#55: Tales of a Bad Boy Gone Good with Tucker Max
#55: Tales of a Bad Boy Gone Good with Tucker Max
It feels so good to be bad. Until it just feels bad. In this episode, Hala yaps with Tucker Max, the inventor of the literary genre ‘fratire’ and author of 4 best selling books including the mega hit, “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell,” which documents the wild and scandalous times he had during his 20s. Tucker holds accolades like snagging a spot in Time Magazine’s 100 most influential list in 2009, and there’s even a movie based on his life. The former bad boy is now a grown family man who has assisted many successful startups. Currently he’s the founder of Scribe, a company that helps people write and publish their own books. Today we’ll uncover how Tucker achieved fame in 2002 on the internet, in an era when blogs didn’t even exist yet, why he hired JT Mccormick to be his CEO at scribe instead of holding that position himself and how plant therapy and MDMA has helped to transform his life for the better.
#55: Tales of a Bad Boy Gone Good with Tucker Max
Hala Taha: [00:00:00] You're listening to YAP, young and profiting podcast, a place where you can listen, learn and profit. I'm your host, Hala Taha. And today I'm chatting with Tucker Max. Tucker is the inventor of the literary genre, Fratire and author of four best selling books, including the mega hit, I hope they serve beer in hell, which documented the wild and scandalous times he had during his twenties and sold a whopping
2 million copies. Tucker holds accolades like snagging a spot in Time magazine's 100 most influential list in 2009. And there's even a movie based on his life. Tucker is now a grown family man who has assisted many successful startups. He's the founder of Scribe. A company that helps people write and publish their own books. Today, we'll uncover how Tucker achieved fame back in 2002 on the internet, in an era where blogs didn't even exist yet, why he hired JT McCormick to be his CEO at Scribe, instead of holding that position himself and how plant therapy and MDMA has helped to
[00:01:00] transform his life for the better.
Hey, Tucker. Welcome to young and profiting podcast.
Tucker Max: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Hala Taha: We are super excited to have you on the show. I think it's going to be a really fun conversation. You're probably one of the most unique guests I've ever had on the show so far. You're the founder of scribe and also the author of three bestselling books, but you're not the typical author by any means.
You self-published Chronicles of your wild times on the internet. And this was back in 2002, a time before a blogging or social media was even a thing. Honestly, that's so impressive. Could you just share your story of how emails to your friends in law school spiraled into fame and multiple best-selling books?
Tucker Max: It's a long story. I'll give you the, just the highlights, but basically I was fired from being a lawyer within three weeks, which is pretty hard to do, but I manage it. And then I was, my dad fired me from the family business in six months. So I
[00:02:00] basically got fired from like the two things that I trained for in my life, law and business.
And at the time I was writing emails to my friends that were, I lived in south Florida, which is the arm, the cultural armpit of America. And I was having a terrible time and still being a drunken idiot, like every 25 year old. And so I wrote emails to my friends about all the dumb things I was doing.
And they thought those were like the funniest stories they've ever read and they loved them and they started forwarding them around to their friends. And then from there, it just blew up and I it, actually I tried to get a publishing deal. I got no traction from any publisher. And so then I put my stuff on the internet and then from there.
It was a long, hard road, but basically from there, I published a book, that book was, I hope they serve beer in hell, which sold millions of copies and became a big multi-generational bestseller. And then everything sprung from that.
Hala Taha: Let's backtrack to your college years. You actually did really well in college, but yet you were this like party animal who, you seemed like you also had
[00:03:00] a lot of fun in college.
So explain that. I heard that you hacked school what did you do? How did you end up getting good grades, but then also partied and had fun.
Tucker Max: Yeah so to be clear, I went to the university of Chicago. So that is a nerd school. And so partying. I was definitely a party animal there, but being a party animal there is like being a bookworm at an SCC school.
So it wasn't that big of a, I actually partied and drank way more in law school than I did in undergrad. But they're both the same, the way to hack schools. Here's the thing that people don't understand on the school. School is just a system. And like where you have a bunch of people who are play, acting their parts.
And of course they don't realize this. They think they believe all the stories that they're told about oh, I'm educating and kids are learning. And this is, objective knowledge and all that nonsense. I figured out really early that all of that was just not true. And that the way to hack school is to understand, okay, the teacher is looking for a certain thing.
[00:04:00] so it's what is that? So instead of trying to actually learn the material, I learned the mind of the teacher. And then I understood, okay. They believe, X. So every question they ask is in relation to X, whatever X is. So then I just need to answer in relation. It was figuring a puzzle.
That's all it is. And it's almost like a, it's why I'm so good at sales and marketing, because I'm good at modeling the minds of other people. That's all school is you just have to break that. And it's funny, man, because I know so many entrepreneurs who were terrible at school and they look at me like I'm some weird unicorn because I did amazingly.
I went to. One of the hardest undergrads in the country. I graduated Summa cum laude in three years, which is like highest honors. And then I got an academic scholarship to duke law school, a top 10 law school. And I'm like, guys, I'm no smarter than any of you. I hacked that system. And then once I explained it to them, that way, they're like, oh wow.
I never would've thought about it like that. It's obvious as soon as someone explains it to you, but the system is really good at brainwashing
[00:05:00] the kids and telling them that if you don't learn the way the system tells you and you don't respect the things the system says are important then you're stupid. Which is, a clearly not true.
