Tools of Titans – Tim Ferriss

Tools of Titans - by Tim Ferriss
Tools of Titans – by Tim Ferriss

ISBN: 1328683788 READ: April 2017

Quite honestly the book I have been looking for, my whole life. It’s an insanely vast collection of life tips and ways of thinking about the world from some of the top performers on earth coming from hundreds of different fields. ToT is jam packed with tactics that are broken down into the categories, Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise, for inspiration for whatever problems you are facing. It’s a long one, so buckle up. I will be circling back and referring to this book many times throughout my life.



“Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers” – Pierre-Marc-Gaston

What do they have in common?:
– More than 80% of the interviewees have some from of daily meditation or mindfulness practices.
– Rave reviews of the books Sapiens, Poor Charlie’s Almanac, Influence, and Man’s Search for Meaning.
– The habit of listening to single songs on repeat for focus.
– Almost every guest has been able to take obvious “weaknesses” and turn them into huge competitive advantages.

You don’t “succeed” because you have no weaknesses; you succeed because you find your unique strengths and focus and developing habits around them.

“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise” – Ben Franklin

I agree with Tony Robbins that information without emotion isn’t retained.


Rhonda Patrick PhD
“Hyperthermic conditioning” (calculated heat exposure) can help you increase growth hormone (GH) level and substantially improve endurance. I now take 20-minute sauna sessions post workout or post stretching at least four times per week, typically at roughly 160 to 170 Fahrenheit.

Two 20-minute sauna sessions at 80 Celsius (176 F) separated by a 30-minute cooling period elevated growth hormone levels two-fold over baseline.

I usually stay in a hot bath or sauna for 20 minutes, which is long enough to significantly elevate my heart rate. I push a few minutes past dynorphin release, which usually makes one feel dysphoric and want to get out (but NOT to dizziness or lightheartedness)

Christopher Sommer

When in doubt, work on deficiencies you’re most embarrassed by.

Dominic D’Agostino

The ketogenic diet, often nicknamed “keto,” is a high-fat diet that mimics fasting physiology. Your brain and body begin to use keytones for energy instead of blood sugar (glucose) – a state called ketosis.

Why consider Keto?
– Fat loss and body recompisition
– Potent anti-cancer effects
– Better use of oxygen: Dom can hold his breath for two times his normal duration when it deep ketosis.
– Maintain or increase strength

If you don’t have cancer and you do a therapeutic fast 1 to 3 times per year, you could purge any precancerous cells that may be living in your body.

High protein and low fat doesn’t work. Your liver will convert excess amino acids into glucose and shut down ketogenesis. Fat as 70 to 85% of calories is required.

Jason Nemer

If I had to prescribe two things to improve health and happiness in the world, it’d be movement and play. Because you can’t really play without moving, so they’re intertwined. Treadmills kill your spirit.

Dr. Peter Attia

If you’re over 40 and don’t smoke, theres about a 70-80% chance you’ll die from one of four diseases:
1. Heart Disease
2. Cerebrovascular disease
3. Cancer
4. Neurodegenerative disease

There are really two pieces to longevity. The first is delaying death as long as possible by delaying the onset of chronic disease (the big 4). We call that the defensive play. The second is enhancing life, the offensive play.

Supplements that Peter does *not* take
– Multivitamin: They’re the worst of both worlds. They contain a bunch of what you don’t really need and don’t contain enough of what you do need.
– Vitamins A and E: He’s not convinced he needs more that what he absorbs through whole foods.
– Vitamin K: If you eat leafy green vegetables, you’re getting enough.
– Vitamin C: Most of us get sufficient amounts in our diet, and while megadoses might be interesting, especially for combating viral illnesses, its not bio-available enough in oral form.

He is a proponent of magnesium supplementation. Our ability to buffer magnesium with healthy kidneys in very high. He takes 600-800 mg per day alternating between mag sulfate and mag oxide. He also takes calcium carbonate 2 times per week. Two is his favoured brands are Jarrow Formulas and NOW Foods.

