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Tools Of Titans

📃The Accompanying PDF

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🔖How would I describe this book in 1 sentence?

Very practical ideas on health, wealth, and life wisdom from the successful people in different domains

🗺️What was the role of this book in my journey?

I listened to this book in mid-2020 by recommendation of my friend Vadym.

At first, I was surprised by the practicality of the content and the book format. I was not ready for the massive stream of all the tips & tricks used by the successful people.

I couldn't make very much use of the Health section, as my capabilities to experiment at that times were very limited. But I made bookmarks and saved the most interesting ideas to be able to retrieve them in later stages of my life.

I was mostly interested in Wealthy + Wise sections of the book, as at that moment I started running different businesses and personal projects on a new level. The quality of the content helped me to answer some of the key questions I had about the career, lifestyle, and attitude to world around.

When I came back to this book 7 months later to write this summary, I discovered new & powerful ideas and aspirations that I didn't pay much attention during the initial read.

Overall, I feel like I will get back to this book again at some point in my life.

💡Key Insights

Insights
  1. Success, however you define it, is achievable if you collect the right field-tested beliefs and habits.
  2. The superheroes you have in your mind (idols, icons, titans, billionaires, etc.) are nearly all walking flaws who’ve maximized 1 or 2 strengths
  3. “I can think” → Having good rules for decision-making, and having good questions you can ask yourself and others. “I can wait” → Being able to plan long-term, play the long game, and not misallocate your resources. “I can fast” → Being able to withstand difficulties and disaster. Training yourself to be uncommonly resilient and have a high pain tolerance.
  4. More than 80% of the interviewees have some form of daily mindfulness or meditation practice
  5. Successful people all focus on 1-2 key strengths and create habits around them. Amplify your strengths.
  6. Big changes can come in small packages, and it is about the consistency of practice. Training. Showing up. Mastery.
  7. 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.
  8. The Ketogenic diet is good for you. So is stretching.
  9. It is all about doing and movement. Inspiration is for amateurs—the rest of us just show up and get to work.
  10. What you track determines your lens.
  11. Losers have goals. Winners have systems
  12. Use the death countdown clock. Pick your expected age and show on your computer how many days or hours you have left.
  13. Use a jar of awesome, which is a jar in which you put short notes every time something awesome happens.
  14. 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.
  15. You are either great, or you don’t exist.
  16. Most people forget that innovation is a business of exceptions.
  17. Life favours the specific ask and punishes the vague wish.

Chris Sommer

  • “You’re not responsible for the hand of cards you were dealt. You’re responsible for maxing out what you were given.”

Laird Hamilton, Gabby Reece & Brian MacKenzie

  • “If you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. If you run into assholes all day, you’re the asshole.”

Kelly Starrett

  • “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.”

Paul Levesque (Triple H)

  • “Kids don’t do what you say. They do what they see. How you live your life is their example.”

Coach Sommer - The Single Decision

  • Patience. Achieving the extraordinary is not a linear process. The secret is to show up, do the work, and go home. A blue collar work ethic married to indomitable will. It is literally that simple. Nothing interferes. Nothing can sway you from your purpose. Once the decision is made, simply refuse to budge. Refuse 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.
  • More importantly, learn from defeats when they happen. In fact, if you are not encountering defeat on a fairly regular basis, you are not trying hard enough. And absolutely refuse to accept less than your best.
  • Throw out a timeline. It will take what it takes.

Marc Andreessen

  • “I’m old-fashioned. Where I come from, people like to succeed. . . . When I was a founder, when I first started out, we didn’t have the word ‘pivot.’ We didn’t have a fancy word for it. We just called it a fuck-up."
  • “He says the key to success is, ‘Be so good they can’t ignore you.’”
  • TF: Marc has another guiding tenet: “Smart people should make things.” He says: “If you just have those two principles—that’s a pretty good way to orient.”
  • “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.”
  • “My goal is not to fail fast. My goal is to succeed over the long run. They are not the same thing.”
  • “To do original work: It’s not necessary to know something nobody else knows. It is necessary to believe something few other people believe.”
  • “Andy Grove had the answer: For every metric, there should be another ‘paired’ metric that addresses adverse consequences of the first metric.”

