Some of the highlights from book Tools of Titans that I like to read again and again.
How to Use This Book
The protagonist, Siddhartha, a monk who looks like a beggar, has come to the city and falls in love with a famous courtesan named Kamala. He attempts to court her, and she asks, “What do you have?” A well-known merchant similarly asks, “What can you give that you have learned?” His answer is the same in both cases, so I’ve included the latter story here. Siddhartha ultimately acquires all that he wants.
“I can think, I can wait, I can fast.”
Laird Hamilton, Gabby Reece & Brian MacKenzie
“I always say that I’ll go first. . . . That means if I’m checking out at the store, I’ll say hello first. If I’m coming across somebody and make eye contact, I’ll smile first. [I wish] people would experiment with that in their life a little bit: Be first, because—not all times, but most times—it comes in your favor.
Paul Levesque (Triple H)
Is that a dream or a goal? Because there’s a difference.’ “I’d never heard it said that way, but it stuck with me. So much so that I’ve said it to my kid now: ‘Is that a dream, or a goal? Because a dream is something you fantasize about that will probably never happen. A goal is something you set a plan for, work toward, and achieve. I always looked at my stuff that way. The people who were successful models to me were people who had structured goals and then put a plan in place to get to those things.
‘Why would I be wound up? I’m either ready or I’m not. Worrying about it right now ain’t gonna change a damn thing. Right? Whatever’s gonna happen is gonna happen. I’ve either done everything I can to be ready for this, or I haven’t.’”
TF: This led me to ask myself, usually during my quarterly 80/20 reviews of stress points, etc., “What am I continuing to do myself that I’m not good at?” Improve it, eliminate it, or delegate it.
It’s not my job to be the world’s critic, and I’d rather not rule out any future allies.”
5 Morning Rituals that Help Me Win the Day
3 amazing things that happened today . . .
The 5MJ forces me to think about what I have, as opposed to what I’m pursuing.
Coach Sommer—The Single Decision
Hi Tim, Patience. Far too soon to expect strength improvements. Strength improvements [for a movement like this] take a minimum of 6 weeks. Any perceived improvements prior to that are simply the result of improved synaptic facilitation. In plain English, the central nervous system simply became more efficient at that particular movement with practice. This is, however, not to be confused with actual strength gains.
Dealing with the temporary frustration of not making progress is an integral part of the path towards excellence. In fact, it is essential and something that every single elite athlete has had to learn to deal with.
If the pursuit of excellence was easy, everyone would do it. In fact, this impatience in dealing with frustration is the primary reason that most people fail to achieve their goals.
Unreasonable expectations timewise, resulting in unnecessary frustration, due to a perceived feeling of failure. 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. This is especially important because you are going to spend far more time on the actual journey than with those all too brief moments of triumph at the end.
Certainly celebrate the moments of triumph when they occur. 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. If the commitment is to a long-term goal and not to a series of smaller intermediate goals, then only one decision needs to be made and adhered to. Clear, simple, straightforward. Much easier to maintain than having to make small decision after small decision to stay the course when dealing with each step along the way. This provides far too many opportunities to inadvertently drift from your chosen goal.
The single decision is one of the most powerful tools in the toolbox.
“Whether you are raising money, pitching your product to customers, selling the company, or recruiting employees, never forget that underneath all the math and the MBA bullshit talk, we are all still emotionally driven human beings. We want to attach ourselves to narratives. We don’t act because of equations. We follow our beliefs. We get behind leaders who stir our feelings. In the early days of your venture, if you find someone diving too deep into the numbers, that means they are struggling to find a reason to deeply care about you.”
Marc highlighted one takeaway: “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.”
When deal-making, ask yourself: Can I trade a short-term, incremental gain for a potential longer-term, game-changing upside? Is there an element here that might be far more valuable in 5 to 10 years (e.g., ebook rights 10 years ago)? Might there be rights or options I can explicitly “carve out” and keep? If you can cap the downside (time, capital, etc.) and have the confidence, take uncrowded bets on yourself. You only need one winning lottery ticket.
“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.”
Compared to building out the actual site or architecting the back end, this doesn’t require a few years of programming expertise. It just requires you to gives lots of damns, which not enough people do.”
“Productivity” Tricks for the Neurotic, Manic-Depressive, and Crazy (Like Me)
Being busy is a form of laziness—lazy thinking and indiscriminate action. Being busy is most often used as a guise for avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable actions.
“Mastery doesn’t come from an infographic. What you know doesn’t mean shit. What do you do consistently?”
“If you let your learning lead to knowledge, you become a fool. If you let your learning lead to action, you become wealthy.”
“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.
