TOOLS OF TITANS | The tactics, routines and habits of billionaires, icons and world-class performers

Tools of titans  -Tim Ferriss

Summary of “Tool of Titans: the tactics, routines and habits of billionaires, icons and world-class performers” by Timothy Ferriss: Through a series of interviews with the biggest “winners” on the planet in a variety of fields, the author reveals the keys to their success. What are their routines and daily habits, their favourite film or book or their biggest investment. What inspires them, what helps them to stay focussed, the actionable details, how to avoid wasted effort, their secrets to perfom in the messy reality that are high risk environments, etc. The result is literary work with unusual depth that is part of the prized New York and Wall Street Journal bestsellers list and hailed as one of the best book recommendations of our times.

By Tim Ferriss, 2017, 601 pages

Summary and book review of “Tools of Titans” :


The origin behind this book was the Tim Ferriss Show podcast

The author, Tim Ferriss, is best known for his books “The 4-hour workweek” (over 2 million copies sold in 36 countries) and “Tribe of mentors”. He wrote this book after interviewing 200 major international figures.

In fact, Ferriss began interviewing these worldwide personalities as part of a series of podcasts called the Tim Ferriss Show (it is one of the most downloaded podcasts in the USA).

One day, he decided to bring the Tim Ferriss Show podcast archives together to extract the most interesting information, compile it, and turn it into a book. And that is how the book “Tools of Titans” was born.

Ferriss shared his process:

“For the last two years, I’ve interviewed more than 200 world-class performers for my podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show. The guests range from super celebs (Jamie Foxx, Arnold Schwarzenegger, etc.) and athletes (icons of powerlifting, gymnastics, surfing, etc.) to legendary Special Operations commanders and black-market biochemists. For most of my guests, it’s the first time they’ve agreed to a two-to-three-hour interview. This unusual depth has helped make The Tim Ferriss Show the first business/interview podcast to pass 100 million downloads.”

According to author Tim Ferriss:

This book is much more than an anthology. It is a genuine toolbox that can change your life.

A variety of profiles, all of the icons!

The guests range of the “Titans” that the author met on the Tim Ferriss Show podcast is extremely diverse. Among his past guests, you will find for example the founder of Twitter, the co-founder of Pixar studios, the superstars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Foxx or Kevin Costner, a genius employee at Google, professional athletes, several successful entrepreneurs, researchers, philosophers, film directors, officers in the marine, investment managers, lecturers, writers, engineers, doctors, neuroscientists, musicians, internet influencers, psychologists, coaches, etc.

This diverse range of profiles makes the book quite an eclectic collection. However, a common point acts as the guiding line. All of these global personalities at the top of their field are leaders, billionaires, icons, talented creatives, or world champions. They have all, one way or another, been successful.

The keys to success

In “Tools of Titans”, author Tim Ferriss takes us backstage to meet these “Titans”. As part of the interviews, the personalities will all share the “little secrets” that have led them to success and many other secrets about personal development. In particular, we discover:

  • Their routines and why they have put them in place,
  • What, in their mind, is the key to success,
  • What they consider to be the biggest wastes of their time,
  • The way they spend the first 60 minutes and the last 60 minutes of their day,
  • What they consider to be their best investment,
  • Their favorite book and /or the one they often give as a gift,
  • What inspires them and what they believe in,
  • Their tips on how to manage their company, stay fit and healthy…

By offering you practical advice that has been tried and tested by the greatest, this book will allow you to revolutionize your daily life to become a Titan yourself.

Note: It is very difficult to summarise this book because the interviews reveal an enormous quantity of interesting ideas, which are very specific and personal to each of the people interviewed. I have however managed to bring together a certain number of points to make a summary. Despite this, to really get the most out of this book, I highly advise reading it. Then you can fish out what can inspire you personally from among all these tips, advice, and experience.

Part 1 – How to get the most out of this book by Tim Ferriss

1.1 – Read and reflect in a new state of mind

If you have a project that takes 10 years to achieve, ask yourself why you can’t do it in 6 months.

