Lessons from Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss
Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss is a fantastic compilation of lessons and wisdom from a wide range of iconic and successful people. While there are plenty of great lessons I could talk about, I’m going to share three big lessons I learned from Tools of Titans you won’t find within the book. Let’s look at the book as a whole and what we can learn from it. Whether you’ve read the book or not, you’ll learn something new in this video.
The first lesson is valuable for anybody wanting to master a skill, develop a habit or improve some aspect of your life. As you read through the book, you might notice topics and themes that continue to show up.
This isn’t an accident, it’s by design. The topics covered in Tools of Titans are all topics Tim wanted to work on or learn more about for his own needs.
For example Tim wanted to improve his morning routine so he began asking his guests about their morning routines. Each guest would provide him new insights and ideas he could then apply to his own routine. Ask enough people and you start building up a sense of best practices to apply.
Likewise it’s clear that Tim wanted to improve his meditation habits, so he made an effort to ask almost every guest about meditation.
Tim made the most out of each opportunity he had with his guests to improve his own life. Just think – if you had the opportunity to interview someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger, would you ask him the same questions he answers in almost every interview? Or would you make the most of it and ask questions that could directly impact your life?
The lesson here is if there’s something you want to improve in your own life or a topic you want to learn more about, ask people who know more about it than you. That might sound obvious, but it’s something most people don’t do. Asking somebody for advice is hard because it shows vulnerability. Your ego doesn’t want you to show that you don’t know something, so it’s easier to avoid asking for advice.
Tim created Tools of Titans for himself first, then for everybody else. Now whenever he needs a kick of motivation or gets stuck with a particular topic, he has an easy way to revisit those topics.
To apply this lesson in your life, have a go creating your own version of Tools of Titans. When you talk to somebody who knows more about a topic than you or can give you interesting insights, write those insights and lessons down. Any time you read a great quote, uncover a valuable finding or read a nugget of wisdom, write it down.
Over time you’ll build up your own version of Tools of Titans that’s directly relevant to your life.
Don’t rely on your memory for anything important – cement any new lessons in writing and keep adding to it over time.
If you watch one of these videos and you hear a lesson that inspires you, write that lesson down so you can refer to it later on. Ingrain those lessons by regularly referring to your own version of Tools of Titans.
The second lesson I learned from Tools of Titans was from looking at a common attribute the guests all share. The book does a great job at highlighting commonalities across guests but there is one that grabbed my attention. Essentially all of the ‘titans’ in the book are creators or producers. They all create something of value for the world in one way or another. Whether that’s entrepreneurs creating products and services, writers creating books or high-end chefs creating amazing food, they’re all on the producer side of the equation.
The other side of the equation is being a consumer. Tools of Titans makes it clear that the people in the book are successful because they’re producers.
To apply this lesson in your own life, think about what you’re currently producing for the world and what you could produce. Is there something you’ve always wanted to create that you’re not doing right now? Maybe you’ve always wanted to build a business, write a novel or start a podcast or a YouTube channel but your job doesn’t give you the opportunity to do so. All of the people in Tools of Titans are successful because they took action and produced something other people value. Find a way to be a producer rather than solely a consumer like most people. The stories in Tools of Titans show that it isn’t easy to become a producer, but I’m sure every single person in that book would say that it’s worth the effort.
The last lesson I want to leave with you is why a book like Tools of Titans is valuable and why it was worth Tim’s time to create.
Everything in Tools of Titans is available in full in the Tim Ferriss Podcast and on his blog. So why create a book when all the content is already out there?
There are a few reasons, but the main one is thanks to the 80/20 principle – a topic Tim regularly discusses. A typical episode of the Tim Ferriss Podcast might run for 2 hours. The 80/20 principle suggests that 80% of the value you get will come from only 20% of the episode. That means for a 2 hour podcast episode, the most valuable information is likely to only take up around 24 minutes. What Tools of Titans does so well is it gives you that 24 minutes worth of information from each episode so you immediately get the best bits.
Having the best parts in a book means you don’t need to sit through hundreds of hours worth of interviews to find relevant parts for you. A book allows you to jump around to parts you’re interested in – something not possible with a podcast.
Tim could have been content with only having his podcast, but distilling all the habits, routines and tactics down to the essentials makes it more powerful.
When you take this lesson and start applying the 80/20 principle in your own life, it becomes a lot easier to focus on the important things. A student studying for exams highlights important parts of a textbook because those highlights could be what it takes to pass the exam. A basketballer practicing free throws does so because practicing that skill can make or break games. Start viewing the world from the 80/20 mindset and you’ll quickly notice how it changes your results.
If there’s one thing you take away from this video, I highly recommend you try to create your own version of Tools of Titans. Either buy a notebook or use a note taking app to start compiling any lessons, tactics and insights you come across. You might not have access to world-class performers or billionaires like Tim does, but you can still learn something from every person you meet. Make the most of every opportunity to learn more and improve yourself, then write those lessons down so you don’t forget them. More importantly, it gives you a way to integrate those lessons into your life.
I’ll be creating more videos on lessons learned from Tim Ferriss as well as other interesting people and books, so to receive updates on new videos, click subscribe. Also, if you have read Tools of Titans, share your favorite lesson in the comments.
Key Lessons to Remember
- Don’t rely on your memory to remember important quotes, advice or wisdom
- You can learn something from every person you meet (if you’re willing to listen)
- The value of ‘Tools of Titans’ is in the ability to regularly refer back to the wisdom and ideas
- Create your own personal version of ‘Tools of Titans’ filled with quotes, ideas and advice relevant to your life