It’s modeled after Ben Franklin’s excellent advice: “If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth writing.”
“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”
“I have come to learn that part of the business strategy is to solve the simplest, easiest, and most valuable problem. And actually, in fact, part of doing strategy is to solve the easiest problem, so part of the reason why you work on software and bits is that atoms [physical products] are actually very difficult.”
Which of these highest-value activities is the easiest for me to do? You can build an entire career on 80/20 analysis and asking this question.
“What are the kinds of key things that might be constraints on a solution, or might be the attributes of a solution, and what are tools or assets I might have? . . . I actually think most of our thinking, of course, is subconscious. Part of what I’m trying to do is allow the fact that we have this kind of relaxation, rejuvenation period in sleeping, to essentially possibly bubble up the thoughts and solutions to it.”
Ideally, Reid budgets 60 minutes for the following: “The very first thing I do when I get up, almost always, is to sit down and work on that problem [I’ve set the day before] because that’s when I’m freshest. I’m not distracted by phone calls and responses to things, and so forth. It’s the most tabula rasa—blank slate—moment that I have. I use that to maximize my creativity on a particular project. I’ll usually do it before I shower, because frequently, if I go into the shower, I’ll continue to think about it.”
“Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious.”—Thomas
“We agreed I was going to make judgment calls on a range of issues on his behalf without checking with him. He told me, ‘In order to move fast, I expect you’ll make some foot faults. I’m okay with an error rate of 10 to 20%—times when I would have made a different decision in a given situation—if it means you can move fast.’ I felt empowered to make decisions with this ratio in mind, and it was incredibly liberating.”
‘There needs to be one decisive reason, and then the worthiness of the trip needs to be measured against that one reason. If I go, then we can backfill into the schedule all the other secondary activities. But if I go for a blended reason, I’ll almost surely come back and feel like it was a waste of time.’
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?
“We can’t out-obedience the competition.”
WHAT YOU TRACK DETERMINES YOUR LENS—CHOOSE CAREFULLY
“If a narrative isn’t working, well then, really, why are you using it? The narrative isn’t done to you; the narrative is something that you choose. Once we can dig deep and find a different narrative, then we ought to be able to change the game.”
‘Why don’t you just start a different business, a business you can push downhill?’
“The blog post I point people to the most is called ‘First, Ten,’ and it is a simple theory of marketing that says: tell ten people, show ten people, share it with ten people; ten people who already trust you and already like you. If they don’t tell anybody else, it’s not that good and you should start over. If they do tell other people, you’re on your way.”
“I think we need to teach kids two things: 1) how to lead, and 2) how to solve interesting problems. Because the fact is, there are plenty of countries on Earth where there are people who are willing to be obedient and work harder for less money than us. So we cannot out-obedience the competition. Therefore, we have to out-lead or out-solve the other people. . . .
Final words of advice? “Send someone a thank-you note tomorrow.”
“We all have, let’s say, two or three dozen massive pain points in our lives that everyone can relate to. I try to basically write about those, and then I try to write about how I attempted to recover from them.”
TF: If you can’t get 10 good ideas, get 20 ideas.
How to Create a Real-World MBA
Commit, within financial reason, to action instead of theory.
“Losers have goals. Winners have systems.”
One of the ways to not worry about stress is to eliminate it. I don’t worry about my stock picks because I have a diversified portfolio. Diversification works in almost every area of your life to reduce your stress.”
‘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?’”
The Law of Category
“In the world of ideas, to name something is to own it. If you can name an issue, you can own the issue.”
I constantly recommend that entrepreneurs read The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout, whether they are first-time founders or serial home-run hitters launching a new product. “The Law of the Category”
If you didn’t get into the prospect’s mind first, don’t give up hope. Find a new category you can be first in. It’s not as difficult as you might think.
Everyone talks about why their brand is better. But prospects have an open mind when it comes to categories. Everyone is interested in what’s new. Few people are interested in what’s better.
“I don’t create art to get high-dollar projects, I do high-dollar projects so I can create more art.”
“That’s my style. ‘I meant to do that. As a matter of fact, if you do it, you’re imitating me.’ So it’s partly taking what you already do and saying, ‘No, no, this isn’t a negative. This is the thing I bring to the table, buddy. I copyrighted that. I talk real loud, and then I talk really quietly, and if you have a problem with that, you don’t understand what good style is.’ Just copyright your faults, man.”
Ramit convinced me to send plain-text email for my 5-Bullet Friday newsletter, which became one of the most powerful parts of my business within 6 months.
“Tactics are great, but tactics become commoditized.”
Google “entrepreneurial bus count” for a good article on why checklists can save your startup.
