When discussing notable figures that are influencing the emerging psychedelic space, including well-known celebrities and social icons, it’s hard to miss the impact of renowned American entrepreneur, biohacker, author, and podcaster, Tim Ferris. Acclaimed productivity guru and author of the well-known books The 4-Hour Workweek and The 4-Hour Body, Ferris has directed much of his current focus and attention to the dynamic field of psychedelic medicine, personal growth, and, if anything, trying to do less on the outside and more on the inside. Ferris has discussed the profoundly positive impact psychedelics have had in helping him battle depression and practice radical self-acceptance—something the world could use more of during these times of social isolation due to the pandemic. His evolution from optimizing the outward to focusing on the inward has been truly remarkable, and is the focus of this review.


The Evolution from Productivity and Profits to Personal Growth and Psychedelics

The author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers, an early investor in Facebook, Uber and Twitter, and host of the engaging podcast The Tim Ferris Show, Ferris has a refreshing new strategy for life: go inward and cultivate your own peace and joy. In a recent interview with GQ Magazine, the dynamic entrepreneur discusses how his focus has shifted from maximizing abundance in his outer world (by pursuing things like financial success) to cultivating greater abundance, in the form of joy, inner peace and self-acceptance, in his inner world.1 He goes on to state that these times of isolation amidst the current pandemic have only served to strengthen his resolve in his journey toward lasting joy and inner peace. Ferris discusses how psychedelic medicine has been an integral part of his journey inward, quoting famous Czech psychotherapist, Dr. Stanislav Grof: “What the telescope was for astronomy and what the microscope was for biology, psychedelics will be for the mind.”1 The concepts of personal growth and self-acceptance are strongly associated with psychedelic therapy. In fact, a notable 2018 study found four weekly Ayahuasca sessions led to increases in “acceptance capacities compared to a standard 8-week mindfulness training program.2 In addition to helping catalyze his own personal transformation, Ferris hopes to increase the amount of scientific research and public accessibility around these novel compounds by funding key institutions, like Johns Hopkins, who are pioneering the psychedelic renaissance.


The Active Investors Focus Has Shifted to Funding Psychedelic Medicine Research

One of the most important tasks for the successful integration (or re-integration in some cases) of psychedelics back into modern society and medicine is scientific research and large-scale clinical trials. Such a reality is not lost on Ferris, as the active investor has shifted much of his focus (and funds) into the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic & Consciousness Research, as well as the Imperial College London. These institutions have produced some of the most groundbreaking clinical trials involving psychedelic medicine to date. Just recently, in February of 2020, Johns Hopkins published a remarkable study demonstrating that emotions and brain function are altered up to one month after a single high dose of psilocybin.3 The study is one of many that are repeatedly demonstrating the incredible efficacy of psychedelic drugs to radically assist patients—with everything from depression to addiction—who are failing to benefit from currently available treatment modalities. While psychedelics are powerful tools in the toolkit for Tim, he readily acknowledges that they are only truly beneficial when paired with an intention, and when time is made for integration of the psychedelic experience.

Beyond the Psychedelic Experience: Ferris Acknowledges the Power of Intention & Integration

While psychedelic medicine is certainly showing incredible promise as a potential curative agent for a variety of challenging conditions, Ferris has insightfully highlighted that the psychedelic experience alone is generally not enough to induce lasting change. In his article with GQ, Ferris discusses the importance of mindfully setting an intention and integrating the psychedelic experience into one’s life by doing what Ferris describes as the “pre- and post-session” work.1 Ferris states that it takes “effort and concentration and commitment to piece it all together,” a sentiment rightfully being echoed by many within the psychedelic medicine revolution. In the article, Ferris likens psychedelic drugs to getting surgery by a great surgeon—but the “surgery is really only part one,” Ferris says. The importance of adequate preparation before the operation and rehabilitation following the surgery is just as imperative to a successful recovery. Recent studies are certainly uncovering the value of integrating therapy into the psychedelic medicine model and support this important point highlighted by Ferris. One very recent study released in April of 2020 investigated a review of “psychedelic assisted group therapies” in the published literature and provided some remarkable insights worth exploring.4 Research into the therapeutic benefits of these compounds will reveal more, especially as it is further expanded by noteworthy contributions of prominent thought leaders, such as Ferris.


Closing Thoughts and a Look Ahead for Tim Ferris and Psychedelic Medicine

The revival of the psychedelic renaissance stands to revolutionize and enrich not only medicine, but the entire human experience. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a global shift in the amount of time people are spending with themselves and, at least for Tim, has highlighted the need for doing the “inner work,” such as practicing radical self-acceptance. Psychedelics are a powerful tool in accomplishing this goal when mindfully used in conjunction with genuine commitment and discipline. We can all learn from Tim’s evolution from the outward to the inward, focusing on cultivating greater peace instead of greater profits, especially in these uncertain times. In between his engaging podcast, The Tim Ferris Show, and his appearances with other popular media personalities, such as Joe Rogan, Ferris is helping pave the way forward through intellectual discussion and open discourse about psychedelic medicine. His efforts and contributions to the psychedelic space are noteworthy and the focus of our inaugural psychedelic celebrity spotlight.


Works Cited

1. Skipper, C. Tim Ferriss Has Changed His Mind on What Success Looks Like: GQ

2. Soler, J. et al. Four Weekly Ayahuasca Sessions Lead to Increases in “Acceptance” Capacities: A Comparison Study With a Standard 8-Week Mindfulness Training Program. Front. Pharmacol. 9, (2018).

3. Barrett, F. S., Doss, M. K., Sepeda, N. D., Pekar, J. J. & Griffiths, R. R. Emotions and brain function are altered up to one month after a single high dose of psilocybin. Sci. Rep. 10, 2214 (2020).

4. Trope, A. et al. Psychedelic-Assisted Group Therapy: A Systematic Review. J. Psychoactive Drugs 51, 174–188 (2019).