Mike Rowe (@mikeroweworks) is a host and narrator known for his work on Dirty Jobs, Somebody’s Gotta Do It, The Way I Heard It Podcast, and Returning the Favor. He is also now an author, and his first book, The Way I Heard It, is out now.

What We Discuss with Mike Rowe:

  • The kind of cognitive dissonance Mike believes our country needs right now, and the tropes we could afford to grasp more loosely.
  • How the prevailing desire among correction culture commandos to prove others wrong on the Internet stifles our ability to exchange ideas freely.
  • Why Mike eschews second takes in favor of presenting his audience with the authentic moments they trust him to share.
  • How Mike’s thrifty (and crafty) parents suckered him into feeling sorry for rich people when he was growing up.
  • Why we shouldn’t view a blue collar career pursuit as a cautionary tale in comparison to the lifelong debt likely incurred by chasing a four-year degree these days.
  • And much more…

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The Way I Heard It by Mike RoweAre you unsure how you should feel when you spot a straight-talking blue collar guy in a flannel sipping a cappuccino? Are you alarmed by the skyrocketing costs of the higher education you’ve been sold into believing your kids will need in order to make something of themselves? Does the bromide of “follow your passion” give you more of an ulcer than a pillow of comfort? Are you hesitant to make yourself heard on the Internet (or even real life) for fear of being shut down by some know-it-all blowhard who can’t resist telling you how wrong you are?

On this episode we talk to Mike Rowe, the host and narrator known for his work on Dirty Jobs, Somebody’s Gotta Do It, The Way I Heard It Podcast, and Returning the Favor, and the author of The Way I Heard It. We discuss everything from the vertigo-inducing debt of higher education to multi-millionaire plumbers to the purity of first takes to the idea-stifling side effects of correction culture. Listen, learn, and enjoy!

Please Scroll down for Full Show Notes, Featured Resources, and Transcript!

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Transcript for Mike Rowe | The Way I Heard It (Episode 264):

Jordan Harbinger: [00:00:03] 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 brilliant and interesting people and turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you.

[00:00:20] Today on the show, Mike Rowe. One of the funniest and most upstanding guys in television. This is a really fun conversation with one of my favorite personalities and we just had a blast with this one. We’ll go behind the scenes with Dirty Jobs and Mike’s new Facebook show Returning the Favor, where he essentially travels around the country doing nice things for nice people. We can’t beat that. We’ll also explore Mike’s philosophy on why you should not follow your passion and why his scholarships over at mikeroweWORKS Foundation are based on work ethic, something that seems to be an increasingly rare supply these days. We’ll discover that blue collar jobs are in massive supply but demand is low. It turns out we have plenty of jobs here in the United States for people willing to take them, and we’ll explore what that says about our country and your ability to succeed in it. It’s hard to pin down all the gems in this one. I’m positive you’ll be glad you had to listen, especially if you’re a fan of humorous and/or intelligent conversation.

[00:01:14] By the way, I met Mike through my network and I’m teaching you how to do the same. Six-Minute Networking, it’s our free networking class, very, very free not-enter-your-credit-card free. It’s over at jordanharbinger.com/course. All right, here’s Mike Rowe. By the way, most of the guests on the show, they subscribed to the course in the newsletter, so come join us and you’ll be in great company.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:01:38] I’ve watched a ton of Returning the Favor in prep for this and my wife watched Dirty Jobs driving to and from Los Angeles and San Francisco with a cat and the passenger seating and a laptop.

Mike Rowe: [00:01:51] Let me just ruminate on that image for a minute. Got a cat, laptop. wife, Dirty Jobs, contained space.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:01:59] Yeah.

Mike Rowe: [00:02:00] That’s fantastic.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:01] At some point, paying attention to the road, hopefully, while watching every episode of Dirty Jobs on DVD, which I’m sure is still somewhere in the house. But when I was doing prep for the show watching Dirty Jobs or something along those lines, you had your hand down the business end of a sheep. I figured you probably weren’t at that time thinking one day, I’m going to be at One Union doing voiceover work, but in the meantime —

Mike Rowe: [00:02:25] No, I was actually coming from One Union to do…I mean I’ve been coming here to this space for 21 years.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:33] Really?

Mike Rowe: [00:02:34] Yeah.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:34] I didn’t know that.

Mike Rowe: [00:02:35] I moved up to San Francisco. Well, I guess it’s not quite 21 years because I came up here right after 9/11 and so that was 2001. That was before Dirty Jobs, but I’ve been impersonating a voice-over guy for 35 years.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:49] The business end of the sheep cervix came sometime between…I don’t even know what was in there.

Mike Rowe: [00:02:56] Once you’re marking your days by various kinds of animal husbandry violations like there’s no more holidays left in my calendar. It’s like oh yeah, yeah, October, that’s the time we castrated lambs with sheep. I remember that.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:11] That’s funny. That’s literally the next thing I’ve got which is one of the most memorable episodes had to be when you’re castrating sheep, and the guy goes, “You know, it’s easier if you just bite it off.”

Mike Rowe: [00:03:20] That moment actually became a TED Talk accidentally. I gave a TED Talk in. 2008 and I went down there because I thought the network asked me to go to say few words at this conference that they were sponsoring. I was like, “Well, okay, I can say a few words,” but I walked into a full-blown TED Talk. My picture was on the wall hanging there with something like lessons from the dirt written on, and then a 20-minute rumination on the changing face of the modern-day proletariat vis-à-vis the digital divide with Mike Rowe. I had three hours to put some kind of story together for TED. I wasn’t sure TED was to be honest but that moment after I had called The Humane Society to make sure I was doing it right because that show, man —

Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:12] To make sure you were properly biting off?

Mike Rowe: [00:04:14] Oh, no, I didn’t know I should be biting them off. I don’t know. In those days of Dirty Jobs, there was a file this thick on one of my boss’s desks filled with letters of complaints from what I called the army of angry acronyms. So every week, everybody or somebody else, it could be OSHA, it could be PETA, it could be HSUS, it could be —

Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:36] What’s HSUS?

Mike Rowe: [00:04:37] Humane Society of the United States.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:38] Oh yeah, got it, yeah.

Mike Rowe: [00:04:40] So here’s the thing about TV, everybody watches it through their own lens. If you are in an organization, then you have an agenda and your agenda becomes the most important thing. Everything you see, everything around you, either comports or fails to comport with your own version of morals and dogma. With a show like Dirty Jobs, it was like before the army of correctors really reared their collective heads which, of course, is where we’re living today.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:10] Yeah. Good luck doing Dirty Jobs today.

Mike Rowe: [00:05:12] Well, that’s why I podcast is called The Way I Heard It. That’s why my book is called The Way I Heard It.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:16] Cappuccino?

Mike Rowe: [00:05:18] That’s why the cappuccino is called the way…This is actually…Thank you, Ryan.

Ryan: [00:05:22] You’re welcome.

Mike Rowe: [00:05:22] This is really the single best thing about doing voiceover.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:25] Getting coffee brought to you.

Mike Rowe: [00:05:26] You know, you sit in a clean well-lighted place. The temperature is controlled. You sound more credible than you are and every so often people bring you a beverage.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:34] Yeah.

Mike Rowe: [00:05:35] It’s nice.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:35] I mean you had sparkling water here. I mean, I probably shouldn’t even say that. I mean your image right now, you’re this blue-collar hero and it’s like there’s Perrier here at a cappuccino on the end of the table.

Mike Rowe: [00:05:46] Look it’s not like I made either one of them. That’s just what was here. My image to the extent that I have one. I hope it’s rooted in the fact that I will accept with grace whatever beverage is brought to me by whomever, at whatever time. I didn’t mean to throw the whom’s in there. You know what I mean.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:02] I was going to say that’s not doing me any favors with all that. I’m from Michigan, so like we talk in a certain way. Perrier is not in the vocabulary and cappuccino is also not in the book.

Mike Rowe: [00:06:12] But don’t you think that that kind of cognitive dissonance is exactly what the country needs right now, rather than people completely embracing their own trope? We seem so anxious as a country to put everybody into their own category. If you see a guy in a flannel shirt who you recently saw castrating lambs and crawling through sewers having a cappuccino, well, so, wait a second, something must be wrong here. He must be a fraud because I mean nobody would crawl through a sewer and have a cappuccino.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:42] The cappuccino drinking is just CGI. The rest of it is real.

Mike Rowe: [00:06:46] Actually, this is all CGI too. I’m not really here. I’ve been gone for some time.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:50] That explains why it is easy to book this. He’s not really going to be there. You going to —

Mike Rowe: [00:06:54] Speaking of which, we did this what, like two years ago?

Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:57] More! It’s probably three or four years ago.

Mike Rowe: [00:07:01] We did it here, right?

Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:02] It was here, not in this room, in the one that burned down.

Mike Rowe: [00:07:06] We had a fire here in One Union but it’s better, better than ever. I’m just saying that if I start telling you a story that I told you before —

Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:13] And if I remember it, I will say something.

Mike Rowe: [00:07:15] Or surely your viewers will.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:18] We’ll hear about it. We’ll get letters from acronyms. I don’t even know what the acronym would be, the department of people who’ve already heard this effing story before.

Mike Rowe: [00:07:26] Yeah, D-P-H-B. They’re out there.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:32] They’re out there.

