“Tools of Titans” is a guidebook on how to live great. In case you didn’t know, Tim Ferriss has an award-winning podcast in which he interviews top performers in different fields and digs deep into what makes them great. This book is just like the podcast; in fact, much—but not all—of the book’s material comes from the podcast.
Tools of Titans is a giant book: It weighs a heavy 671 pages. But Ferriss didn’t write in such a way that you’d have to read it chronologically, or even that you’d read every word. Instead, the book is made up of many small chapters, divided into major sections, which are further divided into each of the “guests.” Between some of the chapters of advice from the top performers are occasional short essays on topics related to that part of the book.
Each chapter from one of the “billionaires, icons, and world-class performer” is anywhere from a couple to several pages, further divided into headings and subheadings. The point is that this is a big book, but it is not intimidating and it is designed to make it easy for you to pick out what you want to read, even if you have just a few minutes.
I read it from start to finish, but my second pass through will consist of targeted reads on whatever topic or individual makes sense at the time.
This book is different than Tim Ferriss’ prior books. You may have read the 4-Hour Workweek, the 4-Hour Body, and the 4-Hour Chef. Besides missing “4-Hour” in the title, Tools of Titans is not just about optimizing one area of your life. Instead, it is about improving your life from many angles in many ways.
Tools of Titans is divided into three primary sections: Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise ( which comes from a Ben Franklin quote: “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise .”).
The first section—Healthy—includes a variety of profiles, from Pavel Tsatsouline of Kettlebell fame (and Chairman of StrongFirst, Inc.) to Dominic D’Agostino (Professor of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology and ketosis expert) to Kelley Starrett (famous CrossFit coach and mobility expert and author of Becoming a Supple Leopard ) and many others.
The second section is all about your Wealth, including your business and investments. Besides writing books and running a hit podcast, Tim Ferriss is also a highly successful tech and startup investor . So this section includes material from some big names, primarily but not completely from that world. From the Wealthy section, you might recognize names like Chris Sacca, Marc Andreesen, Tony Robbins, Peter Thiel ( read our article on Zero to One ), Noah Kagan, Peter Diamandis, and many others. This section also had a revisited version of Kevin Kelly’s famous article on 1,000 True Fans .
Finally, the last, and perhaps most interesting, section is all about Wisdom. This is a section that I recommend you read all the way through. There are many perspectives on how to live a life and you might find insights where you didn’t expect.
You can learn something new from a navy seal named Jocko Willink ( Discipline Equals Freedom: A Field Manual), or Maria Popova (of Brainpickings), or Paulo Coelho ( The Alchemist), or Rainn Wilson (of The Office), or Malcolm Gladwell, or even Jamie Foxx ( one of Tim Ferriss’ most popular podcasts ).
All of us are influenced by those around us. And the people in our life can teach us a lot. But it is easy to get stuck with the same assumptions, ideas, patterns, and habits. To truly break free and reach the next level, you must go beyond the ideas that permeate your everyday life. You must expose your blind spots and open yourself to new ideas.
Tim Ferriss’ Tools of Titans is a book full of advice and perspectives of some of the greatest performers today. Buy the book, open it up, and learn what you can do to be better.
And if Tools of Titans looks interesting to you, you should check out Tim Ferriss’ newest book, Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advance from the Best in the World .