1,000 True Fans—Revisited
“Success” need not be complicated. Just start with making 1,000 people extremely, extremely happy.
True fans are not only the direct source of your income, but also your chief marketing force for the ordinary fans.
TextExpander allows you to paste any saved message—whether it’s a phone number or a two-page email—into any document or text field, simply by typing an abbreviation. This is extremely helpful for repetitive outreach. It’s a must-have app that probably saved us 1 to 2 hours a day in typing. One tool that we did not use, but should have, is Boomerang, a Gmail plug-in that allows you to schedule emails. We crafted emails to our influencers and in-the-know friends the day of our launch, using TextExpander, then slightly customized each one. What we should have done is written and saved these personalized emails a few days before we launched. That way, we could have scheduled them to be automatically sent by Boomerang the second we launched. This would have freed up many valuable hours on launch day.
Questions are your pickaxes. Good questions are what open people up, open new doors, and create opportunities.
“Often, there’s a very basic, very dumb question at the center of a story that no one’s asking. One of the biggest stories I ever did, ‘The Giant Pool of Money,’ was predicated on just such a dumb question: ‘Why are the banks loaning money to people who can’t possibly pay it back?’
“Tell me about a time when . . .” “Tell me about the day [or moment or time] when . . .” “Tell me the story of . . . [how you came to major in X, how you met so-and-so, etc.]” “Tell me about the day you realized ___ . . . ” “What were the steps that got you to ___ ?” “Describe the conversation when . . .”
Follow-Up Questions When Something Interesting Comes Up, Perhaps in Passing “How did that make you feel?” “What do you make of that?”
Stephen Hawking actually has the best quote on this and also [a] legitimate story. . . . [He] has the right to complain probably more than anybody. He says that, ‘When you complain, nobody wants to help you,’ and it’s the simplest thing and so plainly spoken. Only he could really say that brutal, honest truth, but it’s true, right? 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. That draws more destructiveness.
The Gatekeepers (2012) features interviews with all of the living heads of the Shin Bet, the Israeli security agency, who talk frankly about life, war, and peace. The motto of the Shin Bet is “Magen veLo Yera’e,” literally “the unseen shield,” or “defender who shall not be seen.”
Mikitani taught Phil “the rule of 3 and 10.” “[This effectively means] that every single thing in your company breaks every time you roughly triple in size.
“WHAT INTERESTING THING ARE YOU WORKING ON? WHY IS THAT INTERESTING TO YOU? WHAT’S SURPRISING ABOUT THAT? IS ANYBODY ELSE THINKING ABOUT THIS?”
‘If I gave you $100 million, what would you guys go build? That by building it, there’s no value for anyone copying?’ I’ll give you an example. When Intel goes to build a new chip fabricator, it’s billions and billions of dollars, and there’s no value in anybody else copying it, because not only do they have to spend even more billions to catch up, but they have to spend more billions to learn everything else Intel knows about this, and then they have to be 10 times better for anyone to want to switch. So it’s just a waste of everyone’s time [to attempt copying].”
Hold the standard. Ask for help. Fix it. Do whatever’s necessary. But don’t cheat.”
“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.”
“My parents always taught me that my day job would never make me rich. It’d be my homework.”
Ask for off of your next few coffees. “Go up to the counter and order coffee. If you don’t drink coffee, order tea. If you don’t drink tea, order water. I don’t care. Then just ask for 10% off. . . . The coffee challenge sounds kind of silly, but the whole point is that—in business and in life—you don’t have to be on the extreme, but you have to ask for things, and you have to put yourself out there.”
For instance, look for technical bottlenecks (choke points) that affect nearly everything you do on a computer. What are the things that, if defunct or slow, render your to-do list useless?
FollowUp.cc: For automating email follow-ups and reminders. I use a close cousin called Nudgemail, in combination with Boomerang. You’ll never have to remember to follow up with anyone ever again.
Luis von Ahn
This week, try experimenting with saying “I don’t understand. Can you explain that to me?”
The Canvas Strategy
If you want great mentors, you have to become a great mentee. If you want to lead, you have to first learn to follow.
It’s not about kissing ass. It’s not about making someone look good. It’s about providing the support so that others can be good. The better wording for the advice is this: Find canvases for other people to paint on. Be an anteambulo. Clear the path for the people above you and you will eventually create a path for yourself.
No one is endorsing sycophancy. Instead, it’s about seeing what goes on from the inside, and looking for opportunities for someone other than yourself. Remember that anteambulo means clearing the path—finding the direction someone already intended to head and helping them pack, freeing them up to focus on their strengths. In fact, making things better rather than simply looking as if you are.
