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Author: Steve Berg

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Intangibles is a podcast about traits, behaviors, and qualities that entrepreneurs can cultivate to help be successful. It is created by the host, Steve Berg. You can follow him on Twitter @sbberg1.
52 Episodes
Nick Velasquez is a passionate learner and a devoted student of mastery. He's the creator of the popular blog, where he writes about learning science, peak performance, creativity, and mastering skills. His writing has been featured in publications such as TIME and Thought Catalogue. The name of Nick’s book is: Learn, Improve, Master: How to Develop Any Skill and Excel at It. We talk about how t learn. Warning: this was recorded over Zoom.  The quality is mediocre.
Stu Heinecke is a Wall Street Journal cartoonist among other things. During his career, he has become a hall of fame nominated marketer and he has learned a lot about how to communicate with people. Specifically, he has gained an understanding of the best way to break through to people. This is commonly known as ‘contact marketing’. To me, there is a grounding in behavioral psychology. I see Stu’s skill set as how to humanize a message and how to interact on a person-to-person level, even if you may not have met that person before. Stu has written a book that captures his learnings called ‘How To Get A Meeting With Anyone’. He and talk about how to make emotional connections. Warning: this was recorded over Zoom. The quality is mediocre.
Maria Konnikiva is the author of two New York Times best-sellers, The Confidence Game and Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes.  She is now, also, a successful professional poker player. Her new book about her poker journey is called 'The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win' is just out. Maria is my first 2-time guest.  She and I talk about what the pressure and repetition and introspection (that one hones by playing high-stakes poker) do to sharpen personal judgment and how it can improve decision all-around making. Warning: there is an instance of indecent language.
Dr. Diane Halpern is an American psychologist and former president of the American Psychological Association. She is Dean of Social Science at the Minerva Schools at Keck Graduate Institute and also the McElwee Family Professor of Psychology at Claremont McKenna College. She received her PhD from the University of Cincinnati.  She has received at least a dozen awards for teaching and research. She wrote a textbook called Thought and Knowledge: An Introduction to Critical Thinking.  She and I talk about heuristics, biases, probabilistic thinking, assessing sources of information and many other topics related to critical thinking.
Apollo Robbins is a pioneer in the application of deception to real-world environments, Robbins uses pick-pocketing and sleight-of-hand to demonstrate perception management, diversion techniques, and self-deception. Known as “The Gentleman Thief,” Robbins first made national news as the man who pick-pocketed the Secret Service while entertaining former U.S. president Jimmy Carter. He has picked the pockets of more than 250,000 men and women. Forbes has called him “an artful manipulator of awareness,” and Wired Magazine has written that “he could steal the wallet of a man who knew he was going to have his pocket picked.” He and I talk about his craft and how it applies to entrepreneurs.
Negotiation - Larry Chu 047

Negotiation - Larry Chu 047


Larry Chu is currently a partner at Goodwin - a law firm with over 1,000 lawyers - where he leads the Technology M&A practice on the West Coast.  On the sell assignment side, his clients have included Qualtrics, Nest and Oculus.  On the buy-side, his clients have included Box, PayPal, Informatica, Sony, Skype, McAfee, and Atlassian.  He has also counseled a number of banks and private equity funds, such as Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Silver Lake, Andreessen Horowitz, and Kleiner Perkins.  He has advised on over 200 transactions having a total value of over $125 billion.  He gives me his strategies for negotiating difficult things.
EQ - Jack Mayer 046

