So I was not surprised that his book Tools of Titans was a fantastic read. But was happy to find out there really is something for everyone in this book.
With this book, Ferriss has moved from books you can read fluidly cover-to-cover to more of an encyclopedic style.
Tools Of Titans is a massive collection of everything Tim Ferriss has learned about health, wealth and wisdom from interviewing over 200 world-class performers on his podcast, The Tim Ferriss show.
In his podcast, Tim Ferriss has always cared about bringing the best in the world in their fields: the Titans. He interviewed only people recognized for their vast knowledge and success, and this made him realize a key factor:
“Titans create their own rules, which allow them to transform their reality according to their will.”
Titans create their rules to find their strengths and create habits around them. In Tools of Titans, Ferriss’s goal is to dissect what makes these people unique and bring you applicable recipes, tools for you to develop your success.
A tool can be an unusual habit, a daily ritual, an original question, a food supplement or even a book.
The important thing is that you choose yours and set up your toolbox.
Watch the video below for the Tools of Titans Book Summary!
The Tools of Titans FULL Summary! Broken up into three sections; health, wealth and wisdom.
Good General Health Principles
Work on the deficiencies you’re most embarrassed by
True in athletics and beyond
Laird Hamilton: “All you flexible people should go bang some iron, and all you big weight lifters should go do some yoga.” Stop being complacent in your strengths
Flexibility is passive; mobility requires demonstrating strength through the entire range of motion
Consider changing “diet and exercise” to “eat and train”
The former is aesthetic and doesn’t have a clear goal; the other is functional and has a clear goal
How to find a good doctor
Ask your doctor “what does cholesterol do?” Identifies doctors who simply follow heuristics vs those who truly understand something
The time they spend on your first visit
Be around people who can push you
When heli boarding, 80-year-old Don Wildman surrounds himself with younger guys to raise the energy
Don’t hold yourself back in embarrassment of your abilities
Gabby Reece’s story about how a volleyball coach singled out a player and said “I need you to put this ball away and for you to win this game.”
How to Improve Your Physical Strength
Pavel Tsatsouline, the creator of the phenomenon behind the Kettlebell, believes that strength is the highest quality for personal development.
He believes that force is the only human character that can generate many other values, being a skill that needs to be continually perfected.
Pavel lists three great strategies for improving your strength. First, you should train your torso. Having a strong trunk and therefore having greater stability will increase your strength even with little weight lifting.
Second, he recommends that you use a technique that involves performing weight lifting several times throughout the day, such as doing the “fixed bar” exercise, doing half the repetitions you can do several times during the day.
This technique is different from most training: instead of training your body to tolerate a greater amount of lactic acid, you will be training your body to produce less lactic acid.
Finally, he recommends that you keep your reps below five, since doing more than five will help you tone your body and not gain strength.
A typical pattern for improving athletic performance, strength and mental clarity is intermittent fasting.
High-strength athlete Pete Attia, Dutchman Wim Hof, world record holder and research scientist Dominic D’Agostino are all adept at intermittent fasting.
The basic strategy is to eat one meal a day in a four-hour window, followed by twenty hours of fasting.
This strategy is in line with the ketogenic diet, in which the body begins to use stored fat as an energy source, rather than using glucose. This results in burning of body fat, as well as increased ability to gain muscle.
Ketogenic diets have traditionally been used to treat seizures and epilepsies, and their use is proposed for the symptoms of chronic Lyme disease.
Experts also say that intermittent fasting helps to expel cancer cells from the body. Ketogenic diets are composed of about 80% fat, and you should avoid starches of all types.
Exogenous ketones are also recommended: supplements that help the body achieve or maintain the highest performing ketogenic states.
These supplements are very expensive and can induce nausea and induce vomiting.
Different Approaches to Food Diets
While coaches and athletes are generally against carbohydrate intake, many have unique approaches to nutrition.
For example, Amelia Boone, a famous obstacle course athlete, has a tradition of eating ‘Pop Tarts’ cookies for breakfast before competitions.
Charles Poliquin, a famous personal trainer, believes that people should only eat carbohydrates or sugars if they have a good body mass index.
He states that to eat carbohydrates, a person should have less than 10% body fat.
Many people also have peculiar approaches to coffees and beverages in general, whether it is coffee with butter or specific supplements like hydrolyzed gelatin mixed with beetroot powder.
