Brian Keating (@DrBrianKeating) is a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California San Diego, host of the Into the Impossible podcast, and the author of Losing the Nobel Prize: A Story of Cosmology, Ambition, and the Perils of Science’s Highest Honor.
What We Discuss with Brian Keating:
- What compelled dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel to annually reward outstanding contributions for humanity, and how would he feel about the way Nobel prizes are awarded today?
- What is an ethical will, and why should you make sure you have one in place sooner rather than later?
- How accolades like the Nobel prize and the Academy Awards have taken on outsized importance in their respective fields in spite of being selected arbitrarily by an anointed few — with sometimes deadly consequences.
- How Brian turned around surface losses like getting fired from an academic dream job and missing his shot at the Nobel prize from disasters into catalysts of great happiness.
- How you can have a chance at winning a fragment of the 4.3-billion-year-old supernova that created Earth and the hemoglobin in your blood!
- And much more…
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Science and technology are the foundations of “first world” society, yet in today’s age, scientific illiteracy is celebrated rather than castigated. Never has science been so important but so poorly understood by the general public — who should be encouraged to support scientific advancement as citizens, voters, and taxpayers. But even within the scientific community, an annual award — the Nobel prize — is coveted as the pinnacle of achievement even though the basis of its endowment is secretly selected by an anointed few upon a fairly predictable demographic.
On this episode, we’re joined by Dr. Brian Keating, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California San Diego, host of the Into the Impossible podcast, and the author of Losing the Nobel Prize: A Story of Cosmology, Ambition, and the Perils of Science’s Highest Honor. Here, we discuss ethical wills, the patience of astronomers, failure as fuel for intellectual and emotional growth, space rocks, and much more. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
If you want to be one of the lucky 10 listeners to get a fragment of the 4.3-billion-year-old supernova that created Earth and the hemoglobin in your blood, go to briankeating.com and sign up for Brian’s newsletter using your own first name and Harbinger as the last name, sign up for Brian’s YouTube channel, take a screenshot, and then submit it to Brian through the briankeating.com mailing list. You’ll be entered into a drawing to win a cool ancient space rock! (US only because international postage on heavy geological specimens would be expensive for a humble government employee like Dr. Keating — sorry!)
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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THANKS, BRIAN KEATING!
If you enjoyed this session with Brian Keating, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com.
Resources from This Episode:
- Losing the Nobel Prize: A Story of Cosmology, Ambition, and the Perils of Science’s Highest Honor by Brian Keating
- Into the Impossible Podcast
- Brian Keating’s Website
- Brian Keating at YouTube
- Brian Keating at Facebook
- Brian Keating at Twitter
- Brian Keating at Instagram
- The Official Website of the Nobel Prize
- All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten: Uncommon Thoughts on Common Things by Robert Fulghum
- UC San Diego Physicist Flexes ‘BICEP’ to Introduce Controversial New Book, UCSD News
- The BICEP and Keck Array CMB Experiments
- Reports of Mark Twain’s Quote About His Own Death Are Greatly Exaggerated, Mental Floss
- It’s A Wonderful Life
- First Direct Evidence of Cosmic Inflation, CFA, Harvard & Smithsonian
- The Great Santini
- Book Review: “Losing the Nobel Prize” by Brian Keating by Sabine Hossenfelder, Backreaction
- Neil deGrasse Tyson | Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, TJHS 327
- Andrew Lange, Scholar of the Cosmos, Dies at 52, The New York Times
- Mad Men
- Dead Poets Society
- Inside the Final Days of Robin Williams, Vanity Fair
- Frances H. Arnold, NobelPrize.org
- Martin Weitzman, Environmental Economist Who Emphasized Uncertainty, Dies at 77, The Washington Post
- After Expulsion From The Academy, Here Are All Of Harvey Weinstein’s 81 Oscar Wins, Forbes
- A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
- Kobe Bryant | Dissecting the Mamba Mentality, TJHS 249
- The Mamba Mentality: How I Play by Kobe Bryant
- Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
- Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
- The Lonely Man of Faith by Joseph B. Soloveitchik
- David Brooks’s 5-Step Guide to Being Deep, The Atlantic
- The Road to Character by David Brooks
- How to Write An Ethical Will, Everplans
- Ethical Will Worksheet, Everplans
- The Five Minute Journal
- Exodus 32: Moses and the Golden Calf, Bible Gateway
- F. Duncan M. Haldane, NobelPrize.org
- Richard Dawkins at Twitter
- Darknet Diaries
- A Few Good Men
- Albert Einstein, NobelPrize.org
- These Actresses Were Never Nominated for an Oscar But Can Still Earn Your Vote, Smithsonian Magazine
- List of Awards and Nominations Received by Leonardo DiCaprio, Wikipedia
- The President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection, National Archives
- Baal Statue, Ancient History Encyclopedia
- List of Nobel Laureates in Physics, Wikipedia
- November 5, 1963: SD Mother Wins Nobel Physics Prize, The San Diego Union-Tribune
- Caltech Mom Wins Nobel Prize, Son Is JPL Mars Flight Tech, NASA
- Carnegie Deli
- Søren Kierkegaard, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- “Memento Mori”: The Reminder We All Desperately Need, The Daily Stoic
Transcript for Brian Keating - Losing the Nobel Prize (Episode 347)
Jordan Harbinger: [00:00:00] Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with producer Jason DeFillippo. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most freely, and people can turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you. We want to help you see the Matrix when it comes to how these amazing people think and behave. We want you to become a better thinker if you're new to the show. We've got episodes with spies and CEOs, athletes and authors, thinkers and performers, as well as toolboxes for skills like negotiation, body language, persuasion, and more. So if you're smart and you like to learn and improve, you'll be right at home here with us.
[00:00:39] Today on the show, my friend Brian Keating, he's a Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California. He leads a $100-million observatory, which is just way more responsibility than I would ever want for myself. He's a bestselling author. He's a jet pilot. He's a mouthful, this guy. He's won the presidential award for scientists and engineers but most importantly, he did not win the Nobel prize, and that in part is what we're going to talk about here today with Brian Keating, author of the hilariously titled, Losing the Nobel Prize. Science and technology are the foundations of a first-world society, which we purport to have.
[00:01:15] Yet in today's age, scientific illiteracy is somehow celebrated rather than castigated. Never has science been so important and yet so poorly understood by the general public. And candidly, most scientists are terrible at communication to non-brainiacs or just the general public. Brian has worked hard on his craft as an ambassador of science, and you'll hear that here today, but this is not just a science episode. Come join us and learn how to think better about achievement as well as about loss. A topic near and dear, as you might've guessed, given the title of Brian's book.
[00:01:47] If you want to know how I book folks like this, it's all about my network. I already know everybody that comes here on the show. I'm teaching you how to create a network for yourself for either business or personal reasons, and it's going to end up being both. Check out our networking course. It's all free. It's called Six-Minute Networking. It's over at jordanharbinger.com/course. And by the way, most of the guests, you do hear on the show, do subscribe to this course and the newsletter. So come join us, you'll be in smart company where you belong. Now here's Brian Keating.
