Tools of Titans, Tim Ferriss Book Review

Tools of Titans, Tim Ferriss Book Review

A Tim Ferriss Experiment

Tools of Titans is Tim Ferriss’ opus of self improvement, with interviews with dozens of celebrities, billionaires, and icons you will immediately recognize. If you scan the table of contents, you might be pretty surprised. I know I was. I might have been a little slow on the draw, but I hadn’t heard of Tim Ferriss until I picked up Tools of Titans this year based on an Amazon recommendation. After I completed the tome, it seemed I couldn’t stop finding articles related to him, snippets of his podcasts blaring in coworkers’ offices, or youtube videos suggested for me based on my interests (thanks Google!).Tim Ferriss

Formatting

First of all, a little about the format. The book is broken up into three sections: Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise. These are based off of one of Benjamin Franklin‘s maxims: “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” This maxim was likely derived, however, from Aristotle, who said, “It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom.” One of the reasons I personally love Ben Franklin was his ability to take old ideas and make them memorable for the masses. If you read the book, you’ll find a lot more examples of maxims like this.

The Titans

Each section is broken up into small chapters, each with a different guru or public figure’s take on success, life, etc. However, the content was originally derived from Tim Ferriss’ very popular podcast. While some of the chapters were not helpful to me, I view the book as more of a reference source than a cohesive manuscript. The value I received from reading the sections that resonated with me far outweighed the banality of certain other sections. Of particular note to me were the chapters by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s (and Arnold’s foreword to the book), Tony Robbins, Peter Thiel, Scott Adams, and Jocko Willink. The beauty of a book like this is that anyone who reads it will come away with their favorite sections. It really does have something for everybody.

Reading Lists

In the book, Tim Ferriss typically asks the interviewee a few standard questions. He asks them what they think of when they hear the word ‘successful,’ and he asks them for their most gifted or recommended books. As an avid reader, I really appreciate book recommendations from people I respect and admire. Tim brilliantly laid out every recommendation from the dozens of interviews portrayed in the book in the appendix. My own reading list has now grown because of it! If you’re looking for a digital version of this list, look no further! I don’t usually highlight in books. To be honest I think it’s almost sacrilege. I did find myself highlighting the books and films on the appendix lists that I’ve read or seen. In the months since finishing the book I’ve found myself looking for excuses to do some additional reading.

Polymath

Like me, Tim Ferriss fancies himself a polymath. What’s a polymath? A Polymath is a person of wide-ranging knowledge or learning. He performs experiments to find life hacks, become a relative expert in a subject, or to pursue fascination. Additionally, Tools of Titans provides plenty of suggestions for the average person who wants to pursue a similar path. As a result, learning has never been as fun as it is today! With access to nearly unlimited books, Youtube videos, and more, you can learn just about anything relatively quickly. Finally, this gives us an insane advantage over our predecessors. It seems like the possibilities for future generations is limitless!

Replay Value

Whenever I play video games, one of the questions I ask myself is whether the game has replay value. If I’m going to spend $50 on a game, I want to make sure that once I beat it I can play through again without going mad. I do the same thing with books, though it’s less about the money.

Tools of Titans is a book I could read again. In fact, after completing the 52 books on my reading list this year I would likely find some new gems. Consequently, it may even be one I can read once a year going forward. Believe me, that’s high praise. The only other books that have met that standard, even for a while, are the Harry Potter books which I have read countless times. A good book, you can read twice. A great book, you lose track of how many times you’ve read it. I may reach that point here.

Recommendation

I can’t recommend Tim Ferriss’ Tools of Titans highly enough. While the full-length podcasts from which the book is derived are surely powerful, you get a great overview of many points of view in a relatively short time span by reading it. I found myself picking out my favorite chapters and listening to the whole podcasts. These could be as long as two hours long! By that notion alone, if you’re interested in the podcasts, reading the book can save you time. You can weed through snippets of the podcasts to determine which would be the most relevant to you!

