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Here’s the Wild Idea

Scott’s Wild Idea: To write about adventure and the outdoors, debunk gurus, and find ways to biohack your body to improve performance and health.

Last week, I interviewed “Iceman” and record breaker Wim Hof, who talked about how cold immersion and breathing techniques can help humans achieve better health, happiness and strength. This week, I thought it was appropriate to follow up our conversation with anthropologist and investigative journalist Scott Carney.

In addition to spending a lot of time with Wim Hof, studying his method and climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro with him in record time wearing little clothing, Scott also wrote a best-seller about Wim called What Doesn’t Kill Us. The book dives deep into the science behind the Wim Hof Method, and also explains how environmental conditioning can help us renew our lost evolutionary strength.  

Scott spent much of his career debunking health and spiritual gurus, and writing about them for national publications and books. When he set out to do the same thing with Wim Hof, something different happened. Scott discovered Wim’s methods actually worked. He also discovered that cold water, ice baths, and other conditioning practices (like those used in the Wim Hof Method) can renew strength, make your body leaner, and increase your physical abilities and your brown fat, which is needed to stay warm.

Scott loves to immerse himself in his work, often putting himself in situations that push his body’s limits. He encourages young writers to do the same. In our conversation, we talk about his time with Wim Hof, what he thought of his methods, and why they work. We also discuss other methods to challenge yourself, the value of being uncomfortable, and how to make it as a freelance writer.

Presented by REI

Listen to this Episode if

  • You liked the Wim Hof episode and want to know more.
  • You want to be an adventure writer.
  • You’re interested in biohacking your body to be a better athlete and human.
  • You want to get better at being uncomfortable.

Key Takeaways

  • 2:25 – Scott’s top biohacking tricks include getting out of your comfort zone.
  • 3:30 – The importance of mental and physical discomfort.
  • 5:30 – Tips for not shivering in the ocean without a wetsuit.
  • 9:00 – Why it’s important to experience a range of discomfort.
  • 10:30 – Why Wim uses cold training.
  • 12:15 – A succinct explanation of the Wim Hof Method and how it works.
  • 16:20 – How being in the cold increases brown fat and uses your metabolism to help you lose weight.
  • 17:15 – How the Wim Hof Method uses breathing and what the gasp reflex is.
  • 21:00 – The breathing techniques that Scott used when he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro.
  • 23:35 – What other experiments Scott has done to test his body and how you can experiment.
  • 28:00 – Why you almost need to redefine suffering.
  • 29:10 – What Scott’s next book is about.
  • 31:30 – Scott’s wife Laura shares a woman’s perspective on some of his tricks and methods.
  • 34:45 – Scott’s path to becoming a writer and debunking gurus.
  • 43:00 – Scott’s advice for aspiring writers.
  • 47:00 – How new writers can establish themselves.
  • 48:30 – Scott’s recommended books.
  • 50:15 – How Dungeons and Dragons foreshadowed Scott’s career.
  • 51:55 – Scott’s advice for young people these days.
  • 53:15 – Why Scott wants people from his past at his dream party.

Other episodes to listen to

Wim Hof
James Nestor


What Doesn’t Kill Us
The Red Market
The Enlightenment Trap

Awesome book Scott recommends gifting

The Tiger by John Valian
Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway
Beyond the Kingdom fo the Ice by Hampton Sides
Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky


Scott’s article about Wim in Playboy

Connect with Scott




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