Tim Ferriss, the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The 4-Hour Workweek, shares the ultimate choose-your-own-adventure book-a compilation of tools, tactics, and habits from 130+ of the world’s top performers. From iconic entrepreneurs to elite athletes, from artists to billionaire investors, their short profiles can help you answer life’s most challenging questions, achieve extraordinary results, and transform your life. Have a question for everything.
Having all the answers is not smart. Having a quality question for everything is how you gain wisdom in life. Trying to have all the answers will make you stupid. Questions will take you to where you want to go and that’s probably the best thing in the book that Tim Ferriss teaches.
From the author:
In 2017, several of my close friends died in rapid succession. It was a very hard year, as it was for many people.
It was also a stark reminder that time is our scarcest, non-renewable resource.
With a renewed sense of urgency, I began asking myself many questions:
Were my goals my own, or simply what I thought I should want?
How much of life had I missed from underplanning or overplanning?
How could I be kinder to myself?
How could I better say “no” to the trivial many to better say “yes” to the critical few?
How could I best reassess my priorities and my purpose in this world?
To find answers, I reached out to the most impressive world-class performers in the world, ranging from wonderkids in their 20s to icons in their 70s and 80s. No stone was left unturned.
This book contains their answers—practical and tactical advice from mentors who have found solutions. Whether you want to 10x your results, get unstuck, or reinvent yourself, someone else has traveled a similar path and taken notes.
This book, Tribe of Mentors, includes many of the people I grew up viewing as idols or demi-gods. Less than 10% have been on my podcast (The Tim Ferriss Show, more than 200 million downloads), making this a brand-new playbook of playbooks.
No matter your challenge or opportunity, something in these pages can help.
Your superheroes are all flawed.
That’s right, they have mastered one or two things and everything else they suck at. None of the idols you look up to are special. What your idols have done is stay focused on a limited number of things and then executed. Start seeing the flaws and you’ll see that perfectionism doesn’t exist.
You’ll also learn what success really is for yourself.
Wellbeing causes performance to increase.
You can’t outperform or beat your past results without looking after yourself. That’s why you hear so much about diet, sleep and taking holidays. These three things will help you take care of yourself and increase your performance, which will get closer to your goals and ultimately fulfillment.
There’s significant value in procrastination.
We get mad at ourselves when we procrastinate and we’re going about it all wrong. When we procrastinate, our mind and body are solving problems in the background which we can’t face head-on.
“The downtime you spend procrastinating gives your mind time to put together ideas, thoughts and solutions so that when you return to your goal, you have a different solution”
Success still comes with a side of weakness.
That’s why you need to focus on your strengths and accept that you’ll always have some weaknesses no matter what. Focus on what you want and what you know you can get results in.
Success is measured by the volume of uncomfortable moments.
Having that tough conversation or taking that bold action displays courage. Having increased amounts of courage will lead you to your version of success. If you’re trying to figure out what’s missing, try increasing the number of uncomfortable moments in your life.
During difficult times, let kindness guide you.
We all go through breakups, stuff ups, low points in our career etc. During these uncertain times, focus on kindness and you’ll see how it will guide you back towards what you want. Kindness brings the people who can help you closer to you.
You’ve got ten lifetimes ahead of you.
Us millennials are trying so hard to achieve every goal we have as quickly as we can. The reality is that we reinvent ourselves multiple times in our life and you’ve got time. Impatience will cloud your judgment and force you to make decisions you’ll later regret.
Slacking off makes you feel a little off.
If you’re feeling guilty or like you’re not where you want to be, it’s probably because you’ve slackened off recently or you’re not putting in enough work. The solution for this is to do a solid day of work and you’ll start to feel yourself again.
A good day’s work feels so good and there’s no substitute for it.
Remove the number seven when you rank things.
Using a 1–10 rating system to assess an action or a decision is a fantastic idea.
We’ve all been asked to do this in surveys our whole life.
The challenge is it’s easy to fall for indecision and to not say what you think because of a fear you might be judged.
Get better at making judgments by removing the number seven from your rankings. Number seven says “I’m not committing to a decision or haven’t thought about it enough.”
Inspired people have all the energy and fun.
Being an inspiration and doing things that inspire you will give you everything you need. The physical limitations of older age can be forgotten about when you live an inspired life.
People love inspiration and it’s one of the best feelings in the world. Spend a large proportion of your time doing things that inspire you. It’s fun too!
Creativity removes competition.
When you’re in your creative zone, there is no one to beat, only yourself. No one has the exact same creative ideas as you so it’s the one field where you can’t compete and you’ll always win if you try and do better than before.