Hala Taha: Yeah. That's really interesting that you say that. And it's so true that it's really just about understanding the person who holds the keys to whatever you're trying to get. And if you understand those psychology or motivations, then you can kind of like you said, hack the system. So really cool.
I was just going to say we actually have a lot in common, so I know you had a show on MTV and I almost had a show on MTV. I used to host a blog site called strawberry blunt.com in my twenties, and it was run by the sorority of hip hop. And so I had 50 female bloggers under me, all pretty talented girls.
And we used to host parties and concerts, and we had an online radio show where we used to interview celebrities. But both times we did the pilots with MTV. They signed us and handpicked us, but we didn't get it. And it that's a long story, but I bring this up because
[00:06:00] we actually use Twitter to our advantage.
It was when Twitter, it was like 2010, Twitter was still like new. And we used it in a way that nobody else had done before. So we used to like message celebrities automatically from our blog posts. And then they would retweet it cause 50 girls would tweet them in a row. And everybody started doing that afterwards, but we were the first ones to do that.
And that's why we blew up really fast. So that's over now. But I just thought it was really funny because you used to blog essentially, and you got so popular because you started these blogs on the internet before blogging was even a thing. And each era of the internet has these different, like lanes that you could use to that are like wide open that you can use to blow you.
If you're just creative and look closely at what you could take advantage of or use things differently than what they were actually meant to do. So explain how you in 2002, use the internet to your advantage. And then maybe after that, we can talk about what we think we could do now to take advantage of the internet?
Tucker Max: Yeah.
[00:07:00] So in 2002, it was both really easy, but totally non-obvious because in 2002, there was, it was like the wild west. This was before Google existed really? I think it may have existed, but it was like, no, it did exist, but it was tiny. And no one knew about it. And Yahoo was the big player there and Yahoo doesn't really even exist anymore.
Like I had to put my site on geo cities, like this is back in the ancient scroll days of the internet. And so like it was easy because there was no competition. And so if you did something good, you got known really quick. The problem at the time though, was that there were only like 30 million people on the internet or something like, it was like basically kids who went to college and people who worked at big corporations and academics like that was it.
And so at least when I very first started 2000, 2001, 2002, and it was expanding rapidly. Don't get me wrong, but it was still a tiny market. So you could be really internet famous. But no one actually knew who you were. It was just a bunch of weirdos on the, that was back when you might, I don't know if you're old enough to remember this,
[00:08:00] but there was a day when, like you didn't meet people from the internet.
That was like creepy. It was only weirdos in their basement, on the internet. Now, like a third of couples who are married, met on like the internet somehow. It's a totally normal thing, but so I didn't really have to do a lot of hacking, the thing that I did other then that, no one else was doing, was I put really quality stuff.
And so cause at the time the internet, didn't have a profit. And unless you were maybe selling porn or something like, and so there was like, no one people thought it was a play thing. And so I was like, no, I'm just going to take it seriously. I'm going to publish my stuff. And I'm going to, I put up an email capture and I had an email list.
And then that was before people really realized how valuable audiences and email lists were. And that's I kinda got lucky in a way, but I just I was just okay being a pioneer and being out there out front. Whereas it's a very different thing now. There's a lot more competition, but what's funny is there's a lot more people on the internet and there's a lot, I think there's a lot more opportunity
It was easy then, but no one saw the opportunity. Now a bunch of people see the opportunity, but it's actually like in a weird way. Like I would rather there'd be more buyers than less buyers in the market, even if there's more competition.
Hala Taha: Yeah. I couldn't when I heard your story, I couldn't even believe it that like basically email forwarding got you famous, like those emails, chains, and then they draw traffic to your website or whatever.
But it's just crazy because it probably there was no social media sites even back then. So I just, it's pretty incredible what you did. So how about now in 2020, how would you go about getting noticed on the end?
Tucker Max: Okay. It depends on what I want it to be noticed for. But generally speaking, what I would do is I would actually start with video.
I think video is the future. Like we, at my company, we just was building our video wing right now and our YouTube channel. I think it's funny man, people are like, are you hear people like, oh, you tubes like already peaked. And I'm like, you idiots like YouTube as a channel. May
[00:10:00] have. I doubt it. But video is in its infancy because humans, biologically are visual auditory, spacial creatures.
We see and hear things. That's how we interact. Reading stuff is not our, like our thing and we can do it, but it's not the main way we we do it. And so people ask me all the time, if you started, if I started today, what would you do? And my answer is, they're like, oh like the world's change you got a much harder time.
I'm like, no, dude, it'd be way easier because what I would do is I would basically set up. Like a three camera shoot. I like in my apartment, I put in like a circular little almost like a poker table and I would have like darker lighting and then I would like just have beer with my friends and we would all tell stories on video.
And then the magic comes in editing. Once you get the lighting and the shooting rate, then we would edit it. And like my same stories would be 10 times, maybe a hundred times bigger. If they were on video, they'd
[00:11:00] be huge on video. And so I would, whatever I was doing, I would pro there's a few exceptions, but almost anything I was doing, I would start on video and I would just take around and play around until it got good.
And I was good at it. And then I would just start going from there, figuring it out from there, but I'd be video native.
