– Tim Ferris
Read this first – how to use this book
In a surprising number of cases, the power is in the absurd. The more absurd, the more “impossible” question, the more profound answers. Take, for instance, question that serial billionaire Peter Theil likes to ask himself and others: “If you have a 10-year plan of how to get somewhere, you should ask: why can’t you do this in six months?” for purposes of illustration here, I might reword that to: “What might you do to accomplish your 10 year goals in the next six months, if you had a gun against your head?”
Red team my finances
Nearly everyone has done some sort of spec work (Completing projects on their own time in done, then submitting them to us perspective buyers)
Remember that the superheroes you have in your mind (idols, icons, titans, billionaires, etc.) are nearly all walking flaws to maximize one or two strengths.
Rhonda Perciavalle Patrick, PhD
The tooth fairy might save your life or your kids’ lives. Dr. Patrick introduce me to using teeth for stem cell banking. If you’re having your wisdom teeth removed, or if your kids are losing her baby teeth, which have a particularly high concentration of dental pulp stem cells, consider using a company likes them like StemSave or National Dental Pulp Laboratory to preserve them for later use. These companies will send your oral surgeon a Kit, and then freeze the biological matter using liquid nitrogen. Cost very, but are roughly $625 for set up and then $125 dollars per year for storage and maintenance.
“If you don’t have cancer and you do a therapeutic fast 1 to 3 times per year, you can purge any precancer cells that may be living in your body.” Dom suggests a five-day fast 2 to 3 times per year.
“Fasting before chemotherapy is definitely something that should be implemented in our oncology wards,” says Dom. He adds, “fasting essentially slows, sometimes stops, rapidly dividing cells and triggers and “energetic crisis” that makes cancer cells selectively vulnerable to chemo and radiation.” There are good studies to support this.
One of my friends is in full remission from advanced testicular cancer. Others and his chemo cohort were laid out 2 to 3 days in bed after chemo sessions, but he fasted for three days before sessions during 10 miles the next morning. Fasting sensitizes cancer cells to chemo, as mentioned, but it also helps normal cells read resist the toxicity. This isn’t appropriate for all patients, especially those with extreme cachexia (muscle wasting), but it is applicable to many.
Five things in case of late stage emergency: here are five things dumb would do if you were diagnosed with one of the worst case scenarios- late stage glioblastoma (GBM), an aggressive brain cancer. Some of Don’s colleagues are opposed to the “standard of care” protocols, like chemotherapy. Based on the literature, Dom feels these are warranted in situations involving testicular cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, and in stage one and two breast cancer. Outside those examples,” it makes little sense treat cancer was something we know is a powerful carcinogen (chemotherapy)”. Dom five picks all of yours to work through overlapping mechanisms. This means that there is synergy in using them together. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. 1+1+1+1+1 = 10, let’s say, not 5.
- Ketogenic diet
- Intermittent fasting
- ketones supplementation 2 to 4 times per day
- Dichloracetic acid
FeetUp: the limiting factor for most people learning handstands is the wrists. This weakest link prevents you from getting enough upside down practice. The FeetUp device addresses this– imagine a small padded toilet seat cushion mounted on a low stool. You stick your head through it, rest your shoulders on the padding, grab the two handles, and kick up into a headstand or handstand, with your shoulders supporting your weight. This allows you to work on alignment, tightness, positional drills in higher volume. The feet up is Jason’s preference, but it is hard-to-find in the United States (en.feetup.eu). The BodyLift Yoga Headstand and Yogacise Bench are similar.
Dr. Peter Attia
On dropping running and picking up weights: there is value in exercise, though, and I think that the most important type of exercise, especially in terms of bang for your buck, is going to be really high intensity, heavy strength training. Strength training aids everything from glucose disposal and metabolic health to mitochondrial density and orthopedic stability. That last one might not mean much when you’re a 30 something young buck, but when you’re in your 70s, that’s the difference between a broken hip and a walk in the park.
Short documentary called the pleasure of finding things out
The slow carb diet cheat sheet
Many people lose hope when they try to lose weight. Fortunately, it need not be complicated. So I regularly fasten and enter ketosis, the slow carb diet has been my default diet for more than a decade. It works almost beyond belief and affects much more than appearance.
From one reader: I just wanted to sincerely thank Tim for taking the time to research and write The 4 Hour Body. My mom, and her late 60s, lost +45 pounds and got off her high blood pressure meds that should been on for 20 years. She did all this in about three months. This means that I get to have her around for a long time.
- avoid white Starkey carbohydrates. This means all bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, and grains (yes, including quinoa). If you have to ask, don’t eat it.
- Eat the same few meals over and over again, especially for breakfast or lunch. Good news: it you already do this. You’re just picking new default meals. If you wanted to keep it simple, split your plate into thirds: protein, veggies, and beans.
- Don’t drink calories. 1 to 2 glasses of dried red wine are allowed per night.
- Don’t eat fruit. Avocados and tomatoes are allowed. Fructose glycerol phosphate more body fat, more or less.
- Whenever possible, measure your progress and body fat percentage, not total pounds. The scale can deceive and derail you. For instance, it’s common to gain muscle loss and simultaneously losing fat on the slow carb diet. That’s exactly what you want, but the scale number won’t move and you’ll get frustrated. In place of the scale, use DEXA scans, a body metrics home ultrasound device, or calibers with the gym professional (I recommend the Jackson-Pollock seven-point method).
- Take one day off per week and go nuts. I choose recommend Saturday. This is “cheat day” which a lot of readers also call Faturday. For biochemical and psychological reasons, it’s important not to hold back. Some readers keep it to eat Listerine week, which reminds another only giving up devices for six days at a time.
Three high-yield exercises– Pavel’s simple and sinister kettle bell program
- One arm swing
- Turkish get up
- goblet squats
My favorite odd stretch – windmills. Kettle bell windmills are incredible for hip rehab and rehab. The standing position is similar to yoga’s trikonasana, but you support 70 to 80% of your weight on one leg while you keep the kettlebell overhead. YouTube is your friend.
“Coleman is contagious” – this is another of Pavel’s favorite quotes. Here is an elaboration from the speech by Rourke Denver, former Navy Seal Commander.: “A Master chief, the senior enlisted rank in the Navy– who is like a god to us– told us he was giving us an invaluable piece of advice that he born from another Master chief during the Vietnam War. He said, “this is the best thing you’re ever going to learn and still training.” We were excited to learn what it was, and he told us that when your leader, people are going to mimic your behavior, at minimum… it’s a guarantee. So here’s the key piece of advice, this is all he said: “Calm is contagious.”
Laird Hamilton, Gabby Reese and Brian MacKenzie
What we drink: larkmead everyone coffee, would you mix with his own mocha flavored “super food creamer” (lairdsuperfood.com) It lights you up like a Christmas tree.
Practice going first: “I always say that I’ll go first … that means if I’m checking out at the store, I’ll say hello first. If I’m coming across somebody and make eye contact, I’ll smile first. I wish people would experiment with that in their life a little bit: be first, because– not all times, but most times – it comes in your favor. The response is pretty amazing.
A lonely place is an unmotivated place: this line from Laird underscored everything I saw around him. He has a tightly bonded tried around him, and schedule group exercise appears to be the glue that keeps a group together. If you spend a lot of time thinking of the “how” and “what” of exercise as I do, you might consider asking yourself, “what if I had to choose all of my exercises based on “who?” first? What would I do is exercise or only allowed with other people?” this is how I ended up diving into AcroYoga.
Parenting advice: Laird and Gabby, married since 1997, have a very close and affectionate relationships with their three kids. I’ve observed them over again. There’s a lot of physical touch, and the pervasive feeling is one of warmth. It’s lovely to be around. The following parenting tidbits are taken from different points in the conversation.
- Laird: loving your children can override a lot of wrongs. Even if you get some of the specifics wrong or make missteps.
- Gabby: were inclusive, and we treat them like adults. We’ve always spoken to them like adults… as a parent, you have to learn to say sorry because you blew it… Sometimes you can go, “hey you know what? I am extra tired today and my fuse is short. I am being unfair to you, and I’m sorry.” You have to learn that you’re imperfect and open the door… I always ask my girls, “do you feel loved enough?” … And they say, “oh come on mom. But I think you should ask…”I tell my kids to learn how to say ”I’m sorry, that doesn’t work for me.” I’ve learned a lot from being around men. I respect a lot of traits. You can deliver a message without emotion. Usually, women, in order to finally stand up for themselves, they have too kind be ramped up, and then it just comes out ballistic, instead of, ”no, that doesn’t work for me.” And I also teach them not too then second-guess themselves after they played that lying down. I think that’s really important. And if you have gifts and talents, whatever they are, don’t feel guilty and bad or weird about it… I always tell kids, quote if you’re on the team, you’re lucky, and if you’re the best one, you’re the luckiest.”
Gabby on learning assertion: as a woman, we’re taught us young girls, ”hey, be nice. Nice girls act like this,” So it takes a long time to get to the place of ”I’m going to do things, say things, and believe in things that people are going to like, and I’m going to be okay with that.” Men do that much more easily, and it takes women a very long time. The only female athletes I’ve seen that do it very easily or generally the youngest girl in the family with older brothers.
