Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss *dives behind cover*

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blackbird
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Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss *dives behind cover*

Post by blackbird » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:03 pm

Disclaimer: Before picking this up at the library, I had never heard of Tim Ferriss, never read any of his books, and certainly never listened to his podcast. Aside from this book, all of those remain true statements.

In this 39th year of living, I've been deliberately expanding my usual reading tastes to include more topics related to personal growth. This is the stuff that I would have sneered at as a 20 year old. Tools is a hefty volume of two to four page snippets about good / useful practices from a variety of tech / media / business / health moguls. It appears that everyone is either a personal friend of Tim or has at least appeared on his podcast.

The range of folks interviewed / discussed consists of a lot of folks unfamiliar to me, with rare exceptions for names like Rick Rubin or Arnold. I searched the ERE forums and Ferriss does not seem to be a popular guy here at all, so I'm curious about your opinion or insight into the guy. For me, a lot of the material presented is just not of interest (keto diet and tea drinking being repeat offenders), but I have found value in at least several of the profiles. Maybe that is because it is such a shotgun blast of ideas such that something was bound to hit.

My last reading was Man's Search for Meaning by Frankl, so maybe compared to that anything would have been good. Hard to read Holocaust accounts without seriously questioning mankind.

Have any of you seen this book? Opinions?

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Chad
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Re: Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss *dives behind cover*

Post by Chad » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:23 pm

As with anyone ever there is both good and bad. With Ferriss you get more good than bad. His research is usually sound and he is good at breaking the problem and the solution down to their respective parts.

Also, as with anyone ever their solution isn't always the best solution for you, so think through these issues yourself and use the book how it was intended to be used...it's not the foundation of a religion.

blackbird
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Re: Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss *dives behind cover*

Post by blackbird » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:27 pm

Chad, thanks for the response. Ferriss does mention the intent is to skim the material and pull out relevant things for your own practice. I guess I was more interested in what the sentiment that I construed from forum search (possible misconstrued) was largely based on, at least without having to dive into his previous podcasts / books. It looks like he had a tv show as well at some point a la Morgan Spurlock type self experimentation.

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Chad
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Re: Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss *dives behind cover*

Post by Chad » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:46 pm

You're welcome. Yeah, I've watched a little of the TV show, read a couple of his books, and listened to a lot of his podcasts. I would stick with the books and the podcasts. They are definitely worth the time. The TV show, like almost every TV show, doesn't quite dive deep enough into the subject matter. Though, it dives deeper than 99% of TV shows.

He does have new TV show produced by Vince Vaughn, but I haven't seen that one.

Also, his best guests are the guests you probably have never heard of. Arnold is fine, but who doesn't know a lot of Arnold's story.

Frankl and Ferriss are not the same type of self-help books. :)

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Dragline
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Re: Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss *dives behind cover*

Post by Dragline » Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:54 pm

He is an interesting character for sure, albeit with some weird commitment and ritual issues. I think he may be discovering that not all of life really needs to be "hacked". His "10x your life" mantra has become kind of a cartoonish Silicon Valley thing as he has become older and much wealthier. He seems to have curbed his hacking enthusiasm by getting a dog and taking his immediate family members on vacations.

I did not read Tools of Titans, simply because he described it as a breakdown of all the podcasts that I have already heard. I have listened to most of those. He interviews a lot of interesting people and is pretty good at it. If you can find the one about his doctor friend who lost three limbs in an accident in college and treats people who are dying (that guy actually reminded me of Frankl), the interviews of Cal Fussman and the one of the woman who is a fire-fighter and super-athlete, those are well worth listening to. Sorry I can't remember their names. Jamie Foxx is good, too.

The main problem I have with him is the same problem I have with Tony Robbins and, to a much greater extent, Robert Kiyosaki: It always seems like they are trying to sell you something in the end and turn everything into a marketing opportunity. It comes off as overkill and being less than genuine.
The podcasts he did starting as a lark, which I think made them good and "of honest intent". Piggybacking them into a book to sell and a TV show rubbed me wrong, so I've just said "no" those.

BTW, if you do listen to the podcasts, there are about five minutes of ads at the beginning and end of most of them, so you can skip that part.

Stahlmann
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Re: Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss *dives behind cover*

Post by Stahlmann » Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:58 pm

I will give me opinion on him based on "4-HW". I think he hasn't changed since. He gave me this perspective of "being smart", but from my personal point of view he sometimes crossed line of being moral/ethical/sensible/opportunistic (you need to feel it, I can't explain it).

Throwing away oponent in the ring and calling it victory, because somebody hasn't mentioned it in the rules? The same way Arnold said jokes to rivals during posing and then he sells American dream as working hard and having passion? Pure sociopathy or "success". They both are worth themselves. (*)
Doing everything to have "Ivy League" school in CV?
Selling coffe pills and calling good business? (As I forgot, it's more problem with the system itself :lol: )

I know these figures praised by society tends to be self-centred and this comment will be deleted or requested to be taken down :lol: . Has he commented presented issues in his podcasts?