EQ - Jack Mayer 046


Dr. Jack Mayer is a Professor of Psychology at the University of New Hampshire.  He received his Ph.D. in psychology at Case Western Reserve University and was a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University.  His 1990 article, "Emotional Intelligence" with Dr. Peter Salovey, provided a foundation for research in the area, and they have published dozens of works in the area since, including the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test.  Dr. Mayer, one of the earliest and most original thinkers and researchers on the topics of emotional intelligence and personal intelligence.  He and I discuss EQ.
General David Petraeus has had a long and distinguished career. He served in the Army for 37 years.  Highlights include Commander of the International Security Assistance Force, 10th Commander US Central Command and Commanding General Multinational Force – Iraq (where he successfully directed ‘the surge’ and literally wrote the book on counterinsurgency).  His educational credentials are stellar as well… BS from the US Military Academy (top 5% his class), MPA and Ph.D. from Princeton.  After leaving military service General Petraeus was the director of the CIA. These days he is the Chairman of the KKR Global Institute. He and I discuss leadership.
Ryan Holiday is an author, marketer, entrepreneur and founder of the creative advisory firm Brass Check. Holiday began his professional career after dropping out of college at the age of 19, instead choosing to work with Robert Greene, author of The 48 Laws of Power. Holiday is the author of several books and has written for Forbes, Fast Company, The Huffington Post, and many other publications. Holiday's third book The Obstacle Is The Way, is based on the Stoic exercise of framing obstacles as opportunities. His latest book, Stillness Is the Key, reads like the prequel to the former.  He and I discuss both books.
Elizabeth Stanley is an associate professor of security studies with joint appointments in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and the Department of Government at Georgetown University. Earlier in her career, she served as a U.S. Army intelligence officer as a captain. She is the creator of Mindfulness-based Mind Fitness Training, which has been tested through four neuroscience research studies with the U.S. military. She has a B.A. in Russian & East European Studies from Yale University, an MBA from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University. She and I discuss her career-long work on resilience.
My guest is Rob Biesenbach a corporate communications consultant, keynote speaker, and author. In addition, he is a Second City-trained actor and improviser, who has appeared in nearly 200 stage and commercial productions. As a consultant, he has worked with Fortune 500 companies such as AC Nielsen, Mars, MillerCoors and Motorola. As a speaker and trainer, Rob has delivered programs on storytelling, presentation and communication skills for clients including AARP, Allstate, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Deloitte and Lockheed Martin. Rob is a former vice president at Ogilvy PR Worldwide. He was also press secretary to a state attorney general. Rob has written a number of books, which can be purchased on Amazon, but the one I’m going to quiz him on today is: Unleash the Power of Storytelling. We talk about the essentials of storytelling.
Dr. Todd Kashdan is a Professor of Clinical Psychology and Senior Scientist at George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being.  He has published over 185 peer-reviewed journal articles and written a number of books.  He is the author of the book ‘Curious? Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life’.  He is also a scientific advisor for Time, Inc., National Geographic, and Merck.  He and I discuss the nature of curiosity and how important it is to entrepreneurship and life in general.
Angela Duckworth wrote one of my favorite books... Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. In 2013 she became a MacArthur Fellow, which means she won what some call “the genius award.” This is a sizable 'no strings' attached grant to do research. Not to mention, it’s typically given to geniuses.  She is the Founder and CEO of Character Lab, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance the science and practice of character development.  She has advised the White House, the World Bank, teams in the NBA and the NFL, and CEOs of the Fortune 500.  Her TED talk is among the most-viewed of all time.  And… she is the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, where she received her Ph.D.  We have a deep talk about what Grit is.
AI Kaifu Lee 039

AI Kaifu Lee 039


Kai-Fu Lee is a venture capitalist, technology executive, writer, and an artificial intelligence expert. Dr. Lee developed the world's first speaker-independent, continuous speech recognition system as his Ph.D. thesis at Carnegie Mellon. He's been an executive, at Apple, SGI, Microsoft, and Google.  He is one of the most followed micro-bloggers in China where he has over fifty million followers. In 2018 he authored the book, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order. He and I discuss the impact of AI on the future of work.
Luck - Karla Starr 038

Luck - Karla Starr 038


Karla Starr is a writer who has written for O, The Atlantic, Slate, Popular Science, the Guardian, and more. She is the recipient of a ‘Best Science/Health’ book award from the Society of Professional Journalists.  Her first book, 'Can You Learn to Be Lucky? Why Some People Seem to Win More Often Than Others', was published earlier this year. She and I explore how doing the little things and preparation increase the surface area of luck.
Dr. Larry Weiss has spent the past 8 years as the Head of School at Brooklyn Friends. Since 1974, when he began his career in secondary school education, he has helped lead in one form or fashion Friends World College, Sidwell Friends School in Washington, DC, Horace Mann School in Riverdale and Saint Ann’s.  Dr. Weiss graduated from Columbia College in 1971 majoring in Oriental Studies. He subsequently earned Master of Arts, Master of Philosophy, and Ph.D, degrees at Columbia  University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and a Certificate in Chinese Studies from Columbia's East Asian Institute.  Dr. Weiss teaches high school seniors a class on critical thinking.  He and I talk about how to be a good critical thinker and the pitfalls to avoid.
Emma Seppälä is the Science Director of Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. She is also Co-Director of the Yale College Emotional Intelligence Project at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. She is authored of the 2016 book The Happiness Track. She earned her Ph.D. from Stanford University. We have an in-depth discussion about how to be compassionate and the value of doing so.
Greg McKeown is a public speaker, leadership and business consultant, and author. He is the founder and CEO of THIS, Inc., a leadership and strategy design agency based in Silicon Valley. His book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, published in April 2014, is a business and self-help book that discusses how to lead a more meaningful and successful life. He and I discuss the principals of essentialism as he walks me through some priority setting exercises.
Phil Hellmuth is a professional poker player who has won a record fifteen World Series of Poker bracelets. He's a colorful guy with a lot of interesting stories. He's written a book called #Positivity. He and I discuss how a positive outlook along with goal setting have impacted his life and led to success.
Kamal Ravikant is an extraordinary guy. He has trekked to one of the highest base camps in the Himalayas, meditated with Tibetan monks in the Dalai Lama's monastery, earned his US Army Infantry patch, walked 550 miles across Spain, lived in Paris, been the only non-black, non-woman member of the Black Women's writers' group, written a novel, held the hands of dying patients, and worked with some of the best people in Silicon Valley. He is also the author of Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It. He and I have a great discussion about self-love in one of the most unique and human episodes of Intangibles ever.
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