Hala Taha: Yeah, I totally agree. I think videos are still the place until VR is like mainstream. I think videos is totally where you need to focus and even like YouTube ads are so cheap right now and people aren't taking advantage.
So I agree. Definitely. I would focus on video and that's what I'm doing for my strategy in 2020. So really quick before I want to talk about your rejection, but before that you give it some color. I'd like you to talk about how big you got one that your stuff went viral that period of time when you were on MTV and everything, just give us some color to like how big your stories got.
Tucker Max: It wasn't a flash in the pan, but I wasn't Brad Pitt, so I was like in 2009 was really the peak that was
[00:12:00] when the movie about my book came out. And that was when time magazine put me on the hundred most influential list in, so like 2009 was like, that was the peak.
It was weird. It was so weird because it was like, I went from being ignored by the mainstream media and it was like almost overnight. I went from being ignored to being like everyone just being like ubiquitous, you know it's like when someone's been around so much or like tired of them, it's I never got that period where I was a star, I went from ignored to oh yeah, everyone knows who he is.
Whatever. Of course, Tucker Max is famous and I was like, wait a minute. No, I didn't get the cool part. Like I didn't get this doesn't make sense. It was so frustrating to me because it was like, Cause, part of it was the content part of it was like, I came up in a day when the mainstream media refuse to recognize that anyone who did shit on the internet was like a valid, legitimate person.
And so like in terms of media and now of course they would never in a million years, but back then it was like,
[00:13:00] now, like you're you came from the internet. You're not a real person. It was one of those things. And so it's I didn't get the cool fun toast of the town phase. It was very annoying to be honest, but honestly, here's the thing about it.
It doesn't really change your life that much. People think being famous changes your life. It doesn't, there, it is something, it is weird when you go to a college and there's 2000 people in the audience waiting to hear you speak or 3000 or however many people, those were that's unusual. And it can be really invigorating at first, but then it just becomes a job after.
And then, and not only that, but like the thing, no one anticipates is not the pressure. I never really felt a lot of pressure, but it was more like the judgment, like every, you are not a person to people. You're an object to them. You represent something to them. And so they get upset. If you don't represent what they want you to represent.
I'll give you a really good example. I live in Austin, Texas, and the big whole foods is here and I go my family and I go there shopping all the time. And it used to be
[00:14:00] happened more, but it still happens every now and then some dude will come up to me. It's always a dude because women never approached me like this.
They always just talk to me like a normal person, but the dudes will come up and be like, Hey man, like you're Tucker Max. Yeah. Ah, I loved your books and they'd look at me like, hold on. I'm confused. Why aren't you drunk? Laying on a table, screaming, curses at people. And I'm like, dude, it's 10:00 AM on a Tuesday, man. I'm like, what's wrong with you?
Hala Taha: And 10 years later, whatever.
Tucker Max: Right, 10 years? Not only that but 10 years, but even when at the peak, even in my peak, it's like everyone just assumed, like I was a monstrous drunk curse word person all the time. And I'm like, no, that's that doesn't even make sense. The saying don't meet your eye.
That comes from the, that doesn't come from. Cause the idols a bad person or a let down it's because you have built them up in your head to be something that is inhuman, that is godlike and that's which is you're an attractive woman. So you know what it feels like to be objectified, guys don't know what it feels like because no one cares about us, until we become famous, women get it, they get it
[00:15:00] a lot more. But that was the weird thing for me about that is the way people would just look at me like a piece of meat. And I was like, what the no one a person, this doesn't make sense. It took me a long time to really understand that.
Hala Taha: Yeah, that's funny. So you're being really humble, right?
Your books ended up getting huge and you built a whole career off of this. You became a writer, you started your own genre, fratire , and you were actually rejected by 500 publishers and you decided to self-publish. Why do you think that nobody saw your vision because they could have made a lot of money off of you?
Why do you think that nobody likes sold into your idea of fratire?
Tucker Max: So it's the same answer to the question. Why did nobody, why did everyone think the browser market was full when Google was started or the sorry, the search engine market. And like, why? Good on the list. Why did everyone think anything?
Like most people can't see anything beyond what's right in front of them. And so even though traditional publishing book publishing is supposed to be
[00:16:00] about finding great books and publishing them. For Christ's sake, J.K Rowling got Harry Potter was rejected from 21 publisher. She had to go to Scholastic three times, right?
And this is the bestselling novel series of the 20th century. Their only job is finding great books and publishing them. They're bad at their job. No seriously, that's just the truth. If they were good at identifying what was going to be good before it was written, they would write it. Because you've got to think of, think about the people that are at that work at publishing companies.
And this without any, I'm not trying to insult them. All of them wanted to be writers and for some reason or another, all of them failed at that. And so they went to become editors or other things. They went into the industry because they love books and that's cool. It's noble living. I'm not putting them down.
But why would you expect someone who didn't have the capability to write something millions of people want to read, identify what that looks
[00:17:00] like? If it's new.
Hala Taha: I heard you in the past say that you judge content by the demand it generates and not the quality of the content. And I love that because it's so true at the end of the day, selling books as a business, it's not really yeah, it's great to be artistic or intelligent.
And if it sells itself at the end of the day, it's a business.
Tucker Max: I don't think the two things are, it's a little more subtle than that. I don't think the two things are in conflict, right? The women, whenever someone tells you my stuff is artistic. That's why it doesn't sell. That's their way of feeling good because what they made sucks.