On the male female dynamic in relationships:
Laird: of 10,000 successful couple studied, and there’s only one thing that everybody had in common, no matter what the dynamic. What is it? The man respected the woman. The number one thing.
Gabby: what can I say one thing? I know all those dynamics differ– the woman’s the bread winner, the man’s the breadwinner, she’s dominant, he’s dominate, whatever– But ultimately, more times than not, if the woman can refrain from trying to change or mother her partner, she has a greater opportunity of putting herself in a position where the guy will respect her. A Man needs support. I mean, I love you guys in your all strong, but you’re very fragile, and you need to be supported and for us to help you fully realize your voice, whatever that is.
Lord said to me the first couple of years we were together – unfortunately, his mom passed away the second year we were together– “I had a mom, and she died. He made it very clear… That’s off the table. Women are by nature, we can’t help it, we’re nurtures, right? So sometimes that seeps over into, ”hey, honey, that joke was kind of inappropriate at the dinner table, and you’re talking kind of loud,” and all that. And because the man trying to be loving, they pacify us and change all the ways we want them to, and then we don’t want them. So then it’s a great thing to just say, ”hey, I’m going to pick a partner when I feel like our value systems are similar, we may get there very differently, but… How we wind up on some the big items is the same.”
On weighing sacrifices based on individual – what’s easy for you isn’t what’s easy for someone else.
Gabby: for man to say, quote I’m going to really try to be with one woman,” they’re giving for you… Most of what they’ve got. They’re giving you like 80%. For woman maybe she’s giving you 35% to be monogamous… Or let’s say I was very shy and I came out and was having a very nice conversation with you. Maybe I’m giving you 200% because of my nature. So I think it’s also starting to understand who they are, that they’re giving how they can give, and receiving it that way…
Laird: stop drinking now. Stop drinking right now and patent all your ideas… and Exercise compassion every day.
Doses and Effects of LSD:
100 mcg is useful for creative problem-solving with non-personal matters. A number of Nobel prize laureates in chemistry, biology, and elsewhere trip attribute breakthroughs to LSD. Jim once worked on a study involving large companies and research institutes trying to solve incredibly difficult problems like new circuit board designs. Volunteers were given psychedelics, and 44 out of the 48 problems were ”solved,” meeting resulted in a patent, product, or publication. Jim attributes this to enhance focus and pattern recognition. Low enough doses (100 mcg of LSD or 200 mg of mescaline) can immensely increase the capacity to solve problems.
“We said, ”you may come to the study, and will give you the most creative day your life. You have to have a problem which obsesses you that you have been working on for a couple of months and that you failed to solve”… We wanted them to have a lips an emotional quote money in the game”. We give them psychedelics and have them relax of music and eyeshades for couple of hours. And then, right at the peak, we bring them out and say, “you may work on your problem”… what was wonderful is nobody did any personal therapeutic work because that’s not what they came for. And out of the 48 problems that people came in with, 44 had solutions.”
50 mcg Is considered a “concert does” or quote museum dose.” Self explanatory.
10 to 15 mcg is a “microdose.” Described by Jim: “everything is just a little better. You know at the end Of The Day when you say, “wow that was really good day”? That’s of those people report on my producing. They’re a little bit nicer.”
He elaborates: “what I’m finding is that micro doses of LSD or mushrooms maybe very helpful for depression because they make you feel better enough that you do something about what’s wrong with your life. We’ve made depression and illness. Maybe the body’s way of saying, ”you better deal with something, because it’s making me really sad.”
A microdose ‘s psychedelic’s is actually a low enough dose I could be called quote Sub perceptual, which means you don’t necessarily see any differences in the outside world. As one person said to me, “rocks don’t glitter even a little, and the flowers don’t turn to watch you.”
Albert Hoffman, the inventor of LSD, considered Microdosing the most neglected areas of research. Hoffman microdosed LSD often for the last few decades of his life. He would take it when he was walking among trees. In Jim’s opinion, Microdosing psychedelics does a far better job in the whole class of drugs we now call ”cognitive enhancers,” most of which are simply derivatives of speed.
Oddly, there are consistent reports of micro dosing having a lag effect. I’ve experienced this myself, and it’s the reason for Slim Berriss’ Monday/Friday spacing of ibogaine. Many microdosers, including one executive who runs a large corporation with manufacturing in five countries, have said, ”The second day is better.”
The campfire squat test
”If you can’t squat all the way down to the ground with your feet and knees together, then you are missing full hip and ankle range of motion. This is the mechanism causing your hip impingement, plantar fasciitis, torn Achilles, pulled calf, etc. that is the fucking problem, and you should be obsessing about fixing this.”
Doing light weight overhead squats with a narrow stance, in combination with Coassack squats, for three months is what help me get 99% toward passing the “campfire test.
Go zero drop for your kids
Get your kids and yourself flat ”zero drop” shoes, where the toes and heel are equal distance from the ground. I wear vans for this reason, my favorite model being vans classics slip on skate shoes in black. This can be used for hiking in a pinch, I want to business meeting traveling light. Kelly elaborates on the rationale of zero to drop: “Don’t systematically shorten your kids heel cords (Achilles) with bad shoes. It resulting crappy ankle range of motion in the future. Get your kids fans, Chuck Taylors, or some more shoes. Have them in flat shoes are barefoot as much as possible”.
Paul Levesque (Triple H)
Is that a dream or a goal? Evander Holyfield said that his coach at one point told him, something like his very first day, “you could be the next Mohammad Ali. Do you want to do that?” Evander said he had to ask his mom. He went home, came back and said, “I want to do that.” The coach said, “okay. Is that a dream or goal? Because there’s a difference.”
I’ve never heard it said that way, but it stuck with me. So much so that I said it to my kid now “is that a dream, or a goal?” Because a dream is something you fantasize about that will probably never happen. The goal is something you set a plan for, worked toward, and achieve. I always looked at my stuff that way. The people who were successful models to me were people who have structured goals and then put a plan in place to get those things. I think that’s what impressed me about Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s what impressed me about my father-in-law Vince McMahon.
“What am I continuing to do myself that I’m not good at?” And improve it, eliminate it, or delegate it
How he hires for coveted spots in his lab
”I don’t really have a type methodology for how I do that. A lot of it is that connection you get with someone when they’re talking about what they do, what excites them. That’s usually where I start: “what do you think about that really gets you excited?” because I’m more interested in what drives someone and motivates them to make some want to get out of bed in the morning than a list of classic resume checkboxes.
Carl Sagan’s Cosmos series inspired Adam to become a scientist, which is true for many of the top-tier scientists I’ve met and interviewed.
Three tips from a Google pioneer – Chade-Meng Tan
We suggest finding a “mindfulness buddy” in committing to a 15 minute conversation every week, covering at least these two topics: 1) How am I doing with my commitment to my practice? 2) What has arisen in my life that relates to my practice?
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 to one mindful breath of day. Just one. Breathing in breathe out mindfully, and your commitment for the day is fulfilled. Everything else is a bonus.
This is the joy of loving– kindness. It turns out that being on the giving end of a kind thought it’s rewarding in and of itself…a all other things being equal, to increase your happiness, all you have to do is randomly wish for somebody else to be happy. That is all. It basically takes no time and no effort
How far can you push this joy of loving – kindness? One time, I gave a public talk in the meditation center called Spirit rock in California. As usual, I guided the audience in this 10 second exercise, and just for fun, I assigned them homework. I was speaking on a Monday evening, the next day, Tuesday, was a work day, so I told the audience to do this exercise for Tuesday: once an hour, every hour, randomly identify to people walking past your office and secretly wish for each of them to be happy. You don’t have to do or say anything– just think, “I wish for this person to be happy.” And since nobody knows what you’re thinking, it’s not embarrassing – you can do this exercise entirely in stealth. And after 10 seconds of doing that, go back to work. That’s all.
Coach Sommer – The Single Decision
Patience. Far too soon to expect strength improvements. Strength improvements for a movement like this take a minimum of six weeks. Any perceived improvements prior to that are simply the result of the improved synaptic facilitation. In plain English, the central nervous system simply became more efficient at that particular movement with practice. This is, however, not to be confused with actual strength gains.
dealing with the temporary frustration of not making progress isn’t integral part of the path towards excellence. It is essential and something that every single elite athlete has had to learn to deal with. If the pursuit of excellence was easy, everyone would do it. In fact, this impatience in dealing with frustration is the primary reason that most people fail to achieve their goals. Unreasonable expectations timewise, resulting in unnecessary frustration, due to perceived feelings of failure. Achieving the extraordinary is not a linear process.
the secret is to show up, do the work, and go home.
a blue color work ethic married to an indominatable will. It is literally that simple. Nothing interferes. Nothing can sway you from your purpose. Once the decision is made, simply refuse to budge. Refused to compromise.
and accept that quality long-term results require quality long-term focus. No emotion. No drama. No beating yourself up over small bumps in the road. Learn to enjoy and appreciate the process. This is especially important because you are going to spend far more time on the actual journey than with those all too brief moment of triumph at the end.