This is the question that the multi-billionaire Peter Thiel likes to ask himself and other people. Ferriss puts it in the following way:

What would you do to achieve your 10-year objectives within the next 6 months if there was a gun pointing at your head?

According to Ferriss, we have to get rid of the “normal” systems that we have put in place in order to answer this question. We have to eliminate all the social norms and rules that we impose upon our lives. In fact, it is truly essential to realize that we can define our own reality from the very start.

The author Tim Ferriss believes that reading this book should be the opportunity to reflect upon a number of questions in this new state of mind. He adds:

The world is a goldmine; delve into the minds of other people to unearth hidden treasures. […] This book will offer you an entire arsenal. […] This book is an all-you-can-eat buffet.

To fully appreciate “Tools of Titans”, Ferriss invites us to skip any passages that do not spark our interest. He insists that the book should be an enjoyable read. He invites us to consider this book like “a guide to choose your own adventure”.

In fact, Timothy Ferriss has one objective: he wants the reader to like 50 %, love 25 % and never forget 10 % of the book.

1.2 – The two principles to keep in mind

In “Tools of Titans”, Tim Ferriss wants to pass on the following two messages:

  • Success, whatever definition we give it, is possible if we adopt convictions and good habits that prove to work. According to Ferriss, there is a shared book of recipes and DNA that we can borrow.
  • The superheroes that you can think of (your idols, icons, titans, billionaires, etc.) are all imperfect beings who have turned their weaknesses into an advantage. Ferriss says that we are all engaged in a battle but nobody knows it, and the heroes in this book are no different.

We don’t “succeed” because we have no weaknesses; we succeed because we find our strengths and we commit to developing our habits around these strengths.

1.3 – Three concepts that this book will help us to develop

Timothy Ferriss gives us three 3 key tools which, according to him, will open the door to everything else in everyday life. He mentions an excerpt from the book “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse (recommended reading for many of the personalities interviewed). The protagonist, Siddhartha, is a monk who looks like a beggar and who has no possessions. When he is asked what he has learned and what he can give, he answers: “I can think, be patient and fast.” Thus are his life lessons.

So, says Ferriss, this book will help us to develop these three concepts:

  • Think: know the right rules to make a decision and know the right questions to ask yourself and others.
  • Be patient: be capable of long-term planning. Show endurance and distribute your resources well.
  • Fast: be capable of resisting difficulty and disaster. Train to become resilient and develop tolerance to suffering.

Part 2 – Who are these “Titans” and what do they tell us?

2.1 – The three major groups of guests, as sorted by Tim Ferriss

The chapters in the book are interdependent, which means that reading the book is not necessarily linear.

The book is split into three main parts. These parts correspond to three “categories” into which Ferriss has grouped his guests:

  • The Healthy: athletes, high-level sportsmen, and women, explorers of the extreme
  • The Wealthy: billionaires, celebrities, successful entrepreneurs
  • The Wise (or Smart): artists, stars, teachers, producers, influencers who have created their own success

Author Tim Ferriss suggests the following in terms of the three categories:

Imagine the three parts like a tripod on which life is balanced. You need to have all three to guarantee success or lasting happiness.

Ferriss once again insists that none of the dozens of innovative business people, world class performers, super celebs, and various gifted and successful people he interviewed on The Tim Ferriss Show podcast have “superpowers”. They have simply established rules that allow them to (slightly) deform and reshape reality. These “rules” represent the “tools” mentioned in the title. They are generally habits, often original habits, and deep thought processes:

These “tools” or life lessons have a vast definition in the book. They can be habits, reading material, self-persuasion, food supplements, questions that come up regularly, and much more than a person can apply to his or her own life.

2.2 – The list of people interviewed by Tim Ferriss

Below is the list of guests of Timothy Ferriss mentions in his book. Each personality appears in the category that he or she represents.

Most of the personalities have more than one hat. Sometimes it is difficult to boil them down to just a few disciplines.

