Tools of Titans | Tim Ferriss

A brief look at Tim Ferriss’ latest book, Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers

Fantastic collection of wisdom and knowledge from some of the worlds most interesting people.

Tim has a very high-profile contact list; he regularly dines, meets, and conducts business with deeply wise, shrewd, intelligent people–which means, of course, that when he writes a book it’s probably a good thing to pay attention.

Many of those people have been on his show “The Tim Ferris Show”– an audio podcast in which Tim brings in high-profile guests and conducts what can best be described as an interview-conversation hybrid.

His goal is to “deconstruct world-class performers”–to extract as many lessons and nuggets of wisdom as possible from the minds of his guests. His questions, therefore, are always precise and deep-reaching, and rival any top interviewer. He conducts these questions in the manner of a conversation, and usually ticks every box on the interesting conversation checklist.

This book is a distillation of everything he has learned from over 200 guests–both what he learned from the podcasts themselves, and from the conversations and observations before and after. There are, however, chapters in the book that are totally unrelated to the podcast; some sections feature essays, interviews, and soundbytes from people Tim personally knows, but has not yet had on his show.

If you’ve listened to 80% of more of Tim’s episodes you may be disappointed with this book because you’ll be familiar with much of what is said in it. I have personally listened to almost all of his shows, but I still found this book very useful. The reason is simple: the wisdom shared in the podcasts is so great in number, so varied, and so practical, that you simply cannot remember it all; we all need reminders, and having them distilled in bold black and white–and in some cases, told in a different way–can only serve you well. Further, when you hit upon something you previously listened to, you’ll probably realise you missed some important points (maybe you were doing chores when listening, and couldn’t roll back the audio?); and you can then take notes, rabbit ear (if you’ve not gone digital), highlight, and use the text as and when you want. In fact, that is how Tim recommend you read the book: dip in and out of the relevant chapters when you need:

– To challenge your thinking (Read Coach Sommer’s email to Tim),
– Some new ideas (Read chapters from James Altucher, Naval Ravikant, Tony Robbins),
– A kick up the arse (Tony Robbins never fails here),
– Or simply a nudge in the right direction (Maria Popova, and ‘Lazy: A Manifesto’)

If you haven’t listened to any of Tim Ferriss’ podcasts, this book could be life-changing. In fact, scratch that: this book will change your life. In fact, scratch that: even if you’ve listened to all of his podcasts, even if you’ve never heard of any of the people in the book–this book will challenge your thinking, which ultimately, will change your life.

Tim’s writing is straight to the point and very readable, which is perfect for this kind of book. Highly recommend.

Mad Chris

Mad Chris — Philosopher, Public Thinker, Writer — is our very own Seneca. He lives the much envied life of a scholarly flâneur. He spends half of his time in the hustle and bustle of New York City, and the other half in quietude, on a houseboat, atop a famous lake in the Scottish Highlands. His favourite writer? You guessed it — Seneca. The food at his death bed? ‘3-5 olives.’