The Logic of Low-Dose Lithium:
Based on conversations with Peter, I now take low-dose lithium in the form of 5 mg lithium orotate. The more I read epidemiological studies, the more I’ve come to think of lithium as essential, or conditionally essential, element. 1 to 5 mg is enough to effectively ensure you are getting the high range of what is naturally occurring in groundwater in the US.

10% Happier by Dan Harris is the book that got Peter meditating regularly.

Charles Poliquin

Hemoglobin HbA1c: They say that basically, you age at the rate you produce insulin. HbA1c will tell me what was the average insulin over the last 3 months… I’ve found that over the years, actually, the amount of magnesium, supplemental magnesium, you consume, is the fastest way to drop that value. So magnesium is probably one of the best anti-aging minerals.

I think the best magnesium out theres is magnesium threonate, if I were to pick one. So I use glucinate, and orotate.

I take 2 mg of magnesium threonate at the last meal before going to bed, and I use various forms of chelates like magnesium glycerophosphate from GabaMag.

On Good Doctors: The length of time they spend with you on your first visit is probably your best indicator of their quality.

Pavel Tsatsouline

Basic Tenets for Strength:
– Strength is the mother quality of all physical qualities
– Strength is a skill, and as such, must be practiced.
– Lift heavy, not hard.
– Anything more than 5 reps in bodybuilding… if you want to be strong, you want to keep your reps at 5 and under.
– If you are training for strength, you want to try and avoid the burn altogether. The burn is your enemy.
– Training is something that should be enjoyed.

This is the best thing you are ever going to learn in SEAL training:When you are a leader, people are going to mimic your behaviour, at a minimum…. It’s a guarantee. So here’s the key piece of advice: Calm is Contagious.

Laird Hamilton

Practice going first: I always say that I’ll go first… That mean if I’m checking out at the store, I’ll say hello first. If I’m coming across somebody and make eye contact, I’ll smile first. Be first, because – not all times, but most times – it comes in your favour. People are nicer than they look but you have to go first.

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

James Fadiman

Although the LD50 – lethal dose for 50% of the population, a common measure of toxicity – is unbelievably high or practically non-existent for most psychedelics, things can go horribly wrong in uncontrolled environments (eg. walking in front of traffic), and they can greatly exacerbate pre-existing mental health conditions.

What are Psychedelics?
The word psychedelic (Greek for “mind-revealing”) is generally used to refer to compounds that can reliably separate you from your ego and occasion mystical or transcendental experiences.

Most the of 36 volunteers looked back on their experience up to 14 months later and rated it as the most, or one of the top five most, personally meaningful and spiritually significant of their lives. For volunteers with children, the experience was often put above, or on par with the birth of their first child.
From a psychopharmacological perspective, many psychedelics resemble a naturally occurring molecule called DMT and act as 5-HT2A (seretonin) or NDMA receptor antagonists, but there are exceptions, and the mechanisms of action remain poorly understood.

The noun “entheogen” meaning “generating the devine within,” has become a popular alternative to the term psychedelic.

“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” – Lao Tzu

LSD Doses:
Heroic Dose: Ethnobotanist Terence McKenna coined the term “heroic dose,” which is often equated to 5 r more grams of mushrooms or more than 400 mcg of LSD. James doesn’t recommend this bruteforce dosing, which McKenna described as “sufficient to flatten the most resistant ego.” Jim feels that you don’t remember anything, nor do you bring anything back, at this dose.

400 mcg: is where you have a transcendental or mystical experience. At this dose or higher, it is critical to have qualified supervision in the form of a guide. “Transcendental” here roughly means “the feeling or the awareness that you are connected not only to other people but to other living systems.

200 mcg: can be used for psychotherapy, self-exploration, deep inner work, and healing.

100 mcg: is useful for creative problem solving with non-personal matters (eg. physics, bio mechanics, or architecture). A number of Nobel Prize laureates attribute breakthroughs to LSD.

50 mcg: concert dose or museum dose.

10-15 mcg: microdose. Everything is a little better.
Oddly, there are consistent reports of microdosing having a lag effect. Many microdosers have said “The second day is better”

Paul Levesque (Triple H)

“Is that a dream or a goal?”