Certainly celebrate the moment of triumph related Kurt. One importantly, learn from the feature that happen. In fact, if you’re not encountering defeat fairly regular basis, you are not trying hard enough. And absolutely refused to except less than your best.
throw out a time line. It will take what it takes.
If the commitment is to a long-term goal and not to a series of smaller intermediate goals, but 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 toolbox.
Chris elaborates: generally, what all this comes down to is whether you were on offense or defense. I think that as you survey the challenges in your lives, it’s just: which of these did you assign yourself, which of those are you doing to please someone else? Your inbox is a to do list which anyone in the world can add an action item. I needed to get out of my inbox and back to my own to do list.
Go to as many higher-level meetings as possible:
Tim: if working in the start up environment, what should one do our focus on to learn and improve as much as possible?
Chris: go to all the meetings you can, even if you’re not invited to them, and figure out how to be helpful. If people wonder why you’re there, just start taking notes. Read all the other notes you can find on the company, and gain the general knowledge that your very limited job function may not offer you. Just make yourself useful and helpful by doing so.
Chris was well known at Google for showing up to meetings with anyone, including the cofounders. Even if the attendees looked at each other puzzled, Chris sat down and let them know he would be taking notes for them. It worked. He got a front row seat to the highest levels of Google and soon became a fixture in those meetings.
Sweet and Sour Summers
There’s something my parents did, and it was pretty unique. My brother and I refer to it as ”the sweet and sour Summer”. My parents would send us, for the first half of the summer, to an internship with a relative or friend of the family who had an interesting job. Select twelve, I went and interned with my God brother who’s a lobbyist in DC. I would go along with him to pitch congressmen with these filthy mouth – you know, the old Alabaman senator and stuff like that– And watch the pitch happen. It was awesome. I learned so much and developed so much confidence, and really honed my storytelling skills.
But then, from there, I’ll come home and work in the construction outfit, and a nasty, nasty job. I mean, hosing off the equipment that have been used to fix septic systems, gassing shit up, dragging shit around in the yard, filling up propane tanks. Just being a junior guy on the totem pole, quite literally getting my ass kicked by whichever parolee was angry at me that day. I think it was part of their master plan, which was: there’s a world of cool opportunities out there for you, but let’s build with the new license not just work ethic, but also, a little kick and asked about why you don’t want to end up in one of those real jobs…
TIM: you have the introduction to the god brother, for the lobbying. Did your parents also helped organize the sour part of each summer?
CHRIS: the guy who ran the construction company is my dad’s best friend, and he was under strict orders to make sure we have the roughest day there.
Good stories always beat good spreadsheets
Whether you are raising money, pitching your product to company customers, selling the company, recruiting employees, never forget that underneath all the math in the MBA bullshit talk, we are all still emotionally driven human beings. We want to attach ourselves to narratives. We don’t act because of equations. We follow our beliefs. We get behind leaders who stir our feelings.
If you could bring one thing to make for an amazing party night, its wigs, seriously the Amazon right now in order 50 mullet wigs. Mullet wigs will exchange everything.
How does Mark look for new opportunities? He has dozens of tools, but one of his heuristics is simple: “We call our test ‘what do the nerds do on nights and weekends?’”
Where can you create a ”red team” in your life to stress test your most treasured beliefs? See Samy Kamar, Stan McCrystal, and Jocko Willink.
Two to rules to live by
Mark and I are both huge fans of Steve Martin’s autobiography, born standing up: a comics life. Mark highlighted one take away: he says the key to success is, “be so good they can’t ignore you.” Mark has another guiding tenant: “smart people should make things.” If you just have those two principles– that’s a pretty good way to orient.”
Don’t overestimate the people on pedestals
“Get inside the heads of people who made things in the past and what they were actually like, and then realize that they’re not that different from you. At the time they got started, they were kind of just like you… so there’s nothing stopping any of the rest of us from doing the same thing”
TIM: both Mark and Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb, have read and recommended Neal Gabler’s biography of Walt Disney. Mark also mentioned the Steve Jobs quote in our conversation, which is printed in full below. It was recorded in the 1995 interview conducted by the Santa Clara Valley historical Association, while Jobs is still up NeXT.
“ Life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is that everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.
To do original work: it is not necessary to know something nobody else knows. It is necessary to believe something few other people believe.
Show me an incumbent big company failing to adapt to change, I’ll show you top execs paid huge cash compensation for quarterly and annual goals.
One of his favorite documentaries is Brooklyn Castle, the film about chess in inner city schools.
Are used to zoom H6 recorder for primary audio, but I had a backup recorder for our first interview. Arnold asked, “what’s this for?” To which I replied, “ backup, in case the primary fails.” He tapped his head and looked at his team, seated around the room. Having back up audio makes a good impression. Cal Fussman got the same response from Richard Branson, as no busy person wants to take one to three hours for an interview that never gets published.
No one in those days could figure out anything was centimeters. We would be measuring up and I would say “4 m in 82 cm.” They had no idea what we are talking about. We were writing up dollars in and amounts and square centimeters and square meters. Then I would go to the guy and say “it’s $5000” and the guy will be in a state of shock. He’d say “it’s $5000? This is outrageous.” I say “what did you expect?” And he say “I expected like 2000 or $3000.” I’d say “let me talk to my guy because he’s really the masonry expert, but I can beat him down for you a little bit. Let me soften the meat.”
“Did you hurt your knee?” and other psychological warfare
By the time I came to America and started competing over here I would say to my competitors something like “let me ask you something, do you have any injuries or something like that?” Then they would look at me and saying “no why? I have no knee injury at all… My knees feel great. Why are you asking?” I said ”well because your thighs look a little slimmer to me. I thought maybe you can’t squat or maybe there some problem with leg extension.” And then I see him for all two hours in the gym, always going in front of the mirror and checking out his thighs… People are vulnerable about those things. Naturally, when you have a competition, you use all this. You ask people if they were sick for a while. They look a little wiener. Or “did you take any salty foods lately? Because it looks like you have water retention, and it looks like you’re not as rich as you looked a week ago. it throws people off in unbelievable way.
Arnold’s most personally profitable film was… Twins?
TIM: this reminded me of the deal that George Lucas crafted for Star Wars, and which the studio effectively said, “Toys? Yeah, sure, whatever. You can have the toys.” That was a multibillion-dollar mistake they gave Lucas infinite financing for life (8,000,000,000 units sold to date). When deal making, ask yourself: can I trade a short-term, incremental gain for potential longer-term, game changing upside? Is there an element here that might be far more valuable in 5 to 10 years (e.g. e-book rights 10 years ago)? Might derby rights or options I can explicitly ”Carve out” and keep? If you can cap the downside (time, capital, etc.) and have the confidence, take uncrowded bets on yourself. You only need one winning lottery ticket.
“Even today, I still benefit from that because I don’t merge and bring things together and see everything is one big problem. I take them one challenge at a time.”
How to thrive in an unknowable future? Choose the plan with the most options. The best plan is the one that lets you change of plans.
Who do you think of when you hear the word ”successful”?
The first answer to any question isn’t much fun because it’s just automatic. What’s the first painting that comes to mind? Mona Lisa. Name a genius. Einstein who’s a composer? Mozart.
This is the subject of the book Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. There’s the instant, unconscious, automatic thinking and then there’s the slower, conscious, rational, deliberate thinking. I’m really really into the slower thinking, Breaking my automatic responses to the things in my life and slowly thinking through more deliberate response instead. Then for the things in life for an automatic response is useful, I can create a new one consciously.
So many opportunities, and 10 years of stage experience, came from that one piddly little pig show … when you’re earlier in your career, I think the best strategy is just to say ”yes” to
Don’t be a donkey
TIM: what advice would you give to your 30-year-old self
DEREK: don’t be a donkey
TIM: and what does that mean?
DEREK: well, I need a lot of 30-year-olds were trying to preserve pursue many different directions at once, but not making progress and any, right? They get frustrated that the world wants them to pick one thing, because they want to do them all: “why do I have to choose? I don’t know what to choose!” But the problem is, if you’re thinking short term, then you act as though if you don’t do them all this week, they won’t happen. The solution is to think long-term. Two realize that you can do one of these things for a few years, and then do another one for a few years, and then another. You’ve probably heard the fable, I think it’s Burdian’s ass, about a donkey who is standing halfway between the pile of hay and a bucket of water. He just keeps looking left of the hay, and right to the water, trying to decide. Hay or water, hay or water? He’s unable to decide, so he eventually falls over and dies in both hunger and thirst. A Donkey can’t think of the future. If he did, he’d realize he could clearly go first to drink the water, and then go get the hay. So my advice to my 30-year-old self is, don’t be a donkey. You can do everything you want to do, you just need foresight inpatient.
Treat life as a series of experiments
My recommendation is to do little test. Try living a few months of the life you think you want, believe yourself next to the plan, being open to the big chance that you might not like it after training… The best book about this subject is stumbling on happiness by Daniel Gilbert. His recommendation is to talk to a few people who are currently where you think you want to be an Aston for the pros and cons. Entrust their opinions and they’re right and it, not just remembering or imagining.