The healthy

  • Amelia Boone – top athlete (obstacle course)
  • Dr. Rhonda Perciavalle Patrick – doctor
  • Christopher Sommer – gymnastics coach
  • Dr. Dominic D’Agostino – lecturer in pharmacology and molecular physics, scientific researcher
  • Joe De Sena – extreme sportsman, CEO, entrepreneur
  • Wim Hof, the “Ice Man” – extreme sportsman (temperatures, altitudes)
  • Jason Nemer – high-level sportsman (acrobatics)
  • Dr. Peter Attia – surgeon, researcher, athlete
  • Pavel Tsatsouline – trainer in the special forces, entrepreneur
  • Laird Hamilton – professional surfer
  • Gabrielle Reece – high-level sportswoman (volley-ball), model
  • Brian MacKenzie – entrepreneur (sport)
  • Kelly Starrett – high-level athlete
  • Paul Levesque (Triple H) – wrestler, entrepreneur
  • Jane McGonigal – researcher, innovator
  • Adam Gazzaley – doctor in cognitive neuroscience, laboratory director, scientific advisor
  • Chade-Meng “Meng” Tan – engineer, trainer (full consciousness, emotional intelligence), best-selling author

The wealthy

  • Chris Sacca – investor
  • Marc Andreessen – entrepreneur
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger – bodybuilder, actor, politician
  • Derek Sivers – lecturer, entrepreneur, professional musician
  • Alexis Ohanian – entrepreneur, investor, advisor to start-ups
  • Matt Mullenweg – internet influencer, developer
  • Nicholas McCarthy – pianist
  • Tony Robbins – performance coach, essay writer, author in professional development
  • Morgan Spurlock – documentary filmmaker, director, producer
  • Reid Hoffman – entrepreneur, investor
  • Seth Godin – author of best-sellers
  • James Altucher – American capital-risk investor, entrepreneur and best selling author.
  • Shaun White – snowboarder and professional skater.
  • Chase Jarvis – CEO and photographer
  • Dan Carlin – podcaster and political commentator
  • Ramit Sethi – blogger and entrepreneur
  • Ed Catmull – entrepreneur, CEO, computer engineer
  • Tracy DiNunzio – entrepreneur
  • Chris Young – handyman, inventor, experimental chef, CEO
  • Daymond John – CEO, entrepreneur, author, TV personality
  • Luis von Ahn – computer professor, CEO
  • Ryan Holiday – marketing strategist, author
  • Kevin Rose – shareholder (start-ups)
  • Neil Strauss – writer, editor, journalist
  • Mike Shinoda – rapper, songwriter, synthesizer and rhythmic guitar musician, singer
  • Justin Boreta – artist (music)
  • Dr. Peter H. Diamandis – entrepreneur (field of space)
  • Sophia Amoruso – entrepreneur in distribution
  • B.J. Novak – actor, screenwriter, director, producer, author, entrepreneur

The wise

  • B.J. Miller – doctor in palliative care and consultant/expert (on the subject of end of life)
  • Maria Popova – author
  • Jocko Willink – US Navy SEAL officer
  • Sebastian Junger – author
  • Marc Goodman – advisor and police and technology agent (FBI, Interpol, Institute of Future Crimes)
  • Samy Kamkar – hacker
  • General Stanley McChrystal – 4 star general in the American army
  • Chris Fussell – US Navy SEAL officer
  • Shay Carl – internet personality and entrepreneur
  • Will MacAskill – lecturer
  • Kevin Costner – filmmaker
  • Sam Harris – philosopher, doctor in neuroscience, author
  • Caroline Paul – author and high-level athlete
  • Kevin Kelly – maverick
  • Whitney Cummings – comedian, actor, author, producer
  • Alain de Botton – philosopher
  • Tim Kreider – essayist, cartoonist
  • Cal Fussman – author, chronicler
  • Rick Rubin – music producer
  • Jack Dorsey – entrepreneur, CEO
  • Paulo Coelho – writer
  • Cheryl Strayed – author
  • Ed Cooke – CEO, a specialist in memory
  • Seth Rogen – actor, screenwriter, producer, director
  • Evan Goldberg – director, screenwriter, producer
  • Andrew Zimmern – TV personality, chef, writer, teacher
  • Rainn Wilson – actor
  • Naval Ravikant – CEO, entrepreneur, investor
  • Glenn Beck – internet personality and entrepreneur
  • Tara Brach – clinical psychologist, teacher of Buddhism
  • Sam Kass – chef, advisor in nutrition
  • Richard Betts – wine steward
  • Mike Birbiglia – comedian, screenwriter, actor, director
  • Malcolm Gladwell – best-selling author, podcaster
  • Stephan J. Dubner – author, journalist, radio and TV presenter
  • Josh Waitzkin – professional chess player
  • Brené Brown – professor and researcher in human science
  • Jon Favreau – actor, screenwriter, director, producer
  • Jamie Foxx – actor, musician, comedian
  • Sekou Andrews – poet, slammer, singer

