching

(17:00) - What is the “real” version of old texts?

(21:20) - The theme of finding the middle ground, and inaction. Chapter 64. “If you rush into action, you will fail. If you hold on too tight, you will loose your grip. Therefore the Master lets things take their course and thus never fails.”

(27:00) - The importance of doing nothing. Chapter 48. “He who conquers the world often does so by doing nothing. When one is compelled to do something, The world is already beyond his conquering.”

(33:50) - The difference between short-term and long-term productivity. Sometimes doing nothing in the short term is the best strategy for the long term. 

(42:00) - Chapters 68, 24. The importance of being balanced, avoiding going to extremes. Avoiding the consequences of intense competition. “He who stands on tiptoe does not stand firm.”

(51:00) - What’s something you’re doing that’s incongruous with the advice in the Tao? Neils: Shiny object syndrome.

(54:00) - Nat’s: Impatience with professional success.

(1:05:00) - Adil’s: Shiny object syndrome.

(1:07:00) - The problem with the practical vs. the ideal, giving and receiving advice. 

(1:15:00) - Unintuitive advice in fitness.

(1:21:00) - Aiming at a specific goal vs. aiming in abstract.

(1:24:00) - The power of having a good adversary for bringing out your best.

(1:28:00) - Wrapup: Upcoming books, plans for the podcast

Mentioned in the Show