Tools of Titans is a book by Tim Ferriss, also New York Times Bestselling author of The Four Hour Workweek. I read that book about a year ago, actually listened to it on audio, and it was okay. I didn’t personally enjoy the narrator and I think that messed with my perception of the book. Since then, I have since started listening to Tim Ferriss’ podcast, however, and my perception of him has changed. Now, onto my review of Tools of Titans.

About the book:

Tools of Titans is a collection of the best parts of his podcast and his blog. With this description, you might think that this is simply a waste of time, but I strongly disagree.

Even though I listen to the podcast and have heard some of these guests, I still received different meaning from reading it rather than only listening to it. Having the best parts of each interview sifted through and boiled down to the best moments then put on paper with Tim’s own commentary changed the meaning completely. It took it to a whole new level. There were some things that I remembered hearing in the podcast, but for some reason, reading them made them stick out to me differently.

Not only that, but some of these important points need to be said more than once. They need to be repeated often because a mindset shift doesn’t happen overnight. You can’t just say “I need to be more disciplined” one day and suddenly you’re set for the rest of your life. You need constant reminders in order to change your beliefs and habits. If you listen to the podcast and read the book, that’s a good way to accomplish this.

Additionally, this book let me know which podcast episodes I might want to skip and which I will definitely want to listen to in full, which I may not have otherwise checked out.

How to read the book:

There are three main sections of this book: Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise. I got the most value from the last half of the book, including interviews from people from both the Wealthy and Wise sections. I enjoy reading and learning about health and fitness, but I found there to be much less substantial advice in the first section and more recommendations for things I could buy. This is great for some people and something I’ll keep in mind for the future, but for my purposes now, not so much.

This is a book that you can skip around and find what suits your own needs. Tim even states this in the beginning of the book, giving the reader permission to skip parts that don’t interest them.

About the interviews:

The fun part about this book is that sometimes there’s contradictory advice. It’s interesting to see one highly successful person suggest one tactic and another just as successful person suggest a completely opposite tactic. I think that this represents that there are many ways to achieve success. How success is defined will mean something different for different people. Additionally, because everyone and their situations are entirely unique, the same thing is not going to work for everyone. So while one person might suggest one thing, that same thing might not work for another person because of whatever their particular circumstances are, whether that’s environmental or it simply comes down to their personality.

To give an example, some of the people interviewed in this book argue that you should stick with one major goal at a time. Don’t get caught up in trying to accomplish too much at once because then you won’t end up accomplishing anything or you’ll just be mediocre at a lot of things, a jack of all trades but master of none. Then we look at some other people in the very same book who posit that you can and should diversify yourself. Go for many things because eventually something will stick. (If you’ve been following along with me, then you know where I stand on this side of the debate).

Overall I found it really interesting to compare all of them, to find out why one person might be advocating for one tactic over another and why another person might be saying differently. What is it about their personalities or their specific circumstances that make that the case? Which is the most similar to my case? Can I apply their tactic to my situation? If not, can I adapt it? And if I try their tactic and it doesn’t work for me personally, then I know that there’s another method that has worked for someone else, so I can try that method for myself too.

Top discussion points:

1. Take one mindful breath per day

As someone who has always struggled to stay consistent with meditation and mindfulness practices, this is a piece of advice that has been really useful. Many guests reiterated the point that the easiest way to break down something you have to do is to make the task as small as possible so that there’s no way you can’t do it. One mindful breath per day is better than one good day of meditation followed by a year of no mindfulness practices whatsoever.

2. Don’t be afraid to show your scars

This piece of advice came from Morgan Spurlock. If you know who he is, you probably know him from his popular documentary film Super Size Me.

This advice means a lot to me. I think most of us can relate to feeling like we have to put on a front, acting like we have it all figured out. The reality is, though, that people will connect more with you when you are vulnerable, when you show the real side of you. Don’t be afraid to show your scars; don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and show your struggles.

3. Fear-setting exercise

This tip came not from any guests but from Tim Ferriss himself. I believe you can find his discussion about this on his blog too. We all deal with making decisions as an inevitable part of our life. Oftentimes fear comes along with this decision-making process. If you’re faced with a tough decision, maybe you feel yourself swayed in one direction but are terrified to make the leap of faith, ask yourself this: What is the worst possible thing that can happen if I were to do x? Or, what is the worst-case scenario?

Tim’s point with this exercise is that the worst-case scenario is probably not all that bad; you will likely recover from it. Furthermore, it’s probably not likely to happen at all, not even close.

Fear holds us back from achieving our goals. It’s there to keep us safe but what keeps us safe might not always be what we need in the long run.

4, 5, and 6. Be tougher, discipline = freedom, & good

All three points come from Jocko Willink, a former US Navy SEAL. Regarding the first point, he says to remind yourself to just be tougher. If you’re struggling with something, just say “be tougher.” You can accomplish a lot more than you give yourself credit for. For example, when I’m struggling with certain eating habits, I just tell myself “be tougher.” It seems so simple, but it has really been working for me.

The next point is discipline equals freedom. The more disciplined you are, the more freedom you have. This is a common talking point for Jocko, and it makes a lot of sense.

Lastly, Jocko talks about how when he’s presented with a negative situation, his response is always “good.” If you didn’t get a promotion, good, more time to get experience. If you got tapped out in martial arts, good, better to be tapped out while training than during a real fight. His point is not to see the world with rose-colored glasses and ignore the negatives. Rather, there is simply no point in putting all of your focus on the negatives. Look at what can be gained and learned from every situation. Focusing on the negative causes unnecessary fear and worry.

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If you liked this, make sure you watch the Tools of Titans Review video below!

Author's Bio: 

My goal is to provide others with the mental resources and strategies needed to achieve all that they desire.