A critical lesson in football politics: If he wanted to give his coach feedback or question a decision, he needed to do it in private and self-effacingly so as not to offend his superior. He learned how to be a rising star without threatening or alienating anyone. In other words, he had mastered the canvas strategy.
Imagine if for every person you met, you thought of some way to help them, something you could do for them? And you looked at it in a way that entirely benefited them and not you? The cumulative effect this would have over time would be profound: You’d learn a great deal by solving diverse problems. You’d develop a reputation for being indispensable. You’d have countless new relationships. You’d have an enormous bank of favors to call upon down the road. That’s what the canvas strategy is about—helping yourself by helping others. Making a concerted effort to trade your short-term gratification for a longer-term payoff. Whereas everyone else wants to get credit and be “respected,” you can forget credit. You can forget it so hard that you’re glad when others get it instead of you—that was your aim, after all. Let the others take their credit on credit, while you defer and earn interest on the principal.
The person who clears the path ultimately controls its direction, just as the canvas shapes the painting.
He said, ‘The biggest mistake you can make is to accept the norms of your time.’ Not accepting norms is where you innovate, whether it’s with technology, with books, with anything. So, not accepting the norm is the secret to really big success and changing the world.”
“I think it’s an analogy for that choice we all have in life: Are you going to fulfill your potential? Or, are you just going to give into the peer pressure of the moment and become nothing?”
First, I edit for me. (What do I like?) Second, I edit for my fans. (What would be most enjoyable and helpful to my fans?) Third, I edit for my haters. (What would my detractors try and pick apart, discredit, or make fun of?)
‘Don’t force it.’ It’s seemingly such a simple thing. . . . I think that for the creative process, that’s really our guiding light. . . .
The question I ask whenever I’m straining for extended periods is, “What would this look like if it were easy?”
‘Inspiration is for amateurs—the rest of us just show up and get to work. And the belief that things will grow out of the activity itself and that you will—through work—bump into other possibilities and kick open other doors that you would never have dreamt of if you were just sitting around looking for a great ‘art idea.’”
Sometimes you need to stop doing things you love in order to nurture the one thing that matters most.”
“‘It’s not about ideas, it’s about making ideas happen.’
Truth is, young creative minds don’t need more ideas, they need to take more responsibility with the ideas they’ve already got.”
How to Earn Your Freedom
Work is when you confront the problems you might otherwise be tempted to run away from. Work is how you settle your financial and emotional debts—so that your travels are not an escape from your real life, but a discovery of your real life.
envious). As Pico Iyer pointed out, the act of quitting “means not giving up, but moving on; changing direction not because something doesn’t agree with you, but because you don’t agree with something. It’s not a complaint, in other words, but a positive choice, and not a stop in one’s journey, but a step in a better direction. Quitting—whether a job or a habit—means taking a turn so as to be sure you’re still moving in the direction of your dreams.”
“A PROBLEM IS A TERRIBLE THING TO WASTE.” This is highly related to the “scratch your own itch” thread that pops up throughout this book. Peter expands: “I think of problems as gold mines. The world’s biggest problems are the world’s biggest business opportunities.”
Stone Soup. “It’s a children’s story that is the best MBA degree you can read. Between [the concept of] supercredibility and Stone Soup, [you have a great foundation]. If you’re an entrepreneur in college or 60 years old and building your 20th company, Stone Soup is so critically important.”
“The third thing is when you try to go 10 times bigger versus 10% bigger, it’s typically not 100 times harder, but the reward is 100 times more.”
Law 19: You get what you incentivize.
“I like to make promises that I’m not sure I can keep and then figure out how to keep them. I think you can will things into happening by just committing to them sometimes. . . . I had started to leave feedback for my customers on eBay saying [things like], ‘Hey, coming soon, nastygalvintage.com.’ [Not long after, I realized], ‘Oh, shit, I better build a website. I better actually do this.’ So I figured it out, launched the website, and when I launched the website, eBay decided to suspend me around the same time. It was not a transition, it was literally: ‘I’m going to try this website thing, and I hope I can go back to eBay if it doesn’t work out.’ It became apparent pretty quickly that that wasn’t going to be an option. I got suspended for leaving the URL in the feedback for the customers.”
Make commitments in a high-energy state so that you can’t back out when you’re in a low-energy state.
“I read the book Daily Rituals, and I am demoralized by how many great people start their day very early.” For lifelong night owls like me, it’s nice to know that when you get started each day seems to matter less than learning how to get started consistently, however your crazy ass can manage it.
So take as long as you want if you’re talented. You’ll get their attention again if you have a reason to.”
