To be honest, I was bored with Tim Ferriss’s books. I didn’t get through The Four Hour Body and I didn’t even bother with The Four Hour Chef.
But when I saw which people featured in the latest one, “Tools of Titans”, I decided to go for it.
And I took some notes. That turned into a whole project of its own.
I stumbled upon many genius insights and recommendations and I’ve collected them all here.
Warning: this is some extremely powerful stuff. It changed my perspective on a lot of things. The best stuff is at the bottom.
Chilipad device for better sleep (regulates temperature)
Wacom Cintiq tablet for drawing (used by Scott Adams of Dilbert fame)
buy a Teppanyaki tabletop grill and eat your food as fresh as possible
The cruise (Miller)
The century of the self
The power of nightmares
The king of kong
Man on wire
A state of mind
To be and to have
The gatekeepers 2012
Little dieter needs to fly
The fog of war
Enron: smartest guys in the room
Going clear: Scientology and the prison of belief
A chance in hell: The battle for Ramadi
Scott pilgrim vs the world
A prophet (audiard)
The battle of Algiers
The Up series (follows a number of people throughout their lives in 7 year increments)
Neil Gaiman “Make good art” commencement speech
did Shakespeare invent love? Nerdwriter video
The catastrophe of success by Williams
Drinking at 1300 feet
Hacking the presidents DNA
The tail end on Wait But Why
The day you became a better writer by Scott Adams
1000 true fans by Kevin Kelly
Kayfabe on edge.org
Makers schedule vs Managers schedule by Paul Graham
Peter’s laws by Peter Diamandis
Radiolab (specifically episode “In the dust of this planet”)
Poor charlies almanack
Mans search for meaning
Siddharta by Hermann Hesse
The war of art audio by Pema
50 shades of chicken
The 22 immutable laws of marketing
Surely you’re joking mr Feynman
The who by Geoff Smart and Randy Street
The Gary Halbert letter
Ogilvy on advertising
Genghis Khan and the making of the modern world
Who moved my cheese
Blue ocean strategy
Invisible selling machine
The richest man in babylon
The last lion by Manchester
Valve handbook for new employees
The Robert Collier letter
Show your work by Austin Kleon
About face by Hackworth
Blood meridian by Mccarthy
If this is a man by Levi
The truce by Levi
The shortness of life by Seneca
Stone soup (children’s book but recommended for adults)
Start with why by Sinek
Bold by Peter Diamandis
Abundance by Peter Diamandis
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
Life is elsewhere by Kundera
Creativity inc by Ed Catmull
Small giants by Bo Burlingham
The checklist manifesto
Getting everything you can out of everything you’ve got
West with the night (for girls)
The right stuff by Wolfe (for guys)
How to win friends and influence people
Essays by Michel de Montaigne
The unbearable lightness of being by Kundera
The art of learning by Waitzkin
The drama of the gifted child
The things they carried by Tim O’Brien
The moral bucket list
Hooked by Eyal
At play in the fields of the Lord
Reasons and persons
Mindfulness by Williams and Penman
The power of persuasion by Levine
One hundred years of solitude
The artist’s way by Julia Cameron
The war of art by Pressfield
What makes Sammy run by Schulberg
Levels of the game by McPhee
The art of dramatic writing by Egri
The emperor of scent by Burr
Heraclitean fire by Chargaff
The old man and the sea
Leaves of grass
Bird by bird by Lamott
Moonwalking with Einstein
In praise of idleness and other essays by Bertrand Russell
The joyous cosmology by Watts
Maxims and reflections by Goethe
Touching the rock by Hull
Dropping ashes on the buddha
Gates of fire by Pressfield
The autobiography of Malcolm X
David Henry Thoreau diaries
Walt Disney biography by Neal Gabler
Anything you want by Derek Sivers
The living gita the complete bhagavad gita: A commentary for modern readers
The inevitable by Kevin Kelly
Andre Agassi biography Open
Iacocca an autobiography
Age of propaganda by Pratkanis and Aronson
Vagabonding: an uncommon guide to the art of long term world travel by Potts
Ayn rand (all)
Joseph Campbell (all)
Linkliar to change MAC address
Netlimiter or Little Snitch
Encrypt hdd bitlocker or Filevault
You’ll never take me alive
Facebook news feed eradicator (hide FB newsfeed, super powerful!)
followup.cc or Nudgemail/Boomerang combo
2-3 five day fasts per year against cancer
Practice going first! say “hello” first, smile first before the other person, build skill to take initiative. They’re ready, but you have to go first.