Derek Sivers

  • “If [more] information was the answer, then we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs.”
  • TF: It’s not what you know, it’s what you do consistently.
  • “How to thrive in an unknowable future? Choose the plan with the most options. The best plan is the one that lets you change your plans.”
  • “Be expensive”
  • “Expect disaster”
  • “Own as little as possible”
  • For people starting out - say “yes”.
  • Don’t Be a Donkey
  • “Well, I meet a lot of 30-year-olds who are trying to pursue many different directions at once, but not making progress in 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. To 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 ‘Buridan’s ass,’ about a donkey who is standing halfway between a pile of hay and a bucket of water. He just keeps looking left to 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 of 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, then go eat 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 and patience.”
  • Once You Have Some Success—If It’s Not a “Hell, Yes!” It’s a “No”
  • “Busy” = Out of Control
  • Lack of time is lack of priorities.
  • I believe you shouldn’t start a business unless people are asking you to.

Tony Robbins

  • “‘Stressed’ is the achiever word for ‘fear.’”
  • “Mastery doesn’t come from an infographic. What you know doesn’t mean shit. What do you do consistently?”
  • Sometimes, you think you have to figure out your life’s purpose, but you really just need some macadamia nuts and a cold fucking shower.
  • Think about your state when trying to solve problems or do anything else difficult.
  • “You realize that you will never be the best-looking person in the room. You’ll never be the smartest person in the room. You’ll never be the most educated, the most well-versed. You can never compete on those levels. But what you can always compete on, the true egalitarian aspect to success, is hard work. You can always work harder than the next guy.”
  • What is the ultimate quantification of success? For me, it’s not how much time you spend doing what you love. It’s how little time you spend doing what you hate.

Seth Godin

  • If You Generate Enough Bad Ideas, a Few Good Ones Tend to Show Up
  • So the goal isn’t to get good ideas; the goal is to get bad ideas. Because once you get enough bad ideas, then some good ones have to show up.
  • Can You Push Something Downhill?
  • “If you think about how hard it is to push a business uphill, particularly when you’re just getting started, one answer is to say: ‘Why don’t you just start a different business, a business you can push downhill?’
  • “I think we need to teach kids two things:
    • 1) how to lead, and
    • 2) how to solve interesting problems.

James Altucher

  • “What if [you] just can’t come up with 10 ideas? Here’s the magic trick: If you can’t come up with 10 ideas, come up with 20 ideas. . . . You are putting too much pressure on yourself. Perfectionism is the ENEMY of the idea muscle.
  • Haven’t Found Your Overarching, Single Purpose? Maybe You Don’t Have To.
  • “Forget purpose. It’s okay to be happy without one. The quest for a single purpose has ruined many lives.”

Scott Adams

  • 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.

Chase Jarvis:

  • Specialization is for insects.

Chris Young

  • Hold the standard. Ask for help. Fix it. Do whatever’s necessary. But don’t cheat.

Daymond John

  • “If you go out there and start making noise and making sales, people will find you. Sales cure all. You can talk about how great your business plan is and how well you are going to do. You can make up your own opinions, but you cannot make up your own facts. Sales cure all.”
  • “Money is a great servant but a horrible master.”

The Canvas Strategy

  • When you are 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.
  • There’s one fabulous way to work all of that out of your system: Attach yourself to people and organizations who are already successful, subsume your identity into theirs, and move both forward simultaneously. It’s certainly more glamorous to pursue your own glory—though hardly as effective. Obeisance is the way forward.

Neil Strauss

  • The biggest mistake you can make is to accept the norms of your time.
  • One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received for writing was a mantra: “Two crappy pages per day.”

Justin Boreta

  • “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

Peter Diamandis

  • 3 Questions About How to Find Your Driving Purpose or Mission:
  1. “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?
  2. “If Peter Diamandis or Tim Ferriss gave you $1 billion, how would you spend it besides the parties and the Ferraris and so forth? If I asked you to spend $1 billion improving the world, solving a problem, what would you pursue?
  3. “Where can you put yourself into an environment that gives maximum exposure to new ideas, problems, and people? Exposure to things that capture your ‘shower time’ [those things you can’t stop thinking about in the shower]?”