Adam Gazzaley

Humans only use 10% of their brains? not quite.
The most complex structure in the entire universe doesn’t have just a vacant parking lot waiting for someone to drive in and start building. Its all used all the time and in complex ways that we don’t always understand.

Mind Training 101

“We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training.” – Archilochus

More than 80% of the world-class performers I’ve interview have some from of daily meditation or mindfulness practice. Both can be thought of as “cultivating a present-state awareness that helps you be non-reactive.

If you spend even a second noticing that your mind is wandering and bringing your attention back to your mantra, this is a successful session. As Tara Brach pointed out to me, the muscle you are working is bringing your attention BACK to something.

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I’ll spend the first 4 sharpening the axe.” – Ya Boi Abe Lincoln.


“If you find yourself in a fair fight, you didn’t plan your mission properly”

Chris Sacca

Tonight I will be in my bed. Tonight I will be in my bed. It was something that I repeated to remind the that the pain of what I was going through was temporary and that, no matter what, at the end of that day, I would be in my bed that night.

Good Stories always beat good spreadsheets.
We want to attach ourselves to narratives. We don’t act because of equations. We follow our beliefs. We get behind leaders who stir our feelings.

Marc Andreessen

We call our test: What do nerds do on nights and weekends? Their day job is Oracle, Adobe or Apple or Intel. Te question is: Whats the hobby? Whats the thing at night or on the weekend. Then things get really interesting.

To do original work: It’s not necessary to know something nobody else knows. It is necessary to believe something few other people believe.

Far more money has been lost by investors trying to anticipate corrections, than has been lost in the corrections themselves.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

My favourite negotiating maxims: “In negotiation, he who cares the least wins”

Derek Sivers

This is the subject of the book Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. There’s the instant, unconscious automatic thinking and then there’s the slower, conscious rational, deliberate thinking. I’m really, really into the slower thinking, breaking my automatic responses to the things in my life and slowly thinking through a more deliberate response instead. Then for the things in life where an automatic response is useful, I can create a new one consciously.

When you’re earlier in your career, I think the best strategy is to just say ‘yes’ to everything. Every little gig. You just never know what are the lottery tickets.

Even when everything is going terribly, and I have no reason to be confident, I just decide to be.

Please know that it’s often the tiny details that really thrill someone enough to make them tell all their friends about you.

Productivity Tricks for the Neurotic, Manic-depressive and Crazy

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

Tony Robbins

Losers React, Leaders Anticipate

Mastery doesn’t come from an infographic. What you know doesn’t mean shit. What do you do consistently?

If you let your learning lead to knowledge, you become a fool. If you let your learning lead to action, you become wealthy.

When people think they’ve got a balanced portfolio, stock are three times more volatile than bonds. So when you’re 50/50, you’re really 90/10. You really are massively at risk, and thats why when the markets go down, you get eaten alive… Whatever asset class you invest in, I promise you, in your lifetime, it will drop no less than 50% and more likely 70% at some point.

Casey Neistat

Ben Franklin’s excellent advise: If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, wither write things worth reading, or do things worth writing.

Reid Hoffman

“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein.

“Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious” – Thomas Edison

On Vetting the Best Employees or Partners:
How do you know if you have A-players on your project team? You know it if you don’t just accept the strategy you hand them. They should suggest modifications to the plan based on their closeness to the details.

Peter Thiel

If you go back 20 or 25 years, I wish I would have known that there was no need to wait.
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?

Seth Godin

It’s always the hard part that creates value

We can’t out-obedience the competition.

The blog post I point people to the most is called ‘First, Ten’ and it is a simple theory of marketing that says: tell ten people, show ten people, share it with ten people, ten people who already trust you and already like you. If they don’t tell anybody else, it’s not that good and you should start over. If they do tell other people, you’re on your way.