Some people believe that hydrolyzed gelatin helps in the flexibility and recovery of the daily workout.
The Acroyoga Technique
Tim Ferriss is a big fan of gymnastics, but he also praises AcroYoga for its ability to relax, loosen the muscles and prepare the body for sleep.
More than regular yoga, AcroYoga develops strength and is a bit more difficult.
It explores movements typically associated with acrobatics.
For all those interviewed in the book, strength training is essential. Mobility is also a fundamental concept, which consists in the ability to demonstrate strength through flexibility.
Increasing Your Muscle Strength
Muscle strength workouts stabilize the body’s metabolism, bone health, and our immune system.
An important fitness principle defined by former gymnastics coach Christopher Sommer is training the areas of weakness, that is, the areas that cause the most physical pain. Thus, the body and mind need to be prepared to deal with chronic pain.
Gaining strength in these areas creates a sense of confidence to continue strength training, flexibility, and endurance in others.
A measure of success, which is also a model used by successful people, is to overcome this pain barrier and train multiple areas of the body.
Another important point is that personal trainers tend to have a preference for pure muscle extension, recommending exercises like races, jumps, and squats.
In this approach, two essential tools have their effects questioned because they cause negative impacts on the extent of our muscles: Sneakers and mattresses.
Sneakers have slight heel rises, and this causes them to extend the Achilles heel and affect the mobility of the ankle. So you should avoid them.
Try to wear sneakers that have flat soles, keeping your toes and heels aligned at the same height.
Hard mattresses also keep your muscles extended. Soft mattresses are best for the modern human being – who needs to be seated in an office or in the car and, other than that, is sedentary for the rest of the day.According to Dr. Kelly Starret, the founder of the San Francisco CrossFit, the ideal place to sleep is in a hammock.
Another recommended bed, but not for sleeping every day, is an acupressure mattress, which helps relieve back pain.
Medicating With Medical Prescription
Another important topic is the use of prescription drugs and the use of dietary supplements.
Dominic D’Agostino, a doctor of nutrition, recommends the daily use of the diabetes drug Metformin.
D’Agostino says Metformin can help prevent cancer and is considered the most promising anti-aging drug nowadays.
Ferriss says that several people interviewed for Tools of Titans regularly use Metformin.
The doctor Pete Attia takes small dosages of lithium, which is a drug against bipolarity. It is believed that such low dosages can improve mood and brain functions. Ferriss also takes lithium regularly.
Using Psychedelic Drugs
Psychedelic drugs are tools cited a lot by many of the individuals interviewed.
It is believed that substances such as Psilocybin, Mescaline, and Ayahuasca can separate the subject from the ego and thus provide a transcendental experience.
Psychedelic drugs have been used in indigenous culture rituals for thousands of years, and some researchers are beginning to use them as a treatment for depression, addiction, and even anxiety in terminally ill patients.
Dan Engle, Martin Polanco, and James Fadiman advocate the use of psychedelics in microdoses and with appropriate guidelines.
They claim that psychedelics are social repairers and dissolve the ego.
Like many experts interviewed, Ferriss recommends that if you use a larger dose of psychedelics, do so in the presence of a guide and in a supervised environment.
He shares that his psychedelic experiences have generated a fundamental improvement in his mood for up to six months and have also helped him react and respond differently to his relationships.
For him, psychedelics have helped his life, including his family relationships.
Eric Weinstein, a doctor in mathematics from Harvard and manager of investment fund Thiel Capital, said that using psychedelics after 40 years of age changed his perception of the world.
He believed that the psychedelics would destroy his brain and so he met several people who used them regularly.
Today, he understands that psychedelics is a tool, or a “secret,” to access higher levels of creativity and to break down emotional and mental barriers.
The Use of Alternative Remedies
World champion in hurdle racing, Amelia Boone, defends her primary alternative treatment: manuka honey bandages for her wounds.
Manuka honey is a very expensive honey, produced only in Australia and New Zealand, evaluated by medicine as a way to improve the immune system and prevent colds.
Other recommended alternative remedies include oolong tea, the Gotu Kola leaf liquid extract, which is believed to have the power to improve stretch marks and cellulite on the body, and the Hitachi Magic Wand vibrator, used to soothe muscles.
How to Be Resilient
Resilience is a standard feature found in people interviewed and is a topic that relates to health, wealth, and wisdom.