2.3 – The questions that Timothy Ferriss asked the “Titans”

Tools of Titans Timothy

Ferriss has a list of questions that he likes to ask his guests without giving them time to prepare. The answers to all these questions is what we can find in “Tools of Titans”.

The most frequent questions are the following:

  • If you were sitting next to a Nobel prize-winner or a billionaire, what questions would you ask them?
  • If they only had five minutes to give you, how would you make the most of them?
  • According to you, who best embodies the word “success” and why?
  • Are you convinced of something that everyone else considers to be crazy?
  • What books do you like to give?
  • Which one is your favorite film or documentary?
  • The best investment under $100 that changed your life in the last 6 months?
  • What are your morning rituals? How do you spend the first 60 minutes of the day?
  • The obsessions do you analyze in the evening or at the weekend?
  • The subject would you like to tackle that is outside your area of expertise if you had to give a TED talk?
  • What is your best investment (time, money, effort, or other)?
  • Is there a maxim that governs your life or that you think of often?
  • The worst advice that you ever heard in your area of business?
  • What would you put on a poster?
  • The advice would you give your 20, 25 or 30-year-old self? What were you doing back then?
  • How did a failure set you on the path to success? What is your favorite failure?
  • Does anything strange or uncomfortable happen to you regularly?
  • Over the last few years, have you changed your mind about anything and why?
  • Is there something that you are convinced about, even if you have no proof?

2.4 – The books of the “Titans”

In his interviews, Ferriss asks his guests about what books they would recommend or give to someone. In fact, several of his guests gave him books as gifts. Other books also came up in their discussions.

Below is the list of the top 17 books – all were mentioned at least three times – by decreasing order of frequency:

  1. “Tao Te King”, by Lao-Tseu (5 mentions)
  2.  Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand (4 mentions)
  3. Sapiens: a brief history of humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari (4 mentions)
  4. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (4 mentions)
  5. The 4 Hour Workweek, by Tim Ferriss (4 mentions)
  6. The checklist manifesto by Atul Gawande (4 mentions)
  7. Dune by Frank Herbert (3 mentions)
  8. Influence: science and practice by Robert Cialdini (3 mentions)
  9. Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert (3 mentions)
  10. Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom (3 mentions)
  11. “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! by Richard P. Feynman (3 mentions)
  12. The 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferriss (3 mentions)
  13. The Bible (3 mentions)
  14. The hard thing about hard things by Ben Horowitz (3 mentions)
  15. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield (3 mentions)
  16. Watchmen by Alan Moore (3 mentions)
  17. Zero to One by Peter Thiel with Blake Masters (3 mentions)

Part 3 – The distilled tools that Tim Ferriss borrowed from the Titans

Borrow copiously, combine this with originality and create your own master plan.

3.1 – Eight recurrent forms of behavior among winners

Ferriss lists eight practices that he repeatedly found among the major personalities he interviewed.