[00:02:15] Brian, thanks for coming on the show.
Brian Keating: [00:02:17] Thanks, Jordan. It's a real pleasure to be here.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:20] Yeah. You sound like you meant that.
Brian Keating: [00:02:22] That's true. It's only taken me a couple of years.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:25] Yeah, that's true. That's true. Now the book is Losing the Nobel Prize, which is kind of an interesting angle because normally you'd think, wow, we have Nobel laureates coming on, and you're like a Nobel un-laureate. Is that the honor that we're talking about here?
Brian Keating: [00:02:37] Honorable mention or dishonorable mention. Yeah, well actually, you know, the book started off with a title, Losing the Nobel Prize, sort of as a double entendre, as our French listeners might say. And that's that, you know, I knew personally for reasons we can get into that. I'd created a Nobel-worthy experiment, and we had made an announcement that was covered all around the world, but I knew instantly that I would not be one of the ones winning the Nobel prize, even though it was instantly talked about in rapt tones as being Nobel-worthy.
[00:03:07] And the other meaning of it came later as I wrote the book, which is that the Nobel prize needs to be done away with -- at least its negative aspects that we can get into -- and therefore it needs to be lost in its current form and kind of revived in a better form.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:20] First of all, can you give us like the 30-second overview of what was Nobel-worthy? Because I think a lot of people are kind of like, "What did you lose for? What was it that he lost?"
Brian Keating: [00:03:30] Yeah. So I'm a cosmologist. You ever heard of that book, Everything I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten? I'm planning on a book, Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Advanced General Relativity. It's hard to give a 30-second overview, but I will. I'll do my best, and that's that I'm a cosmologist, which doesn't mean I do hair and makeup, but instead means that I studied the birth of the early universe and actually cosmology and cosmetology share that same prefix: cosmos. Because it means beautiful in Greek, which is kind of beautiful if you think about it itself, that the face the universe presents us gives us an opportunity to understand our own origins.
[00:04:03] And since I was a young kid, I had two really overarching desires. One was to understand the universe as much as I could before I left this mortal coil and two, to win a Nobel prize. And they kind of intersected in this experiment called BICEP. That I invented along with some collaborators at Caltech and elsewhere, and that we eventually took down to the very bottom of the world, to the South Pole, Antarctica, where it observed for many years. And finally did discover the very thing I wanted to discover or so we thought, and that was the birth pangs of the Big Bang. And you can think of the Big Bang as this explosive expansion, if you like, although it's not technically correct, of all matter, all space, and perhaps the beginning of time itself. And so what we thought we witnessed was the origin of time.
[00:04:46] It's just so fascinating to think that a little idea that I came up with 20-something, 30-something-year-old young scientists would have such implications for not only science but philosophy, even theology. I mean, who hasn't thought about the universe and where we all come from when you look upon a dark starry night?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:04] Sure. And then you lost it. Why? It's all rigged.
Brian Keating: [00:05:07] That's right. Yeah. They certainly don't have any compunction, you know, awarding it to white men such as myself. But the Nobel prize has given out according to Alfred Nobel's will. So Alfred Nobel was kind of the Steve Jobs of the 1800s he was one of the wealthiest and most successful inventors in history. And he invented a little substance that we came to call dynamite. And dynamite was incredibly profitable and was also used for warfare in addition to constructing and demolition. And so he sort of invented this prize with an aim of recognizing the world's best scientists and those that contributed to world peace, which is kind of ironic.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:44] It is ironic. "I invented dynamite. You know what? Let's name a peace prize after me. This is never going to get misused."
Brian Keating: [00:05:52] Actually, he was impelled to create this prize because he was walking around Paris one day and he came upon a newspaper that said, Alfred Nobel, the merchant of death is dead. And that was kind of odd. You know, as Mark Twain said, "Reports of my death are slightly exaggerated." It was actually his older brother who died, but he kind of got this George Bailey. Do you remember It's a Wonderful Life? He got to see what life would be like without him after he's gone. And it wasn't pretty. And they were kind of gleefully celebrating his death in this Parisian newspaper obituary. So he resolved then to redeem the Nobel name, and in so doing created the Nobel prize, and it was meant to recognize the greatest and most beneficial invention or discovery that occurred that was created by a single person in the preceding year.
[00:06:36] And so we have come very far from what Alfred Nobel originally wanted, but our discovery was really one for the ages if it had held up. The reason that it wasn't awarded to us -- no member of my team won it, so we all lost it in a certain sense -- is because we were trying to study the origin of the very largest thing that possibly exists, namely the universe. And in so doing, we were spoiled and actually ruined. Our results weren't wrong. We didn't make a blunder. But it turned out we were kind of tripped up by the smallest substance in the universe, namely dust. And so I know you've got a young child at home. I have several at home, and dust is ubiquitous for people in life.
[00:07:14] We see dust everywhere. You did an episode once about sand. Well, sand is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. And the universe and the cosmos is basically littered. It's a filthy, filthy universe that we inhabit. That's mostly due to stars that used to exist. That blew up. And so we knew that these stars would blow up and they would litter the interstellar medium of our galaxy with dust. And we tried to get rid of it, but the only team that held the key to the dust's reality or lack thereof was being maintained and kept close to the vest by our arch-nemesis. A satellite experiment located a million miles from the earth that held the key to really confirming or disconfirming what we were going to claim and what we did at Harvard University on St. Patrick's Day 2014, which is the claim that we had discovered the origin of the universe via this inflationary epoch. That scientists have pursued for literally 20 years at that point.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:05] So you ended up not winning the Nobel prize and then you decided, "Screw it. I'm going to market this into a book." I mean, I'm trying to follow your thought process here from, "Okay, I didn't win this." Look, real talk, were you super crushed at that point? Because you thought, "I'm going to win this Nobel prize. I'm going to go down in history," and now then there was nothing.
Brian Keating: [00:08:23] There was a whiplash of emotions, that's for sure. People talk about, "You just have sour grapes, Keating. You would have happily accepted it." Even though you know a lot of the book -- well, I shouldn't say a lot. The book is a memoir. It's an autobiography of a scientist at a young age trying to achieve the highest heights in his field. And for us, that's unquestionably the Nobel prize. There's no greater accolade I claim in all of society. I mean, it's not like newspapers ask, you know, some Hollywood star, you know who he or she should vote for in the presidential election. They're all too happy to give their opinions, but they'll publish 70 Nobel laureates saying that you should vote for, you know, choose your candidate there. But in this case, for what I wanted to do, it was first and foremost to really understand how the early universe behaved because I thought that there could be no greater mystery than that.
[00:09:09] I knew concomitant with that could come the Nobel prize. And I have to say it was a huge motivation for me, Jordan. I grew up with a very difficult, but ultimately a loving father. And he was a great scientist. He was a mathematician, he was a scientist, and he had become a full professor. So I'm only a full professor for a few years now at age, my late 40s but he was a full professor at Cornell University when he was 27 years old. And he and I were really competitive. As you might've been competitive with your dad, you know, playing football around the yard. Like The Great Santini, you know, kind of wrestling or whatever. He was like that with intellectual jousting. And so I knew the only way to kind of overcome his shadow or get out from under his shadow would it be to do something he never did, which is to win a Nobel prize.
