Editor's Note: This transcript was automatically transcribed, so mistakes are inevitable. You can contribute by proofreading the transcript or highlighting the mistakes. Sign up to be amongst the first contributors.
Optimal at this altitude, I can run flat out for a half mile before my hands start shaking. Can I ask you a personal question? Now, at the same time, what it's like to be a cybernetic organism living tissue over metal embryos go to Paris, so. This episode is brought to you by PornHub, just kidding. This episode is brought to you by for Stigmatic, which is part of my morning routine, also part of my afternoon routine routine saves me.
So there are a number of ways that I use for stigmatic in the mornings. I regularly start with their mushroom coffee instead of regular coffee, and it doesn't taste like mushroom.
Let me explain this. First of all, zero sugar, zero calories, half the caffeine of regular coffee. It's easier. My stomach tastes amazing and all you have to do is add hot water. I use travel packets. I've been to probably a dozen countries with various products from four stigmatic and their mushroom coffee is top of the list. That's number one. I travel with it. I recommend it. I give it to my employees, I give it to house guests.
So if you're one of the 60 percent of Americans or more who drink coffee daily, consider switching it up. The stuff is amazing. That's part one. That is the cognitive enhancement side. Easy on the system side, energizing side. The next is actually there. Chagga Tea, which tastes delicious. It is decaf, completely decaf. And some may recognize Chagga. It is nicknamed the King of the Mushrooms. It is excellent for immune system support.
So needless to say, I am focused on that right now myself. And so I will often have that in the afternoons. They make all sorts of different mushroom blends. If you are doing exercises, I am on a daily basis to keep myself sane cordyceps, excellent for endurance. They have a whole slew of options that you can check out. Every single batch is third party lab tested for heavy metals allergens, all the bad stuff to make sure that what gets into your hands is what you want to put in your mouth.
And they always offer a one hundred percent money back guarantee so you can try at risk free. Why not?
I've worked out an exclusive offer with four stigmatic on their best selling lions' main coffee. I literally have a mug full of it in front of me right now. And this is just for you, my dear. Podcast listeners receive up to 39 percent off. I don't know how we arrived at thirty nine percent, but 39 percent off it's lot. Their best selling lion's mane coffee bundles. To claim this deal you must go to for stigmatic dotcom. Tim, this offer is only for you and is not available on their regular website.
Go to for stigmatic. That's for you. RSI, GMAT, dot com. Time to get yourself some awesome and delicious mushroom coffee. Full discount is applied at checkout.
This episode has brought to you by element spelled l m n t what on earth is element? It is a delicious sugar free electrolyte drink mix. I've stocked up on boxes and boxes of this was one of the first things that I bought when I saw covid coming down the pike and I usually use one to two per day. Element is formulated to help anyone with their electrolyte needs and perfectly suited to folks following Akito low carb or paleo diet. Or if you drink a ton of water and you might not have the right balance, that's often when I drink it.
Or if you're doing any type of endurance, exercise, mountain biking, etc.. Another application. If you've ever struggled to feel good on keto, low carb paleo, it's most likely because even if you're consciously consuming electrolytes, you're just not getting enough. And it relates to a bunch of stuff like a hormone called aldosterone, blah, blah, blah, when insulin is low. But suffice to say, this is where element again spelled LNT can help.
My favorite flavor by far is citrus salt, which is a side note you can also use to make a kick ass no sugar margarita, but for special occasions.
Obviously, you're probably already familiar with one of the names behind it, Rob Wolf or Rob Rob Wolf, who is a former research biochemist and two time New York Times best selling author of The Paleo Solution and Wired to Eat. Rob created Element by scratching his own itch. That's how it got started. His Brazilian jujitsu coaches turned him on to electrolytes as a performance enhancer. Things clicked and Bam company was born. So if you're on a low carb diet or fasting electrolytes, play a key role in relieving hunger, cramps, headaches, tiredness and dizziness, sugar, artificial ingredients, coloring all that's garbage unneeded.
There's none of that in element. And a lot of names you might recognize are already using element. It was recommended to be by one of my favorite athlete friends, three Navy SEAL teams as prescribed by their master chief Marine units, FBI sniper teams, at least five NFL teams who have subscriptions. They are the exclusive hydration partner to Team USA, weightlifting and on and on. You can try at risk free if you don't like it. Element will give you your money back.
No questions asked. They have extremely low return rates. So again, Element Element came up with a very special offer for you guys. They've created Tim's club. Just go to drink element dotcom, Tim, select, subscribe and save and use promo code. Tim's club to get the thirty count box of element for only thirty six dollars. This would be valid for the lifetime of the subscription and you can pause at any time. So again check it out.
It's drink L.M. and T Dotcom. Time for this exclusive offer using promo code. Tim's club one more time drink l.. A. Element. So drink element. Dotcom Tim and promo code Tim's club.
Check it out. Hello, boys and girls, ladies and germs, this is Tim Ferriss, and welcome to another episode of the Tim Ferriss show, where it is my job to interview world class performers from all different disciplines.
And my guest today is Mike Novogratz.
Michael Novogratz at Novogratz, that's Novogratz on Twitter, is the founder and CEO of Galaxy Digital Galaxy Digital IO.
He was formerly a partner and president of Fortress Investment Group LLC prior to Fortress. Mr. Novogratz spent 11 years at Goldman Sachs, where he was elected partner in 1998. Mr. Novogratz served on the New York Federal Reserve's Investment Advisory Committee on Financial Markets from 2012 to 2015.
Mike also serves as the chairman of the bail project and has made criminal justice reform a focus of his family's foundation. He serves as the chairman of Hudson River Park Friends and sits on the boards of NYU Langone from getting that correct. Medical Center and Princeton Varsity Club, Jazz Foundation of America and Artists for Peace and Justice.
Mr. Novogratz received an Abian Economics from Princeton University and served as a helicopter pilot in the US Army. Mike, welcome to the show and thanks a lot, Tim.
And this has been a long time coming. I'm excited to have you on the show. You have so many stories. You have an unvarnished personality and you have just such a medley of experience that I'm glad that we were finally able to get on the phone to record this for public consumption. So thanks for making the time now.
I'm excited. I feel like we were separated at birth.
Mannu Yeah, we got yeah, we have Long Island, we have Princeton, we have wrestling, as you put it, a little bit crazy. Psychedelics, meditation, krypto. The list is long and I thought we could start with a place that might seem like a total non sequitur.
But I have to ask, I was in preparation for this conversation reading a a really nicely done profile in The New Yorker written by Gary Shteyngart.
And there is a there's a phrase that came up multiple times that I have to ask you about, which was Speed Racer pants. He kept on mentioning you're wearing speed speed racer pants.
What what are these pants? I had a pair of white pants with a big red stripe on the side of them and they look like the pants Speed Racer used to wear. I bought them in L.A. at Fred Siegel one day when I was just bored and I started wearing around and no one in New York was wearing straight pants.
And so it was quite the thing for about a year.
And you seemed to have a fair amount of law surrounding you, which certainly became even more clear as I was doing homework for this conversation.
And one of them is. Piloting a helicopter down Prospect Avenue now I'd like to know if that's true and either way, maybe you could explain what Prospect Avenue is, but did that actually happen? Unfortunately, it did happen.
I've had a tendency to drink too much at parties. And Princeton has this reunion celebration every year where all the classes come by.
And and after the parade, this is a parade of, you know, hundreds and hundreds of people, starting with the oldest graduate who is offered one hundred, one hundred, three years old all the way to the new grads. Everyone migrates to this Prospect Avenue. And one year I had to leave early for an event. And I was like, OK, just I'll I'll show off to my friends a little bit. And so I got the helicopters to take you back to New York City.
And I asked the pilot if I could drive. And we just buzz buzz Prospect Street to much to the thrill of my friends and probably the dismay of everyone else.
What was your Princeton experience like? We're going to zoom backwards in time to childhood in just a little bit. But what was your experience like at Princeton?
You know, I was a middle class kid, so I showed up a little intimidated and I thought I was smart in high school and I showed up at Princeton. I think, gosh, I'm not that smart. I thought I was a great wrestler in high school and I went to Princeton. I got my butt up and I was like, I'm not that good of a wrestler. And so, you know, it started off intimidated in lots of ways.
And, you know, I look back, I took easier classes. Then certainly my kids take thinking, how do I get through this place and survive it? And athletically, that flipped my junior year socially. It flipped early and that was probably the biggest positive academically. It never really flipped. I never really felt maybe until I did my thesis like I was really a good enough student. Did it really feel smart enough to actually join the army and on a test with seven hundred other guys got first place and I was like, dude, I'm actually pretty smart.
