4:00 pm EDT, June 14, 2019

The Try Guys discuss the ‘Hidden Power of F*cking Up,’ living out their creative dreams

We caught up with the Try Guys to discuss their new book The Hidden Power of F*cking Up, as well as their tour and what we can expect from them going forward.

The Try Guys have done a lot over the course of their career, but the true testament of their talent and staying power has shone through in the last year. They left Buzzfeed and started their own company, launching a new YouTube channel and subsequently devising a plan to basically take over the world (but, like, in a good way).

We’ll get to the book in a minute, but just take a moment to think about everything these four guys are doing right now. They’re still putting up regular content on the Try Guys YouTube channel, visiting other fan-favorite channels to get up to some shenanigans, handing out perks and bonus material to their Patreon supporters, and releasing a weekly podcast called the TryPod, all while still staying hilarious on social media.

Imagine doing all of this on a weekly basis and then deciding to release a book and go on a live tour at the same time. It certainly is the Summer of Try, and the Try Guys are proving they’re not afraid to put everything on the line.

When I spoke to the guys, Keith and Ned were on their way to rehearsals. I asked about the show, and everyone sounded excited for what’s to come.

“It’s going really, really well,” Keith said. “The show is super spectacular. Really fun. There’s a lot of original music, original pieces. It’s a ball of fun.”

“It’s got some improv, some comedy, some personal stories, and a glam rock spectacle that is kind of, like, pretty epic,” Ned added.

Zach chimed in, too: “It’s gonna be a helluva a time.”

The guys have promised that their Legends of the Internet tour will live up to the hype. Tickets are on sale now, and there’s roughly one week left before this 20-stop spectacle kicks off. You won’t want to miss this.

But even though there are a million things to talk to the Try Guys about right now, the most pressing item on the list in their book, The Hidden Power of F*cking Up.

Even though Ned tried to convince me otherwise (“Well, the book is really great. It’s called Harry Potter. It’s about a young boy wizard who grows up in a magical world.”), the official synopsis says it’s “an inspirational self-improvement guide that teaches you that the path to success is littered with humiliating detours, embarrassing mistakes, and unexpected failures.”

That seems much more likely. Sorry, guys. Someone got to Harry Potter before you did.

Luckily, The Hidden Power of F*cking Up looks like it’s on its way to becoming a bestseller in its own regard. I had time to ask a few questions about the writing process, what they hope to accomplish with their brand, and what they have on the horizon. As usual, Keith, Ned, Zach, and Eugene delivered hilarious and poignant responses that will get you even more excited to see what they’ll do next.

Try Guys interview on ‘The Hidden Power of F*cking Up’

You guys obviously made a name for yourselves as YouTube personalities. What made you decide writing a book was the next step in your journey?

Keith: All of our content is based around tries, and that’s what we’ve built. When we thought about doing a book, we really weren’t interested in just doing a normal YouTuber book where it’s simply the story of how you made content on YouTube. We really wanted to create new tries to do for the book, and tries that would necessitate a book. Bigger life changes, and bigger things for us to experience. So, if we were telling personal stories about ourselves, it was in service of this thing that maybe we were trying to change about ourselves or improve about ourselves. The book was a chance not for us to make more content but to make deeper content that let you know a little bit more about where we were coming from, why we were doing it, and how those things affected us a little more deeply than maybe you could in that 12 to 15-minute video.

Ned: We’ve always dreamed of writing a book because there’s only so much you can say in a 15-minute YouTube video.

Zach: Lately, we’ve really been trying to use the Try Guys to unlock creative dreams that we’ve all had for a long time. We all come from different backgrounds, but we kind of happened upon our career as YouTubers. Now with the success that we’ve had, we want to turn around and unlock other projects, other mediums, ways to expand our palate of storytelling because there’s just so much fun to be had, both in YouTube but also out of it.

Why do you think people are so afraid of failing?