To be successful, many people train and prepare for what they do, not only in the best conditions but also in the worst.
Preparing for the worst conditions enables these individuals to stand up when faced with failures and falls.
Guru Tony Robbins has a remarkable morning routine for developing resilience. His method involves diving into ice water for 30 to 90 seconds at a time.
That prepares his body to take action and trains his mind: when it says it will do something, such as entering an icy river, it doesn’t matter if it will feel uncomfortable, he can do it.
This preparation can be anything, an ice bath or some push-ups. This is Robbins’s way of thinking more clearly.
Jane McGonigal discusses another method for developing her resilience using visual games and activities.
She shares that game scholars have found that playing Tetris between 6 and 24 hours after a traumatic episode helps prevent post-traumatic stress disorder and other trauma-related problems.
Tetris is a visual replacement strategy that also helps with other behaviors such as obsessions, addictions, eating compulsions and insomnia.
Tim Ferriss shares his strategy to develop resilience: set the worst case scenario and rehearse based on it. This technique allows you to see that even in the worst cases, things are not that scary.
The Shared Characteristics of Big Investors
Tony Robbins made friends with some of the most successful investors in the world and tried to understand their minds. He found the four most common characteristics to be:
Cut risks and disadvantages. These people do not like to lose money and find ways to inhibit the adverse sides of an investment.
Find the highest amount of reward in exchange for the least amount of risk possible. Unlike conventional investment advice, this kind of opportunity is real. Tony Bass bought $ 1 million in nickels. He saw that its nominal value was 5 cents per nickel, while the value of the metal was 6.8 cents per piece, thus earning $ 360,000 immediately.
Diversified asset allocation, which Robbins calls the most important investment decision. Diversification is necessary for successful investments.
Contribution. To be a successful investor, you can not stand still and be passive. You need to add value in some way.
Telling Your Past Self to Relax
Tim Ferriss poses a question: “what would you tell your younger self?” The most common response was “relax, don’t get anxious – everything will work out.”
Naturally this suffers from hindsight bias, since the anxiety possibly caused the motion and inspiration leading to today’s success. And now that they’ve achieved a level of fame and success, things come easier to them, so they have to work less hard.
But if I were to take this productively, I’d connect this to the Focus theme – worry about the one or two big things you want to get right. The other details that stress you out don’t matter.
Discipline and daily consistency are very important, for health, fitness, financial and personal goals.
Navy soldier and writer, Jocko Willink, discusses the importance of discipline. Everyone wants freedom, but few people have the discipline to reach it.
Implementing and maintaining personal restrictions allows for greater freedom, but freedom is impossible without consistent discipline.
The same principle applies to physical exercises. Former US gymnastics coach Christopher Sommer trained Tim Ferriss.
Ferriss was surprised to learn that some progression in flexibility and mobility can only be achieved by regular physical exercise rather than intensity.
The degree of movement in Ferriss’ knee tendons doubled with only six months of regular activities.
Kevin Kelly advises Wired magazine readers. He explains that in the modern world of technology, social networking, and unlimited distractions, the ability to focus on a single task is a “superpower.”
Derek Sivers also defends this idea by saying that allowing you to be distracted by various things at once makes you look like a monkey, and paradoxically, you can not do anything.
The ability to focus is also a matter of discipline.
Use The Power of Affirmations To Your Favor
Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert comics, discusses the power that affirmations have in his life.
He chose a particular goal he wanted to achieve and wrote that goal on a piece of paper 15 times, every day.
Adams says the important thing is not the method, but its focus and commitment.
By focusing your memory and your mind on a particular goal, you are utilizing a part of your brain known as the reticular activation system.
He describes the result: the universe begins to send opportunities he never imagined, things he saw as coincidences, but which continued to happen.
An example for Adams was his confirmation of becoming a best-selling author, although he never took any courses. After practicing this, Adams published The Dilbert Principle, which quickly became a bestseller.
Have Real Fans
Kevin Kelly wrote an article called 1,000 True Fans and Ferriss uses this concept in the book.
The idea is simple: to make money, you only need 1,000 true fans. A “true fan” is someone who will buy everything you produce. It is important to differentiate that this approach will help you to make money but not to make a fortune.
Amanda Palmer, singer and songwriter for The Dresden Dolls and creator of the popular TED talk “The Art of Asking”, offers an anecdote that illustrates this principle.
