26 lessons from Tools of Titans

Tools of titans

We are huge fans of Tim Ferris. He is one of our VUCA gurus. I was looking forward to his new book “Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers”.

Listen to the podcasts instead

Just finished the book and it has been a struggle. Not sure what to make of it. Don’t like the structure, it is self-indulgent in some places, and it is basically a summary of his podcasts, which I would highly recommend you subscribe to those podcasts. If you do that, you don’t need to read the book.

Opposite of the usual shortcuts

I guess I was hoping for a more accessible way to pick up on the life lessons of the cool dudes and dudettes that Tim Ferris has an opportunity to interview. He likes the shortcuts, hence the 4-hour body and the 4-hour chef, but this book is the opposite of the shortcut.


That doesn’t mean that there are lessons to be learned and I will try to give you a flavour. Here are some of the key messages and lessons

  1. More than 80% of the interviewees have some form of daily mindfulness or meditation practice
  2. They all focus on 1-2 key strengths and create habits around them. Amplify your strengths.
  3. Big changes can come in small packages, and it is about the consistency of practice. Training. Showing up. Mastery.
  4. You have nothing to fear but fear itself. Rehearse the worst-case scenario” to become more resilient. It is never as bad as the scenarios in your head.
  5. The Ketogenic diet is good for you. So is stretching. Reminds me of “Move, eat, sleep“. 
  6. Failure is overrated, and the focus should be on long-term success
  7. It is all about doing and movement. Inspiration is for amateurs—the rest of us just show up and get to work. Read “Do!” 
  8. Be your unapologetic weird self.
  9. Be meaningful.
  10. What you track determines your lens. Read “The filter bubble” 
  11. Don’t accept the norms of your time.
  12. Aim for the 10X. When you focus on becoming 10% bigger, you’re competing against everybody. Everybody is trying to go 10% bigger. When you’re trying to go 10 times bigger, you’re there by yourself. It is about crazy ideas. If it is not crazy, it is not a breakthrough; it’s an incremental improvement.
  13. Go vagabonding.
  14. Start extremely small.
  15. Be a meaningful specific instead of a wandering generality.
  16. Losers have goals. Winners have systems
  17. Aim narrow, own your category. Become a supernichist.
  18. Focus on guiding principles, not interests.
  19. Use the death countdown clock. Pick your expected age and show on your computer how many days or hours you have left.
  20. Watch every thought you have. Always ask, “Why do I have this thought?
  21. Use a jar of awesome, which is a jar in which you put short notes every time something awesome happens.
  22. A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have. Choose courage over comfort.
  23. You are either great, or you don’t exist.
  24. Tell the truth.
  25. Most people forget that innovation is a business of exceptions.
  26. Life favours the specific ask and punishes the vague wish.

The question

If you could spend $1 billion improving the world, solving a problem, what would you pursue?

The lesson

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!


It gives some interesting alternatives to meditation and consciousness, such as floatation tanks (meditation on steroids), herbs and hallucinogenic (DMT, LSD, Ayahuasca, etc.) and some interesting perspectives on the use of food, minerals, proteins, etc. The book contains buckets of very good reading suggestion as well.

Buy the book

Should you buy the book? You probably should. If not for the perspectives of some very impressive individuals and has unusual insights on health, business and mindfulness. If you can get one or two shortcuts or hacks that you can apply, it might be a good investment.


An unstructured, serendipitous book to dip in and out. Maybe that is the point. After all, life is the ongoing practice of looking and learning, of facing fears and altering habits, of cultivating a new fascination in people and places.

sensemaking cover


Sense making; morality, humanity, leadership and slow flow. A book about the 14 books about the impact and implications of technology on business and humanity.

Ron Immink

I help companies by developing an inspiring and clear future perspective, which creates better business models, higher productivity, more profit and a higher valuation. Best-selling author, speaker, writer.

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