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.

 

2016 Year In Review

Goodbye 2016…

2016 was a crazy year for me. Following the advice of Tim Ferriss, instead of drafting a New Year’s Resolution, I’m going to do a review of 2016 and all of the weirdness that may entail. Bear with me…

Writing:

In 2016 I wrote and published book #4 of The Corsair Uprising Space Opera Series: The Lost Corsair. I also put out a compilation of The Corsair Uprising books #1-3 on Kindle. I also wrote some short stories that need some more work before they can be published. This was not my best year from a writing standpoint, but in my defense, I had a lot of distractions. More on that later.

Master’s Degree:

I’ve been working toward a Master’s Degree in Business for two years now, and have just one more year left. It’s proven to be a major time-suck, but some of the things I’ve learned have helped me to make 2016 by most lucrative writing year ever, despite writing less than I wanted. Perhaps one of the most useful things about the program was the reading list. You can check out my 2016 and 2017 reading list here.

I’ve been skeptical of higher education since I was about sixteen, jaded with the constant search for the ‘right’ college and major. I always knew what I wanted to do, but there was a much harder path to making a living through writing in 2003-2005 than there is today. Despite my reticence, the MBA will be my third degree. If I were to advise someone else about the pros and cons of college, I would say this: almost every syllabus from every college is available in some form online. Get a library card and the kindle app, read the books, and absorb as much as possible. I was always a reader growing up, sitting with a good book on the floor of a Barnes & Noble while my dad did a book signing, but I never read so enthusiastically as I did after graduating with a Bachelor’s in English and tearing through volume after volume, realizing that I could learn an incredible amount all on my own.

Conclusion:

As for the MBA, the classes themselves are mostly pointless (save for the practical entrepreneurship classes). The most important parts for me were the books and the contacts I made in my community. If you decide you absolutely need an MBA, I would find one that focuses on practical knowledge and building relationships. That being said, an online program might be able to impart practical knowledge, but is probably not the best for making business contacts.Italy Trip 2016

Italy Trip Review 2016
Hotel in Calabria

Travel:

I was able to visit distant family members in Italy last June. The only things better than the wine were the food and company. My great-grandfather lived in a small town in southern Italy and some of our relatives are st
ill there. To prepare for this trip, I completed most of the Italian Duolingo Course as well as a number of grammar books and parsing my Italian-English dictionary for necessary words (mostly types of food and bad words). Nothing, however, was more helpful than Facebook messaging back and forth with family there. If you’re going to learn a language and don’t know any native speakers, there are tools like WeSpeke that can help.

Military:

I rarely talk about my military service, though someday I expect I’ll write about it here. In 2016 I was promoted to Staff Sergeant (finally) and spent a lot of weekends looking at a screen
like a true cyber-warrior.

Tesla Raffle 2016
Should have been my Tesla

Work:

For a while, I worked for an advertising agency (though despite my penchant for social media, doing it for work proved less than desirable). One of my many jobs was photographing events for our clients. With Tesla coming to the area, it seems like every big event in Reno now features the raffle of a Tesla Model S. Hey, I’m not complaining, but one of these days my ticket had better be called, that’s all I’m saying.

Personal Life:

Saving the best for last, 2016 was also the year I met my future wife! Out of respect for privacy, this photo is all you get.
roger's ring 2016

All-in-all, 2016 was a pretty successful year for me! I may not have accomplished everything on my list, but when my list was a moonshot that’s understandable. In 2017, I intend to broaden my knowledge base through aggressive reading, finally finish my MBA, and with that, focus more on writing and other pursuits. Oh, and I’ll probably get married too.