Just Read: Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers, Tim Ferriss

This is a thoroughly enjoyable book written by a person (Tim Ferriss – @TFerriss) who lives in the extremes. I’ve read most of his books and have never gotten around to blogging about them, which is unusual. I suspect that each one has so much to talk about, where does one start?

I distinctly remember what I thought after finishing 4 Hour Body, for which Tim was occasionally derided for what were seen as extreme health practices. My opinion was different – “he’s probably one of the most empowered patients out there, why is that a negative?”

Speaking of which, 50 years after the medical specialty of family medicine was created and AI was first dreamed of in medicine, this is still true:

On Good Doctors โ€œThe length of time they spend with you on your first visit is probably your best indicator [of their quality].โ€

Charles Poliquin in,Ferriss, Timothy. Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers (p. 78). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

A Nightmare for Library Patrons

The book is so chock full of guidance that I had to check it out 4 (or 5) different times to absorb it. Combine that with the long waiting list at my library to access it meant that this was a multi-month endeavor. My reading list has expanded exponentially and I’ve already read or engaged with several of the people within. The new Now page on this blog is one of the results of that exploration.

From a business perspective, then, this book is also brilliantly created, you really need to buy it to have on hand ๐Ÿ™‚ .


I really connect with authenticity (who doesn’t, well, I have met people who don’t really get the concept and that’s okay, we are all human), and appreciate the interspersed personal notes from Ferriss’ life.

He discusses everything from laziness (or what it really is, “being busy”):

Being busy is a form of lazinessโ€” lazy thinking and indiscriminate action. Being busy is most often used as a guise for avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable actions.

Ferriss, Timothy. Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers (p. 201). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle Edition.

…which is no less a serious topic than depression, suicide, and the in between and all around need to have purpose and meaning.

What I’d put on a billboard

Part of the very engaging nature of the book are the different ways Ferriss probes his subjects, from questions about what they would tell their younger selves, to what they would put on a billboard.

I tried to think about this for myself (because this is my RSS feed and I can) and it became complicated for me – is this saying who I am, is it advice to other people, is it the construction of a world I would like to see? That’s why it’s such a good question.

In the end I’d choose these, in this order:

  • Be Curious (Dan Engle) (or the Steve Jobs version – “Don’t live someone else’s life”)
  • Listen (or the corollary “Learn to say, ‘tell me more'”) (Cal Fussman)
  • You are awesome (Samy Kamkar) (Or the Gloria Gaynor version – “You are who you are, you are your own special creation”)
  • Tolerance of intolerance is cowardice (Sam Harris)

I could go on, however/and, it’s nice for me to know and see from the image below, taken just last week, that these are the ideas I don’t even think twice about in daily living ๐Ÿ™‚ .

We are who we are, and that's more than enough. ๐Ÿ‘๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆโœŒ#TransVisibility #EqualityEqualsHealth outandequal kpthrive #LGBTQ #KPpride #WeAreOurOwnSpecialCreations #futurestartshere
We are who we are, and that’s more than enough. ๐Ÿ‘๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆโœŒ#TransVisibility #EqualityEqualsHealth @outandequal @kpthrive #LGBTQ #KPpride #WeAreOurOwnSpecialCreations #futurestartshere (View on Flickr.com)

Innovation doesn’t happen in the middle of a bell shaped curve

As Tim Brown of IDEO says in Change by Design (see: Now Reading: Change by Design โ€“ How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation, by Tim Brown)

By concentrating solely on the bulge at the center of the bell curveโ€ฆwe are more likely to confirm what we already know than learn something new and surprising. For insights at that level we need to head to the edges, the places where we expect to find โ€œextremeโ€ users who live differently, think differently, and consume differently-a collector who owns 1,400 Barbies, for instance, or a professional car thief.

Enjoy, and thanks for the life modifications, because life is just an experiment, and it’s ours to own, uniquely.

Ted Eytan, MD