Tucker and Mindie talk family history, plant medicine therapy, and stepping aside as CEO of your own company.
Tucker Max is the co-founder of Scribe Media, a company that helps you write, publish, and market your book.
He’s written four New York Times Best Sellers (three that hit #1), which have sold over 4.5 million copies worldwide. He’s credited with being the originator of the literary genre, “fratire,” and is only the fourth writer (along with Malcolm Gladwell, Brené Brown, and Michael Lewis) to have three books on the New York Times Nonfiction Best Seller List at one time. He was nominated to the Time Magazine 100 Most Influential List in 2009.
He received his BA from the University of Chicago in 1998, and his JD from Duke Law School in 2001. He currently lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife Veronica and three children.
Mindie: On today’s episode of The Lucrative Society, I have a very special guest. This person is a number one New York Times Best Seller, and I will say this… when I first met him, my husband Sean had said, “You won’t believe who I just hung out with”. We were all supposed to be at a conference and we had not been at the conference, we were hanging out elsewhere outside. He was like, “I just spent hours talking to this guy, you’re going to love him”. Now I’m skeptical, of course, because I’m an introvert, I don’t love small talk, I like to connect on real deep things. I was like, “Okay Sean, who is this?” He said, “Tucker Max, do you know him?” And I said, “Tucker Max is an asshole.”
Tucker: I have a book called Assholes Finish First, it’s a reasonable expectation.
Mindie: Right, my point being, I did love meeting this person and Tucker, I’m so excited to have this conversation with you. Welcome to the show.
Tucker: Thanks for having me. I remember that. It was you, me, Sean, and Cameron Herold.
Tucker: We were talking about Harvey Mackay. I remember exactly what I said and that’s when you looked at me and started laughing. You’re like, “All right, I like this guy.” I remember it very clearly,
Mindie: I do as well. I have to say that it was a great lesson for me on having preconceived notions of people who are in the media or on social media or just have some kind of presence online and then meeting you in real life and I was like, “Okay, cool.”
So, to get started, one of the first things that I want to talk about because on this show, I really focus on looking at money and happiness, so this idea of wealth. What is your definition of wealth?
Tucker: So, let me answer that a little bit roundabout, so the only two things I think that matter in life are the relationships you have with the people you love, and the things you do that matter to them, and that’s pretty much it. So I would define a happy, content, rich lifestyle, as a lifestyle where you’re spending most of your time with the people you love and doing things that matter to them. I would define wealth a little bit differently because again, there are so many ways to look at it.
Mindie: I ask every single person.
Tucker: Wealth has a very specific meaning to me, right? Rich means you have a lot of material resources; plenty for you. To me, wealth in its conventional meaning is you have enough material resources for you and for your family for a long time to come – generations. Now, I don’t argue with people who are saying true wealth is love or whatever, I get that, but I feel like that’s… not a bastardization. It’s a stretch of the word, which I’m cool with, and I totally get, I say it all the time, but in the real sense of the definition of wealth, that’s the way I see it. Rich is like you got some money and you’re doing okay, wealth is you don’t think about money because you have so much.
Mindie: I like that definition a lot. I have to tell you, for those of you listening that are not seeing what I’m seeing right now, Tucker has this extensive library behind him. So that’s wealth to me, is having resources like that, so awesome. So tell me a little bit about your wealth evolution. Did you grow up with money? Did you not grow up with money? And kind of take us through your journey to where you are today?
Tucker: Yeah, I had a really weird childhood. So, on my mom’s side, we’re about as aristocratic as Americans get. So my grandfather is John C. Floyd III and his, whatever three or fourth or fifth generation great grandfather was William C. Floyd, who signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
Tucker: And my aunts are in the Daughters of Liberty and shit. They’re like friends with William Tafts’ kids and bullshit like that, like all that nonsense. So that’s my mom’s side of the family. But by the time I came around, like seriously Cassius Clay, that’s the line. So Henry Clay, the famous senator, his cousin was Cassius Clay who was like a very famous abolitionist and so Muhammad Ali was named Cassius Clay. It’s so funny, when he joined the Nation of Islam, he changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali and he said he did that because he didn’t want to have his slave name anymore. But the true story is, I don’t know if he knew this or not, but the true story, the reason his father and his grandfather had the name Cassius Clay is because my great, great, great grandfather freed his slaves long before the Civil War and they all took the name Cassius Clay as a way to respect the man who granted them their freedom.