Mike Rowe: [00:07:33] You’ve seen it too, right? Like this giant sort of spasm of correction where everybody all of the time now is armed with this thing and access like 99% of all the information in the world, except that all the information of the world contradicts itself too. So we are just completely obsessed with voicing an opinion, offering proof that our opinion is correct, offering backup from sources that may or may not be real. No one knows anything. It’s amazing and to my earlier point that was just starting to happen when Dirty Jobs exploded. We were constantly finding ourselves answering questions from experts in every imaginable field, every imaginable vocation. Business on the crab boat was kind of interesting but technically what you’re supposed to do…On the one hand it’s interesting and it’s good to be right. On the other hand, it’s amazing. It’s just amazing the absolute heft — the tide of correctiveness.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:35] It’s a little scary because now we don’t really know…First of all, there’s no way to be right, which is fine. You don’t I don’t have to be right, but it’s a little dangerous because I have to think now, do I want to express this opinion, because I might hear a lot from a lot of people that it’s unpopular. Of course, they would say if you’re hearing a lot then maybe you should change your thinking. Maybe there’s something to that. If I say, in fact I said a long time ago, “Oh, that’s retarded.” And someone goes, “Hey, this is me and my mentally disabled sister and it’s not really nice and you should be more woke, but I still like you and I like your show.” That’s okay. I can take that kind of correction. Another time I said this guy was just having a complete spasm on the show and somebody wrote in and went, “How dare you? There are people that can’t help but have those — ”

Mike Rowe: [00:09:19] Who is having spasms on purpose?

Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:21] I mean, that’s a good point.

Mike Rowe: [00:09:22] Nobody schedules in a spasm in the midst of an otherwise hectic day. I got to leave time. Somewhere between two and three I like to have a good twitch.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:33] And warm up those letters, people. He said twitch, copy written. I know you do a lot of the these shows in one take. I was just listening to you work doing The Way I Heard It, coincidentally the title of your new book.

Mike Rowe: [00:09:45] There are no coincidences.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:46] Not coincidentally the title of your new book, The Way I Heard It. I was like, “Oh, is going to do it all in one take?” And there was a couple little, “Hey, let me re-record this. Let me re-record that.” But are you rehearsing what you’ve written before you get here?

Mike Rowe: [00:10:00] No. I write the stories on planes, usually three to four months prior, and really just to pass the time. That’s how the podcast started. I was just looking for a way to compress time and do something on planes aside from read the same books I keep rereading. So, I just started writing and then we started throwing stories out there and people dug them and so I started writing more and then it became a thing. But no to answer your question. I’m familiar with the stories because I wrote him. The problem with rehearsing anything is that the minute you do it a second time, it’s a performance. That’s great if you’re making a movie or selling a performance and to some degree books are intentional things, podcasts are deliberate things. You don’t want to completely Forrest Gump your way through it. But I think the thing that’s —

Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:48] Excuse me. How dare you? That man is mentally —

Mike Rowe: [00:10:51] You know, what? I twitched several times before Forrest did. That was my magic shoes. Come on. It’s a great moment.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:02] Unrehearsed.

Mike Rowe: [00:11:03] I look at it like this. If authenticity Is really the thing that’s for sale, then the question becomes what things do we do to get in the way of an authentic moment with our audience. Typically, in production, its production itself that gets in the way — it’s the placement of the camera, it’s the placement of the mic, a plane flies over the take gets busted, it’s makeup. When I see newscasters slathering on the makeup and then sitting down to pretend that they’re not reading a prompter when they clearly are all of those things make me trust you less.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:41] That’s interesting.

Mike Rowe: [00:11:42] I mean it’s unintentional but I think we’ve just been fed such a colossal heaping helping of bull crap that the reptilian part of her brain is looking for signs of truth and signs of artifice, which is why the cognitive dissonance with a cappuccino of Dirty Jobs guys is kind of jarring because it makes you go, “Well, which one of those things is real? Is he the guy that drinks Perrier and cappuccino and narrates stuff, or is he a guy who actually goes out there and truly seems to believe that his foundation exists for a genuine purpose, et cetera, et cetera? But I think it’s the difference between skepticism and cynicism. We ought to be skeptical of things that make us look twice. We should always look twice, but we’ve just become utterly cynical now with everything.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:28] Yeah, I can’t disagree with that at all, mostly because I don’t want to get a letter but also because I’d like to think of myself as skeptical and I look at things and I investigate things and I want to get the truth and I want to examine how our brain tricks us. But at the same time, it seems like every time I have a guest on the show, someone will say, “Oh, well, you know if you think that schmuck has something to say, you’ve got to find somebody else. You should fact check this. Have you looked into his charity? How much of his money is he’s skimming off the top? And it’s like, “I don’t know.” You can’t move. You can’t do anything. That’s why I think right now it makes your work even more interesting because you do have like a feel-good show with Returning the Favor where you’re giving money away to people that theoretically really deserve it and doing a lot of that I would assume in one take.

Mike Rowe: [00:13:18] Oh, yeah. Look, I mean that’s very important. It was a Dirty Jobs lesson. I think is maybe the second season of Dirty Jobs, I was done. It was so hard and it was so dangerous, but mostly making it was such a pain in the ass because the production company and the people involved were all still bringing with them the inertia of their last gig. Most TV production is the same very, very deliberate, placed, careful rehearsed. I didn’t want that. I didn’t want to do second takes for one thing. I also wanted to chronicle the making of the show that’s a warts-and-all thing. That’s hard for a network or a production company to agree to. Happily, we kind of compromise the first season. The numbers were good enough so that I was able to say if we don’t bring in a documentary camera to essentially chronicle the making of the show and if we don’t cut that in to the next season, so we can see the crew and see the business of doing it, I don’t want to do it anymore. So, they said okay. That’s become obviously breaking the fourth wall as something everybody talks about but we never broke the fourth wall. We just ignored it and that’s what we do in Returning the Favor too. That’s why I’m able to do such an a sickeningly sweet saccharine show about Bloody Do-Gooders. On the one hand, I really do admire these people and I’m glad they’re out there better than me making the world a better place. I’m not really comfortable building statues to them and turning them into heroes and venerating them, but at the same time I want you to know that the people I meet on this show we look at very, very carefully and answer a really simple question — Are they better or nicer than me? It’s not a very high bar but the people we met by and large are. The trick that becomes how do you interact with these people? How do you give them money? How can you make it less precious? And the answer is to not rehearse. Let the production company do what they do, but then I come in let the producers bring me up to speed on camera. Let me meet the people for real the first time, capture all that on camera, and cut the warts-and-all reality of making the show into the finished. That to me really was the promise of reality TV. Now we totally screwed them.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:15:31] Now, it’s all scripted.

Mike Rowe: [00:15:32] It’s as scripted as an episode of Friends and if somebody tells you differently, they’re lying.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:15:38] That makes sense. You can tell that Dirty Jobs, Returning the Favor — those can’t be scripted. I mean one thing who’s going to go, “Hey refill the dump truck full of tilapia poop and dump it out again and make sure it splashes on us.” That’s not going to happen. If there was one episode where this sewer rat, the size of like a dog, runs across your foot, which is I thought was really funny because you actually go, “Eww.” And I’m like you’re in a sewer, two episodes prior you’re in a tilapia whole full of poo, and this dog-sized rat runs across your foot and that’s what causes you to lose the veneer of Mike Rowe cool.

Mike Rowe: [00:16:14] Well, that actually just opened a Pandora’s box of insanity on all kinds of levels. The rat ran across my foot after it jumped off my shoulder, landed in my crotch, sent me leaping into the air, hitting my head on the roof of the sewer, and then driving me face-first into a river of crap. When I push myself up and spit something out of my mouth that never should have been there. My exact words were holy crap. Now, the censors, Standards and Practices, at the network were like, “Hmm, you can’t say crap.” Like guys —

Jordan Harbinger: [00:16:47] It’s actually crap.

Mike Rowe: [00:16:48] I’m covered in shit, surely, but the problem was I got all kinds of letters from people who thought I said holy shit, because they bleeped crap. So, suddenly, I’m in my boss’s office having this existential argument over the right thing to say when you fall face-first into a river of shit, and actually they had a list of words you’re allowed to say. It’s effluvium, feces. I’m going to yell, holy feces.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:16] That’s why you talk like that, write like that not talk like that.

Mike Rowe: [00:17:19] Well in the end —

Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:20] Effluvium.

Mike Rowe: [00:17:21] I started calling it poo and they were like, “Well, that’s just absurd.” I’m like, “Well, of course, it’s absurd. I want the world to know I’m calling feces poo because if I call it crap, you’ll bleep it and then I get angry letters from viewers who think I’m using bad language.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:36] My kid watches the show.

Mike Rowe: [00:17:40] It’s also odd and fragile and precious and brands today are in the fight of their life. Producers are in the fight of their life. Promotional people and marketers, they’re in the fight of their life. They’re all out there. It’s incredibly noisy and they all want something authentic but so often they get in their own way. Basically, they doom their own quest. It’s a heck of a thing.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:08] I guess next time you fall face-first in crap, you should just go, “Who’s got lamb gonads? I’ve got to wash this taste out of my mouth.”