Sophia Amoruso

  • “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."

B.J. Novak

  • “Any time I’m telling myself, ‘But I’m making so much money,’ that’s a warning sign that I’m doing the wrong thing.”
  • Money can always be regenerated. Time and reputation cannot.

Maria Popova

  • "If you’re looking for a formula for greatness, the closest we’ll ever get, I think, is this: Consistency driven by a deep love of the work."
  • ‘Those who work much, do not work hard.’

Jocko Willink

  • “Two Is One and One Is None.”
  • 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."

Sebastien Junger

  • "The hardest thing you’re ever going to do in your life is fail at something, and if you don’t start failing at things, you will not live a full life. You’ll be living a cautious life on a path that you know is pretty much guaranteed to more or less work. That’s not getting the most out of this amazing world we live in. You have to do the hardest thing that you have not been prepared for in this school or any school: You have to be prepared to fail. That’s how you’re going to expand yourself and grow. As you work through that process of failure and learning, you will really deepen into the human being you’re capable of being.”
  • “Who would you die for? What ideas would you die for? The answer to those questions, for most of human history, would have come very readily to any person’s mouth."

General Stanley McChrystal & Chris Fussell

  • You should have a running list of three people that you’re always watching:
    • someone senior to you that you want to emulate,
    • a peer who 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.
  • 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.”
  • “You can tell the true character of a man by how his dog and his kids react to him.”

Shay Carl

  • “The secrets to life are hidden behind the word ‘cliché.’”

Kevin Kelly

  • One massively successful private equity investor I know uses an Excel spreadsheet to display his own death countdown clock. Memento mori—remember that you’re going to die. It’s a great way to remember to live.
  • One manual project that every human should experience?
  • “You need to build your own house, your own shelter. It’s not that hard to do, believe me. I built my own house.”
  • The Worst Case: A Sleeping Bag and Oatmeal

Is This What I So Feared?

  • The teachings of great men, I shall give you also a lesson: Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare, with coarse and rough dress, saying to yourself the while: “Is this the condition that I feared?”
  • How might you put this into practice? Here are a few things I’ve done repeatedly for 3 to 14 days at a time to simulate losing all my money:
    • Sleeping in a sleeping bag, whether on my living room floor or outside.
    • Wearing cheap white shirts and a single pair of jeans for the entire 3 to 14 days.
    • Using CouchSurfing.com or a similar service to live in hosts’ homes for free, even if in your own city.
    • Eating only A) instant oatmeal and/or B) rice and beans.
    • Drinking only water and cheap instant coffee or tea.
    • Cooking everything using a Kelly Kettle. This is a camping device that can generate heat from nearly anything found in your backyard or on a roadside (e.g., twigs, leaves, paper).
    • Fasting, consuming nothing but water and perhaps coconut oil or powdered MCT oil (see page 24 for more on fasting).
    • Accessing the Internet only at libraries.

Whitney Cummings

  • Perfectionism leads to procrastination, which leads to paralysis.
  • Happiness is wanting what you have.

Lazy: A Manifesto (Tim Kreider)

  • Book is We Learn Nothing
  • I did make a conscious decision, a long time ago, to choose time over money, since you can always make more money. And I’ve always understood that the best investment of my limited time on earth is to spend it with people I love. I suppose it’s possible I’ll lie on my deathbed regretting that I didn’t work harder, write more, and say everything I had to say, but I think what I’ll really wish is that I could have one more round of Delanceys with Nick, another long late-night talk with Lauren, one last good hard laugh with Harold. Life is too short to be busy.

Naval Ravikant

  • Successful and Happy—Different Cohorts?
  • “If you want to be successful, surround yourself with people who are more successful than you are, but if you want to be happy, surround yourself with people who are less successful than you are.”
  • The Three Options You Always Have in Life
  • “In any situation in life, you only have three options. You always have three options.
  • You can change it, you can accept it, or you can leave it.
  • What is not a good option is to sit around wishing you would change it but not changing it, wishing you would leave it but not leaving it, and not accepting it.
  • “My one repeated learning in life: ‘There are no adults.’ Everyone’s making it up as they go along. Figure it out yourself, and do it.”

