I found this to be a very odd but delightful book. I've been listening to the Tim Ferriss Podcast for a few years now. It's based on the concept of interviewing top performers in a variety of fields to deconstruct what specific tactics and techniques have helped them succeed. If the podcast was a college course, buying this book is like buying the course-pack or the notes from another student who is a super-diligent note-taker. So needless to say I really enjoyed it.
Each chapter is a few pages and focuses on an individual guest from Tim's show. Because the book contains a lot of quotes from the podcast episodes, it helped jog my memory regarding a variety of interesting interviews I had heard previously. If you haven't heard the podcast, I think the book would still be highly enjoyable as a stand-alone experience. For either audience, it's easy to read in short increments since the chapters are only a few pages.
I became aware of two specific products which were recommended in this book and they have both made a huge difference in the quality of my life. The first is the Dohm sound machine and the second is the Sleep Master sleep mask. Both items have made a significant difference in my life.
Returning to Tools of Titans specifically, there were a ton of highly actionable tips in the book, clearly too many to list in this brief review. Here are a few of them which resonated with me, though:
"You don't 'succeed' because you have no weaknesses; you succeed because you find your own unique strengths and focus on developing habits around them." [pg 30]
As a someone continually focused on self improvement, it's so easy to let the perfectionist take over and try to fix all my weaknesses. This part of the book was a nice reminder that really focusing on your main talents is more likely to produce positive results.
"Hot baths can also significantly increase Growth Hormone over baseline, and both sauna and hot baths have been shown to cause a massive release in prolactin, which plays a role in wound healing. I usually stay in a hot bath or sauna for about 20 minutes, which is long enough to significantly elevate my heart rate." [pg 45]
There is significant discussion in the book regarding the health benefits of both hot and cold exposure. Partially inspired by some of the information in this book, I try to at least take a really hot bath every day since going to the sauna daily is not realistic for me at the present juncture.
On the subject of cold exposure, Tim interviews Wim Hoff, who we profiled in an earlier post. I hadn't taken cold exposure seriously as something to explore before listening to Tim's conversation with Wim but now I'm actively investigating it.
"In many of my talks, I guide a very simple 10-second exercise. I tell the audience members to each identify two human beings in the room and just think, 'I wish for this person to be happy.' That is it...The entire exercise is 10 seconds' worth of thinking. Everybody emerges from this exercise smiling". [pg 244]
This simple happiness exercise ended up being so effective for me that I have incorporated into my daily routine. I have found it to be very, very effective in quickly creating a positive mood for myself.
"When you complain, nobody wants to help you.... 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." [pg 455]
I thought I would end on this quote from the book because it echoes why we try to focus on positive change here at Aspire rather than essentially ranting against all the problems in the world. Being against is tiring and negative. Being for is exciting and makes other people want to get on board. That's what we are trying to create here at Aspire.
Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss is available on Amazon. If you are curious about Tim's podcast, you can listen to episodes here.
For those of you who may not be familiar with Timothy Ferriss, he is the author of the famous book "The 4 Hour Work Week," as well as the person who coined the term Lifestyle Design. The Four Hour Work Week is one of my favorite books of all time. Tim's been a big inspiration to me and I really enjoyed this newest book. A part of our mission here at Aspire is to empower people to become their own life designers (see our article on self authoring, for example). That could include working a four hour workweek or it could include focusing on healthy mental thought patterns.