[00:09:50] So for many years I thought that was sort of not only a nice kind of accompaniment to understanding how the universe worked, but it became like winning an Oscar or winning Best Podcast of the Year. It became a goal unto itself. And when I fell short of it, two things happened. One, I had to deal with this crushing blow, as you say, to come so close and not win after all the blood, sweat, and tears, and travel, and people that I knew and loved and lost over the decade it took to make these measurements. And then to be shut out of the credit for doing, in part, the creation of the experiment that ultimately led to these results along with colleagues.
[00:10:28] It was quite crushing, but ultimately I came to see it as sort of a journey of introspection. Why did I care so much to win this prize? Was it just for my father's kind of accolades and adoration? Was it for something inside of me, a need that I had to be held up in this esteem? I mean, it's like having the one-million Instagram followers. For scientists, it is even more. I mean, there are fewer people currently alive that hold the Nobel prize in physics than have been in the space station in the last couple of years or that live at the South Pole currently in the middle of winter there. So, you know, thinking about why I wanted to do it, it caused a deep kind of introspective glance into what drives the scientist.
[00:11:07] And not all my colleagues are like me. I don't want to say that, but there are a lot. I was told when I was hired, basically, to get tenure, to get the highest levels of academia, you have to be on the shortlist of Nobel prize winners. I'm still told that by people. That the research I'm doing is great. I still have a chance to win the Nobel prize. And I say that would be pretty ironic at this point after all the criticism I made in the book.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:28] They might give it to you just to be like, "Now, let's watch him eat these words." I don't know. Do you think it's increased your chances or decreased your chances, honestly?
Brian Keating: [00:11:35] Well, I had a book critic, right, that [said] it was a wonderful book. She hated my conclusions and she disagreed with them vehemently, but she said, "Who knows? He's such a good writer, he might win the Nobel prize in literature." And then I pointed out it was canceled last year due to an egregious alleged sex scandal that rocked the Nobel Academy. So I don't know if I want to win it that badly, the Nobel prize in literature. I do say, you know as a joke, if you want to see if I'm sincere about the reforms that I propose for society's greatest accolade, just get them to award it to me and if I don't turn it down, I'm a freaking hypocrite.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:05] Yeah. That's a good plan, because either you are a credible writer or you are a Nobel prize-winning physicist.
Brian Keating: [00:12:13] Heads I win, tails you lose.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:14] Yes, exactly. Exactly. Well, there's got to be some pretty intense criticisms of this if you wrote a whole book about it. And I want to get into that a little because I think a lot of us do put the same types of criticisms onto ourselves. And this was illustrated even more severely by the suicide of someone close to you. Do you want to tell us about that?
Brian Keating: [00:12:34] Yeah. Unfortunately, the scientific world that we now inhabit has become really competitive and really challenging. It's always been competitive and it needs to be competitive. I think Neil deGrasse Tyson spoke about this on your show not too long ago. That scientist is inherently an adversarial kind of occupation, kind of like lawyers. You have two lawyers going at it to try to get to the truth and you hope there's a kernel in there. Of course, you know, $450 an hour to find it out. For scientists, we don't get paid as much as lawyers or doctors or whatever. I'm not going to make an argument here or there, but what we do rely on very much so is funding for our research, and that's very hard to come by nowadays. And in science, you're almost always only as good as your last experiment, your last theory, your last paper. Kind of like movies, you're only as good as your last movie. Most actors and actresses find that to be true.
[00:13:23] And so for me, when I was a young postdoc, which is the position that you inhabit, kind of academic purgatory after graduate school. After getting my PhD at Brown, I moved to Stanford, close to where you are, and I started a postdoc with a hotshot young professor at Stanford and I just couldn't deal with it. I didn't like working on someone else's projects. I wanted to come up with my own ideas. I'd been trained to do that, and luckily she fired me. I say that truthfully. She did fire me and it was the best thing that ever happened to me, moving out of there, because she actually connected me to a man named Andrew Lange, who was a professor at California Institute of Technology, which is not a technical college. It's also known as Caltech. It's one of the preeminent schools for studying the hard sciences that has ever existed. And Andrew was a full professor there and he was an incredible friend and a mentor and a father figure. I mean, he would literally give me advice about dating and women and family matters. And he was there when my own father passed away. He was a wonderful person and he was incredibly charitable and gracious with his time.
[00:14:25] And he was the one more than any other person who believed in this idea for an experiment at the South Pole to journey back to the beginning of time that I ended up calling BICEP and because of his belief in it, and because of the backing and the pull that he had and his charisma, which is a very rare trait for a scientist. You know, they say how do you know if a scientist is extroverted? Have you ever heard this joke, Jordan?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:46] No. No.
Brian Keating: [00:14:47] You can tell if a scientist is extroverted if he looks at your shoes when he's talking to you instead of his own.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:51] Instead of his own. Yeah!
Brian Keating: [00:14:52] So Andrew, but he was like -- what's that guy's name? Jon Hamm. He was like one of these Mad Men actors, good looks, tall, extremely successful, happy family life with three kids, and he had it all -- or so I thought. And it turned out that soon after deploying this instrument to the South Pole, he had gone to help deploy it. He ended up, in January of 2010 -- so just about 10 years ago -- he took his own life. And the way that he did it, and the way that we found out about it in the community, it was such a gut punch that this man who was shortlisted for the Nobel prize many times because of experiments that he had done prior to my joining his laboratory. And it'd be like joining this franchise team and the franchise player takes his own life. We'll never know exactly why he did that. I kind of had this owed to him in the book.
[00:15:38] He was like that guy also named Keating in the Dead Poets Society movie [with] Robin Williams. He was like a Robin Williams or somebody like that, charismatic and yet he must've had these demons that he was dealing with and dealing with that at the highest levels of science and being perhaps overlooked for awards that he deserved, by my estimation and everyone that I know, we'll never know for sure why he took his own life, but in an ironic sort of twist, his wife, Frances Arnold, she won the Nobel prize last year, and this is eight years after he took his own life. It's just so devastating when you look back on how many people, the outpouring of emotion, and I had wished that he had done, as Alfred Nobel had done, which is to leave what I call an ethical will. Which is just so heart-wrenching that he's no longer here to celebrate all the good things that have happened in my life and all the academics that he had produced. I want to say sired, but he didn't. There is almost like a paternal relationship that he had with hundreds of scientists.
[00:16:39] It was truly devastating to deal with that. And to make matters worse in 2019, I got the news that an economist had committed suicide. It was a man by the name of Weitzman. He left a note, and according to some of his friends, he said that he had believed that he would win the 2018 Nobel prize in economics, but it was not to be. The prize went to two other people, and this was crushing to him. We don't know for sure, again, why he committed suicide, but the Nobel prize is held in such high esteem that it's almost -- and this is part of my mission in the book, as I came through to write the book, I wanted to take the clothes off the emperor or show that the emperor is naked, that this kind of sacrificing yourself -- and again, I'm not ascribing motives to either two of these gentlemen, one of whom I knew well, why they committed suicide. We'll probably never know exactly why.
