My full notes: Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss

Tools of Titans is hands-down one of my favourite books of all time, and probably the one I’ve gifted the most. It’s a ridiculously valuable compilation of life advice from many seriously talented and successful people. Full disclosure: Tim divided the interviewees into Healthy, Wealthy and Wise categories and I liked this so much that I nicked it for this site!

I organised my notes in Evernote under my own headings so as to be able to quickly and easily access the key advice for various categories. Some of the notes may make more sense if and when you delve into the book!! (Note I’ve only featured the people from whom I had a personal takeaway)


  • Make your bed
  • Meditate
  • Do <1 min of reps of something – it primes you, wakes you up, dramatically helps your mood & quiets mental chatter
  • Cold shower
  • Cup of tea!
  • Journaling – either quick 5min journal or morning pages – 3 pages of stream of consciousness by Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way) – intended to be mental windscreen wipers and get rid of muddy thoughts to help face the day with clearer eyes
  • Peter Diamandis’ affirmational mantra: I am joy. i am love. I am gratitude. I see, hear, feel and know that the purpose of my life is to inspire and guide the transformation of humanity on and off the Earth


  • Tara Brach smile guided meditation 
  • Tim Ferriss takes 15 mins to let the mud settle and feels the most benefit in the last 5 mjns
  • Check out Meng’s loving kindness meditation

Dominic D’Agostino

  • Notes on helpfulness of fasting before chemo

Jason Nemer

  • Late stage cancer emergencies p. 32-33
  • Duck shit fragrance tea
  • Acroyoga (in pairs)

  Peter Attia

  • carbs (and poss protein) raise insulin which is a growth hormone —> ageing and cancer

Charles Poliquin

  • Magnesium benefits – different forms for different issues. Magnesium Threonate helps sleep
  • Tired & wired = cortisol. He takes phosphatidylserine & N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) for this & to reduce glucose levels
  • The best educator on HRT is Thierry Hertoghe

Dan Engle

  • Many people don’t even know what having a normal mood feels like but it includes optimism, faith, courage, strength and personal empowerment

 Kelly Starrett

  • Cat cow stretch
  • Spend as much time lunging as poss and touch inside elbow to the ground before switching sides
  • Roll your gut on a medicine ball before bed
  • Get zero drop shoes like vans

Paul Levesque

  • Jetlag – best cure is going to the gym for 5 mins is the best reset


Gabby Reece

  • Practice going first (smiling first when you come across someone etc). People are nicer than they look but you have to go first

 Jason Nemer

  • ‘That you can trust people. You can trust a lot of people’ 
  • HAVE NO FEAR – one of biggest life regrets

Adam Gazzaley

  • You’ve got one chance to do amazing things – being afraid of being wrong or mistaken or fumbling is just NOT HOW YOU DO SOMETHING OF IMPACT. you just have to be fearless
  • the only way to make fundamental breakthroughs is to do the kind of research that other people think is foolhardy or risky

Marc Andreessen 

  • Move forward. Don’t stop or second guess or revisit (obsess over!!) past decisions
  • Life is much broader once you realise ‘life’ was made up by people no smarter than you, and you can change it and influence it

Ricardo Semler 

  • Ask ‘Why’ 3 times when questioning your own motives or tackling big projects

Derek Sivers

  • if it’s not a Fuck yeah!!!!!! It’s a NO
  • Lack of time is lack of priorities. If i’m busy it’s because i made choices that put me in that position
  • do things effortlessly without breaking your neck or getting stressed (his ‘easy’ bike ride only took 45mins, 2mins longer than when he huffs and puffs

Chris Sacca 

  • which challenges did I assign myself and which am I doing to please someone else?
  • empathy helps you create for others by seeing the world through their eyes
  • Tonight I will be in my bed. Repeat. 
  • We’re all still emotionally driven. We want to attach ourselves to narratives. We get behind leaders who stir our feelings

Matt Mullenweg

  • Commit to one push up before bed – use an embarrassingly small goal to get over that initial hump