Mike Rowe: [00:18:14] Well, in that story, just stay out of the sewer. You want to go in and you make your point. Then come in and narrate something. Life is easier.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:20] “Does anybody have a crap-proof facemask that I can wear for this next gig?” The feel-good shows are pretty rare these days though, like Returning the Favor stands out pretty uniquely and that no one’s competing for the money. It’s not Shark Tank or something like that. They don’t have to impress you necessarily, that just sort of happens. It’s got to be hard to get all these small town people usually together and it’s like, “Keep a secret from one of the nicest people in your town, everybody else get in on it, and make sure nobody texts or puts it into thread where she wonders where everyone is. Lie to them.” I don’t know. How do you — I mean. who orchestrates all that?

Mike Rowe: [00:18:55] It happens in a couple different ways. The first thing that happens is a small crew goes in under the auspices of making a digital documentary or some modest thing and most of the people we feature on the show or involved in some kind of altruistic effort, so they want the press. They’ll sit down and they’ll talk to these people. While that’s happening, other things are going on regarding the reveal or the surprise, and I haven’t shown up yet. I literally spend six hours with these people. The advance crew has gone and they’ve set up some kind of surprise. I go in and I play it exactly as it lies. If they know me, that’s fine. Most of them do at this point. Some of them think, “Am I on Dirty Jobs? Am I on Somebody’s Gotta Do It?” Some people have just figured it out they’re like, “Oh my god, is this Returning the Favor?” This is really funny. A few years ago, it would be a disaster and production would stop and everyone would huddle around and they try to figure out what to do. Today, I just say, “Yeah. As a matter of fact, it is. Good for you. You figured it out. Now what are we going to do?” Because we still have to shoot the show and so that’s cut into the show. It’s really not a disaster at all. It simply means that if you really surprise somebody, really get them totally out of the blue, it’s because they didn’t know it was Christmas morning. But if they know it’s Christmas morning, it simply means they don’t know what’s under the tree and they won’t until you give it to them. We’re not really there to document Christmas morning. We’re there because the people we’re introducing you to are people that we think you should know. People who are doing something cool in their neighborhood. And because it’s on Facebook, you don’t have the same weight of network oversight and fear frankly.

[00:20:43] Extreme Home Makeover was a 60-minute show. It had to run in a very specific way. There were hundreds of people on that crew. There were hundreds. I was up in Maine at one time fishing for slime eels. It’s a great episode of Dirty Jobs that we’ve been out for a couple of days and we came back on the boats. Coincidentally, in the same little small town, Extreme Home Makeover was there like building a house and they were all like, “Oh god. Can you come over and have lunch with say Hello?” I said, “Well, sure. Can I bring the crew?” They’re like, “Yeah. Well, how many are there?” And I’m like, “Six.” “Six, of course, bring them.” They had close to 300. Like your subcontractors, people working on a house, you’re talking about multiple live vans because they shoot it like it’s live to tape. An episode of that thing probably cost millions to shoot an episode of Dirty Jobs, six dudes, four with cameras, out in the world, not doing a second take.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:40] How much did that cost? Are you allowed to say? Do you know?

Mike Rowe: [00:21:42] Sure. I mean at the time an hour of Dirty Jobs would probably cost about 350 to 400 thousand dollars for everything.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:52] Wow, that’s amazing. It’s like a factor of 10 or something like —

Mike Rowe: [00:21:55] Right and the shows were equally rated.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:59] No wonder they like you so much.

Mike Rowe: [00:22:01] Well, I mean, I got a little expensive there toward the end, but —

Jordan Harbinger: [00:22:05] We’re going to have to cancel this. You’re going need to call it. Someone’s got to do it now. Sorry.

Mike Rowe: [00:22:10] That’s pretty much what happened. That’s what happens with shows. They start small. They’re doomed to fail. They find an audience. Everybody swoops in to make them bigger, and better and then they get so expensive and top-heavy that they collapse under their own weight.

Jason DeFillippo: [00:22:26] You’re listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest, Mike Rowe. We’ll be right back.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:22:33] This episode is sponsored in part by Hover. Hover is the place to buy a domain name. Building your online brand has never been more important and your online identity begins with the domain name. It’s the first thing people type in, it’s the first website, hopefully, the first web site or sites that show up in Google and buying a domain name for your passion project is really the first step to building your personal brand online. It tells the online community who you are, what you’re passionate about, what you do in your business for example, and Hover is great because there are no upsells. It’s a very clean user interface. I mean a lot of these other sites, Jason, you go to them and they’re like, “Oh do you want this? Do you want that? Do you want this other thing that you don’t know about?” The no button is like this tiny thing in the bottom of the screen. It really wants you to buy a bunch of crap you don’t need. Hover doesn’t do that. They’ve also got best-in-class customer support. They will get back to you and help you out with whatever you need. Hover allows you to connect your domain name to many website builders with a few simple clicks. So, if you’re using something that’s really simple for your website. Hover connect will just kind of make that smooth transition for you as well. They’ll give you personalized email that matches your domain. So, you don’t have your crappy old AOL email on your business card, which just looks kind of ghetto, and my favorite part free who is privacy, so 400-plus domain name extensions. They can’t just look up your home phone and your home address like you normally can with a domain and a lot of times that cost like 30 to 50 bucks a year. Hover throws that in for free, and last but not least fun niche extensions like .design, instead of .com. It tells people what your company or what you do. Jordan.com? What do they do? No clue. Jordan.design, well, it’s obviously a design company. Jason, tell him the deal we got for him.

Jason DeFillippo: [00:24:22] Go to hover.com/jordan and get 10% off your first purchase. That’s hover.com/jordan to get 10% off your first order.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:24:30] This episode is also sponsored by Better Help. Better Help is online counseling. This is 21st century therapy here. Better Help offers licensed professional counselors who are specialized in issues, like depression, stress, anxiety, relationships, sleeping, trauma, anger, family stuff, grief, self-esteem — It’s a long list, but we got problems as humans are complicated beings here. You can connect with your professional counselor in a safe and private online environment. Everything is confidential and most importantly for me. It’s convenient. You can get help at your own time at your own pace. No driving across town. No trying to find parking. Scheduling is really easy. You can schedule secure video or phone sessions plus you can chat and text with your therapist. If you’re not happy with your counselor, you can just request a new one at any time. There’s no additional charge. If you don’t click with someone, just click and get somebody else. Jason.

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[00:25:39] Thanks for listening and supporting the show. To learn more and get links to all the great discounts you just heard from our amazing sponsors, visit jordanharbinger.com/deals. Don’t forget we have a worksheet for today’s episode, so you can make sure you solidify your understanding of the key takeaways from Mike Rowe. That link is in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast. If you’d like some tips on how to subscribe to the show just go to jordanharbinger.com/subscribe. Subscribing to the show is absolutely free. It just means that you get all of the latest episodes downloaded automatically to your podcast player, so you don’t miss a single thing. Now back to our show with Mike Rowe.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:26:16] Was it kind of a thing where you go, “I kind of want to keep doing this but not really that much.” And they’re like, “We’ll give you this much.” And then eventually you just go, “If I’m going to come in for another tilapia dump truck pooped show, you got to pay me this much.” And they go, “You know what we’re drawing the line.”

Mike Rowe: [00:26:31] Well, things go off the rails for a lot of different reasons. In my case. It really wasn’t about the money. The money was involved. We went for eight seasons. It’s like an ad campaign, you know, even ad campaigns that work advertising agencies get nervous for they don’t change it because if there’s no need to change a thing then why do you exist? What are you doing? I had 10 executive producers on Dirty Jobs over eight seasons. That’s how much turn there is.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:27:01] That’s more than one per season for those of you. Do the math.

Mike Rowe: [00:27:02] That’s right and every time somebody comes in, they kind of want to put their stamp on and there was nothing to stamp on Dirty Jobs. It wasn’t a show it was the chronicling of a day on a farm in a tilapia pond, on a bridge. There was no casting there was no preproduction. There’s certainly no script and it was no second take. There’s very little you can do as an executive except what finally happened at the end when they just wanted to ramp it up, really ramp it up. I didn’t want to ramp it up. Dirty Jobs was a show that featured people you’d never heard of doing things. You didn’t know people did and towns you can’t find on a map. So, I didn’t want to do a very special episode in the sewer with John Stamos or Paris Hilton. I just didn’t —

Jordan Harbinger: [00:27:50] That was real that was real pitches, weren’t they?

Mike Rowe: [00:27:52] It was all real. We will be like cleaning up in New York City after New Year’s. I’m like, “Look, everybody knows what that looks like. It’s just it’s New York City.” “Wouldn’t it be more interesting blah, blah.” That conversation was going on and we settle on International. Let’s just see what it looks like overseas. So, I went to Australia for a month and those episodes were terrific. But again, Dirty Jobs was supposed to be and it was at its best a celebration of American workers doing what Americans do without artificer pretense. It started as a tribute to my pop and it finished looking a lot like it did when it started. We went all 50 states. We did 300 jobs and it felt like a good time to say. “Okay, maybe…”

Jordan Harbinger: [00:28:40] Yeah, there was no like jump the shark like, “Oh that episode where Tom Arnold and Mike Rowe are cleaning out garbage trucks or cement trucks is really, that was not my favorite.”

