Notes & Quotes: Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss

The following are my favorite quotes and questions from Tim Ferriss' Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers.
  1. What might you do to accomplish your 10-year goals in the next 6 months, if you had a gun against your head?
  2. Create yourself, instead of seeking to discover yourself. There is value in the latter, but it's mostly past-tense: It's a rearview mirror. Looking out the windshield is how you get where you want to go.
  3. When in doubt, work on the deficiencies you're most embarrassed by.
  4. Dom [D'Agostino] suggests a 5-day fast 2 to 3 times per year.
  5. Tell people what you want, not what you don't want, and keep it simple.
  6. If you're over 40 and don't smoke, there's about a 70 to 80% chance you'll die from one of four diseases: heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, cancer, or neurodegenerative disease.
  7. Psychedelics usually give you what you need, not what you want.
  8. It's easy to use the medicine as a crutch and avoid doing your own work.
  9. Keeping it simple, Dan [Engle] suggests you start with 2 to 3 floats inside of 1 month.
  10. In Africa, they say ibogaine is a "conrolled-death experience." So you go into the land of the dead, and you're given information by your ancestors, which you can then take back into this world and apply to your life.
  11. What am I continuing to do myself that I'm not good at? Improve it, eliminate it, or delegate it.
  12. Honey + ACV. 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon honey, stirred into 1 cup of hot water. (pre-bed)
  13. 5 Morning Rituals that Help Win the Day
    1. Make your bed.
    2. Meditate. (10 to 20 minutes)
    3. Do 5 to 10 reps of something. (less than 1 minute)
    4. Prepare "Titanium Tea."
    5. Morning Pages or 5-Minute Journal. (5-10 minutes)
  14. If you win the morning, you win the day.
  15. More than 80% of the world-class performers I've interviewed have some form of daily meditation or mindfulness practice.
  16. I believe there is a minimum effective dose for meditation, and it's around 7 days.
  17. Start small and rig the game so you can win.
  18. Keep the practice from becoming a burden. If mindfulness practice feels like a chore, it's not sustainable.
  19. Mental fitness and joy on demand both start here, with one breath.
  20. The standard pace is for chumps. The school has to organize its curricula around the lowest common denominator, so that almost no one is left out.
  21. Once you have some success -- if it's not a "Hell Yes!" it's a "No."
  22. Here’s my 8-step process for maximizing efficacy (doing the right things): Wake up at least 1 hour before you have to be at a computer screen. Email is the mind-killer. Make a cup of tea (I like pu-erh) and sit down with a pen/pencil and paper. Write down the 3 to 5 things—and no more—that are making you the most anxious or uncomfortable. They’re often things that have been punted from one day’s to-do list to the next, to the next, to the next, and so on. Most important usually equals most uncomfortable, with some chance of rejection or conflict. For each item, ask yourself: “If this were the only thing I accomplished today, would I be satisfied with my day?” “Will moving this forward make all the other to-dos unimportant or easier to knock off later?” Put another way: “What, if done, will make all of the rest easier or irrelevant?” Look only at the items you’ve answered “yes” to for at least one of these questions. Block out at 2 to 3 hours to focus on ONE of them for today. Let the rest of the urgent but less important stuff slide. It will still be there tomorrow. TO BE CLEAR: Block out at 2 to 3 HOURS to focus on ONE of them for today. This is ONE BLOCK OF TIME. Cobbling together 10 minutes here and there to add up to 120 minutes does not work. No phone calls or social media allowed. If you get distracted or start procrastinating, don’t freak out and downward-spiral; just gently come back to your ONE to-do.
  23. "I didn't survive, I prepared." Nelson Mandela's answer when Tony [Robbins] asked him, "Sir, how did you survive all those years in prison?"
  24. As Tony [Robbins] recounted, [Warren] Buffet told him, “Investing in yourself is the most important investment you’ll ever make in your life. . . . There’s no financial investment that’ll ever match it, because if you develop more skill, more ability, more insight, more capacity, that’s what’s going to really provide economic freedom...It’s those skill sets that really make that happen.”
  25. Jim Rohn famously said, “If you let your learning lead to knowledge, you become a fool. If you let your learning lead to action, you become wealthy.”
  26. The reason you're suffering is you're focused on yourself.
  27. I’ve wasted a lot of time journaling on “problems” when I just needed to eat breakfast sooner, do 10 push-ups, or get an extra hour of sleep. Sometimes, you think you have to figure out your life’s purpose, but you really just need some macadamia nuts and a cold fucking shower.
  28. Four Commonalities Across the Best Investors:
    1. Capping the downside.
    2. Asymmetrical risks and rewards.
    3. Asset allocation.
    4. Contribution
  29. Follow what angers you.
  30. Morning pages are, as author Julia Cameron puts it, "spiritual windshield wipers." It's the most cost-effective therapy I've ever found.
  31. Could bitching and moaning on paper for 5 minutes each morning change your life? As crazy as it seems, I believe the answer is yes.
  32. In doing an 80/20 analysis of your activities (simply put: determining which 20% of activities/tasks produce 80% of the results you want), you typically end up with a short list. Make “easy” your next criterion. Which of these highest-value activities is the easiest for me to do? You can build an entire career on 80/20 analysis and asking this question.