Honey + apple cider vinegar before bed
80% of interviewees has daily meditation or mindfulness practise, CTFO before you BTFO (chill the fuck out before you burn the fuck out)
Through 20 mins of meditation I can become the commander, looking out at the battlefield from a hilltop. I’m able to look at a map of the territory and make high level decisions.
“Just note gone” meditation practice. Basically, mentally note whenever anything ends. A thought, an action, anything.
Loving kindness 10 second experiment. Just intensely think about one other person for 10 seconds and really wish for their happiness. It can be a total stranger that just happens to pass by.
A lonely place is an unmotivated place. Always have people around you who are motivated to change and to improve and to break the status quo.
Exercise, meditation, sauna and ice baths.
As soon as you wake up, go outside for 20 mins in the sun, preferably naked, to be able to wake up early
Block out solid blocks of time for 2-3 hours and focus on one big solid to-do for the day, that’s Ferriss’s recipe for success despite procrastination. Big ideas come from unloading phases in between work. It’s the silence between the notes that makes the music. If you want to create anything lateral, bigger, better or truly different, you need room to ask “what if” without a conference call in 15 minutes. The aha moments rarely come from the incremental inbox clearing mentality. Create large uninterrupted blocks of time during which your mind can wander, ponder and find the signal amidst the noise. Create slack, as no one will give it to you. Deloading blocks must be scheduled and defended more strongly than your business commitments. If I’m reactive, maker mode is impossible. large uninterrupted blocks of time to connect the creative dots.
Mini habit: one push up before bed
Morning pages, spiritual windshield wipers, most cost effective therapy : once we get those muddy maddening confusing thoughts, nebulous worries, jitters and preoccupations on the page we face our day with clearer eyes. The process matters more than the product. Writing as a tool. You just keep writing for 3 pages without stopping no matter what. no censoring, no rereading. It’s the closest thing to magic I’ve come across. Morning pages don’t need to solve your problems, they simply need to get them out of your head where they’ll otherwise bounce around like a bullet ricocheting inside your skull. Could bitching and moaning on paper for 5 minutes each morning change your life? As crazy it seems, I believe the answer is yes. Just cage your money mind in writing and get on with your day.
Seth doesn’t make breakfast decision. He eats the same one everyday. Just make sure you buy healthy stuff in advance. Routine and ease of use always win. If you can choose between pizza delivery or going to the store to buy something healthy then pizza always wins. Just make it as easy as possible for yourself.
Write down 10 ideas each morning. Doesn’t matter about what. The idea lists can be about anything imaginable eg 10 podcasts or videos I can shoot or 10 industries where I can remove the middleman.
Affirmations, write on piece of paper x times a day or think.
Magnesium supplements before bedtime for better sleep
The pull up bars are everything.
The jar of awesome : write something awesome that happened today on a piece of paper and put it in the jar every day.
Reading (learning) is the ultimate meta skill and can be traded for anything else.
Coprolalia: string of curse words to start creative work.
When the phone stops ringing, when you have no FOMO because everyone is asleep. It’s a Monday night and it’s just you and an expanse of whiteboard. That’s when the magic happens.
Look at the stars
Health always #1, no compromise
Set one big audacious goal for the year and one silly funny goal.
Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious. Write down a problem you want to work on. Edison did this.
Just because you exercise doesn’t mean you deserve sugar water
Good stories always beat good spreadsheets
Be so good they can’t ignore you
Smart people should make things
Strong views, loosely held
It’s all about doing things consistently. If it were about knowledge we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs
The standard pace is for chumps
Once you’re a bit successful: if it’s not a “hell yeah” it’s a “no”
Own as little as possible
A day that ends well is one that started with exercise
You must want to be a butterfly so badly, you are willing to give up being a caterpillar
Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist
The true egalitarian aspect of success is hard work
Losers have goals, winners have systems
They tried to bury us, they didn’t know we were seeds
Life is not waiting for the storm to pass, it’s learning how to dance in the rain
100 years is nothing. Shit I should’ve been laughing and now I’m dead.
People’s IQ seem to double as soon as you give them responsibility and indicate that you trust them
Reality is largely negotiable. If you stress test the boundaries and experiment with the impossibles you’ll quickly discover that most limitations are a fragile collection of socially reinforced rules you can choose to break at any time.
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority it is time to pause and reflect
Either you’re in, or you’re in the way
Be present above all else
Cynicism is a disease that robs people of the gift of life
Life is a full contact sport and the black swans will come visiting sooner or later
I am an old man and I have known a great many troubles but most of them never happened
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”
It’s far better for a man to go wrong in freedom than to go right in chains
Money is a great servant but a horrible master
Specialization is for insects
Pro cooks bump up the acidity level. When you think it’s ready, add another lemon.
