Tools Of Titans
Review — ‘Tools of Titans’, by Tim Ferriss
This book will wow Tim Ferriss devotees. For the rest, it is a bit “meh”
Is the new Tim Ferriss book any good? Review of ‘Tools for Titans’
For the last week, I’ve been waking up early because I was excited to read a few chapters
The book seemed way too big. My first thought was that I’d get bored after 100 or so pages—that was not the case at all.
I’ve found that I can’t stop reading this doorstopper for two reasons: (1) because what if, buried in the endless subheads, lies a golden nugget of advice worth following? and (2) because I feel like I am spying on the unbridled id of MEN IN TECH.
This is the addictive secret sauce of Tools of Titans. Every page brims with the contagious mania of tech-bro self-improvement. Every contradictory pellet of advice has been engineered to keep you searching for more.
Tools of Titans: How the Most Successful People Got Where They Are
Since this is a personal finance website, we will focus on the “Wealthy” section of the book.
Short Stories and Big Themes
The Power of Wealth
Wealth allowed him to stop needing to say yes to everything. He changed his decision-making framework. Now, when presented with an opportunity, he makes a binary decision. He says, “Hell Yes!” to only the things that he is most excited about
Each of the people profiled think differently than the masses, in their own unique way. They ask unique questions of themselves, their jobs, and the systems they encounter.
Author Seth Godin asks on a similar theme, “If a narrative isn’t working, well then, really, why are you using it? The narrative is something that you choose.”
Tim Ferriss — What I Learned From Tim Ferriss’s ‘Tools of Titans’
Here are ten things (among many) I learned from the book and from our podcast:
A) “All I have to do is show up”
“My work is not done on the night of a big standup special. My work was done three months ago. All I have do is show up.”
B) Doing is everything.
Just pick a few things. Pick what resonates with you. Start slowly. It doesn’t matter what you do. Just start DO-ing.
Be vulnerable, write down three anxieties a day
D) Morning pages
Sit down in the morning, write in longhand three pages of garbage without stopping
E) The double threat guide to being successful
“I always advise young people to become good public speakers”.
F) Don’t be afraid to do something you’re not qualified to do
G) The thousand true fan theory…EXPANDED
Book recommendation from this chapter: “Small Giants” by Bo Burlingham
H) Ask dumb questions
“When you complain, NOBODY wants to help you
I) Don’t believe in all the self-help books
BJ spends several hours getting in a good mood
J) Saying “no”
“WISDOM IS ABOUT FOLLOWING YOUR OWN ADVICE
Think about what advice your future self would give you right now
Excerpt of super-long summary
what I’ve done in this Tools of Titans summary. I’ve extracted my favorite lessons from the book and reorganized them by theme.
One major theme in the book is an emphasis on action, not information
someone has done your version of success before – emulate their beliefs and habits
Major Themes of Tools of Titans
You Need to Focus
It’s worth spending a lot of time defining these goals.
Sivers advises being patient and methodical. Don’t pursue all the directions at once and making progress on none.
If it’s not a “hell, yes!” it’s a “no.”
Beware of moderation arguments. “I’ll just do a little startup investing” or “5 hours a week isn’t that bad.” If this is an area where you go all-or-nothing, then you need to cut it off completely.
“Desire is a contract you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want.” Naval Ravikant is therefore careful to choose his desires carefully, to avoid having more than one big desire at any time.
Visualize Your Goals
Tony Robbins spends the last part of his morning meditation imagining the three things he’ll make happen.
“Pick a goal and write it down 15 times a day, every day. It will seem as if the universe just starts spitting up opportunities.” Scott Adams believes this helps your brain filter in the opportunities that fit your goal
Be Courageous. Be Brazen
Do you have a big goal you would love to tackle, but you don’t feel ready? You likely have put artificial constraints on yourself.
do the type of research that other people would think of as risky or even foolhardy.”
Adam Robinson suggests approaching each interaction as a challenge to delight the other person.
Action, Not Information
What you know doesn’t mean shit. What do you do consistently?