I learned something, but I was intimidated most at Princeton.
You know, it's interesting that the the positive side was socially I was adapt and realize I had my first roommate actually was Gloria Vanderbilt son, Carter Cooper, who unfortunately tragically committed suicide years later.
But he was kind of aristocracy, not just a wealthy talker, but the Vanderbilt's aristocracy. And I went to New York and realized he had his own insecurities as well, and he had nice friends. And other than them teasing me about having my hair parted in the middle, which I thought was a very cool look back then, but not New York City, know, I quickly realized that rich guys, middle class guys, they all use the same toilet to shit.
And and that part, I think, gave me a lot of confidence in life that I could compete, in essence, how this point we were competing mostly for girls, but I could compete with with anybody.
And that sounds like a small little win. But it was actually when I look back, you know, where a lot of kind of confidence started.
And you mentioned athletics. What flipped junior year, if I'm remembering correctly for you in athletics, I don't think I reached puberty till I was about twenty.
Now, I was a decent wrestler and I work pretty hard at it and I just got good enough to make the varsity. So my first two years I was really on the junior varsity. There was one guy that was better than me at the same weight and and he actually took a year off. And so it opened the spotlight for me and having that opportunity to wrestle. And I just started doing better and better. And I made the, you know, the eastern tournament that I made the national tournament and back then make it the Nationals was a huge plus for you.
You felt like, you know, you're a real guy in the wrestling community. And so I came back senior year ready to get ready to be an all-American. So was a whole shift of, you know, my my confidence level again. But also I got stronger nowadays, kids, red shirt, they take year off. I really wish I I was just getting strong and just getting good. My senior year I kind always needed one more year probably.
I've stayed involved with wrestling my whole life.
What did wrestling give you. That's a leading question. I should probably just ask what impact it had on you, but having wrestled myself, you wrestled longer than I did. But I'd love to hear in your words what part wrestling has played in your life. If, aside from the involvement that you had later with Beat the Streets and into the Olympics and so on.
Yeah, I think it's a sport that almost like no other sport beats the hell out of you. I mean, it is so tough from cutting weight to going out on the mat by yourself, it just getting crushed. And so you learn to pick yourself up after you get crushed and you're like, OK, I got crushed that match. I don't need to get crushed next match. And I got to work a little harder. And so it's resilience.
If anything, the train it builds in people is great. Our resilience when I started by the strength, we looked a lot at wrestling and it's interesting, 14 of the forty four presidents the United States had wrestling in their background. There's no other sport. There's no other sport with that many. Abe Lincoln used to go from town to town to wrestle for money. Teddy Roosevelt was a wrestler. And often that toughness and grit ends up in leadership.
And so you see a lot of wrestlers that move on in life and to leadership positions.
So let's talk about the resilience, because when I pulled a number of my friends and asked them what they would most like me to discuss with you, it came back to resilience in some form or another.
And in The New Yorker piece, there's there's one line which we could also dissect if we wanted.
But, you know, Princeton, like Wall Street, where Novogratz has made at least three fortunes and lost at least two, is full of stories about him.
So you have this incredibly powerful and public hero's journey that you've traveled more than once. And I want to read from a speech. This is the commencement speech in Iowa. I don't even know the story of how this came to be, but we can get to that as it relates to grit.
So you say as I've gotten older, this is in the middle of the commencement speech. As I've gotten older, I've realized that we have two missions on this earth to know thyself, or as my wife would say, to sort our shit out and to walk each other home. Most people I've met don't start this journey until they've really screwed up. They've lost a job, ruined a marriage, abused drugs or alcohol, destroyed friendships or just can't get out of bed.
I started my journey at thirty three when I had done most of the above. I was a rising star at Goldman Sachs. I was a partner, a president, respected man in the Wall Street community. And then I wasn't. Right after I resigned from Goldman, I literally thought my life was over. I had ruined it.
OK, so this is winding its way to a question. So that's a little bit of back story for people who don't have familiarity.
And the question is, when that happened, when you have what you might consider a public experience like that, how do you work your way through it psychologically and emotionally?
What do you tell yourself? What helps? I'm very curious to know how you dust yourself off and what you did that that helped after something.
You know, that was my kind of first public humiliation. Failure. A personal failure failed the people I worked with, and it was painful, I there's no two ways around. It was helpful that I had a supportive family that were just letting me be. I went into depression and it took a while to kind of work out. I was. I had this narrative that had ruined my life and I would never get it back, and I remember there was lots of little pieces of advice first.
I had one lawyer I was so worried about, never would have thought about me in.
This lawyer said, don't do me a favor. Write down on a piece of paper the people that you think will be at your funeral when you die at 80 worry about what those people think.
All those other people, they don't really think about you that much, you know, and that was kind of liberating because you, as a partner of Goldman Sachs, every partner that had left Goldman Sachs when you left, you got this beautiful little memo about all you had done. And, you know, it was a it was a goal is a bit of a cult. And there was a very nice way. They exited partners. And I just disappeared.
And I was outspoken about I was like so I kept worrying that I was going to run into my ex partners on the street and be be so embarrassed and so forth. He helped me get over that. Just think about it. But in the long run, I end up going up to rehab in Arizona. And that was a I kind of got stuck in a little bit. I had this therapist. I never had a therapist before. He said, dude, you talk so much, you've got to go somewhere where you can tell your stories and have a safe space.
And there's this beautiful holistic place in the middle of Phoenix or Tucson called Sierra Tucson. And it looked I looked on the pamphlets. It looked so nice. And so I went out there and on day one. And I had. I had. A drink or a drug or got any trouble for three, four or five months at the time, but I flew out there and you check yourself into a mental health facility and you're like, what? The F just went on here?
And my first roommate was in the throes of trying to kick heroin and he was not having a good time of it. And I'm like, how in God's name did I end up at this place? But it was probably my first experience with really digging in and trying to sort out like, what are the patterns of my life that led to this?
And it was kind of traumatic in that, you know, the thesis that a lot of rehab centers use, an addiction specialist uses that there are these deep emotional scars, either big traumas or little traumas that people have a hard time dealing with, and they start using some substance. It might be sex or alcohol or drugs or control of your food to medicate those feelings and that medication all of a sudden. And as you end up doing more stupid things, that you need more of the medication.
And it's this cycle of and so that if you could get to those core issues, it would really help in your journey.
And you're sitting around a circle with people.
And one guy's father had kicked them in the spleen. He lost his spleen when he's 12 and almost all the women that were bulimic or anorexic had suffered incest. And I'm thinking here, I had nice parents like wouldn't. But, you know, I had a pretty nice and it was traumatizing not having the big trauma.
And one of my insights was sometimes the little trauma, 10 years, 20 years, 30 years later, can have just as much psychological duress as big trauma. And so one man's pain is no different 10 years later. It's just pain or fear or and and so starting the search to find that out was unbelievably helpful. It also really started building an underdeveloped empathy muscle. I remember I met one woman who had been the teacher of the year in Florida for like nine straight years.
And she had she was probably forty five years old and had a had a relationship, maybe 30, 40 years old, had a relationship with a senior, and it wasn't even sexual, but it was close to sexual. Got caught. And next thing you know, she was the pariah of the town. And I got thrown out of teaching and everyone wanted to shoot her. And as you matter, she was one of the nicest women I had met.
And she had a story. She had been abused by her both father and then stepfather and had developed a relationship addiction, which unfortunately then had her having a relationship with a senior in her school.
But instead of being angry, wanted to lynch her. You wanted to hug her. And so that that process of trying to understand where where people's the states came from allowed me to start kind of forgiving myself a little bit. And then since I didn't really get to that holistic place, I realized that maybe this is the trick of how do you get started again? I just needed to create a new narrative. As some of the narrative was fucked up, I went to try to understand I fucked up.
I haven't solved it all, but I'm I'm starting over. And, you know, it wasn't till 9/11 happened. I was trying to figure out what to do. And when 9/11 happened, my brother called me and he was in one of the big buildings right next to the Twin Towers. And it's like to hit a plane, just hit what I'm supposed to do. And I was like by Eurodollars and he was like, what the fuck are you talking about?
I was like by shortening the Treasury contracts. And I was like, oh, no, get out of the building. And and I, I was like, OK, brains kind of screwed up. And then I was with my young son, who was like two at the time, and I was. Looking on the TV and I was like, we've got to go help. So I go wanting to run down towards the Trade Center to see what was going on.