3 top ingredients for cooking: lemon, challots, chilli peppers.
Hidden volumes to hide data with 2 passwords. Secondary password decrypts second hidden disk.
Don’t plug in usb devices you don’t trust.
Your location is recorded in exif data in images. so if you send image to others they can see where and when it was taken and with which device!
add + to a bit.ly address to see stats. You can do this for all Kickstarter projects! So this way you can check other similar projects’ traffic sources.
Find bloggers who posted about a certain kickstarter by doing reverse image search.
Put all of this in excel and email them (use virtual assistants), find similar websites with similarsites.com or similarweb chrome extension and check Alexa rankings to target big ones.
Textexpander to paste a saved message by typing an abbreviation.
Put TK as placeholder for something you want to research later if you’re writing.
Are you on offense or on defense? Which of the challenges in your life did you assign yourself? And which of those are you doing to please someone else? Your inbox is a todo list to which anyone in the world can add an action item. I needed to get out of my inbox and back to my own to do list.
About cowboy shirt: if a single shirt can create seemingly unending media attention and doesn’t hurt your reputation, it’s low hanging fruit. Part of the process of being an investor is ensuring founders know who you are.
Ask the dumb questions hiding in plain sight. Is this really working what we’re doing here? Or are we wasting our time?
Be your unapologetically weird self, bring mullet wigs to a party.
Get inside the heads of the people who made things in the past and what they were actually like and then realise that they’re not that different from you. At the time they got started they were kind of just like you.. So there’s nothing stopping any of the rest of us from doing the same thing.
Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that you’ll never be the same again.
Early on I didn’t rely on my movie career to make a living. That was my intention because I saw over the years the people who worked out in the gym and that I met in acting classes they were all very vulnerable because they didn’t have any money, and they had to take anything that was offered to them because that was their living. I didn’t want to get into that situation.
Schwarzenegger made millions in real estate with the money from his bodybuilding courses even before his acting career.
Arnold was able to use his biggest flaws as his biggest assets in part because he could bide his time and didn’t have to rush to make rent.
Check Schwarzenegger’s deal on the movie Twins and the Star Wars toys deal George Lucas made (for a small pay cut he got all the merch rights for Star Wars). Can I trade a short term incremental gain for a potential longer term game changing upside?
From call center worker to location independent freelancer.
For people starting out, say yes! What would have happened if I had said yes.
Don’t be a donkey, a lot of 30 year olds are pursuing a lot of things but not making any progress. The world wants them to pick one thing but they want to do them all. “Why do I have to choose?” The problem is if you’re thinking short term then you act as though if you don’t do them all they won’t happen. Think long term. Buridans ass tale, donkey between hay and water dies of thirst. You can do everything you want to do, you just need foresight and patience.
Busy = out of control. Every time people contact me they say look I know you must be incredibly busy and I always think “no I’m not because I’m in control of my time”.
“It won’t make you happy” billboard in front of a shopping mall or car dealership. Why would I need a 25k car? just to keep up with the Joneses? a 5k car does the same thing. And imagine which experiences are possible with 20k…
Maximisation and pain, don’t stress about that stuff, it’s not worth it, just enjoy the ride! 45 min bike ride vs 43 min bike ride (Sivers)
You can just get really into one thing at a time.
I believe you shouldn’t start a business unless people are asking you to.
Try out the life you think you want, treat it as a series of experiments.
Even when everything is going terribly and I have no reason to be confident, I just decide to be.
Vonnegut says we are what we pretend to be.
Sivers spent 4 hours on cd baby every 6 months! Total automation.
When you’re making a business, you’re making a little world where you control the laws. It doesn’t matter how things are being done everywhere else. In your little world, you can make it like it should be.
Complete and total acceptance of what is. Also while meditating. to change things, face the truth eg body composition, relationships etc.
Goofy automated cdbaby (sivers) email, it’s often the tiny details that really thrill someone enough to make them tell all their friends about you.
Founders have to realise the bar is set so low because most companies stopped giving a fuck a long time ago.
What are you doing that the world doesn’t realise is a big fucking deal?
Let the silence do the work, a lot can be expressed with raised eyebrows.
The moment that you feel that just possibly you’re walking down the street naked exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside that’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.
On todo list most uncomfortable is usually most important, it’s the thing that’s always moved to the new todo list and never gets done. make time for that thing.
Being busy is a form of laziness.
Vonnegut says when he’s writing he feels like an armless legless man with a crayon in his mouth.
Plan for success, don’t be a dog chasing a car, think what if.
Natural versus chemical is bullshit. For the first time in history we as humans have the opportunity to take supplements for various things and have proof that it works. There are magic bullets.