Period. No, seriously, it just is right. And there are very few artists who were truly misunderstood in their own time. And van Gogh was a good example of that, right? They exist. Don't get me wrong, but like Picasso was celebrated in his own time. Miro was celebrated his own time. Matisse y'all go to the list.
Painters. Most great writers were celebrated in their own time. Not all of them. John
[00:18:00] Kennedy Toole wrote an amazing book, rejected everywhere, kill themselves, got published, won the Pulitzer. So those things happen, right? That's why it's very, that's the whole point of the movie Ratatouille is that the point of a critic is not to destroy, but to raise up the things that are amazing, that no one's reading.
And that's what I think most people, the argument between popular and artistic is a bullshit argument. I don't think. I think, if it is popular by definition, there is at least some artistry there. Now I'm excluding things that are just like rage popular. If you post a meme about Donald Trump, good or bad, that's not about art.
That's just people's status signaling, right? Or tribal signaling. That's different. I'm talking about things that are solely creative endeavors for those things. I don't see the difference between great art and great commerce. Great art is something that touches that helps humans see who they are and reflect their humanist back on them.
So like people who criticize Kim
[00:19:00] Kardashians, they're just making, they're trying to make a status argument that they don't think she should be high status. Millions of women disagree . And sorry, you're just wrong. That's just all there is to it.
Hala Taha: Totally. And you make really valid points.
It's really just what the market believes to have status or to have value, the marketing side.
Tucker Max: Exactly, exactly. Look, which is all the market is a collection of individual people, making decisions about what they want in their life.
Hala Taha: Let's switch gears to current day. We'll get back to your story, but you are currently the founder of scribe media, correct?
Tucker Max: Yes.
Hala Taha: And could you explain what your company does?
Tucker Max: We help people write, publish and market books? Like we're the company that I wished existed when I started writing.
Hala Taha: I actually interviewed the CEO of scribe, JT McCormick. He was back on my show in episodes 30, and honestly, he's such a nice guy. He's so humble.
He's got the craziest background story and we still keep in touch. He's great.
[00:20:00] And I was curious, a lot of founders are the CEO of their company. So what made you decide to hire one instead?
Tucker Max: Because I was real bad at my job. It's just straight up. Here's the thing. A lot of people don't understand, being a visionary, right?
Seeing that company could exist that doesn't or a product, is it very specific skill, which is a distinctly different skill from understanding how to grow a company around the product. I don't know how to grow a company. And honestly, when I got into figuring it out, I really just didn't like any part of the job.
It was just not interesting. It was energy draining to me. I hated it and I wasn't good at it. And so once I realized that, then it was like, JD was a client of ours and he loved our company and our product, but he saw like all the problems we were having. And so I was trying to have him coach me a little bit and eventually I was just like, look, dude, will you just do this?
What were you just do it? And he's, what do you mean? I'm like, I'll
[00:21:00] hire you. He's, you can't afford me. I'm like, let's figure it out then, because you're really good at this. And I'm not, I want to just spend my time with the things I'm good at. And so that's where we are now as a company is I spend my time building
kind of new products like we're building a whole new product workshop for memoir. Like our business is mainly for prescriptive nonfiction, like business and personal development. Non-fiction, like we did David Goggins book and we did those sorts of things, but there's almost everyone wants to write a book.
And when they say write a book, what they mean is they want to tell them. Which is not about business. It's not about teaching people, something, it's, they believe they have a story to tell and they want to tell it. And so I'm building that now. And that's all I do. Like I do that and I'm working on two other books.
And so it's amazing. Cause I just, and then I do some of this stuff, podcasts, whatever these are the things I'm good at, I'm not good at yeah, coaching people on accountability, I don't know, like the PNL and Ugh, kill me. I'd rather dive in doing that stuff.
Hala Taha: It's incredible that you were so
[00:22:00] self-aware. So many people are so egotistical that they will not be able to be like I'm not right for the CEO position and I'm going to hire somebody else.
So that's really cool that you, you realize that, and that's probably why Scribe is very successful. So congrats on that.
Tucker Max: It took a lot of work to get there. Yeah. It was not easy. I was not. Yeah. I was not always that emotionally mature.
Hala Taha: Yeah, I own my own company right now with this podcast that I'm like, maybe I suck.
Maybe I need to hire a CEO, but just kidding. So do you have plans to write another book anytime soon? Or have you like retired from being an author?
Tucker Max: What's funny is I never, I retired from fratire at the end of my last fratire book. And that was, I don't know how long it was, maybe 5, 6, 7 years ago.
Now it was at least eight years ago. So I knew I, I'm not writing anymore though. Obviously I hadn't retired from running books cause I wrote a couple of books after that were totally different. I wrote the book describing method, which is like the way our company teaches writing books. And and I've helped some other people
[00:23:00] like Tiffany Haddish is a real famous comedian.
We did her book and sold millions of copies and but here's the thing I hadn't officially retired, but I hadn't really thought about writing anything, mine. And then I like, it was the weirdest thing. It was like in one week I had three people that I knew, that I trust. Almost mentors or peers of mine
call me now on not writing anymore. And they're like, I'm like, what do you mean? They're like, dude, you need to write your story on how you went from fratire to where you are now to a husband and a father and a company founder and all. And I'm like, really? And they're like, what is wrong with you, man?