Seth Godin

  • Keep track of the stuff that DOES work, not the stuff that doesn’t. What you track determines your lens
  • Most people spend their life in defensive / reactive mode, playing with the cards they got instead of moving to a different table with different cards … instead of seeking to change people, they are wiling to be changed
  • Start a business you can push downhill

James Altucher

  • If you can’t come up with 10 ideas come up with 20 ideas – you’re putting too much pressure on yourself. Perfectionism is the ENEMY of the idea muscle – shut off your fear of embarrassment by forcing the brain to come up with bad ideas
  • Just say no and ‘hope all is well’. Don’t give excuses

Tracy DiNunzio

  • When you complain, nobody wants to help you
  • go on a complaining diet – don’t say OR THINK negative thoughts


  • put the Big Stones in the bucket first – family, friends etc

 Neil Strauss

  • listens to Max Richter’s From Sleep before bed
  • or Mute Button – high quality, long field recordings

Sophia Amoruso

  • Make promises you’re not sure you can keep and then work out how to keep them
  • don’t be so impressed – there’s no reason you can’t have the things that the people you admire have

Tim Ferriss

  • What would it look like if i had  …? Life favours the specific ask and punishes the vague wish
  • Know where i’m good at moderation and where I’m all / nothing
  • Overwhelm:  in the midst of overwhelm, is life not showing me exactly what i should subtract?
  • am i having a breakdown or a breakthrough?
  • Write down 20% of activities and people causing 80% of negative emotions

Jocko Willink

  • if you want to be tougher mentally, it’s simple: be tougher
  • Take extreme ownership of my own world and problems

Sam Harris 

  • Sam Harris guided meditations
  • Look at the sky while meditating

Caroline Paul

  • Fear is important but some people give it too much priority – it’s only one of many things to assess a situation. I am pro bravery. 
  • Women are very very quick to say they’re scared
  • Partition each emotion as if it’s a separate little block and put them in a line
  • It’s time to adopt a paradigm of bravery instead of a paradigm of fear
  • Courage takes practice – it’s a skill you have to develop
  • “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage”

 ** Tim Ferriss on fear-setting **

  • Most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty
  • Define your nightmare – the worst that could happen
  • What steps could you take to even temporarily repair the damage?
  • What are the outcomes or benefits of more probable scenarios?
  • What are you putting off out of fear? Define the worst case, accept it and do it
  • 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 no of uncomfortable conversations they are willing to have
  • Resolve to do one thing every day that you fear
  • What is it costing you (financially, emotionally) to postpone action? It’s equally important to assess the atrocious cost of inaction
  • How will you feel having allowed circumstances to impose themselves upon you and having allowed 10 more years of your life to pass doing what you know will not fulfil you?

Bryan Callen

  • I think you should try to slay dragons. I don’t care how big the opponent is

Rainn Wilson

  • you have to believe your capacity is greater than you could ever imagine. Max out your God-given talents for max service in the world
  • Dig deeper – make the world a better place. We can ask more of ourselves and do more for others

Naval Ravikant

  • IF you want to be successful, surround yourself with people who are more successful. If you want to be happy, do the opposite
  • Most used phrase to self – Accept. Change / accept / leave situations but don’t complain about them
  • Choose your 5 chimps carefully – you can predict people’s behaviour by the 5 chimps they hang out with
  • Never fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool
  • Tell your friends you’re a happy person – then you’ll be forced to confirm to it > consistency bias
  • 90% of his thoughts are fear based. 10% desire-based
  • Desire is a contract you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want
  • Tries not to have more than 1 big desire at one time and also to recognise that as the axis of his unhappiness
  • BE PRESENT above all else
  • Desire is suffering
  • Reading is the ultimate meta skill and can be traded for anything else
  • Watch every thought and ask ‘why am i having this thought?’
  • What you choose to work on, and who you work with, are much more important than how hard you work
  • If you eat, invest and think according to the ‘news’ you’ll be bankrupt in every way
  • We waste our time with s-t thinking and busywork. Buffett takes a year to decide before acting
  • You get paid for being right first and to be first you can’t wait for consensus
  • There are no adults! Everyone’s making it up as they go along. Figure it out yourself and do it