Josh Waitzkin

  • “Interval training [often at midday or lunch break] and meditation together are beautiful habits to develop to cultivate the art of turning it on and turning it off.”
  • This may sound clichéd, but how you do anything is how you do everything.
  • Lateral thinking or thematic thinking, the ability to take a lesson from one thing and transfer it to another, is one of the most important disciplines that any of us can cultivate.

Brené Brown

  • “A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.”
  • To Be Trusted, Be Vulnerable
  • People always [think] you gain trust first and then you’re vulnerable with people. But the truth is, you can’t really earn trust over time with people without being somewhat vulnerable [first].
  • Everything came when I completely dove in fearlessly and made the content that I needed to make as a kind of artist . . . I got out of my own way. I stopped doubting myself, and the universe winked at me when I did that, so to speak.

Bryan Johnson

  • Is It an Itch or a Burn?
  • “I have a lot of conversations with people who want to start their own thing, and one of my favorite questions to ask is, ‘Is this an itch, or is it burning?’ If it is just an itch, it is not sufficient."

Robert Rodriguez

  • For a lot of people, that’s the part that keeps them back the most. They think, ‘Well, I don’t have an idea, so I can’t start.’ I know you’ll only get the idea once you start. It’s this totally reverse thing. You have to act first before inspiration will hit. You don’t wait for inspiration and then act, or you’re never going to act, because you’re never going to have the inspiration, not consistently.”

🦅Key Principles

  1. Amplify your strengths
  2. If you feel fear, rehearse the worst-case scenario. Understand that it's not as bad as it seems.
  3. Be meaningful.
  4. Be your unapologetic weird self.
  5. Don’t be afraid of bad ideas. The goal isn’t to get good ideas; the goal is to get bad ideas. Because once you get enough bad ideas, then some good ones have to show up.
  6. Don’t accept the norms of your time.
  7. 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.
  8. Go vagabonding.
  9. Start extremely small.
  10. Be a meaningful specific instead of a wandering generality. Aim narrow, own your category.
  11. Focus on guiding principles, not interests.
  12. Watch every thought you have. Always ask, “Why do I have this thought?"
  13. Choose courage over comfort. A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.
  14. Tell the truth.
  15. Live your life as the example of life you want for your children. “Kids don’t do what you say. They do what they see. How you live your life is their example.”
  16. Be patient. Patience. Achieving the extraordinary is not a linear process. The secret is to show up, do the work, and go home. A blue collar work ethic married to indomitable will. It is literally that simple. Nothing interferes. Nothing can sway you from your purpose. Once the decision is made, simply refuse to budge. Refuse 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.
  17. Welcome defeats and learn from them. More importantly, learn from defeats when they happen. In fact, if you are not encountering defeat on a fairly regular basis, you are not trying hard enough. And absolutely refuse to accept less than your best.
  18. For every metric, develop another ‘paired’ metric that addresses adverse consequences of the first metric
  19. Choose the plan with the most options. The best plan is the one that lets you change your plans.
  20. Expect disaster
  21. Own as little as possible
  22. If you can't decide between two things to do, accomplish one thing first, then another
  23. When faced with a choice and you don't feel excited about something, (“Hell, Yes!”), then it’s a "No"
  24. If you feel busy, ask yourself if you are in control
  25. Forget purpose. It’s okay to be happy without one. The quest for a single purpose has ruined many lives.
  26. Don't cheat. Hold the standard. Ask for help. Fix it. Do whatever’s necessary. But don’t cheat.
  27. Attach yourself to people and organizations who are already successful, subsume your identity into theirs, and move both forward simultaneously. It’s certainly more glamorous to pursue your own glory—though hardly as effective. Obeisance is the way forward.
  28. Write “Two crappy pages per day.”
  29. When you feel that you can't find your purpose or mission, ask yourself the following 3 questions:
    1. “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?
    2. “If somebody gave you $1 billion, how would you spend it besides the parties and the Ferraris and so forth? If I asked you to spend $1 billion improving the world, solving a problem, what would you pursue?
    3. “Where can you put yourself into an environment that gives maximum exposure to new ideas, problems, and people? Exposure to things that capture your ‘shower time’ [those things you can’t stop thinking about in the shower]?”
  30. Accept every life event with positivity. Say "Good" to everything
  31. Have a running list of 3 people that you are always watching.
    1. someone senior to you that you want to emulate
    2. a peer who you think is better at the job than you are and who you respect
    3. someone subordinate who’s doing the job you did—one, two, or three years ago—better than you did it.
    4. 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