Like you help people all day see like their books and you don't see this amazing book in front of you. And then I thought about for a while, I'm like, okay. Yeah, I guess it makes sense. I get it. And so I started on that. I hope I can get it out by early next year. But basically it's the story of like, how did I do?
It's funny. It's a good follow-up to last question. How did I do all the
[00:24:00] emotional work to get to the point where my ego, I could let my ego go and step aside as CEO of my own company, right? Cause that's not just something you do. There's a lot of emotional work that took to get there. And so like, how do I do that?
It's a lot of, it's telling that story, right? I've done. And I, I spent all kinds of time in therapy. I've done all kinds of unusual therapies, plant medicines, like energy work, all this other stuff. And some of it works, some of it hasn't, but it's that whole story.
Hala Taha: Okay, so this is the perfect segue back to your story, your parents, according to you, they met at a Coke party and you had a isolated experience as a child, according to you in your different writings.
So how do you think your upbringing reflected in your adolescent years or college years and your rambunctious and wild style, do you think that had a lot to do with it?
Tucker Max: It was the cause. I wasn't, it didn't have a lot to do with it. It was the thing. Look, it's pretty simple. Here's the rough outline.
[00:25:00] parents, they were not very good at being parents, right? Like I wasn't sexually molested or beaten or anything like that, but they just, they were, they didn't really care much. And I was very lonely as a kid, which is for a small child is like extraordinarily terrifying. And even though I was safe, but that's not as a kid, you don't understand that.
Like, all you understand is do your, are your parents paying attention to you? Or are they not? And it's not like I'm not talking about like one of those kids that needs constant attention. I'm talking about left alone for long periods of time as a young kid. And that wounds you a lot and this story, I think, you develop stories in
your head as a kid about that stuff, like why you're being left alone and what to do about it. One of the stories I think it was obviously completely unconscious was like, okay, my parents, aren't going to pay attention to me that I'm going to, I'm going to get it. And so it's the reason anyone who's intentionally trying to become famous has at their core, some sort of wound from either their parents or someone else where they felt insignificant, unloved or
[00:26:00] no attention.
And that's the strategy they're trying to use to compensate for that. And I say that as someone who did it like I I'm not excluding myself. I'm very much in that. That's why I, it's not why I started writing, but once I started writing and I realized I got attention for it, I like, I picked up that football and I ran I ran with it.
And that's why it was like, I'm going to become, okay, you're not going to pay attention to me. I'm going to show you I'm worthy of attention, then again, all in conscious, it was not a conscious thing. If you told me in. 2007. I was doing this to prove to my parents that I was worthy of love.
I'd been like, get out of my face that's nonsense. But
Hala Taha: It's only looking back. Yeah. In high school you were voted most egotistical and you've called yourself a narcissist. So just describe like how big of a narcissist you were in your twenties.
Tucker Max: What's funny is narcissism is just a defense to lack of it.
And so which both my parents were extraordinarily narcissistic, right? When you have narcissistic parents, there's basically two, there's two big ways
[00:27:00] to defend against that wound. You can try and be everything they want you to be, or you can be like them, right? Now, I was the opposite of my parents in a lot of ways.
But I was still basically emotionally being like them. I was being narcissistic, mostly egotistical. I was just most arrogant. Most like everything I did was. Oh, I'm awesome. I'm cool. Look at me, all that kind of stuff, which is just a compensation for not getting that from someone who loved me. That's it. Once you really all it was at its core.
Hala Taha: So I went on your website and I started reading the stories. Cause I didn't, I never read your stories from before. I've heard of you and I've seen you like on other, you've been on a lot of my friend's podcasts and stuff, but I hadn't read your stories. And I was like, stayed up solely, reading your stories. Cause I was like, just it was so funny, but at the same time they were pretty mean, and you would talk about like nerds at duke and you'd call like a woman
you met chunky girl and it was so funny at the same time. And I know how to take a joke,
[00:28:00] but do you regret anything that you did and were all those stories like a hundred percent true or did you like just make them more funny in your writing?
Tucker Max: If I can make those more funny than they were, I would be writing fiction that sold millions of copies, tens of millions of copies.
I'd be like James Patterson doing a hundred million dollars a year. If I could tell fake stories. No, those are all true. I wish I was good at that. Now, yeah, they're all true. I don't really regret. Look, it's a weird thing. I definitely don't regret writing any of it. That's my truth. I live that truth.
I don't regret speaking my truth ever, and I never will. What I do regret is some of the things I did. There's definitely times where like I hurt people or I was mean or whatever. Yeah, of course. You can't read the book, you read the books and be like, oh no, I didn't do anything wrong. It was like, come on, stop it.
Of course I did. There were definitely like the things actually I regret the most honestly though or not like talking shit to some girl or bar. She was probably talking just as much shit to me. And that's what you
[00:29:00] do at bars, right? Those are just too messed up. People being messed up together. It's like a game.