Mike Rowe: [00:28:49] You know what I did I literally jumped the shark during Shark Week on Dirty Jobs. We were doing necropsies, autopsies on sharks basically and we had a 9-foot gray shark down a taxidermy place down in South Florida somewhere. The way it works is you catch a shark and this place makes a big fiberglass mold of it. Then when you catch the same basic shark, you can throw it back. It was actually a really big idea and I wanted to profile it because it was shark week. We wanted to do something that was a great dirty job, but at the same time something that had some decent environmental heft to it.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:32] For shark week, we’re killing a bunch of sharks and putting them on the wall. Talking about getting a letter from PETA.

Mike Rowe: [00:29:37] Talk about cognitive dissonance, but you do have to kill one in order to make the mold. When you make the mold, you have to get you have to get the shark out of the mold and that involves tearing it in half. Their chains involved and tractors and I mean, it’s just an ungodly mess and what was left of a shark was at my feet and I looked at the crew and we all kind of looked at each other like, you know, something this is just not going to it’s not going to really play in the heartland. I just backed up and did the only thing I could which was get a good running start and jump over the shark which we filmed in high speed and cut into the promo. It looked pretty terrific. I’m proud to say I did jump a shark at a time when I felt like there was simply nothing else to do.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:24] Yeah jump in sharks with John Stamos and Mike Rowe.

Mike Rowe: [00:30:26] It’s a very special episode. Stay with us. It’s going to be great.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:31] Your book The Way I Heard It, there are some of the stories in there about your parents’ genius-level reframing techniques. I need to learn this stuff. You met my son in there, Jayden. The neighbors came to show off hundreds of photos from Yosemite. You’re just like when are we going and your parents are like, isn’t that sad? What are they doing here? What’s the psychology here?

Mike Rowe: [00:30:49] We didn’t have a lot of money, didn’t have much at all. My dad taught at public school. My mom wasn’t working at that point. She was raising three kids. What we had was access to about 80 acres. We didn’t own it. We had a couple acres on a small farm on a hill in Baltimore County, living next to my grandfather. So, we were isolated. Obviously, I was in contact with kids at school. I certainly didn’t feel poor, and the reason I didn’t feel poor is because my parents figured out a way to make me feel sorry for people with money. We pitied the rich. The story I tell starts with me watching an Orioles game. I’m like eight or nine and a commercial comes on for Ocean City, Maryland, the boardwalk. All these amusement rides and then all these kids my age, and the boys and girls are holding hands and eating cotton candy. And the rides, I’ve never I’ve never seen rides before. There’s a roller coaster called the Wild Mouse, and everybody on the Wild Mouse looked like they were having such a great time. My parents are sitting behind me, watching the same ad during the Orioles game, and they see me watching the ad. They would start these conversations, just loud enough for me to hear but not directed to me.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:05] That would have been too obvious.

Mike Rowe: [00:32:07] They were very, very sly about it, but it was like, “Gosh, John, look at those kids on that roller coaster. Isn’t it sad that kids have to stand in line to be entertained like that?” My dad would be like, “Look like they’re going to puke on each other, Peggy. Look at that poor kid.” And I’m listening to them and I’m looking at the ad and I’m like, I guess, I don’t know it looks kind of fun, but then they would just keep going with, you know, of course, they don’t have big woods behind to go back and be entertained. It was the same thing with our neighbors. They come back from Yosemite with pictures as their driving off. “Gosh, isn’t it sad? Isn’t it sad that people have to fly all over the country to have fun?”

Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:46] I’m just going to go for a walk in the forest. We have one right there.

Mike Rowe: [00:32:49] I never had any new clothes. I had two cousins who were both bigger than me. Every time there’s like a fashion conversation or talk in the mall, it’s like, “Isn’t it sad these kids have to walk around in these jeans that aren’t broken in? To not have nice worn comfortable clothes.” It’s like yeah, you know, it’s pretty bad very bad. That went on for years.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:10] At what point where you like I don’t really pity the people that are wearing the latest fashions in school? Maybe it’s me who’s the sucker here at 40 years old.

Mike Rowe: [00:33:19] Recently like last Thursday, it became clear.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:23] There are still times in my life where I’m like wait a minute that’s not even true and I’ll call my mom and she’s like you believed that even then.

Mike Rowe: [00:33:31] They told me that carry-out food was for families whose mothers couldn’t cook and that movies were for kids who couldn’t read. It was so I just really it was it was ingenious. It not only worked in the short term it inspired in me a level of superiority, arrogance. Those issues are completely unfounded but it allowed me to be in on the joke which I still to this day is a metaphor I use. I’m not sure what it means entirely, but it just allows you to be comfortable with your own circumstances, whatever they were great at that. It was actually my brother’s, to answer your question, who ratted them out.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:20] Oh, yeah, that makes sense.

Mike Rowe: [00:34:21] Because I was on the front line of it, but they saw more. They were like, “Dude, we’ve been to movies. They’re amazing. You’re going to want to see one.”

Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:31] “Mike, have you seen Batman?” “No, Timmy I can read and one day, I’ll teach you. I just don’t have time right now.”

Mike Rowe: [00:34:36] And besides costumes are for girls.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:38] As of December 2018, there’s about 7 million job openings in the US.

Mike Rowe: [00:34:46] 7.3.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:47] If we’re counting which we are. Not enough qualified workers to fill these up and I got a haircut a long time ago as you can tell. The hairstylist, her husband’s a roofer and I said, “Oh, how’s business? It’s really hot outside.” And she’s like, “Actually that’s part of the problem. He works pretty slowly and it’s really hot out and he really needs help.” I said, “Well, there’s a lot of people who don’t have jobs and she’s like nobody will take this job. Nobody wants to stand on the roof in the hot sun he goes through a new person once a month. He’ll hire someone. They last about four days. They don’t show up on Friday. He’s got to finish the job himself.” That’s like the story of this guy’s life. On the other side college is super expensive now. People are having trouble getting jobs after they graduate. I was one of those people I went to go get a job at Best Buy and they were like you can sell CDs with Norman. He’s 15 and his mom just dropped him off. He’s a freshman in high school. I was like, “I got a four-year degree in econ from Michigan. I am above this kind of work.” And they went, “Great. Do you want to start on Monday? You can start next to Britney Spears.” “Fine.” That was graduation. So I’m wondering where do you what do you think about free tuition for everybody. That’s kind of the solution that people are imposing now. I’ve got my own opinion on it, but I think I can probably guess what yours is but I’m curious.

Mike Rowe: [00:35:04] Look of all the four-letter words that start with an F, free has got to be the most alarming. Because I’ve never found anything that is. It gets political fast. Everything does these days because everything is binary, but part of what frustrates me in a very general way with the way a lot of people think who are coming out of school right now is that there really and truly is such a thing as fill in the blank, free blank. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. There’s certainly no such thing as a free education. If anybody were to seriously want to talk about it, then my first comment would be okay just so we understand the professors have waived their salaries, the administrative staff has waived their salaries, the football coaches waved their salaries, the custodians all the people who take care of the Institute — None of these people are being paid because they are working for free. Therefore, I can attend and not pay them since nobody anywhere is paying anybody. That’s what free is. If you mean a version of free that involves somebody else paying instead of you that’s not free. The first thing that I would try to do if I were really getting sucked into a political diatribe on what to do about the rising cost of tuition is I would say set the table properly and let’s not use words that mean something other than what they truly mean or it let us at least agree to some shared definitions. Otherwise, we’re just going to talk past each other.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:37] I think for something like STEM or some job that’s really in demand but even then, you got to pay it back. I’ll happily send you the plumbing school if I’m going to get a return. That is an investment. It’s not a donation to your English degree or your anthropology degree.

Mike Rowe: [00:37:52] Well, you also have to look at why college gut as expensive as it is. This shouldn’t be political but if you go back to 1982 when I graduated from a community college. I took a year or two off and I went back to university. Let me say it this way, the cost of two years at a community college and two years at a university for me was just under $11,000. The exact same degrees today an AA and a BS from the exact same places are just under 90. I’ll say like this nothing since 1982 has increased in cost faster than the cost of a four-year degree, not healthcare, not real estate, not food, not energy, nothing.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:38] That’s saying a lot.

Mike Rowe: [00:38:39] Nothing so you can’t just look at that as some do and say well that just proves how important it is and how critical an investment it is, because that’s what we’ve been sold. It’s not an education. It’s not a commodity. It’s an investment. Okay so why did the investment increase exponentially? I’m not an economist by any stretch, but I think the biggest reason is because we embarked as a society on a concerted effort to tell a generation that the best path for the most people was a four-year degree, which is also the most expensive path. Then we started showing them pictures of people who didn’t get a four-year degree who were laboring in all kinds of other vocations that looked like some kind of consolation prize.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:39:36] Yeah, the old’s work smart, not hard like welding or something.