[00:17:25] But for me, if there are people out there that sort of have this affinity for accolades in any field -- it could be Oscars, it could be the Nobel prize, it could be Grammys, it could be Podcast of the Year -- that you should not let this kind of external validation have any sand to your own perception of self-worth. And unfortunately, so often today, it does. I get tons of emails from people that have read the book. I got an email from somebody in Pakistan last week. Some guy, a Muslim friend, is reading this New York Jews book literally halfway around the world and saying that he has experienced these problems as an academic in Pakistan. It's just phenomenal. And so if I can help one person really deal with this notion of what it means to liberate yourself from idols, as I have in the form of the Nobel prize, then I'll feel like it's been worth it.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:18:12] You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show. We'll be right back.
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Jordan Harbinger: [00:22:32] Tell us about this ethical will. It sounds like something that a lot of us should probably do at some point.
Brian Keating: [00:22:38] Yeah. So when Alfred Nobel saw this obstreperous obituary claiming to be his, he began to really reevaluate his life. Now he was never married, despite certain urban legends about him being married, but he had never been married. He never had children. And instead, what he ended up leaving for the world was the Nobel prizes. And he did so with this kind of heterogeneous structure. In other words, he left money as part of the will, but he also had a different component. This other side to it was that the Nobel prize was to be awarded only to those persons who had conferred the greatest benefit to mankind.
[00:23:15] And you're a lawyer, and I know you've probably had wills and state law at some point in your law career. I don't know about you, but if I wrote a will and then the will wasn't carried out, I would want to have somebody kind of prosecute against me on my behalf. And so I envisioned myself in that role as sort of suing the executors who are the Nobel prize committee. And again, it's not about sour grapes. It's about this huge influence that the Nobel prize cast over the world, and not just the world of science, as I said. And people say, "Well, you, you didn't win it so you can't criticize it." I'm like, "Yeah. You know, I didn't win the presidency either. So I guess I can't criticize the president." It's not a prerequisite. In fact, if you only did that, no one would ever criticize Hollywood. Harvey Weinstein would still be held up with his Academy awards and, and his credibility. But of course you don't have to have won it. And in fact, you could have lost it. And in other words, to see it from the outside, I think is really important.
[00:24:09] And part of my ethical will is this book. And an ethical will has this dual purpose. It's to communicate to people, usually your children, but in my case, I feel like it's my academic children. I've had 16 graduate students over the years and I do feel like they're family to me. They're some of the closest people in my life. We share their highs and their lows together. And I feel like the ethical will that I wanted to leave to them is the meaning of why we do science. It can't just be that you do science for accolades. Certainly, everybody should agree to that, but it also shouldn't be that you're isolated and that you're not sharing the wisdom that comes with your discovery.
[00:24:46] So I'll take a step back. Science, the word science, means knowledge. It doesn't say anything about wisdom, and to me, that means you must get your wisdom outside of such scientific pursuits. And no more would I expect to -- Stephen Hawking wrote one of the greatest books in science ever written, A Brief History of Time, but there's nothing in there about the meaning of time or the meaning of life and how to spend your time. And I feel like you can only get that outside of the lab, or you can have great relationships and so forth. So I give some examples that I've encountered, including one of whom you had on your show, Kobe Bryant. He wrote a book called The Mamba Mentality, which is not only about basketball, it's also about his mind and his courage and his will that is invaluable to his kids.
[00:25:26] Imagine for a second, Jordan, somebody comes to you completely, legitimately and says, "Jordan, I found this book, and it's written by your great, great grandmother living, I don't know, in Eastern Europe somewhere probably or wherever." How much did you pay for that book? And it's her diary. It's kind of her treatise on how her life was experienced in the first person. I hope you would pay a lot for that. I know I would. Let me just say it like that. And so you don't even have to do that if you leave a legacy in these forms, and luckily there are many examples of that Viktor Frankl, I know your listeners will be familiar with. He wrote this incredible book called Man's Search for Meaning. And it really is also a diary. I mean, he talks about his experiences in the concentration camps and how it was perceived by him and how he developed a whole new branch of thinking in psychology. He was a psychologist before and after the war. Anne Frank, who didn't survive the war, she left this diary. It's also an ethical will and when you see things left in that format, it's for posterity. These are the things that matter.
[00:26:23] You know, there's a famous essay, it was actually inspired by a famous rabbi named Rabbi Soloveitchik, and he talked about different virtues, and you think about what'd you put on your resume versus what will be said about you at your funeral. So eulogy virtues versus resume virtue. And it's kind of the two sides to mankind. We have that side where we have to work, we have to do things, go to law school and whatever our business may be. And then there are the things that matter much more than that. No one ever says at a funeral, "Well, he was really impressive because he went to Harvard or Brown" or wherever, you know, nobody does that. It's very rare and the Nobel prize is sort of unique in that people will, in their obituary site, that so-and-so was a Nobel prize winner, or sometimes so-and-so lost the Nobel prize and was denied it.
[00:27:04] I think that's very interesting how people have melded these two virtues, the resume virtues with the ethical virtues, with the eulogy virtues. And I urge people to spend at least a fraction of the time that you spent on your resume thinking about your eulogy and what will be said about you, and you can do that in writing online. You can write it out by hand, put it somewhere safe for your kids or for your future kids or whatever, to have a recollection of what it was like for you to go through life up to this point. What was it like as a kid? What was it like in your greatest challenges? How looking back through the lens of history -- which I talk a lot about in the book -- do you perceive that your life's events unfolding, if not according to some plan, if that's too woo-woo for you, at least that things unfolded in just such a way that it left the following lessons that you want to be remembered by as your eternal legacy. God forbid it should be used before your time but you can keep adding to it. And there are actually online tools we can probably put links to in the show notes, so where you can do it and what questions to ask yourself so that you too can leave this legacy behind and continue to update it. Because it's not only a legacy for your kids, it's also a legacy to yourself and it teaches you what matters most in your life.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:13] Now we'll put some info in the worksheet here on how to do this because I think this is a worthy exercise for people to do. And I don't want to spend half the show with the how-to on doing the ethical will. But it makes sense. And do you think people need to be a certain age to do this? Like does it make sense to do it in your 20s and then again in your 30s or should you just wait until you're 50 because what if you get hit by a beer truck, you know?
Brian Keating: [00:28:33] That's right. That's true. I can't say that it's ever a bad time. You know, like they say the best time to plant the tree is five years ago but the second-best time is now. I'm glad I started doing like a Five-Minute Journal, which I think I found out about from your show a long time ago. Yeah, I do it every day, but it's not the same. It's not really the same as this document because that's kind of like your day. And I love reading it from a few years ago and I thank you for exposing me to that. But by the same token, this is a little bit different. This is kind of like your core values. There are some things that will never change, right? Your upbringing, where your parents came from. And it should be written in a way that somebody else could read it. And it's not like, here's where I give my money. I mean, that's for you and your lawyers to talk about, but it should be what are the ethical values that you want to communicate? Who were you? Have you ever sat down and have an honest conversation with yourself of what matters most to you?