The thing that I probably regret the most are more like the girls who I was in either relationships or whatever you want to call it. Quasi relationships with, that like approach to me in a genuine way, trying to like, get to know me and connect with me. And I just wouldn't let them, I'd never did anything like
I wasn't lying to women for sex or manipulating them or that nonsense. I don't, I didn't do any of that, but it's more I could think of at least three or four girls I met when I was in that phase that were amazing women that I, that if I had any emotional maturity at the time, or any ability to connect with my emotions, I would have shut that shit down and married them, and like I ended up hurting them not because I was trying to hurt them. It's just that's just who I was at that time. Look, I couldn't really be any different, hurt people, hurt other people. I absolutely regret specific actions I did that were messed up and wrong. Of course I don't regret writing about any of it because that's my truth.
Hala Taha: Totally. You left behind your rowdy lifestyle and you just alluded previously that you went through therapy. I think psychotherapy. What was that process like? What triggered that journey for you? Could you just talk about that?
Tucker Max: Yeah, so it started so after the movie came out and then I was in LA and I hated LA.
And I moved to Austin in Texas, which where I still live. I only, I thought I was going to be the three months or six months. I was going to finish a book and leave, go back to Chicago, which is where I lived before. And and I loved, but Austin was just too amazing. Anyway, I was pretty upset after the movie didn't do well.
And so I fixed like everything in my life. I got an amazing shape. I like got my life totally dialed in. I had plenty of money for my book. So I was fine. Everything in my life was great. But I wasn't happy and I don't get me wrong. I was way happier than when I was broke and poor and anonymous.
But I wasn't in a good spot. I was in the spot I wanted to be. So I'd fixed everything externally.
[00:31:00] And so there was only one place left. That's me, I've got to look at myself and explore myself. And so I did, and I realized, all right, I've got some issues I've got to deal with. And it's.
I had to go see 20 therapists before I found one that I really liked. And I connected with someone who I thought was smart enough and strong enough and capable enough to deal with me. Cause I'm a real good arguer. Beat your ass in one side of the argument, and then I'll take the side, you lost it and beat you with that side.
And I am one of those. And so I had to have someone who like could reframe me and could beat that stuff in me. And I found her and then therapy was great. She's a psychoanalyst, which is just a specific type of talk therapist. It's just, lay on the couch or sit on the couch and talk all that stuff.
And I went four years, four times a week and it was great, but it wasn't. It only gave me a map of my emotions in my head. It didn't really helped me get in and solve any of the issues because the issues are unfelt feelings. I had a lot of emotions and a lot of feelings that I had buried very
[00:32:00] deep and I refused, traumas, whatever you want to call them.
And I had refused to I lock them away and I wasn't willing to access them. And so I had to, you have to feel your way into, and to healing. You can't think your way in to it. Thinking it is, is important, but it's not like feeling as the main thing. For me, like it was great, but I stopped after four years.
And for me, the thing that really unlocked me was more plant medicines. Things like MDMA therapies, psilocybin therapy, things like that really helped me get in, feel my emotions better.
Hala Taha: So MDMA therapy. I know nothing about this stuff. My boyfriend does like microdosing of mushrooms and he loves it. I'm always curious, but I may try it.
For MDMA is that like legal? Is it like a medical dose that they gave you? And like, how does that work? And I thought it was legal.
Tucker Max: Okay so. It's MDMA, MDMA is the active ingredient in ecstasy, three
[00:33:00] methyl, dioxin, methamphetamine. I think its the actual name. Right now, it's in stage three clinical trials in 11 sites around the world.
Most of them in America, but some in Israel and Netherlands and some other places, it is an amazing, it's a miracle cure for treatment resistant PTSD. So like war veterans, rape victims, people who have serious PTSD, who have tried everything. Usually what they're finding in these studies is that three MDMA sessions.
Psychotherapy with MDMA, basically it's it's about six hours, three hours of just medicine, three hours of medicine and talking, and is enough to essentially cure people with PTSD in most cases, which is this is one of the breakthroughs in psychology in the last century. This is one of the gold star breakthroughs.
And there's an organization called maps. That's leading this research and it'll probably be legal in the next year or two in America. But I'm not a patient person. So there's there are, I'm not going to say there are a lot, but there are some underground guides in
[00:34:00] America. Who've been leading people on these journeys for, cause it used to be legal, like I forget 40 or 50 years ago.
And then all the drug scares and all that nonsense. And so it was made illegal. There's always been a group of people who understood what this did and how it helped people. And there's been like a few people who are out in the wilderness, still helping and leading. And it's funny because those people were like, the pioneers for so long and now everyone's finally catching up to them.
And so I found one of those guides and she led me through my first session and it was amazing. And then since then, I think I've done. I've done a lot. I've done, I think, eight MDMA sessions in 18 months. Which is pretty aggressive, probably not the wise course for most people, but it worked for me. And then I also started pairing the MDMA with psilocybin, not simultaneously, but usually like the same day there's reasons I did that, the guide I worked with, there's a reason that she thought it made sense.
So we were doing that and it's been pretty amazing. And it's absolutely changed my life.
Hala Taha: In what way?
[00:35:00] Then, I used to be just, I had so much anger and so much sadness and so much grief in me and I held it all down and I pushed it down. And basically what, so without getting super deep into it, what MDMA does is that it triggers your brain to dump all the serotonin.
Reserves at once. And so what you get is this amazing feeling of like overwhelming love and safety and content. And so then your brain basically feels safe. And because your brain feels safe, all of the, the unfelt feelings, the negative emotions have space to come up and so you can feel them and process them in a safe, caring way.