Creativity is how you stand out and you should wear it on your sleeve. The world needs more creativity.
The tools to learn exist. The desire to is what’s lacking.
Thanks to the Internet you can learn anything. Yet, we still fail to learn as much as we can. Wanting to learn and committing to a life full of learning is how you gain wisdom. Wisdom will give you the answers you seek.
You see everything that you do.
That’s why you shouldn’t do things that are morally wrong because even if no one else can see, you can. You’re only cheating yourself and that’s stupid. There are no shortcuts and you’ll eventually catch up with yourself and have regrets about the things you know were wrong.
Our role in life is to navigate the obstacles.
There isn’t a clear path as such. There’s just a never-ending row of obstacles and the better you get at overcoming and working your way through them the more you’ll live a life that you’ll be fulfilled by. Obstacles define you and expecting there to be none (or few) is being foolish.
How you react is the only thing you can control.
So, when bad stuff happens, you’re in control. You determine the reaction which will determine how you feel. Don’t make yourself feel bad when you have the power to react positively and feel good. We all have roughly the same set of bad situations that will occur in our life.
The heroes we look up to have just got better at reacting to these situations in a positive way. You can be one of those heroes.
Criticism means you are doing something meaningful.
If you’ve never experienced any criticism while chasing your goal, you’ve probably not done anything overly meaningful or different. Push the boundaries and challenge the status quo with your goals. When the critics start talking, you’ll know you’re on the right track.
“Your critics will teach you more than your loyal followers who will tell you what you want to hear. The truth is often found in what you don’t want to hear and your critics will gladly do that favor for you”
Writing and speaking are must have communication skills.
Look at anyone in history who’s achieved success. You’ll see that almost all of them are fantastic communicators through writing and speaking. It’s these two skills that have been the foundation of my career. Both can be learned and both are essential for any big goal.
Creating will be far more valuable to you than possessing.
That’s because possessions are short-term, but anything you create has the potential to outlive you. Anything you create is uniquely you and it allows you to share your own set of gifts with the world. We need more creators if we want to push the human race forward.
“Through the creation process, you discover yourself and what life can be”
Ask yourself, “What is a hard choice and what is an easy choice.”
When you ask yourself this question in a single moment, you’ll instantly know the answer. The answer is always to make the hard choice. Hard choices build courage, character and your inner strength. They’re painful in the short-term but incredibly valuable in the long term.
Anytime you don’t know what choice to make, ask yourself this insanely powerful question.
Blaming, complaining and gossiping all lead to negativity.
Whenever you start one of these behaviors, remember that the outcome is going to be the opposite of what you want. Everything you hate in life begins with these three behaviors. Negativity sucks the life out of you so you want to avoid actions that will lead you down this dead-end path.
Gratitude ends the struggle.
It makes you see the good that’s in front of you which helps you deal with the struggles.
“Most of the people in the Tribe of Mentors book have a gratitude practice and there’s a reason for it: it works!”
Say your fears out loud.
Knowing what they are and voicing them in front of others is the first step to overcoming them. Acknowledgement of the issue is the hardest part and once you know what you’re fearful of, you can take small steps to overcome it. I did it with flying, public speaking, dating, my career, blogging and everything in between. You can definitely do the same.
Future yes’s will cost you more.
It’s easy to agree to do something in the future because there’s no cost right now. The annoying part is that you have to live with the regret in the meantime and you may need that time for something more important.
Every decision has a cost even if that cost is not redeemable right now.
Mistakes involving laziness hurt badly.
You’ll never regret being ambitious, taking actions and making a few mistakes. You will regret being lazy though and not taking action or making decisions. Regret hurts like hell — especially as you get older.
Success in your career has three components.
They are to act civil, decent and kind. These three ways of behaving are superpowers for anyone wanting to have a long, successful and fulfilling career. They are uncommon and highly desirable. They’ll bring all the right people to your personal and business networks. Who you spend time with is who you’ll become.
It’s uncommon to be vulnerable.
Because you have to share things that are embarrassing and things that scare you. You have to take away the mask and show all of yourself with the good parts and the not so good parts. Showing your weaknesses is challenging to do.
The act of being vulnerable makes you human and this trait will bring many more people closer to your vision or goal. I’ve seen firsthand what vulnerability can do on social media if it’s done with authenticity and comes from the right place.
Research vs. improvising.
The trouble with research is that it takes time and it’s easy to become obsessed with trying to know everything before you get to work and execute. Improvising is about tackling challenges head-on and being okay with not knowing the outcome.
