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Economic Challenges

Barbecue, Philanthropy, and the Meaning of Life with Harry Soo

Tune in to this one-hour episode of “The Joy of Living” podcast, where host Barry Shore engages in a profound conversation with barbecue pitmaster and philanthropist Harry Soo. Together, they explore the deeper meaning of life, the power of positive thinking, and the transformative impact of service and love. Through Harry’s personal journey, listeners will gain valuable insights into self-reflection, gratitude, and the pursuit of a meaningful existence. This episode offers a unique perspective on life’s purpose and inspires listeners to embrace personal growth and elevate their energy towards becoming a better version of themselves. Join Barry and Harry on this enlightening journey and discover how you can cultivate a more fulfilling life filled with joy, happiness, and love.

Show Notes:

[10:01] The Accidental Pitmaster

  • Introduction to Harry Soo: Harry Soo, a barbecue pitmaster based in Los Angeles, shares his journey from a career in computer data centers to becoming a pitmaster.
  • The Bucket List Challenge: Inspired by the movie “The Bucket List,” Harry was challenged by his coworkers to create a bucket list. One of his items was to compete in a barbecue contest, which led to his unexpected journey into the world of barbecue.
  • “Slap Yo Daddy” Team Name: Harry’s coworkers came up with the team name “Slap Yo Daddy” for his barbecue contest, which he initially thought was silly but ended up being a lucky charm for his success.

[15:05] From Contestant to Champion

  • Success on “BBQ Pitmasters”: Harry’s success in barbecue contests led him to be featured on the TV show “BBQ Pitmasters,” where he competed against world champions and continued to spread his message of “barbecue love.”
  • Living from the Heart: Harry emphasizes the importance of living life from the heart, following your inner wisdom, and being unafraid to make a fool of yourself.
  • Barbecue Philanthropy: Harry’s retirement from his professional job led him to focus on barbecue philanthropy, using his success to
  • spread messages of love, service, and appreciation for each other.

[22:40] The Joy of Barbecue Love

  • Philosophy of Joy: Harry’s philosophy is to find joy in everything you do, appreciate every moment, and approach life with a sense of gratitude.
  • Three Phases of Life: Harry discusses the three phases of life: learning from masters, being the best you can be, and giving back to others.
  • Appreciating Life’s Miracles: Harry highlights the miraculous nature of the human body and the importance of showing gratitude for the gift of life.

[31:09] The Power of Prayer and the Fragility of Life

  • “Life is Fragile, Handle with Prayer”: Barry shares a line from his father, emphasizing the power of prayer and its ability to connect individuals beyond the immediate.
  • Prayer and Connectivity: Prayer is described as a powerful, positive, purposeful, and pleasant act that connects individuals beyond the immediate, such as Harry and Barry connecting through their conversation.
  • Feeding the Heart, Brain, and Tummy: The discussion explores how food, like Harry’s barbecue, feeds not only the tummy but also the brain and the heart, fostering connections and conversations about life.
  • Advancing Technology and Human Condition: Barry urges listeners to consider how technological advances should parallel advances in the human condition, fostering harmony and progress.

[35:05] The Purpose of Existence

  • Spiritual and Scientific Perspectives: Harry discusses the purpose of human existence from both spiritual and scientific viewpoints, suggesting that humans are spiritual entities having a temporary human experience.
  • Finding Meaning in Service: Harry shares his personal belief that the true meaning of life lies in making others happy and helping them rise, rather than seeking personal happiness.
  • The Spiritual Experience of Cooking: Cooking, especially barbecue, is described as a spiritual experience that allows individuals to serve, feed, and love others, creating a sense of joy and connection.

[40.22] The Journey of Self-Validation

  • Competitive Cooking and Self-Validation: Harry explains that competitive cooking fulfills a human desire for self-validation, allowing individuals to cultivate self-esteem and self-worth.
  • The Balance of Self-Love: He discusses the Greek concept of Philautia, or self-love, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a balance between healthy self-esteem and narcissism.
  • Ego and Self-Realization: Harry reflects on his journey in competitive cooking, recognizing the ego involved and the importance of self-realization and self-actualization in managing it.

[45.01] Reflecting on Thought Processes

  • Challenging Unhealthy Thinking: Harry reflects on the unhealthy nature of thoughts focused on competition and urges listeners to spend more time reflecting and meditating to understand their thought processes.
  • Analyzing Emotional Responses: He encourages listeners to analyze their emotional responses to events, such as encountering a homeless person, to uncover biases and promote personal development.
  • Learning Without Therapy: Harry emphasizes the importance of self-reflection and emotional analysis as tools for personal growth, without the need for professional therapy.
  • Promotion of Quiet Meditation: He promotes quiet meditation as a means to understand and improve thought patterns and emotional responses.

[54.33] Life’s Purpose and Beyond

  • The Concept of Life Scripts: Harry discusses the concept of life scripts, suggesting that individuals experience repeated challenges until they learn the necessary lessons for personal growth.
  • The Purpose of Life: He shares his belief that individuals are here to learn lessons, elevate their energy, and cultivate a better version of themselves, whether spiritually, intellectually, or emotionally.
  • The Journey of Self-Improvement: Harry encourages individuals to reflect on their daily experiences, learn from them, and strive to become better versions of themselves every day.
  • Closing Thoughts on Self-Realization: Barry concludes the podcast by thanking Harry and highlighting the importance of self-realization, kindness, and gratitude in making the world a better place.

Insider Tips:

Oday joined IBM Consulting as the Global Sustainability leader in August 2023, bringing extensive experience in scaling businesses and a background in management consulting. Before joining IBM, Oday was the Founder & CEO of Better All Round (BAR), a B-Corp certified, innovative, ESG-focused diversified fiber-based business.

Under his leadership, BAR launched Ora Household Towel, a revolutionary product developed from initial concept to market within a year. Prior to launching BAR, Oday worked for over 20 years as a management consultant, starting his career at KPMG before moving to Accenture, where he held various leadership roles. At Accenture, Oday served as Global Head of Media & Entertainment, Global Head of Business Consulting for Communications, Media & High Tech, and Global Go-to-Market Lead of Accenture’s Analytics business.

Throughout his career, Oday has built strong teams and alliances while serving clients worldwide. In addition to his professional achievements, Oday has served as an advisor to several innovative start-ups and as a founding mentor for Henkel X.

Topics Covered:

  • What is generative AI and how can it help scale sustainability?
  • What will it take to bridge the gap between sustainability aspirations and action?
  • What are three things every business leader should know about generative AI?
  • How does generative AI help organizations collaborate better?
  • Where can our listeners go for more information?

For more information please visit:

About Harry Soo

Harry Soo is a BBQ pitmaster and the founder of Slap Yo Daddy BBQ, a BBQ school and catering company based in California, USA. He is a multiple-award-winning pitmaster who has won hundreds of awards in various competitions and has been featured in many TV shows and magazines.
He was a former Board member of the USA National Barbecue and Grilling Association, a trade group focusing on key segments of the barbecue and grilling industry, including restaurants, catering, food trucks, product manufacturers, retailers, suppliers, distributors, and manufacturers.