And he started crying. And I was like, OK, that's not helping. So we ran back and watched it on TV.
But I you know, my army side of me wanted to participate and they there was no real room for volunteers. And I felt like I got to go do something. And I realized I hadn't fulfilled kind of my my Wall Street journey. And so I literally it was a 9/11 insight. And I went back to work at Fortress and and luckily I had a lot of good luck and good, great partners. You know, five or six years later, we not even six years later, we rang the bell at the stock market and we were all billionaires.
And it was just kind of heady experience because the journey from walking out of Goldman Sachs and having one of the senior partners say, well, you know, maybe you'll work against some time myself. She wasn't that bad, but really feeling like you might never work again until six years later, you feel like you're on top of the world. It was kind of a heady ride.
What did your self care program, if it existed, look like between rehab and ringing the bell? Did anything change noticeably any at habits or routines or anything that helped during that period?
So I gave up drinking for 13 months. And I have been a. A man who loves parties, who loves drinking, who doesn't drink at home, but a very social drinker my whole life and that was difficult, is trying to be able to be social, not with a glass of wine or a beer or Jack Daniels on my hand was tough and I gave up recreational drugs.
At 14 months later, I did something which I think was important. I ran this thing called the Marathon of the Sands, which was six marathons in a row across the Sahara. It was one of the original adventure races. Seven hundred people from one hundred countries. And you literally run across the damn desert and it would get to one hundred thirty degrees during the day and freeze it out.
And about halfway into it, I was like, it's good to be alive. And it just felt like, what the F are you complaining about? You're alive, the beautiful settings and you're meeting new people. And that was really the big trigger. And so staying fit at that age, I ran a lot, but it was that pushed yourself into the comfort zone physically even, and realize you're still alive, dude, you're not dead. And so that's that was right before the 9/11 happened.
That was whatever the June before September. But that was really the turning point.
Now, the ask the question what I felt like, OK, I can go back to work and then a fortress, you know, there was a lot of stress at work because I felt like even though I thought I made some big breakthroughs, there were parts of my story. I had to sort it out. One is why I carried all this pressure all the time, you know, that stopped it from being joyful. And so I exercise.
I still I wasn't really into meditation until probably twenty six, twenty seven or so early on. It was just exercise. My core issues were pressure. I when I made partner at Goldman Sachs, I felt relieved. I remember Lloyd Blankfein called me up. He said, Don't tell my wife. It's one of the most joyful days of my life, even more than my wedding.
And I'm thinking to myself, I think I should have said that is going to come get Gellatly.
I did it feel that I felt relieved, like I can check that box. And I was thinking back on it. I was like, well, that's kind of shitty that you felt that much pressure to be a partner. Goldman Sachs wouldn't really care. You know, I lost most of the big wrestling matches in my life because I felt so much pressure to win that when I knew it was an important match, I wouldn't wrestle as well. And so I got a lot of second places and I would remember walking out of the mat feeling exhausted beforehand.
And it took me a while. Matter of fact, I remember that moment where I had my first insight I had the year before I had been at this investor conference called Lightford Key and Byron. We used to run it. He was a legend from Morgan Stanley. And this was the first legendary investor conference. You had to be a legend to be there and you had to share ideas. And and I got invited in twenty six, probably maybe twenty five.
And it was such an honor to be there. I was one of the young guys and you had to give your three stories, stocks or ideas. And it came to me and the guy before me had used one of mine and I just panicked.
I literally was like and I'm sweating.
And it was one of the most miserable five minutes of my life. So much of the guy next to me was like, dude, that wasn't that bad. But I've got a plane leavin soon if you want to go. And I remember feeling all this stress about and I was telling my wife I was like, this is so much stress, I'm not having fun. I should just do something else in my life. And she was like, Dude, you hired all these people you just hired.
What are your best friends? He left his firm to work for you like like sort of the help. And, you know, as luck would have and I have this life where I stole an mentorship or found it or been gifted at strange places. And I was one of my investors suggested I have lunch with ued Barack, who had been the prime minister of Israel and one of their great generals, one of the and he allegedly had the highest IQ in the Israeli army.
And I was sitting with him and he was a charming, charming guy, later became a friend.
And he looked at me. He said, no, I think I figured you out. You know, you're not very smart. I was like, thank you. He said, But you're lucky. You're lucky. And then he said, don't worry about it. You know, Louis Bakan, who is one of the macro legends, one of the best investors of all time, and Bruce governor there, they remind me a little vague. They think they're smart, but they're mostly lucky.
And I'm looking at them. And then he gave me a quote in French, Of course, I don't speak French. And I was like, translate, I'm not so smart. And it was from Napoleon. I don't hire smart generals. I lucky generals.
And it was and it was about intuition and that his Napoleon thought was these generals know where to be on the battlefield, to the right, that they can recognize the thing. They have a certain intuition and we don't have a word for it, therefore we call it luck at the moment, he said that the way my brain function as an investor, the way I operated in life, it clicked. I was like, that's what I do. I have act like I'm actually and I realized I didn't need once I knew what I needed to make investments, to make decisions.
I didn't need to fulfill what you think I needed. Right. I remember being so worried when I was at life or key that someone was going to ask me who the finance minister of Russia was because I was telling them I owned all these Russian rubles and I forgot the guy's name. Well, I didn't really need to know the guy's name for my investment confidence. Other people might. And that was liberating. And from the moment that happened, I could tell the story of how I made investment decisions and has so much more confidence.
I had my hedge fund went from three hundred million to two billion in six months. The returns went up, but most importantly, the joy showed up. It was more fun and the confidence came. I was like, I know I can always if I need to sit in front of a screen and sought out markets and make money from it. And so one of the great breakthroughs, Lenny, was was from this guy who was a famous Jewish general Israeli general.
And I don't know how I seem to get sidetracked from your question, but the show is all about Trex.
Those are usually who are the interesting allies, have all sorts of tidbits. So let's dig into intuition, because this seems to show up again and again in your life.
And I'd be very curious to know, let's just say in that six month period where you go vertical, basically in assets under management, how have you learned if you have to discern intuition and pattern recognition from, say, overconfidence or irrational confidence in a position or a trait or something like that, how have you learned to wield and discern what is what? Yeah, it's a great question.
And the world, the world's best speculator's or macro traders have two things in common. They have this pattern recognition, intuition, I put that at one bucket and then I have discipline and. I said the three things and then they have an unbelievable competitive spirit and I look at guys like Stan Druckenmiller and Paul Jones and those bacon, and to be honest, they're just they've done better than I have. And it wasn't because because I spoke to him enough to understand of their understanding of markets or intuition.
Their discipline was just better. And it was kind was like, why much more disciplined? I think partly they're just more discipline than I. But they're more competitive. They just cared more interest. I couldn't tell if that was in life of strength or weakness, but there you watch that Michael Jordan documentary and the one thing that every single person who watches it comes out as he cared. So he was the most competitive man I think I've ever seen in anything.
Michael Jordan, you know, the great speculators are very competitive like that.
And and shockingly, I'm just not as competitive as I've done. I've done very well by almost any standard, but not in the legend standard. I know who the legends are because I've been around them. And so I think about that a lot. And I'm trying to figure out that that's not all terrible. Like you'd like some more discipline. And I think it's allowed me to have a more diverse life than some of my peers. But I think about that.
But that's how you the only way you end up trusting your intuition to get to your question is to have some set of rules that you manage your risk by your life, by or because you're you're still anxious.
But we're learning to trust ourselves. So I think I'm right in this business. I think not that I know you really think like this lines up. I'm almost positive Bitcoin's going to go up right now. But if it doesn't, you've got to have some circuit breaker that says, you know, I could have it wrong.
You know, no one's right a hundred percent of the time, right? No one's right. Eighty percent of the time in markets. And so you need a circuit breaker. And so that's a series of rules that you manage your portfolio by manage your life by lots of ways. And that's where discipline really helps. And that's where I often let myself down a little bit. And that's sometimes just trying to do too many things, sometimes, you know, just not being tough enough on myself.
But that's the challenge of anyone who goes into my business. It's those it's really hard to learn that you're actually good at it because it's it's not a skill that, you know. How do you say, I've got good intuition? Right. It takes a long time for you to trust yourself. And then how do you hold steady to really having your portfolio constantly being a collection of your guesses? It sounds like it should be a tautology, right?
I'm bullish, therefore, on long, but I would tell you that nineteen out of twenty people that try to be traders, that sentence isn't consistent with them. Ninety percent of the time.
