Denver:  I’m here with Salim Ismail, the Author of Exponential Organizations. Are you ready for Take Five, Salim?

Salim: Yes!

Denver:  What should we be worried about?

Salim: We should be worried about our leadership globally that cannot articulate a positive future and then we end up in a Fear Factor. We vote based on it and then the world goes to a Helena Handbasket.

Denver:  What’s your favorite documentary or movie?

Salim: Probably The Truman Show because it just shows how the world is really artificially constructed and can we break out of that into new paradigms.

Denver: What is today’s most underreported story?

Salim: The fact that we have bacteria that we’ve discovered that eat light. They don’t consume sugar. They eat light, and that blows my mind that it’s not on the front page.

Denver: Unreal. Is there anything that’s really weird or unsettling that happens to you on a regular basis?

Salim: Yes! My life changes every few months and I’m struggling desperately to cope with that pace of change. I seem to be reinventing who I am or the universe is reinventing me every few months and it’s not pleasant.

Denver: Name some organization or person that you have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for.

Salim: Peter Diamandis and the XPRIZE Foundation because they give large public prizes to solve global market failures.

Denver: What is the most interesting part of your morning ritual?

Salim: I do three cycles of the sun salutation or Surya Namaskara, which loosens up your body, and it’s really great for a hangover.

Denver: What’s the most important thing that makes for a healthy organizational culture?

Salim: Being very, very data-driven and being very mission-focused about what you’re trying to achieve in the world and the data-driven makes sure you’re pointed in the right direction.

Denver: Name something that you bought that you’ve gotten your money’s back on a hundred times over.

Salim: My smartphone.

Denver: What have you changed your mind about in the last 10 years and why?

Salim: I changed my mind about life extension. I thought it was a really terrible idea. Now, I’m starting to see that this makes total sense. What if Einstein could’ve lived way longer, what could he have accomplished? So that would be a key one.

Denver: When was the last time you were voluntarily, completely disconnected from all your devices?

Salim: About three weeks ago.

Denver: If you were a kitchen utensil, what would you be?

Salim: An iron skillet — cheap and cooks anything.

Denver: There you go! What superpower would you like to have?

Salim: I’d love to be able to predict the future.

Denver: If there was a gigantic billboard that you could have anymore with anything on it, what would it say?

Salim: It’s a quote from Arthur C. Clark saying “The future isn’t what it used to be.”

Denver: What book are you reading right now?

Salim: I’m reading about 20, but right now, Jamie Wheal and Steven Kotler’s book on flow. The Flow Genome is really incredible.

Denver: What one book would you give as a gift?

Salim: Abundance by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler.

Denver: Given the choice of anyone in the world that you could have dinner with, dead or alive, who would you have come over to your place?

Salim: Gandhi.

Denver: What’s the worst advice you see or hear being dispensed in your world?

Salim: That the world is in a bad and dangerous place and we should protect ourselves with security because of it.

Denver: What advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?

Salim: Don’t be worried about failure. It’s just a bridge to the next massive success.

Denver: Finally, do you have a quote that you live your life by or think of often?

Salim: Yes. I mentioned already – the future isn’t what it used to be.

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