  32. If you want to be successful, surround yourself with people who are more successful than you are, but if you want to be happy, surround yourself with people who are less successful than you are.
  33. If you have a 10-year plan, ask yourself: how can I do this in 6 months?
  34. Write your goal 15 times a day in a specific sentence form. Affirmations: “All you do is you pick a goal and you write it down 15 times a day in some specific sentence form, like ‘I, Scott Adams, will become an astronaut,’ for example. And you do that every day. Then it will seem as if the universe just starts spitting up opportunities.”
  35. If you find yourself saying, “But I’m making so much money” about a job or project, pay attention. “But I’m making so much money,” or “But I’m making good money” is a warning sign that you’re probably not on the right track or, at least, that you shouldn’t stay there for long.
  36. If you can’t see yourself working with someone for life, don’t work with them for a day.

✍️Notes

Common Attributes of "Titans"

  • More than 80% of the interviewees have some form of daily mindfulness or meditation practice
  • A surprising number of males (not females) over 45 never eat breakfast
  • Many use the ChiliPad device for cooling at bedtime
  • The habit of listening to single songs on repeat for focus
  • Nearly everyone has done some form of “spec” work (completing projects on their own time and dime, then submitting them to prospective buyers)
  • The belief that “failure is not durable”
  • Almost every guest has been able to take obvious “weaknesses” and turn them into huge competitive advantages

Summary Notes

“Every billionaire suffers from the same problem. Nobody around them ever says, ‘Hey, that stupid idea you just had is really stupid.’”

“Tony sometimes phrases this as, “The quality of your life is the quality of your questions.” Questions determine your focus. Most people— and I’m certainly guilty of this at times— spend their lives focusing on negativity (e.g., “How could he say that to me?!”) and therefore the wrong priorities.” “To fix this, he encourages you to “prime” your state first. Biochemistry will help you proactively tell yourself an enabling story. Only then do you think on strategy, as you’ll see the options instead of dead ends.”

“Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious.”— Thomas Edison

“So if you’re planning to do something with your life, if you have a 10-year plan of how to get there, you should ask: Why can’t you do this in 6 months?”

‘How do I become less competitive in order that I can become more successful?’

Theil Questions:

  • The Monopoly Question: Are you starting with a big share of a small market?
  • The Secret Question: Have you identified a unique opportunity that others don’t see?
  • The Distribution Question: Do you have a way to not just create but deliver your product?

Create your own graduate program, how might you use the money you would spend on one to further educate yourself outside of a university?

Affirmations: “All you do is you pick a goal and you write it down 15 times a day in some specific sentence form, like ‘I, Scott Adams, will become an astronaut,’ for example. And you do that every day. Then it will seem as if the universe just starts spitting up opportunities.”

“But if you want something extraordinary, you have two paths: 1) Become the best at one specific thing. 2) Become very good (top 25%) at two or more things.”

“Creativity is an infinite resource. The more you spend, the more you have.”

As I’ve also heard said, “Amateurs built the Ark, professionals built the Titanic.”

““I distinctly remember him saying not to worry about what I was going to do because the job I was going to do hadn’t even been invented yet. . . . The interesting jobs are the ones that you make up.”

“In other words, the minutiae fit around the big things, but the big things don’t fit around the minutiae.”

“If you find yourself saying, “But I’m making so much money” about a job or project, pay attention. “But I’m making so much money,” or “But I’m making good money” is a warning sign that you’re probably not on the right track or, at least, that you shouldn’t stay there for long.”

“What Blessings in Excess Have Become a Curse? Where Do You Have Too Much of a Good Thing?”

“Answering “What would it look like if I had ___ ?” helps clarify things. Life favors the specific ask and punishes the vague wish.”