(*) Maybe as an introvert I don't like "petty politics" as many there. Or maybe I think that some values don't be meant to be "sold" (but they're valued anyway). Or maybe I have view of the world of 6 grader :lol: that if somebody (teacher) explained rules, they must be true :lol:

brighteye
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Re: Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss *dives behind cover*

Post by brighteye » Fri Jul 21, 2017 1:19 am

I disagree and would say that he has changed, f.ex it seems that he regrets all the self-experimentation he did a couple of years ago. It might be that the lyme disease made him aware of his mortality and shifted his view (he got a dog, takes more care of his family).

I haven't read Tool of Titans for the same reasons as Dragline, although I find myself skipping most podcast episodes lately. I generally like him even though he overdoes it with the marketing. For some reason I like listening to him, but seeing him on TV I always find he comes off as a real douche :lol:.

Edited for typos

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Dragline
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Re: Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss *dives behind cover*

Post by Dragline » Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:36 am

Yes, he has changed to become a bit more reflective. But he still slides back into "10x marketer guy" mode almost reflexively.

I think his experimentation has caught up with him healthwise. This came through a bit when he interviewed Art DeVany and Jerzy Gregorek several months ago. These are guys in their 60s and 70s who are famous for still being active and healthy. DeVany is the original paleo guy and Gregorek was a former olympic weightlifter who trains people. Besides dietary considerations, their secret appears to be short, low impact workouts that can be done every day, and a focus on developing and maintaining good posture.

Dream of Freedom
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Re: Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss *dives behind cover*

Post by Dream of Freedom » Fri Jul 21, 2017 5:11 pm

;) I've skimmed the book. In my defense the author tells you to read it that way. It is mostly just bits taken from the podcast. The book tries to cover a lot of ground in one go (the old Cartesian mind, body, and spirit). I prefer the podcasts which have a bit more depth to them.

As for Ferriss, I like him, but he isn't necessarily the most balanced person on the planet. To be fair he has talked publicly about it specifically his depression and suicidal thoughts.

If you get enough exposure to his work you will find the same advice popping up over and over again like:

Meditate (this has been quite helpful to me)
5 min journal (not so useful)
slow carb diet (tasty for a diet but its hard to stay away from bread)
80/20 analysis/Pareto principle (Interesting, though the results aren't always actionable)
Try to contact a celebrity (haven't tried that one)


Since we are on the subject of self help I may as well point you to the boring but wonderful Getting Things Done by David Allen, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomodoro_Technique and https://habitica.com

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Fish
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Re: Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss *dives behind cover*

Post by Fish » Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:50 pm

Having sunk a few hours into Tools of Titans, here's my take. I don't listen to Tim's podcasts so this is new material for me.

The book reminds me a lot of Smartcuts, which was also an easy, pleasurable read but not life-changing. Maybe there is a Wheaton effect here, where A-students get the most out of reading other A-students (hard nonfiction, textbooks, technical writing) while C-students manage to find inspiration and epiphany in the easy-reading popular books and other media written by successful C-student peers. For clarity, A- and C- are more about attitudes and process rather than results. A- takes the long road that lays a foundation for mastery, where C- just takes what works and moves on.

The book is a collection of lifehacks and short stories from the subset of successful people that have granted Tim an interview. Think of it as idea speed dating; lots of breadth and no depth. I'd recommend it if you're apt to try new things. Most people could improve their lives or even jump-start a journey to success by adding one good habit.

Due to the nature of the book, there's a lot that's quotable. Jacob has mentioned in the past that he quit academia because he wanted to have a real impact on the world. I've wondered why Jacob continues to support ERE and remain active in this community. This quote from Tim suggests that those with influence care about impact and therefore seek out projects that they are uniquely qualified to undertake.
Tim Ferriss wrote:I remember a [conversation with the brother of the co-founder of AngelList]. [Angel investing] had become a big part of my net worth and my identity. I asked him if I should become a full-time venture capitalist, as I was already doing the work while trying to balance it with 5-10 other projects. It wasn't a dream of mine; I simply felt I'd be stupid not to strike while the iron was hot.

He thought very carefully in silence and then said: "I've been at events where people come up to you and they're crying because they lost 100-plus pounds on the Slow-Carb Diet. You will never have that kind of impact as a VC. If you don't invest in a company, they'll just find another VC. You're totally replaceable."

He paused again and ended with, "Please don't stop writing."

I've thought about that conversation every day since.
Here's something about personal finance that I found thought-provoking. Perhaps scarcity is all in our minds?
Seth Godin wrote:Once you have enough for beans and rice and taking care of your family and a few other things, money is a story. You can tell yourself any story you want about money, and it's better to tell yourself a story about money that you can happily live with.
It is very skimmable, with a ~6th grade writing complexity, short paragraphs with ample headings, key passages in bold font. A downside to the sampler format is that it often leaves me wanting more, for example when a story is cut short, or an interesting or ambiguous quote is presented without any discussion or elaboration. Different interviewees blend into each other and it's sometimes easy to forget if it's Tim or the subject talking (could be due to reading the e-book version on a small screen).

If you like Tim's other books, you'll probably enjoy this one too... just don't delude yourself into thinking it's an investment or any kind of serious study, because it's not. Realistically, it's just entertainment with upside potential.

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