Do yourself a favor and grab a copy. I guarantee you’ll read something that really changes your perspective on something. You might even find a new hero.

 

Stardust – Film, Print, & Audio Review

Stardust – Film, Print, & Audio Review

Stardust

How many of you have read a book, seen the movie, and also had the OCD to listen to the audiobook? I can’t say that about many creative works, but I can for Stardust by Neil Gaiman.

Film

I first watched the Stardust movie when it came out in theaters and thought it was a cute story with some interesting actor portrayals. None more outlandish or hilarious than Robert DeNiro as the cross-dressing skyship captain. I walked out of the theater, thought to myself “that was an interesting movie,” and then went home, thinking little more of it.

Print


A few years later I was working at a bookstore and saw the illustrated book version on the shelf. I don’t usually do this, but I grabbed it and read the whole book that night. Which was better? The movie was superior in many ways, but the book had a lot of redeeming factors, such as the illustrations and the flow of the narrative. It read like an adult fairy tale, which was what the author intended.

Audio

Seven years later, I heard in a podcast that the ultimate, best version of the story is the audiobook read by the author, Neil Gaiman. I gave it a shot, listening to it on my iPod on my long walks to class. Gaiman’s voice might as well be velvet. He does a great job with the various voices and his British-ness definitely added a whimsical feeling to the words. Although the movie’s climax makes more sense, the audiobook is definitely where I would start if I hadn’t read or seen anything Stardust.

Will Audio Be King?

Audiobooks are quickly becoming a more popular media type for creative works. Audiobook sales at Audible have increased as much as 40% between 2015 and 2016. Neil Gaiman’s Stardust is only one of many examples of audiobooks done right. There are some full cast versions of books that I’m told are stellar. Likewise, authors can often bring their own characters to life better than anyone else could.

Another thing to consider is the increased availability of audiobooks at public libraries. Did you know you can get digital versions of audiobooks for free from the library without leaving your house? Using Overdrive you can put it directly on your phone or iPod. Welcome to the 21st Century, people!

Is Audio going to continue to grow? Have you listened to an audiobook recently that you loved? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll be sure to check it out!

Working From Home: Paradise or Peril?

Working From Home

Working from home has its many ups and downs, but if done right it can be a highly fulfilling way to work. How!? How do I do it!?

‘The Routine’

Routines aren’t just for morning people. I once read that human beings have a certain amount of mental energy during a given day and no more. After that energy is exhausted, they feel drained and slog their way the finish line of their beds. Many highly successful people cite this as the reason they work under such stringent routines. Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs have/had a way of wearing the same thing every day. That’s one less decision to make. It’s what the New York Times called Decision Fatigue. I eat the same thing for breakfast every day, only opting to switch every six months or so. That’s one less decision for me. Find your routine to get started and stick to it.

‘The Diet’

When I work outside the home, I often eat out at restaurants because it’s easier in many ways. This, however, is not a healthy way to live your life. Working from home, I’m able to make healthy meals whenever the mood strikes me. This does wonders for the waistline and for the pocketbook. (Does anybody actually have a pocketbook anymore?)

‘The Loneliness’

Yes, working at home often means working alone. Yes, that sounds scary to those of us who are extroverts. Luckily, the internet is, apparently, a ‘thing.’ Skype, Slack, Trello, Asana, and countless other pieces of software (often made or owned by Google) make working from home a little less lonely. But what if you’re a creative type who works alone? No person is an island, as cliche as that is. Making relationships with other people that do the same thing as you is extremely important, if for no other reason than to squash that feeling of loneliness.

‘The Cabin Fever’

Go to the gym. Keep in contact with friends. Don’t fall into the trap of sitting around in your pj’s and watching daytime television while doing your work. You’ll accomplish more if you get dressed in the morning as though you’re going to work and prepping for the day. Keep fit. Keep social.

Working from home can be a blessing and a curse, but by stacking the deck you can make it highly fulfilling. Do you work from home? What do you do to keep sane and produce?