In a year that started as a slow-down, Tim Ferriss managed to put together a book where he interviewed over 100 idols, athletics icons, founders and entrepreneurs, billionaires and icons from several fields. Tribe of Mentors – the title of the book – was informed by Tim’s very own moment during the first 6 months of 2017 when he turned 40, lost a couple of friends who passed away, celebrated the 10th anniversary of his New York Times Bestseller (The 4-Hour Workweek) and even gave a TED talk on the one time he almost committed suicide in college.
Human beings by their very nature crave a sense of happiness, purpose and fulfillment. This book, Tribe of Mentors, is a sneak peek into some of the highest achievers in the world and how they pursue happiness, approach sadness, gifting, discipline, and meditation among other things. When launching this book, Tim admits that despite being overly successful financially, he has sometimes questioned his purpose and whether he has achieved happiness. It is possible to achieve success without fulfilling your purpose. However, happiness and purpose go hand in hand.
Like all of us, the movers and shakers in this book have telling weaknesses. However, to be what they are today took digging deep to actualize their strengths. Focusing on one or two strengths saw them conquer the most difficult points in their careers to become the dream. We might all be trying to win at life in various fields, making mistakes along the way, learning, growing, and getting better. However, there is nothing quite like having a mentor: essentially someone who has gone there before you, has made mistakes, and can now act as a guide to teach you not to make the same mistakes. Life becomes a bit softer if you find a mentor to show you the way. The Tribe of Mentors is a collection of over 100 mentors, giving you a snippet of every part of their lives in some detailed and brief responses.
As we looked into the 624-page curation of the answers he got from elite performers all over the world, we realized that there is a lot of gold sprinkled across hundreds of pages in this book. Several little gems are tucked deep inside and it will take a good read, but you won’t go out empty. Startups that just launched can leverage this book to understand how the entrepreneurs in it approached marketing and PR in their initial stages. From building social media pages to content marketing strategies and initial efforts to get the word about their companies to the press, it is a wholesome book.
We collected our best responses of the 11 questions asked to each participant and we can’t wait to share them below (P.S: In some instances, we have shortened the responses from the interviewees to keep this article at a reasonable length. The book is now available to buy on Amazon):
1. What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”?
First, seek out dissenting opinions. Always try to find people who disagree with you, who can honestly and productively play devil’s advocate. Challenge yourself to truly listen to people who have differing ideas and opinions than you do. Stay out of political bubbles and echo chambers as much as possible. Feel good about really hearing those who disagree with you. Try to change your mind about one thing every day.
Second, stay flexible and be open to opportunities as they come your way. Most of the successful people I know did not know exactly what they wanted to do coming right out of college, and they changed their focus over the course of their careers. ~ ANN DUKE was a top poker player for 2 decades, winning the World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet and the WSOP Tournament of Champions.
2. What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?
If I gave one to an adult, it would be Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. I read it while spending ten days in the ICU of Bellevue hospital trying to reattach my finger from a ring avulsion accident in my kitchen. It talks about the meaning of life, and I believe you come out a better person from reading it. The lines I took from it are: “There is no exact answer to the question ‘what is the meaning of life.’ It’s like asking a chess master ‘what is the best move in the world?’ It all depends on what situation you are in.” It also reinforced the belief, that which does not kill me makes me stronger. If you read it, you’ll get more from it. ~JIMMY FALLON is an Emmy Award– and Grammy Award–winning comedian. He is known for his work as a cast member of Saturday Night Live
3. If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it, what would it say and why?
“Discipline equals freedom.” Everyone wants freedom. We want to be physically free and mentally free. We want to be financially free and we want more free time. But where does that freedom come from? How do we get it? The answer is the opposite of freedom. The answer is discipline. You want more free time? Follow a more disciplined time-management system. You want financial freedom? Implement long-term financial discipline in your life. Do you want to be physically free to move how you want, and to be free from many health issues caused by poor lifestyle choices? Then you have to have the discipline to eat healthy food and consistently work out. We all want freedom. Discipline is the only way to get it. ~ Jocko Willink is an American podcaster, author, martial artist and retired United States Navy SEAL.