Tucker: I know, exactly, which is a better story but I get why Ali changed his name at the times in the 60s, I get it, it makes sense. The Clay family owned most of Kentucky. There’s like Clay County, that was the– And the Floyd family. Those are two of the major families in Kentucky and the Floyd family was as old as it gets. By the time it got to me, there was no money left. My grandparents were okay, they were still kind of who’s who in the social register of who’s who. My aunts and uncles and mom, that generation were all [shippers 06:28], all of them. It’s just a pretty classic story of each generation gets less and less. Then now what’s funny is that my generation, me and my cousins, we’re all doing great. I’m the big one but there’s a bunch of us that are doing really cool stuff because we had no money, we had no access to any of that stuff but we grew up in the lore of it, we were all not poor but definitely middle class. But then weirdly on my dad’s side, so my dad was told – we always knew his great grandparents were immigrants, right? They were Hungarian off the Ellis Island, etc. We were told they were Catholic. My grandfather and father were raised Catholic. Turns out they were Ashkenazi Jew.
Tucker: Yeah I know, and they were running from one of the minor persecutions before the big one, in the teens or something, came to America, changed their names, went to LA and just decided they were Catholics and never told anyone, not my grandfather or my father. The reason we know this is because I took 23andMe and I was 25% Ashkenazi Jew and I was like, “Dad, do you know you’re 50% Jew?” He was like, “What are you talking about?” He did the test and was like, “Oh my god”. So it turns out, we were Jews.
Mindie: That’s amazing.
Tucker: Exactly. So now my dad’s parents both worked. My granddad flew for the Flying Tigers like in the Pacific, in the war and then helped start the company that became Flying Tigers that FedEx eventually bought, it as international freight. He flew for them and stuff and then my grandmother ran the commissary at Warner Brothers for like 40 years. So they were pretty well off but middle-class LA, back when there was a middle class in LA before it was Hollywood. Then my dad grew up and all that and he became an entrepreneur and made a lot of money. He started a bunch of restaurants in South Florida, did very, very well, hasn’t really kept a lot of it, but different question. So I was that weird kid who grew up kind of poor, lower middle class, but my mom’s side was snooty and like Sons and Daughters of Liberty and thought they were important but had no money. My dad’s side was literally lying about their heritage but had a bunch of money and had to kind of work through all that. But I saw that my dad was actually running in really high-end circles. You’re high-end restaurateur, his friends all had jets and stuff and so I saw a lot of money on my dad’s side.
My parents were divorced when I was little, so I would visit my dad and he was around a lot of money and a lot of rich people but I wasn’t really part of that world but I saw it. Then I lived with my mom and we didn’t have a whole lot of money. All my nice stuff my dad bought for me. The reason I had nice stuff at all, any clothes at all that was nice, my dad bought them, but they had all of the non-monetary benefits of privilege, right? I mean, there’s a million, going to cotillion and all that nonsense stuff that rich people do. So I had a very unusual childhood in that I’d be literally deer hunting for food one weekend and then on a private jet the next weekend, but as a kid, it’s super weird. Joe Rogan does that now, that’s normal, but when you’re a kid in the 80s that’s a super unusual thing.
Mindie: Yeah. Did you find yourself, when you were a child, gravitating toward one or the other? Or just that’s how it was?
Tucker: I couldn’t stand either world, honestly.
Mindie: Got it.
Tucker: My dad’s world was completely fake. I mean, that was like the go-go ‘80s and ‘90s. He lived in Miami, so it was basically Scarface without the drugs or the Colombians or the Cubans because he lived in Boca, which is funny, because he didn’t think he was a Jew and he lived with all the Jews, so I was like, “Come on dad”. He’s like, “No wonder why I always felt good around them, these are my people.” I was like, “Yeah, no shit.” Every Jew I know has a grandparent in Boca, right, like it’s a joke. Every Jew I’ve ever met knows my restaurants, my family’s restaurants because they all have family in Boca, it’s crazy. So no, I couldn’t stand that world it was so fake, not the Jewish people, but the rich snobby people that my dad always hung out with, totally fake. And then I couldn’t stand my mom’s side because I’m like, you know my mom had a painting in our house that Tsar Nicholas, the last Tsar of Russia gave to Cassius Clay, our great, great grandfather and she was always so proud of it. I’m like, “Mom, you never even met that dude. He was dead before your parents were even married, he was dead. You don’t know him.” My grandmother met him when she was a girl and then he died. I’m like, “You didn’t do any of this, what are you proud of?” It’s like they had all this pride in all this shit that none of them did or had anything to do with and then you look at their lives and it’s like, you guys are just pathetic and you don’t do anything. I couldn’t stand [it]. I had the accomplishment on one side but it was all bullshit, it was all arrogance, it was all narcissism and then the other side was all the pride with none of the accomplishment. No, I couldn’t stand either line, honestly. I didn’t feel like I fit in in either place.