That one goofy email created thousands of new customers. When you’re thinking of how to make your business bigger, it’s tempting to try to think of the big thoughts, the world changing, massive action plans. But please know that it’s often the tiny details that really throw someone enough to make them tell their friends about you.\
“Everyone is interesting. If you’re ever bored in the conversation, the problems with you, not the other person.”
Read “the tail end” by Tim Urban on the wait but why blog
the normal QWERTY keyboard layout was designed to slow down human operators to avoid jams. That time has passed, to try the Dvorak layout instead, which is easier on your tendons and helps prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. Read The Dvorak Zine dvzine.org
Neal Yard’s aromatherapy diffuser – InnoGear
This echoes with John Rohn famous famously said, “if you let your learning lead to knowledge, you become a fool. If you let your learning lead to action, you become wealthy.”
I now often ask myself, ”is this really a problem think my way out of? Or is it possible I just need to fix my biochemistry?” I’ve wasted a lot of time journaling on ”problems” when I just needed to eat breakfast sooner, do 10 push-ups, or get an extra hour of sleep. Sometimes, you think you have to figure out your life purpose, but you really just need some macadamia nuts and a cold fucking shower.
Little Dieter Needs to Fly by Werner Herzog
Follow what angers you. Casey made the short film Bike Lanes into thousand 11, and it became his first spiral hit. He was given a summons from a New York city police officer for riding his bike outside of the bike Lane, which isn’t an actual infraction. Instead of going to court, fighting the $50 summons, and wasting half the day in the process, Casey redirected his anger and made a movie that expressed his frustration in a clever way.
Casey begins the movie by repeating what the cop pulled him: he has to stay in the bike lane for safety and legal reasons, no matter what. Casey proceeds to ride his bike around NYC, crashing into everything that is in the bike lanes preventing people from following this rule. The film’s grand finale is Casey crashing into police car that was truly parked in the middle of a bike lane.
This movie went tremendously viral and was seen around 5 million times in its first aid. At one point, Mayor Bloomberg had to respond to question about the video in the press conference. When in doubt about your next creative project, follow your anger.
What’s the most outrageous thing you can do? Make it count, at close to 20 million views, is Casey’s all-time most popular video on YouTube. The catalyst: you build a successful career in advertising by 2011 but was extremely bored. He was in the middle of the three commercial deal with Nike: ”The first two movies were right down the line, what you expect. I had a big, huge, $100-million athletes in them. They were very well received. I love making them. But when it came time to make the third movie, I was really burned out from the process.
At the ninth hour, I called up my editor and said, “hey let’s not make this advertisement. Instead, let’s do something I’ve always wanted to do, which is: let’s take the entire production budget and travel the world into we run out of money, and we will record that. We’ll make some sort of movie about that.” And he said, “you’re crazy, but sure.”
The Make It Count video literally opens was scrolling text that says, “Nike asked me to make a movie about what it means to make it count. Instead of making a movie, I spent the entire budget traveling around the world with my friend Max. we keep going until the money ran out. It took 10 days.” They covered 15 countries.
Make It Count became a video about chasing what matters to you. This was the entire message and the point of the campaign to begin with. Make it count ended up being Nikes most watched video on the Internet for several years.
TIM: how can you make your bucket list dreams pay for themselves by sharing them? This is, in effect, how I’ve crafted my entire career since 2004. It’s modeled after Ben Franklin’s excellent advice: “If you would not be forgotten as soon as you were dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth writing.”
It doesn’t always have to be hard. “I have come to learn that part of the business strategy is to solve the simplest, easiest, and the stable problem. And actually, in fact, part of doing strategy is to solve the easiest problem, the part of the reason why you work on software and bits is that atoms (physical products) are actually very difficult.”
So if you’re planning to do something with your life, if you have a 10 year plan how to get there, you should ask: why can’t you do this in six months?
TIM: Peter will also sometimes ask potential hires, ”what problem do you face every day that nobody has solved yet?” Or “what is a great company no one has started?” I will sometimes pose a bastardized version of his “something few people agree with you on” question to podcast guests: “what do you believe that other people think it’s insane?”
Every toy company in America was mean to her, and rejected her, and nothing to do with her. I said: “Lynn, it’s simple. Toy companies don’t like toy designers. They’re not organized to do business with toy designers. They’re not hoping toy designers will come to them.” I said, “come with me into the book business. Because every day, there’re underpaid really smart people in the book business to wake up waiting for the next idea to come across her desk. They are eager to buy what you have to sell.” And within two months, she did the 52 activity decks and ultimately sold more than 5 million decks of cards.
Parenting Advice: what could possibly be more important to you than your kid? Please don’t play the busy card. If you spend two hours a day without electronic device, looking your kid in the eye, talking to them in solving interesting problems, you will raise a different kid than someone who doesn’t do that. That’s one of the reasons why I cook dinner every night. Because what a wonderful semi-distracted environment in which the cake tell you the truth. For you to have low stakes but super important conversations with someone who’s important to you.
ON education and teaching kids: sooner or later, parents have to take responsibility for putting her kids into a system that is indebting them and teaching them to be in an economy that doesn’t want cogs anymore. Parents get to decide… And from 3 PM to to 10 PM those kids are getting homeschooled. And they’re either getting home school and watching the Flintstones, or they’re getting homeschooled and learning something useful.
I think we need to teach kids two things: 1) how to lead, and 2) how to solve interesting problems. Because the fact is, there’re plenty of countries on her for there are people who are willing to be obedient and work harder for less money than us. So we cannot out of obedience the competition. Therefore, we have to out-lead or out-solve all the other people…
the way you teach your kids to solve interesting problems is to give them interesting problems to solve. And then, don’t criticize them when they fail. Because kids aren’t stupid. If they get in trouble every time they try to solve an interesting problem, I’ll just go back to getting an A by memorizing what’s in the textbook. I spent an enormous amount of time with kids… I think that it’s a privilege to be able to look interesting, energetic, smart 11 year-old in the eye and tell him the truth. And what can we say to that 11-year-old is: “I really don’t care how you did on your vocabulary test. I care about whether you have something to say.”
Just Kids by Patti Smith: “This is the single best audiobook ever recorded by Patti Smith. It is not going to change the way you do business, but it might change the way you live. It’s about love and loss and art.”
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 doctors 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.”
“Loser have goals. Winners have systems.”
Naval Ravikant regularly credit Scott’s short blog post ‘The Day You Became a Better Writer” for improving his writing.
Systems vs Goals. Scott helped me refocus, to use his language, “ systems” instead of “goals.” This involves choosing projects and habits that, even if they result in “”failures” in the eyes of the outside world, give you transferable skills or relationships. In other words, you choose options that allow you to inevitably ”succeed” overtime, as you build assets that carry over to subsequent projects.
Fundamentally, ”systems” could be thought of as asking yourself, “what persistent skills or relationships can I develop?” Versus “what short-term goal can I achieve?” The former has a potent snowball effect, while the latter is a binary pass\Fail with no consolation prize. Scott writes about this extensively in his book: how to fail at almost everything in Stillwind big : kind of the story of my life. Here’s one real world example:
“When I first started blogging, my future wife often asked by what my goal was. The blog and seem to double my workload while promising a 5% higher income that didn’t make any real difference in my life. It seemed silly use of time. I tried to explain that blogging was the system, not a goal. But I never did a good job of it. I’ll try again here.
Writing is a skill that requires practice. So the first part of my system that involves practicing on a regular basis. I didn’t know what I was practicing for, exactly, and that’s what makes it to system is not a goal. I was moving from a place with low odds ( being out of practice writer) to a place of good odds (a well-practiced writer with higher visibility).
The second part of my blogging system is sort of an R&D for writing. I write on a variety of topics and see which ones get the best response. I also write in different quote “voices.” I have my humorous least self-deprecating voice, my analytical voice, my half-crazy voice, my offensive voice, and so on. Readers do a good job of telling me what works and what doesn’t.
When the Wall Street Journal took notice of my blog posts, they asked me to write some guest features. Thanks to all of my writing practice, and my knowledge of which topics got the best response, the guest articles are highly popular. Those articles weren’t big money makers either, but it all fit within my system of public practice.
Writing for the Wall Street Journal, along with my public practice on the blog, attracted the attention of book publishers, and that attention turns into a book deal. In the book deal generated speaking requests are embarrassing leaves lucrative. So the payday for blogging eventually arrived, but I didn’t know in advance which path it would take. My blogging has kicked up dozens of business opportunities over the past years, so it could’ve taken any direction.
The logic of the double or triple threat. If you want an average, successful life, it doesn’t take much planning. Just stay out of trouble, go to school, and apply for jobs you might like. But if you want something extraordinary, you have two paths: 1) become the best at one specific thing or 2) become very good (top 25%) of two or more things. The first strategy is difficult to the point of near impossibility. Few people will ever play in the NBA or make a platinum album. I don’t recommend anyone even try.
The second strategy is fairly easy. Everyone has at least a few areas in which they could be the top 25% with some effort. In my case, I can draw better than most people, but I’m hardly an artist. And I’m not any funnier than the average standup comedian who never makes a big, but I’m funnier than most people. The magic is that few people can draw well and write jokes. It’s a the two that makes what I do so rare. And when you add in my business background, suddenly I had a topic that few cartoonist could hope to understand without living it.