Cooking Lessons:
My wife got me a Chris Schlesinger cooking class, and it was the only cooking class I’d ever taken. In 20 minutes, I learn more about cooking that I think I’ve learned before or since. Because Chris basically taught me how to think about what you were trying to do and basically said A) You should taste the food as you go, which a surprisingly small number of people do; and B) salt and olive oil actually are cheating and they’re secret weapons and they always work.

James Altucher

James recommends the habit of writing down 10 ideas each morning in a waiters pad or a tiny notebook. This exercise is for developing your “idea muscle” and confidence for creativity on demand, so regular practice is more important than the topics.

Scott Adams

I’m not going to worry about losing my job because my one boss is going to fire me, because I have thousands of bosses at newspapers everywhere. One fo the ways to not worry about stress is to eliminate it. I don’t worry about my stock picks because I have a diversified portfolio. Diversification works in almost every area of your life to reduce your stress.

If you want an average, successful life, it doesn’t take much planning. Just stay out of trouble, go to school, and apply for jobs you might like. But if you want something extraordinary, you have two paths: 1) Become the best at one specific thing. 2) Become very good (top 25%) at two or more things.
The second strategy is fairly easy. Everyone has at least a few areas in which they could be in the top 25% with some effort. In ym case, I can draw better than most people, but I’m hardly and artist. And I’m not any funnier than the average stand up comedian who never makes it big, but I’m funnier than most. The magic is that few people can draw well and write jokes. It’s the combination of the two that makes what I do so rare. And when you add in my business background, suddenly I had a topic that few cartoonists could hope to understand without living it.

The Law of Category

I constantly recommend that entrepreneurs read The 22 Immutable Laws or Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout

If you didn’t get into the prospect’s mind at first, don’t give up hope. Find a new category you can be first in. It’s not as difficult as you might think.

Chase Jarvis

Creativity is an infinite resource. The more you spend, the more you have.

Dan Carlin

Don’t be afraid to do something you’re not qualified to do.

Alex Blumberg

How do you get people to recount? To naturally tell funny stories? How do you make their lines memorable – concrete and specific – not absract and general?
Alex generally tries to cover three basics: setting, emotions, details.

Tell me about a time when…
Tell me about the day [or moment in time] when…
Tell me the story of… [how you came to major in X, how you met so-and-so, etc.]
Tell me about the day you realized…
What were the steps that got you to…
Describe the conversation when…
How did that make you feel?
What do you make of that?

Tracy DiNunzio

When you complain, nobody wants to help you.

Chris Young

The interesting jobs are the ones that you make up.

Noah Kagan

What is the best or most worthwhile investment you’ve made? – Lasik surgery.


Imagine you have a glass jar. Next to it, you have a few large rocks, a small pile of marble-sized pebbles, and a pile of sand. If you put in the sand or pebbles first, what happens? You can’t fit the big rocks in. But if you add the big rocks, then the medium pebbles, and only then the sand, it all fits. In other words, the minutiae fit around the big things, but the big things don’t fit around the minutiae.

The Canvas Strategy

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.

Justin Boreta

Chuck Close says, “Inspiration is for amateurs – the rest of us just show up and get to work.”

Scott Belsky

It is essential to get lost and jam up your plans every now and then. It’s a source of creativity and perspective. The danger of maps, capable assistants, and planning is that you may end up living your life as planned. If you do, your potential cannot possibly exceed your expectations.

Peter Diamandis

There are two elements that tie very much to human longevity. It’s strange… One is those people who floss and, second, those people who have a higher VO2 Max.

Peter has a set of rules that guide his life. His 28 Peter’s Laws have been collected over decades.
2 – When given a choice… take both.
3 – Multiple projects lead to multiple successes
6 – When forced to compromise, ask for more.
7 – If you can’t win, change the rules.
8 – If you can’t change the rules, then ignore them.
11 – “no” simply means begin again at one level higher
13 – When in doubt – THINK
16 – The faster you move, the slower time passes, the longer you live.
17 – The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself.
19 – You get what you incentive
22 – The day before something is a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea.
26 – If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.

Sophia Amoruso

I just really want people to remember that they’re capable of doing everything that the people they admire are doing. Maybe not everything, but – dont be so impressed.