Mindie: Well, you know what, that makes sense just knowing you today, in that you don’t take yourself too seriously. Like, let’s just focus on this shit that’s important and really nothing else. And you’ve accomplished a lot, you’ve done a lot of things, you’ve created a lot of really, really interesting things. So can you bring us up to speed today and just talk a little bit about what you’re doing now?
Tucker: Yeah, so I wrote a bunch of bestsellers and I did all that stuff and that was cool. Then I made enough money, I didn’t really have to do anything. I wrote books about drinking and hooking up in your 20s and then I was in my 30s and It was like, “I don’t want to write about this anymore. It’s just not interesting to me.” So I’ve retired from it and I kind of didn’t do much for about three, four years, I mean, for me. I invested in a bunch of companies and I got into some big ones like Slack and a few others, and it did pretty well – Peabody vodka and a few others that had big exits. Teachable, which is exited for a lot of money. So that was pretty cool and I wrote a few things, but I just didn’t do much, in terms of a dedicated thing. Then about 5, 6 years ago, this woman at an entrepreneur dinner kind of called me out, because she’s like, “How do I write a book? Everyone is asking me to write a book, and I tried it, and it’s just awful. I have a family and I have a company, I can’t weed through all the nonsense to figure this out. So how do I get a book out of me?” Of course, I gave her this total elitist, snobby writer answer, which is like, “Oh, you have to open a vein on the keyboard”, basically, I just told her, “You had to be a writer”. She listened to me politely for a few minutes and then rolled her eyes and was like “Tucker, are you an entrepreneur because this is an entrepreneur dinner?” I’m like, “Yeah, of course, I am”. She’s like, “No, I don’t think you are because a real entrepreneur would help me solve my problem and not lecture me about hard work”. I was like, “Fuck” because she was totally right. She was 100% right. It was one of those gut punches where someone’s so right that I can’t even make a bad argument to argue with her. I just have to eat it.
Then I got obsessed with the idea, like, how do I get a book out of her without her having to learn how to be a writer? It took me about two months, but I realized, oh, this is a multi-thousand-year-old solved problem. Scribes have existed for thousands of years. Socrates never wrote anything down, Plato wrote all of it down. Marco Polo didn’t write anything down, his cellmate did and go down the list, right? So, I got on a whiteboard, and I wrote down every step in what does it take to write a book and I realized it only takes– Maybe 40% of the stuff is necessary to have the author there. Which is an important 40%, but there’s a ton of work where I don’t need her. So basically I figured out okay, how do I get her positioning out of her, her outline? And I was like, “Okay, I can just interview her and take probably only a few hours on the phone.” It was a little more than I thought, maybe about 10 to 15 hours. I thought I could do it in three, three is not possible. So anyone tells you “You can write a book in a weekend or dictate a book 90 minutes”, they’re full of shit, it’s going to be terrible; 10 to 15 is the bare minimum. So I interviewed her, got stuff, I’m like, “Oh, this is right here” and I just went through and cleaned it all up. The big thing that she wanted was it couldn’t be ghostwritten, so I’m not going to go research her field. She was in pop-up retail or something and I don’t care. I’m not going to learn about this. It’s got to be her ideas and her words and her voice.
