Derek Sivers
Tools of Titans - by Tim Ferriss

Tools of Titans - by Tim Ferriss

ISBN: 1328683788
Date read: 2017-08-30
How strongly I recommend it: 4/10
(See my list of 360+ books, for more.)

Go to the Amazon page for details and reviews.

A very useful collection of notes from hundreds of hours of Tim's podcast interviews. It's definitely a mix of thoughts and advice from a mix of people. A real collage. The first quarter of the book, full of milligram measurements of things you could be ingesting, almost made me quit, but the 2nd half of the book had some great ideas.

my notes

Information without emotion isn’t retained.

Siddhartha’s answers:
“I can think” - Having good rules for decision-making, and having good questions you can ask yourself and others.
“I can wait” - Being able to plan long-term, play the long game, and not misallocate your resources.
“I can fast” - Being able to withstand difficulties and disaster. Training yourself to be uncommonly resilient and have a high pain tolerance.

Fast for 5 days, 2 to 3 times per year.
Fast for 3 days once per month, and 5-to-7 days once per quarter.

Entheogens work as amplifiers.

Authentic expressions of the psyche revealing its functioning on levels not ordinarily available for observation

If you are depressed, you are living in the past.
If you are anxious, you are living in the future.
If you are at peace, you are living in the present.

Depression may be the body’s way of saying, ‘You better deal with something, because it’s making you really sad.’

“If you get the answer, you should hang up the phone.” In other words, when you get the message you need, you shouldn’t keep asking until you’ve used the clarity gained to make meaningful changes. There’s no point in going to a motivational seminar if you’re not going to take any next steps.

Is that a dream or a goal? Because a dream is something you fantasize about that will probably never happen. A goal is something you set a plan for, work toward, and achieve.

Going on stage: “My work isn’t done tonight. My work was done 3 months ago, and I just have to show up.”

If you don’t do something well, don’t do it unless you want to spend the time to improve.

“What am I continuing to do myself that I’m not good at?” Improve it, eliminate it, or delegate.

The opposite of play isn’t work. It’s depression.

The King of Kong is one of Kevin Kelly’s favorite documentaries of all time.

Do less formal practice than you are capable of to keep the practice from becoming a burden. If practice feels like a chore, it’s not sustainable.

Impatience in dealing with frustration is the primary reason that most people fail to achieve their goals.
The secret is to show up, do the work, and go home. A blue collar work ethic married to indomitable will.

Nothing can sway you from your purpose. Once the decision is made, simply refuse to budge. Refuse to compromise.

Commit to a long-term goal, not to a series of smaller intermediate goals.

Throw out a timeline. It will take what it takes. If the commitment is to a long-term goal and not to a series of smaller intermediate goals.

Sacca, on having a getaway place: “I wanted to go on offense. I wanted to have the time to focus, to learn the things I wanted to learn, to build what I wanted to build, and to really invest in relationships that I wanted to grow, rather than just doing a day of coffee after coffee after coffee.”

Smart people should make things. If you let your learning lead to knowledge, you become a fool. Let your learning lead to action. Develop more skill, more ability, more insight, more capacity.

“Prime” your state first. Biochemistry will help you tell yourself an enabling story. Only then do you think on strategy, as you’ll see the options instead of dead ends. In a lowered emotional state, we only see the problems, not solutions. “Priming” my state is often as simple as doing 5 to 10 push-ups or getting 20 minutes of sun.

3 minutes: Focusing on three things that I’m going to make happen, my ‘three to thrive.’ See it as though it’s already been done, feel the emotions.

If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth writing.

Once we get those muddy, maddening, confusing thoughts on the page, we face our day with clearer eyes.

One Philosopher to Start With: Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Solve the simplest, easiest, and most valuable problem.

Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious.

Once you have many people doing something, you have lots of competition and little differentiation. You, generally, never want to be part of a popular trend.
How do I become less competitive in order that I can become more successful?

Never let a convention be a shortcut for truth. We always need to ask: Is this true?

Be a meaningful specific instead of a wandering generality.

What’s the smallest possible footprint I can get away with?
What is the smallest possible project that is worth my time?
What is the smallest group of people who I could make a difference for, or to?