I always advise young people to become good public speakers (top 25%). Anyone can do it with practice. If you have that talent to any other, suddenly you’re the boss of the people who have only one skill. Or get a degree in business on top of her engineering degree, a law degree, medical degree, science degree, or whatever. Suddenly you’re in charge, or maybe you’re starting around company using your combined knowledge.
Capitalism rewards things that are both rare and valuable. You make yourself rare by combining two or more “pretty goods” until no one else has your mix… at least one of the skills in your mixture should involve communication, either written or verbal. And it could be as simple as learning how to sell more effectively than 75% of the world. That’s one.
ON being an outlier: sometimes, being outside of the known hotspots is a huge advantage– something Malcolm Gladwell explores in his book outliers. The following story from Sean also reminded me of Richard Betts logic for choosing restaurants on page 565.
Fifty Shades of Chicken – Shaun White’s book
If you’re not the best person at capturing something visually, but you’re a good story teller, you have your visual art, then you have an incredible narrative to go with it. When you going to art galleries– and I don’t have the budget for it, but I’m a -type guy – you’ll see stuff on the wall for $10 million, and you can’t figure out what it is. You read the plaque next to it and you’re like, “that’s a damn good story. I see how they’re selling these things.”
Dan Carlin (@hardcorehistory, dancarlin.com) is the host of my absolute favorite podcast, Hardcore History, as well as Common Sense. Jocko Willink is also a huge fan of Hardcore History. Tip: Start with “Wrath of the Khans.”
TIM: this is a common thread throughout the book. Kamal Ravikant, Naval Ravikant’s brother, told me how Naval once said to him ( paraphrased): “if I had always done what I was ”qualified” to do, be pushing a broom somewhere.”
Are you J. Crew: we send millions of emails a month with a multiple-million (combinational variants) email finals, and we generated roughly 99% of our revenue through email. My emails look like playing emails… I am not J.Crew. J.Crew is selling a brand, so their emails have to be beautiful. My emails look like I am writing to you because I want to be your friend… At scale. That is why my emails appear to be really simple. behind-the-scenes, there is a lot of stuff going on, but they appear… Like I just jotted you a note.
TIM: one of the reasons I put off using email newsletters for years with the perceived complexity. I didn’t want to have to craft beautiful templates and ship out Korgis, magazine worthy missives. Ramit convinced me to send plain text email for my five bullet Friday newsletter, which became one of the most powerful parts of my business within six months.
The Psychology of Automtion – Ramit Seth
Asking the right dumb question is often the smartest thing you can do.
Props to elicit stories
- Tell me about a time when…
- Tell me about the day when…
- tell me the story of …
- tell me the day you realized _______ ….
- What are the steps that got you to _______…
- described the conversation when ….
Follow up questions when something interesting comes up, perhaps in passing
- How did that make you feel?
- What do you make of that?
- Explain that a bit more…
- what did you learn from that?
I often use auphonic.com to finalize and polish my podcasts after editing on the above. It’s a web-based audio post production mastering tool, designed hope you improve the overall audio quality of your podcasts.
Stephen Hawking actually has the best quote on this and also a legitimate story… he has the right to complain probably more than anybody. He says that, “when you complain, nobody wants to help you,” And it’s the simplest thing so plainly spoken. Only he could really say that brutal, honest truth, but it’s true, right? If you spend your time focusing on the things that are wrong, and that’s what you expressed a project of people you know, you don’t become a source of growth for people, you become the source of destruction for people. That draws more destructiveness.
Must watch documentary: the gatekeepers
TIM: have you outgrown your systems or beliefs? Is it time that you upgraded? Or, on a personal level, as Jerry Colonna, executive coach to some of the biggest tech stars and silicon valley, would ask: “how are you complicit in creating the conditions you say you don’t want?”
The most interesting jobs are the ones that you make up.
“if you had $100 million, what would you build that would have no value to others in copying?” Gabe Newell, the billionaire cofounder a video game development and distribution company Valve, has largely funded Chris’s company ChefSteps. He’s been a huge supporter, but only after asking questions that stretch Chris’s brain: it goes, ”if I give you $100 million, what would you guys go build? That by building, there’s no value for anyone copying?” I’ll give you an example. When Intel goes to build the new chip fabricator, it’s billions and billions of dollars, and there’s no value in it anybody else copying it, because not only do they have to spend even more billions to catch up, but they have to spend more billions torn everything else until knows about this, and then they have to be 10 times better for anyone to want to switch. So just a waste of everyone’s time to attempt copying.
That wasn’t the standard, and you know what the standard is. Hold the standard. Asked for help. Fix it. Do whatever is necessary. But don’t cheat.
The first thing is, on a good day, I will try to step back and say, ”what context does this person even have, and have I provided appropriate context?” …. Given all the context they had, maybe I would’ve made the same decision, or I can imagine somebody else making the same decision. So increasingly, I tried to think about: ”What context and visibility do I have and what do they have? Am I basically being unfair because I’m operating from greater set of information?”
Five days a week, I read my goals before I go to sleep and when I wake up. 13 goals around health, family, business, etc., with expiration date, and I update them every six months.
My parents always taught me that my day job would never make me rich. It would be my homework
Improve tools at the “Top of the Funnel”. Aim to optimize upstream items that have cascading results downstream. For instance, look for technical bottlenecks that affect nearly everything you do on a computer. Now what are the things that, if defunct or slow, render your to do list useless?
Lasik surgery is the best or most worthwhile investment I’ve made.
Apps to test
- Facebook news feed eradicator: need to focus? Save yourself from Facebook and your lesser self.
- ScheduleOnce ( get the $99 year option) this can eliminate the never ending quote how about next Tuesday or Thursday at 10 AM?” Back and forth that eats up your life.
Quick Gmail trick. Noah and I both use the Gmail “+” trick all the time. Let’s say you’re him address is Bob@BobSmith.com. After signing up for services or newsletters, how can you tell who’s sharing your email, or contain the damage if someone discovers your login email? Companies get hacked all the time. Just use + as a cheap insurance. If you append + and a word at the beginning, messages will still get delivered to your inbox. Signing up for instacart, for instance? You could use firstname.lastname@example.org. Are you sis, or benefit from it, on a daily basis.
Remember who you are. Every time I left the house, my dad would always say, “remember who you are.” Now that I’m a father, this is a very profound thing to me. At the time I was like, ”dad, what the hell? You are so weird. Like I’m going to forget who I am? What are you saying?” now, I’m like, ”gosh, that guy was kind of smart.”
Don’t accept the norms of your time. I was talking with this billionaire friend of mine, and I was saying “I’d really like to write a book about the way your mind works” he was commenting on the difference between someone who isn’t a billionaire and a billionaire… he said “the biggest mistake you can make is to accept the norms of your time”. Not accepting norms is where you innovate, whether it’s with technology, with books, with anything. So, not accepting the norm is the secret to really big success and changing the world.
Life is Elsewhere by Milan Kundera. “I think it’s an analogy for that choice we all have in life: are you going to fulfill your potential? Or, are you just going to give them to the peer pressure of the moment and become nothing?
Use “TK” as a placeholder for things to research later (e.g. he was TK years old at the time). This is common practice as almost no English words have TK in them, making is easy to use Control+F when it’s time to batch-research or fact-check.
Be vulnerable to get vulnerability. Neil is a seasoned interviewer and taught me a Golden Key early on: open up and be vulnerable with the person you’re going to interview before you start. It works incredibly well. Prior to hitting record, I’ll take 5 to 10 minutes for banter, warm-up, sound check, etc. At some point, I’ll volunteer personal or vulnerable information.
“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
“A problem is a terrible thing to waste.” This is highly related to the “scratch your own itch” thread that pops up throughout this book. Peter expands: “I think of problems as gold mines. The world’s biggest problems are the world’s biggest business opportunities.”
“We make the very bold decision that we’re going to announce this $10 million prize anyway with no money in place… and how do you announce a big bold idea to the world really matters… we all have a line of credibility around ideas. We got judge them constantly. If you announce it below the line of credibility, people dismiss it out of hand, and then we have this line of super credibility. If you announce it above the line of supercredibility people say “well when’s it going to happen? how can I be involved?””
Peter is a master pitchman. I’ve seen some greats, and he’s right at the top. One of the books he recommends for cultivating dealmaking ability is actually a children’s book and a 10 minute read: Stone Soup. It’s a children’s story that is the best MBA degree you can read. Between the concept of super credibility and Stone Soup you have a great foundation. If you’re an entrepreneur in college or 60 years old and building your 20th company, Stone Soup is so critically important.
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?
One of the questions is: is there a grand challenge or 1 billion person problem that you can focus on? 3 to 5 billion new consumers are coming online in the next six years. Holy cow, that’s extraordinary. What do they need? What could you provide for them, because they represent tens of trillions of dollars coming into the global economy, and they also represent an amazing resource of innovation. So I think about that a lot and I ask that. The other question I ask is “How would you disrupt yourself? One of the most fundamental realizations is that every entrepreneur, every business, every company will get disrupted.