Most of those interviewed:

  • Practice a form of full consciousness or meditation on a daily basis (more than 80%);
  • Never take breakfast or only consume a small portion (especially the men over 45);
  • Sleep on a cooling mattress topper;
  • Love books, among others: Sapiens, Poor Charlie’s Almanack, Influence and Man’s Search for Meaning:
  • Are in the habit of listening to a song on a loop in order to focus;
  • Have carried out some form of “speculative work” (completed a project in their spare time at their own expense before putting it to an eventual buyer);
  • Are convinced that “failure doesn’t last”;
  • Have succeeded in turning a “weakness” into a great advantage.

3.2 – Five tactics for better and faster sleep

Among all the habits of the “Titans”, below are the ones that Ferriss adopted to help him to sleep better.

They form a ritual that you need to put into place before bed. It lasts between 1 hour and 90 minutes.

  • Perform some AcroYoga movements to stretch the spinal column;
  • Sleep on a cooling mattress topper. It must be thin and barely perceptible under the sheet. There should be water inside it at a precise temperature selected using a device located near the bed;
  • Drink cider vinegar with honey (add 1 tablespoon of honey to 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar mixed with 250 ml of water) or caramel herbal tea or herbal tea with Californian poppy seed extract;
  • Perform visual rewriting or play a game of Tetris for ten minutes or watch a short program on tv that puts you in a good mood;
  • Wear a sleep mask and earplugs or use a white noise therapeutic device.

3.3 – Five morning rituals that help you win the day

Tim Ferriss was inspired by the “Titans” not only to implement his evening ritual but also a morning ritual. Below are five things that he tries to do every morning to set his day on the right track to succeed. This morning routine takes between 1 hour and 90 minutes.

Ferriss explains:

You may think that these are just details, but remember that the details are what matters.

  • Make your bed (< 3 minutes)
  • Meditate (10 to 20 minutes)

At least 80 % of the personalities interviewed for “Tools of Titans” practice some form of daily meditation. Ferriss also reads a few pages from the Stoics, such as “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius.

  • Do 5 to 10 sets of exercises in your workout routines (< 1 minute)
  • Prepare and drink a “titanium tea” (2 to 3 minutes): author Tim Ferriss recommends aged pu-erh black tea or green tea, turmeric and ginger shavings, and 1 or 2 tablespoons of coconut oil.
  • Write your morning journal (5 to 10 minutes): the morning pages are mainly to unblock a situation or resolve a problem (what should I do?); the journal is to prioritize and express recognition (what should I focus on and how should I do it?).

3.4 – Five steps for mind training

More than 80 % of the big talents that author Tim Ferriss met practice a form of meditation or full consciousness every day. It involves “cultivating a state of consciousness that helps you to be non-reactive”. This is the most common practice that can be noted among the “Titans”.

To get into the habit of meditation, Ferriss advises:

  • Using an application such as Headspace or Calm;
  • Listening to a guided meditation by Sam Harris, Tara Brach or Maria Popova;
  • Taking classes in transcendental meditation.
  • If you prefer to try meditation with a mantra without taking a class, try this. Sit and silently repeat a word of two syllables (Ferriss chose the word “nature”) for 10 to 20 minutes as soon as you wake up.
  • Try one or several of the exercises suggested by Chade-Meng Tan.

You need to practice meditation for at least 7 days for it to be effective. According to the Dalai Lama, you need to meditate for “approximately 50 hours” to get results. According to several studies, simply “sitting” for a cumulative period of 100 minutes is sufficient.

For Tim Ferriss, meditating improves productivity  and reduces stress:

When I meditate regularly, my reward is that I do 30 to 50% more with my day and feel 50% less stress.

If you encounter difficulties sticking with meditation, Ferriss proposes three tips that make it easy to do on a daily basis over the long term. These tips are in fact from Chade-Meng Tan, the man who introduced Full Consciousness to Google:

  • Find a companion;
  • Do less than you can;
  • Do not practice for too long, so it does not feel like an obligation;
  • Commit to just one conscious breath per day.

