The Ace of Spades, with Eric Maddox – [Invest Like the Best, EP.15]

This week we explore a rare and underappreciated skill through the lens of an incredible story. My guest is Eric Maddox, whose name you probably don’t know but won’t soon forget. Just trust me that you need to listen to this entire episode, and listen carefully—because that is what the episode is ultimately all about: how to listen to others, with care and empathy, in the age of distraction.

Sometimes it’s fun not to know what’s coming and be surprised, so I won’t say anymore. After the episode, you can learn more about Eric at

On his wall, Eric has a framed Cuban cigar, he starts his story by explaining the significance of that cigar. Enjoy this episode, and try Eric’s method. It has worked wonders for me.

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Please enjoy!

Links Referenced

If you want Eric’s suggested listening outline, reach out to him at

Show Notes

1:35 – (First Question) – Eric explains the significance of the framed Cuban cigar.

2:53 – How did this journey start and what were Eric’s skills that led him to being part of this momentous event

3:55 – Eric is told he is going to Iraq, specifically Tikrit

5:24 – Early experiences with interrogation and how he shifted his strategy to listening more than intimidating

10:07 – What was the rate of success with the typical interrogation methods vs what Eric was trying to do

11:57 – Why was Eric the right guy to alter how investigations were handled

18:33 – Eric explains why he throws false evidence at his interrogation subjects and why it would help him

27:59 – The moment he realized he was on to Saddam Hussein

29:05 – Some politics started to interfere with the investigation but Eric pushed back to continue down his path

30:22 – What happened from December 1st to December 13th of 2003 when they ultimately captured Saddam Hussein

31:40 – The significance of fish in this investigation

35:24 – The prisoner that broke and took them to the house

36:30 – After the raid, how they found the actual bunker housing the Ace of Spades, Saddam Hussein

37:40 – The role of empathy and was it genuine in the process of interrogating enemies of the state.  Also, how anyone can use empathy more effectively

42:56 – Why it is difficult to really listen to each other

45:45 – How to get past the constant distractions that we are faced with, both internally and externally

49:40 – Is confirmation bias the biggest distraction to listening

51:12 – What is the kindest thing anyone has ever done for Eric

52:26 – What are Eric’s daily habits that help him most

54:44 – Any advice to help people cultivate this skill of being able to listen better and empathize

Books Mentioned

Mission: Black List #1: The Inside Story of the Search for Saddam Hussein—As Told by the Soldier Who Masterminded His Capture

Learn More

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