For a man to say I’m going to really try to be with one woman they’re giving you 80%. For a woman maybe she’s giving you 35% to be monogamous.
Don’t focus on money, money will follow. Just have a backup plan and a monthly income. Passive income, products vs services and trading time for money. Focus for example on blog, see Waitbutwhy, he just started writing and now he’s interviewed Elon Musk etc and referenced by Ferriss.
In a creative project : follow your anger. Casey Neistat bike lanes video.
Ben Franklin says if you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth writing.
Almost everyone started out with nothing and then made something good… for example the guy who made Supersize Me, unknown and then boom. just keep making things and become better.
Is there a public pronouncement or a common saying you can disprove by making art about it? For example Supersize Me or Casey Neistat bike lanes video.
Underdog stories, stories with a twist, expectation vs reality.
You can sacrifice quality for a great story.
Play offense, not defense. When you become successful you start to protect your assets instead of being aggressive. 100x inbox comes with succes. Delegate.
Solve the simplest easiest most valuable problem.
Thiel says there’s no need to wait. Sometimes you actually have to go through a complex 10 year trajectory, but it’s at least worth asking whether that’s the story you’re telling yourself or whether it’s reality.
You usually don’t learn anything from failure.
Don’t follow tech trends, don’t be the 9th pet food company in the 1990s.
Sense of mission. See spaceX go to Mars. The next Mark Zuckerberg won’t create a social network.
Competitive chess player misses out on lots of other stuff. Competition doesn’t always mean succes.
Tell me something that’s true that very few people agree with you on. Are you starting with a big share of a small market? Have you identified a unique opportunity that others don’t see? Do you have a way to deliver your product? It’s always the hard part that creates value. You are more powerful than you think. Act accordingly. Trust and attention. These are the scarce items in a post scarcity world.
We can choose the narrative of our own life. Why make it negative? People believe your narrative.
Can you push something downhill? vs pushing a business uphill which is very hard. Example of toy designer trying to sell to toy companies but then switched to book business.
What’s the smallest possible project that is worth my time?
No one gets a suzuki tattoo, you can decide to be tattoo worthy. Harley Davidson brand.
Odd side obsessions are a common trait of nearly everyone in this book.
We all have 2 or 3 massive pain points in our lives that everyone can relate to. I try to write about those and then I write about how I attempted to recover from them. Altucher does the same thing.
Many productive people ignore newspapers.
The world doesn’t need your explanation, just say “No. I can’t do it.” if you don’t feel like going. Life is too short to do things you don’t like.
Haven’t found your overarching single purpose? Maybe you don’t have to.
Commit within financial reason to action instead of theory, learn to confront the challenges of the real world rather than resort to the protective womb of academia. You can control most of the risks and you can’t imagine the rewards.
Six elements of humor: naughty, clever, cute, bizarre, mean, recognizable.
System vs goal. the blogging seemed to double my workload while promising a 5% higher income. But I was moving from a place with low odds being an out of practice writer to a place of high odds. A well practiced writer with higher visibility.
Diversification for stress management. I’m not going to worry about losing a friend if I have a 100 friends, same with bosses or jobs or stocks.
“Raise prices!” on a billboard in Silicon Valley. If people are not willing to pay then you have a shitty product. Don’t compete on price.
Become top 25% in 2 or 3 things, don’t try to become best in one thing.
It’s always about the story.
The law of the category, create your own category or niche, for example lifestyle design (Ferriss).
I don’t create art to get high dollar projects, I do high dollar projects so I can create more art.
Creativity is an infinite resource, the more you spend the more you have it.
Go premium from day one, the way that I hacked the system was setting my first hired day-rate gig at several thousand dollars a day.
Don’t be afraid to do something you’re not qualified to do, amateurs built the ark, professionals built the Titanic, if I had always done what I was qualified to do I’d be pushing a broom somewhere. “I didn’t realize you had to have a doctorate to tell stories”.
Copyright your faults.
Guest posting is super powerful!
Ultra premium content: 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. 99% of what I do is free to the world. I write about topics I enjoy and that I think will attract intelligent, driven and accomplished people, which allows for ultra premium.
Don’t obsess over selling your content. best opportunities are often out of left field.
It’s always easier to sell something to people who’ve already bought something from you than it is to find new customers.
Asking the right dumb question is often the smartest thing you can do. often there’s a very basic very dumb question at the center of a story that no one’s asking.
When you complain nobody wants to help you.
Choose first 10 pitches to investors you don’t want funding from so you suck for them but you get good when it really matters.
Jeff Bezos says mars is stupid, why would you want to go to another gravity well.