How to Say “No” When It Matters Most
“The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.”
“Discipline equals freedom.”
Those of you who often over-commit or feel too scattered may appreciate a new philosophy I’m trying: If I’m not saying “HELL YEAH!” about something, then I say no. Meaning: When deciding whether to commit to something, if I feel anything less than “Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!”—then my answer is no.
Once you reach a decent level of professional success, lack of opportunity won’t kill you. It’s drowning in “kinda cool” commitments that will sink the ship. These days,
“Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule”
I miss writing, creating, and working on bigger projects. “Yes” to that means “no” to any games of whack-a-mole.
Life favors the specific ask and punishes the vague wish. So, here “investing” means to allocate resources (e.g., money, time, energy) to improve quality of life.
All of my biggest wins have come from leveraging strengths instead of fixing weaknesses. Investing is hard enough without having to change your core behaviors. Don’t push a boulder uphill just because you can.
“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.”
For me, it’s all-or-nothing. I can’t be half pregnant with startup investing. Whether choosing 2 or 20 startups per year, you have to filter them from the total incoming pool. If I let even one startup through, another 50 seem to magically fill up my time
The artificial urgency common to startups makes mental and physical health a rarity. I’m tired of unwarranted last-minute “hurry up and sign” emergencies and related fire drills. It’s a culture of cortisol.
“Make your peace with the fact that saying ‘no’ often requires trading popularity for respect.”
Now it’s your turn: What do you need a vacation from? My Challenge to You: Write Down the “What Ifs”
I’ve realized that people knowing you’re listening—valuing them, collectively—is more important than responding to everyone. For instance, I sometimes put a period before readers’ names when I reply to someone on Twitter
“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.” “Life is a continual process of arrival into who we are.”
“Why put in the effort to explain why it isn’t a fit, if they haven’t done the homework to determine if it is a fit?”
Often I think the paradox is that accepting the requests you receive is at the expense of the quality of the very work—the reason for those requests in the first place—and that’s what you always have to protect.”
“The Shortness of Life: Seneca on Busyness and the Art of Living Wide Rather Than Living Long” “How to Find Your Purpose and Do What You Love” “9 Learnings from 9 Years of Brain Pickings” Anything about Alan Watts: “Alan Watts has changed my life. I’ve written about him quite a bit.”
Dani Shapiro, a kind of Virginia Woolf of our day; science writer extraordinaire James Gleick; cosmologist, novelist, and science-and-society cross-pollinator Janna Levin.”
Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win. He now discusses war, leadership, business, and life in his top-rated podcast, Jocko Podcast.
‘Discipline equals freedom.’”
Jocko adds, “It also means that if you want freedom in life—be that financial freedom, more free time, or even freedom from sickness and poor health—you can only achieve these things through discipline.”
“Better to have, and not need, than to need, and not have.” Where can you eliminate “single points of failure” in your life or business? Jocko adds, “And don’t just have backup gear—have a backup plan to handle likely contingencies.”
is simple: Be tougher. Don’t meditate on it.”
“The Commodore would say: ‘Jocko, what do you need?’ and I would say, ‘We’re good, sir.’ The implication is obvious: If I have problems, I’m going to handle them. I’m going to take care of them, and I’m not going to complain. I took extreme ownership of my world. The way that worked was twofold. When I did need something, it was something significant, it was something real. And when I told the Commodore, ‘Hey, boss, we need this right here,’ I would get it almost instantaneously because he knew that I really, truly needed it.
step back and observe.’ I realized that detaching yourself from the situation, so you can see what’s happening, is absolutely critical.
General Stanley McChrystal & Chris Fussell
Because there is a perception, and often in the vetting process, we’ll figure that out because we’ll get inputs from other people. But if you asked somebody and you said, ‘Everybody loves you but they don’t love this about you,’ or ‘they’d hire you but . . .’ [it accomplishes] a couple of things. One, it forces them to come to grips with ‘What is it people don’t love about me?’ And the second is, they’ve got to say it to you. It could be very common knowledge, but if they don’t have the courage to face up to it and tell somebody who’s thinking about hiring them, that’s a window into personality, I think.”
“The first is to push yourself harder than you believe you’re capable of. You’ll find new depth inside yourself. The second is to put yourself in groups who share difficulties, discomfort. We used to call it ‘shared privation.’ You’ll find that when you have been through that kind of difficult environment, that you feel more strongly about that which you’re committed to. And finally, create some fear and make individuals overcome it.”