[00:29:20] I think putting that down, it's certainly wonderful to do that as often as you feel like that has changed. I know it changed dramatically for me, and you can probably validate this as well after I had kids, after I got married. Big life events should be the trigger, or maybe do it every year on January 1st. Something where there's a new beginning and you have a new chapter. You have a new vision of reality that has caused you to acquire that which science is not, which as I said, is wisdom. And so when you have these wisdom moments, these wisdom breakthroughs, that's training you to then record those and how you have grown as a human being because no one's going to really care about the CV virtues, the resume virtues. I'm sorry to say that's not how you're going to be remembered.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:59] Speaking of resume virtues, you and I talked pre-show about finding out what so-called idols we worship and then smashing those. Give us a little overview of that because a lot of people do chase, I mean, of course, it's like a cliche that people chase money and fame. We were just talking about that pre-show with all these sorts of Instagram or YouTube type people and for that matter, any celebrity. But people chase Nobel prizes, people chase making partner, people chase Oscars, people chase accolades about their freaking podcast for some delusional reason. How are those limiting us and what do we do with that? Or is that just a fact of life that's unavoidable?
Brian Keating: [00:30:35] So is there a way that you can be desensitized? I think that there is. I think there's a way to basically deprogram yourself from worrying about so much how you are perceived. And I feel like the natural way to do that is to really not to live so much for the appreciation of other people. I like to think: how would I impress myself? So my father has passed away. My mother, thank goodness, is still very much alive, and my brothers, et cetera. But there came upon a time when I felt like I was enough. I could be comfortable with who I was, that I didn't have to go after these external accolades. And people don't really believe me when I say that. They're just like, as I said, "You have sour grapes. That's the only reason you wrote this. If you had won it, you would've gladly accepted it." I can honestly say that I wouldn't. I mean, would I accept it, would I not, but that I do not worship it anymore.
[00:31:24] I came to see it as there's a lesson in the Old Testament. Again, I'm not going to get too biblical on people. I don't think that's super interesting, but there's a famous incident of the golden calf where Moses goes up on the mountain, doesn't come down. He was a couple of hours late, and literally, the Jews started melting down gold and making an idol and then worshiping it like after seeing God, after being liberated from Egypt, all these good huge things, miracles. And I realized, I thought, that was kind of stupid. Aren't Jews supposed to be smart? Like, what's wrong with these guys? How could they do that? But I realized and going back to it, especially when I had the occasion to have a visit from a Nobel prize winner named Duncan Haldane.
[00:32:03] I should also add the point that it's a little bit different than just me losing the Nobel prize myself. You can agree or disagree, but I was also asked to nominate the winners of the Nobel prize that year. I potentially could have been in the running to win it. So in other words, I was asked by the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences to nominate the people that actually deserved it. So it would kind of be like me going, you know, in your show like, "Jordan, I'd love to come in and show, can you connect me to Rogan, please? You know, no offense, but I'd rather go --" It's like kind of insulting, humiliating, or whatever. But I actually took it upon myself to act very seriously and say, "How would I approach this as an executor of Alfred Nobel's will?" And in so doing, I realized what had happened to the Nobel prize was really done in a way to accentuate it as a modern-day idol for scientists, which is a little bit ironic because scientists are mostly atheist or agnostic if they're anything. Very few of them are actually practicing religious adherence.
[00:32:57] And so this is sort of a kosher, it's sort of an acceptable thing to venerate, and you can almost not even read a book about science without hearing. I don't care if it's Richard Dawkins or Neil deGrasse Tyson. They just go and come into play. Now, this is a prize again, that's awarded by 400 mostly men in Sweden, and it's not like there's some law of physics that determines who should win the Nobel prize. And I didn't know that until I had -- I knew it wasn't a law of physics, but I didn't know how narrow this was. How myopic the vision of the Nobel prize is being carried out today and how different it has become from what Alfred Nobel left in his will.
[00:33:33] And I also want to say to you like, there's a big, you know, it's called a mitzvah. It's a good thing to do. But one of the biggest things in my religion is to take care of somebody's wishes after they die. And the reason is it's something done completely altruistically. You can never be repaid, right? The person is dead. You know, Homer Simpson once said, "I'll take care of your funeral if you take care of mine." It doesn't work that way. And in this case, I felt like, well, what else could be done for this guy who wanted to do something very specific, give it to a single person from the preceding year who had the greatest benefit to mankind, and how far we've strayed from that.
[00:34:05] So I realized at that point, it really wasn't worth worshiping anymore. And I also feel that could be true of almost any accolade. Look, in any zero-sum game, which is a competition where only one person can win or a team can win like The World Series -- I mean, there are as many second-place runners up of the world series as there are winners of the world series and Oscars, et cetera. So is it really that bad to be second? No. In fact, the law of averages says that you will actually be more likely to not get into the promised land, not get to your personal goal because it's, there's only one. So if there's only one winner, then the majority of people selected at random will be losers of that particular accolade. So why be upset about that, instead use it as an opportunity to grow. And look for the idols in your field.
[00:34:52] And as I said, I'm curious how you felt when you won Apple's Best Podcast of 2018 but you didn't win in 2019 right? How did that feel? Because you've gotten better.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:35:03] Right, the show is a lot better now. Truthfully, I won the most downloaded new show, so that was a different award because years ago, having never won anything from Apple or never wanted any real award for podcasting. At first, I was like, "Oh, this kind of sucks. Like my show's really good or at least, I think so and so does the audience, what's the deal?" And then I started asking about how these awards are given, because I was curious. I was like, maybe I can sort of tailor what I'm doing to the people giving the awards. But what I found was that, after putting a few whiskeys in a few of the right people, that a lot of these awards, especially stuff that's from these major platforms, there's like one guy. He gets an email and he's like, "Hey, our best of 2019 is due," and the guy's like, "Oh, crap, what have I been listening to in the past couple of weeks? Oh, this is good. And that's good. Let me look at the most downloaded. Oh yeah, that one's pretty good too. Oh, this guy's hilarious. And I loved Lord of the Rings. Okay, I'm done. Let's go eat lunch." Like there's not an Academy. There's not this selection process. And even in some of the awards where there is an Academy, a lot of the people in the Academy are people who've been doing XYZ for a long time, and they're the only ones that get to vote. So it's more a measure of, am I friends with these seven guys who won a podcast award in the last seven years? And are they going to vote me in? And I am friends with a lot of those guys. So I asked some of those guys about it and they were like, "Dude, you don't need our award. You know, you could add all our shows together and they don't equal the size of yours. This is an award for kind of hobbyists." And they're like, "Anyway, I love your show. I listen to it all the time." And that for me made me feel really good because I realized, "Wait a minute, do I care what seven randos think or 12 or do I care what like the two
Brian Keating: [00:36:40] Or four hundred.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:40] Or four hundred. There are hundreds of thousands of people listening to the show and they email me all the time. Why the hell would I chase some people that may or may not listen that I drink beer with twice a year when I go to podcasting events that are perfectly nice people. I don't really care. It doesn't do anything. It doesn't do anything for my business. And when I got the best of 2018 or the most downloaded new show, I realized, well, that's cool, but the audience did that for me, so it doesn't really matter. So when I didn't, when most downloaded new shows in 2019 because you literally can't because it's not a new show anymore, I realized not only does this not matter, but the other categories in which I can win are even less relevant than most downloaded new shows. So it matters even less. And I think if someone said, "Hey, we chose you as our favorite podcast for this company." I would say, "Is it going to get more people listening to the show?" And in 99 percent of cases, it is not going to do that. Now, look, if Spotify says, we're going to feature you on the front page for a month because we chose your show. That could be game-changing for the show. Just as a Nobel prize could probably be game-changing for you getting funding for whatever later on. But, real talk, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter for me, I should say. But I had to go through that process slowly because it was like, well that's a bunch of crap. Why don't I ever win anything? And then I realized, do I care? Did I even know this existed before I won it last time? No.