“Are You Fooling Yourself with a Plan for Moderation?”

“The second you start doing it for an audience, you’ve lost the long game because creating something that is rewarding and sustainable over the long run requires, most of all, keeping yourself excited about it. . . .”

““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 dessert? Be tougher. Make that your starting decision. Feeling winded? Take the stairs anyway. Ditto. It doesn’t matter how small or big you start. If you want to be tougher, be tougher.”

““What you just explained is exactly what I was going to suggest. Think about how old you are right now and think about being a 10-year-older version of yourself. Then 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 have otherwise.””

“Most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.”

“Comedy is, for the most part, just an obsession with injustice: This isn’t fair. . . . So what pisses you off? Louis C.K. says, ‘If you think about something more than three times a week, you have to write about it.’””

“‘ Honor those who seek the truth, beware of those who’ve found it’ [adapted from Voltaire]. A reminder that the path never ends and that absolutely nobody has this shit figured out.”

“Robustness is when you care more about the few who like your work than the multitude who hates it (artists); fragility is when you care more about the few who hate your work than the multitude who loves it (politicians).”

“Those who are offended easily should be offended more often”— Mae West.

“Desire is a contract you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want.”

If you can’t see yourself working with someone for life, don’t work with them for a day.

“If I go about on this endeavor, does it meet the threshold that Shackleton applied? Is this the most audacious endeavor I can possibly conceive of? What would Shackleton do?””

17 Questions to Change Your Life

  1. What if I did the opposite for 48 hours
  2. What do I spend a silly amount of money on? Can I scratch my own itch?
  3. What would I do/have/be if I had $10m? What’s my real TMI?
  4. What are the worst things that could happen? Could I get back here?
  5. If I could only work 2 hours per week on my business, what would I do?
  6. What if I let them make decisions up to $100, $500, $1,000?
  7. What’s the least crowded channel?
  8. What if I couldn’t pitch my product directly?
  9. What if I created my own real world MBA?
  10. Do I need to make it back the way I lost it?
  11. What if I could only subtract to solve the problem?
  12. What could I put in place to go off the grid for 4+ weeks?
  13. Am I hunting antelope or field mice?
  14. Could it be that everything is fine and complete as it is?
  15. What would this look like if it were easy?
  16. How can I throw money at the problem? How can I waste money to improve my life?
  17. No hurry, no pause

Book recommendations

Essays and blog posts

Exercises to try

  • Writing down 10 ideas each morning in a notebook (James Altucher). Sample prompts like:
    • 10 craziest things I could do
    • 10 old ideas I can make new
    • 10 ridiculous things I would invent
    • 10 books I can write
    • 10 people I can send ideas to
  • Focusing on systems rather than short term goals (Scott Adams)
    • Fr example, writing on a regular basis without knowing what you are practicing for will develop the skill of writing that then gives you more options and transferable skills.
  • Daily structured gratitude journaling
    • An old relationship that really helped you, or that you valued highly.
    • An opportunity you have today. Perhaps that’s just an opportunity to call one of your parents, or an opportunity to go to work.
    • Something great that happened yesterday, whether you experienced or witnessed it.
    • Something simple near you or within sight.
  • Joy of Loving-Kindness
    • During the day, randomly identify two people who walk past you or who are standing or sitting around you. Secretly wish for them to be happy. “I wish for this person to be happy.”
  • Commit to doing one pushup before bed.
  • Write down the 20% of activities and people causing 80% or more of your negative emotions
  • Decision making
    • Tonight or tomorrow morning, think of a decision you’ve been putting off, and challenge the fuzzy “what ifs” holding you hostage. If not now, when? If left at the status quo, what will your life and stress look like in 6 months? In 1 year? In 3 years? Who around you will also suffer?
  • Think about being a 10-year-older version of myself.
    • Then “What would I probably tell myself as an older version of myself?’ Start living by the answers and grow exponentially.
  • Write two pages of uninterrupted flow to flex the muscle of generating content without judgment. Prompt ideas include:
    • Something you don’t remember
    • Your darkest teacher
    • A memory of a physical injury
    • When you knew it was over
    • Being loved
    • What you were really thinking
    • How you found your way back
    • Good quotes