3.5 – Eight productivity tips

Tim Ferriss confesses that he is “useless at efficiency”

So, he took some lessons from the “Titans” he interviewed to create an 8-step method. The goal is to optimize efficiency (= do things right):

  • Get up one hour before you sit down in front of a computer screen.
  • Make a cup of tea and sit down with a pen and a sheet of paper.
  • Write down three to five things (no more) that make you anxious or uncomfortable. These are the things that we put off day after day on the list of things to do. In general, the most painful task is also the most important.
  • For each point, ask yourself:
    • If I only do this today, will I be satisfied with my day?“,
    • “And If I begin with this, does it minimize the importance of other tasks or facilitate performing them?“,
    • “And If I do this, will everything else be easier or meaningless?
  • Only consider the points to which the answer was “yes” to at least one of these questions.
  • Devote two or three hours to just one of these tasks. Put the other urgent things that are less important to one side. You will get to them tomorrow.
  • If you get distracted or start procrastinating, do not let your thoughts wander. Bring relentless focus to the one task ahead of you.

Finally, if despite your best efforts you feel that you are losing your footing in life, it is good to remember that this happens even to the best of the best:

Do not overestimate other people and do not underestimate yourself. You are better than you think. Above all, you are not alone in this.

3.6 – Eight tactics for dealing with haters

Life is a combat sport, especially on the Internet. If you decide to climb into the arena, be prepared to get a bloody nose and scratches.

Over the course of his meetings with the “Titans” on the Tim Ferriss Show podcast, the author gathered their ideas about how to deal with haters.

Here they are:

  • It doesn’t matter how many people do not understand us. What counts is how many people understand us.
  • 10% of people always find a way to feel like they are being targeted. We need to be conscious of this and take it on board in our calculations.
  • When you face the critics, it is important to be in control of yourself. The best thing is to cut off their oxygen, in other words, to ignore them. Tim Ferriss explains that in some cases, although they are rare, it can be useful to throw some oil on the fire, to promote them.
  • If you do confront them, do not be apologetic.
  • It is impossible to make somebody who has launched an unreasonable attack see reason.

Finally, Tim Ferriss shares three other thoughts using three quotations:

“Wanting to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity. You’ll avoid the tough decisions and confront the people who need to be confronted.” Colin Powell

“If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.” Epictetus

“Living well is the best revenge.” George Herbert

3.7 – Keep a journal

History is teeming with examples of people, whether successful or not, who kept a journal. From Marcus Aurelius to Benjamin Franklin, from Mark Twain to George Lucas.

Tim Ferriss tells us that he writes in a journal every morning. He does not keep the journal to be “productive”, nor is it to jot down big ideas or prose to publish later. No, the pages are just for him.

The morning pages are, as Julia Cameron said, “spiritual windscreen wipers”. It is the most profitable form of therapy I know. She adds: Once you have jotted down all these muddy, infuriating, confusing thoughts [vague worries, irritations, concerns] on paper, you can face the day under better circumstances.

As Ferriss learned, it is not about writing well, it is about considering writing to be a tool. He finds that there are big benefits in writing things down, even if nobody is ever going to read them again. In fact, the morning pages are not about solving problems but about getting them out of our heads. Otherwise, they turn on a loop all day like bullets ricocheting around our skull.”

In other words, the process [of writing] is more important than the result.

To end this topic, Ferriss writes:

“Will all this grumbling and complaining on paper for five minutes every morning change your life? As strange as it may seem, I think that the answer is yes.”

Part 4 – The best high leverage tools we can learn from the “Titans”

Tools of Titans Timothy

I have mentioned here some of the tactics that we can take from the mentors in “Tools of Titans.” The pages of the book are brimming with ideas waiting to be discovered and put into practice to develop personally and professionally. Tim Ferriss highlights lots of tips and concepts, such as the ice bath or the slow carb diet and nutritional ketosis. You could also choose two people a day at random and wish them happiness or make your emails more human, etc.

However, the strategies described below are the ones that Tim Ferriss took one step further.