The rule of 3 and 10, companies break when they triple in numbers because tech and processes get outdated, opposite for large companies, going from 10k to 30k employees will take a long time but they’re changing things for the sake of it.
The interesting jobs are the ones you make up so don’t worry what your job’s going to be. Do things you’re really interested in and if you do them really well you’re going to find a way to temper them with some good business opportunity.
Disruptive: for each 1 dollar of revenue you generate, can you cost an incumbent 5 or 10?
Hold the standard. ask for help. Fix it. Do whatever’s necessary. But don’t cheat.
Sales cure all. if you go out there and start making noise and making sales, people will find you.
In life you don’t have to be on the extreme but you have to ask for things, and you have to put yourself out there. Do the coffee challenge.. just ask for a 10% discount on your next coffee.
Improve tools at the top of the funnel, aim to optimise upstream items that have cascading results downstream. eg increase speed of mouse pad, buy the best router, lasik surgery etc. what are the things that if defunct or slow render your todo list useless?
Schedule time instead of find time. For example Tuesday 10 to 12 learning time or creation time, turn off wifi during this period to be as non reactive as possible.
Famous DJ: I hit up a local club owner in Utah and I asked “what’s your worst night that you have? what’s the slowest night?” and he said Monday, we’re not even open. I said “Dude let me come down on Monday night”.
Stones in a bucket metaphor for important things in life. put the big stones in first. The minutiae fit around the big things but the big things don’t fit around the minutiae. Family time etc big stone. If you put in the sand first it won’t fit.
The canvas strategy. Say little do much. Be a canvas for others so they can be great, open the way by serving others. Greatness comes from humble beginnings. It comes from grunt work, it means you’re the least important person in the room until you change that with results. Attach yourself to people and organisations who are already successful, subsume your identity into theirs and move both forward simultaneously. Entitlement and a sense of superiority makes accomplishments at start of career impossible. Help yourself by helping others.
Kevin Rose investing questions: do you understand it? Do you think they’ll be dominant and growing 3 years from now? Do you think this tech will be more or less a part of our lives in 3 years?
Gut investing, emotional response to features and what they might transform into in the future. eg Twitter yes at the time, Uber yes because of sound of the motor, VR no because too clunky and expensive and not order of magnitude better than traditional gaming at the moment.
First edit for you then for your fans then for your haters, 3 edits total.
Two crappy pages a day. Draft ugly, edit pretty.
Be vulnerable to get vulnerability, open up before the interview
Before starting any collaboration, ask your self what are their incentives!
The dirty little secret is that every success was almost a failure. timing and uncontrollable circumstances play more of a role than any of us care to admit.
It’s not about ideas, it’s about making ideas happen. Truth is young creative minds don’t need more ideas, they need to take more responsibility with the ideas they’ve already got.
Time-poor: people who were so obsessed with tending their material wealth and social standing that they couldn’t spare the time to truly experience the splendor of California’s Sierra wilderness. they would visit Yosemite only to rush away after a few hours of sightseeing.
This shotgun wedding of time and money has a way of keeping us in a holding pattern. The more we associate experience with cash value, the more we think that money is what we need to live.
Purchasing a package vacation to find a simpler life is kind of like using a mirror to see what you look like when you aren’t looking into a miror. All that is really sold is the romantic notion of a simpler life. Anyone could work for 8 months as a toilet cleaner and have enough money to ride a motorcycle across China. For some reason, we see long-term travel to faraway lands as a recurring dream or an exotic temptation, but not something that applies to the here and now. We choose to live like monks (relegating their travels to the future) rooting ourselves to a home or a career and using the future as a kind of phony ritual that justifies the present, spending the best part of one’s life earning money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it…
Given an unlimited amount of choices, we make none.
Vagabonding starts now.
Don’t worry that your extended travels might leave you with a “gap” on your resume, rather you should enthusiastically and unapologetically include your vagabonding experience on your resume when you return.
I talk to CEOs all the time and I say Listen the day before something is truly a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea. If it wasn’t a crazy idea it’s not a breakthrough, it’s an incremental improvement.
I think of problems as gold mines.
When 99% of people doubt you, you’re either gravely wrong or about to make history.
When you’re going 10% bigger you’re going against everybody, when you’re trying to get 10x bigger, you’re there by yourself. Secondly, for 10x you start with a clean sheet of paper and you approach the problem completely differently. for example Tesla. Third, it’s typically not 100x harder but the reward is 100x more.
5 billion new consumers are coming online in the next 6 years. What do they need?
Give the smartest 20-something in your company permission to figure out how they would take down your company. How would you disrupt yourself?
Remember that you’re capable of doing everything that the people you admire are doing. don’t be so impressed.