B.J. Novak

Schedule (and, if possible, pay for) things in advance to prevent yourself from backing out. Make commitments in a high-energy state so that you can’t back out when you’re in a low energy state.

How To Say NO When It Matters Most

If I’m not saying HELL YEAH! about something, then I say no. Meaning: When deciding whether to commit to something, if I feel anything less than “WOW! That would be amazing!” then my answer is no.

Life favours the specific ask and punishes the vague wish.


BJ Miller

Don’t believe everything that you think!

Maria Popova

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 worth ethic, or toughness, or some other virtue – but really, it’s a total profound failure of priorities and self-respect.

Jocko Willink

I think that in order to truly experience the light and the bright, you have to see the darkness. I think if you shield yourself from the darkness, you’ll not appreciate – and fully understand – the beauty of life.

General Stanley McChrystal

You should have a running list of three people that you’re always watching: someone senior to you that you want to emulate, a peer who you think is better at the job than you are and who you respect, and someone subordinate who’s doing the job you did – one, tow or three years ago – better than you did it. If you just have those three individuals that you’re constantly measuring yourself off of, and you’re constantly learning from them, you’re going to be exponentially better than you are.

Push yourself harder than you believe you’re capable of. You’ll find new depth inside yourself.

Shay Carl

You can tell the true character of a man by how his dog and kids react to him

Kevin Costner

When I articulated that I didn’t care anymore about what anybody thought about what I did except me, all the weight of the world came off my shoulders, and everything became possible. It shifted to everybody else being worried. Now they’re worried. But everything for me, it just shifted to a place where I felt free.

Thought Exercise – Fear Setting

“Named must your fear be before banish it you can.” – Yoda, from Star Wars: The Empire Strike Back

The phone call, that conversation, whatever the action might be – it is fear of unknown outcomes that prevents us from doing what we need to do.

Kevin Kelly

Productivity is for robots. What humans are going to be really good at is asking questions, being creative, and experiences.

In a world of distraction, single-tasking is a superpower.

Bryan Callen

Happiness is wanting what you have.

Alain De Botton

Appreciate what’s good about this moment. Don’t always think that you’re on a permanent journey. Stop and enjoy the view.

Lazy – A Manifesto

Life is too short to be busy.

Amanda Palmer

Two words for conflict resolution: say less.

Honour those who seek the truth, beware of those who’ve found it. A reminder that the path never ends and that absolutely nobody has this shit figured out.

Eric Weinstein

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect” – Mark Twain

Naval Ravikant

The most important trick to be happy is to realize that happiness is a choice that you make and skill that you develop. You choose to be happy, and then you work at it. It’s just like building muscles.

The first rule of handling conflict, is don’t hang around people who are constantly engaging in conflict.

In any situation in life, you only have three options. You always have three options. You can change it, you can accept it, or you can leave it. What is not a good option is to sit around wishing you would change it but not changing it, wishing you would leave but not leaving it, and not accepting it. It’s that struggle, that aversion, that is responsible for most of your misery. The phrase that I probably use the most to myself in my head is just one word: accept.

I think that 90% of thoughts that I have are fear-based. The other 10% are probably desire-based. Enlightenment is the space between your thoughts.

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

Naval’s Laws
– Be present above all else
– Desire is suffering
– Anger is a hot coal that you hold in your hand while waiting to throw it at someone else.
– If you can’t see yourself working with someone for life, don’t work with them for a day.
– Reading (learning) is the ultimate meta-skill and can be tradd for anything else
– All the real benefits in life come from compound interest.
– Earn with your mind, not your time.
– 99% of all effort is wasted.
– Total honesty at all times. It’s almost always possible to be honest and positive.
– Praise specifically, criticize generally.
– Truth is that which has predictive power.
– Watch every thought. (Always ask, “Why am I having this thought?”)
– All greatness comes from suffering
– Love is given, not received.
– Enlightenment is the space between your thoughts.
– Mathematics is the language of nature.
– Every moment has to be complete in and of itself.


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