Tools of Titans


Best self-betterment tips

This is the most dog-eared book I own. It is a massive whack on the side of the head. Nearly every one of its 670 pages contains a mind grenade, some aha or reminder of an aha. Self-improvement expert Tim Ferriss has been deconstructing the best practices of successful people in his wildly popular podcast series, and in this book he heroically distills those hundreds of hours into short powerful stand-alone paragraphs. Tim then adds his own comments based on his experience as a human guinea pig willing to try any improvement hack at least once. The result is a crowded, overflowing Whole Earth Catalog of self betterment. Browse anywhere and you’ll be rewarded with hard-worn practical advice to increase your achievement in three categories: healthy, wealthy and wise. I was surprised by how much actionable insight there are in this tome. And I keep returning to it to find more.

-- KK 06/20/17


Joe De Sena

Do you have any quotes you live your life by or think of often?

“It could always be worse.”


Pavel Tsatsouline

“ … when you are a leader, people are going to mimic your behavior, at a minimum .... It’s a guarantee. So here’s the key piece of advice, this is all he said: ‘Calm is contagious.’”


Chade-Meng Tan

Take One Breath a Day

I may be the laziest mindfulness instructor in the world because I tell my students that all they need to commit is one mindful breath a day. Just one. Breathe in and breathe out mindfully, and your commitment for the day is fulfilled. Everything else is a bonus.


Coach Sommer

If the commitment is to a long-term goal and not to a series of smaller intermediate goals, then only one decision needs to be made and adhered to. Clear, simple, straightforward. Much easier to maintain than having to make small decision after small decision to stay the course when dealing with each step along the way. This provides far too many opportunities to inadvertently drift from your chosen goal. The single decision is one of the most powerful tools in the toolbox.  


Productivity tricks for the Neurotic, Manic-Depressive, and Crazy (Like Me)

For each item, ask yourself: “If this were the only thing I accomplished today, would I be satisfied with my day?” “Will moving this forward make all the other to-dos unimportant or easier to knock off later?” Put another way: “What, if done, will make all the rest easier or irrelevant?”


Tony Robbins

Is there a quote that guides your life?

“It’s a belief: Life is always happening for us, not to us. It’s our job to find out where the benefit is. If we do, life is magnificent.”

The best investment he’s ever made?

Buffet told him, “ Investing in yourself is the most important investment you’ll ever make in your life … There’s no financial investment that’ll ever match it, because if you develop more skill, more ability, more insight, more capacity, that’s what’s going to really provide economic freedom. … It’s those skill sets that really make that happen.”


Casey Neistat

“What is the ultimate quantification of success? For me, it’s not how much time you spend doing what you love. It’s how little time you spend doing what you hate.”


Peter Thiel

“So if you’re planning to do something with your life, if you have a 10-year plan of how to get there, you should ask: Why can’t you do this in 6 months?”


Seth Godin

If you generate enough bad ideas, a few good ones tend to show up

“People who have trouble coming up with good ideas, if they’re telling the truth, will tell you they don’t have many bad ideas. But people who have plenty of good ideas, if they’re telling the truth, will say they have even more bad ideas. So the goal isn’t to get good ideas; the goal is to get bad ideas. Because once you get enough bad ideas, then some good ones have to show up.”

Try sitting at a different table

“Everyone who can hear this has more power than they think they do. The question is, what are you going to do with that power?”

First, ten people

“The blog post I point people to the most is called ‘First, Ten,’ and it is a simple theory of marketing that says: tell ten people, show ten people, share it with ten people; ten people who already trust you and already like you. If they don’t tell anybody else, it’s not that good and you should start over. If they do tell other people, you’re on your way.”


James Altucher

“Here’s magic trick: If you can’t come with 10 ideas, come up with 20 ideas … You are putting too much pressure on yourself. Perfectionism is the ENEMY of the idea muscle … it’s your brain trying to protect you from harm, from coming up with an idea that is embarrassing and stupid and could cause you to suffer pain. The way you shut this off is by forcing the brain to come up with bad ideas.”

The world doesn’t need your explanation. On saying “No”:

“I don’t give explanations anymore, and I’ll catch myself when I start giving explanations like ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I can’t make it. I have a doctor’s appointment that day. I’m really sick. I broke my leg over the weekend’ or something. I just say, ‘I can’t do it. I hope everything is well.’”


Justin Boreta

Do you live your life by any quotes?

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a Ride!’” — Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967


Best advice ever received? “The question I ask whenever I’m straining for extended periods is, “What would this look like if it were easy?” — Tim Ferris


How to earn your freedom

It comes from Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, when the Charlie Sheen character—a promising big shot in the stock market—is telling his girlfriend about his dreams.

“I think if I can make a bundle of cash before I’m 30 and get out of this racket,” he says, “ I’ll be able to ride my motercycle across China.”

When I first saw this scene on video a few years ago, I nearly fell of my seat in astonishment. After all, Charlie Sheen or anyone else could work for 8 months as a toilet cleaner and have enough money to ride a motorcycle across China.


Astro Teller

The benefits of thinking 10X versus 10%

“When you go after a moonshot—something that’s 10 times bigger, not 10% bigger—a number of things happen …. First of all, when you’re going 10% bigger, you’re competing against everybody. Everybody’s trying to go 10% bigger. When you’re trying to go 10 times bigger, you’re there by yourself. For me, [take asteroid mining as an example]. I don’t have a lot of asteroid mining competition out there, or prospecting. Or take human longevity, trying to add 40 years in health lifespan with HLI. There are not a lot of companies out there [attempting this]. The second thing is, when you are trying to go 10 times bigger, you have to start with a clean sheet of paper, and you approach the problem completely differently. I’ll give you my favorite example: Tesla. How did Elon start Tesla and build from scratch the safest, most extraordinary car, not even in America, but I think in the world/ It’s by not having a legacy from the past to drag into the present. That’s important. The third thing is when you try to go 10 times bigger versus 10% bigger, it’s typically not 100 times harder, but the reward is 100 times more.”


B.J. Novak

The importance of the “blue sky” period

For 2 to 4 weeks, the writers’ room banter was each person asking, “What if …?” over and over again. Crazy scenarios were encouraged, not penalized. Every idea, no matter what, was valid during this period. The idea generation and filtering/editing stages were entirely separate. As B.J. explained, “To me, everything is idea and execution and, if you separate idea and execution, you don’t put too much pressure on either of them.”


BJ Miller

“Don’t believe everything you think.”

This was BJ’s answer to “what would you put on a billboard?” He wasn’t sure of the source but attributed it to a bumper sticker.


Conquering Fear = Defining Fear

“Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with coarse and rough dress, saying to yourself the while: ‘Is this the condition that I feared?’” — Seneca

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