Schools are teaching them to be cogs in an economy that doesn’t want cogs anymore.

From 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., those kids are getting homeschooled. And they’re either getting home-schooled and watching The Flintstones, or they’re getting homeschooled and learning something useful.

Teach kids two things:
1) how to lead
2) how to solve interesting problems.

Give kids interesting problems to solve. And then, don’t criticize them when they fail.

If you’ve formulated intelligent rules, follow your own rules.

Become very good (top 25%) at two or more things.
Make yourself rare by combining two or more “pretty goods” until no one else has your mix.
At least one of the skills in your mixture should involve communication, either written or verbal.

Creativity is an infinite resource. The more you spend,the more you have.

Build shows around the answer(s) to “What’s weird about this story?”

I give away 98% of my material for free and, then, many of my flagship courses are extremely expensive. In fact, 10 to 100 times what my competitors charge.

When you complain, nobody wants to help you.

Measurement of “disruptive”: For each $1 of revenue you generate, can you cost an incumbent $5 to $10?

Say little, do much.

Don’t accept the norms of your time.

Life Is Elsewhere by Milan Kundera: “I think it’s an analogy for that choice we all have in life: Are you going to fulfill your potential? Or, are you just going to give into the peer pressure of the moment and become nothing?”

Neil edits his writing in three phases:
1. I edit for me. (What do I like?)
2. I edit for my fans. (What would be most enjoyable and helpful to my fans?)
3. I edit for my haters. (What would my detractors try and pick apart, discredit, or make fun of?)

Eminem impersonates the critics and then answers them.

When given a choice, take both.

Multiple projects lead to multiple successes.

When forced to compromise, ask for more.

If you can’t win, change the rules.
If you can’t change the rules, then ignore them.

“No” simply means begin again at one level higher.

The faster you move, the slower time passes, the longer you live.

The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself.

You get what you incentivize.

The day before something is a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea.

If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.

In excess, most things take on the characteristics of their opposite. Thus: Pacifists become militants. Freedom fighters become tyrants. Blessings become curses. Help becomes hindrance. More becomes less. To explore this concept more, read up on Aristotle’s golden mean.

Making health #1 50% of the time doesn’t work. It’s absolutely all-or-nothing. If it’s #1 50% of the time, you’ll compromise precisely when it’s most important not to.

Saying ‘no’ often requires trading popularity for respect.

If you want to be tougher mentally, it is simple: Be tougher. Don’t meditate on it.

Have a running list of three people that you’re always watching:
1. someone senior to you that you want to emulate
2. a peer who you think is better at the job than you are and who you respect
3. someone subordinate who’s doing the job you did—one, two, or three years ago—better than you did it.
If you just have those three individuals that you’re constantly measuring yourself off of, and you’re constantly learning from them, you’re going to be exponentially better than you are.

If the day is terrible, but I worked out, at the end of the day I’ll go, ‘Well, I had a good workout,’

Mindfulness by Mark Williams and Danny Penman. This book is a friendly and accessible introduction to mindfulness meditation, and includes an 8-week guided meditation course.

Meditate with your eyes open looking at a clear sky or any place where you can see the horizon.

Wisdom is nothing more than the ability to take your own advice.

It’s very hard to follow the advice that you know is good. If someone came to me with my list of problems, I would be able to sort that person out very easily.

Any great idea that’s significant, that’s worth doing, for Stewart Brand, will last about 5 years, from the time he thinks of it, to the time he stops thinking about it. if you think of it in terms of 5-year projects, you can count those off on a couple hands,

Use an spreadsheet to display your own death countdown clock. Memento mori—remember that you’re going to die.

One manual project that every human should experience? You need to build your own house.

Write to get ideas, not to express them. Write in order to think. Don’t actually know what you think until you try and write.

Make a list of what everyone thinks is true or will be true, and ask “What if that weren’t true?” for each, brainstorming the ramifications.

Many people are working very hard, trying to save their money to retire so they can travel. I decided to flip it around and travel when I was really young, when I had zero money.

‘Productive’ is for your middle ages. When you’re young, you want to be prolific and make and do things, but you don’t want to measure them in terms of productivity. You want to measure them in terms of extreme performance, you want to measure them in extreme satisfaction.