So we made it work. This is how bad of an entrepreneur, I am. We made it work. It was a great book, she loved it and she’s like, “What do I tell people?” because I quoted her just enough money to make it worth my while because, for me, it was pride, like I have to do this. But she was like, “What do I tell people you charge?” and I’m like, “Charge for what?” She’s like, “To do the same service.” I’m like, “No, why would I do that again? No, I figured it out, I don’t want to do this more”. And she’s like, “Okay, I’ll tell people 15 grand”. And she starts sending people to me and I’m like, “Ah!” So I had a buddy of mine, Zach Obront, who is now my co-founder, but he was doing some other work for me, I’m like, “look, man, these people keep annoying me and writing me checks to write books for them, I don’t want to do this. Do you want to do this?” He’s like, “Yeah, of course”. So I showed him my process. He’s a smart dude, he was a decent writer. He was like, “I could totally do this”. So we just split the money, he started doing the work, and then after three months, we’ve done like, a quarter-million dollars in business. He’s like, “Dude, we kind of have a company here now, we need to run this”, and I’m like, “Yeah, I think you might be right.” So that was August of 2014, the fall of 2014 really, and we’ve done about 40 million in sales since. We’re now like 51 full-time people, 170 freelance and we’re coming up on 2000 books and some really big ones like David Goggins’ book Can’t Hurt Me and Tiffany Haddish’s book The Last Black Unicorn. Nassim Taleb’s got a book coming out in three weeks, we did that one. David Bach, all these people, you know, we’ve done a bunch of big ones now. Yeah.
Mindie: That’s awesome and I love hearing the backstory of that too where you’re like, “What, this is a thing?”
Tucker: I’m so dumb, like it’s so funny. The frustrating thing is, as soon as I saw it, I’m like, “Oh, God, I could have done this five years ago. What am I doing? This is so easy.” And now it turns out, it’s hard creating the process of writing books at scale with lots of different people, oh, dude, this was so hard. I had to step aside as CEO about a year and a half in and we had to get a real CEO. Thank God. That’s the reason we’re at four-plus million in sales, it’s because of him, not me. I had a great product and a great idea and I’m good at a lot of things but the business of building a business is a totally different skillset from anything else. You are arrogant and foolish if you think you can learn that quickly and easily. It is painful and difficult.
Mindie: Yeah, I went through that painful and difficult process myself. So definitely agree with you on that. Talk to me about the balance between your business entrepreneurial brain and the writer-artist brain. I myself have this struggle. I went and did my MFA in writing, that’s always how I perceived myself as a writer and yet I have a challenge integrating those.
Tucker: Yeah, so I have learned. Well, I do have a pretty good business model. What I’ve learned to do though, a lot of people talked about showing up your weaknesses and balancing. I’ll tell you what, that makes sense if you’re a pocketknife. If you need to have a lot of different tools or a multi-tool – like my son just bought his first multi-tool and was so excited about it. It has like 20 things in it. If you’re a multi-tool, then each thing needs to work, it needs to be good. What I realized when we hired JT, he’s the CEO, I thought I was close to being a good enough CEO and then about three months, definitely six months after being around an actual great CEO, I was like, not only was I not close, I couldn’t even conceive of what it looked like to be great. I was so far away. I’ll never forget, the times remind me, it’s like when I was in high school, I thought I was a really good basketball player and then I played against a guy in the NBA and I was like, “You’re not human. This is a whole different level. I can’t even conceive of how good you are. I thought I could maybe play in the league. I don’t even think I can hold a towel for a dude in the league.” And he’s like, “No you can’t, you’re right.” And it was kind of the same thing, it was like, okay, maybe I could be that good but that’s years of practice and work at things that I am not good at and don’t like. So what I’ve really learned how to do recently, and it’s why our company has really started to go parabolic, is I’ve stopped trying to do the things I’m bad at and I’ve found people who are really good at those things and who I trust, and I let those people do those things for me and then I focus. Dan Sullivan calls it unique ability and I’m a big believer in this now, it took me years. So what we do right now, what I do in my company, I do like two things, three things. That’s it.
Tucker: But the three things I do, I am absolutely the best in the world at, at least one and I’m top 0001% in the other two. So I’m the engine and JT has created a whole car around me for those things. Then we have other things too where we got people who have great abilities and then you create the car around that person, let them be the engine. So I think that’s a mistake a lot of people make is they’re like, “How do I become well rounded?” I’m not saying don’t be well rounded, if you want to, go do it. If that’s not your thing, you might be better off doubling down on your strengths and just subcontracting out your weaknesses, which is what I’ve done.
Mindie: Such a great reminder about unique ability and just really focusing in on that one or a few things. I constantly need to be reminded of that myself because I’m interested in everything. So one of the frameworks that I use in this podcast to get to know you a little bit better is an acronym called HERB. I’ll walk you through each of the steps. “H” stands for habits. What are some of the habits that you employ on a daily or weekly basis that just help you not in business only but really just to be the man that you are?