Could you elaborate on that. Yeah.
So someone is bullish they say. I think the stock market's going up but I'm not going to buy it yet. Right. I think the stock market's going up but I'm going to buy a little bit, but I'm going to sell calls on it so that it goes up. They barely make any money. Stan Druckenmiller, when he's here on TV, if he says, I think the market's going up, you can better believe he's long.
And just for people who are not in the investing world so long, meaning he is, I suppose, in the simplest iteration, buying things with the expectation they will appreciate their value.
Yeah, apologies. I get it. And so that's the battle of of being a speculator. But that translates into the battle day life. And, you know, listen, even I guess if you're investing in movies, you have some algorithm in your head or a written algorithm of what you think makes for a good bet. And so you invest, you invest, you invest at one point. Right. Your track record, your wins versus losses are going to tell you pretty good at this.
But really taking the time to understand what that algorithm is like. How do you make decisions in investing in movies or investing in small businesses if you're a venture capitalist or investing in markets? And so one of my insights is always like any one of those processes you take in information, you process it through an algorithm, and you have to then manage it like manage the risk of it somehow. And so that I use that process in lots of things, but and not every job, certainly not every investing job is based on intuition.
Quite frankly, very few are. Because the more intuition based the investing is, the more anxiety there is. Right. If you're an arbitrage, you're you buy something for eight dollars on one market, sell off for ten on another. There's not a whole lot of risk. And so that is just being commercial. And so I always tell people that you've got to try to understand yourself and figure out where your DNA, where your personality type fits it into the space.
Let's come back. To one of the names you mentioned, and that's Paul Jones or Paul Tudor Jones, who has hit the news quite widely in the last few weeks because of his extensive discussion of Bitcoin, specifically in one of his memos. I'm not sure if he refers to them as memos or letters or something else. But nonetheless, this has made the rounds that Paul Tudor Jones has direst Bitcoin for institutional investors. Here comes Wall Street, et cetera.
You've referred to yourself as the Forrest Gump of Bitcoin.
So I'll give you two questions and you can choose which one you want to tackle first.
So one is, why are you the force of Bitcoin? And then the second is, how are you different from Paul Tudor Jones? Like, how do you guys I know you know each other quite well. How are you most different or most similar?
So that's a great question. So the first couple of Bitcoin was kind of a shtick. I was the first is the torsional grade investor that started talking about it for better or worse, you know, back and when it was trading around one hundred, I was on and it was I had promised my partners, quite frankly, that we wouldn't talk about crypto because Fortress was a real asset company and we weren't going to talk about these digital assets. And I was at some conference.
I didn't know the press was there. I made some witty comments about Bitcoin. And the next day I was on the cover of the Financial Times and then I got sucked into Bitcoin because everyone would call me and ask me what I thought. And at that point, I didn't really understand how it worked that much. I understood that it was a thing that was going to go higher, but partly by being forced to publicly speak about it.
I got asked to speak at the Oxford Union and I really had to study and try to understand how the damn thing worked. And so I became kind of an unofficial spokesperson or one of the unofficial spokesperson for it. Paul and I are as close in terms of what we have done. We ran similar businesses as well, was bigger and a little bit better. He's been a role model in philanthropy in spirit. If I had an older brother, ten years were different than my parents did tell me about it would be Paul.
And so it's fun to see them getting involved in Bitcoin. For me personally, it's important because know, I said I was pretty damn good, but Paul is one of those legends.
They're literally, honestly three or four guys of his stature in the whole macro space in the last thirty years.
And so for him to get involved, it basically says this is this is a real macro instrument. You know, there's no more debate on is Bitcoin. It might not always go up. It might go up and down. You might not put it in your portfolio, but there's no shame in being involved with the space anymore. And that's a big deal because for stores of value and Bitcoin is really becoming a store of value, they only become the stores of value when people believe they are.
And so it's a belief system. Bitcoin is not just the code, it's really the social construct. I say this, you say it's this, therefore it is this. And so we already have Jack Dorsey, whose Twitter handle says Bitcoin and Abbey Johnson from Fidelity and Pete Brigger from Fortressed that have all bought it personally or had their businesses involved with it. Wences Casares and Mekki Milker. I mean, these are kind of legends in their space, calls the first and a legend in the hedge fund space that didn't just buy it personally, but he bought it in his fund.
And so it opens up a whole new avenue of potential participants in that community, which I think is really, really significant.
If we had to put on the the hat of forecaster or Nostradamus, what do you predict if you're comfortable going for it with Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, et cetera, in the next let's just call it 12 months.
It's currently May 18th when we record this twenty twenty, mark it down and write it down.
We're trading roughly ninety six hundred dollars per bitcoin right now. I think we'll take out ten thousand soon and end the year closer to twenty thousand. The old highs. Once these store values start building momentum, there's not a lot of supply. We've had this thing called the happening where there's half the supply being mined then there was even a week ago.
But mostly the story is finally catching broader adoption. And it's not just hedge funds that are going be able to buy it. You're going to see wealth managers start selling it to their clients through products. We have a Bitcoin fund that's targeted to the 50 to 80 year olds in America that buy there, that make their investment decisions through TD Ameritrade or Charles Schwab or Goldman Sachs, our registered investment advisors. Bitcoin has been a young man's game. It's been the GenZE and the millennials.
It's been bought on Coinbase app or squarer Robin Hood. Those things aren't going away, quite frankly, they're going to be more of them, right? Facebook's Calibra is going to allow you to buy Bitcoin, and that'll be twenty three thousand people using that wallet. And so there are so many more avenues of access. I always tell people if it was easy to buy, the price would be far higher. Already Bitcoins been hard to buy and a year from now, it's going to be that much easier.
So I can't I'm I'm really bullish.
And I listen, I don't have I'm always careful when I'm when I say really? Because these things are recorded and come back later and people are damn like, I was stupid. It doesn't work. And so you're cautious to be that bullish publicly. But I haven't seen things line up as well in a long time. Let's rewind the clock as promised.
It's feels like probably an hour or so ago, maybe maybe a little bit less to family.
And I know this is a little bit like Memento and nonlinear. This is. But you grew up in a big family, it seems like, with with no shortage of strong personalities.
Could you describe for folks what your family was like, what your childhood was like growing up?
So for people of my age that used to watch John Hughes movies like Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles, that was pretty much the neighborhood I grew up in.
We were straight up the middle suburban, middle class, all-American family. My dad was an Army officer, so he was a major. He went to Vietnam twice when I was very young, a major battle colonel for my my growing up years. I went to a public high school. We had seven of us, seven. I was in a house that had one and a half or two bathrooms, one for my parents and one for the rest of us.
And, you know, we fought over the brush and the blow dryer because back then you blew dry your hair. If you were a cool dude. My mother didn't go to college. She got married when she was eighteen to my dad. They just had their sixth anniversary or nineteen. She got married sixth anniversary and she was beautiful. And I think she had this fascination with the Kennedys because she knew my sister Jackie and my brother Bobby. We've got a John John.
And yet my dad was a handsome football player, a football star at West Point. And my mother thought we should we should be them. Why not us? And so she was the one that kind of drove the pressure to succeed. Not a very harsh way. Just like you. We used to complain about kids and she says, well, if that girl would jump off a bridge, would you jump off a bridge in the same old saying that most suburban parents used?
But there was a pressure my mom put of excellence that we could rise. And in the background, my father had been the alignment of the year in college football. He never has once mentioned he's the least braggadocio guy, very humble, but he didn't have to say much because he had my mom would say it all for him. But we have this sense of excellence from my dad that he had been this star football player. We also had a sense of service.
My mom used to always say, you're given so much, you've got to give back. And I look back, I'm like, we had seven kids fighting over one brush. But, you know, we were you know, it was a Catholic family.
There was lots of love involved. We buy we come from a big extended family as well. And so we felt special, you know, special to be a Novogratz. My mother made it special to be a Novogratz. And so we ran for office at the student elections and, you know, didn't always win, actually lost most of the time. But but like even the confidence to be the third grader running for class president came from, I think, parents that made you feel special.
My dad was tough, like it was that he was a military guy and he grew up in an Austrian immigrant family. And so we got whacked around a lot. My brother and I, we always complain that by the time my little brothers and sisters who were there was a seven year gap between the top three in the bottom four came round. My parents were soft, but I look at the big family all the time. And the one thing that I'm sure that came out of that was you're willing to take more risk in life when, you know, if you screw up, there's people that are going to catch you.