I just really want people to remember that they’re capable of doing everything that the people they admire are doing. Maybe not everything, but don’t be so impressed.
Get the long-term goal on the calendar before the short term pain hits. BJ advises first time comics to book the first week of shows in advance so they can’t quit after the first performance….Schedule and if possible, pay for things in advance to prevent yourself from backing out. I’ve applied this to early morning acroyoga sessions, late night gymnastics training, archery lessons, etc. Make commitments in the high energy state so you can’t back out when you’re in a low energy state.
The importance of the blue sky period. The season writing process for the office begin with the blue sky., Which was PJ’s favorite part of every year. For 2 to 4 weeks the writers room banter with each person asking, “what if?” Over and over again. Crazy scenarios are encouraged, not penalized. Every idea, no matter what, was valid during this period. The idea generation and filtering/editing stages were entirely separate. As BJ 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.”
Most gifted book: The Oxford Book of Aphorisms by John Gross because it contains the most brilliant one-liners in history. You can spend hours on a page, or you can just flip through it.
To Be and to Have – this is a beautiful and simple film about a one room school in France, and what happens over the course of one year
The overnighters – this covers oil exploration in North Dakota, which has become perhaps bigger than the gold rush in the 1800s due to the process of fracking
The Law of Category
“In the world of ideas, to name something is to own it. If you can name an issue.” – Thomas L. Friedman
I constantly recommend that entrepreneurs read the 22 immutable laws of marketing Al Ries and Jack Trout, whether they’re first-time founders or serial home run hitters launching a new product. The law of the category is the chapter I revisit most often, and I’ve included a condensed version below. It was originally published in 1993, so some of the “today” references are dated, but the principles are timeless.
There are many different ways to be first. Dell got into the crowded personal computer field by being the first to sell computers by phone. When you launch a new product, the first question to ask yourself is not “how is this new product better than the competition?” But “First what?” In other words, what category is this new product first?
Much like DEC “minicomputers,” I created the term ”lifestyle design” and debuted it in The 4-hour Workweek. Here’s how it first appeared, with a few paragraphs removed: \
The New Rich (NR) are those who abandoned the deferred life plan ( save and retire after 20 to 40 years) and create luxury lifestyles in the present using the currency of the new rich: time and mobility. This is an art and science we will refer to as lifestyle design you lips $1 million in the bank isn’t a fantasy. Fantasy is a lifestyle of complete freedom it supposedly allows. The question is then, how can one achieve the millionaire lifestyle of complete freedom without first having $1 million?
Tools and principles follow, like geoarbitrage, email triage, luxury travel workarounds, and “mini-retirements” ( another term I created), etc. lifestyle design represented a new and concise label or something that previously required a few sentences. I made no attempt to trademark or protected. I propagated it as widely as possible as quickly as possible, seeded in media interviews, conference keynotes, articles, and elsewhere. I wanted it to enter the popular vernacular, and have organic communities of lifestyle designers sprout up online and all over the world.
How to create a real world MBA
AS Cus D’Amato, Mike Tyson’s legendary first trainer, famously said: quote everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”
Commit to spending $2500 per month on testing different muses intended to be sources of automated income. See the 4-Hour Workweek or Google “muse examples Ferriss” as a starting point.
Productivity tricks for the neurotic, manic-depressive, and crazy
If I have 10 important things to do in a day, it’s 100% certain nothing important will get done that day. On the other hand, I can usually handle one must do item and block out my lesser behaviors for 2 to 3 hours a day. It doesn’t take much to seem superhuman and appear successful to nearly everyone around you. In fact, you just need one rule: what you do is more important than how you do everything else, and doing something well does not make it important. If you consistently feel the counterproductive need for volume and doing lots of stuff, put these on Post-it note: being busy is a form of laziness– lazy thinking and indiscriminate action. Being busy is most often used as I guise for avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable actions.
1,000 True Fans – Revisited
If you live in any of the 2 million small towns on earth, you might be the only one in your account crave death metal music, or get turned on by whispering, or one of the left-handed fishing real. Before the web, you never have a way to satisfy that desire. You’d be alone in your fascination. But now, satisfaction is only one click away. Whatever your interests are as a creator, your 1000 true fans are one click from you. As far as I can tell there is nothing– No product, no idea, no desire– without a Fanbase on the Internet. Everything major thought of can interest at least one person in 1 million– It’s a low bar. Yet if even only 100 million people were interested, that’s potentially 7000 people on the planet. That means any one-in-a-million appeal can find 1000 true fans. The trick is to practically find those fans, or, more accurately, have them find you.
Don’t be locked in the pricing model of the incumbents. In 2015, Wu-Tang Clan sold a single bespoke album at auction– in a handcrafted silver and nickel box made by British-Moroccan artist Yahya – to one person for $2 million. There are a lot of options between $10 in $2 million
For examples and a simple worksheet exercise for target monthly income visit fourhourworkweek.com/tmi
One of the things he taught me is a simple trick using bit.ly tracking. Bit.ly is a link shortening service used by millions of people … and Kickstarter. If you added + to the end of any bit.ly URL, you can see stats related to that link. For example, here are stats for the shortlink Kickstarter generated for our campaign: http://kck.st/VjAFva+
Find relevant bloggers using Google images. Start by looking at who covered kick starter project similar to yours. You can do this by using a simple Google images hack. If you drag and drop any images file into the search for images.google.com, you’ll be shown every website that is ever posted the image. Review blogs listed on the results page to see which might be relevant to your project.
For 10 additional tips, as well as a half dozen email templates at Soma used for their PR outreach and launch ( this alone could save you more than 100 hours) visit fourhourworkweek.com/kickstarter
The Canvas Strategy
We see it in recent lawsuits, in which interns sur their employers for pay. We see kids more willing to live at home with their parents than to submit to something they’re “overqualified” to work for. We see it in an inability to meet anyone else on their terms, an unwillingness to take a step back in order to potentially take several steps forward.
It’s worth taking a look at the supposed indignities of serving someone else. Because in reality, not only is the apprentice model responsible for some of the greatest art in the history of the world–from Michelangelo to Leonardo da Vinci to Benjamin Franklin has been forced to navigate such as system– But if you’re going to be the big deal you think you were going to be, isn’t this a rather trivial, temporary imposition?
When you were just starting out, we can be sure of a few fundamental realities: 1) you’re not nearly as good or as important as you think you are; 2) you have an attitude that needs to be readjusted; 3) most of what you think you know or most of what you learned in books or in school is out of date or wrong.
Greatness comes from humble beginnings; it comes from grunt work. It means you’re the least important person in the room–until you change that with results.
Questions to ask:
- Do you understand it?
- Do you think they’ll be dominant and growing three years from now?
- Do you think this technology will be more or less a part of our lives in three years?
How to Say No When It Matters Most
Once you receive reach a decent level of professional success, lack of opportunity won’t kill you. It’s drowning in “kinda cool” commitments that will sink the ship.
Life favors the specific ask and punishes the vague wish.
You say Health is #1…. But is it really?
After contracting Lyme disease and operating at ~10% capacity for nine months in 2014, I made health #1. Prior to Lyme, I’d worked out and eaten well, but when push came to shove, “health #1” was negotiable. Now, it’s literally number one. What does this mean? If I sleep poorly and have an early morning meeting, I’ll cancel the meeting last minute if needed and catch up on sleep. If I’ve missed a work out and have a conference call coming up in 30 minutes? Same. Late night birthday party with a close friend? Not in less I can sleep in the next morning. In practice, strictly making health number one has real social in business ramifications. That’s a price I have realized I must be fine with paying, or I will lose months or weeks to sickness and fatigue. Making health #1 50% of the time doesn’t work. It’s absolutely all or nothing. If it’s #1 50% of the time, you compromise precisely when it’s most important not to.
Most of my best investments were made during the “.com depression” of 2008 to 2009 (e.g. uber, Shopify, Twitter, etc), only the hard-core remain standing on a battlefield littered with startup bodies. And in lean times, when startups no longer grace magazine covers, founders are those who cannot help but build companies. LinkedIn in 2002 is another example.
For me, step one is always the same: write down the 20% of activities and people causing 80% or more of your negative emotions.
You can use positive constraints to increase perceived free will and results. Freeform days might seem idyllic, but they are paralyzing due to continual paradox of choice e.g. “what should I do now question mark in “and decision fatigue e.g. “what should I have for breakfast?”. In contrast, something as simple as prescheduled workouts acts of scaffolding around which you can more effectively plan and execute your day.
“If you want to be tougher mentally, it is simple: be tougher. Don’t meditate on it.” These words of Jaco’s helped one listener – a drug addict – get sober after many failed attempts. The simple logic struck a chord: “being tougher” was, more than anything, a decision to be tougher. It’s possible to immediately “be tougher,” starting with your next decision. Have trouble saying “no” to desert? Be tougher. Make that you’re starting decision. Feeling winded? Take the stairs anyway. Ditto. Doesn’t matter how small or big you start. If you want to be tougher, be tougher.