  33. "Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious." - Thomas Edison
  34. Be a Meaningful Specific instead of Wandering Generality.
  35. Money is a story...and it's better to tell a story about money you're happy with.
  36. If a narrative isn't working, well then, really, why are you using it? The narrative isn't done to you; the narrative is something that you can choose.
  37. Lesson #1: If you've formulated intelligent rules, follow your own fucking rules.
  38. If you didn’t get into the prospect’s mind first, don’t give up hope. Find a new category you can be first in. It’s not as difficult as you might think.
  39. Amplify your strengths rather than fix your weaknesses.
  40. "Success" need not be complicated. Just start with making 1,000 people extremely, extremely happy.
  41. 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.
  42. Book your A list for after your first 10 pitches.
  43. What are the things that, if defunct or slow, render your to-do list useless?
  44. Don't try and find time. Schedule time.
  45. It's not about kissing ass. It's not about making someone look good. It's about providing the support so that others can be good.
  46. When you are just starting out, we can be sure of a few fundamental realities:
    1. You're not nearly as good or as important as you think you are.
    2. You have an attitude that needs to be readjusted.
    3. Most of what you think you know or most of what you learned in books or in school is out of date or wrong.
  47. Imagine if for every person you met, you thought of some way to help them, something you could do for them? And you looked at it in a way that entirely benefited them and not you? The cumulative effect this would have over time would be profound: You’d learn a great deal by solving diverse problems. You’d develop a reputation for being indispensable. You’d have countless new relationships. You’d have an enormous bank of favors to call upon down the road.
  48. Don't accept the norms of your time.
  49. Edit for you, your fans, then your haters.
  50. The more we associate experience with cash value, the more we think that money is what we need to live. And the more we associate money with life, the more we convince ourselves that we’re too poor to buy our freedom.
  51. We end up spending (as Thoreau put it) "the best part of one's life earning money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it."
  52. Work is how you settle your financial and emotional debts -- so that your travels are not an escape from your real life, but a discovery of your real life.
  53. If I asked you to spend $1 billion improving the world, solving a problem, what would you pursue?
  54. Money can always be regenerated. Time and reputation cannot.
  55. When possible, always give the money to charity, as it allows you to interact with people well above your pay grade.
  56. Are you doing what you're uniquely capable of, what you feel placed here on earth to do? Can you be replaced?
  57. One of my favorite time-management essays is "Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule" by Paul Graham of Y Combinator fame. Give it a read.
  58. Some words are so overused as to have become meaningless. If you find yourself using nebulous terms like "success," "happiness," or "investing," it pays to explicitly define them or stop using them.
  59. Life favors the specific ask and punishes the vague wish.
  60. Where in your life are you good at moderation? Where are you an all-or-nothing type? Where do you lack a shut-off switch? It pays to know thyself.
  61. To "fix" someone's problem, you very often just need to empathically listen to them.
  62. Discipline equals freedom.
  63. You want to be tougher, be tougher.
  64. Take extreme ownership of your world.
  65. Push yourself harder than you believe you're capable of.
  66. What advice are you ignoring because you think it's trite or cliched? Can you mine it for any testable action?
  67. Work will work when nothing else will work.
  68. "Follow your passion" is terrible advice.
  69. Perhaps it's time for you to take a temporary break from pursuing goals to find the knots in the garden hose that, once removed, will make everything else better and easier?
  70. It's not giving up to put your current path on indefinite pause.
  71. Most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.
  72. In a world of distraction, single-tasking is a superpower.
  73. People-pleasing is a form of assholery.
  74. It isn’t generally people pulling back-to-back shifts in the ICU, taking care of their senescent parents, or holding down three minimum-wage jobs they have to commute to by bus who need to tell you how busy they are; what those people are is not busy but tired. Exhausted. Dead on their feet. It’s most often said by people whose lamented busyness is purely self-imposed: work and obligations they’ve taken on voluntarily, classes and activities they’ve “encouraged” their kids to participate in.
  75. Yes, I know we're we're all very busy, but what, exactly, is getting done?
  76. Time and quiet should not be luxury items.
  77. The Puritans perverted work into a virtue, evidently forgetting that God invented it as a punishment.
  78. Life is too short to be busy.
  79. What are some of the choices you've made that made you who you are?
  80. The best art divides the audience.
  81. It pays to write what you know.
  82. The most important thing is to be you, not your inner actor.
  83. God has given us talents and faculties, and it's up to us to discover them, expand them to their maximum, and use them for maximum service in the world.
  84. If you eat, invest, and think according to what the "news" advocates, you'll end up nutritionally, financially, and morally bankrupt.
  85. The best thing to do is give people questions they're not expecting.
  86. The little things are the big things.
  87. Long-term impact trumps short-term gross.
  88. People don't like being sold products, but we all like being told stories.
  89. Put systems and policies in place, ditch ad-hoc email-based triage, empower other people with rules and tools, separate the critical few from the trivial many, and otherwise create a machine that doesn’t require you behind the driver’s wheel 24/7.
  90. Good isn't good enough. 
  91. What can you do that will be remembered in 200 to 400 years?
  92. Perhaps the biggest tragedy in our lives is that freedom is possible, yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns.
  93. You don't find time, you make time.
  94. If it isn't on the calendar, it isn't real.
  95. If you don't care about yourself, make it about other people.
  96. Accept reality, but focus on the solution.
Based on the nature of this book, not all quotes can be attributed to the author. Pick up a copy for yourself, it's a worthwhile read.