Anthony Bourdain struggled through the New York culinary world for most of his adult life, until, at the age of 44, his memoir “Kitchen Confidential” propelled him to stardom and he found himself a celebrity tour guide to the world.
Now 60, Bourdain is the Emmy-winning host of “Parts Unknown” and more successful than ever. In a recent interview with New Yorker editor David Remnick for “The New Yorker Radio Hour” podcast, Bourdain said he has a simple solution to avoiding burnout: “The No A–hole Rule.”
That is, he won’t tolerate them, regardless of the business opportunity.
“I’m very fortunate,” Bourdain told Remnick. “Absolutely everyone I do business with I like. I always ask myself look, there’s a lot of money involved here but if the phone rings at 10:00 at night, am I going to go, ‘Aw, damn.’ I’m not going to do that.”
It’s one of the reasons he’s been so loyal to his partners in the production company Zero Point Zero Production, who have been with him since his first show, “A Cook’s Tour,” in 2000.
Bourdain said that the last 16 years exploring the world has helped him decide to prioritise quality of life and his happiness. “Life is too short and bad things, as I found on the road in my travels, can happen at any minute,” he said, adding that he didn’t want to have to be ashamed of any project he pursues.
Last year, Bourdain spoke with Business Insider about his evolution from a renegade misfit early in his career to disillusioned celebrity to where he is now, a late-in-life father who’s no longer worried about feeding his ego. “I work really hard to not ever think about my place in the world,” he said.
He explained that he’s able to appreciate his remarkable career trajectory and, as he told the New Yorker, enjoy it.
“I get to work with people who 10 years ago I wouldn’t have dreamed to have been able to work with,” he told us. “And that’s a big change professionally, and it’s something that I think about a lot. How can I creatively have fun, do some interesting stuff, not repeat myself?”
It’s “The No A–hole Rule” in action: “Have fun. Play in a creative way. I like making things.”
You can listen to the full New Yorker podcast episode wherever you get podcasts, or on WNYC’s website.
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