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

Reading Time: 5 minutes


A great resource that synthesizes the habits, tools, and philosophies of top performers and leaders. You will walk away with dozens of nuggets of wisdom, book and article recommendations, and new habits to introduce into your life.

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Key Takeaways

Books recommendations

Tools of Titans has many book recommendations, but here a few that I pulled from reading:

Essays and blog posts

Tools of Titans has many article recommendations, but here a few that I pulled from reading:

Exercises to try

  • Writing down 10 ideas each morning in a notebook (James Altucher). Sample prompts like:
    • 10 craziest things I could do
    • 10 old ideas I can make new
    • 10 ridiculous things I would invent
    • 10 books I can write
    • 10 people I can send ideas to
  • Focusing on systems rather than short term goals (Scott Adams)
    • Fr example, writing on a regular basis without knowing what you are practicing for will develop the skill of writing that then gives you more options and transferable skills.
  • Daily structured gratitude journaling
    • An old relationship that really helped you, or that you valued highly.
    • An opportunity you have today. Perhaps that’s just an opportunity to call one of your parents, or an opportunity to go to work.
    • Something great that happened yesterday, whether you experienced or witnessed it.
    • Something simple near you or within sight.
  • Joy of Loving-Kindness
    • During the day, randomly identify two people who walk past you or who are standing or sitting around you. Secretly wish for them to be happy. “I wish for this person to be happy.”
  • Commit to doing one pushup before bed.
  • Write down the 20% of activities and people causing 80% or more of your negative emotions
  • Decision making
    • Tonight or tomorrow morning, think of a decision you’ve been putting off, and challenge the fuzzy “what ifs” holding you hostage. If not now, when? If left at the status quo, what will your life and stress look like in 6 months? In 1 year? In 3 years? Who around you will also suffer?
  • Think about being a 10-year-older version of myself.
    • Then “What would I probably tell myself as an older version of myself?’ Start living by the answers and grow exponentially.
  • Write two pages of uninterrupted flow to flex the muscle of generating content without judgment. Prompt ideas include:
    • Something you don’t remember
    • Your darkest teacher
    • A memory of a physical injury
    • When you knew it was over
    • Being loved
    • What you were really thinking
    • How you found your way back

Content to watch

  • Season 1 of Escape to River Cottage
  • The Gatekeepers
  • This is Spinal Tap
  • Intelligence Squared and the Great Debates
  • The Battle of Algiers
  • The Up Series

Good quotes

  • “Learn to confront the challenges of the real world, rather than resort to the protective womb of academia.”
  • “I am a big believer that if you have a very clear vision of where you want to go, the rest of it is much easier.” Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • “When you’re thinking of how to make your business bigger, it’s tempting to try to think all the big thoughts, the world-changing, massive-action plans. But please know that it’s often the tiny details that really thrill someone enough to make them tell all their friends about you.” – Derek Sivers
  • “If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth writing.” – Ben Franklin
  • “What is the ultimate quantification of success? For me, it’s not how much time you spend doing what you love. It’s how little time you spend doing what you hate.” – Casey Neistat
  • “Once we get those muddy, maddening, confusing thoughts [nebulous worries, jitters, and preoccupations] on the page, we face our day with clearer eyes.” – Julia Cameron
  • “I have come to learn that part of the business strategy is to solve the simplest, easiest, and most valuable problem.” – Reid Hoffman
  • “So if you’re planning to do something with your life, if you have a 10-year plan of how to get there, you should ask: Why can’t you do this in 6 months?” – Peter Thiel
  • “There are no real rules, so make rules that work for you.” – Seth Godin
  • “I always advise young people to become good public speakers (top 25%). Anyone can do it with practice. If you add that talent to any other, suddenly you’re the boss of the people who have only one skill.” – Scott Adams
  • “At the end of the day, who cares? What’s the big deal? I’m here, I’m going to try my best, and I’m going to go home, and my family’s there…Even though my whole world’s wrapped up in this, who cares?” – Shaun White
  • “Stephen Hawking actually has the best quote…He says that, ‘When you complain, nobody wants to help you,’ and it’s the simplest thing and so plainly spoken…If you spend your time focusing on the things that are wrong, and that’s what you express and project to people you know, you don’t become a source of growth for people, you become a source of destruction for people” – Tracy DiNunzio
  • “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. There is an old saying, ‘Say little, do much.’” – Ryan Holiday
  • “The person who clears the path ultimately controls its direction, just as the canvas shapes the painting.” – Ryan Holiday
  • “The biggest mistake you can make is to accept the norms of your time.” – Neil Strauss
  • “Chill out. Calm down. I feel like myself and other people I know that are in their early- to mid-20s get really wound up about things having to be a certain way. It doesn’t matter as much as you think it does.” – Justin Boreta
  • “Truth is, young creative minds don’t need more ideas, they need to take more responsibility with the ideas they’ve already got.” – Scott Belsky
  • “In reality, long-term travel has nothing to do with demographics–age, ideology, income–and everything to do with personal outlook. Long-term travel isn’t about being a college student–it’s about being a student of daily life. Long-term travel isn’t an act of rebellion against society–it’s an act of common sense within society. Long-term travel doesn’t require a massive “bundle of cash”; it requires only that we walk through the world in a more deliberate way.”
  • “Any time I’m telling myself, ‘But I’m making so much money,’ that’s a warning sign that I’m doing the wrong things.” – B.J. Novak
  • “Nobody’s paying attention to anyone else at all. You think everyone is, but they’re not. So take as long as you want if you’re talented. You’ll get their attention again if you have a reason to.” – B.J. Novak
  • “The second you start doing it for an audience, you’ve lost the long game because creating something that is rewarding and sustainable over the long run requires, most of all, keeping yourself excited about it.” – Maria Popova
  • “There is more freedom to be gained from practicing poverty than chasing wealth. Suffer a little regularly and you often cease to suffer.”
  • “Life is not waiting for the storm to pass, it’s learning how to dance in the rain” – Vivian Greene
  • “Where are you afraid of getting sprayed with water, even though it’s never happened? Oftentimes, everything you want is a mere inch outside of your comfort zone. Test it.”
  • “There were three reasons why we survived: We had no money, we had no technology, and we had no plan. Every dollar, we used very carefully.” – Jack Ma
  • “No. Accept reality, but focus on the solution. Take that issue, take that setback, take that problem, and turn it into something good. Go forward. And, if you are part of a team, that attitude will spread throughout.” – Robert Rodriguez

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