And sometimes the therapist will help talk you through that. Other times, you just sit in and take a meeting with yourself and just feel it. So for me, a lot of my trauma was in the body. So I, it was called sematic release. So like my arms and legs were shaking. Have you ever maybe almost gotten in a car wreck or someone yelled at you and you felt like your body was very
[00:36:00] shaky and trembly?
Hala Taha: Yeah.
Tucker Max: That's, okay that's trauma. And so that if you don't release that, when it happens, Then the, basically, again, I'm being very simplistic. It basically stores in your body. There's a really good book about this. This sounds kooky to you. This is like very well-established science. There's a book about this called the body, keeps the score by a guy named Bessel van Newkirk, and there's a ton of books about it.
That's the best one. That explains how trauma works in the body and then how most problems that most people have. Not all by any stretch, but a good portion of promise. The most people have are essentially unfelt feelings and the result from trauma that hasn't been processed. And that's really what plant medicines, what things like in demand psilocybin are used for in a therapeutic setting is helping you access those emotions so you can deal with them and then let them go. Is that make sense?
Hala Taha: It does make sense. And it's so, I interviewed Emily Fletcher. Who's like this meditation guru and it reminded
[00:37:00] me of so much that she was saying in terms of like meditation, that like meditation can help you bubble up your feelings in a safe space and everything like that. So I wonder if it like puts you into the state, but it's just like a medicated way to put you into that state. It's very interesting.
Tucker Max: Okay, so she's right. Meditation will absolutely will do that. There's a couple of problems with meditation though, is that one, it often takes a long time. Two, it requires you to spend a lot of time meditating, which is very difficult for most people and three, it doesn't really give you any instructions or help on processing stuff that comes up.
So for some people, meditation is absolutely fantastic. For other people, it does not work. Like meditation people, they say no meditation works for everyone. I'm like, look, I'm sorry. Like I take nothing away from meditation. It's a fantastic modality. But and the reality is most people do are wrong. And I'd say this as someone who used to meditate for years.
And I realized I was basically, I had wasted all that time. I thought the goal of meditation. And I'm sure Emily would probably tell, you like a lot of people do it wrong and if you do it right,
[00:38:00] it's actually really hard and all this emotional stuff comes up. That's why I quit because I hated all of that.
What makes psychedelic and MDMA, which is not actually technically a psychedelic, what makes let's just call them plant medicines. What makes plant medicines work so well? Is that not only do they give space for the stuff to come up, but they help you process it. Now, there's not a magic pill, that's why you got to pair MDMA with therapy and you've got to do what's called integration, which is like basically therapeutic work before and after it's maybe 20 or 30% of the solution. It's not the whole solution, but if you can get there with meditation, great. Do it. I couldn't. And most people can't, or at least a lot of people can't.
But it is very similar though. You're right. Meditation is getting at the same problem that psychedelics are getting it. It's just doing it in a different way.
Hala Taha: Totally. It's very interesting. And I think everybody has their own path to get to where they need to be mentally. And as long as you're not hurting anyone, you're not hurting yourself, go
[00:39:00] for it.
In my opinion, I think that's really cool. And I'm very interested to learn more about that. Let's switch gears and talk about your tips on. Your tips with women, you actually had a podcast a couple years ago, all about helping guys with dating advice. So what is your like top couple of tips for the guys listening right now in terms of snagging a date or improving their relationships?
Tucker Max: Honestly, they all boil down to improve yourself. Most dudes that I know that are young and single are young and single because I'm going to say this harshly and it's a little, it's a little unfair, but it's true. They're young and single because no woman in her right mind would want to date them. It's not that they're bad dudes. They could be really great guys, but it's so young guys, especially it's man, I've seen this a million. It's my favorite thing on the internet. When some dorky young guy will see a picture of some stunningly,
[00:40:00] beautiful actress and be like, oh yeah, she's like a high seven, low eight on a good day.
And I'm like, dude, are you like you would pee your pants. If she talked to you, she's a 20 for you. Shut up. You loser. Let's say she is, let's say the girl isn't eight, which by the way, 8s are very pretty, so let's say she's an eight, that dues to 4 usually. And so it's okay, you're even if you're right, that she's an eight, you're half of that.
You need to get your shit together, dude. And most guys actually, it's really simple to get their stuff together. It really is. And they don't do any of it. They don't even think about the fact that they need to be that like, yes, it's absolutely their right to demand a partner. A woman who has, like who's attractive to them and smart and whatever they want.
That's cool. But then they also have to be worth that woman and they don't, they, and none of them think that way. And then they don't understand why they don't have any dates because it's like they're forced looking for 8s and it's no, dude, to get an 8, you need
[00:41:00] to be, maybe a rich 6, we'll get away with it.
Generally you need to be a seven or an eight to get in there. And you could be, you could be physically unattractive as a dude and get all kinds of great women. You just have to be smart and funny and successful, or even fuck men, even just be one of those things. Be really smart.
You'll be all right. Be really successful. You'll be okay. Maybe not as good as you could be, but be really funny. You're going to do it. And so the whole podcast was basically teaching dudes how to get their shit together so that women would like them because most women I know are so frustrated because like they want, they're super into dudes.
They want to date guys. And they're realistic to most women all, of course, but most women I know are fairly realistic maybe, if they think there are seven, maybe there are six, but they're not thinking they're tens when they're six is like a lot of guys do. They're fairly realistic about where they fit.
