While lessons are certainly important, when it comes to getting things done, there is only so much self-help books and inspiring TED talks can do to improve your situation. At the same time, this is not to say there is nothing you can learn from these resources but rather, to point out that action is always necessary and there are simply too many books in particular which focus on the same topics.
Ironically, the new Tim Ferriss book manages to capture the essence of this point above by gathering and breaking down a truly vast amount of information from some of the most successful figures on the planet. In short, if you read and reference one book for the rest of your life – make it Tools of Titans.
Here are 17 things you should learn from his book and how they can apply to your own life, regardless of your personal situation:
1. Getting Things Done
“If all we needed was more information, then everyone would be a billionaire with perfect abs.” Derek Sivers
As illustrated in another best-selling book called “getting things done” by David Allen, it is often the mass amount of information we carry around which stops us from getting things done. Similarly, Tim would come to the very same conclusion when he quoted Derek Sivers above and explained that information without action, is nothing. In fact, sometimes the best way to success is to start now and adapt later.
2. Freeing yourself of unnecessary thoughts
Julia Cameron is one of many authors who have written about the advantages of morning pages. Essentially, when you wake up each morning, the idea is to write down several pages of whatever is on your mind. Now, this does not have to make sense entirely as the purpose of the task is in fact to rid you of unnecessary information which may be clouding the mind.
Having put this information on paper, you are left in a much more creative mood and free of the unnecessary thoughts with which they woke up.
3. Asking stupid questions
Society has a common tendency to frown upon “stupid questions’ but on the contrary, Tools of Titans goes on to speak about the importance of stupid questions.
Again, another podcast host Alex Blumberg explains how stupid questions are questions nonetheless and you are better to know these answers rather than ignore that they exist. In conclusion, the chapter points out that there are ways to “disguise” a rather dumb question using some very good choice of words. The outcome you should be looking for in this regard is to become a source of growth for each other, which will also enable you to learn more for yourself.
4. Showing up
“My work is not done on the night of a big standup special. My work was done three months ago. All I have to do is show up.” Whitney Cummings
As pointed out by the successful comedian above, you should certainly prepare adequately for whatever it is that you want to achieve in life but often, the only important part you should remember is to show up.
Many speakers will talk about facing your fears and how taking risks is often the secret to success. Tools of Titans outlines a very different and seemingly, a more rational approach. In no uncertain terms, Tim Ferriss learns that the act of doing will trump any amount of learning, preparation or information.
5. Public Speaking
“I always advise young people to become good public speakers”. Scott Adams
Scott Adams was the author of Dilbert and told Tim Ferriss that absolutely anyone can learn to be a competent speaker. Furthermore, Adams went on to say that anyone who has even one skill can learn to be a good public speaker and become an invaluable figure in the process.
6. You do not need qualifications
When Ferriss talks about his meeting its Dan Carlin, a famous podcast host, he learns how Carlin is proof that you do not need qualifications or even experience to do something you love. Unfortunately this seems like one of the darker segments of the modern world in which traditions and conventional life continue to hold back aspiring artists, and entrepreneurs.
As Gary Vaynerchuck is known to say “You need to stop caring about what anyone else thinks of you and start investing in what you think instead.”
7. Be real with yourself, and others too
When speaking with world-famous motivator Tony Robbins, we learn how weakness can often translate to strength. If utilized in the right way. In this segment, Robbins discusses anxiety with the author and explains how he writes down his anxieties every single morning, for acknowledging such feelings is far more beneficial than trying to ignore them. Similarly, Tim Ferriss discusses his own personal problems throughout the book which include his battles with anxiety, depression and even suicidal thoughts.
Moral of the story: Be honest with yourself, and others too.
8. Create your own tribe
One of the most interesting aspects of Tools of Titans relates to a theory from Kevin Kelly that you need one thousand true fans to be successful. The reasoning behind this theory is that if you create a product or service, then you will always have at least one thousand true fans who are likely to enjoy and even buy whatever you produce.
However, there are also two parts to the theory: you need to interact directly with these one thousand fans and: this effort should be rewarded when your true fans relay your message onto their own friends or people they know.
That being said, this chapter does also stress that your message needs to provide value. The whole concept revolves around the fact that good content, is worth remembering, sharing and coming back for more.
9. Know when to say “no”
Tim Ferriss is known for talking about the power of “saying no” and knowing when to use it. In fact, he wrote an entire book on the subject. In the chapter with investor Chris Sacca, he speaks about choosing the right time to accept invitations. Likewise, how to know when to say no to extra work or further obligations.
Although this may seem slightly negative to some people, this is an incredibly powerful lesson in that we spend too much time tending to the work of others rather than sticking to our own course and our own destiny. Saying no is not a bad thing. We are just led to believe this is the case rather than understanding that saying yes to everything is simply not sustainable.