Brian Keating: [00:38:00] Exactly.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:01] In which case does it really matter to the majority of people? No. I don't really care that much about it. If it's not going to do anything for the business and I'm not going, "Oh, it's an old boys network, screw it there. It's all rigged." I don't have sour grapes about it at all, and when other people win the awards, it's liberating to be genuinely happy for them, especially if they're really happy about it. I've got a buddy who runs a show called Darknet Diaries, and he was just killing it. It shows wildfire. He's grown to like the size of our show, almost in like the last like two years. And he tells stories about hacking and stuff, and he just caught lightning in a bottle, and it's a good show. I'm not pissed off about it, which surprised even me. So I guess that's kind of where we're at with it, but it's a nice place to be, but it doesn't happen overnight.
Brian Keating: [00:38:47] Yeah, exactly. And would you believe the same exact thing? Everything you said could be said, replace podcasts with the Nobel prize. It's literally assigned by one single, small Scandinavian country. And it's taken on this outsized importance. And the reason for that is because I believe and contended in the book, people love to worship things. They love to have these --you know, like Jack Nicholson says in A Few Good Men, "You want me on that wall. You need me on that wall." In order to settle an argument, all you have to say is "A Nobel prize laureate said the following," et cetera, and that settles things. Now it's a little less cut and dry in the case of entertainment, et cetera.
[00:39:22] Albert Einstein, how many Nobel prizes do you think he won? He won one. And legitimately he could have won seven or eight. I mean, just according to how many brilliant discoveries and creations he had. Now, why didn't he? Because there are some unwritten forces and things that are non-scientific at work. In fact, there's only one human being in the history of the planet that one more than one Nobel prize in physics. And that's for these obscure things in the physics of what are called semiconductors and superconductors. Now, should he be exceptionally proud? I mean, look at Oscars, I think Rita Hayworth won like four Oscars or whatever, but like these are the selected, at least by this one governing body completely subjectively as the greatest intellects of the world, and yet they only win one or they don't win again.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:40:07] You're listening to the Jordan Harbinger Show. We'll be right back after this.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:11] This episode is sponsored in part by Skillshare. Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of inspiring classes for creative and curious people or people that just need to learn new stuff, new skills in fact. There are tons of membership sites but Skillshare is interesting because it's a community that has people teaching individual skills. Yes, there's productivity, lifestyle, entrepreneurship stuff. There are specific types of software, but there are also people teaching random skills, like bookshelf organizing and other little things you didn't actually look at as skills per se. One of our designers is learning slash relearning animation software on there right now.
[00:40:47] Jason, I know you're learning some design software, right?
Jason DeFillippo: [00:40:50] Yeah. Yeah. I'm learning InDesign. I came from the PageMaker and QuarkXPress days back in the day, and I have to do some brochures for some stuff we're doing here in the neighborhood for like local outreach during the pandemic and I needed to get some software and learn it, which was InDesign, and I'm like, ah, I don't want to read the manuals. Let me just go to Skillshare and find somebody to teach me the important parts right away. I basically got through it in about four hours and learned all the ins and outs of InDesign and got my brochures out, and they're around the neighborhood right now. It's pretty cool.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:23] Yeah. It's kind of nice to just be like, how do I make brochures using InDesign? Not like, how do I use InDesign? And it's like page one, getting started. You know like reading the manual or watching the videos made by the company is always such a huge pain cause they're trying to get everybody. But you can always find sort of specific applications for software or other products in Skillshare. Anyway, tell them where they can get two free months of premium membership.
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Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:36] I was wondering if you ever run into Leonardo DiCaprio at any party and be like, "Hey man. You've gotten snubbed more than me. Like that's kind of cool. Good for you." Because did he not win an Oscar for, I don't know, forever and then finally got one like last year.
Brian Keating: [00:44:51] That's right. Yeah, but you know, the same thing applies to the Oscars except the Oscars have more kind of benefit to people that don't win in fact. If you're nominated for the Nobel prize, no one will ever know who I nominated for 50 years. No one will ever know who else might have nominated me for 50 years. It's kept sealed longer than the JFK assassination files are kept secret. Now, why is that? Because they're a monopoly, like the Oscars. I mean, there are other awards. There are other things. I mean, Apple's a pretty big thing for podcasters. You know, maybe there's one, there's a duopoly or whatever, but the Nobel prize is the most closely guarded, privately held monopoly in the world. Because their raison d'etre is to really have this outsized, in my opinion, kind of reason for people to worship and look up to scientists.
[00:45:33] Now, are there good aspects of that? Yeah. You hope that science's use accrues to the benefit of mankind, but in a lot of cases, I think it does fill this vacuum that is much inherent in human beings today as it was 3,000 years ago. The idea to worship something is, as I say, that we don't worship the statue of Baal, but we do worship the Nobel.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:52] Can you nominate anyone for a Nobel prize?
Brian Keating: [00:45:54] You cannot. You have to be invited. Or there's an old-boys network and to a very, very minor extent, old-girls. There are only three women in 118 years that have won the Nobel prize in physics if you can believe that.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:05] I can definitely believe that. Yes.
Brian Keating: [00:46:08] So I covered these slides and one of them who is eligible --so one of them who won it was one of the founders of my university's physics department, Maria Mayer. And when she won, the headline in the local San Diego Newspaper said, "La Jolla housewife wins Nobel prize."
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:22] Oh, my gosh.
Brian Keating: [00:46:23] And last year, as I said, my late colleague, Andrew Lange, my mentor, his wife, when she won it, the front page of The Jet Propulsion Laboratory ran a headline, Caltech mom wins Nobel prize. A son is a JPL flight tech. They didn't mention her name in the headline.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:37] That's insane.
Brian Keating: [00:46:37] This is a year ago.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:38] That's like saying, "The wife of the late dah, dah, dah wins Nobel prize."
Brian Keating: [00:46:43] Right, Angela Merkel, she's the husband of Merkel, whatever.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:46:46] Johnny Merkel. Well, probably not. Probably more like York Merkel, but you know, whatever.