There's brothers and sisters that I love you anyway. And they also on the flip side, when you're doing really well, they don't buy that shtick either. You know, they're appreciative of it. They they applaud. But you're not more special just because you made a bunch of money or got this award or and so it's humbling.
It's safety on the downside and it's humbling on the upside. And so that's listen, we've all drafted off of each other. You know, I always laughed. And, you know, it's a pain in the ass that's such a famous sister because wherever I go, everyone knows my sister because she's always trying to save the world.
You should say a few words about that because people may not recognize Jackie equals Jacqueline. Jacqueline Novogratz.
Just a few words about your. You say a few words about her. My sister is one of the unique souls that from age five decided she wanted to change the world. And so she was like a brownie that a Girl Scout.
And she started this organization, the Acumen Fund, which was really kind of the father of venture philanthropy or impact investing, and has spent her whole life trying to figure out how to to change systems, how to invest in the poorest of the citizens on this planet, to build permanent structures around housing and food and water and education, and really to change the conversation, to start with the conversation of dignity. And, you know, she developed a huge following in that developed world and in the conference world, she's got.
You know, branches all over the world now, young acolytes that want to be like her, and so, you know, it's interesting what I notice about her and I know about some other leaders, but not many, is that she's never not known TrueNorth like she's and most people and myself included, I try to be a pretty good guy and I do a lot of good stuff, but my compass gets.
Out of kilter, plenty of times gets out of kilter from my own desires. Feels pretty good, gets out of kilter because I get excited about something. I lose my own focus. I put my sister in a special bucket. Bryan Stevenson is one of my heroes from the Equal Justice Initiative, who's really one of our great civil rights leaders. And you meet with him and you're like, after just a few hours with me, you're like, he's probably never not known TrueNorth.
And so, you know, that's listen, it's inspiring to be around those people.
It's sometimes humbling and frustrating, but it's good to have them around because it grounds you a little bit.
Just a quick thanks to one of our sponsors, and we'll be right back to the show. This episode is brought to you by Magic Spoon, a brand new cereal that is low carb, high protein and zero sugar. I just had a bowl of their cocoa flavor. That's my favorite. An hour ago, it tastes just like your favorite cereal that you remember from childhood, but it's actually good for you. Each serving has 11 grams of protein, three grams of net carbs, zero grams of sugar and only 110 calories.
And their flavors are delicious. It comes in your favorite traditional cereal flavors. You might remember like cocoa frosted and blueberry. They also have limited edition flavors like honeynet and peanut butter. My favorites are cocoa and peanut butter. I'll usually have them with really creamy whole milk or some type of unsweetened coconut milk or something like that. Another fun fact, one of this podcast's most popular guests, Dr. Peter Attiya, routinely crushes six to seven servings at a time with no glycemic response.
That means practically no blood sugar response, which is pretty miraculous. He likes this product so much that he invested in Magic Spoon. Listeners of this podcast get free shipping and a 100 percent happiness guarantee at Magic Spoon Dotcom Tim. So if you don't love it, you get a full refund. No questions asked. Again, that's magic spoon dotcom Tim and use code Tim. Pretty easy to remember. Magic spoon dotcom slash Tim and use code Tim. Check it out.
So you spoke earlier of feeling immense pressure, say, going out on the wrestling mat or at the investment conference coming up to your your five minutes and so on, you have a large family, many high achievers in that family. Do you think any part of that comes from a pressure or expectation to succeed that was made explicit or implicitly clear from your parents? And I know that's a very binary question, but I'm just curious.
I mean, it's a big yes. And I don't know if it was I think it was more implicitly. My mother was very good at making us all feel like we were the special one. And for whatever reason, from kindergarten on, my teachers treated me better than everybody else, my parents. And so I literally remember if I got didn't get an A in like first grade on the way home, taking the paper crumpling up and throw it in the sewer.
And I'm thinking myself, now that I've had young kids, it's incomprehensible for me to think that a five or six or seven year old would throw a paper away if you didn't get a day.
Like I was like, who thinks like that? So somehow at that very young age, I said in that article, Gary Steiger, when I was at rehab, I had to complete my mother because everyone's going to blame their parents. I said, you put so much pressure because she used to tell everybody, because I talked all the time that I was going to be a senator.
And my mother was very, very quick on her feet, said, yeah, he did all right. I should have said he should have been the president.
You know, your little kid, you pick up cues that my parents never meant to put pressure on their kids. I don't think that kind of way.
But you pick up cues and they become your operating system. And I operated with that system. I still have a little bit of me for so long a period of time that I needed to be perfect. So I remember cheating like that. I was like, why am I cheating on a high school test with the smartest guy in the goddamn class? Because I didn't know the answer.
And what I'm not going to get an A like that. Pressure was irrational. And of course, my dad never told a lie in his life. He's another choir boy. They're not going to condone cheating on a high school test. My mother wouldn't condone it.
But like and so it's interesting when I talked earlier about big trauma and little trauma, like the little trauma of picking up some story for me was just as powerful as, you know, unfortunately for other people having gotten beaten up.
And so that I think, you know, again, I I have a loving mom and dad interesting about them is they've got nicer and nicer with each year. So my dad's eighty three. My mom's seventy nine. And you literally it's just fun to see parents grow and change and and so I've got nothing but great things to say. But I do think and I said that in that speech I wrote that everyone's journey is to kind of figure out the parental issues and how their parents impacted them and then to understand it, to let it go and love their parents.
And, you know, took me a long time to figure out where that pressure came from. And again, I don't blame anybody for it, but it certainly was their. So let's let's come back to that speech, because this might be related to what I'm about to ask, you have I would not call it a small tattoo on your forearm.
Can you describe can you describe this tattoo for people, please?
I have I have a four hour length JAG wire Igbobi, I, I call it a puma, but you might think of it as a Jaguar Big Black Puma tattoo that goes from my basically the whole length of my right forearm that I got literally. My brother had to give me a tattoo for Christmas a few years earlier and after my first ayahuasca experience where I literally on day three transformed into a puma I was going to call a Black Panther with the movie had already come out.
So I like I'm a fool, I'm not a panther. And growled and crawled around the floor two nights in a row and was so moved by the whole beauty of that experience. I just thought I would get a small tattoo. And I walked into this famous tattoo parlor called Smith Street Tattoos where my brother had, you know, got me the appointment and set it up. And I told the cops to get this tattoo and I was going to get a small one on my shoulder.
And the guy looked at me and he is like, Dude, with all respect, you're old as fuck. And you can get a tattoo, get a tattoo that people can see. And I was like, that was such a genius.
I was like, I guess it's just, you know, when you hear the truth for what this giant tattoo of of a Jaguar, I put one on my right arm and I love it.
I have to say I love it. It gives me power. And I realize your forearms don't get flabby. It's like the one part of your body that stays fit.
So you mentioned ayahuasca and this experience minus the puma in this commencement address.
Why did you why did you decide to include that?
You know, it was my first commencement address and I worked hard on it. And the thesis was know thyself. And there's so many ways one can learn about themselves. And and that journey that I went on and in Costa Rica was unbelievably powerful. And I end up getting different things from it that I thought I would. But afterwards, I was trying to convince my sister and brother in law that they should do this, and I really then started thinking, barring people that have bipolar or mental health issues, would an ayahuasca trip not benefit someone as much as it might be tough and scary?
Like should we put every politician on the world through that experience before they're allowed to serve? And I kept coming up with. Yes. And so I was like, if you're a young college student and you're physically OK to do this, is there anything bad? And I could come up with it. And so I thought, you know, I'll talk about it publicly. And part of this was in a chapter or a part of the speech about destigmatizing mental health.
Like I think, you know, what are the things we need to do as a society is to allow that people have mental health issues, that depression is real and and that people have to work through and that we should help them work through that. And both psilocybin and ayahuasca are, I just think, two things in that toolkit, powerful things in that toolkit of how one can process trauma, one can learn about themselves. We can dig into the places that they haven't understood before.
And and it's funny, once you see it, you can't unsee it. Yeah, that's true. So I have a sister to tell her story, but I will. That went down after I did to the same same place. And I was laughing about being a poor and she's like, God damn it. Next thing you know, her her hands were becoming kind of furry and like a cat. And she hates cats. She's a take it because I can't really become a cat.
And next thing you know, she climbed up this ladder and she's looking at it and brought her back to this high school and the high school shine like the little little school theater where she was the Cheshire Cat looking out on the audience. And I she told me the story. I remembered I was the older brother sitting there. She was probably five or six at the time. And she was the cutest kid in the place. Of course, she was my sister.