10. There are only so many self-help books
When speaking with the writer from television hit “The Office”, Tim Ferriss came to understand how BJ Novak was not convinced that self-help books apply to every individual. In his own circumstances, he found the morning daily rituals of other successful people tedious. Instead, he preferred to use his own methods to get in the mood for the day ahead.
11. You are the USP (Unique Selling Point)
While Ferriss did utilize a marketing firm to promote his books, this was on a rather minuscule level. He still speaks about how little was accomplished by this particular firm. At the same time, poor performance is not the subject of this point. Tim Ferris was largely responsible for marketing his own books. In fact, it was Tim who made every effort to connect with influential bloggers around the world, to build relationships and offer value to these bloggers wherever possible.
Moral of the story: You are the centre point for marketing your own product or service, the leader, the one and only reason people should find it interesting.
12. Creating a community or tribe is content marketing
Having written one bestseller, Tim Ferriss was already considered an authority on the concept of lifestyle design. That being said, the true reason for his meteoric rise in the online world was down to an innate ability to create an interactive community. As opposed to most famous publishers, Ferriss was without the support of mainstream companies, individuals or businesses. However, in creating a fiercely loyal community around his blog and content in general, he was able to make just as much of an impact with this tribal following.
In short, the author focused on creating unique, interesting and shareable content which translated to an incredible level of marketing, entirely free.
13. How you sell is more important than what you sell
One of the most common mistakes in modern marketing is to forget “what sells” or to get lost in the features and benefits of a product rather than understand what potential customers are really interested to know about.
For example, when Tim Ferriss published this book, he took the very same approach to marketing as with his first bestseller, 4-Hour Work Week. When most authors release a book, they talk about the specifics of their content, the reason their take on a certain topic is so important or what makes their book stand out amongst the crowd. Alternatively, Tim Ferriss decided to speak about “Lifestyle Design” when he released his first book. With Tools for Titans, he focused on his belief that every successful person uses the very same tools to get ahead.
Finding some common ground, people were more likely to pay attention to the above message and in the process, find out about the authors new book.
14. New media is now modern marketing
“New Media” largely refers to the way in which marketing has changed in recent years. Essentially, it is considered the more social and smart alternative to traditional sales techniques such as a press release. Furthermore, new media can be considered anything related to the social side of online activity such as social media, blogs, podcasts, forums etc.
One of the great lessons to be learned from these books and the approach which was taken by Ferriss to market them, is the level of success he achieved through new media. In many ways, these levels are unattainable with conventional marketing. The very personal approach taken by the author with his blog, followers and delivery has proven a crucial reason for his incredible rise in notoriety.
15. Quality is all that matters
An immense amount of research went into writing “Tools of Titans”. This is clear from the frequency of statistics and factual information throughout the book. Likewise, the 4-Hour Workweek was not only insightful but filled with facts which added credibility to every paragraph that made sense.
When you consider the popularity of the author’s books, you should realize that the commonality between them is the extremely high quality and relentless effort which was put into writing them. In this modern era, people are desensitized to traditional marketing exploits and simply put, quality is now more important than ever to shine through. When it comes to Tim Ferriss’ books, there is nothing average or mundane about this content or as any writer will assess, there is no fluff within his writing. Tim Ferriss made every word count. He ensured that the finished product was worthy of the praise it now receives.
While this is often the intention of most authors, unfortunately, the tiresome process of writing a book can give way to a lesser quality. From “Tools of Titans”, you can easily see that this was never the case and that Ferriss did not allow for any lacklustre writing in his book.
16. Conventional marketing is no longer effective
As already mentioned, the conventional means of marketing are no longer effective. This is especially true in the case of overselling a product or service. As you might expect, Tim Ferriss completely avoided the hard sell. Instead, he sent his book to fellow bloggers for free, without even a request for them to review it.
As with his newfound community, this was another example of how the author focused on producing quality content rather than purpose-built marketing material. Essentially, this method of “soft sell” was putting into practice the well-known fact that the best strategy for growth as a blogger, influencer, or business of any kind, is to focus on creating content which leaves no need for a desperate tactic such as a hard sell.
17. PR and marketing are still crucial tools for success
Yes, Tim Ferriss is mostly responsible for his own success but savvy PR and marketing is still something which stands out from “Tools of Titans” and in particular, the methods used by the author to promote his book. You see, there was still a method to his tactics and as with his books, an incredible amount of research, preparation and effort went into promoting/marketing his products.
In many ways, Tim Ferris was working within his means. This was not only a very effective approach but reasonably affordable too. For these same reasons, Pressfarm is often considered the most sensible approach when it comes to content marketing or PR. The fact that we completely understand every aspect of new media is central to our proven strategies for success.
Simply put, there are only so many self-help books you can read but if you want a good synopsis of them all, then Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss is probably the only one you need.