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Cal Fussman, Speaker

Cal Fussman

    • Corporate Consultant on Interviewing and Storytelling
    • Renowned Author of Esquire Magazine’s "What I’ve Learned" Column
    • Shows How Changing Your Questions Can Change Your Life
Full Bio
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Cal Fussman

Cal Fussman

Cal Fussman Speaker Biography

Cal Fussman is a New York Times bestselling author, world-renowned interviewer, keynote speaker and corporate consultant on interviewing and storytelling.

His keynotes and interactive workshops are derived from decades of interviewing hundreds of the world’s most extraordinary people for Esquire Magazine’s What I’ve Learned column. He inspires organizations to take a new look at their business through storytelling, connection and the fundamental idea that Changing your Questions can Change Your Life.

Over the last year, Cal Fussman has delivered keynotes at dozens of companies, including Facebook, General Motors, Pixar, Twitter, Apple Music, Snapchat, Samsung, Turner Broadcasting, Vans, Lululemon; colleges like UCLA and Georgetown; and at conferences as far as South Africa.

Weeks after Cal spoke at Facebook, Chris Sanders in Global Marketing Solutions said: “We literally have people using the term, ‘Cal Question.’ He has become a part of our culture.”

Cal’s speaking career blossomed after millions of people heard him interviewed on Tim Ferriss’s podcast. “When I told my podcast listeners that I was doing a second interview with Cal,” said Ferriss, “dozens replied with some variation of ‘Please just let Cal talk for three hours. I could listen to him tell stories forever.’ ”

As a writer for Esquire, ESPN, GQ, Sports Illustrated and The Washington Post Sunday Magazine over the years, Cal Fussman has transformed oral history into an art form, conducting probing interviews with the icons who’ve shaped the last half-century of world history, including: Mikhail Gorbachev, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Jimmy Carter, Serena Williams, Ted Kennedy, Quincy Jones, Jack Welch, Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Muhammad Ali, and hundreds of others. The Austin Chronicle has described Fussman's interviewing skills as "peerless."

Born in Brooklyn, Fussman spent ten straight years traveling the world, swimming over 18-foot tiger sharks, rolling around with mountain gorillas in Rwanda, and searching for gold in the Amazon. He boxed against then-undefeated world champion Julio Cesar Chavez, served as sommelier atop of the World Trade Center and won a James Beard award.

He now lives with his wife—whom he met while on his quest to discover the world’s most beautiful beach—and guides his three children from Los Angeles, where he spends every morning eating breakfast with Larry King.


How much better might your hospital be if each morning you were delivered a story?

A story about the best moment that happened the day before.
Or the worst.
Or one containing a doctor or nurse’s unexpected point of view.
How much better could those stories make your hospital? That’s up to you. But you can only improve on what you know.


Disruption is one of the most relevant topics on the minds of business leaders today. Whether it’s how a company can disrupt an industry, or prevent against being disrupted, the solution is the same. Through curiosity.

The Set Up:
There is a short interactive interview exercise at the outset that focuses around the question. “If you could meet anybody who’s ever lived, who would that be and why?” Which leads to a surprising way to frame the responses, and ignites people to think differently.
The core of the keynote offers many ways to refresh one’s curiosity through the lens of disruption. The keynote includes lessons from John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Jackie Robinson’s integration of baseball, Kodak’s inability to see the future of the digital camera and how companies like CNN were conceived with a simple question rooted in ordinary curiosity. By the end, everybody can see what he or she is capable of achieving through a good question.

*A conversation segment follows most keynotes, where the audience has the opportunity to ask Cal about specific interests and issues.

Key Takeaways:
• Make people realize that losing their curiosity should be their biggest fear.• Make sure success doesn’t blind a company to curiosity.• Make it a routine to break routine.• Realize that when in a storm, curiosity is not a waste of time, it’s a life-line.

Cal’s Heart, Head & Soul interviewing technique is revealed through mesmerizing stories of his experiences with Muhammad Ali and Mikhail Gorbachev. In this interactive keynote, Cal shows how changing your questions can change your life.

The Set Up:
The session begins with an interactive exercise that demonstrates to the group how the right questions can lead to deeper connections and relationships. The exercise is also an incredible bonding experience for companies and conferences looking to bring people closer together.
The core of the keynote showcases Cal’s powerful experiences connecting with Gorbachev, traveling around the world for a decade without a home by quickly building rapport with people he met along the way, and spending a week with Ali. Through these stories, Cal teaches techniques that create stronger relationships.

*A conversation segment follows most keynotes, where the audience has the opportunity to ask Cal about specific interests and issues.

Key Takeaways:
• Understand powerful ways to open a conversation through the interactive exercise.• Learn the techniques of making deeper connections through Cal’s Heart, Head and Soul approach.• Gain insights into the power of storytelling.  


Few people on earth have gotten a chance to interview more iconic individuals than Cal Fussman. Everybody wonders if there is a common thread running through the icons he’s met. The answer is yes. They’ve all dared to step out of their comfort zone. In this session, Cal shows how these icons used this common thread to find success. 

The Set Up:
The session begins with an interactive interview exercise that allows people to identify their own fears of stepping out of their comfort zone and understand how the bold decisions they’ve made in their past enabled them to reach greater heights. The core of the keynote looks at how General Motors CEO Mary Barra, actor Tom Hanks, tennis star Serena Williams, fighter-pilot Chuck Yeager, billionaire T. Boone Pickens and many others pushed past their hesitations to get where they wanted to go, and then went even further.

*A conversation segment follows most keynotes, where the audience has the opportunity to ask Cal about specific interests and issues.

Key takeaways:
• Burst through a dated or static way of thinking.• Enable people to use questions to push themselves to the places that they might be hesitant to go.• Activate people to think about how they can get more out of themselves.

Ask About Additional Keynotes:
• Wine
• Women
• Music
• Corporate Storytelling

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