Tools of Titans Cover

Tools of Titans - By Tim Ferriss

Date read: 
January 6, 2017
See My Collection of 50+ Book Notes

My Thoughts

Collection of hundreds of great insights, tools, advice, etc. but lacking in cohesion. The chapters and profiles feels disjointed, with no clear relationship between them. Great for rereading again and again.

Summary Notes

What would you do to accomplish your 10-year goals in the next 6 months, if you had a gun to your head?

Siddharta: "I can think, I can wait, I can fast."


"I'm not the strongest. I'm not the fastest. But I'm really good at suffering" — Amelia Boone

"If you want to be a stud later; you have to be a pud now."

Flexibility is passive. Mobility requires demonstrating strength throughout the entire range of motion

There are stupid gymnasts, and there are old gymnasts, but there are no old, stupid gymnasts because they're all dead.

How To Do Three-Day Fast (Thursday - Sunday)

  • Low-carb dinner at 6 pm on Thursday
  • Sleep in as long as possible
  • Take exogenous ketones or MCT when waking up and 2 more times in 3/4-hour intervals
  • On Friday and Saturday, start walking immediately after waking up. Make sure to drink lots of water with a bit of salt and some lemon juice for flavor. Walk for 3-4 hours.
  • Consume up to 4 tablespoons of fat or exogenous ketones per day, like putting coconut oil in tea or coffee
  • Break the fast on Sunday night.

Post-Exercise Cold Routine

  • Pre-workout BCAAs
  • Workout
  • Post-exercise whey protein
  • Immediate heat for ~20 minutes. Sauna or immersion bath.
  • Put 40lbs of ice in bathtub and wait until temperature reaches 45F/7C
  • Ice bath for 20 minutes, keeping hands out of the water, except for the last 3-5 minutes.
  • Repeat heat & cold 2-4 times

"All the great problems I have in the daily world subside when I do cold exposure. Exposing myself to the worthy cold is a great cleaning purifying force."

Great Questions To Ask

  • Who is great at a sport despite being poorly built for it?
  • Who are the most controversial or unorthodox athletes or trainers? Why?
  • What are the biggest mistakes and myths? What are the biggest wastes of time?
  • If people had to teach themselves, what would you suggest they use?
  • If you were to train me for 12 weeks for a competition and had a million dollars on the line, what would the training look like? What about 8 weeks?
  • What mistakes are most common, even at the pro level?

If you're over 40 and don't smoke, there's a 70/80% chance you'll die from heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease, or cancer.

The length of time doctors spend with you on your first visit is probably your best indicator of their quality.

Slow-Carb Diet Cheatsheet

  • Avoid "white" starchy carbs (pasta, bread, rice, potatoes)
  • Eat the same few meals again and again
  • Don't drink calories
  • Don't eat fruit
  • Measure your body fat percentage, NOT your weight!
  • Take one day off per week and have a cheat day!

"Strength is the mother quality of all physical qualities."

When in doubt, train your grip and core.

"Being calm is contagious."

Teach yourself to always go first. The first to talk to someone, the first to try something. Most times, it pays off.

All flexible people should go bang some iron, and all big weight lifters should go do some yoga. We always gravitate toward our strengths because we want to be in our glory.

If you can't breathe in a given position, you haven't mastered it.

Ask yourself: is that a dream or a goal? A goal is something you set a plan for, work toward, and achieve.

Dealing with the temporary frustration of not making progress is an integral part of the path toward excellence. 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.

If you're not encountering defeat on a regular basis, you are not trying hard enough.

Just do one pushup. Something is better than nothing.


When the going gets tough, repeat: "Tonight, I will be in my bed"

Good stories always beat good spreadsheets.

"When I was a founder, we didn't have the word 'pivot.' We just called it a fuck-up." — Marc Andreessen

If you want to find new opportunities, ask yourself 'What do the nerds do on nights and weekends?'

Have strong views, loosely held.

Everything in life was made up by people that were no smarter than you are.

Failing fast is not the same thing as succeeding over the long run.

"Far more money has been lost by investors trying to anticipate corrections, than has been lost in corrections themselves" - Peter Lynch

If more information was the answer, then we'd all be billionaires with perfect abs. It's not what you know, it's what you do consistently

Remember that the standard pace is for chumps. In almost all cases is it possible to go faster and learn more.

Don't be a donkey. Realize that you can achieve everything you want, just not all at once. A donkey is someone who is trying to pursue many different things at once, but not making progress in any.

'Stressed' is the achiever word for 'fear'

What you know doesn't mean shit. What do you do consistently?

Prime your state. Your body will help you tell an enabling story. Only then focus on strategy.