Keith: I think people see failure as an end, right? That when you try something and you fail, then you can’t possibly recover after it. You know, it’s this moment of embarrassment, of being let down, and I think we’re conditioned that, as you grow up, failure is bad. You want to win the game, you don’t want to lose the game, but we don’t often think about how failure is so essential to growth. Of course you’re not going to get in your first game of any sport and do well your first time. It’s just not possible. But you can’t let the fear of not doing well stop you from even entering in, and I think the older we get, the more we’re afraid to be vulnerable in front of other people, and it actually prevents us from even trying and even just learning about something. It’s not always about being the best at something. It’s just about learning those things and maybe you can take some of the tentpoles of what you’re trying and you kind of go, “Oh, I like that. I want to be better in that way.” But failure often presents such a fear to people, and we kind of want to help take away that fear and encourage people that failure is totally fine, and in fact, it’s necessary.

Is there anything you guys tried while writing the book that you just immediately dropped afterwards? Or anything that didn’t work out for you?

Ned: In the book, I tried to improve my style, and I actually faced some deep fashion fears. I wore mesh shirts, I wore big hats, I wore crop tops, and I’ve really found it difficult after that try was over to continue wearing a lot of those things. it was so tempting to revert back to a comfort zone of t-shirts and jeans, but even so, I noticed that there were small things, like thinking about what shoes would work with the outfit, or what bag matches my shirt, or what watch goes with my pants, things that I never really thought about before. So, I would say that even though it has been hard to take it to the extreme degree, by going to the extreme degree, I have learned about myself and been able to change my life just a little bit.

Is there any other material you gathered while writing the book that didn’t actually make it in and may show up later on in a video, or on the TryPod, or in another book?

Zach: To write books, you gotta read books, so I found one day I was diving deep into psychology journals. We got a little bit of it in this book, this guy Charles Duhigg, who wrote about how the brain works. I found it very fascinating. We were writing this book about breaking bad habits, so one day I was like, how do habits actually form? I fell down this deep rabbit hole. But we also read other books in the self-help and self-deprecating self-help subcategory just to see what other people were saying and how we could put our own spin on it. I was really tempted up top — I actually wanted this to just be a philosophy book and to not even do anything active. I was really excited at one point of just diving deep into theory and psychology, and I think very wisely we realized, what do we do best? We try. We can’t be experts until we experience it firsthand. But I’m definitely secretly tempted to just write the pure straight up philosophy version of this.

Keith: We actually did try more than what made it into the book. There’s four of us, we’re trying a lot of things, we’re trying to improve ourselves in various ways. One thing I did do is I meditated once a day for a month, which is something I’ve never done. That ended up not making it into the book, but it was something else dealing with my chapter about health, and it was something that I had never done, and that I thought didn’t make sense. But I did enjoy doing it, and I don’t meditate regularly now, but I do try to find that peace. Sometimes when I’m super stressed, I try to do very simple meditation exercises. The truth is there were several other things that didn’t make it into the book, and hopefully they will become videos or other things. Those things that did make [it into the book] still did improve us, which was super great, and sort of a bonus of this project.

Zach: This is actually very funny. There are many stories and non sequiturs and jokes. We were four people writing one book. The book transfers between voices, but that also means I probably wrote four times than what actually made it in. Probably for the best. But maybe if this book does well enough, maybe we could release The Hidden Power of Fucking Up: B Side with all the unreleased sections and dialogue that just didn’t make it.

Can fans expect you guys put up any videos online detailing more of the process and behind-the-scenes stuff once it’s published?

Keith: Yeah, actually, we have some videos coming out in the next couple of weeks. We have a video of my first time trying Crossfit, which I had never done. I had never done any class exercise, and we all sort of took the class together, but it was me really opening up about why I didn’t like exercise environments and what was intimidating about them to me. We also have a drunk vegan taste test because it’s easier to try stuff together and to find some fun ways [to do it]. So, when I went vegan for a couple months, we did a video where we all tried to get these vegan items from fast food places and figure out who had the best drunk fast food for vegans. Because, you know, vegans like to party, too, and when it’s one in the morning, they need to eat. But what are they going to eat?