Tucker: Yeah, I don’t look at business and life as separate. They’re all the same to me, literally, there’s no difference. Work is a thing I do, but it’s all my life. So yeah, the only person I know who separates work and life is Batman, and I’m not Batman. He doesn’t even do it that effectively by the way. I don’t have time to imitate his life. He’s all lonely, no fuck that man. All right, so what are the habits? Well, I go to bed early.
Mindie: What time is early for you?
Tucker: Like 9 o’clock, 10 is the latest I’m asleep. Now the reason is my wife– Because we got three little kids, and another one’s probably on the way soon, and the reason is because our youngest is a year old, she wakes up with the kids if they need to wake up, breastfeed, or whatever. What do I have to add to a breastfeeding situation? Nothing. But then I get up at six or whatever with the kid, and then she gets to sleep in as long as she wants. So that way we both get enough sleep. It’s not optimal, but it’s better than both of us being awake, it’s terrible. So then, if I’m in bed at 9, 10 at the latest, I’m up at six. That’s eight hours of sleep. I’m as militant as I can be about getting sleep. Sleep is the foundation of all health, number one, the most important thing. Then close second is nutrition, it’s how you eat. So it’s really simple, I just do my very best to avoid all refined sugars, carbohydrates, like starchy carbs, potatoes and bread and rice, and seed oils like canola, all that nonsense. Those three things are poison to humans. I’m not militant about them, we don’t really have this stuff in the house. If we go out and there’s amazing bread, I’m going to have some, I’m not a weirdo about it, but I’m pretty good about that stuff.
Then the third big thing is exercise. Like, I don’t do a whole lot now other than MMA and Jiu-jitsu. Like I fight, which is pretty intense. If you’re doing that you don’t need to do a whole lot more. I used to do Olympic and free lifting. I love it, it’s great but you get older, it’s pretty rough on joints. So I do this thing called X3 now, which is sort of like bands, everyone knows what bands are. It just has a system that connects a bar to the band, so you’re doing squats and all this sort of stuff with a bar, but you’re using bands as resistance. You’ve seen this if you ever watch ESPN. A lot of sports teams use this stuff. It’s just easier on the joints is all. I do that maybe three times a week at most for like 20 minutes and then I go Jiu-jitsu three times a week for an hour.
Mindie: And you also are running around after three children, so I guarantee that adds–
Tucker: I don’t get the whole idea, children are work, yeah, but I don’t value running around chasing them. We have a very different parenting style than most. We’re what people would call free-range parenting. We have very clear and distinct boundaries, and we hold those firm, but within those boundaries, I’m not on top of my kids trying to helicopter them or whatever, man. It’s so funny, people come over to our house, and they’ll see our kids swinging from something or climbing. We have this huge kitchen island and they’ll be climbing on it, swinging off their little chair and they will freak out. They’ll run at the kid and I’ll say, “Stop, back up, she’s fine. She knows exactly what she’s doing. You’re the one who has the problem, not her. Notice that she’s not laying on the ground. If she lays on the ground crying with blood coming out of her head feel free to rush towards her and help. Until that moment comes leave her alone. If you see her waving a knife around or something, okay, I got you, I’m with you.” But we let them pick out their own clothes, whatever. Again at the same time, the thing with that, it’s not just free for all, because if it was free for all it would be bedlam in the house. We would live in a pigsty. So we have very clear systems, like in the morning when they wake up before they get to play – we let them watch iPad or play video games in the morning – so before they do, they got to eat their breakfast, they have to brush your teeth, they have to be ready for school and their room has to be clean. It’s easy, we don’t have to get on them about chores because they want to watch Cocomelon so much that they get all their shit done. It’s real simple, you just set up simple systems for kids. I’m not saying that takes care of all the problems, it doesn’t, of course. It just makes you don’t have to be hectic and harried with kids. Now, we’ve got a one-year-old who’s got three teeth coming in. Okay, it’s going to be hellish, he’s going to be screaming, he’s upset, he’s in pain, but that’s like a short window of time. For the most part, it’s really not that hectic or harried.
Mindie: Well, I like that too, because that encourages the kids to be able to trust themselves, and then to learn what’s going to work or what’s going to maybe cause them some pain, so I think that that is awesome. So moving from the “H” to the “E”. “E” stands for environment, and clearly, I can see that you bring lots of books into your environment, but what else do you allow in or not allow into your environment?