Glenn Beck

  • Be willing to fail or succeed on who you really are
  • You realise you belong here right? You’re ok to be here
  • There’s something stupid in us that just makes us feel like we’re not good enough, we’re not smart enough

Tara Brach

  • the biggest question is ‘what am i unwilling to feel?’ Our habit of being a fair-weather friend to ourselves or pushing away what is unwelcome, is deeply entrenched
  • When Mara (the dark side) visits, say I see you Mara
  • Perhaps the biggest tragedy of our lives is that freedom is possible, yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns (p.612)

Brene Brown

  • Lean into discomfort, she willing to be uncomfortable is the bravest and rises the fastest
  • “When I had the opportunity, did I choose courage over comfort?”

Jamie Foxx

  • what’s on the other side of fear? Nothing

Bryan Johnson

  • What can you do that will be remembered in 200-400 years?
  • What would Shackleton do … is this the most audacious endeavour i can possibly conceive of?


Peter Diamandis

  • What’s your moonshot?
  • I think of problems as gold mines. The world’s biggest problems are the world’s biggest opportunities
  • to get out of a funk: WHY DO I BELIEVE THIS IS IMPORTANT?
  • WHAT did i want to do when i was a child?
  • If i could spend $1bn improving the world and solving a problem, what would i pursue? 
  • Benefits of going after a moonshot – think 10x vs 10%
  • everyone’s trying to be 10% bigger – when you go 10% bigger you’re there by yourself
  • when you go 10x bigger you have to start with a clean sheet of paper and you approach the problem completely differently. don’t drag a legacy from the past into the present
  • When you try to go 10x vs 10% it’s not 100x harder but the reward is 100x more
  • What do the next 3-5 billion people being born need? 
  • If you can’t win, change the rules
  • If you can’t change the rules then ignore them
  • The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself
  • Paul Levesque
  • Is it a dream or a goal? A dream is something you fantasise about that will never happen. A goal is something you plan for, work towards and achieve
  • What am I continuously doing to myself that i’m not good at? Improve it, eliminate it or delegate it

Tim Ferriss

  • Write down the 3-5 things that are making you the most anxious or uncomfortable
  • Then ask – if this was the only thing i got done today would i be satisfied with my day? 
  • WHAT you do is more important than how you do everything else
  • Being busy is a form of laziness / is a guise for avoiding the critical but uncomfortable actions
  • How are you complicit in creating the conditions you say you don’t want? (from Jerry Colonna, top exec coach in Silicon Valley

Coach Sommer

  • A blue collar work ethic plus indomitable will. It is literally that simple. Nothing interferes. Nothing can sway you from your purpose. Once the decision is made, simply refuse to budge / compromise
  • accept that quality long term results require quality long term focus. No emotion – no drama. No beating yourself up over small bumps.  Learn to enjoy the process 
  • the single decision is one of the most powerful tools in the toolbox

Daymond John

  • 5 days a week i read my goals before i go to sleep and when i wake up. There are 10 goals around health / family / business with expiration dates and i update them every 6mths

Tony Robbins

  • Investing in yourself is the most important investment you’ll ever make in your life
  • You’re suffering cos you’re too focused on yourself
  • State —> Story -> Strategy. In a lowered emotional state we see only problems. Prime your state first to change your biochemistry, then tell yourself an enabling story then you can strategise and see options

Peter Thiel

  • If you have a 10 year plan for your life, ask why can’t i do this in 6 months?