4. What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made?
I got a head start with languages because I grew up in Belgium, which is a trilingual country (Flemish, French, and German). My parents were postwar Jewish refugees from Poland, and that added Polish, Hebrew, and Yiddish to the mix. From a very early age, I understood that a language is a doorway to another world—its culture, sensibility, aesthetic, and humor. The opposite of a refugee is an insider, and language was going to be my way in. Different parts of me come alive when I switch languages.
The time I invested in learning languages was essential to my career. When I arrived in the U.S., with no papers and no fancy degrees, the only thing that differentiated me was my languages, and the multiple perspectives they afforded me. ~ ESTHER PEREL has been called the most important game-changer in sexuality and relational health since Dr. Ruth. Her TED Talks on maintaining desire and rethinking infidelity have more than 17 million views.
5. How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favorite failure” of yours?
In my profession, losses are often seen as failures. Not being the person who wins the last point, walking off the court first. All those visible things. But internally, losing sets you up for winning. Losing makes you think in ways victories can’t. You begin asking questions instead of feeling like you have the answers. Questions open up the doors to so many possibilities. If a loss sets me up for those tough questions I might have to ask, then I will get the answers that will ultimately turn those losses into victories. ~ MARIA SHARAPOVA is the winner of five Grand Slam titles and is an Olympic silver medalist in tennis.
6. In the last five years, what have you become better at saying no to? What new realizations and/or approaches helped?
I realized that I had to let people leave my life, never to return. Every relationship I have in my life, from family and friends to business partners, must be a voluntary relationship. My wife can leave at any time. Family members can call me or not. Business partners can decide to move on, and it’s all okay. But the same is true on my end. If I say I’m ready to move on and someone doesn’t accept that, now we have a problem. ~ TERRY CREWS is an actor and former NFL player (Los Angeles Rams, San Diego Chargers, Washington Redskins, and Philadelphia Eagles).
7. What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
Just about anything that comes from someone who has not lived and been tested in the trenches. Beware the philosophologist. ~ JOSH WAITZKIN is the basis for the book and movie Searching for Bobby Fischer and a chess prodigy.
8. What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
There are so many. “Scale.” No, don’t scale. Start small, stay as small as possible for as long as possible. Grow in control, not out of control.
“Fail early, and fail often.” No. What’s with the failure fetish in our industry? I don’t get it. Of course, most businesses don’t make it, but the idea that failure is a prerequisite for success has never made sense to me. I don’t think it’s a notch in the belt. It’s just a failure. Further, many people will tell you there’s a lot to learn from failure. Maybe . . . But there’s more to learn from success. Failure may tell you what not to do again, but it doesn’t help you figure out what to do the next time around. I’d rather focus on the things that work, and try those again, than try to take lessons from the things that didn’t. ~ JASON FRIED is the co-founder and CEO of Basecamp (previously 37signals), a Chicago-based software firm.
9. When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?
I love taking even five minutes for a short meditation. It helps me move beyond the surface and go deeper, and after just a few moments of focusing on my breath, I feel recentered. ~ ARIANNA HUFFINGTON has been named to Time magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people and Forbes’. She is the founder of The Huffinton Post.
10. What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love?
Every morning, on my run, I try to take a picture of a flower and share it on Instagram. I was inspired to do this by a passage I read many years ago in a book by C. S. Lewis (I think it was The Great Divorce), in which a character, after death, only sees the flowers as blobs of color, and his spirit guide tells him, “That’s because you never really looked at them when you were alive.” As the line from Hamilton says, “Look around. Look around. How lucky we are to be alive right now!” ~ TIM O’REILLY is the founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media.
11. What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)?
I got a Manduka PRO black yoga mat for about $100 (on sale). It is such a heavy, luxurious mat that it encourages me to practice at home, which is frankly a miracle. ~ LEO BABAUTA is the founder of Zen Habits, a website dedicated to finding simplicity and mindfulness in the daily chaos of our lives.
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In conclusion, startup founders and teams around the world would benefit from this book as well which includes the wisdom Basecamp Co-founder, Jason Fried, among other entrepreneurs like Daniel Ek who is the co-founder of Spotify, investors and innovators. Jason Fried talks about why startups should consider controlled scaling, bootstrapping among other pointers in his responses. On the same spectrum of scaling, it is critical to consider PR strategies that can help companies hack their growth in massive scale. Saas startups benefit a lot from online PR tools like Pressfarm, and coupled with great content marketing efforts, media relations and the Tribe of Mentors, there is opportunity to achieve growth in monumental strides.