Tucker: That is another thing I’ve really turned into recently. I’m big on cleanliness. I’m not like a weirdo, fastidious, like taking a Q-tip to the corners, but I like things to be neat and in order. You can tell, my library, it’s neat and in order, right? If I have a lot of open loops, I find myself distracted and unable to focus which is pretty common for a creative, so I make sure all those open loops are closed. And then also, I have money so I can do this, but I live in a place where we back up to a huge greenbelt, so we got woods behind us. We’re actually going to buy a ranch soon, but even that and then we have a full guesthouse. So we can have guests all the time and they’re not in our fucking hair. They’re over in their own house, and they can stay–
Mindie: That’s the best way to do it.
Tucker: Right, they can stay for three or four days and it’s no problem and we love having them and it’s great. We have a pool, so that’s another reason we don’t chase our kids around a lot is because they can go swim, right? Yeah, we’ll be out there with them but for the most part, they’re like little fish, we just let them get good at it. Even when I didn’t have this house, the place I lived, had all the things around it that I want. So we made a very conscious sort of thing. My house has a huge wine cellar. We don’t drink much, but we drink wine, we’re big wine people. So it’s like, we just figured out what are the things that we really care about, and then we created a life with those things around us. Those are the stuff around us.
Mindie: Awesome. So moving to the “R”, and I feel like you and I could talk about this one for the next 10 hours. So I’m going to maybe ask you for like two or three or four. But “R” stands for resources, resources can be books, courses, programs, mentors, whatever else you want to mention, but what are some of the resources that have influenced you a great deal and that you would recommend to others?
Tucker: Man you’re right, there’s so much. It depends on the goal. It just 100% depends on the goal.
Mindie: Let’s say like at least one business-ish, one personal-ish. We can use MDMA as a resource.
Tucker: Okay, well, if we’re talking about like medicine then that’s it. That’s the thing. That’s 100% the thing. Yes. Okay. If you want a resource that will help you learn about yourself and heal, if you’re actually willing to do the work, there is nothing better than, let’s just call them plant medicines. MDMA is by far the best place to start for people because it’s so gentle, it’s so safe, it’s so easy to use, there are virtually no side effects, it’s an amazing medicine. I pretty much graduated from MDMA and it was amazing. For the most part, now I basically have just graduated pretty much from psilocybin and LSD. I was alternating with those. The LSD assisted psychotherapy and psilocybin assisted psychotherapy, which were both fantastic and did amazing stuff with me. The best combo actually was LSD and MDMA because LSD just opens you up and forces truth into your face, but MDMA is so soft and gentle it helps you process it. That was the best combo I’ve found. I would not recommend just jumping right into LSD and MDMA.
Mindie: I don’t either.
Tucker: Yeah, it’s a little bit of the deep end, but for your second or third session, you can go very low dose LSD like 25 to 50 micrograms, with obviously an experienced guide and therapist, with 150 milligrams of MDMA and that’s a great combo and it works. That move mountains for me and then…
Mindie: Have you done Ayahuasca?
Tucker: No, I have not. I’m about to graduate or move into the higher medicines. I’m actually starting with 5-MeO-DMT only because I’m pretty lucky I’ve got three guides who really know their stuff and two of the three are both like, “Where you are in your progression, you’ve basically ‘graduated’ from Ayahuasca.” It’s great medicine, but it was never that appealing to me. I would have been willing to do it, it just wasn’t. And most of the work that I’ve done in mushrooms and LSD, it’s the same stuff, you know.
Mindie: Yeah. I agree with you on that. The reason I was asking about Aya is because the combo that I have done in the past was mushrooms and Ayahuasca, which was a really interesting experience, but I would say for me LSD is the one that’s just clearest and cleanest.