Mike Rowe: [00:39:41] That that literally was one of the first posters in a PR campaign for the big push for college. It was in my guidance counselor’s office in 1979. Work smart, not hard is what it said, a picture of a graduate standing next to a guy holding a wrench looking like he won the booby prize. The tropes bromides and platitudes fueled the belief that if you didn’t get a four-year degree you were screwed. It’s very different. Higher education did need a PR campaign and it got one. Unfortunately, it came at the expense of all other forms of education. So, we turned all of these other pursuits into cautionary tales, then we freed up a limitless supply of money and then we put an incredible amount of pressure on kids to borrow whatever it took to get the magical paper that would ensure their happiness. When people say, “Mike, why did college get so expensive so fast?” I say that for a lot of reasons, but the big thing behind it was this societal push that gave college permission to charge whatever they wanted and so they have. Because it’s couched as an investment, we just keep borrowing more and more and more. It’s amazing what comes back to me when I make this argument. People will sum it up and basically conclude that I’m anti-education or anti-college. I’m not but I am anti to this is so important that we can charge whatever we want. That’s just bull crap. That’s what we’ve done. Look, it’s one thing not to be able to find a job. It’s one thing not to be sure what you want to do with the rest of your life. But to be unsure and untrained and in debt, five or six figures, very, very, very difficult for people to crawl out of that hole.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:41:36] It’s especially because it’s really not a function of there not being any jobs, it’s a function of not having enough qualified people to fill jobs that already exists. The roofer who doesn’t want to hire somebody who’s off the books and can’t find somebody who’ll do the job. We’re building a house pretty soon. My wife’s brother built a house and he was saying the drywall guy can’t even find somebody who’s going to hold up the drywall. He’s offering like 50 bucks plus an hour and he just can’t find anybody to do it. You don’t need that much special training. It’s just that there’s a perception issue where people go, “Well, I went to college, I’m not going to put up drywall.”

Mike Rowe: [00:42:11] I’m waiting. I’m waiting. Where’s my magic job. I paid my dues. They punched my ticket. Now, I’m ready. They seem to have stopped looking at jobs as rungs on a ladder and started looking at all of the rungs as a destination and concluded that well just because one rung is down here in the other wrong is up there doesn’t mean there should be a difference in pay, but of course there should. Your buddy who has a roofing company didn’t always have a roofing company. He started Roofing. He started working in the Sun and then he got good at it. Then he moved up. This idea of working in a workforce where there’s no mobility, it’s just not true but it also informs a lot of the misperception, I think, that makes people look at jobs in this way. This just happened.

[00:42:59] I don’t know if you saw this article. It’s amazing. It’s an article in last month’s Atlantic and it’s called Welding Won’t Make You Rich.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:08] And that’s one of the examples I have, that’s definitely not true. Funny it is in my notes.

Mike Rowe: [00:43:13] Well, hundreds of people came to my Facebook page and said, “Mike, are you going to comment on this?” It’s a big article is almost 3,000 words long, but I read it. I read it a couple of times. It’s fascinating and so I not only commented on it, I wrote 3,000 words, going paragraph by paragraph, explaining as politely as I could why the author may have gotten his head up his ass. It was amazing. It’s the 6,000-word post. Nobody’s going to read this. On Facebook, if you put something with 300 or 400 words, people are just going to too long, didn’t read. This thing was shared over 10,000 times and reached 3,000 people, not because I’m such a swell writer or so engaging, but because people are desperate to have this conversation and they want a rational back and forth because a couple of years ago articles began to appear saying meet the $150,000 welder and people started realizing that you could actually make a lot of money welding. Well, the guy that wrote this article basically said, “Wait a minute. The people who make that kind of money are at the top of the profession, you’re not going to make that kind of money.” I’m like what in the world is the point of your argument? There are lots of actors who don’t make what Brad Pitt makes. There are lots of writers who don’t make what James Patterson makes including the guy who wrote this article. But the country is not suffering from a belief that everybody who welds make six figures, they’re suffering from a misperception that nobody is prospering and that there’s only one kind of welding and people Google welder salary and see $41,500. Okay, so that’s it, but that’s so fundamentally wrong in mistaken.

[00:44:56] We were just talking about writing books, 95% of the books in Barnes & Noble sell less than 5,000 copies. The entire industry is propped up by the bestsellers. The podcast industry exists because of about 20 podcasts that are pulling the train. Yours among them, I’m sure.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:13] Yeah, I think so. I hope so.

Mike Rowe: [00:45:15] In this binary world where everything is black or white, or this or that, blue collar white Collar, good bad, right wrong, smart stupid, in comes a guy that says nope welding won’t make you rich. He goes to a to a town to meet a kid who tried to weld and it didn’t work out for him. He was also a kid who was divorced at 21 trying to raise two kids and living in his mother’s basement. Now could those circumstances have had anything at all to do with the proximate cause of his inevitable failure? I don’t know but it’s never as simple as anybody makes it out to be including me.

Jason DeFillippo: [00:45:54] You’re listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest, Mike Rowe. We’ll be right back after this.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:02] This episode is sponsored in part by Brooklinen. This is a luxury linen company very fancy. At first, I thought, what is this? What’s the big deal about this? Everyone’s raving about this. There are 35,000 five-star reviews, which is more than any other online bedding company. They won best of online bedding, which is a category in Good Housekeeping magazine. By the way, not gambling, bedding like you sleep on it, just so we’re clear here and raving reviews from Business Insider, Apartment Therapy, Men’s Health. Jason, I know you’ve been you’ve been sleeping on these for a while.

Jason DeFillippo: [00:46:32] Look man, I sleep in a bed with a 125-pound Rottweiler and a 50-pound not-weiler and I used to go through sheets like crazy. I would buy decent sheets in the dogs would tear them up and I was just, you know, beside myself. I was always getting new sheets. I have had these Brooklyn and sheets on my bed for three months, not three months straight. I do wash them fairly often, which is another thing to take into consideration here. These things still feel like new. These are the toughest most comfortable sheets I’ve ever owned they are completely dog-proof. If my Rottweiler can’t tear the sheets at this point, I don’t know what they’re made out of. I think they’ve got Kevlar in them and I wash them at least twice a week and they haven’t faded. They’re just like new. These are the most amazing sheets I’ve ever slept on. I cannot believe it.

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Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:00] This episode is also sponsored by Kettlebell Kitchen. This is keto-friendly, vegan, vegetarian, whatever sort of weird meal diet you’re on. I’m not judging look, we’re all particular but Kettlebell Kitchen is finally getting this right. I had the huevos rancheros and they were awesome. They also had like paleo donut which is a little contradictory but was also delicious.

Jason DeFillippo: [00:48:22] Was it made fully of meat?

Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:24] Good question. It was not a meat donut, but maybe I just didn’t notice that it was a meat donut, appeared to have blueberries in it. Who knows? All I know is it was tasty and I ate it. Nutrition that was on everyone’s minds. What? When? How much do you eat? It’s a mess of all this conflicting information. I just want enough to shove the food in my mouth, but you have to tell me what I should shove in my mouth. It was founded by two army veterans that came out weird. Never mind. There’s no recovering from that. So, I’m just going to keep going. The veterans’ goal is to help you achieve your goals with meal plans that are tailored to your needs. It’s nutrition that you need without the hassle. You can sign up for a plan. You can order a la carte. There’s no long-term contracts. It’s delivered to your door twice a week, so it’s freaking fresh. All the stuff is free of dairy, soy, artificial sweeteners. It’s made from gluten-free ingredients and again vegetarian, keto, whole30, paleo options. You can filter by calorie protein fat and carbs limits. You’re getting your macros. You’re getting the food you need. Jason, tell them where to get a deal.

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[00:50:53] Thank you for listening and supporting the show. Your support of our advertisers keeps us on the air. To learn more and get links to all the great discounts you just heard so you can check out those amazing sponsors, visit jordanharbinger.com/deals. Don’t forget the worksheet for today’s episode that link is in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast. If you’re listening to us in the overcast player, please click the little star next to the episode, we really appreciate it. And now for the conclusion of our episode with Mike Rowe.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:51:22] What about the idea and I think I touched on this the last time we talked but this is something that I hate this trope, this bromide. Follow Your Passion. It’s the worst advice I’ve ever heard. Now, it’s just a rampant industry like, “Hey, you don’t like your job, sign up for my mastermind. I’ll teach you how to flip houses. Sign up for my mastermind, I’ll teach you how to be an online influencer. Look at this Mike Rowe guy, he’s making tons of money writing Facebook posts, that people probably only read the headline they share. He is making hand over fist. This guy —

Mike Rowe: [00:51:49] Take my master class.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:51:50] That’s right. You don’t have one of those yet?

Mike Rowe: [00:51:52] Nope. Well, I’m giving it right now. This is it everybody. Welcome to my masterclass. What do you have to get in your life when you can seriously look earnestly into the lens? The time has come for me to disgorge all of the information in my enormous brain. It’s going to take a while because I’m very smart, but you bought a ticket to sit down and relax. Are you kidding me? How do we how do people do that?

Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:24] I don’t know they get a big check and they’re like, “All right, I got to make this look good.”

Mike Rowe: [00:52:26] Look that might have sounded a little holier than now make no mistake. I get accused of selling out every month and I have no defense. Of course. I sold out I sold out in 1989. When I took my first job at QVC. I was literally selling things in the middle of the night. I sold out before I had anything to bargain with. It’s just amazing. you know, we give so much more credence to the struggling or starving artist than we do to somebody who is actually succeeded in some financial way were so suspicious.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:03] I have more credibility as a podcaster if I was broken. I think so.