After going through this entire process, would you guys be open to writing another book, and would it be fiction or nonfiction?

Eugene: All of us have different ways in which we like to express our personal perspectives, artistically. Personally, I would like to write a novel in the near future in a more classically literary sense, but I think also there could be something on the horizon for the group. There could maybe be a cookbook in Ned’s future. Maybe that B-side Zach’s talking about in his own voice. I think writing is such a versatile and wonderful way in which we can express things that we can never do in video, and even in this book, my section was about my family and being close to them, and I think I probably gave maybe 25% of what was happening because of the fact that I also maybe only give 1% of what happens in my family in video. So, this is a constant growing process, and books are such a fantastic way to be able to tell a story in not only a more well-rounded manner, but in a way that feels like you’re really getting to the core and the depth of the message that we can’t always do in a 10 to 20-minute video. So, I definitely think there’s a future in the literary world for all of us to different degrees and with different genres. But yeah, I think it would be really awesome to write a novel. In that sense, I think the same goes for any other part of the industry. We’re all very open and excited to be able to flex those creative muscles in a lot of different formats and a lot of different voices.

Zach: What we’re trying to say is, reading is cool!

Eugene: Thanks, Zach. Thanks for punctuating my very verbose, flowery answer.

Zach: That was actually still Eugene talking. You can credit that to him.

Eugene: No, you won’t credit that to me. That’s Zach.

Zach: It was Eugene.

Hypable: As one very small person in the crowd, I have to say I would buy the hell out of a cookbook from you guys. I think that’s an amazing idea. Throwing that out there as some feedback. Please do that.

Eugene: It’d probably be Ned being very precious about the recipe and then maybe just Zach fucking it all up.

Hypable: I would also read that.

Zach: If we can do a cookbook that’s fuck-up-proof, where even I can cook it, then you know we’re onto something.

Hypable: There you go. That’s your pitch.

Everyone has their limits. What is the one thing that even the other guys couldn’t get you to do for a Try Guys video?

Zach: You know, we were talking about this the other day. Honestly, the more we answer this question, the more it almost seems like we’re daring the universe to force us to do it. So, I don’t even know if I want to say it. Not on my behalf, on another person’s behalf. So, if that person wants to say it, they’re welcome to.

Keith: He’s talking about me. I really don’t care for heights, and a lot of people are always asking us to skydive or jump off a 40-meter high dive, and I’m super not interested in that [laughs]. I’m sure there’s going to be some point where I have to face my fear of heights, but I don’t think I should start with jumping out of a plane.

Hypable: Yeah, maybe not.

Keith: We’ll work our way up there. The better response to that, too, is if I’m going to face my fear of heights, I want it to represent something a little greater than skydiving. not that skydiving isn’t an awesome passion for those that do it, but I think I would be more motivated to, like, train with the rescue firefighters who save hikers and have to deal with heights in that way, where it’s, like, this is a real rescue thing, this is a need that we have as people to help one another. So, I think that would motivate me more than recreational heights, [where I’m] facing my fear of heights in a way of better understanding people who have to do this scary thing to save other people. I think that would be better for me.

Zach: It’s funny, as I was hearing you talk, I was like, you know, I don’t want to do that either, actually. But the not-so-secret behind the Try Guys is that throughout all the hundreds of things we’ve done, there’s a lot of things we didn’t want to do, but what we find important is always keeping a focus on the why. Why are you doing something, and what are you in pursuit of? And as long as your why is razor-sharp in your focus, then you really can and should overcome any feeling of trepidation because you have a goal on the other side, and you know that no matter what happens, be it failure, humiliation, and hopefully not too much pain, you’re gonna grow from it. And that’s what we’re all about.

‘The Hidden Power of F*cking Up’ by the Try Guys hits store shelves on June 18, 2019

You can order it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, and Book Depository, or add it to your Goodreads list.

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