#370: Adam Savage on Great Tools, Great Projects, and Great Lessons
"A true creator knows that you follow the thing to where it's going, not to where you think it ought to go."
— Adam Savage
Adam Savage (TW: @donttrythis IG: @therealadamsavage FB: therealadamsavage) has spent his life gathering skills that allow him to take what's in his brain and make it real. He's built everything from ancient Buddhas and futuristic weapons to fine-art sculptures and dancing vegetables.
The son of a filmmaker/painter and a psychotherapist, Adam's previous positions include projectionist, animator, graphic designer, carpenter, interior and stage designer, toy designer, welder, and scenic painter. And he's worked with every material and in every medium he could fathom—metal, paper, glass, plastic, rubber, foam, plaster, pneumatics, hydraulics, animatronics, neon, glassblowing, moldmaking, and injection molding, to name just a few.
In 1993, Adam began concentrating his career on the special-effects industry, honing his skills through more than 100 television commercials and a dozen feature films, including Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace and Episode II – Attack of the Clones, Galaxy Quest, and the Matrix sequels.
A decade later, Adam was chosen, along with Jamie Hyneman, to host MythBusters, which premiered on Discovery Channel in January 2003. 14 years; 1,015 myths; 2,950 experiments; eight Emmy nominations; and 83 miles of duct tape later, that version of the series ended in March 2016.
Today, Adam hosts and executive produces MythBusters Jr., as well as a brand-new series, Savage Builds, which premieres on Science Channel in June 2019. He also stars in and produces content for Tested.com, including behind-the-scenes dives into multiple blockbuster films (including Alien Covenant, Mortal Combat, and Blade Runner).
In addition, after a lifetime of hunting for the perfect bag, Adam launched Savage Industries and began manufacturing his own, along with MAFIA BAGS. Made in the United States and constructed primarily from recycled sailcloth, every bag is not only durable and lightweight but unique, as well. The current line (available at AdamSavage.com) includes two sizes of the EDC ("Everyday Carry") and pouches, with more product both available on the site and on the way.
Finally, in 2019 Adam wrote his first book, Every Tool's a Hammer, which is, in Adam's words, "...a chronicle of my life as a maker. It's an exploration of making and of my own productive obsessions, but it's also a permission slip of sorts from me to you. Permission to grab hold of the things you're interested in, that fascinate you, and to dive deeper into them to see where they lead you."
This episode of the Tim Ferriss Show is brought to you by Theo Chocolate, which is the first organic and fair-trade chocolate company in North America. The folks there reached out to me because they spotted some neatly stacked bars of their dark chocolate coconut in a recent Instagram photo of my fridge (see it here).
This is a brand that does everything from scratch, and the difference shows. It's why Theo is one of my favorite chocolates. It offers tons of different bars, little snacks like coconut bites, and also imaginative creations like a cinnamon horchata bar, beer and scotch chocolates, and its signature s'mores bite -- The Big Daddy. My personal favorite: Salted Almond Butter Cups, which are ridiculous.
Theo is helping drive its industry forward by working with communities in the Congo and Peru to make the economics of the cocoa trade fair for farmers, and by using sustainable farming practices. Whether you want to feel better about where you buy your goodies or you just want a really unique and delicious gift for yourself or someone else, they're available in Whole Foods and other grocery stores across the U.S. For listeners of this podcast, Theo is offering 15% off your online purchase at TheoChocolate.com. Use code Tim15, or visit TheoChocolate.com/Tim for more details.
This podcast is also brought to you by Athletic Greens. I get asked all the time, "If you could only use one supplement, what would it be?" My answer is, inevitably, Athletic Greens. It is my all-in-one nutritional insurance. I recommended it in The 4-Hour Body and did not get paid to do so.
As a listener of The Tim Ferriss Show, you'll get a free 20-count travel pack (valued at $79) with your first order at AthleticGreens.com/tim.
If you enjoy the podcast, would you please consider leaving a short review on Apple Podcasts/iTunes? It takes less than 60 seconds, and it really makes a difference in helping to convince hard-to-get guests. I also love reading the reviews!
For show notes and past guests, please visit tim.blog/podcast.
Sign up for Tim’s email newsletter (“5-Bullet Friday”) at tim.blog/friday.
For transcripts of episodes, go to tim.blog/transcripts.
Discover Tim’s books: tim.blog/books.
Past guests on The Tim Ferriss Show include Jerry Seinfeld, Hugh Jackman, Dr. Jane Goodall, LeBron James, Kevin Hart, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Jamie Foxx, Matthew McConaughey, Esther Perel, Elizabeth Gilbert, Terry Crews, Sia, Yuval Noah Harari, Malcolm Gladwell, Madeleine Albright, Cheryl Strayed, Jim Collins, Mary Karr, Maria Popova, Sam Harris, Michael Phelps, Bob Iger, Edward Norton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Neil Strauss, Ken Burns, Maria Sharapova, Marc Andreessen, Neil Gaiman, Neil de Grasse Tyson, Jocko Willink, Daniel Ek, Kelly Slater, Dr. Peter Attia, Seth Godin, Howard Marks, Dr. Brené Brown, Eric Schmidt, Michael Lewis, Joe Gebbia, Michael Pollan, Dr. Jordan Peterson, Vince Vaughn, Brian Koppelman, Ramit Sethi, Dax Shepard, Tony Robbins, Jim Dethmer, Dan Harris, Ray Dalio, Naval Ravikant, Vitalik Buterin, Elizabeth Lesser, Amanda Palmer, Katie Haun, Sir Richard Branson, Chuck Palahniuk, Arianna Huffington, Reid Hoffman, Bill Burr, Whitney Cummings, Rick Rubin, Dr. Vivek Murthy, Darren Aronofsky, and many more.