Tucker: Yeah, it is. It is definitely the clearest and cleanest, but they’re all different and they all have great purposes. A carpenter is not like, “A hammer that’s the thing, you got to use a hammer.” It’s like that doesn’t make sense. Hammers and saws and lathes and chisels, every tool has a purpose, and all the medicines that I’ve used have all been very good for the purpose. Yeah, so I’m going to do the 5-MeO next couple of months. We’ll see what that is and then I’ll probably do Ayahuasca at some point just to do it, to try it. For the last two years, this has been a main focus of mine, is doing plant medicine therapies, and the last one especially, it’s pretty clear that I’d gotten through pretty much all the trauma. It’s sort of like plant medicine works for two different things and I’m roughly speaking – helping you deal with your trauma and your emotional issues, and then helping you with, let’s say, enlightenment, mind expansion. The two things overlap a little bit, but not a whole lot and again, I was lucky I had good guides who were like, “Look, dude, you have a lot of trauma and a lot of shit you need to work through. If you start with Ayahuasca or start with the higher medicines, those are really difficult ways to work through trauma. You can do it, but it’s going to be painful and hard. Whereas if you start in the more entry-level medicines, MDMA, lower dose psilocybin, lower dose LSD, you can work through the really dark hard stuff that’s sort of like yours, then you can go into the mind expansion and enlightenment with the higher medicines without carrying all that baggage with you.” And thank God I listened to them because man it was hard, it was really hard. The work I have to do, God it’s been hard. I can’t imagine. It’s funny, some of them like Dan Engel helps me a lot and he was telling me stories about, he started with Ayahuasca and just the stories he tells me about his first 10, 20 sessions, or whatever. I’m just like, “That sounds like the worst shit ever.” He’s like, “It was rough.”
Mindie: It can be very intense, but that’s awesome, and thank you for being so open about that. I know you and I’ve had conversations on that before and I’m all about it. Tell me this, what are some of your beliefs? That’s the “B” in HERB. What are beliefs or world views?
Tucker: About what?
Mindie: The way that you see the world, core beliefs that you hold?
Tucker: Oh, man. Well, that has shifted radically over the last two years.
Mindie: Yeah, I know, which is why I’m so interested to ask you about it.
Tucker: All right, so I’ll tell you, this was my first MDMA and LSD session. This is where I saw this really clearly. This is going to sound like some woo-woo bullshit, I’m just going to tell you.
Mindie: Good, let’s go.
Tucker: Okay. I knew that we humans create our own reality, I understood that conceptually. Now because I’m in media and marketing and storytelling, so I get how you create worlds with words and you create worlds with stories. I really understood how literally, I can tell a story in my head, put it somewhere else out to the world, and bring resources and people to me and all that. I get it. I got that. What I did not understand– So I understood there’s a metaphorical layer at which we create our own reality that I understood, right? I think that we actually create our own reality, almost totally, and fractally in all dimensions. I don’t mean literally like I created this table with my mind, but it was so funny the way the medicine showed this to me, man because I know physics pretty well. I went to the University of Chicago and I was thinking about being an evolutionary biologist for a while. I won the physics award and chem award in my high school. So I understand physics decently well, not enough to go work at the Hadron Collider, but enough.
Tucker: So the medicine’s like, “Dude, you understand what E = mc2 is, right? And I’m like, “Yeah, of course”, which is literally one of the defining sorts of discoveries of physics of the 20th century. Well then, the medicine’s like, “Well, if everything is energy, what does that actually mean?” And then the other kind of walked me through and I was like, “Fuck, of course”. And it just took the pieces of knowledge I had about physics and put them together and it was like, “Oh, of course, we’re energetic beings having a physical experience”. Of course, I don’t have the skill to transform this table into a dragon but that’s only because I don’t know how to do it. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be– I mean go into the laws of thermodynamics, of course, it can happen, of course, there’s a way to do it.
Mindie: All the same stuff.
Tucker: Right it’s all the exact same stuff and then walking through all that, it was like, “Oh my god, it’s right there. It’s so obvious.” And what’s so funny is it’s all there in physics. It didn’t show me any magical, I’ve seen the machine elves that Terence McKenna talks about but they weren’t the ones giving me the secret to the universe. It was either my own brain of the medicine or something just putting together what I already knew. So once I understood that, that we literally create our own reality, but fractally in all dimensions, then it’s like, “Oh, man, so much stuff makes sense now”, and it’s like you take a step back, and you’re just like, “Oh my god, we’re all just children playing dress-up.” There’s a million sort of things from there, that flow out of there but I’ll tell you the other big thing that came clear as day.