And after the the play I remember telling her all.
She stole the show. She stole the show. She was so great. She had like three lines, but she was the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland. And for her coming off what she saw in this ayahuasca trip was all the other girls being mean to her because she was getting all the attention. And interestingly enough, her whole life, she'd never put her head up again. She always has been unbelievably supportive of everyone. She has literally our support system in our family.
And she came out that she was like, I did put my head up because of those six year old girls that I didn't remember. And so, like, again, once you see it, you know, now she's got her own podcast and she's putting her head up. And so I find I find that's a sweet story to tell because it's not so, you know, damningly personal.
But there's so many opportunities like that that I figured, you know, it's time at least to to to broaden the conversation. Now, listen, University of Iowa to the teachers college might not have been the exact right place, but it was where I was.
So I'd love to highlight two lines from that speech. And one is in the middle of a paragraph. So I'll just highlight verbally one portion of it, really. But it was it's discussing your time at that holistic health center in the desert of Arizona. Twenty eight day rehab center. And it says the twenty eight days didn't fix me or change me. No, it just give me a start to understanding who I was, what forces controlled me. And then here's the part that really jumped out at me.
What stories in my life were so strong I didn't even realize they were stories.
So now I'm assuming out because many of the stories we have or narratives about ourselves and the world may not be stories.
We're aware our stories, they're just our reality.
And they're often stories that were given to us inadvertently or purposefully. And we're not aware that we've absorbed them.
So my question relates to the next line, and that is coming back to the Ayahuasca. The lesson I learned on my last ceremony was that this medicine, this process was meeting me where I was, and that was gentleness. You must start by being gentle to yourself. So like you, I think you've competed at a much higher level in many, many arenas.
But I've always been very, very, very, very competitive.
And to the extent where being second place has often, for me been worse than being 15th place, it's kind of like second place is first loser type mentality.
So I've been very mean to myself in the same way those six year old girls were to your sister. And so that that has been kind of internalized. And I'd be curious to know what is helped. You to be. Gentil. Or more gentle with yourself, gentler, I guess, would be one of the two yet. Yeah, you'd think as a writer I would have this English figured out.
But what has helped when a lot of people would view, you know, competitiveness as your.
Superpower, right, and it's such a driver, how have you how have you learned to be better at that? Well, it's a work in progress. I remember before going down there like I'm an easygoing guy and I don't lose my temper a lot. So I think I'm a nice boss and I yellow people that often. And I'm and I told my lawyer, who's been with me for ten years, of course, I'm an easy boss and she's like, you're absolutely not a fucking easy boss.
You're such a tough boss. She said, you're nice, but you're tough. And so you never give a compliment. You're like, oh, that's pretty good. But we're having the best party. If we only and they're like, you know, just disheartening. That has, I think, made me feel terrible. And it was when I was on that ayahuasca thing, I realized you can't be nice to people and you're nice to yourself. And I never thought I was tough on myself.
Why? Because I let myself get away with the stuff that set me to rehab or drinking or drugs or breaking the rules. I've got a rule breaking my whole life. And so I thought that's well, if you can do that, you're not really being tough on yourself. Those are two different subject matters. I did the rest of that stuff because I was so tough on myself and that was the interesting part of the club. You should have only.
And that internal angst, I think some of it was just getting older. And I think with success there's a little less pressure. And some of it is now just trying to have awareness of it and say it's not that important. But I think I pulled my employees. They say you change a little, but not a lot yet. And so, you know, it's certainly a work in progress. I do notice it with my father. Know, my father was this great looking guy, football star, spent his time in the Army, always was nice to people, went to Vietnam twice and in lots of ways became a colonel, but didn't make general.
And I remember what he did. It made general was painful in our family because of course, you want your dad to succeed and and the military, it's like not making partner of Goldman Sachs. There's a hierarchy and either get it or you don't. And and it was painful for my parents, for my mother who had done all of that. And there was some scandal behind that. And there's always some back story. But I remember thinking twenty years later, like looking at my father at seventy, now he's eighty three and thinking, do you think he gives a rat's ass that he did it made General any more like his priorities had shifted.
He was so happy to be around his family, the work he was doing in the church and and how we were all doing that, that ego peace. He just let it go. And you know I didn't act like you let it go. He let it go.
And so I think there's something about aging gracefully where you let that shit go because it just doesn't really matter nearly as much as you think it does at the time. And I think seeing that is helped you act like dad don't act like a jackass is kind of my, my, my, my internal Cohen mantra. But for me, at least, it's a work in progress like you, it's kind of built into the DNA of like wanting to do things right.
When I throw a party, I want it to be a great party. And, you know, I put my persistence once, bought a tent that was too big and I thought I was going to like it was like I died a thousand deaths. I saw this tent. I knew we had two hundred people coming to the party. We had a tent big enough for three hundred and all the energy would be diffuse. Have fun in the big tent, I guess.
But I'm trying to learn that.
But it's. That's a process. What advice do you think your older self, 10, 20 years older, would give to your current self, you know, to.
So you're OK? You're doing fine, you're doing great. Yes, I have a shrink by my wife called him the greatest enabler of all time. His whole mission is to say, OK, that's great, I'll make some confession. He's like, oh, that's great. That's like, well, I'm not going to get in trouble. That is just to accept yourself. I have a funny story. There's a friend. He's he's become you that really a friend of mine.
I've only met him three times when I had a great time with him every time I met him. But he's a dear friend of Paul Jones, a guy by the name of Peter Gosu.
And Pete has a famous business where he was like a posture expert. And then it was movement that he had come back from the Vietnam War and healed himself. And then he's literally healed thousands and thousands of people, celebrities, athletes, the aghost you method, it's called. And when you meet him, you go through his process, he gives you a menu of exercises, how to get your back and has his philosophy as if your body's in alignment.
You'll be in alignment, your emotions will be in alignment. And so I went to meet him the first time you're supposed to be at our meeting. And we spent like three hours talking. And I'm wait for my menu with my menu, my menu. And at the very end he said, no, no, no, you need to strip down naked, stand in front of your mirror every day for fifteen minutes and just accept yourself. That's like that's that's my fucking money getting getting back and calling Paul Jones, and he laughed hysterically.
You didn't even get a bed.
And so I think that's my 20 years from now. Hopefully my life just accept yourself. And that was a little bit that was a little bit the tattoo. I was like, I am a fucking Pluma. And so put it on your arm and remember, like, that's part of who you are.
So I have to ask, did you try the 15 minutes for the mirror?
I did it twice and I got embarrassed by my body. I know. I idea. I didn't have the patience. I did try it a few times, but I didn't I didn't I didn't follow through like he needed me to.
Well, a work in progress, as we all are. Like you said, let's chat about criminal justice reform. I know this is incredibly important to you. I don't know the Genesis story. I don't know how this became important to you.
So I'd love to hear you describe how that came to be. You know, it's funny, I guess if I've metaphysical a it, I go back and I think, well, my parents talking.
I remember my mother my mother begged me to Head Start when I was four or five years old and this idea of philanthropy being part of our family. But the more practical side was I saw Bryan Stevenson speak once and was wildly impressed that Ted, he gave this kind of seminal speech. And so that was in the back of my head. And then my daughter Anna got a job at something called the Bronx Defenders, where she was a 20 year old summer intern.
And she was. Trouncing around the Bronx, collecting evidence for her lawyers, cases like you're actually the evidence collector. How do you not like she's getting video from bodegas? And I'm like, you're you're the defense team. And I was like, and so I was impressed with the work she did. And I was like, wow, that's what public defense is. And I had made this movie with Nate Parker. When I say made I didn't do anything other than invest.
Nate Parker was a good friend of mine, is a wrestler, and he had this dream of making this movie called Birth of a Nation. And literally after 15, Jack Daniels, he convinced me to invest because I really didn't want to invest in an independent movie, just thinking I'd lose all my money. But Nate was very persuasive and he's a winner. And so I bet on and it won every award at Sundance and it's sold for more money than any independent film ever to this day.
Still right. We sold for 80 million dollars, an independent movie. And, you know, it's a painful and beautiful movie, but there's a big lynching scene in it. And I saw Bryan Stevenson, who was building a lynching museum.
And so I said she's going to take my profits or some of my profits and give it to Brian. And but I said, Brian, you've got to come and have breakfast at my house. And so he came. And course, my daughter hijacked the breakfast, but we we had breakfast and it really hurt his story personally and bunch of questions of criminal justice system. And I just started getting angry.
