Former UK and Sweden Ambassador Matthew Barzun: Is Compromise Good? (Foursquare Rum Absolutely Is)

Former UK and Sweden Ambassador Matthew Barzun (Obama administration) joins the show to talk about what it’s like to serve at the highest levels of government, to be a member of the Brown family of Brown-Forman and his new book, “The Power of Giving Away Power.” Buy his book on Amazon.

Spirits tasted:

  • Foursquare 2008 Rum 12 Year (19:05)
  • Principia Rum (24:12)
  • Old Forester Owsley Brown Special Release (49:55)


Fred and Matthew discuss many topics, such as:

  • They kick off by talking about Matthew’s new book, “The Power of Giving Away Power: How the Best Leaders Learn to Let Go,” starting with an intriguing guessing game discussing how freedom dovetails with togetherness.
  • Matthew talks about his time in Sweden and eating fermented herring for breakfast. Check out his YouTube video on the subject.
  • Burzan is a rum fan, and Fred is always ready to talk rum. Then they drink rum.
  • They talk modern dating versus being married. “It’s a strange time,” Fred notes. They then talk about how they asked paternal permission to propose to their respective wives.
  • Matthew talks about being asked to be an American ambassador by then-President Barack Obama, and how he approached the job.
  • Burzan gets into how he became acquainted with bourbon upon moving to Kentucky … by none other than whiskey legend Owsley Brown, who became his father-in-law. He then describes how he applied the principles of bourbon to life and relationships.
  • Learn the four possible outcomes of a meeting – and three are undesirable. They then discuss how politics and compromise relate to baseball-themed bathroom graffiti.
  • The desire to win, Matthew asserts, is an obstacle to joint success, be it politics or a marriage.
  • Fred explains how ascots came to be associated with a “rich asshole” look. But the garment’s tradition is far more nuanced.
  • The Old Forester they share pleases Fred, who says it “tastes like Christmas.” He goes on and on.
  • Burzan talks about the 2020 Democratic primary, with an interesting “What if?” involved.
  • The conversation wanders into the area of weight loss. The bad news? Bourbon adds pounds.
  • Learn more about Matthew Burzan and his career via his Wikipedia page.


“I appreciate freedom, I appreciate together. What I think we want, and certainly what we really need in this country, and the best idea of America that we fall short of all the time … what we want is freedom together.” -Burzan, describing the focus of his new book

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