How do you choose the right fork in the road? If you’re saying “but I’m making good money” about a job or a project, you’re probably not on the right track, change it.
When possible, give the money to charity, it allows you to interact with people well above your pay grade.
Schedule and pay for things in advance to prevent yourself from backing out. Make commitments in a high energy state so that you can’t back out when you’re in a low energy state.
Comedy is a byproduct of authenticity. Difference between cute kid who knows and who doesn’t know he’s cute.
If you separate idea and execution you don’t put too much pressure on either. Brainstorming phase.
Getting in a good mood is the most important in creative process. It can take BJ hours of walking, listening to music drinking coffee etc before he feels he can write.
For night owls like me it’s nice to know that when you get started each day seems to matter less than learning how to get started consistently, however your crazy ass can manage it. It is so reassuring to see everyone has their own system, and how dysfunctional a lot of them are.
Nobody’s paying attention. Take as long as you want if you’re talented. You’ll get their attention again if you have a reason to.
Life favours the specific ask and punishes the vague wish!
All of my biggest wins have come from leveraging strengths instead of fixing weaknesses.
The marginal minute now matters more to me than the marginal dollar.
Domino foods in the slow carb diet. They’re ok in moderation but no-one is able to moderate them so it’s not allowed. These are all or nothing foods. World of warcraft is 0 or 15 hours. 15 mins doesn’t work.
Make your peace with the fact that saying no often requires trading popularity for respect.
In the midst of overwhelm, is life not showing me exactly what I should subtract?
At the end of life you can let a lot of the rules that govern our daily lives fly out the window. because you realise that we’re walking around in systems in society, and much of what consumes most of our days is not some natural order. We’re all navigating some superstructures that we humans created.
Formula for greatness : consistency driven by a deep love of the work.
The really efficient laborer will be found not to crowd his day with work, but will saunter to his task surrounded by a wide halo of ease and leisure. there will be a wide margin for relaxation to his day. He is only earnest to secure the kernels of time, and does not exaggerate the value of the husk. Don’t mistake looking busy and a full calendar for the actual core of the work. Those who work much do not work hard.
Use positive constraints to increase perceived free will and results. Freeform days might seem idyllic but they are paralysing due to continual paradox of choice and decision fatigue. For example set constraints in the form of a challenge. By the end of this day I’ll have achieved X… or scheduled workouts, or …
If you want to be tougher, be tougher.
Humility is a sign of a good leader. stay humble or get humbled.
One way or another young man are going to create a group and they’re going to find something, an adversary, where they can demonstrate their prowess and their unity. That feeling of us it buffers many people from their psychological demons. after earthquake or bombings there’s less suicide, less violent crimes, less mental illness etc.
Special forces guys become calm when they know they’re going to be attacked. they have a plan of action and it’s less stress than just waiting around.
Never solve a research problem with language (about writing non fiction).
Have the courage to enter into things that are unfamiliar but also have the wisdom to stop exploring when you’ve found something worth sticking around for. Can be a place, person, vocation. Getting this ratio right is very hard.
Set up a red team which tries to find flaws in your plan and destroy you.
The secrets to life are hidden behind the word cliché. For example “eat more vegetables”. It sounds too simplistic. What advice are you ignoring because it sounds too cliché?
Go through the exercise of what would my older self tell my current self. Really think about it.
Vlog for mood elevation! It’s about the relationship you build, not about production quality! Ferriss did it for just 15 days and he built a huge following so quickly.
Spend 5% of your life thinking about how you should spend the rest of your life.
The Dickens process. When we feel pain in one time zone (past, present or future) we automatically switch to a different time zone rather than change ourselves because change brings so much uncertainty. Auto switch to think about the present.
What are you going to be? It’s none of your business. I’m going to be what I want to be. When I articulated that I didn’t care anymore about what anyone thought about what I did except me all the weight of the world came off my shoulders and everything became possible. It shifted to everybody else being worried. Now they’re worried. But everything for me it shifted to a place where I felt free.
Kevin was an adult and had succeeded. His dad was sitting in the bathtub. His dad looked at him and said “you know, I never took a chance in my life. I came out of that goddamn fucking dust bowl and when I got a job, Kevin, I didn’t want to lose it. I was going to hold on to that because I knew there would always be food on the table.” Kevin: “There was, dad, there was”.
We’re so deeply conditioned to be lost in thought and to have this conversation with ourselves from the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep. It’s just chatter in the mind and it’s so captivating that we’re not even aware of it. We are essentially in a dream state and it’s through this veil of thought that we go about our day and perceive our environment. But we are just talking to ourselves non stop and until you can break that spell and begin to notice thoughts themselves as objects of consciousness just arising and passing away you can’t even pay attention to your breath or to anything else with any clarity.