Scott Adams

  • Pick an affirmation / goal and write it down 15 times a day in a specific form – reticular activation
  • Think in systems not goals. So even if the project or habit results in ‘failure’ it gives you transferable skills or relationships
  • His book is How to fail at almost everything and still win big
  • the double / triple threat – be top 25% at 2 or more things, that are not usually combined – good public speaking is a great third. capitalism rewards things that are rare and valuable

Shaun White

  • Before a big match he says ‘who cares? what’s the big deal? i’m going to try my best and i’m going to go home to my family …’ (Agassi says the same)

Noah Kagan

  • next time you go for coffee, ask for 10% off. you have to ask for things and put yourself out there
  • Schedules ‘learning’ for 2hrs each week – you need to FIND the time for important stuff
  • Focus on growing things you can control like your email list – not social – likes don’t pay the bills

BJ Novak

  • Get VIPs in by offering to give money to charity. It allows you to interact with people well above your pay grade
  • Make commitments in a high-energy state so you can’t back out when you’re in a low energy state
  • Being in a good mood for creative work is worth the hours it takes to get into a good mood

 ** Tools of a Hacker – page 429 *** Shay Carl

  • Every time you hear a cliche, perk up and listen more carefully
  • Think about what your 10 year – older self would tell you – actionable, specific advice – this will help you grow exponentially faster
  • fake it till you make it – sit up straight and smile

Will MacAskill

  • Author of ‘doing good better’
  • – shows how much not for profits / charities achieve per $ spent

 *** The Dickens Process – What are your beliefs costing you? **

  • what has each belief cost me and those who love me in the past?
  • what is it costing me and people i care about in the present? see it, hear it, feel it
  • what will it cost us in 1, 3, 5, 10 years from now? 
  • After i feel the acute pain of my current handicapping beliefs, formulate 2-3 replacement beliefs to use going forward
  • Eg from ‘i am not hardwired for happiness’ to ‘happiness is my natural state’

Kevin Kelly

  • Write to get ideas, not to express them

Whitney Cummings

  • Replace a negative thought with a positive thought for 28 days
  • Perfectionism —> procrastination —> paralysis
  • For art to imitate life, you have to have a life – this won’t happen if you work too much!
  • People-pleasing is a form of ass-holery – you’re assuming people can’t handle the truth. it’s patronising. Don’t tell white lies (read Lying by Sam Harris)
  • Every time you meet someone, just say ‘i love you’ in your head first, and the conversation will go a lot better
  • Assume that everyone is doing the best they can with what they have

Rick Rubin

  • Need to get unstuck? Make your task laughably small
  • Learn from the greats – submerge yourself in the greatest works of all time

 *** LISTENING TO A SONG ON REPEAT for focus ***

  • The Last of the Mohicans
  • The Zen Effect in key C – Rolfe Kent
  • ‘Time’ from the Inception soundtrack

Eric Weinstein

  • For deep creative work, use ‘coprolalia’ – uttering a string of profanities. When we use words that are prohibited to us, it tells our brain we’re inhabiting unsafe space. It’s a sign you’re going into a different mode … deep work often needs a powerful, aggressive energy to it
  • Life is too short to be petty and defensive and cruel to other people who are seeking to innovate alongside you

Seth Rogen

  • Just keep on going. Blind faith in yourself

Richard Betts

  • Just ask for X instead of being subtle and implying it. Often other people are talking more loudly than you

Steven J Dubner

  • don’t be scared. And don’t assume everyone’s focused on you (spotlight effect) 

Josh Waitzen

  • You need empty space to be creative
  • Share under the hood details of how you’ve been successful – it’s not a zero sum game – the more you help others the more you receive
  • End the day on really high quality work so you’re internalising quality into the night
  • Learn how to turn it off and turn it on – meditation and interval training are both good for this

TF – why you need a ‘reloading week’

  • it’s the big ideas that come from these periods
  • Ask ‘What If’ to think bigger / create more and give yourself time to think about the answers!!
  • He does 8-9am every day, half a day on Weds and screen free Sat, + mini retirements a few times a year
  • These blocks must be defended more strongly than business commitments

Jason Silva

  • I want to build my life around being in flow states / in the zone
  • Everything came when I completely dove in fearlessly – i got out of my own way. I stopped doubting myself and the universe winked at me