And then there was a thing called audacious know the year cryptocurrency went much higher. I made a whole lot of money on this thing called the theorem. And to some of you, it felt like of the about wampum went way up in price. And I sold it. And it was a kind of a breathtaking amount of money. And I wanted to do something fun for myself. And I wanted so I didn't feel so guilty because I thought it would have been karmic justice, give it equal amount to something else.
So I bought a G five fifty. I never had a jet, which was extreme, but I decided to take the similar amount of money. And and I heard this story about cash bail out, affordable cash bail that Robin Steinberg told. And it's a really simple story there. A half a million people that go to bed every night in a jail cell solely because they can't afford to pay bail. And, you know, the average bail we pay is somewhere close to eighteen hundred dollars.
Most people in America don't have five hundred dollars. Most people are getting arrested, don't have access to five hundred dollars. So they stay in jail. They're seven times more likely to plead guilty if they're in jail than if they're not in jail. When we bail them out 50 percent of the time the D.A. drops the charges. When you're in jail, 40 percent of all prison death and prison rape happens the first 14 days you're there. And it has horrific long term consequences for the person and the and the city.
And it just felt so stupidly unjust that I impulsively said I will donate a bunch of money and share this thing, the bail project.
And then I woke up and I was like, well, about projects going to be the biggest bail fund by a factor of thirty or more in the country. You better understand the criminal justice landscape. And so I hired a guy, Billy Waterson, who's been in a plus and a small team, and we started mapping out having activists come in. Formerly incarcerated people come in visiting prisons and jails.
And with every rock we looked under, you just get more and more pissed off. You get infuriated. It is a system of stupidity. It is a system of spite, meanness. There is nothing rehabilitative at all. It's racially oppressive. It's literally like, let's figure out how we can strip people of their dignity. Oh, let's make them shitting in public.
That's a very nice you know, it's like it's the whole system is just bizarre and it doesn't have to be that way. We participate where you took thirty five people to Norway and into Germany and you look at the German prisons and you would give them a ninety five out of one hundred and you'd give Norway ninety nine out of one hundred. And we're not a sixty and we're like a fourteen like we're that bad. And so it's just got to be angry.
You know, fairness had always been a thing of my life. I think growing up middle class thought was not fair, that rich kids had a better start that I did. And, you know, I talk about not fair middle class to to rich kids. The the prison system is just absolutely unfair.
And it preys on communities that are already in duress. I think about women in prison.
How about this statistic? Ninety five percent of women in prison have been raped. So we're taking people that have been traumatized and putting them into a trauma machine like who the fuck thinks that's a good idea?
And so anyway, I get angry thinking about it, but so we've we've got involved, I think we're I'm on the board of this thing called the Reform Alliance, which has been fun because we're doing great work around probation and parole. And, you know, that's Jay Z and Meek and Robert Kraft. And we have participated in funded or partially funded, probably 15, 20 different organizations.
And really, it's been a big part of my life. I still am a novice. To be fair, I'm less than three years in and so I'm a good enough storyteller that I can tell the story, other people's stories and hear them. But we need a complete overhaul. And the only optimism I see is that when I started even there was like only one hundred million dollars in philanthropy coming into the space and four years later there's six hundred million dollars or more.
It feels like the ball started to roll downhill. This covered thing is really shine the light on just how horribly we treat the most vulnerable people. I would tell you it's interesting. I looked before I came on, there are 15 countries that have diecast rated by 18 percent. Italy, Iran, of all places. France right there, like, OK, should it keep people in prison when they're going to die because of this damn virus? The US is about two and a half percent.
And so while that's a lot of people. Right. And they've all come out of jails, not prisons. So those who don't know jail is one year and under it, often pre-trial in prison is one year and longer. And so we just haven't gotten around to saying, you know, we need to fix this and we're way off.
Our sentences are three times longer than Germanies for the same crime. Just mean. And for people who would like to learn more about this, are there any starting points you would recommend Shutterstock or a website or anything else?
Brian Stephensons TED Talk is spectacular because it really gives a framework of where this all started. Right. It started with slavery and we've never really dealt with the trauma of slavery. Robin Steinberg gave a TED talk that's fantastic about bail and the bail project. And Philip Goff, Atiba Goff did what about policing? And so, like, we're we're not anti police, to be fair.
We're we're like, OK, how do you help the police department actually, you know, have have data so they can be fair and how they police. And so that's a controversial one because people like Oscar, the police are there.
You can't you got to have people all engaged, all parties have to be engaged in to say, hey, we need to make a better system. And I do feel some optimism. I mean, even Trump, as much as I dislike Trump and would love him in a cage match, you know, criminal justice, because Jared Kushner's father spent time in jail. Criminal justice is one of the few things that the Trump administration has been OK on. Not great, but certainly OK.
The first step back was a great start, you know, and they've been helpful. And so but again, to put it in perspective, we have two point three million people in jail or prison. And having that a whole lot of analysis on this, I think that should be eight hundred thousand. And that's a big difference.
We have five million people that go to prison every year. It's like a jail every year. It's like a revolving door. They stay in an average of forty five days, two and a half million of going there just for violating parole, which is bizarre. We should have nobody on parole. And so we have we have a long way to go. And I fear you pass one or two acts, you declare victory and the numbers never change. And so we're working on trying to get like a scoreboard so the whole country can say, all right, this is where we think we need to get people to agree to it and then work to get there.
I want to shift gears just a little bit to a few questions. I like to ask a lot of my guests. And if any of them are dead ends, we can we can scrap.
But I'm curious to know what, if any, are books that you've given often as gifts to other people?
There's one book that I've given forty copies away, probably, and it's called Reminiscence of a Stock Operator. And for anyone who wants to be a trader or an investor, this is the Bible. It was written in nineteen thirty two by a guy who was at that time maybe the world's greatest speculator. Jesse Livermore is the fictional character.
And what's crazy about it is you can read it today in twenty twenty and it literally is still the Bible. And so every great trader annotates it, there's pages out of it. I used to be a attell when people would come to interview to to work on this. I'm really all I care about is trading as they will tell you two books you read about trading. Oh I haven't read any books and I was like, OK, here's a book, go read it and come back when you read it.
But you're not get a job like that because you lied to me because you really didn't care that much about trading if you've never got a book on it. But that's that's the book. And there's there's an anecdote afterword to it is that, you know, two years after he wrote the book, the guy committed suicide because he just couldn't take the he lost his portion yet again. But he put every rule that you need to the discipline side of it is all in that book.
And so it's and it's a quick read.
You can read it in three hours.
I want to ask about, because you mentioned earlier that you run into certain people who seem to have a finely honed TrueNorth that they've had since age eight, someone like your sister or some of the names that you mentioned, when you feel unfocused or overwhelmed, scattered, fill in your adjective, even temporarily, what do you do?
You personally, if you're feeling like you've committed too many things or just not sure how focused your energies are, is there anything you do to refocus?
Yeah, I think I'd say no. For me, saying no has been the hardest thing you didn't want to disappoint me comes from my mother wanted me to be a senator. And so learning how to say no and and draw a boundary has been really important to me. And it's hard for me. I got a call three five phone calls and finally say no. And so by cutting a couple of things out, I think helps me. And actually, the other thing is writing it all on a whiteboard.
So it takes it out of my stress zone and onto the whiteboard. And I'm like, OK, I see it all. It might be a fuck a lot of stuff, but at least it's up there on the board.
I can put boxes around it, I can start packing it. And so I think that's probably the most powerful is literally getting it all out of my head and. To get and I'm a very visual person, so like it's different for me, like a whiteboard or a big piece of paper is different than writing notes, little boxes. And I say, OK, here's my criminal justice stuff I want to work on. Here's my. And what are the stress points?
Mm hmm. Doug McMillon of Wal-Mart uses a whiteboard very similarly.
I need to get a whiteboard with this.
This is saying to me, other than my, like, envelopes and Diary of a Mad Man, scraps of paper, I think I need to like a lot of my a lot of my whiteboards are metaphoric at the back of a back of a piece of paper, but they function the same way.
Do you have any quotes that you live your life by or think of often? I mean, are there any any that come to mind for you?
One of my favorite quotes is from St. Augustine. It's Lord, give me chastity incontinence, but not just yet.
You know, I remember leaving rehab and that was my joke. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We had a big circle and everyone's banging the floor and you had to give a story. And I was like, what?