What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do. A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.
Resolve to do one thing every day that you fear. I got into this habit by attempting to contact celebrities and famous businesspeople for advice.
No more passing days as the living dead, no more dinners where his colleagues compared cars riding on the sugar high of a new BMW until someone bought a more expensive Mercedes. It was over. More than a year later he was still getting unsolicited job offers from law firms but by then had started Nexus Surf, a premier surf adventure company based in the tropical paradise of Florianopolis, brazil.
Measure the cost of inaction
Sit, sit. Walk, walk. Don’t wobble. When I’m with a person, that’s total priority. Anything else is multitasking. Person to person trumps anything else. in a world of distraction, single tasking is a superpower.
The worst that can happen is that I’d have a backpack and a sleeping bag and I’d be eating oatmeal. and I’d be fine.
Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify. Simplify. A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.
When people seem like they are mean they’re almost never mean, they’re anxious.
I recently wrote a friend asking if he wanted to do something this week and he answered that he didn’t have a lot of time but if something was going on to let him know and maybe he could ditch a few hours of work. My question had not a preliminary heads up to some future invitation. This was the invitation. I was hereby asking him to do something with me. But his busyness was like some vast churning noise through which he was shouting at me, and I gave up trying to shout back over it.
Planshopping. Deferring committing to one plan until you know all the options.
We’re all so afraid of being left alone with ourselves. Obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy completely booked in demand every hour of the day. All this noise and rush and stress seem contrived to drown out or cover up some fear at the center of our lives.
I’ll say it. I’m not busy. on the best ordinary days I write in the morning, go for a long bike ride and run errands in the afternoon and see friends, read or watch a movie in the evening. The very best days of my life are given over to uninterrupted debauchery but these are alas undependable and increasingly difficult to arrange. If you call me up and ask whether I won’t maybe blow off work and check out the new American wing at the met or ogle girls in central park or just drink chilled pink minty cocktails all day long I will say “what time?”
It’s hard to find anything to say about life without immersing yourself in the world but it’s also just about impossible to figure out what that might be or how best to say it without getting the hell out of it again.
I did make a conscious decision a long time ago to choose time over money since you can always make more money. And I’ve always understood that the best investment of my limited time on earth is to spend it with people I love.
General fame is overrated, you want to be famous to 2000 – 3000 people you handpick. general fame brings more liabilities than benefits
High agency people start thinking of solutions when something is said to be impossible.
For his entire life Eric believed using psychedelics was like pouring acid on your brain and leaving it like Swiss cheese. “It wasn’t until I started meeting some of the most intellectually gifted people in the sciences and beyond.. I realized that this was sort of the open secret of what I call the hallucinogenic elite, whether it’s billionaires or Nobel laureates or inventors or coders. A lot of these people were using agents either for creativity or to gain access to the things that are so difficult to get access to through therapy and other conventional means.”
It doesn’t matter how many people don’t get it. what matters is how many people do.
10% of people will find a way to take anything personally. Expect it and treat it as math.
I’m not talking about being really super effective. just to get to normal I have to do meditation. I have to do some exercise.
The most important trick to be happy is to realise that happiness is a choice that you make and a skill that you develop. You choose to be happy and then you work at it. it’s just like building muscles.
If you want to be successful hang around with people who are more successful than you. If you want to be happy hang around people who are less successful than you.
All of the value in life, including in relationships, comes from compound interest.
Honesty above everything
If you can’t see yourself working with someone for life, don’t work with them for a day.
There are no adults. everyone’s making it up as they go. figure it out yourself and do it.
For all practical purposes we are nothing. We’re basically monkeys on a small rock orbiting a small backwards star in a huge galaxy which is in an absolutely staggeringly gigantic universe which itself may be part of a gigantic multiverse. You are like a firefly blinking once in the night. Nothing that we do lasts. Eventually you will fade, your works will fade, your children will fade, your thoughts will fade, this planet will fade, the sun will fade. There are entire civilizations that we remember now with just one word like Sumerian or the Mayans. Do you know any of them? Have they outlived their natural lifespan somehow? No. There is no excuse for spending most of your life in misery.
Be willing to fail or succeed on who you really are. Don’t ever try to be anything else.
Willingly invite Mara to tea. Let all emotions in, even anger.
Sometimes you can push a rock downhill instead of uphill. Go on offense.
If you work for the awards you don’t do good work. but if you do good work, the awards will come.
Billboard in Times Square : “None of these companies care about you”.
Obama said poo. the best thing to do is give people questions they’re not expecting.
Don’t waste your time on marketing, just try to get better. There are no gatekeepers.
