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Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers Hardcover – December 6, 2016
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"A Poor Richard's Almanack for the 21st century, Tools of Titans is a practical and inspiring guide to being your best."
About the Author
TIM FERRISS has been called “a cross between Jack Welch and a Buddhist monk” by The New York Times. He is one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Business People” and an early-stage tech investor/advisor in Uber, Facebook, Twitter, Shopify, Duolingo, Alibaba, and 50+ other companies. He is also the author of four #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers: The 4-Hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Body, The 4-Hour Chef, and Tools of Titans. The Observer and other media have named him “the Oprah of audio” due to the influence of his podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show, which has exceeded 200 million downloads and been selected for “Best of iTunes” three years running.
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DISCLAIMER: I am a Tim Ferriss apologist. I've listened to almost every episode of his podcast. Own his books. Have been following him since 4 Hour Work Week came out.
Tim's podcast has rewired my brain. My life is measurably better because of what I've learned. Literally. I have hereditary cholesterol problems and my forays into a ketogenic lifestyle dropped my particle count from ~1950 to ~1225. There are many other great things that have come as a result of my exposure to Tim's podcast, too many to list here.
When he announced TOOLS OF TITANS, I was ecstatic. I pre-ordered this book in September.
I'm sad to say that I'm non-plussed, borderline disappointed.
On one hand, I love having a "totem" of something that has changed my life so profoundly. To that end, I am happy to own the book.
On the other hand, it does not deliver on its promise. This is supposedly a "recipe book" (according to page xvi in the Foreword).
It is no such thing.
If I want to bake an apple pie, I go to the Table of Contents, I look up apple pie, I turn to that page.
You cannot do that in this book.
Tim has amazing things to say about meditation. A few guests on his podcast have amazing things to say about meditation (Sam Harris, Naval Ravikant, Kevin Rose, etc.).
But there is no central place to which you can turn to find out the collected wisdom of the many guests who have delved into this topic.
The same goes for investing. The same goes for particular health hacks.
In fact, there's not even one central place in the book that gives a list of the commonalities between the guests. That's a HUGE missed opportunity.
Make a second edition. Soon. It doesn't even have to add new content. Just tighten this up and make it so that you can read about certain topics in a centralized place. If there are parts that don't fit, maybe have an author section at the back... but, dang.
Millionaires become millionaires (in part) because they've learned to say "no." They have the discipline to turn down the good, so that they can pursue (and achieve) the great.
This book is just too too too much good. It doesn't tell you what is great. It will leave you chasing dozens upon dozens of random tactics and thoughts in a dozen different fields.
It might teach the tactics and routines and habits of world-class performers, but there's FAR TOO MUCH here to make it valuable in showing YOU how to achieve those heights. And, if there is ONE person that you could model to become like them in their field... there is FAR TOO LITTLE here to actually help you on your way.
This book suffers from the expectations of his previous work--Tim is honest about presenting "Tools of Titans" as sort of a glimpse of his journals/notes from his life's work, but this book loses nearly everything we've come to expect.
First, due to the content (it's a compendium of quips/quotes/summations from past work and in particular, his podcasts) there's no sense of mission and the book feels scattered. Yes, you can sort of pick this up book and it reads like a reference digest, but Tim's voice fades and it feels without purpose. It's WebMD with a clouded personality...it's a bit like a bound website without the hyperlinking.
Next, keeping Tim's literary voice at the fringe makes the book far less interesting. His personality is buried, his sense of adventure and joyous curiosity isn't apparent, so we care less about the character and the journey. His books have always succeeded on those terms--he's made us excited about his life and why he does what he does, but here his character is almost non-existent.
Finally, although I don't think it's the case, the book doesn't seem challenging for Tim. I don't think he phoned it in, and I know trying to make sense of a lifetime's worth of notes (tools!) was incredibly challenging, but there's a part of me as a reader that expected much more channeled insight. He's shown he's capable of completely rethinking a problem or a lifestyle or a way of doing things, and this book isn't like that at all.
If you've read all of Tim's stuff and listened to a fair amount of his podcasts, this book is going to seem like familiar territory. Nice to have some of the best nuggets all in one spot, but I don't buy his books out of convenience. If you're new to Tim Ferris, this is probably a decent starting point.