All they want is a guy who like doesn't dress stupid, who like, is decently emotionally aware who, has his shit together in life? Who can, like I I walked through the whole thing in the podcast. It's funny that podcast, we haven't like I stopped at five, six years ago. It's done 3 million downloads just in the last six years, with no updates because so many dudes are so lost about this stuff. Here, I'll give you a really good example.
Okay. Here's the number one thing that guys don't understand about women, and I'm talking about women that they meet out in a public place, so like not Tinder. Tinder's great. And Bumble and those places, things are great, but let's say you're at a bar or at a club or at a restaurant, or just anywhere you're going to meet a woman that you don't know.
And you don't have anyone to introduce you. Most guys have no idea how physically afraid of most men. And it makes sense because most women are shorter than most guys and
[00:43:00] smaller and less strong. And so they have to worry about their safety, right? Because guys are bigger, stronger. And even though the vast majority of dudes are super good guys, The one who's not is the one she's worried about.
And she doesn't know who that is until she knows you. And so most guys never think about this because we don't really, unless you're around some huge physical guy yelling at you trying to beat you up, you don't think about your physical safety very much. It's just not a thing that comes into guys' minds.
And like just explaining that to them and then walking them through the implications of that just blows dudes minds. And then now they understand this is why you don't do things, look at a girl and then divert your eyes real quick. Cause that codes is predator to her. And this is why you don't just walk up to a girl and grab her because aside from being assault, she doesn't know who you are and she's afraid.
And we just basic things and good dudes, great dudes who would never do anything to a woman or oh man, Now that you describe all these things. I do all these
[00:44:00] things. I had no idea, no wonder girls don't want to talk to me. It's yeah, man. Yeah. So we have to, like the podcast is still amazing.
It's still up. It still helps. I get emails every week from guys who use it.
Hala Taha: Yeah. I listened to it and I was like, this is like really good. What made you decide to stop that?
Tucker Max: Because at some point it was just repeating myself and I'm not good at repeating myself. I hate it. I don't like it at all. And I basically, I said everything I had to say, we me and this guy, evolutionary psychologist, Jeffrey Miller wrote a book called what women want.
You can Google it. It's on Amazon. It is the best book for guys. Let's say that are 15 to about 30. It's the best book. Although it actually is really good for guys over 15 to 35. And it's the book. We don't have anything else to say about it because if you read that book and do what it says, you're going to be great.
Hala Taha: Very cool. Yeah. I would definitely recommend if you're a guy, I know 80% of my listeners are male. So if you're a guy you don't have a
[00:45:00] woman yet, go check out Tucker Max's podcast. What was it? What's it called your podcast again?
Tucker Max: It's called the Meeting grounds podcast.
Hala Taha: Meeting Grounds. Yeah, you can easily, if you just search Tucker max on apple podcast or wherever you'll find it.
So the last question that I ask all my guests on my show is what is your secret to profiting in life?
Tucker Max: All right. I'll take it in more of a business direction, because my guess is that's what your audience is looking for. If you want to profit. And in the broadest sense in business, and it definitely includes money, but in all business sense, then understand one thing.
The only point of business is to meet people's needs. That's it? If you understand the goal of business is not to sell, it's not to make money. It's not to do any of these things. The goal is to meet the needs of people. Then if you understand that and your business does that, then its sales are easy.
You're going to make a ton of money. You're going to be really successful. A lot of people back like a lot
[00:46:00] of dudes, especially. It's, they don't really think of it that way. And once you understand that once you unlock, oh, my goal is to meet people's needs. Then you start listening to your customers.
You start listening to the problems you have, you solve their problems and then you make a lot of money. Makes sense?
Hala Taha: Yeah. I love that. Awesome. So I had a great, this was such a great fun conversation. I can't wait to put it up. Where can our listeners go to find more about you and everything that you did?
Tucker Max: I'm on all the normal social media platforms Instagram, Twitter, whatever Tucker max, my handle on pretty much all of them. Or if you want to, if you want to write a book, my company is scribewriting.com. We have all of our material, like everything we do. Our, we're pretty expensive.
Like our packages are 10 to a hundred thousand dollars, but if you want to write a book on your own without our help. Just go to scribebookschool.com and literally our entire process we use with our hundred thousand dollar clients. We outline every single step. So you can do
[00:47:00] the whole thing without us.
If you don't have money or you're, whatever, you don't need to work with us, we give all our information away for free.
Hala Taha: That's amazing. I'll put the link in my show notes for sure. And honestly, I'm going to write a book one day. I don't think I'm ready yet, but maybe in a couple of years and I'll definitely become one of your clients.
So looking forward to that. Tucker, it was so great to have you on. Thank you so much
Tucker Max: Of course. Thank you for having me. My pleasure.
Hala Taha: Thanks for listening to young and profiting podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, don't forget to leave us a review or comment on your favorite platform. Follow YAP on instagram @youngandprofiting and check us out at youngandprofiting.com.
And now you can chat live with us every single day on YAP society on slack. Check out our show notes at youngandprofiting.com for the registration link. And if you already active on YAP, share the wealth and invite your friends. You can find me on Instagram @yapwithhala or LinkedIn, just search for my name, Hala Taha. Big thanks, to YAP team as always. Stay blessed and I'll catch you next time. This is Hala, signing
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