The Commodore would say: “Jaco, what do you need?” And I would say, “we’re good, sir”. The implication is obvious: if I have problems, I’m going to handle them. I’m going to take care of them, and I’m not going to complain. I took extreme ownership of my world. The way that worked was to fault. When I did something, it was something significant, it was something real. And when I told to Commodore, “hey, boss, we need this right here,” I would get it almost instantaneously because he knew that I really, truly needed it.
You can’t blame your boss for not giving you the support you need. Plenty of people say, “it’s my bosses fault.” No, it’s actually your fault because you haven’t educated him, you haven’t influenced him, you haven’t explained to him in a manner he understands why you need the support that you need. That’s extreme ownership. Own it all.
What makes a good commander? The immediate answer that comes to mind is “humility”. Because you’ve got to be humble, and you’ve got to be coachable. Later, when I was running training, we would fire a couple leaders from every SEAL team because they couldn’t lead. And 99.9% of the time, it wasn’t a question of their ability to shoot a weapon, it wasn’t because they weren’t in good physical shape, it wasn’t because they were unsafe. It was almost always a question of their ability to listen, open their mind, and see that, maybe, there’s a better way to do things. That is from the lack of humility.
On the importance of detachment: I was probably 20 or 21 years old. I was in my first your platoon. We are on an oil rig in California doing training. We come up on this level of this oil rig, and we’ve never been on an oil rig before. There is gear in boxes and stuff everywhere on these levels, and you can see through the floors because they are still grating –not solid material. It’s a complex and Bierman. So, we come up, and we all get on this platform and, because of the complexity, everybody freezes.
I am kind of waiting. I’m a new guy, so I don’t really feel like I should be doing anything. But then I said to myself, “somebody’s got to do something,” so I just did what’s called “high port” with my gun: I pointed my gun up toward the air to indicate “I’m not a shooter right now.” I took one step back off the line, looked around, and I saw what the picture was.
Then I said, “hold left, move right.” Everybody heard it, and they did it. And I said to myself, “hmm…that’s what you need to do: step back and observe.” I realize that detaching yourself from the situation, so you can see what’s happening, is absolutely critical. Now, when I talk to executives or mid-level managers, I explain to them that I’m doing that all the time.
Sounds horrible, but it’s almost like, sometimes, I’m not a participant in my own life. I am in observer of that guy who’s doing it. So, if I’m having a conversation with you and we’re trying to discuss a point, I’m watching insane to myself, “wait, am I being too emotional right now? Wait a second, look at him. What is his reaction?” Because I’m not reading you correctly if I’m seeing you through my own emotion or ego. I can’t really see what you’re thinking if I’m emotional. But if I step out of that, now I can see the real you and assess if you are getting angry, or if your ego is getting hurt, or if you’re about to cave because you’re just fed up with me. Whereas, if I’m raging in my own head, I might miss all of that. So being able to detach as a leader is critical.
Being wise includes knowing how to defend yourself or disappear when needed. Step one is becoming aware of the threats.
How business travelers often get kidnapped: organize crime outfits are good at driving airline employees for flight manifests. They then Google each name, create a list of apparent high-value targets, and arrive early to look for the right names and limo driver signs. The payer threaten the actual limo drivers, who leave and I replaced. The executive flying in from New York, San Francisco, or London would then get off the plane, see the piece of cardboard with your name on it, walk up to the person who is dressed like a limousine driver, get into a car, and get kidnapped as a result. There are actually a few people who were killed.
This is why I use Uber or pseudonyms for any car service pick ups around the world. By using a made-up name for your car reservation, if you see a placard with your real name on it, you know what to set up. If you become successful or simply appear successful on the Internet and travel a lot overseas, this is not paranoia.
General Stanley McChrystal & Chris Fussell
McChrystal Group – a leadership consulting firm
Sometimes a plan can end up being a string of miracles, and that’s not a real solid plan. So red team is: you take people who aren’t went to the plan and asked him, “how would you describe this plan or how would you defeat this plan?” If you have a very thoughtful red team, your produce stunning results.
Say you were interviewing Chris, you say, “everyone says Chris is great, but…” And then you sit there in silence…. To me, the most important thing was that they have an answer A) it shows the courage to be able to dress it and B) it shows self-awareness that “I might be top peer rated and have this great career, but there’s somebody out there, and here’s what they probably say…” They say I was self-serving at one time, or I appear too good on paper, or I’m lazy on these types of physical training, or whatever the case may be. Show me that, if you identify it, you’re working on it. I don’t care what you think about. I just want to know that you’re aware of how other people view you.
Who do you think of when you hear the word “successful”? I’ll answer it this way, and I don’t know if this gets to the exact point. Had a great mentor early on in my career give me advice that I’ve heated until now, which is that you should have a running list of three people that you’re always watching: someone senior to you that you want to emulate, appear you think is better at the job than you are and who you respect, and someone subordinate who’s doing the job you did – one, two, or three years ago – better than you did it. If you just have those three individuals that you’re constantly measuring yourself off of, and you’re constantly learning from them, you’re going to be exponentially better than you are.
Advice I give to anyone young is it’s really about developing people who are going to do the work. Unless you were going to do the task yourself, then development time you spend on the people who are going to do that task, whether they are going to leave people doing it or whether they were actually going to do it, every minute you spend on that is leveraged, is exponential return.
Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield
“the secrets to life are hidden behind the word “cliché”: Shay recalled been on a specific bike ride during his rapid weight loss: I remember exactly where I was. I thought to myself, “the secret to life is hidden behind the word cliché.” So anytime you hear something that you think is a cliché, my tip is to perk up your ears and listen more carefully. He had heard certain phrases like “eat more vegetables” a million times but ignored it for years as it all seemed too simplistic. Ultimately, it was the simple that worked. He didn’t need sophisticated answers. They were right in front of him the whole time. What advice are you ignoring because you think it’s trite or cliché? Can you mine up for any testable action?
Think about how old you are right now and think about being a 10 year older version of yourself. And think, “what would I probably tell myself as an older version of myself?” That is the wisdom that I think you found in that exercise… If you do this exercise and then start living the answers, I think you’re going to grow exponentially faster than you would’ve otherwise.
What kind of first-of-a-kind group could you gather if you had a gun to your head? Rereading the “Law of Category” (pg 276) and “1,000 True Fans” (pg 292) might help.
If you earn $68,000 per year, then globally speaking, you are the 1%.
The Power of Persuasion by Robert Levine
If you’re going out for dinner, it’s going to take you a couple of hours. You spent five minutes working out where to go for dinner. It seems reasonable to spend 5% of your time on how to spend the remaining 95%. If you did that with your career, that would be 4000 hours, or two working years. And actually, I think it’s a pretty legitimate thing to do – spending that length of time trying to work out how you should be spending the rest of your life.
My dad looked at me and he says, “you know, I never took a chance in my life.” I was almost in my own Field of Dreams moment. There are some tears coming down. He says, “I came out of that goddamn fucking dustbowl, and when I got a job, Kevin, I didn’t want to lose it. I was going to hold onto that, because I knew there would always be food on the table.” And I said, “there was. There was.” There was really kind of just an amazing moment, my dad sitting there.
On common parenting difference when raising sons and daughters: . with boys, there is an act of encouragement – despite the possibility that they could get hurt – and guiding the son to do it, often on his own. When a daughter decides to do something that might have some risk involved, after cautioning her, the parents are much more likely to assist her in doing it. What is this telling girls? They’re fragile and they need our help. That is acculturated so early. So of course, by the time we’re women in the workplace or relationships, that’s going to be a pre-dominant paradigm for us: fear.
New York Times op-ed piece: Why do we teach girls that it’s cute to be scared?
“by cautioning girls away from these experiences, we are not protecting them. We are woefully under-preparing them for life.”
Does in mantra is “sit, sit. Walk, walk. Don’t wobble.” It’s this idea that when I’m with a person, that’s total priority. Anything else is multitasking. No, no, no, no. The people to people, person-to-person trumps anything else. I’ve given my dedication to this. If I go to a movie, I am at the movie. I am not anywhere else. It’s 100% – I am going to listen. If I go to a conference, I am going to go to the conference.
I took the actuarial tables for my estimated age of death, for someone born when I was born, and I worked back the number of days. I have that showing on my computer, how many days. I tell you, nothing concentrates your time like knowing how many days you have left. Now, of course, I’m likely to live longer than that. I’m in good health, etc. But nonetheless, I have 6,000-something days. It’s not very many days to do all the things I want to do.
I learned something from my friend Stewart Brand–founder of the Whole Earth Catalog, president of the Long Now Foundation–who organized his remaining days around five-year increments. He says any great idea that significant, that’s worth doing, for him, will last about five years, from the time he thinks of it, to the time he stopped thinking about it. And if you think of it in terms of five your projects, can count those off on a couple hands, even if you’re young.
And I think ultimately, sometimes we judge other people, it’s just a way to not look at ourselves; a way to feel superior or sanctimonious or whatever. My trauma therapist said every time you meet someone, just seeing your head, “I love you” before you have a conversation with them, and that conversation is going to go a lot better.