Mike Rowe: [00:53:07] Well, you know, what the only sensible thing for you to do with your brand-new family is to give all your money away and watch those numbers go through the roof.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:13] Words so easy.

Mike Rowe: [00:53:15] The roof that you’re trying to get fixed.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:53:18] Yes, the roof that I don’t have because I’m broke now. Yeah. You say take your passion with you, but I think a lot of people go. Yeah, that sounds really good and then they don’t do that. They don’t know what that means.

Mike Rowe: [00:53:28] No, it’s kind of like, you know, stay the course, persistence. Staying the course is terrific advice, if you’re going in the right direction. Following your passion is terrific advice if the passion is taking you to a place where opportunity and your own set of skills will be able to co-exist, but follow your passion as a bromide is precisely what 98% of the people do who auditioned for American Idol. They follow their passion and then at 22 years of age, they realize for the very first time in their life that they can’t sing at all not even a little. They learn this on national television and they’re lined up thousands of people who have been told throughout the totality of their short lives that if you believe something deeply enough and if you want something bad enough, if you truly embrace the essence of persistence and your passion, if you let your passion lead you. I mean Beyoncé said that very thing as she received a Grammy to stick with it. Well, I mean, how can you give that kind of advice to someone you’ve never known? How can you even talk that way to somebody until you at least have an understanding of who they think they are and what they think they want.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:54:49] That’s a good point. Stick with it. I mean not you; you’re never going to make it you have no talent. But you, you should stick with it because I see something, well maybe but I’m not sure but wait. Anyway, just give me the Grammy.

Mike Rowe: [00:55:01] It’s insane looks. I’m very busy and I have to get to my master class, so follow your passion and we will check back. But again, in a binary world, people watch your podcast, they hear Mike say don’t follow your passion. And they go, you know, what would a killjoy, what a schmuck. Who is he?

Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:17] Easy for him to say, he’s the Dirty Jobs guy. Everybody wants that job yet.

Mike Rowe: [00:55:22] Well, help yourself, but look, I don’t say don’t follow your passion. I say never follow your passion, but always bring it with you, because passion isn’t the enemy. It’s just not the thing you want pulling the train. Passion is something that most all of the dirty-jobbers that I met possessed in spades. Now they just weren’t doing anything that looked aspirational, so it was confusing. It’s back to the cognitive dissonance of a guy in a plaid shirt, sipping a cappuccino. That doesn’t make sense. Well, guess what? Neither does a septic tank cleaner with a million dollars who has multiple trucks.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:02] That guy had a million-dollar business. It doesn’t surprise me actually.

Mike Rowe: [00:56:04] I actually counted them up once. I could be wrong by a couple, but I put over 40 people that we featured on Dirty Jobs as multi-millionaires. We never talked about it because the show wasn’t really about money. It was about work and good humor and skill, but when you find somebody who’s prosperous who doesn’t look prosperous, it didn’t used to be a disconnect, but today it is. We need everything to line up in order for our brains to believe it — and even then we’re cynical. The first great lesson from Dirty Jobs was these people are passionate, but they don’t look like they should be, so what do they know that we don’t? And the first enduring lesson to come out of that was well, you don’t have to follow your passion in order to be passionate. It’s kind of like I think of it in terms of a dream job. That’s still a trope that people have, and it goes back to college. What do you have to do to get your dream job? What do you have to do to have real job satisfaction? If that’s the question, a lot of kids today will say, “Well, the first thing I have to do is identify the thing that’s going to make me happy.”

Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:11] At age 17 or whatever you go to college.

Mike Rowe: [00:57:13] Whatever, whenever. “I have to identify the proximate cause of my happiness, then I have to get the paper that will allow me to pursue that thing. First, I need to get the money that will allow me to pay for the paper, and then I need to go through X years here, X years there,” blah, blah, blah, and so forth and so on. It’s exactly backwards. What we’re really seeing are people going through a process where their passion leads them. Their hopes lead them to the dream job and when they get their dream job, now they have permission to be happy. It’s really not so different than the idea of a soulmate. The idea that there’s one person on the planet and if you can find him or her, then you’ll be happy now. How do you do that? Well, here’s the plan.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:57] You go on Tinder.

Mike Rowe: [00:57:58] You got Tinder. You swipe left or swipe right. You got the Snapchat. I don’t even know what they’ve got anymore. But you do whatever you have to do.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:05] How do you mean people? You have a significant other at this point.

Mike Rowe: [00:58:09] Uh-huh.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:10] How did you meet? On Tinder?

Mike Rowe: [00:58:11] Oh the old-fashioned way. It was an inappropriate business relationship.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:15] Inappropriate business relationship.

Mike Rowe: [00:58:17] Totally.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:18] Well, I had to avoid this lawsuit, so we’re dating now.

Mike Rowe: [00:58:22] I was essentially held up now. Look, maybe it’s a clunky analogy. Maybe romance is different than vocational satisfaction. However, if you confuse the cause with the symptom — as I believe we’ve managed to do in a thousand different ways — then we are going to be led by something other than practicality, opportunity, and common sense. We’re going to be led by hopes, dreams, desire, and passion, and those things are too important to be without, but too fickle to follow around.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:57] That’s for damn sure. Yeah, I think most people meet their soulmate, I don’t know, within a few miles of their house. What are the odds of that?

Mike Rowe: [00:59:02] Well, most people meet their soulmate and initially determined them to be a pain in the ass. It’s not like people are walking around with a soulmate sign. The movies will tell us that, the popular tropes will tell us that, but look, it’s a fact that arranged marriages are more successful than on unarranged marriages.

Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:27] That is a weird sort of inconvenient truth for a lot of people who believed strongly in love being the only thing that matters or whatever.

Mike Rowe: [00:59:34] Well take the religion out of it. If you’re simply charged with being happy, you know you want to be happy. But here are the cards were giving you, this is the job you’re going to have; this is the mate you’re going to have. Now, I’m not advocating for this. This sounds dystopian and super creepy. But if the goal is to be happy a lot of people are going to figure out how to be happy with the job they have and the person they have, and they’re going to play the cards they got. The cards you get don’t determine the outcome of the game the player does.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:07] Yeah, my wife’s doing a good job being, being happy with what she’s stuck with now.

Mike Rowe: [01:00:11] She seems happy. There she is out there on the other side of the glass taken care of Jayden —

Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:15] That’s right.

Mike Rowe: [01:00:16] — your young son. You’ve got it figured out. You bring your wife and your infant to work day.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:22] Yeah, that’s right. He’s got to learn the business. He’s got to learn the family business.

Mike Rowe: [01:00:25] You got any pets.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:26] We have cat, no hair.

Mike Rowe: [01:00:27] I can’t believe you didn’t bring your hairless cat.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:29] I know he just really likes to run around.

Mike Rowe: [01:00:30] Is it like Mr. Bigglesworth?

Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:32] Yeah, like a gray version of Mr. Bigglesworth. He feels like a shorn scrotum.

Mike Rowe: [01:00:37] Listen, man. It’s so funny you bring that up. Can I tell you a story?

Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:40] Yeah. Why not?

Mike Rowe: [01:00:41] Listen, any story that starts in a free associative way inspired with the words shorn and scrotum is going to end badly.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:51] Yeah, let’s do it.

Mike Rowe: [01:00:51] No, let’s not do it.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:52] You don’t want it? Okay.

Mike Rowe: [01:00:53] No. I mean, you know, what if we weren’t recording this on camera, I’d show you something. I’d show you something that would inspire a permanent facial tick.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:01:08] I know you give work ethic scholarships. Because we reward athletic talent. We reward academic. We reward need. You reward work ethic, which seems like it’s probably a pretty good idea. How do you develop work ethic in people though?

Mike Rowe: [01:01:22] You can’t.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:01:22] You can’t do it?

Mike Rowe: [01:01:23] You can’t do it. You can talk about it. I mean you have to talk about it. You have to try and test for. What I found is just simply putting it into the mix is fascinating. Some people really appreciate it. Other people, man, it just really pisses them off. Did we talk about this last time, the S.W.E.A.T. Pledge?

Jordan Harbinger: [01:01:40] I don’t think so.

Mike Rowe: [01:01:41] Hey, Ryan. Do me a favor. See one of those things hanging right in front of Jennifer face down? Yeah. It’s called a S.W.E.A.T. Pledge. Bring one of those in here if you wouldn’t mind. Part of our work ethic scholarship requires people to sign a S.W.E.A.T. Pledge. A S.W.E.A.T. Pledge is a thing I wrote eight years ago after some beer, 12 points that basically I believe would help any employee do well on the job. And also, I believe any employer would absolutely love to have. It was just like a statement of purpose. It stands for Skills and Work Ethic Aren’t Taboo, S.W.E.A.T. Like number one, I believe I’ve won the greatest lottery of all time. I’m alive. I walk the earth. I live in America above all things. I’m grateful. It’s very, very, very, very difficult to really feel sorry for yourself and feel grateful at the same time. I have a brief explanation as to why I wrote all these and I did it mostly to amuse myself but ultimately, I just thought well among the other things I ask people to do to apply for the scholarship is I want you to sign the thing. I signed it. I want you to sign it. If you don’t agree with everything on here, that’s totally cool. Don’t sign it and don’t apply for work ethic scholarship. Go get a scholastic scholarship.

