Guy Raz on Building ‘How I Built This,’ Managing Depression, and Podcast Ecosystem Predictions (#462)

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“There is a natural skepticism that you develop as a journalist, which I think is important. But oftentimes that develops into cynicism.”

— Guy Raz

Guy Raz (@guyraz) is the creator and host of the popular podcasts How I Built This, Wisdom from the Top, and The Rewind. He’s also the co-creator of the acclaimed podcasts TED Radio Hour and the children’s program Wow in the World. He’s received the Edward R. Murrow Award, the Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize, the National Headliner Award, and the NABJ Award, among many others, and was a Nieman journalism fellow at Harvard.

His brand-new book is titled How I Built This: The Unexpected Paths to Success from the World’s Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs. Past podcast guest Adam Grant has this to say about it: “[This book is] the mother of all entrepreneurship memoirs. It’s a must-read for anyone who wants to start a business, grow a business, or be inspired by those who do.”

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

Brought to you by Wealthfront, Pique Tea, and LinkedIn Jobs. More on all three below. 

#462: Guy Raz on Building 'How I Built This,' Managing Depression, and Podcast Ecosystem Predictions


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


Want to hear my interview with an entrepreneur mentioned in this episode? Check out my conversation Joe Gebbia, co-founder of Airbnb. In this wide-ranging and hilarious interview, Joe shares the decisions, hardship, failures, and successes that prepared him for Airbnb.


  • Connect with Guy Raz:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


Note from the editor: Timestamps will be added shortly.

  • Is Guy willing to come to this interview and surrender? What are some of the things he’s found helpful for putting interviewees at ease?
  • As a lifelong journalist, what does the prep work for one of Guy’s podcasts look like? During the research phase, how does he find information not commonly known to the general public, and how might it affect the outcome of an interview?
  • Since Guy can be somewhat self-effacing, how might his wife explain why How I Built This became as popular as it has become?
  • How did the name for How I Built This come about?
  • Why was the period between 2009 and 2012 such a turning point for Guy (and, to a larger extent, the state of journalism)?
  • What is it that makes George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia and Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon especially revealing about the human condition to Guy?
  • How has Guy’s relationship with depression changed over time?
  • What factors were involved in Guy’s decision to stop taking antidepressants after relying on them for five years?
  • How did Guy make the transition from serious military correspondent to NPR host — especially after being told he didn’t have the right personality for it?
  • How did the Nieman Journalism Fellowship at Harvard help transform Guy’s outlook on an industry he’d been part of for his entire professional life? What would he recommend to anyone who wants to break out of a professional or personal rut?
  • How Guy’s wife performed a journaling intervention to help him get some sleep one night when his anxiety was being particularly relentless, and what he noticed when he read that passage three months later.
  • What does Guy believe separates wildly successful entrepreneurs from the masses?
  • We each share a story about times when we’ve seen Ring’s Jamie Siminoff work to, as Jason Roberts would say, increase his luck surface area.
  • Habits, practices, and characteristics Guy has picked up from his countless interviews over the years.
  • What does Guy think the podcasting landscape will look like in two or three years?
  • What stories and lessons from Guy’s book, How I Built This: The Unexpected Paths to Success From The World’s Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs does he think will still resonate in a few years’ time?
  • In what ways is Guy conducting business beyond the world of podcasting?
  • What would Guy cover if he were to give a TED Talk about something for which he’s not already well-known?
  • What would Guy’s billboard say?
  • Parting thoughts.