Derek Sivers on How to Negotiate Anything, The Joys of Parenthood & Why Nothing You Believe is True

When I first started this podcast, I had Derek Sivers in mind as the archetypal curious human β€” and to this day, I think of him as one of the most interesting and provocative philosophers of life. His career path involved joining the circus as a ringleader, then becoming a professional musician and touring, building a company and selling it for $22 million dollars, then giving most of the money away to charity, then becoming a TED speaker and author... to now where he's a minimalist living in New Zealand as a full-time dad.

In this conversation, you can expect to learn the following:

πŸ™οΈ  His unexpected love affair with Dubai
πŸ€”  Why nothing you believe is actually true
πŸ“  How he journals to find sanity for himself
🀝  What he's learned about negotiation skills
πŸ› οΈ  Why he created a 'Making Room' in his house
πŸ—ΊοΈ  How it's possible to have too much freedom in your life
πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘¦  Why he feels that his son is his best friend and soulmate


[00:08:56] Derek didn't have much curiosity until later in life.
[00:12:20] Rebellious streak seeks balance in all situations.
[00:18:55] Having total freedom can feel disorienting.
[00:25:17] Choose independence, then commit for best results.
[00:29:14] We don't really know why we do things.
[00:35:00] Journaling: Derek's way to process thoughts and find clarity.
[00:43:32] Brain awake, busy day of writing.
[00:49:48] Sister's chaotic household convinced me: no kids.
[00:54:45] Choosing mice for breeding: defying expectations.
[00:57:08] Teach kids to talk confidently and be makers.
[01:05:56] Money obsession feels like a mental disorder.
[01:10:52] The Red Cross can't do much, donate wisely.
[01:17:38] Negotiate Anything by Herb Cohen is a book full of relatable stories that emphasize the idea that everything is negotiable. The author, a professional negotiator, shares his experiences and challenges the notion of non-negotiable things. It's a thought-provoking read that sticks with you.
[01:21:05] Book: "You Can Negotiate Anything" - rating: 10/10. Talks about realizing power in any situation. Prisoner example shows hidden power. Violence comes from feeling powerless. Realize your power in any situation. Must-read.
[01:27:15] Movies portrayed sex as something men want, women don't.
[01:32:45] Dubai is a fascinating, diverse and foreigner-filled place.
[01:38:45] Python: a newfound love, Dubai.
[01:44:21] Aspiration: be read even after death.

Official Links

βœ‰οΈ Email Derek personally here:
πŸ“š Derek's Book Reviews
πŸ™‹β€β™‚οΈ Derek's /now page
πŸ“– Buy his masterpiece How to Live (don't buy on Amazon!)

Connect + Follow Jonny:

🐦  Follow on Twitter @jonnym1ller
πŸ’Œ  Subscribe to the Curious Humans Newsletter
🫁  Learn more about Nervous System Mastery
πŸ™‹β€β™‚οΈ  Join Five to Thrive β€” a zero-cost educational email series.

Episode Sponsors

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🫁 Nervous System Mastery β€” this is my flagship 5-week boot camp designed to equip you with evidence-backed protocols to cultivate calm and emotional regulation. Our fourth cohort will be running in September 2023 ~ and applications are currently open. My sense is that if this conversation resonates with you, then you'd likely be a great fit for our upcoming cohort. This curriculum represents my attempt to distill everything that I've learned in recent years about how to create the conditions for our nervous system's flourishing.  It's run in an intensive cohort-based way since this is, in my experience, the most efficient way to embody and practice the protocols. Previous students have shared how partaking not only improved their sleep and quality of relationships but also tapped into deeper states of joy, clarity, and confidence in their lives. We've had over 500 students have completed this training, and many have said that it has been the most impactful thing they've ever done for their personal growth β€” so if you're intrigued at all, you can find more details and apply to join this year's cohort over at


Further Ways to Support the Podcast:

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Derek Sivers on How to Negotiate Anything, The Joys of Parenthood & Why Nothing You Believe is True
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