Around age 35 to 40, as you get up to battalion level, which is about 600 people, suddenly, you’re going to have to lead it a different way, and what you’re really going to have to do is develop people. The advice I’d give to anyone young is it’s really about developing people who are going to do the work. Unless you are going to go do the task yourself, then the development time you spend on the people who are going to do that task, whether they are going to lead people doing it or whether they are actually going to do it, every minute you spend on that is leveraged, is exponential return.”
He had heard certain phrases like “Eat more vegetables” a million times, but ignored them for years, as it all seemed too simplistic. Ultimately, it was the simple that worked. He didn’t need sophisticated answers. They were right in front of him the whole time. What advice are you ignoring because you think it’s trite or clichéd? Can you mine it for any testable action?
What are you willing to do that is hard? I
‘Work will work when nothing else will work.’”
It’s about the relationship you build, not the production quality.
The Dickens Process—What Are Your Beliefs Costing You?
The “Dickens Process” (sometimes called the “Dickens Pattern”) is related to A Christmas Carol, written by Charles Dickens.
What has each belief cost you in the past, and what has it cost people you’ve loved in the past? What have you lost because of this belief? See it, hear it, feel it. What is each costing you and people you care about in the present? See it, hear it, feel it. What will each cost you and people you care about 1, 3, 5, and 10 years from now? See it, hear it, feel it.
temporary break from pursuing goals to find the knots in the garden hose that, once removed, will make everything else better and easier? It’s incredible what can happen when you stop driving with the emergency brake on.
“Being an entrepreneur is being willing to do a job that nobody else wants to do, [in order] to be able to live the rest of your life doing whatever you want to do.”
“On one level, wisdom is nothing more than the ability to take your own advice. It’s actually very easy to give people good advice. It’s very hard to follow the advice that you know is good. . . . If someone came to me with my list of problems, I would be able to sort that person out very easily.”
“Sam Harris guided meditations.” Per Sam: “People find it very helpful to have somebody’s voice reminding them to not be lost in thought every few seconds.”
My Favorite Thought Exercise: Fear-Setting
What are you putting off out of fear? Usually, what we most fear doing is what we most need to do. That phone call, that conversation, whatever the action might be—it is fear of unknown outcomes that prevents us from doing what we need to do.
Define the worst case, accept it, and do it. I’ll repeat something you might consider tattooing on your forehead: What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.
As I have heard said, a person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have. Resolve to do one thing every day that you fear.
This is very similar to Derek Sivers’s “Don’t be a donkey” rule. In a world of distraction, single-tasking is a superpower.
I recently spotted a T-shirt in Manhattan that read BAD DECISIONS MAKE GOOD STORIES. Look for the silver lining, or at least consider sharing the dark lining. It might pay for your Lexus.
I promise, if you just tell the truth and get your heart broken as a comedian, you will have a house.”
See Neil Strauss’s related strategy for “hater-proofing”
Whitney and I both love Neil Gaiman’s “Make Good Art” commencement speech, which he gave at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts. I’ve watched the video dozens of times on YouTube during rough periods. Our mutual favorite portion is “The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.” And, yes, I know I’ve mentioned this before. It bears repeating.
“The difference between the people you admire and everybody else [is that the former are] the people who read.”
remember reading Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. That’s good fodder for a young man. It sets these bold, stark characters—you could even call them Christ figures—and you think to yourself, ‘I want to be that.’ Of course, I read Nietzsche. On the Genealogy of Morality, etc., where the truths and truisms are really cut and dried in a lot of ways. It’s the equivalent of, I guess, intellectual red meat. But then I got into Joseph Campbell—The Power of Myth and The Hero with a Thousand Faces.
Alain de Botton
DON’T ATTRIBUTE TO MALICE THAT WHICH CAN BE EXPLAINED OTHERWISE “Wasn’t it Bill Clinton who said that when dealing with anyone who’s upset, he always asks, ‘Has this person slept? Have they eaten? Is somebody else bugging them?’ He goes through this simple checklist. . . . When we’re handling babies and the baby is kicking and crying, we almost never once say, ‘That baby’s out to get me’ or ‘She’s got evil intentions.’”
“To blame someone for not understanding you fully is deeply unfair because, first of all, we don’t understand ourselves, and even if we do understand ourselves, we have such a hard time communicating ourselves to other people. Therefore, to be furious and enraged and bitter that people don’t get all of who we are is a really a cruel piece of immaturity.”
“Lesson number one, when people ask me what [interviewing] tips would I give, is aim for the heart, not the head. Once you get the heart, you can go to the head. Once you get the heart and the head, then you’ll have a pathway to the soul.”
“Listening is about being present, not just being quiet.”
“What are some of the choices you’ve made that made you who you are?”