4.1 – The law of categories

Lots of computer companies have become rich and famous by following a very simple principle:

If you cannot be number one in a category, create a new category where you will be number one.

That is why, when you launch a new product, the first question to ask is not: “How is this new product better than the competition?“. The real question is: “First in what?”, or in other words: “In what category will this new product be number one?”

Tim Ferriss also stresses that if we are number one in a category, we need to promote that category because then there will be no competition.

4.2 – The strategy of the 1,000 True Fans

“Success” is not necessarily complicated. Simply begin by making 1,000 people really happy.” “1,000 true fans”, by Kevin Kelly

1,000 fans is feasible!

By definition, a true fan is unconditional and buys everything you bring out. That is why there are two criteria to fulfill for this strategy:

  • First of all, create enough, each year, to be able to make an average profit of $100 per true fan. It is always easier and more beneficial to offer more to the customers you already have than to find new fans.
  • Then, maintain a direct relationship with your fans. In other words, when you make a sale, they must pay you directly.

Having 1,000 customers (more or less, it is a guideline that can be adapted on a case by case basis) is easy to achieve the goal:

1,000 fans are feasible! You could even manage to remember 1,000 names. If you win over one true fan per day, it will only take you a few years to get 1,000. Satisfying a true fan is both enjoyable and motivating. Artists can remain faithful to themselves and can focus more on the original side of their work, the qualities that fans appreciate.

Your fans: the biggest marketing force

By focusing on unconditional priority, their enthusiasm can increase our regular clientele. True fans are not our only direct source of income. They are also our strongest marketing force for our ordinary customers.

The principle of the “long tail”

The 1,000 fans strategy meets what Chris Anderson called “the long tail”. He found that the total sales of all products which had the poorest sales could match and sometimes exceed the sales of the products which sold best. Basically, the sales volume of the “tail” was identical to that of the “head”.


This is one of the many innovations that work for creatives because it is a win-win situation.

There are around 2,000 crowdfunding platforms in the world and many of them specialize. The most well-known crowdfunding platform is Kickstarter. When you consider that the average number of contributors to the success of a Kickstarter project is 290 (therefore much less than 1,000), it is very wise, as you have 1,000 diehard fans, to launch a crowdfunding campaign. By definition, a true fan will become a Kickstarter contributor.

4.3 – The Dickens process

The Dickens process is so-called because it relates to A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. In the Dickens process, we are led to examine our strong convictions (two or three convictions that are holding us back) in the past, present, and future. After feeling the pain of the convictions that hold us back, the idea is to create two or three replacement convictions to move forward.

 4.4 – Dramatise fear in 4 steps

Here Tim Ferriss promises an antidote to anyone anxious at the idea of making the big leap or anyone who keeps putting things off for fear of the unknown.

This antidote involves the following 4 steps, namely:

Define the worst thing that can happen:

Imagine your worst nightmare. Imagine the worst thing that could happen if you do what you intend to do, and then ask:

  • Will it be the end of my life?
  • What will be the permanent impact, if the worst happens, on a scale of 1 to 10?
  • What measures can I take to repair the damage or set things right, even on a temporary basis?

Assess all the probabilities:

  • What are the results or benefits, both temporary and permanent, of the most likely scenarios?
  • Which are the most probable or positive results, whether inside us (self-confidence, self-esteem, etc.) or outside us?
  • What would be the impact of these likely results on a scale of 1 to 10?
  • How much is the probability of getting the correct result?
  • Have less intelligent people tried this already and succeeded?
  • If I got fired today, what would I do to get by financially?
  • If I leave my job to take a new path, how could I pick up the thread of my career if this became necessary?
  • What do we put off out of fear?

Accept the worst-case scenarios and answer the following questions:

  • What does it cost me financially, emotionally, and physically to procrastinate?
  • If I do not do what I want (inaction), where will I be in 1 year, in 5 years, in 10 years? What will it feel like if I let 10 years go by allowing circumstances to decide my fate and doing something that does not let me thrive?
  • What am I waiting for? If you have a hard time answering that question without bringing up the phrase “It’s not a good time”, the answer is obvious. You are afraid, like everyone else.


