Tools Of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, And Habits Of Billionaires, Icons, And World-Class Performers
Author: Tim Ferriss
Tim Ferriss is awesome. I first read his book, The 4-Hour Workweek, last summer and it blew me away. After reading that, I did a little research on him and found out he’s kind of a rockstar at living life to the fullest. He has written multiple books on success in many aspects of life; he has his own podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show, and had his own TV show, The Tim Ferriss Experiment. I now currently listen to his podcasts whenever I am in my car instead of listening to music because of all the wonderful information it contains and I also have plans to watch each episode of his TV show in the near future. In his podcasts, he interviews the best of the best: World Champion chess players, CEO’s of all sorts of companies, Olympic athletes, etc. Tools Of Titans is essentially a 600+ page compilation of his favorite interviews from the podcast. I’m only going to review the people and/or ideas that really stood out to me or that I plan on integrating into my own life at some point.
Ketosis & Fasting
The first interview I really got a lot from was his interview with Dominic D’Agostino. He is an associate professor in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine and a senior research scientist at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition. Fun fact from the book: D’Agostino once deadlifted 500lbs for 10 reps following a 7-day fast. Like, what? The bulk of his interview is filled with conversations about ketosis and fasting, both for fat loss and long-term health benefits. For those of you who don’t know, ketosis is the term used for the state your body is in when it is using almost entirely fat for fuel instead of blood sugar. A ketogenic diet consists of roughly 80% of your calories coming from fat, 15% from protein, and 5% from carbs. However, these numbers can vary. D’Agostino promotes ketosis for not only fat loss, but for health and longevity as well. Among a few other health benefits, ketosis has some potent anti-cancer effects and allows your body to use oxygen more efficiently. He then goes into the advantages of fasting and talks about what he calls a “purge fast,” which he explains can rid your body of any precancerous cells that may be living within it. He also notes that fasts of 3 days or longer can efficiently reboot your immune system via stem cell-based regeneration. At the end of this section, Ferriss explains that he now does one 3-day fast per month to keep himself healthy according to D’Agostino’s research. He goes into detail on how to properly do so in the book. After finishing the book, I have since adopted that goal of one 3-day (72 hours) fast per month and as I am writing this, I am currently 40 hours into my first one. Ferriss has also put together guidelines for his own ketosis diet that he uses frequently throughout the year. They are as follows:
- Avoid “white” starchy carbohydrates (or those that can be white.)
- Eat the same few meals over and over again, especially for breakfast and lunch.
- Don’t drink calories.
- Don’t eat fruit. (Surprising, I know.)
- Measure progress in body fat percentage, not pounds.
- Take one day off per week and go nuts!
At the beginning of this month, I also started following this diet outline and have seen fairly decent results. I was expecting the change in body composition to be little more drastic than it actually is, but again it has only been a month.
Try Sitting at a Different Table
This quote by Seth Godin is taken directly from the book:
“If you think hard about one’s life, most people spend most of their time on defense, in reactive mode, in playing with the cards they got instead of moving to a different table with different cards. Instead of seeking to change other people, they are willing to be changed. Part of the arc of what I’m trying to teach is: Everyone who can hear this has more power than they think they do. The question is, what are you going to do with that power?”
I find this so motivating.
“Daily 10” Practice
James Altucher is an American hedge fund manager, entrepreneur, and best-selling author. His section of the book is filled with conversations on coming up with ideas for businesses. The “Daily 10” practice is, in my opinion, the best part of his interview. The idea is premised on coming up with 3,000 business ideas each year. Below are examples of lists he creates every day.
- 10 old ideas I can make new
- 10 ridiculous things I would invent
- 10 books I can write
- 10 business ideas for Google/Amazon/Twitter/etc.
- 10 people I can send ideas to
- 10 podcast ideas or videos I can shoot
- 10 industries where I can remove the middle man
- 10 things I disagree with that everyone else assumes is religion
- 10 ways to take old posts of mine and make books out of them
- 10 people I want to be friends with
- 10 things I learned yesterday
- 10 things I can do differently today
- 10 ways I can save time
- 10 things I learned from X (X being someone I have recently spoken with or read a book about)
- 10 things I am interested in getting better at
- 10 things I was interested in as a kid that might be fun to explore now
- 10 ways I might try to solve a problem I have
This is something I have begun doing daily as well and am very surprised, yet pleased, with the results I am seeing. It’s crazy to me what kind of stuff I can think of when I rid myself of any distractions and think solely about the 10 questions at hand.
1,000 True Fans
This is an idea from Kevin Kelly, the founding Executive Editor of Wired Magazine, that I really loved reading about. It changed my perspective of my own blog and helped me clarify some goals I have for it. The whole idea is to start a business of any sort, and then attain 1,000 true fans that you can earn $100 profit from each year, making your income for the year an obvious $100,000. A true fan would be someone who will buy anything you produce. When you really think about it, 1,000 people is not a whole lot considering we have access to billions right at our fingertips. Finding 1,000 people is definitely not the hard part of this equation. What you really need to focus on is developing and producing quality content, products, or services to acquire these people as fans and keep them wanting more. Depending on your business, it’s probably not something that will happen super quick, but it is something that definitely can happen. “Success need not be complicated, just start with making 1,000 people extremely, extremely happy.”
Don’t Attribute Malice That Which Can Be Explained Otherwise
This is a point I think most people would benefit from reading about. Alain De Botton, a practical philosopher, talks about how, when dealing with someone who is upset, try using some empathy as opposed to just reacting with anger and/or being combative. Think about why they could be acting the way they are. Have they slept? Have they eaten? Is something else bothering them? Just like when dealing with a crying baby, you don’t automatically assume the baby is pissed at you. It may seem obvious but it’s not always easy to in the moment. It definitely takes some practice.
8 Tactics for Dealing With Haters
These are ideas that Ferriss put together himself on dealing with other people, whether they be internet trolls or family members, who have something negative to say about your work.
- It doesn’t matter how many people don’t get it. What matters is how many people do.
- 10% of people will find a way to take anything personally. Expect it and treat is as math.
- When in doubt, starve it of oxygen.
- If you respond, don’t over-apologize.
- You can’t reason someone out of something they didn’t reason themselves into.
- “Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity. You’ll avoid the tough decisions, and you’ll avoid confronting the people who need to be confronted.” –Colin Powell
- “If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.” –Epictetus
- “Living well is the best revenge.” –George Herbert
There are SO many more wonderful and thought-provoking topics discussed throughout all of Ferriss’s interviews, but as I said before, I only went over the ones that really stuck in my head the most. Just like all of my reviews so far, I strongly suggest everyone read this one. There’s different important content for every person. I am really looking forward to reading the other books Ferriss has written to see what I can learn from him.
Have you read this book or listened to Ferriss’s podcasts? Let me know what stuck out to you!
PS: Send someone a thank you note tomorrow.