TF – key questions to ask yourself

  • What if i did the opposite for 48hrs
  • What do i spend a silly amount of money on? How can I scratch my own itch? (yoga, shoe rental)
  • If I could only work 2hrs per week on my business, what would i do? 
  • What if i couldn’t pitch my product directly? we all prefer being told stories to being sold product
  • What if we could only subtract to solve problems (what can we simplify)
  • Am I hunting antelope or chasing feel mice?
  • Could it be that everything is fine and complete as it is?
  • What would this look like if it were easy?
  • How can I throw money at this problem? ‘If you have enough money to solve the problem, you don’t have a problem’

Brian Koppelman

  • Julia Cameron’s ‘morning pages’ are ‘the closest thing to magic i’ve come across’ – 3 longhand pages. something happens to your subconscious that allows yo to get to your most creative place – this book changed his life


Marc Andreessen 

charge enough for your product to be able to afford the sales and marketing required

Derek Sivers

  • when you start a biz you’re making a little world where you control the laws. It does’ matter how things are done everywhere else. In your little world you can make it like it should be

Alexis Ohanian

  • The bar is set so low cos most co’s stopped giving a fuck so long ago … it’s easy – it just requires you to give lots of damns which not enough people do

 Ramit Sethi

  • 1000 True Fans by Kevin Kelly (article) inspired me to build amazing material rather than just recycling what else was out there
  • recommends guest posting to meet new customers

checklists  – TF

  • 1000 True fans – start with making 1000 people EXTREMELY happy
  • need direct relationship with your fans
  • read Small Giants by Bo Birmingham – co’s that chose to be the best not the biggest
  • What would this look like if it were easy?

Tony Robbins

  • Ask how do i get no risk and huge rewards? Ask a question continuously, believe there’s an answer and it will come
  • Almost all of the most successful people he knows have been real givers, and very passionate about giving

Reid Hoffman

  • Part of biz strategy is to solve the simplest, easiest and most valuable problem
  • TF – determine which 20% of activities produce 80% of the results you want
  • First thing in the morning – work on the problem that you’ve set yourself the day before – it’s the most blank slate moment that i have. ‘Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious’ – Thomas Edison
  • There needs to be ONE DECISIVE reason for a potentially big or expensive / time consuming action (like a trip) – not a blended reason

Seth Godin

  • Most people spend their life in defensive / reactive mode, playing with the cards they got instead of moving to a different table with different cards … instead of seeking to change people, they are wiling to be changed
  • Start a business you can push downhill
  • Don’t quantify anything. focus on a great product
  • Tim Ferriss – The law of category
  • When you launch a new product – don’t try to beat the competition but to ask yourself what new category this is first in
  • Prospects are much more open when it comes to new categories – everyone’s interested
  • when you’re first in a category – promote the category, get it to enter the popular vernacular

Alex Blumberg

  • Ask the dumb questions that no one’s asking – why are banks loaning money to people who can’t possibly pay it back? 

 Neil Strauss

  • don’t accept the norms of your time – this is the key to really big success and changing the world!

 Amanda Palmer

  • I treated every single patron like a 10 second love affair

  • Eric Weinstein
  • You want to be famous to 2,000 to 3,000 people you handpick
  • Good questions to ask yourself about incumbent companies
    • How is their bread buttered?
    • What is it they can’t afford to say or think?

 Robert Rodriguez

  • ‘What assets do I / we have?’ Build your biz around that
  • Take notes every day. you and your children will forget everything that you think they should remember for the rest of their lives


Autobiography of a Yogi – Paramahansa Yogananda 

10% Happier by Dan Harris (got him meditating) 

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran (condensed affirmations / energy-filled statements 

Julia Cameron – the Artists’ Way 

Walt Disney biography – Neal Gabler (Brian Chesky recommends) 

Stumbling on happiness – Daniel Gilbert  

Joy on demand – Chade-Meng Tan (v practical on meditation) 

Atul Gawande – the checklist manifesto 

The Who Book – Geoff Smart / Randy Street – who is often more important than what for hiring well 

Makers Schedule, Manager’s schedule – Paul Graham (Y Combinator) 

Dropping Ashes on the Buddha – Zen Master Seung Sahn

Tara Brach – Radical Acceptance

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