Tell everybody what you’re doing. You try to give these ideas away, and people are happy, because they love great ideas. I’ll give it to them and say, ‘Hey, it’s a great idea. You should do it.’ I’d try to give everything away first, and then I’d try to kill everything else. It’s the ones that keep coming back that I can’t kill and I can’t give away, that make me think, ‘Hmmm, maybe that’s the one I’m supposed to do.’

Success is you make your own slot. You have a new slot that didn’t exist before.

Learn at a fairly young age the skill of being an ultra-thrifty, minimal kind of little wisp that’s traveling through time, in the sense of learning how little you actually need to live in a contented mode. That gives you the confidence to take a risk.

People-pleasing is a form of assholery.

If you had 8 weeks to get someone ready to do 5 minutes on stage at an open mic, what would you do?
Get them on stage the first night [and] every night for all of the 8 weeks, whether they have material or not.
The material is like 10% of it. Being comfortable on stage is all of it. So just get on stage.
The first year and a half, two years of standup is just getting comfortable on stage. Your material doesn’t matter.

If you think about something more than three times a week, you have to write about it.

What pisses you off?

Read Joseph Campbell-The Power of Myth and The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Joseph Campbell was the first person to really open my eyes to the compassionate side of life, or of thought. Campbell was the guy who really kind of put it all together for me, and not in a way I could put my finger on. It made you just glad to be alive, realizing how vast this world is, and how similar and how different we are.

The more you know what you really want, and where you’re really going, the more what everybody else is doing starts to diminish.

The clincher question Cal used to get free room and board around Europe as a poor traveler was: “Can you tell me: How do you make the perfect goulash?” A single question about goulash could get me 6 weeks of lodging and meals, and that’s how I got passed around the world. 10 years.

The only way to use the inspiration of other artists is if you submerge yourself in the greatest works of all time, rather than listening to what’s on the radio now.

Write about a time when you realized you were mistaken.
Write about a lesson you learned the hard way.
Write about a time you were inappropriately dressed for the occasion.
Write about something you lost that you’ll never get back.
Write about a time when you knew you’d done the right thing.
Write about something you don’t remember.
Write about your darkest teacher.
Write about a memory of a physical injury.
Write about when you knew it was over.
Write about being loved.
Write about what you were really thinking.
Write about how you found your way back.
Write about the kindness of strangers.
Write about why you could not do it.
Write about why you did.

Goethe wrote this book by locking himself in a hotel room for 3 months, imagining his five best friends on different chairs, and then discussing with his imaginary friends different possibilities of plot. We don’t need in-person mentors as often as we think.

Absolute favorite book of all time: Dropping Ashes on the Buddha by Zen Master Seung Sahn.

High-agency person: When you’re told that something is impossible, does that start a second dialogue in your mind, how to get around whoever it is that’s just told you that you can’t do something? “The Martian” as “The ultimate high-agency film.”

10:10 looks like a smile to watch advertisers.

It’s better to be in an expanding world and not quite in exactly the right field, than to be in a contracting world where peoples’ worst behavior comes out.

Desire is a contract you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want.

Try not to have more than one big desire in my life at any given time.

All the real benefits in life come from compound interest.

99% of all effort is wasted.

What’s the worst advice you hear often? “‘Write what you know.’ Why would I want to write about what little I know? Don’t I want to use writing to learn more?”

Josh has no social media, does no interviews, and avoids nearly all meetings and phone calls. He minimizes input to maximize output. Josh says: “I cultivate empty space as a way of life for the creative process.”

Learning the macro from the micro: This means focusing on something very small to internalize extremely powerful macro principles that apply everywhere.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.

What’s the least crowded channel?

People’s IQs seem to double as soon as you give them responsibility and indicate that you trust them.

Look at your to-do list and ask: “Which one of these, if done, would render all the rest either easier or completely irrelevant?”

If you’ve got enough money to solve the problem, you don’t have the problem.

Everyone else here is trying to get through that same door, and they’re not all going to fit.

Not cheating. It’s just creative sportsmanship. Because I bent some rule in my favor.

When something is wrong or going badly, just say, ‘Good.’