Don’t feel you need to have that perfect unicorn idea before you start acting
Generate a Lot of Bad Ideas to Get Good Ideas
Start a Habit with a Tiny Push
To get in shape, Matt Mullenweg committed himself to one push-up before bed.
Meng Tan suggests taking just one mindful breath a day.
Being Away from Hotspots
Not in the hotspot for your career? Don’t worry – this can give you other advantages to compensate
How to Imagine the Future
How can you push the boundaries of your thinking to arrive at big ideas?
consistent theme of running against consensus
You need other people to stress-test your ideas
Bezos looks at me and goes, ‘Mars is stupid. Once we get off of the planet, the last thing we want to do is go to another gravity
“How do you know if you have A-players on your project team? You know it if they don’t accept the strategy you hand them. They should suggest modifications to the plan based on their closeness to the details.” – Reid Hoffman
Meditation and Mindfulness
working while listening to a single track or album on repeat.
Be Grateful for Things
One of the most surprising themes from titans was gratefulness for life and achievements so far.
“imagine the world from the stars. Then you zoom in and you’re like, “There’s this tiny little character there for a fragment of time worrying about X.”
Design Your Work So You Learn From Failures
The principle of “Good,” from Jocko Willink. If you fail, say “Good,” and reflect on how you can grow from the experience. Didn’t get promoted? Good. More time to get better and try again.
Small Details Can Make a Big Difference
People notice the details.
Reid Hoffman spends 60 minutes working on the problem he set the day before, when his mind is the freshest.
End of Day Routines
Reid Hoffman gives his mind an overnight task, like a product design, strategy, or a problem.
Solve the Easy Problem
Take some time to think about how you can simplify it, or do the same thing but get a 10x greater reward.
“What would this look like if it were easy?” Justin Boreta asks this when he’s stuck.
Be Your Unapologetically Weird Self
People crave realness and connection
1,000 True Fans
True fans become your direct source of income AND the major marketing force for ordinary fans.
You want to be famous to 2,000-3,000 people you handpick
“If you want to be tougher mentally, it is simple: Be tougher. Don’t meditate on it.
Telling Your Past Self to Relax
How to Raise Your Kids
Interesting Short Ideas
Where can you put yourself into an environment that gives maximum exposure to new ideas, problems, and people?
Work in an area where you’re not fungible
There really shouldn’t be many emergencies in your life. Focus on your big goals, and cut out the 20% of things that cause 80% of your unhappiness.
Think about a 10-year-older version of yourself. What would that person tell you?
“It’s very hard to follow the advice that you know is good. If someone came to me with my list of problems, I would be able to sort that person out very easily.
Yell obscenities to get into aggressive work energy mode Eric Weinstein has a powerful, aggressive energy to his creative mode. He has an incantation of curse words that takes 7 seconds to yell. Make your own, and read it loudly like you’re casting a spell
Miscellaneous Interesting Ideas
Try to rework a question to focus on what you believe is the right thing. Related to the PR technique, “answer the question you wanted to hear”
Harry Crews, an author, kept no diary. “The good shit sticks.”
Don’t worry if you lose all your notes – you can start from scratch. Joshua Skenes started Saison this way when a flood destroyed his recipe books.
“Life is always happening for us, not to us. It’s our job to find out where the benefit is.” – Tony Robbins
“I treated every single patron like a ten-second love affair.” – Amanda Palmer, on succeeding as a street performer
Sets of Tools
Good Hiring Questions
“What are you doing that the world doesn’t realize is a really big fucking deal?” – Alexis Ohanian
Questions to Elicit Stories
Tim Ferriss’s 17 Questions
“Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.”
Questions for Sports Coaches
Healthy (Physical Fitness)
Good General Health Principles
Interesting Health Practices to Consider
Wear zero drop shoes Where toes and heel are equal distance from ground, like Vans. This avoids shortening Achilles tendon
Squat all the way to the ground with feet and knees together – proves full hip and ankle range of motion
Games like Tetris or Bejeweled occupy visual center. This limits endless cycling over whatever you’re obsessing about.
Practice getting just one mindful breath a day.