The Thrive Questionnaire//

Ed Zwick: “My Work Has Never Felt Like Work”

The Oscar-winning producer and director of Glory and Legends of the Fall talks about the sustaining energy of having a job he loves.

Courtesy of  Michael Tran / Stringer / Getty Images 
When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.
Here, Ed Zwick, producer and director of films including Glory and Legends of the Fall, responds.


Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?

Ed Zwick: Much as I’d like to say it’s a series of affirmations and expressions of gratitude, it’s more likely to be a strong cup of coffee.

TG: What gives you energy?
EZ: The dirty little secret of doing work that’s never felt like work is never lacking energy. If anything, I’ve occasionally been accused of having too much.

TG: What’s your secret life hack?
EZ: A dry tea bag in smelly sneakers. Props to my high school tennis coach.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.
EZ: “The Secret Hunger” by Barry Unsworth

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
EZ: I’ve had troubled relationships with many of my ex-phones — including painful break-ups, shameful abuse, and even a willful act of destruction. Sleeping together has only served to complicate things.

TG: How do you deal with email?
EZ: I take great pleasure in hitting ‘unsubscribe.’

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
EZ: Try to remember to breathe.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
EZ: Frustrated, yes, at times discouraged, occasionally in despair, but burned out? Nope.
TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
EZ: I favor the baseball analogy of the player who goes 1 for 3. That means he strikes out, fouls out, grounds out, flies out, etc. two out of every three times at bat. If, at the end of a long career, he’s managed to keep that up, he’s a shoe-in to The Hall of Fame.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
EZ:“One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” — Andre Gide
“During the Summer of Love, I read the Kama Sutra and believed I knew all the ways a man could get f*cked. But that was before I came to Hollywood.”
— Saul Zaentz


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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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