Improvising is much quicker and allows you to adjust your approach with real-world feedback rather than researching and being reliant on someone else’s experience. Experiencing things for ourselves makes the lessons, strategies and “will to win” stay with us.
Your heart is more powerful than your brain.
Your brain uses logic whereas your heart does not. Decisions that come from your heart have a lot more power and rely on the connectedness that humans have with each other.
Sometimes, you don’t know why, but your heart guides you and you should listen to it.
Your life must have a meaning.
If your life doesn’t, you’ll feel off and do things to distract you from this unpleasant feeling. Those things that distract you usually come in the form of unhealthy addictions. Having a meaning for your life makes it so much easier to wake up each day and motivate yourself to do the best you can.
Where some see despair, is where you can see potential.
Certain industries may be down and that can be upsetting. That is a decision though and when you look in a particular area that’s negative or depressed, that’s where the most potential is and probably the least number of people who could take the opportunity for themselves.
The greatest privilege is being who you are.
In the free world, we get to be exactly who we are and that’s not only a privilege, but a freedom to appreciate and take advantage of.
Knowing nothing about an industry is your advantage in business.
That means you don’t follow the rules or fall into the trap of trying to do things the old way. New ideas and strategies come from being a little naïve and bringing the best of other industries to a field you know nothing about.
Getting consistent no’s means you’re onto something.
It means you know something that everyone else doesn’t and you can see something that may be camouflaged to the average Joe. People only say no because they don’t understand. Once they understand, whatever you’re trying to do has probably been successfully done. That’s cool, it just means you’ll have some competition.
Getting yes’s all the time is like playing a video game on easy: it’s boring.
The no’s bring challenges and that makes the success at the end of the road feel so much better and more fulfilling. If you want more fulfillment, tackle bigger challenges that involve more no’s.
Emptiness is how the mind fasts.
We’re all familiar with the new-age trend of fasting to give our bodies a break from food. Well when we experience emptiness, that’s how our mind fasts. Everything you feel is a matter of perspective. Rather than think negatively about feelings of emptiness, understand the benefits of it.
Emptiness gives your mind a break so that you can return to your dreams bigger and better than before. Space in almost every aspect of your life has benefits. That’s one trend I saw in Tribe of Mentors through every person that answered Tim Ferriss’s eleven questions.
You need plateaus to have giant gains.
We’re addicted to seeing the huge leaps forward that our heroes and mentors have, yet we don’t see the long stretches of nothingness, lack of progress and silence they experience before the pinnacles of their lives. During the times in our lives where we are making no progress, we are learning new behaviors which we’ll ultimately turn into new habits.
These new habits give us the foundation which leads us to transformation, and then onto the path to achieving our vision/dream.
“When you think there’s no progress, it’s in fact, invisible progress that you can’t see”
Most of your hero’s success can’t be seen. That’s the part no one talks about or acknowledges.
Your energy is far more important than what you say.
We all do a hell of a lot of talking and that’s not what will get people to listen or notice you. The energy that you show up with- your passion, body language, positivity — is what will attract people to your vision and get them to join your tribe.
Energy makes us feel good. We’re drawn to people that make us feel good.
Fantastic opportunities look unattractive at first.
You’ll never necessarily predict where your big opportunity will come from. Most of the time these life-changing opportunities come from somewhere that looks unattractive in the beginning. Remain curious and don’t dismiss things too quickly.
Opportunities are presented to you for a reason and you never know which one will lead you to the thing you love or even to the people you end up appreciating the most. Open-mindedness is sexy!
Exposure to stress equals growth.
You can’t grow without a familiarity to pain, stress and unpleasant feelings.
You can have critics or you can be invisible — the choice is yours.
Trying to please everyone will make you invisible. Building a fan base of critics means you’re saying or doing something that is different. It’s easier to be different than it is to be better than your competition. With that said, the most progress you will make will be made by competing with yourself.
Becoming more begins with the voice in your head.
The voice that only you can hear is driving all of your decisions and the way you feel. Work on that voice that exists in your head. Teach that voice to be kind and forgiving to yourself. If each of us recorded the voice in our head and played it back for our friends and family, we’d all sound like lunatics…haha.
The end is actually the beginning of something new.
This one lesson from the book was exactly what I needed in my life right now. A few normalities in my life are disappearing and I’ve now realized that it’s occurring because something new, beautiful and huge is about to start.
Certain aspects of your life need to end so that there is room for new beginnings. The end is just the beginning of everything you’ve ever wanted.