[01:02:58] Part of the reason I don’t look at grades is because I’m more interested in a kid’s attendance record. I asked for references, I asked for a video. Doesn’t have to be, just use your phone, but hold up the video and make a case for yourself. I want an essay. I don’t care about your spelling, your syntax, but I want to hear what you think about the nature of showing up early and staying late and learning a skill that’s in demand. Those are the things my scholarship tries to reward or at least encourage. No, you can’t look into the eyes of an applicant and see their soul or weigh and measure their work ethic. But you can call your scholarship a work ethic scholarship and you can ask people to do things that other scholarship funds don’t do. What’s interesting about this is that it happens every year. Parents will write me and say, “How can you ask my son to sign this?” Number six makes people crazy: “I believe that my safety is my responsibility. I understand that being in compliance does not necessarily mean I’m out of danger.” They’re like, “My kid is not signing that.” Why not? “Because his safety can’t be his responsibility. His safety is the responsibility of the person who hires him,” and it’s a fascinating conversation. I have it every month with somebody who’s disgruntled. But what’s funny really is that the ultimate answer to any complaint arising from any of our attempts to reward work ethics is to simply say, “Look, man, it is entirely possible this particular pile of free money is not for you.” And in this case, it’s pretty close to it. What do you have to do to apply for one of these scholarships? You got to make a case for yourself. You got to sign a S.W.E.A.T. Pledge. You have to jump through some hoops, so in that sense, it’s not free.

[01:04:52] My objective with the scholarship fund is not to simply help people who prove they’re worthy of assistance. It’s to help people who prove they’re worthy of assistance who then allow me to tell their story, because that’s the only thing that really gets people to…Nobody listens to me anymore. I mean I can make a bunch of noise and I can tell stories and whatnot.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:05:14] I was going to say that podcast is a huge hit.

Mike Rowe: [01:05:16] Well, thanks.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:05:07] And now you’ve got this book, The Way I Heard It.

Mike Rowe: [01:05:18] Thanks.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:05:19] And the podcast.

Mike Rowe: [01:05:20] Well, you know, it’s all of a piece. I didn’t think about this till the other day but a lot of the stories that I wrote in the book and a lot of the stories are on the podcast actually come out of the S.W.E.A.T. Pledge. They’re stories about people who lived in a way that I often admire. Sometimes it’s the exact opposite but in general, I’m trying to take a lesson both in the book in the podcast from the late great Paul Harvey who did a radio show called The Rest of The Story, and this is the same model. It’s different. It’s me. Paul, you know, told shorter biographical mysteries. These are more biographical historical ruminations, but it’s the same basic idea to tell stories of people who are interesting and try and tell them in an interesting way.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:06:07] Was there ever a dirty job or anything that you wanted to do the producers were like no way? You’re just going to get ground up into little pieces or all these businesses are crooked or something like that.

Mike Rowe: [01:06:18] No, I mean it was really the other way. “Mike, you know, are you sure you need a parachute to jump out of a plane? I mean, maybe you don’t. What if you just jump out of a plane and like land in a net or something you know.” I was like, “No maybe not fellas.” I always wanted to go into a rendering operation.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:06:36] What is that?

Mike Rowe: [01:06:37] A rendering operation is a factory of sorts where you would turn say a dead cow into chicken feed.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:06:43] Oh, they don’t call those slaughterhouses?

Mike Rowe: [01:06:45] No. Slaughterhouses and killing floors are places where the cow is made dead and then turned into food. Rendering operations, they’ll show up at the farm to pick up the dead animal and then take the dead animal back and then turn it into something very much like a milkshake, and then like freeze dry it and then sell it as various kinds of food.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:07:08] As a cow, it could literally be a milkshake. It’s just not one you want.

Mike Rowe: [01:07:11] No, it’s the worst, it’s the most disappointing milkshake in the world. You literally stick a hose in an incision under the skin and inflate it, so the skin separates from the meat, then you skin it, and then you winch it up on a giant thing and that’s dropped into a hopper with these giant spinning blades and the milkshake that comes out is ultimately dried and that’s how you get a lot of chicken food. Very difficult to get into a rendering factory because a lot of them are mobbed up or at least —

Jordan Harbinger: [01:07:42] Mob as in owned by like the mafia.

Mike Rowe: [01:07:44] If you follow many of them back, that’s a gross generalization. My apologies to those in your audience who come from a long generation of renderers who are not we’ve taken homage. You can send the letter of complaint directly to me over my Facebook page, but it took five or six seasons before somebody reached out and invited us to come in. That’s something that I wanted to do and the network saw the footage, and they were just horrified, just beside themselves. But it was really important for me to do it because I’m up to my nick in farming issues. I think it’s really important that people understand where their food comes from and where it goes and how…You know, hakuna matata, cycle of life and all of that. Renderings is a big, big part of that. It’s hard to watch. You need a gallows sense of humor to do it, but it’s terrific.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:08:36] Did that change the way you eat it all or you were just kind of like, yeah, this is how it’s made?

Mike Rowe: [01:08:40] Nothing has ever changed the way I eat long term. Everything changed the way I even short term.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:08:7] No more tilapia until next month.

Mike Rowe: [01:08:48] You know what I was off tilapia for a while. But I order it now all the time and I feel bad because apparently that episode didn’t do any favors to that particular industry but I worked on a slime line in Alaska for a while and —

Jordan Harbinger: [01:09:01] What’s that?

Mike Rowe: [01:09:02] Slime line is a fish processing operation. I was on a processor which is a giant ship working about five stories down, shoulder to shoulder with people who separate haddock from cod, and skin them and they just go by on a conveyer belt and the work is very difficult.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:09:22] It’s got to be hot down there.

Mike Rowe: [01:09:23] It’s hot and the knives are razor sharp and you’re in a boat that’s moving around in big water and it’s dangerous in every way danger can be, and when I got off that thing. Prior to that, I had been eating sushi twice a week and for nearly a month I couldn’t eat it.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:09:40] Still cappuccino and Perrier.

Mike Rowe: [01:09:41] Look I’m all back. I’m back on the program for sure. But yeah, the same thing happened after a slaughterhouse. It’s like, you know, what I think I’ll have fish tonight and maybe for a couple of weeks, but I always go back to it. I’m back in to meat now in a big way to be honest. I was off for…In fact the last time, I saw you I was exactly 40 pounds heavier than I am today.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:10:02] Well, you look good, man.

Mike Rowe: [01:10:03] I’m not fishing for compliments.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:10:05] Well, you had a flu last time.

Mike Rowe: [01:10:07] I was sick and fat which is no way to go through life.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:10:11] No. Jada emailed me and was like, “Let’s make a deal. You don’t use that tape and we’ll let Mike come back on your show at some point the future.” And I said, “You got a deal.” Because I don’t want to have —

Mike Rowe: [01:10:21] That tape is not out there?

Jordan Harbinger: [01:10:22] No. She was like you cannot release that.

Mike Rowe: [01:10:24] Are you kidding me?

Jordan Harbinger: [01:10:25] Yeah, she would not let me do it. She’s looking out for you. She was right to do it.

Mike Rowe: [01:10:29] That is unbelievable.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:10:30] I bet if we looked at that now you’d be like thank God that is not on YouTube.

Mike Rowe: [01:10:33] I tell you what, last thing I want to do is get in trouble with my office manager. Yeah, so if you guys made a deal, stick by it.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:10:40] I will.

Mike Rowe: [01:10:40] But let’s do a split screen. Put up a picture of me two years ago. I wasn’t fat-fat. I just come to the point in my life where I just I just had to stop eating for a while. I lost 40 pounds since I saw you last.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:10:56] That’s amazing. Good for you. I think I’ve lost around 30 pounds. Well, I got married. You don’t want to be the guy in the wedding photos that has. you know —

Mike Rowe: [01:11:03] Now, you look terrific.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:11:04] Thank you. Yeah, I appreciate it. Now that we’re both fishing for compliments.

Mike Rowe: [01:11:06] Oh now that we’re both the shearing our respective scrotums.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:11:09] That’s right. That’s right. I want to end with this because you know, a lot of people ask me, “Oh is Mike Rowe really cool? You had them on the show. Who’s the guy that’s really disappointed you the most?” And obviously, it’s not you. Yeah, you weren’t sure where that was going. But how come with all the fame and the fortune attained through TV, now podcasting which we all know is very glamorous. You haven’t turned into like an insufferable Hollywood dingleberry.

Mike Rowe: [01:11:33] Well look opinions vary. I mean there’s a pretty compelling case to be made that. I was a Hollywood dingleberry before I had any reason to be.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:11:40] Yeah during the QVC days.