[00:46:51] That to me is, I mean, that's par for the course. We don't have to go down that road. I don't think that's going to surprise anyone that there have only been three women. That's one in 118 years. I don't take it that it's unlikely to even out anytime soon.
Brian Keating: [00:47:02] So putting it on a pedestal, I think, is a dangerous game. And I do hope that one outcome of the book is the people will check their own biases for what they themselves are slaving too. And yeah, this cliche is money. Of course. It's a little bit less tangible. Because you know, it's always good to make more money, right? But then what are you costing? Like we were talking before the show about, you know, if you have to travel somewhere -- I mean, you're actually taking that from your kid, right? If you're going somewhere, if it was phrased another way to you, Jordan, how much do I have to pay you for it to get away from your daughter? Like you would be like, "Oh, you have to pay me a lot of freaking money."
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:31] Yeah.
Brian Keating: [00:47:32] And yet we sell ourselves. We prostitute ourselves too much, much lower remuneration than even just simple cash. Time is not fungible. You can't get it back. And that's the basis of the ethical will. And that's the basis of the realization that I come to in this memoir, Losing the Nobel Prize.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:48] No, it's true. A lot of my, well, of course, all my interviews are remote now and I fly sometimes to do it, but before I was trying to do every interview in person, and then when we had Jayden, who is my son, for those of you who have been under a rock. Oh, it's fine. It's a unisex name. I gave him the same problem that I have as a Jordan. So, but now you're right, it's phrased differently. Now I'm really enjoying it. Hey, I don't have to fly to like a suburb of Chicago to interview a random scientist. They don't really care. And we can do this via squadcast.fm for those of you that are wondering what I use to record remotely, and I've got a video and I can see everybody. And you know, it's fine and yes, it's a bummer because we can't go and grab a bite to eat afterwards. But you know what? I didn't have to spend a day on an airplane, asleep at a hotel, hire a video crew, miss all this time with my family and spend all that money in order to get what? Like a wide shot of us in the same room. Who cares, man, you know?
Brian Keating: [00:48:39] Over a dill pickle. Yeah exactly,
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:41] Right. Yeah, exactly. A freaking lunch at the Carnegie Deli that got cold while we were talking. It just doesn't even make any sense. I'd love to hear what you think about reframing these losses or these life events -- you know, getting fired, losing the Nobel prize that once appeared disastrous, but later led to great happiness. We talked about this beforehand and this is something that came out of this mess for you. And I know certainly came out of me having to restart my show over. It's funny because I'll get emails where people go in, "It sounds like sour grapes so you say it's the best thing that ever happened to you." And I'm like, "Ah, I see a man who has never experienced true hardship and turned it around because of all the emails that are in my inbox from other people that have been through some-ish. They're like, "You get it now, Jordan. I'm proud of you." And then other people who have kind of never been through it are like, "Oh, it sounds like you're just sort of like making up some BS about how it's fine now." But it really was the best thing that ever could have happened to me and it sucked at the time. And I've done an episode on uncertainty and things like that, but I look at it now and I'm like, I don't have ties with negative people. I don't have to deal with this, the fallout from that stuff anymore. I can do whatever I want from the show. I'm not in the business of selling live events, which I mean now especially is a death sentence to your business.
Brian Keating: [00:49:50] Yeah.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:49:51] So I wasn't going to be able to leave on my own, so I had to get "fired," even though I technically voluntarily left the company. But like you went through this as well, and now you realize, "Oh, I don't have an attachment to this stuff." That's more liberating than you would've gotten had you won, honestly.
Brian Keating: [00:50:07] Yeah. It must be like coming out of the closet must feel to our LGBT friends. Exactly, I always think that there is no success that comes without having failed. I mean, how many kids go from little league, winning every single game up until the world series? None. None have ever done that in history. Never lost a game. I mean, it's impossible. Don't forget, if you strike out six times out of 10 and you get to hit four times out of 10 you're like one of the best hitters who ever lived in baseball. And there are other analogies. That's the only sport I know really, but because it has the most physics in it. But the truth is no success comes without having failed. And if you let failure crush you, instead of seeing it as a sort of a vitamin and a growth hormone for intellectual growth, for emotional growth, and for wisdom. There is no wisdom that you can acquire if you always win. I often feel this way. My kids are losing in some sports. I'd almost rather that they lose. At first, I don't want them to lose something really painful, but losing a game and getting disappointed and having to work it out and hash it out with their teammates as we had to do it led to the greatest growth.
[00:51:07] And there are some scientists who are comfortable with that and move on their way. And there are some that don't, but for me, it was the cultivation of humility that I think made me into a better person, and that's why I wouldn't trade it. I got fired from Stanford. It's one of the best, if not the best place to study physics, to do physics. I got fired. I'd never been fired from anything. I was like the academic golden boy, and here I was at my first real job out of graduate school, and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I never would have met my mentor, Andrew Lange. I never would have been taken under his wing. I would have never had the opportunity to create this experiment called BICEP. I would never have gotten the job that I have at UC San Diego. I never would have met my wife and I never would have had my kids. I mean, yeah, some people will say, "Oh, you would have met some other woman that had some other life and whatever." Yes, that's true, perhaps, but the counterfactuals, it's impossible to know that.
[00:51:55] And I know you were talking about you were in Hollywood and Hollywood, you know, you felt like it sucked and there are all these fakers and whatever. But look, you met your wife and then you had your son. There's a famous quote from Soren Kierkegaard that I end the book with. The book is about astronomy and astronomy is interesting in that it's the only science that we can't do an experiment on. My friends in the biology department, they can take a frog or a fruit fly or something. Irradiate the fruit fly and then see how it behaves compared to some control subject. That's the basis of the scientific method. Well, try going to, you know, Saturn and changing the temperature of the rings and seeing what that does to the surface of the plant. You can't do an experiment in astronomy. You have to wait for stuff to come to you. We have to be patient as astronomers. The only things we get are some meteorites, and I'd love to give away some meteorites to your listeners at some point or waves of light and heat that originated, perhaps in my case, from the origin of the universe itself, which itself is concomitant with the origin of time. I mean, have you ever thought about the origin of time? How does time progress before there is a notion, an entity called time, and I get paid to do that? I wouldn't have if I didn't suffer these failures. So look back and count your blessings and that in turn will develop both humility and an appreciation.
[00:53:07] And the quote from Kierkegaard that didn't get to is appropriate for scientists or astronomers in particular. He said, "Life can only be lived going forward, but it can only be understood looking backwards." And that's the theme of ethical will. You're looking back and it doesn't have to be at the very end of your life like Alfred Nobel. It can be right now. It should be right now. Don't delay. Don't tarry. Thank God Kobe wrote his book before he died. And thank God, Viktor Frankl and Anne Frank and others wrote their books. Do it yourself too. And that will help you see that this thing -- if you don't believe in the grand plan for your life, that's totally fine. But see how your life has blessed you to be at the state of wisdom, integrity, and knowledge that you have at this very moment.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:48] We'll throw a lot of how-to in the worksheets as well about how to learn from your losses because if you don't learn from losses, you're a loser as you phrased it in the book, which I really love. And if you do learn lessons from survivorship, even if what you're "surviving" is the loss of the Nobel prize, you develop that humility instead of humiliation, as you said, which I think is brilliantly put. The recipe for that will be in the worksheets, but I know in the last couple of minutes here, tell us about these meteorites that you're giving out. They look really cool, actually.