Alain de Botton
Wasn’t it Bill Clinton who said that when dealing with anyone who’s upset, he always asks, “has this person slept? Have they eaten? Is somebody else bugging them?
Offense versus defense: the more you know what you really want, and where you’re really going, the more what everybody else is doing starts to diminish.
What are some of the choices you’ve made that made you who you are?
A book that changed my life… Dropping Ashes on the Buddha by Zen master Seung Sahn
You don’t need or want main stream fame. It brings more liabilities them benefits. However, if you’re known and respected by 2,000-3,000 high caliber of people (e.g. the live TED audience), you can do anything and everything you want in life. It provides maximal upside and minimal downside.
…the Japanese and their love of origami, and the mathematics of paper folding. That would be a place that I might see whether I could mind that silo of expertise for any application to the umbrella. Very often, it’s a question of being the first person to connect things that I’ve never been connected before, and something that is a common place solution in one area is not thought of in another.
In almost every advertisement for wrist watches, the watches are set to 10:10. Until you see that, you can’t really believe that it’s true. But afterwards, you realize that the world is just pulled one over on you, because 10:10 looks just like a smile to watch advertisers.
… this is where we run into the trouble, which is we don’t talk about teaching disabilities. We only talk about learning disabilities, and a lot of the kids that I want are kids who have been labeled “learning disabled,” but they’re actually super learners. They’re like learners on steroids who have some deficits to pay for the superpower, and teachers can’t deal with this.
What I would really like is for those of you who have been told that you’re learning disabled, or you’re not good at math, or that you’re terrible at music, or something like that, to seek out unconventional way of proving that wrong. Believe not only in yourselves, but that there are ways, tools, and methods powerful enough to make things that look very difficult much easier than you ever imagined.
Teppanyaki grill, a little tabletop grill – the Presto 22-inch electric griddle
Earn with your mind, not your time
We waste our time with short-term thinking and busywork. Warren Buffet spends a year deciding and a day acting. That act lasts decades.
“The key in a restaurant, in the key in any kind of high-pressure situation, I think, is that 75% of success is staying calm and not losing your nerve. The rest you figure out, but once you lose your calm, everything else starts falling apart fast.”
The Catastrophe of Success by Tennessee Williams… “, a convenient place to work is a remote place among strangers where there is good swimming.”
I try to write before my inhibitions take hold of me. I try to do 7 AM because I’m an actor, as well, I always say, “write in a trance and act in a trance.” You don’t want to think consciously about what you’re putting on the page. A lot of times, I’ll write in my journal as though it will never be seen by anybody, and then, more often than not, the things that I put in my secret journal or the things that I publish.
To finish the script, I found that I kept putting it off, and I was analyzing my habits. I realized I was putting off writing the script, but I wasn’t putting off having lunch with my brother or whatever… So I thought, “I’m always on time, and I always show up to things, so why don’t I do that for myself?” So I put a handwritten note next to my bed that said – Mike!!! You have a meeting at Café Pedlar (where I was writing) at 7 AM with your mind”, which is so stupid. It’s so embarrassing to admit, but it worked.
Podcast – Scriptnotes
How to Approach Celebrities: …whenever we meet someone who we know doesn’t care about meeting us, my wife and I always try to come up with a trick question that throws them off. They kind of have to answer, or have to think about it. I give this advice to people. If you ever see Jimmy Fallon on the street, don’t say “I love the Tonight Show!” Just say something like what do you think of Kiwi? And he won’t be able to not be like “I love kiwi!”. Talk to people about a thing they didn’t think they were going to talk about. Then, next thing you know, you’re talking to Jimmy Fallon about Kiwi and you’ll have that for your life.
Stephen J Dubner
“Enough is as good as a feast.”
Josh has no social media, does no interviews, and avoid nearly all meetings and phone calls. He minimizes input to maximize output, much like Rick Rubin. Josh says “I cultivate empty space as a way of life for the creative process.”
If your last three terms on a ski slope are precise, then what you’re internalizing on the lift ride up is precision. Carry this on to the guys who are trained in the finance world, for example: ending the workday with very high quality, which for one thing means you’re internalizing quality overnight.
One of the biggest mistakes that I observed in the first year of Jack’s life was parents who have a productive language around whether being good or bad. Whenever it was raining, you to your moms, babysitters, dad say, “it’s bad weather. We can’t go out,” or if it wasn’t, “it’s good weather. We can go out.” That means that, somehow, were externally reliant on conditions being perfect in order to be able to go out and have a good time. So, Jack and I never missed a single storm, rain or snow, to go outside and romp in it. Maybe we missed one when he was sick. We’ve developed this language about how beautiful it is. Now, whenever it’s a rainy day, Jack says, “look dad, it’s such a beautiful rainy day” and we go out and we play in it. I want him to have this internal locus of control – to not be reliant on external conditions being just so.
Quote to live by: “We are simultaneously gods and worms” – Abraham Maslow
First time I spent a day with John at his house, I was immediately invited to help make been yeas as part of the group. John explains why: here we were. We didn’t really know each other that well. I read your stuff, you saw my stuff, and then lo and behold, you put some hot oil there, and the focus is no longer on each other. It’s about keeping all your fingers… There’s little overlap with most people that I meet, which makes cooking great because it creates this context where everybody is on equal footing, and everybody has a different skill set. It becomes a real task where you become inter-dependent. I find I have endless patience to spend time with people I don’t know very well, if you’re working on a really intimate cooking project. Then at the end, we all serve together, and we really feel like we fought a war together. It’s a great bonding thing.
The Power of Myth a video interview of Joseph Campbell by Bill Moyers
At Braintree, one of the principles I consistently communicated was, “challenge all assumptions.” The story that I accompanying that with was: there are five monkeys in a room, and there is a basket of bananas at the top of the latter. The monkeys, of course, went to climb the ladder to get the bananas, but every time one tries, they are all sprayed with cold water. After a few times have been sprayed by cold water, the monkeys are not climb up the ladder to get the bananas… The experimenter then takes one monkey out and puts a new monkey in,
The new monkey sees a banana. He thinks, “hey, I am going to grab a banana,” but when he tries to go up the ladder, the other monkeys grab him and pull him back… The experimenters eventually systematically pull every monkey out, and now you have five new monkeys. Anytime a new monkey comes in and tries to climb the ladder, grab the monkey and pull it back, but none of the five have ever been sprayed by cold water.
It reminds me a story from Tara Brach that I think of often:
This is a story about a tiger name Mohini that was in captivity in the zoo, it was rescued from an animal sanctuary. She had been confined to a 10 x 10’ cage with a concrete floor for five or 10 years. They finally released her to the big pasture: with excitement and anticipation, they released Mohini into her new and expensive environment, but it was too late. The tiger immediately sought refuge in the corner of the compound, where she live for the remainder of her life. She post and post in that corner until an area 10 by 10 feet was worn bare of grass… perhaps the biggest tragedy in our lives is that freedom as possible, yet we can pass her years trapped in the same old patterns.
Past limitations, real or perceived, are you carrying us baggage? Where in your life are you pacing in a 10 x 10’ patch of grass? Where are you afraid of getting sprayed with water, even though it’s never happened? Often times, everything you want is a mere inch outside of your comfort zone. Test it.
Sometimes I hear new filmmakers talk down about their film, and “oh, nothing worked and it was a disappointment.” They don’t realize yet that that’s the job. The job is that nothing is going to work at all. So you go: “how can I turn it into a positive and get something much better than if I had all the time and money in the world?” I love those experiences so much… I talked to Michael Mann about this during The Director’s Chair.
You must want to be a butterfly so badly, you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.
Lazy: A Manifesto
On people saying “I’m so busy”… is most often said by people whose lamented busyness is purely self-imposed: working obligations they’ve taken on voluntarily, class or an activity they’ve encouraged the kids to participate in. They’re busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they are addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face it’s absence.
… an ugly new turn in the culture: planshopping. That is, deferring committing to any one plan for an evening until you know what all of your options are, and then picking the one that’s most likely to be fun/advance your career/have the most girls at it – in other words, treating people like menu options or products in a catalog.
Writing Prompts from Cheryl Strayed
Try one for two pages of long handwriting. Go for uninterrupted flow, and don’t stop to edit. Step one is to generate without judging. Chances are that you’ll surprise yourself.
- Write about a time when you realized you were mistaken.
- Write about a lesson you learned the hard way.
- Write about a time you were inappropriately dressed for the occasion.
- Write about something you lost that you’ll never get back.
- Write about a time when you knew you’ve done the right thing.
- Write about something you don’t remember.
- Write about your darkest teacher.
- Write about a memory of a physical injury
- Write about when you knew it was over.
- Write about being loved.
- Write about what you were really thinking.
- Write about how you found your way back.
- Write about the kindness of strangers.
- Write about why you could not do it.
- Write about why you did.
Testing the Impossible: 17 Questions that Changed My life
#11 What if I could only subtract to solve problems?
#15 What would this kook like if it were easy?
If I feel stressed, stretched thin, or overwhelmed, it’s usually because I’m over complicating something or failing to take the simple/easy path because I feel I should be trying “harder”.
Purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months?
What obsessions do you explore on the evenings or weekends?