One of the starting lines in the piece is: “We all know the feeling of wanting to do something so well and so badly that we try too hard and can’t do it at
“We were starting over, actually. I think the best decision I made was just to say, ‘Let’s really start over. Let’s just completely empty our cup here and really think about what is valuable to me now. What’s honest. What’s sincere about what we’re doing? Let’s do that.’ That’s still the driver of Saison now.”
The Soundtrack of Excellence
meditate in the mornings in some fashion. But what of the remaining 20%? Nearly all of them have meditation-like activities. One frequent pattern is listening to a single track or album on repeat, which can act as an external mantra for aiding focus and present-state awareness.
What is the best or most worthwhile investment you’ve made? Taking the time to walk to work every day (5 miles, 1 hour 15 minutes)
‘Say less.’ That’s it. Just say less.”
“How is their bread buttered?” “What is it that they can’t afford to say or think?”
“These ideas” = having a “secret” as described in Peter Thiel’s Zero to One: knowing or believing something that the rest of the world thinks is nonsense.]
Very often, it’s a question of being the first person to connect things that have never been connected before, and something that is a commonplace solution in one area is not thought of in another.”
Drop into something. Start creating, building. Join a lab. Skip college.”
Believe not only in yourselves, but that there are [ways, tools, methods] powerful enough to make things that look very difficult much easier than you ever imagined.”
8 Tactics for Dealing with Haters
#1—It doesn’t matter how many people don’t get it. What matters is how many people do.
#2—10% of people will find a way to take anything personally. Expect it and treat it as math.
Anticipate, don’t react. #3—When in doubt, starve it of oxygen.
#4—If you respond, don’t over-apologize. There are times to apologize when you truly screw up or speak too soon, but more often than not, acknowledgment is all that’s required. Some version of “I see you” will diffuse at least 80% of people who appear to be haters or would-be haters.
#5—You can’t reason someone out of something they didn’t reason themselves into. #6—“Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity. You’ll avoid the tough decisions, and you’ll avoid confronting the people who need to be confronted.”—Colin Powell #7—“If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.”—Epictetus
#8—“Living well is the best revenge.”—George Herbert During a tough period several
from the legendary Paula Poundstone: “Really try to find out what they’re trying to say. . . . It’s really going deeper, and finding out why this person has chosen to disrupt a performance that everybody has paid for, and that everybody is there for and agreed to sit for? Why did somebody want to rebel against that? I’m curious about it. I usually give them quite a lot of time. There’s the potential to create a whole show around them. . . . “Then, I can ask them about who they’re with. I can ask the person they’re with [things like,] ‘Why are they like that? Are they like this all the time? Is this a special thing?’ You can also talk to other people around them, people who are seated next to them: ‘What was this person like before the show?’ or ‘What were they saying? What led us to this?’”
short questions and keep them talking. Even a simple, “Why do you say that?” “Why do you ask?” or “Why would you say something like that?” can do the trick.
‘Don’t do it. Don’t give into the fast, easy, cheap temptation,’ which we always do. It’s the easiest way. [So] all I did was walked up and turned and said some benign line and walked in the door.
“The first rule of handling conflict is don’t hang around people who are constantly engaging in conflict. . . . All of the value in life, including in relationships, comes from compound interest.
“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.
“Desire is a contract you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want.” I don’t think most of us realize that’s what it is. I think we go about desiring things all day long, and then wondering why we’re unhappy.
Be present above all else. Desire is suffering (Buddha). Anger is a hot coal that you hold in your hand while waiting to throw it at someone else (Buddhist saying). If you can’t see yourself working with someone for life, don’t work with them for a day. Reading (learning) is the ultimate meta-skill and can be traded for anything else. All the real benefits in life come from compound interest. Earn with your mind, not your time. 99% of all effort is wasted. Total honesty at all times. It’s almost always possible to be honest and positive. Praise specifically, criticize generally (Warren Buffett). Truth is that which has predictive power. Watch every thought. (Always ask, “Why am I having this thought?”) All greatness comes from suffering. Love is given, not received. Enlightenment is the space between your thoughts (Eckhart Tolle). Mathematics is the language of nature. Every moment has to be complete in and of itself.
“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.”
“The key in a restaurant, and the key in any kind of high-pressure situation, I think, is that 75% of success is staying calm and not losing your nerve. The rest you figure out, but once you lose your calm, everything else starts falling apart fast.”
“The first is: Never serve anything you wouldn’t want to eat. Never serve crap. It’s Rule Number 1. You can have a high standard on everything. Rule Number 2: When things get really busy, instead of just plowing ahead, trying to work as fast as you can, and just going through all the tickets, he always would tell me, ‘Step back and come up with a plan. Look at what dishes you have, and figure out the most efficient way to cook them.’ So, if you have five of one thing, don’t just cook them one at a time. Get them out, prep them together, and do them together.”
