Tools of Titans: The tactics, routines and habits of billionaires, icons and world-class performers – Tim Ferriss
“The superheroes you have in your mind are nearly all walking flaws who’ve maximised one or two strengths” Tim Ferriss
What do Arnold Schwarzenegger, the international performance coach Tony Robbins and Ed Catmull co-founder of Pixar have in common? Apart from appearing on the most popular business podcast on iTunes – The Tim Ferriss Show – all credit some form of meditation or mindfulness with their success.
Like many of the 200 others interviewed by Ferris for his podcast, each have explored and developed daily routines that have primed them for success. Ferris argues that the same success is possible for everyone if we collect the right beliefs and habits.
Featuring high performers such as athletes to special operations commanders to angel investors, Ferriss’ shows have been downloaded over 150 million times. As the best-selling author of three 4-Hour books, and an angel investor himself, Ferriss is always experimenting with the ideas he hears along the way.
Tools of Titans is packed full of mini summaries of his interviews which drill down into great detail to find out exactly what people do, eat, music they listen to, books they recommend or how they exercise. Ferris has been able to pull out some similarities, as well as capturing some more maverick approaches.
Interesting interviewees include:
- Arnold Schwarzenegger: The youngest person to win the Mr Universe title, he built a property empire before starring in films grossing over $3 billion dollars, and becoming governor of California. Schwarzenegger says he always had a clear vision of where he wanted to go – which made the hours of training worth pushing through. He wasn’t there to compete – he was there to win. His investment in real estate meant that he wasn’t desperate for film parts so that he could choose his roles. One of Ferriss’ favourite negotiating maxims is “He who cares least, wins”
- Alain de Botton: The best-selling author and philosopher’s advice to his thirty year old self would be to “Appreciate what’s good about this moment. Don’t always think that you’re on a permanent journey. Stop and enjoy the view”
- Brené Brown: The author and professor of social work whose TEDx talk on the power of vulnerability has been viewed more than 31 million times, says her big question to ask yourself is “When I had the opportunity, did I choose courage over comfort?” Brown wanted to be brave in life and started teaching in the public arena, despite the risk of online comments and attacks.
- Seth Godin: The best-selling author, company founder and writer of one of the world’s most popular blogs on marketing says his most popular post is one called ‘First, Ten’. His simple marketing theory is “Tell ten people, show ten people, share with ten people; ten people who already trust you and already like you. If they don’t tell anybody else, it’s not that good and you should start over. If they do tell other people, you’re on your way.”
- Tony Robbins: Robbins is a coach, philanthropist, entrepreneur and best-selling author who has advised world leaders. Robbins’ guiding belief is that “Life is always happening for us, not to us”. Every morning he takes a cold water plunge, followed by breathing exercises, followed by a form of mindfulness to prompt emotions for the rest of the day. For the first three minutes he will feel totally grateful for three things, the next three are spent feeling the presence of God (or an inner presence). For the last three minutes he focuses on three things he is going to make happen to thrive – visualising and feeling the task already done.
Ferriss interjects his own advice on everything from how to succeed in Kickstarter projects, how to be more productive, and 17 questions that changed his life. Some tactics include:
- Morning rituals to win the day: First Ferriss makes his bed to give a small sense of accomplishment; then he meditates for 10 to 20 minutes (as do 80% of his talk show guests); next he spends less than a minute doing 5 or 10 reps of something to wake up his body; then he prepares ‘titanium tea’ – a jokey name for loose leaf black tea, dragon and green tea with turmeric and ginger shavings, adding coconut oil to give a creamy consistency; finally he spends 5 to 10 minutes on a journal. Writes down three things he is grateful for and then three affirmations (beginning with: I am …)
- Mind training: Ferriss says that mindfulness helps you practice focus when it doesn’t matter so that you can focus better when it does matter, allowing you to observe thoughts instead of being consumed by them. He uses the headspace or calm app and suggests trying it for a minimum of seven days to sharpen your mind
- The law of category: If you are launching a new product, the first question to ask yourself is not “How is this product better than the competition?”, but “First what?”. In other words, what category is this new product first in? This approach is counter to classic marketing thinking, which is brand oriented. If you’re first in the category, promote the category. Ferriss himself created the term lifestyle design to describe his 4-hour week approach and it has now become a familiar phrase associated with him without the need for trademarks
- How to say no: If you’re not saying “Hell, yes!” to something, say no
About the author
Tim Ferriss has been listed as one of Fast Company’s ‘Most Innovative Business People’, Forbes Magazine’s ‘Names You Need to Know,’ and was the 7th ‘most powerful’ personality on Newsweek’s Digital 100 Power Index. He is an angel investor/advisor (Uber, Facebook, Twitter, and over 40 more) and author of the The 4-Hour Workweek – translated into 35 languages, a number one bestseller ranked by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek; and wrote the 4-Hour Body and 4-Hour Chef. His podcast is often ranked number one in iTunes and has been selected for ‘Best of iTunes’ three years running, exceeding 150 million downloads.
“”The Tools of Titans…is the perfect read for obsessives wanting to boost their new year productivity.” Financial Times
“A Poor Richard’s Almanac for the 21st century, Tools of Titans is a practical and inspiring guide to being your best.” BookPage
Author: Tim Ferriss