    • “Learn to confront the challenges of the real world, rather than resort to the protective womb of academia.”
    • “I am a big believer that if you have a very clear vision of where you want to go, the rest of it is much easier.” Arnold Schwarzenegger
    • “When you’re thinking of how to make your business bigger, it’s tempting to try to think all the big thoughts, the world-changing, massive-action plans. But please know that it’s often the tiny details that really thrill someone enough to make them tell all their friends about you.” – Derek Sivers
    • “If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth writing.” – Ben Franklin
    • “What is the ultimate quantification of success? For me, it’s not how much time you spend doing what you love. It’s how little time you spend doing what you hate.” – Casey Neistat
    • “Once we get those muddy, maddening, confusing thoughts [nebulous worries, jitters, and preoccupations] on the page, we face our day with clearer eyes.” – Julia Cameron
    • “I have come to learn that part of the business strategy is to solve the simplest, easiest, and most valuable problem.” – Reid Hoffman
    • “So if you’re planning to do something with your life, if you have a 10-year plan of how to get there, you should ask: Why can’t you do this in 6 months?” – Peter Thiel
    • “There are no real rules, so make rules that work for you.” – Seth Godin
    • “I always advise young people to become good public speakers (top 25%). Anyone can do it with practice. If you add that talent to any other, suddenly you’re the boss of the people who have only one skill.” – Scott Adams
    • “At the end of the day, who cares? What’s the big deal? I’m here, I’m going to try my best, and I’m going to go home, and my family’s there…Even though my whole world’s wrapped up in this, who cares?” – Shaun White
    • “Stephen Hawking actually has the best quote…He says that, ‘When you complain, nobody wants to help you,’ and it’s the simplest thing and so plainly spoken…If you spend your time focusing on the things that are wrong, and that’s what you express and project to people you know, you don’t become a source of growth for people, you become a source of destruction for people” – Tracy DiNunzio
    • “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. There is an old saying, ‘Say little, do much.’” – Ryan Holiday
    • “The person who clears the path ultimately controls its direction, just as the canvas shapes the painting.” – Ryan Holiday
    • “The biggest mistake you can make is to accept the norms of your time.” – Neil Strauss
    • “Chill out. Calm down. I feel like myself and other people I know that are in their early- to mid-20s get really wound up about things having to be a certain way. It doesn’t matter as much as you think it does.” – Justin Boreta
    • “Truth is, young creative minds don’t need more ideas, they need to take more responsibility with the ideas they’ve already got.” – Scott Belsky
    • “In reality, long-term travel has nothing to do with demographics–age, ideology, income–and everything to do with personal outlook. Long-term travel isn’t about being a college student–it’s about being a student of daily life. Long-term travel isn’t an act of rebellion against society–it’s an act of common sense within society. Long-term travel doesn’t require a massive “bundle of cash”; it requires only that we walk through the world in a more deliberate way.”
    • “Any time I’m telling myself, ‘But I’m making so much money,’ that’s a warning sign that I’m doing the wrong things.” – B.J. Novak
    • “Nobody’s paying attention to anyone else at all. You think everyone is, but they’re not. So take as long as you want if you’re talented. You’ll get their attention again if you have a reason to.” – B.J. Novak
    • “The second you start doing it for an audience, you’ve lost the long game because creating something that is rewarding and sustainable over the long run requires, most of all, keeping yourself excited about it.” – Maria Popova
    • “There is more freedom to be gained from practicing poverty than chasing wealth. Suffer a little regularly and you often cease to suffer.”
    • “Life is not waiting for the storm to pass, it’s learning how to dance in the rain” – Vivian Greene
    • “Where are you afraid of getting sprayed with water, even though it’s never happened? Oftentimes, everything you want is a mere inch outside of your comfort zone. Test it.”
    • “There were three reasons why we survived: We had no money, we had no technology, and we had no plan. Every dollar, we used very carefully.” – Jack Ma
    • “No. Accept reality, but focus on the solution. Take that issue, take that setback, take that problem, and turn it into something good. Go forward. And, if you are part of a team, that attitude will spread throughout.” – Robert Rodriguez