Book Notes: Tools of Titans

By Tim Ferris. 736 pages.

NOTE: Whenever I read a nonfiction book, I like to summarize the ‘meat’ of it, the parts that really had value to me (I copied the idea from Derek Sivers). So, fair warning: this is less a book summary and more a ‘points I liked in a book’ summary.

I admire Tim Ferriss. Not because he’s wise or successful or holds the keys to enlightenment, but because he relentlessly asks questions and challenges his own understanding. Ferriss is likely the first to admit he treats life as an experiment, and in that constant experimentation he elicits answers from a veritable who’s who of successful people, from scientists to athletes to philosophers.

This weighty book is something of a culmination of the questions he’s been asking for years. Interviewing a few hundred of those successful people,  he asks them a similar set of questions which boil down to: how do you approach being healthy, wealthy, and wise?

To get the full benefit of this book, you have to read the interviews. What follows is only the points that felt important to me, grouped in the same three categories (Healthy, Wealthy, Wise) as they are in the book.

No matter who you are, I believe you’ll find something useful and important in this book.

Recommended Reading/Listening/Viewing



  • MCT oil
  • Bone broth
  • Metformin
  • ‘Duck shot’ oolong tea (
  • Magnesium. Anti aging mineral. Good at bedtime.
  • To increase testosterone, lower cortisol.
  • Slow carb diet
  • What you put in your mouth is a stressor, and what comes out of your mouth is also a stressor. —Charles Poliquin
  • NutriBullet


  • Kettlebell: one or two arm swing, Turkish get up, goblet squat
  • Two hand kettlebell swing might be single best exercise
  • To increase reps, do half the number you’re capable of throughout the day.
  • Do cat-cow stretch

Mental Health

  • Try microdoses of mushrooms
  • Calm is contagious.
  • Ashwaganda for anxiety/stress
  • Guided meditation by Sam harris or Tara Brach
  • Bedtime relaxer:
    – 2 tbsp ACV + 1 tbsp honey stir in hot water
    – Yogi soothing caramel bedtime tea
    – California poppy extract
  • 80% of world class performers have some form of meditation/mindfulness practice.
  • Cultivates present state awareness.
  • Take one mindful breath/day. It builds momentum and you add more later if desired.
  • One pushup, same idea.
  • Just note ‘gone’. When an experience/sound/whatever is over, notice it is over. Gone.
  • 10-second exercise: identity two human beings nearby (or not) and think “I wish for this person to ne happy and for that person to be happy”. The giving of a kind thought is rewarding in and of itself.
  • Impatience in dealing with frustration is the primary reason most people fail to achieve their goals.
  • Let go of what’s not working and really assess what is working and ‘what can I be excited about’? —Jason Nemer
  • Always ask, ‘why am I having this thought?’
  • Anger is a hot coal you hold in your hand while waiting to throw it at someone else. —Buddhist saying

Body care

  • If you’re over 40, there’s a 70-80% chance you’ll die from one of four diseases: heart disease, stroke, cancer, or neurodegenerative disease (Alzheimers etc). So, mitigate those.
  • Gotu kola for loose skin/stretch marks
  • Rumble roller
  • Flat shoes/barefoot whenever possible (kids too)
  • Dvorak keyboard layout is easier on your tendons and helps prevent carpal tunnel syndrome (Colmak even more efficient).


  • Follow what angers you —Casey Neistat
  • Losers have goals. Winners have systems. —Scott Adams
  • Amplify your strengths rather than fix your weaknesses.
  • ‘All of my biggest wins have come from leveraging strengths instead of fixing weaknesses.’ —Tim Ferriss
  • Figure out your Target Monthly Income for your ideal lifestyle, and work backwards to figure out what to charge.
  • What did you want to do when you were a child, before anybody told you what you were supposed to do? What was it you wanted to become? What did you want to do more than anything else?
  • If I gave you 1 billion dollars, how would you spend it? If I asked you to spend a billion dollars improving the world, solving a problem, what would you pursue?
  • Any time I’m telling myself ‘but I’m making so much money’, that’s a warning sign that I’m doing the wrong thing. —BJ Novak
  • Are you doing what you’re uniquely capable of, what you feel placed here on earth to do? Can you be replaced/are you interchangeable?
  • When in doubt, scratch your own itch.
  • Earn with your mind, not your time. —Naval Ravikant
  • What you choose to work on, and who you choose to work with, are far more important than how hard you work. —Naval Ravikant


  • Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious. —Thomas Edison
  • When you complain, nobody wants to help you. —Stephen Hawking
  • Find what nobody else wants to do and do it
  • The minutiae fit around the big things, but the big things don’t fit around the minutiae.
  • When struggling, ask ‘what would this look like if it were easy?’
  • Write down the 20% of activities and people causing 80% or more of your negative emotions.
  • Don’t believe everything you think. —BJ Miller
  • What would you put on a billboard?
  • The purpose of life is a life of purpose. —Robert Byrne
  • What would your future self (10 years maybe) tell your current or past self?
  • Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action. —Benjamin Disraeli
  • What we fear most is usually what we most need to do.
  • Write to get ideas, not to express them
  • When people seem like they are mean, they’re almost never mean. They’re anxious. —Alain de Botton
  • Don’t expect others to understand you. —Alain de Botton
  • The more you know what you really want, and where you’re really going, the more what everybody else is doing starts to diminish. The moments when your own path is at its most ambiguous, that’s when the voices of others, the distracting chaos in which we live, the social media static start to loom large and become very threatening. —Alain de Botton
  • You have to believe in your capacity. Believe in yourself more deeply. You’re bigger than that. Dream bigger. —Rainn Wilson
  • In any situation in life, you only have three options: change it, accept it, or leave it. (You have to choose otherwise you’ll be miserable)—Naval Ravikant
  • Nothing that we do lasts. Eventually you will fade, your works will fade, your children will fade, your thoughts will fade, this planet will fade, the sun will fade…it will all be gone. …there is no excuse for spending most of your life in misery. —Naval Ravikant
  • Learn the macro from the micro.
  • To be trusted, be vulnerable.
  • No hurry, no pause.
  • The quality of your questions determines the quality of your life. —Tony Robbins
  • Go first. Try it.
  • Don’t do what you’re bad at, unless you’re trying to improve it
  • The secret: show up, do the work, and go home. If you’re committed to a long-term goal, then that’s the only decision you need to make.
  • Be your unapologetically weird self. —Chris Sacca
  • It’s not what you know, it’s what you do consistently.
  • Choose the plan with the most options. The best plan is one that lets you change your plans. —Derek Sivers
  • The reason you’re suffering is you’re focused on yourself. —Tony Robbins

Questions to Ask

  • What would your future self (~10 years) tell your current or past self?
  • What if I did the opposite for 48 hours?
  • What do I spend a silly amount of money on? How might I scratch my own itch?
  • What would I do/have/be if I had $10 million? What’s my real TMI (target monthly income)?
  • What are the worst things that could happen? Could I get back here?
  • If I could only work two hours/week on my business, what would I do?
  • What’s the least crowded channel?
  • What if I created my own real world MBA?
  • Do I need to make it back the way I lost it?
  • What if I could only subtract to solve problems?
  • Am I hunting mice, or antelope?
  • What would this look like if it were easy?
  • How can I ‘waste’ money to improve the quality of my life?

 [Buy this book]