The ultimate quantification of success isn't how much time you spend doing what you love. It's how little time you spend doing what you hate.

"The limits of my language mean the limits of my world"— Ludwig Wittgenstein

It's okay to have an error rate of 10-20% if it means you can move fast.

How can you become less competitive in order to be more successful?

"You are more powerful than you think you are. Now act accordingly."

Seth Godin's 'First Ten' rule of marketing:Tell or show ten people. If they don't tell anybody else, it's a sign it's not as good as you think

"Forget purpose. It's okay to be happy without one. The quest for a single purpose has ruined many lives."

When you launch a new product, don't ask yourself "How is this new product better than the competition?" but "What category is this new product first in?"

To make a living as a creator or entrepreneur, just focus on finding your 1,000 true fans; who'll buy anything you produce. True fans are not only the source of your income, but also your chief marketing force.

"When you complain, nobody wants to help you."

"How are you complicit in creating the conditions you say you don't want?"

Clear the path for the people above you and you will eventually create a path for yourself.

Neil Strauss' editing process:

  1. First, I edit for me. What do I like?
  2. Second, I edit for my fans. What will they absolutely love?
  3. Third, I edit for my haters. What will they pick apart or make fun of?

"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 skin in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming 'Wow! What a ride!'" — Hunter S. Thompson

The world's biggest problems are the world's biggest business opportunities.

Life favors the specific ask and punishes the vague wish

A simple metric: Are you working on something that can change the world? Yes or no.


"Ours is a culture where we wear our ability to get by on very little sleep as a kind of badge of honor that symbolizes our work ethic, or toughness, or some other virtue — bit in reality, it's a total profound failure of priorities and self-respect."

Always have a back-up. Two is one and one is none.

You have about 80,000 working hours in the course of your life. What you work on matters.

The Dickens Process

  • What has each belief cost you in the past? What about people you loved?
  • What is each costing you and people you care about in the present?
  • What will each cost you and people you care about 1, 3, 5, and 10 years from now?

Secrets are a buffer to intimacy.

To not do something because you might get injured is a terrible reason not to do something.

"I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened" — Mark Twain

Whatever you do, do it 100%. Sit, sit. Walk, walk. Don't wobble.

Any true forecast about the future is going to be dismissed. Any future that is believable now is going to be wrong.

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 and satisfaction.

"In order for art to imitate life, you have to have a life."

Bad decisions make for good stories.

Love is being willing to die for someone who you yourself want to kill.

"Try to slay dragons. I don't care how big the opponent is. We read about and admire the people who did things that were basically considered to be impossible. That's what makes the world a better place to live." — Bryan Callen

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 best art divides the audience.

Listen to a single song on repeat to promote focus and flow

"General fame is overrated. You want to be famous to 2,000 to 3,000 people you handpick." — Eric Weinstein

Drop out only to drop into something. Start creating, building.

The first rule on handling conflict is to not be around people who are constantly engaging in conflict.

You can change it, you can accept it, or you can leave it.

Tell your friends that you're a happy person. You'll have to live up to it. Your friends will expect you to be a happy person.

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

If you can't see yourself working with someone for life, don't work with them for a day.

All the real benefits in life come from compound interest.

Free education is abundant, all over the Internet. It's the desire to learn that's scarce.

There are no adults. Everyone's making it up as they go along. Figure it out yourself and do it.

The big question is, when you had the opportunity, did you choose courage over comfort?

To get huge, good things done, you need to be okay with letting the small, bad things happen.

Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.

"Life is not waiting for the storm to pass, it's learning how to dance in the rain." — Vivian Greene

"Dad, it's not cheating. It's just creative sportsmanship."

17 Questions To Ask Yourself

  1. What if I did the opposite for 48 hours?
  2. What do I spend a silly amount of money on? How might I scratch my own itch?
  3. What would I do/have/be if I had $10 million? What's my real TMI?
  4. What are the worst things that could happen? Could I get back here?
  5. If I could only work 2 hours per week on my business, what would I do?
  6. What if I let them make decisions up to $100? $500? $1000?
  7. What's the least crowded channel?
  8. What if I couldn't pitch my product directly?
  9. What if I created my own real-world MBA?
  10. Do I need to make it back the way I lost it?
  11. What if I could only subtract to solve problems?
  12. What might I put in place to allow me to go off the grid for 4-8 weeks?
  13. Am I hunting antelope or field mice?
  14. Could it be that everything is fine and complete as is?
  15. What would this look like if it were easy?
  16. How can I throw money at this problem? How can I "waste" money to improve the quality of my life?
  17. No hurry, no pause.

Related Notes

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