Don’t start a book or script at the start, just start in the middle and life gets so much simpler.
Malcolm Gladwell’s dad has zero intellectual insecurities. It has never crossed his mind to be concerned that the world thinks he’s an idiot. He’s not in that game. So if he doesn’t understand something, he just asks you. He doesn’t care if he sounds foolish. He’ll just keep asking questions until he gets it right. “I don’t understand how that works”, in this kind of dumb slow voice.
If you’re an environmentalist and you hear about an environment issue eg honeybee collapse your immediate moral position is “I know exactly what the cause is, it’s people being stupid and careless and greedy etc.” It may be true or false. But if you approach every problem with your moral compass you’re going to make a lot of mistakes. You’re going to exclude a lot of solutions. You’re going to assume you know a lot of things when in fact you don’t. Other people might see the world in a different way.
How you do anything is how you do everything. Most people wait for big moments to turn it on. but if you don’t cultivate this as a way of life in the little moments then there’s no chance in the big moments. When you’re not cultivating quality you’re cultivating sloppiness.
If you teach your kid “it’s bad weather when it rains”… Makes you reliant on conditions being perfect in order to be able to go out and have a good time. “look dada it’s such a beautiful rainy day”
Do cooking together as a bonding experience with people you don’t know very well yet.
what do I spend a silly amount of money on? How might I scratch my own itch? Where am I price insensitive? Sports supplements. I already knew which ads got me to buy, which stores and websites I used to purchase etc. Could I create a product to scratch my own itch?
Perhaps I needed more time and mobility, not more income? If I could only work 2 hours per week on my business what would I do? What if I let my employees make decisions up to 1000$? To get huge good things done you need to be ok with letting the small bad things happen.
What’s the least crowded channel? Ferriss emailed best selling authors after he wrote 4HWW and found out that connecting to bloggers was the way to go. Then he went to a tech conference and got drunk with bloggers instead of sending emails.
What if I couldn’t pitch my product directly? media doesn’t give a shit about book launches, they care about stories. What if I had to sell around the product? Showcase people from the book who’ve completely redesigned their lives, coin the term lifestyle design etc.
What if I could only solve problems by subtracting or simplifying instead of adding
In the beginning of your career you spend time to earn money. Once you hit your stride in any capacity you should spend money to earn time as the latter is nonrenewable.
If it’s just an itch it’s not sufficient. it gets to this point of how badly you really want it. for me, I burned the boats. there was no way I was going to get a job. failure was never an option. I had to make this work.
Five monkeys in a room with a a basket of bananas on top of a ladder. If monkey climbs up all monkeys get sprayed with water. After a while, monkeys start pulling each other down when they try to climb up. Then researchers replace each monkey one by one. After some time, none of the original monkeys are there but they still pull each other down. Captivity is an illusion.
Tiger in captivity released in the wild sought refuge in a tiny corner of the compound. She paced in that area. Perhaps the biggest tragedy is that freedom is possible yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns. Where are you afraid of getting sprayed with water, even though it never happened? Oftentimes, everything you want is a mere inch outside your comfort zone. Test it.
If it’s truly important, schedule it. Hosseini wrote the Kite Runner in the early mornings before working as a full time doctor.
The trust comes first. creativity is like a flow you have to let through. the greats don’t know which part comes next
Even if I didn’t know what to do, I just had to begin. For a lot of people that’s the part that holds them back the most. They think, well I don’t have an idea so I can’t start. I know you’ll only get the idea once you start. It’s this totally reverse thing. You have to act first before inspiration will hit. Always action first. You don’t want for inspiration and then act or you’re never going to act, because you’re never going to have the inspiration, not consistently.
He thought he was making the worst movie ever in Forrest Gump. When you feel like oh I don’t know if I’m doing it right. These other guys seem to know. No they don’t know. None of them know. That’s the beauty of it. you don’t have to know. You just have to keep moving forward.
“Hey I’m a filmmaker and I’m making a low budget movie and I kind of need your name as a marquee to help you sell it and I can’t pay very much and it’s going to be a lot of work.” versus “I love what you do, I’ve always been a big fan, I’ve got a part you’d never get. I believe in creative freedom, I don’t work with the studios. I work independently. I’m the boss there, it’s just me and my crew. It’s very creative. Ask any of your actor friends.” what and how vs WHY (and it’s about THEM instead of about you). “you’re going to feel so invigorated. I shoot very quickly. Robert de Niro did machete in 4 days. I’m going to shoot you out in 4 days. you’ll be on your next movie for 6 months. you’re on my movie for 4 days and it’s going to be the most fun you’ve ever had, and you’ll probably get great reviews.”