Brian Keating: [00:54:18] Yeah, so I got to become friends with Ryan Holiday -- at least friends on the Internet. And he has this wonderful treatise on Stoicism, many, many books on it, but one thing he has on his website are these coins, these kinds of coins you can buy, and they say, Memento Mori, which means in Latin, "Remember, you're going to die." It's a little depressing, but in actuality, the very dust that bedeviled our experiments hope to glimpse the origin of time itself. That was obscured by these tiny little fragments that themselves were created in the bowels of exploding suns that lived billions of years ago in our local neighborhood in the galaxy, and they lived out their life. They died, and they produced a lot of metals and other elements including iron and thank goodness they did for two reasons. One, the core of the earth is made of iron. So without this star giving its life in a fiery supernova explosion, 4.5 billion years ago, we wouldn't have a rocky planet to live upon, and many astronomers think that's a prerequisite for life. We won't get into that. The other thing is that some of the iron percolates to the cross, to the surface of the earth, and eventually made its way into food that eventually made its way into your mother, into our bloodstream, and eventually made its way into your bloodstream, in the placenta. And so you actually have flowing through your veins stardust, and Carl Sagan put it poetically, we are stardust. And that golden stardust that exists within our blood is also similar to meteorites. And so I'd like people to kind of get in touch and subscribe to my podcast, my YouTube channel, my Twitter, et cetera, and I'm going to give away 10 fragments of the 4.3-billion-year-old supernova that created the earth and the hemoglobin, iron in the hemoglobin molecule in your blood to 10 of your listeners. Unfortunately, I can only send it out in the USA. We're not allowed to ship elsewhere.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:00] You can't export meteorites.
Brian Keating: [00:56:02] No. Actually, UCSD will not allow me to export it --
Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:05] Really?
Brian Keating: [00:56:05] -- out of the country. Yes, I can send it to Alaska.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:07] Why?
Brian Keating: [00:56:08] They want to see the material safety data sheets and so forth. I probably could go through that trouble, but that plus the postage would probably bankrupt me. I'm just a state employee, after all, Jordan.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:18] Fair enough. Fair enough. What do people have to do to get these space rocks?
Brian Keating: [00:56:22] So if you would go to my website, which is briankeating.com, you'll be asked to sign up for my mailing list. In the list, you'll be asked to leave your name. So please put your first name and then as your last name, put HARBINGER. So I'll know it came from Jordan. And not that you have such a huge family. And then when you sign up for that on my website, also sign up for my YouTube channel, which is Dr. Brian Keating on YouTube. And then just take a screen capture that, send it to me through the website, through the briankeating.com mailing list, and you'll be entered into a drawing to win 10 of these space rocks that fell to earth tens of thousands of years ago that came from these stars that blew up billions of years ago and have this special kinship between the blood in our veins and the life of the cosmos.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:05] So normally I don't allow people to do anything like this on the show, but I like you, and let's be honest, space rocks are pretty freaking cool so I'm making an exception. Most people are like, "I'll send my free PDF," and I'm like, "Ah, let me stop you right there. I'm deleting that and shut your face." But yeah, space rocks, winning.
[00:57:21] Brian, thank you so much, man. I've really appreciated you coming on.
Brian Keating: [00:57:23] Thank you, Jordan. Have a great day.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:27] Hope you all enjoyed the show. Big thank you to Brian Keating. The book is called Losing the Nobel Prize. It'll be linked to the show notes as always, and if you do buy the book, please use our website links. If you buy it, you can go to jordanharbinger.com/books, and find any book we've recommended on the show. It helps support the show. Really, it does. That stuff adds up. I know it's a small amount when you buy it, but if thousands of you do, it adds up and it pays for things like, you know, hosting a website that has all the books on it and having those show notes created in the first place.
[00:57:53] Also, in the show notes, you're going to find the worksheets for each episode so you can review what you've learned here from Brian Keating. We have a brand new website and a brand new worksheet subsite, so if you find a bug there. Or if you just want to tell us how great it is, go ahead and shoot us a note, firstname.lastname@example.org, especially if you find something wrong with it that we can fix. We also now have transcripts for each episode and those can be found in the show notes as well.
[00:58:16] I'm teaching you how to connect with great people like Brian Keating and manage relationships using systems and using tiny habits. The same I've used for years here in our Six-Minute Networking course. The course is free and it's at jordanharbinger.com/course. Dig the well before you get thirsty. Build that network before you need it even if it means starting from scratch or what feels like starting from scratch right now. Go and give it a shot. The drills take just a few minutes a day. It's not just to teach you how to network in six minutes a day. The course takes like five minutes a day seriously. Just go there and grab it, jordanharbinger.com/course.
[00:58:48] By the way, most of the guests on the show, they subscribed to the course in the newsletter. Come join us. You'll be in smart company. In fact, why not reach out to Brian Keating and tell him you enjoyed this episode of the show? Show guests love hearing from you. You never know what might shake out of that. And I'm on social media. You can reach out and hit me there at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram.
[00:59:06] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. This episode was produced by Jen Harbinger and Jason DeFillippo, engineered by Jase Sanderson, show notes and worksheets by Robert Fogarty, music by Evan Viola. I'm your host Jordan Harbinger. Our advice and opinions, and those of our guests are their own, and I'm a lawyer, but not your lawyer. So do your own research before implementing anything you hear on this show. And remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for this show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting. If you know somebody who is up for a prize and lost it, that might be a good one to give them. Or if you just like the ethical will that we discussed, go ahead and share that as well. Hopefully, you find something great in every episode. I love it when you share it with those you love. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[00:59:53] A lot of people are bringing their businesses online, selling digital products. I've got my friend Omar Zenhom here from WebinarNinja. This is an all-in-one webinars software that allows you to host live automated- hybrid webinars. So it's got built-in tools from marketing, selling your digital products during, after the webinar.
[01:00:10] Omar, what makes this different? Aren't there like a billion different programs, pieces of software that do the exact same thing?
Omar Zenhom: [01:00:16] Yeah, that's a good question. I mean, a lot of our users come over to us because we're easy to use. It's super simple to use. A lot of people are looking for a solution, not another headache and that's what we provide. They also love the fact that we're all-in-one, so they don't have to buy any other piece of software to make this happen. They can just go with us and everything's included under one roof, and our customer support is the best in the world.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:37] But there's stuff the WebinarNinja has besides great support that is exclusive to you that no other webinar platform has, right?
Omar Zenhom: [01:00:44] Yeah. So with WebinarNinja, we include all the landing page software inside. We have the email marketing software built-in inside. Auto replays, that way you don't have to find the video and then download it and paste it somewhere. It's all provided and sent to your registrant's right there. We basically make it so that you don't have to reinvent the wheel every time you run a webinar.
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