Mike Rowe: [01:11:42] Actually, I write about this in my book, but yeah QVC. I learned everything I needed to know about this industry selling things in the middle of the night in 1990. It was humbling. It was informing it was funny. It was tragic to sit there for three hours and free associate with an endless variety of products that you had never seen before that look…These are the products that nobody bought in primetime. The stuff that looks like you know, it was sourced by one of the claws in the carnival midway the machine that grabs the…Just endless nonsense in it. I would sell those things and I learned a lot about myself and I learned a lot about this industry and the big lesson was I just learned if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can either fake it or you can admit it. Now if you fake it, you better be really, really good at it. And if you admit it, you better bring some level of charm to the confession that you otherwise might not find. When I was handed the health team infrared pain reliever in 1990 and asked to talk about it for eight minutes on my first shift. I just looked in the camera and said, “So, I’m Mike. I’m the new guy and this is the health team infrared pain reliever and I don’t know what it does. I’m not even sure it’s real. It says here on the blue card it relieves arthritic pain with infrared light that’s blasted into your joints. If this is true someone call me and tell me about it the numbers on the screen ask for Marty, he’s the producer. He’ll put you through. We overran with calls people asking to talk to me to tell me what it was. These were testimonials. These were tutorials. These were people calling me telling me how to do the job and we just kept it going for three hours. In the middle of the night for 3 hours, people called to tell me what the thing was that I was supposed to be selling. In nature documentaries, we call it the submissive posture. When a small wolf runs into a big wolf, the small wolf lies down and says, “Hey, look you could kill me. I hope you don’t I don’t even want to fight.” I get it. That’s what I did for year —

Jordan Harbinger: [01:114:00] Rolling over and showing your belly on TV.

Mike Rowe: [01:14:01] That’s all I. That’s did, that’s all I did, and I did well as a result. If you look at Dirty Jobs. What’s the difference? I’m a guy saying this is an expert. This is a sewer inspector. He does this for a living. I don’t. I’m down here for the first day. I’m going to tag along and we’re going to learn some stuff together me and you from the sewer inspector. Again, I’m not saying I didn’t turn into a pretentious insufferable douchebag. I’m just saying that if I am one, I’ve always been one and if you don’t think I’m one it probably has something to do with the fact that at the core of everything I try to do in front of other people, it always starts with a confession. I always try to manage expectations. I think that’s important. Some people would say it’s fake modesty, and maybe it is to some degree, but at least acknowledging it has given me a certain amount of permission to get away with all kinds of things.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:14:56] I like that. I might have to take a page out of that book. Speaking of the book, tell us what’s in the book The Way I Heard It. That’s maybe not in the podcast of the same name.

Mike Rowe: [01:15:04] I said to you before we started rolling everybody should write a book. Everybody should write a book and wait tables. You’ll learn things about yourself. This was supposed to be a simple collection of 50 of my favorite podcast stories with a little bit of connective tissue. What happened was I started picking the stories and then I started to essentially write about why I wrote the story I wrote in a kind of a memoir way, like what in my own life rhymed with this biography I just shared with you, on an autobiographical level motivated me to write it. It was a fun writing exercise and a pretty good question. What came out after doing four, five in a row was a back and forth. Te podcasts are Mysteries and what I would call tiles. If you look at the book, it is a mosaic. The podcast stories are tiles. The grout is the connective tissue and collectively the grout turned into a memoir, so the book is an accidental memoir interrupted periodically by true-ish stories that are told in a biographical mystery format about people I’ve always been interested in but who have never met. It’s a hot mess of biography-autobiography mystery and memoir. It’s the feel-good hit of the Fall.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:16:28] Feel-good hit of the Fall. Available now on Audible, hopefully.

Mike Rowe: [01:16:32] It’s on Audible. I sat right here with Isaac, our engineer, like a month ago and recorded the thing. It’s wherever people buy books anymore. In Amazon everywhere.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:16:41] Yeah, I was going to say I don’t even know where people buy books, but of course, they buy them online.

Mike Rowe: [01:16:45] You don’t have to buy one.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:16:46] I’ve got one right here.

Mike Rowe: [01:16:47] You want me to sign it.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:16:48] Yeah. There’s a Sharpie right there.

Mike Rowe: [01:16:50] Who do you want me to sign it like Brad Pitt or — ?

Jordan Harbinger: [01:16:52] Yeah, I mean you can sign it as whoever you want, but probably as yourself and you can side to Jayden, J-A-Y-D-E-N. That’s my kid.

Mike Rowe: [01:17:00] Your son.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:17:00] Yeah.

Mike Rowe: [01:17:01] Okay.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:17:02] You don’t have to write anything relevant to him. I mean, he could read.

Mike Rowe: [01:17:05] Years from now.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:17:06] Yeah

Mike Rowe: [01:17:06] This is going to be worth literally dozens of dollars. How old is he now?

Jordan Harbinger: [01:17:11] He’s two months old.

Mike Rowe: [01:17:11] He’s two months old, so the only sensible thing the write is keep it dirty.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:17:16] Yeah, he probably got dirty diaper right now. Taking your advice, already.

Mike Rowe: [01:17:20] I don’t and thankfully my scrotum has been shorn.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:17:24] Mike, thank you very much.

Mike Rowe: [01:17:25] Anytime, we should do this again in a couple of years.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:17:27] That’s right.

Mike Rowe: [01:17:28] I’m going to drop another 40.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:17:29] That’s right. Drop another 40 pounds?

Mike Rowe: [01:17:30] Sure.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:17:30] Yeah.

Mike Rowe: [01:17:31] No, I’m not.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:17:31] I probably won’t do that.

Mike Rowe: [01:17:33] No, I’ll swell up like a tic. After this, are you kidding me, I’m going right out now and hitting the Krispy Kreme.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:17:40] Big thanks to Mike Rowe. The book title is The Way I Heard It, same title as the podcast. Fun podcast, fun book. You’ll really enjoy both of those. Thanks to Chuck for setting this up. I really appreciate that as well. I forgot to mention by the way, the septic tank cleaner that Mike and I were talking about, he used to be a guidance counselor in a public school and he left to clean septic tanks and I quote because he was tired of dealing with other people’s shit. So good career move there, buddy. Guy makes a million-plus dollars a year, cleaning out septic tanks. Somebody’s got to do it.

[01:18:15] There’s a video of this interview on our YouTube channel at jordanharbinger.com/youtube. And of course, there are worksheets for each episode, so you can review what you’ve learned from Mike Rowe. Those will be at jordanharbinger.com in the show notes. We’re teaching you how to connect with great people and manage relationships using systems and tiny habits, such as the ones I use to get Mike Rowe here on the show. That course that I have for you is free. It’s over at jordanharbinger.com/course, it’s called Six-Minute Networking. But here’s the thing, it takes like four minutes. Just do it. It’s really, really easy. Don’t kick the can down the road. Don’t procrastinate or you’re going to stagnate and that rhymes which means it’s clever, which means you should go to jordanharbinger.com/course and learn how to network a little bit. Look if you’re old, you need it. If you’re young, you needed even more. jordanharbinger.com/course. By the way, most of the guests on the show, they subscribed to the course. Well, you think you’re too good for that now? Come join us, you’ll be in smart company or at least fun company. Speaking of building relationships, you can always reach out and/or follow me on social. I’m at JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram and I will gladly engage with you on both of those fora.

[01:19:22] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. This episode was produced by Jen Harbinger and Jason DeFilippo, and edited by Jace Sanderson, show notes and worksheets are 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 yeah, I’m a lawyer really — because I don’t want to clean septic tanks, but I’m thinking about it — but I’m not your lawyer, so do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show. Remember we rise by lifting others. The fee for the show, you better share it with people that you love and share it with people you hate — I don’t care who you share it with, just share it — when you find something useful that should be in every episode. Share it. That’s the point. That’s how I pay those bills, so please just click that button text it to a friend play it in the car. I don’t care how you do it. Just do it. In the meantime, of course, 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.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:20:18] A lot of people ask me which podcast and media I consume and I’ve always liked this YouTube channel called Smarter Every Day and I’ve got Destin from Smarter Every Day. He’s got a podcast called No Dumb Questions. Destin, you recently did one on Siege Warfare, which is actually is kind of like a gnarly, horrible battle/way to die/way to go to war. Tell me about that.

Destin Sandlin: [01:20:42] Oh, yeah, Siege Warfare is crazy because you’ve got these two opposing forces that square off at this point where it’s like well, I mean, I’m just going to try to outweigh you until you die and we did episode about famous siege battles in history. We talked at great length about the Siege of Vienna where the wing to SARS come down the mountainside and save Europe from the Ottomans. I mean, it’s fascinating all the different engineering and science things that go into Siege Warfare. It’s like, how do you get food to your people? Do you have escaped routes? All these things. On No Dumb Questions, my co-host, he’s a history guy and I’m a science guy, and we try to attack these topics from both sides and it’s great. We love exploring this stuff.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:21:23] I know it’s kind of like probably a tie here, but what’s the worst job in Siege Warfare who really got the short straw?

Destin Sandlin: [01:21:33] Oh, dude, well, I mean it’s hard to go through all the different battles, but there was this really interesting one with the Romans where the Romans came in and they were besieging this fortification. Then this other General came and encircled the Romans so you had these people that were under siege. Then you had the attackers on the outside who were also under siege, so you had these like rings of angry people all waiting for other ones to die. It’s fascinating. There’s been some crazy junk that’s gone down in history.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:22:02] Yeah. I kind of makes me glad I’m just sitting here in my air-conditioned studio complaining about how it’s too cold because I have to turn it up a little from my phone.

Destin Sandlin: [01:22:11] That’s awesome.

Jordan Harbinger: [01:22:12] You can find No Dumb Questions wherever you get your podcasts, and of course we’ll link to The Siege Warfare episode in the show notes for this episode. Thanks, Destin.

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