It encourages artists to focus on a more targeted audience, rather than a broad audience.
Eric Weinstein also mentions that overall fame is overrated, saying that having 3,000 loyal fans is a much more efficient approach.
Use Different Meditation Techniques
Eight out of ten people interviewed for the book have daily meditation practices.
Meditation is a practice of moving away from your thoughts, which helps you to train proper breathing techniques and focus.
The author also mentions floating tanks as a tool to be more resilient. The tanks are hot baths.
The environment needs to generate sensory deprivation, it must be dark, totally silent, the water must be at room temperature, and it must contain salt to make you float and feel light.
The buoyancy tank makes the individual experience a sensation free of sensory impulses that soothe his mind.
Dr. Dan Engle states that buoyancy tanks have calming effects similar to the effects of psychedelics.
They are a more powerful version of meditation, and its regular use can lessen the physical pain in the body.
A particular type of meditation that is popular among people is vipassana meditation, practiced by Ed Catmull (founder of Pixar Studios), Sam Harris (neuroscientist and writer) and Amanda Palmer (singer).
Famous actor Rainn Wilson discusses the value of meditation to overcome personal struggles in his life.
He states that his standard state generates a lot of mental confusion and meditation allows him to get out of his mind and set a new standard.
When you are feeling sad or stressed, nature can become therapy. BJ Miller, a physician, and advisor on the Zen Hospice project uses the sky at night as a therapy.
As he watches the stars, he is both thrilled and frightened making his anxieties seem small when placed in this perspective.
Miller also talks about the miracle of a snowball.
Simple things like a snowball reward you for being alive and present at the moment. Alain de Botton, a philosopher, offers a similar feeling in the form of a council.
He talks about the importance of loving and enjoying the power of the present and says that while we are all on a journey, it is important to benefit from the view on the way.
Ed Cooke, CEO of Memrise, also watches the stars whenever he feels like a loser. There is something different about stars and nature in general that give the power to calm your anxieties.
Don’t Be So Busy All The Time
Surprisingly, many of these individuals talk about the importance of not being too busy in their daily lives.
For example, Derek Sivers says that being busy is a sign that your mind is out of control and chaotic.
Being available and having time for others and yourself means that you are in control of your day and your life.
Maria Popova mentions the passage of Henry David Thoreau on this subject. Thoreau says that the chronic culture of occupation is a reflection of the lack of priorities and the lack of self-respect.
Tony Robbins talks about a similar feeling when discussing meditation.
He states that 10 minutes a day is all you need to be efficient and that being busy is not a valid excuse because if you do not have 10 minutes, you do not have a life.
You Need to Focus
Does life feel busy to you? It doesn’t have to be. These titans have hundreds-fold more opportunities than you or me, and they have to apply a laser focus to the opportunities that will fulfill their goals.
If you feel like you’re spinning your wheels and moving really fast, but not making any progress in life, you probably have to focus your goals.
Love Your Neighbor Unconditionally
The power of unconditional love for others and yourself arose in repeated interviews with the individuals in the book.
Tim Ferriss, for example, promotes the practice of kindness, in which you desire the happiness of others, and in return, you feel happier.
Empathy is a common practice among successful people.
That is consistent with the advice of Tony Robbins, who recommends that you stop focusing on yourself. Robbins says that having an obsession with yourself is a constant cause of suffering.
Focusing on the well-being of others opens the door to incredible opportunities.
Whitney Cummings shares her practice of saying the words “I love you” in her mind every time she meets a stranger before she even talks to them.
This practice is a way of ensuring that she is not judging negatively. Criticism and negative judgment are a way for one to feel superior while avoiding introspection.
Jane McGonigal shares her belief that unnecessary criticism can ruin a person’s day, closing a door to a potential friend in the process.
Gabby Reece shares her practice: she seeks to be the first person to smile at someone and say ‘hello’ – to friends and even to strangers.
Writer Glenn Beck discusses the importance of upholding values of justice, which include respect and compassion for others. Being righteous is not radical, but a virtue.
My personal take-aways
If you know your field, what you need help with, or even some of the experts, and want to pick individual people’s brains, then Tools Of Titans is a great go-to resource.
There are three things I learned from this book:
There is no exact formula to health, wealth or wisdom for everyone.
One of the first things you should learn to combat is peer pressure.
You can only be creative if your life offers you the space to be creative in.