Like part of that is that tension always between doing what you're supposed to do and, you know, you're supposed to do what you want to do. And so I do think I, I laugh at that quote, but I do hold that tension. And, you know, in my hands, part of being alive is being impulsive and breaking like, you know, I I take a personality test and I just I'm thirty seven out of 40 as a rule breaker.
And so I have a son that will break a ruthless keep off the grass. He keeps off the grass.
He doesn't drink because he's not old enough to drink every high school kid drink something that my one son Kashnow, who's the sweetest kid around, and I was thinking to myself, it's just different brain chemistry because it's just part it's it's nature nurture, but part of it's nurturing but so much.
But I think it's also brain chemistry because like, you know, brothers and sisters, like the we have a whole family of social and, you know, the pressure, the guy to drink a little bit here and there, but he's like, no.
And I'm so impressed at how confident he is with his ability to put up boundaries and to say no. And then we're like, Dad, you're going 90 miles an hour. The speed limit, 60 and like, oh, sorry. And so for me, that quote is important because it holds those things in tension.
Just a few more questions. This is one on on investing, but it's a little broader than financial instruments.
It could be. But what is the best or most worthwhile personal investment you've made or just one of your your better investments? That could be an investment of money, time, energy or other resources. So anything come to mind? It could be a trade.
You know, I you know, chiki I bought a theory, but it was one and it went to thirteen hundred and I bought jet lag and lots of other things. But I don't think that really because that kind of felt a little bit lucky and I was already rich. I actually think investing in friendships, you know, I partly I'm a hyper social guy and so it came naturally to me. But when I think about my life and what gives it joy, it is the circles of friendships I have.
My highlight to my life is this party. I throw every two to four years depending on how I'm financially doing, where three hundred odd people, three hundred fifty people from my universe get together. We play sports and listen to music and drink too much.
And and it's a three day event that takes a huge amount of effort to put on. But I feel like most complete in some ways, like this is my exclamation point on the world and how I want to live. And so for me, it's friendships. You know, high school, college friendships, work, friendships, friendships, have people I meet at conferences and they're not all and they need to be invested in.
Otherwise, if you don't have new shared experiences, they're just they go kind of go away and.
Well, it comes back to what you mentioned earlier in a way, which was the advice you received of looking at who's at your funeral. Right. And worrying about those people and no one else.
Well, this has been extremely fun. Is there anything else you'd like to add? Anything else you'd like to discuss or mention before we wrap up?
I think you covered a broad range in my life. I don't want to bore your listeners. I think that was great. I think it was great. I you know, I remember meeting you for probably twelve, thirteen years ago when you were an up and comer, and it's been awesome. And just because you went to Princeton and you wrestled, I have a special interest, but I've been amazed at the following. You've built the adventures you've been on.
I still go back to the I was telling you this, your first book, The Testosterone Chapter and the and the orgasm chapter are required reading, I think, for everybody. And so I just proud, proud to be your friend and the love that I got to get on your show. And congrats on all the success. Thanks so much, Mike. You know, the for everybody, the chapters with so many vagina illustrations that it got yanked from.
Kozko, that's my claim to fame, and it's been nice to get to know you and adults should give all their teenage boys that chapter and they will have happier boys and happier girlfriends.
Well, Mike, thank you again for taking the time. And to everybody listening, you can find Mike on Twitter at Novogratz. You can learn more about Galaxie Digital, go to digital that I o output links to everything in the show, notes, all the books, TED talks, organizations that we've discussed.
And until next time, thanks for listening. Hey guys, this is Tim again. Just a few more things before you take off. Number one, this is five Bullett Friday. Do you want to get a short email from me? And would you enjoy getting a short e-mail from me every Friday that provides a little morsel of fun before the weekend and five? Black Friday is a very short email where I share the coolest things I've found or that I've been pondering over the week that could include favorite new albums that I've discovered.
It could include gizmos and gadgets and all sorts of weird shit that I've somehow dug up into the world of the esoteric as I do. It could include favorite articles that I have read and that I've shared with my close friends, for instance. And it's very short. It's just a little tiny bite of goodness before you head off for the weekend. So if you want to receive that, check it out. Just go to four hour work week dotcom.
That's four hour work week dot com all spelled out. And just drop in your email and you will get the very next one. And if you sign up, I hope you enjoy it. This episode is brought to you by element spelled l m n t. What on earth is element? It is a delicious sugar free electrolyte drink mix. I've stocked up on boxes and boxes and this is one of the first things that I bought when I saw covid coming down the pike and I usually use one to two per day.
Element is formulated to help anyone with their electrolyte needs and perfectly suited to folks following Akito low carb for paleo diet. Or if you drink a ton of water and you might not have the right balance, that's often when I drink it. Or if you're doing any type of endurance, exercise, mountain biking, etc.. Another application. If you've ever struggled to feel good on keto, low carb paleo, it's most likely because even if you're consciously consuming electrolytes, you're just not getting enough.
And it relates to a bunch of stuff like a hormone called aldosterone, blah, blah, blah, when insulin is low. But suffice to say, this is where elements against both elements can help. My favorite flavor by far is citrus salt, which is a side note you can also use to make a kick ass no sugar margarita, but for special occasions. Obviously, you're probably already familiar with one of the names behind it, Rob, Wolf, Rob, Rob Wolf, who is a former research biochemist and two time New York Times best selling author of The Paleo Solution and Wired to Eat.
Rob created Element by scratching his own itch. That's how it got started. His Brazilian jujitsu coaches turned him on to electrolytes as a performance enhancer. Things clicked and Bam company was born. So if you're on a low carb diet or fasting electrolytes, play a key role in relieving hunger, cramps, headaches, tiredness and dizziness, sugar, artificial ingredients, coloring all that's garbage unneeded. There's none of that in elements and a lot of names you might recognize are already using.
Element is recommend to be by one of my favorite athlete friends, three Navy SEAL teams as prescribed by their master chief Marine units, FBI sniper teams, at least five NFL teams who have subscriptions. They are the exclusive hydration partner to Team USA, weightlifting and on and on. You can try at risk free if you don't like it. Element will give you your money back. No questions asked. They have extremely low return rates. So again, Element Element came up with a very special offer for you guys.
They've created Tim's club. Just go to drink element dotcom, Tim, select, subscribe and save and use promo code. Tim's club to get the thirty count boxset element for only thirty six dollars. This would be valid for the lifetime of the subscription. You can pause at any time. So again check it out. It's drink L and T dotcom slash tim for this exclusive offer using promo code. Tim's club one more time. Drink element element. So drink element dotcom slash Tim and promo code Tim's club.
Check it out. This episode is brought to you by pornhub. Just kidding. This episode is brought to you by four stigmatic, which is part of my morning routine. Also part of my afternoon routine routine saves me. So there are a number of ways that I use for stigmatic in the mornings. I regularly start with their mushroom coffee instead of regular coffee and it doesn't taste like mushroom. Let me explain this. First of all, zero sugar, zero calories, half the caffeine of regular coffee.
It's easier. My stomach tastes amazing. And all you have to do is add hot water. I use travel packets, I've been to probably a dozen countries with various products from Forcett MADEC and their mushroom coffee is top of the list. That's number one. I travel with it. I recommend it. I give it to my employees. I give it to house guests. So if you're one of the 60 percent of Americans or more who drink coffee daily, consider switching it up.
The stuff is amazing. That's part one. That is the cognitive enhancement side. Easy on the system side, energizing side. The next is actually their Hogarty, which taste delicious. It is decaf, completely decaf. And some may recognize Chagga. It is nicknamed the King of the Mushrooms. It is excellent for immune system support. So needless to say, I focused on that right now myself. And so I will often have that in the afternoons.
They make all sorts of different mushroom blends. If you are doing exercises, I am on a daily basis to keep myself sane cordyceps, excellent for endurance. They have a whole slew of options that you can check out. Every single batch is third party lab tested for heavy metals allergens, all the bad stuff to make sure that what gets into your hands is what you want to put in your mouth. And they always offer a one hundred percent money back guarantee to try at risk free.
Why not? I've worked out an exclusive offer with four sematic on their best selling lions' Morning Coffee. I literally have a mug full of it in front of me right now. And this is just for you, my dear. Podcast listeners receive up to thirty nine percent off how we arrived at three percent, the thirty nine percent off slot. Their best selling lines mean coffee bundles claim this deal. You must go to four stigmatic dotcom. Tim, this offer is only for you and it's not available on their regular website.
Go to for stigmatic. That's EFO. You are as I am. I see dot com slash Tim. Get yourself some awesome and delicious mushroom coffee. Full discount is applied at.