Finally, you need to evaluate the cost of inaction, to get it into your head that most of these wrong steps are unlikely, and no doubt repairable. Get into the essential habit of successful people and TAKE ACTION!

 4.5 – Test the ‘impossible’ with 17 life-changing questions

  • What if I did the opposite for 48 hours?
  • What do I spend a ridiculous amount of money on? How do I scratch that itch?
  • What would I do/have/be if I had 10 million dollars? How much money is my target monthly income?
  • What is the worst that can happen? Could I turn back?
  • If I only worked 2 hours a week, what would be my priorities?
  • What if I let my staff take decisions by themselves if it is about $100? $500? $1,000?
  • What is the least overloaded network?
  • And what if I couldn’t make a pitch for my product?
  • And what if I created my own MBA in the real world?
  • Do I always have to fall on my feet?
  • What if I can only solve a problem by subtracting?
  • What can I put into place to be able to disappear for 4 to 8 weeks without telephone or email?
  • Do I hunt antelope or field mouse?
  • Is it possible that everything will turn out all right?
  • How would things be if they were easy?
  • How can I “waste” money to improve my quality of life?
  • No rush, no breaks. 

4.6 – On the usefulness of “de-loading”

For Tim Ferriss, de-loading periods must be planned and defended even more strongly than any job commitment. According to him, de-loading can strengthen and guide your work, but this does not work both ways.

You must create your own “quiet time”. Nobody is going to give it to you. It is the only way to move forward with the current without getting exhausted.

Tools of Titans Timothy

4.7 – The jar of awesome

Look for the positive. Train yourself to see the bright side of things and you will see them more often.

Put a Jar of Awesome label on a jar. Tim Ferriss invites us to write down anything nice that happens during the day, something exciting or that makes us happy. Put the paper in the jar.

The jar of awesome keeps a record of all the nice things that genuinely happened. We tend to forget them when we are feeling down or have a case of the blues.

4.8 – Films, documentaries, and series to watch

Tim Ferriss compiles a long list of documentaries and series recommended during his discussions with the “Titans”.

He also mentions the 25 most popular episodes of his podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show.

Book critique of “Tools of Titans by Timothy Ferriss

A goldmine of information

This book is a veritable gold mine if you want to make a change in your life!

Among all the books on personal development, I find it special because it brings together an enormous amount of information. That is why you should not really read it straight through but consult it regularly, opening random pages.

A very comprehensive book

The book is a compilation of interviews conducted by Tim Ferriss which:

  • Tackle many areas: personal development, health, launching a company, making large business dealings, high stakes negotiations, investments, etc.
  • Bring together the visions of extremely diverse and inspiring profiles. It is interesting but also rare to be able to get an insight into the minds of so many successful people in a single book. In the end, we realize that their strength lies in general in one little detail, but a detail that changes everything. The detail that will really make the difference: a habit, a way of life, a state of mind.
  • Is full of inspiring quotes, websites, and references of all kinds that we can use to take things further.

You may be interested to know that I was lucky enough to write the preface to the French version of Tools of Titans.

It goes without saying that I highly recommend this book!

Strong Points of the book:

  • The originality and the relevance of the questions that Tim Ferriss asks his guests on the podcast Tim Ferriss Show. The idea, throughout the book, is that it is vital to change your mindset to succeed.
  • The depth, the diversity, and the relevance of the information;
  • Discovering inspiring personalities and the rare opportunity to benefit from the vision of so many incredibly successful individuals from various fields in a single book;

The weak point of the book:

  • The structure of the book sometimes lacks coherence and we cannot always tell who is speaking… Is it Tim Ferriss or is it one of his guests?

My rating : Tools of Titans Timothy Tools of Titans Timothy Tools of Titans TimothyTools of Titans TimothyTools of Titans TimothyTools of Titans TimothyTools of Titans TimothyTools of Titans TimothyTools of Titans Timothy

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