The Tim Ferriss Show

#194: The Magic and Power of Placebo

The Tim Ferriss Show


Erik Vance (@erikvance) is an award-winning science writer based in California and Mexico City. After working as a scientist on research projects dealing with dolphin intelligence and coastal ecology, he became an educator and then an environmental consultant. In 2005, he attended UC Santa Cruz's famed Science Communication Program and discovered a passion for journalism. Since then, he has built his career around science-based profiles of inspiring or controversial figures. His work has appeared in Harper's Magazine, The New York Times, The Utne Reader, Scientific American, and National Geographic. He is also a contributing editor at Discover Magazine. His latest book is Suggestible You: The Curious Science of Your Brain's Ability to Deceive, Transform, and Heal. This riveting narrative explores the world of placebos, hypnosis, false memories, and neurology to reveal the groundbreaking science of our suggestible minds. Could the secrets to personal health lie within our own brains? Erik's firsthand dispatches will change the way you think -- and feel. In this episode, we cover many topics -- with equal amounts of the profound, actionable, and hilarious: The power of placebo, and how you can increase the odds of it working for you (if you choose). Which conditions respond well to placebo, and which do not. How the mind, religion, bedside manner, and peer pressure can influence medical outcomes. Catching porcupines in South Africa. This story alone will make you laugh out loud and is worth the episode. Finding and studying a pig shit sommelier. Why he got electrocuted for half an hour at the NIH laboratories in Bethesda, Maryland. The story of why he chose to be cursed by a witch doctor in Mexico City. Please enjoy! This podcast is brought to you by Wealthfront. Wealthfront is a massively disruptive (in a good way) set-it-and-forget-it investing service led by technologists from places like Apple. It has exploded in popularity in the last two years and now has more than $2.5B under management. Why? Because you can get services previously limited to the ultra-wealthy and only pay pennies on the dollar for them, and it's all through smarter software instead of retail locations and bloated sales teams. Check out wealthfront.com/tim, take their risk assessment quiz, which only takes 2-5 minutes, and they'll show you for free the exact portfolio they'd put you in. If you want to just take their advice and do it yourself, you can. Well worth a few minutes to explore: wealthfront.com/tim. This podcast is also brought to you by 99Designs, the world's largest marketplace of graphic designers. I have used them for years to create some amazing designs. When your business needs a logo, website design, business card, or anything you can imagine, check out 99Designs. I used them to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour Body, and I've also had them help with display advertising and illustrations. If you want a more personalized approach, I recommend their 1-on-1 service. You get original designs from designers around the world. The best part? You provide your feedback, and then you end up with a product that you're happy with or your money back. Click this link and get a free $99 upgrade. Give it a test run. Show notes and links for this episode can be found at www.fourhourworkweek.com/podcast.