Again, I don’t know if this is true or not, I feel like it’s true and I now operate as if it’s true, and it has helped me radically. It’s connecting to the last thing I said – we’re energetic beings having a physical experience. And it seems to me that the reason we do this, and I don’t have all the pieces, the reason we do this is because our energy can only transform and evolve in physical experience or something like that; this is the mode at which it best evolves, or needs to evolve, something like that. Then there’s a choice. The whole point of the Bible is that there’s a choice. That’s the whole basis of Western civilization, is free will, is the fact that you have a choice on what you do. I know all these philosophers [inaudible 39:04] and Nozick and I know all of them try to tear that down but at its core, it appears that we are energetic beings that choose our existence. We pick the life we’re coming back into and I think we do it with other beings, we come back together to work on issues together.
Mindie: I have no doubt about that.
Tucker: It seems very true to me.
Mindie: No doubt about that. I mean, being married to Sean, our relationship was that on so many levels, and that cat didn’t even believe in that when I first met him. But having experienced what we experienced over 10 years, I have no doubt about that.
Tucker: Yeah, it seems pretty clear to me. So then, the question for me becomes, if I picked this life, what is this here to teach me? And that’s for literally basically everything in my life. Every argument I have, every problem I have, every obstacle I face, every whatever. And once I started seeing that, it was like, “Oh my god”, I started really seeing, the patterns in my life. It’s like, I’ve been banging my head against this rock for 40 fucking years. What am I doing?
Mindie: Making it way harder than it needed to be.
Tucker: Why am I doing that, right? Just the other day – you’re probably going to laugh at this because you probably know this already, but it was the most stunning realization to me and I wanted to throw up it was so obvious. As soon as I thought or figured it out, I was like, “Ah”, and so much of my life became clear. Anger is a way to negotiate for better treatment from the object of the anger. So if I’m mad at you, it’s because I want you to treat me better and anger is a tool, an effective tool to use to negotiate for better treatment. As soon as I realized that, it was like a curtain was pulled back on a whole section of my life and I was like, “Fuck! Oh my God!”, and I haven’t really been able to be angry since then. Because every time I get angry, it’s like how do I want to be treated? What need do I have that is not being met? I can go on like this, you said like infinitely about this because my beliefs, I would say from let’s call it two years ago, there are very few beliefs that I have that has not completely shifted. Even though there’s a lot that is the same, but the underpinnings of them and how I reasoned myself or experienced them. It used to be I reasoned my way into them, now I’ve experienced my way into them. So even if the beliefs are the same, I’d say 70% of my beliefs are different, 30% are the same, why I believe them is now totally different.
Mindie: That’s awesome because you can know something intellectually, but then once you’ve felt it, been it, experienced it it’s…
Tucker: It’s totally different.
Mindie: …A deeper presence. So that’s awesome and you and I could talk about this for hours and hours and hours. However, if people are interested in you and what you’re up to and want to learn more, where would you like them to go?
Tucker: Probably TuckerMax.com, especially if they want to know about plant medicine. I got two articles there, the first one is about my first two MDMA experiences – everything I learned, what they were like. It’s a long piece, but a bunch of people, like tens of thousands, hundreds of thousand people read that. Then I have another piece about the evolution of my plant medicine journey – which medicines I took, and why. Because so many people are like, “Oh, I want to start here and I want to do this”, and I’m like, “Okay, look, here’s what I would recommend for most people without knowing you”, generally, it’s a strategy I took and I explained why. That’s probably the best place to start and then I got a bunch of other stuff there. If you want book stuff go to ScribeWriting.com, or we just released a whole definitive course about how to write your book, totally for free, no bullshit. Go to ScribeBookSchool.com. You know, because we’re a services firm and so I get tired of all these clowns who aren’t writers, just marketers, selling courses about how to write a book. I was like as soon as Coronavirus, and we were stuck at home, I was like, “Okay, we wrote the best book in existence on how to write a book, let’s just teach the whole book for free to the world.” So we had like 5000 people on the webinar, I taught the whole thing. It’s up for free. So anyone can go there. You want to start your book, that’s the place to start.
Mindie: Fantastic. I would also recommend that our listeners follow you on social media. You have a really interesting framework that you use called “Lessons I’ve Learned”, where you just talk about some of these experiences and just other things that you’re realizing as you go through life. So I love reading those and found those really helpful. So, highly recommend you all go check out Tucker Max. Tucker, you’re awesome and I always appreciate our time together where we can just dig in and talk real, real stuff. So, thank you so much. I totally appreciate you being on the show.
Tucker: Of course, my pleasure.
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