TF: A Prophet is now one of my favorite films. If you like gangster movies, it is violently gorgeous and teaches a lot of leadership lessons.
“There were these two chefs I wanted to work for in Tucson, who are great—well regarded on a national level. Nobody wanted to move there to work with them, so [if I went,] I could get immediate access and supercharge my learning and my path. So I did. I went to that second chef, and I said, ‘Hey, man, I want to work with you. This is why I’m in Arizona,’ and he said, ‘Great. What have you been doing?’” TF: Richard got the job. This is very similar to the “going on offense” philosophy and decision-making of Chris Sacca
would say, ‘Write everything down because it’s all very fleeting.’ I would say, ‘Keep a journal,’ which I have but I would have been more meticulous.
Stephen J. Dubner
We both absolutely love Levels of the Game by John McPhee, an entire book about a single tennis match between Arthur Ashe and Clark Graebner in 1968. It’s a short 162 pages and the New York Times gushed, “This may be the high point of American sports journalism.” It’s Stephen’s most-gifted book for adults. For kids, his most-gifted book is The Empty Pot by Demi.
them . . . so our brainstorming was: Let’s come up with as many ideas as possible, and then put them under scrutiny, and basically try to kill them off, and if they were unkillable, then we’d keep going with them.”
cultivate empty space as a way of life for the creative process.
wanted him to have this internal locus of control—to not be reliant on external conditions being just
Why You Need a “Deloading” Phase in Life
To sum up, how can one throttle back the reactive living that has them following everyone’s agenda except their own? Create slack, as no one will give it to you. This is the only way to swim forward instead of treading water.
So I guess my ask would be more of a big metaphysical ask: Give vulnerability a shot. Give discomfort its due. Because I think he or she who is willing to be the most uncomfortable is not only the bravest, but rises the fastest.”
(“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming. . . .”).
‘Did I dare greatly today?’ The big question I ask is, ‘When I had the opportunity, did I choose courage over comfort?’”
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.”
“It’s all going to be alright.”
Testing the “Impossible”: 17 Questions that Changed My Life
Reality is largely negotiable. If you stress-test the boundaries and experiment with the “impossibles,” you’ll quickly discover that most limitations are a fragile collection of socially reinforced rules you can choose to break at any time.
The distinction is important. Are you spending all your time and exhausting all your energy catching field mice? In the short term it might give you a nice, rewarding feeling. But in the long run you’re going to die. So ask yourself at the end of the day, “Did I spend today chasing mice or hunting antelope?”
Another way I often approach this is to look at my to-do list and ask: “Which one of these, if done, would render all the rest either easier or completely irrelevant?”
“What’s on the other side of fear?” His answer is always, “Nothing.” He elaborates: “People are nervous for no reason, because no one’s gonna come out and slap you or beat you up. . . . When we talk about fear or a lack of being aggressive [holding someone back], it’s in your head. Not everybody is going to be super aggressive, but the one thing that you can deal with is a person’s fears. If you start early, if they are a shy person, they won’t be as shy if you keep instilling those things.”
To inspire his kids, Bryan commissioned a graffiti artist to paint Gandalf the Grey and Harry Potter on one of his walls at home. They are pointing their wands skyward and above it all is the word “dream.” He wants to teach them that, just as Tolkien and Rowling authored worlds using text, entrepreneurs have the ability to author their lives with companies.
“Life is not waiting for the storm to pass, it’s learning how to dance in the rain” [adapted from Vivian Greene].
“At Braintree, one of the principles I consistently communicated was, ‘Challenge all assumptions.’ The story that I accompanied that with was: There are five monkeys in a room, and there is a basket of bananas at the top of a ladder. The monkeys, of course, want to climb the ladder to get the bananas, but every time one tries, they are all sprayed with cold water. After a few times of being sprayed by cold water, the monkeys learn to not climb up the ladder to get the bananas. . . . [The experimenters then] take one monkey out and put a new monkey in, and the new monkey sees a banana. He thinks, ‘Hey, I am going to grab a banana,’ but when he tries to go up the ladder, the other monkeys grab him and pull him back. . . . [The experimenters eventually] systematically pull every monkey out, and now you have five new monkeys. Any time a new monkey comes in and tries to climb the ladder, they grab the monkey and pull it back, but none of the five have ever been sprayed by cold water.”
What past limitations—real or perceived—are you carrying as baggage? Where in your life are you pacing in a 10-by-10-foot patch of grass? 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.
TF: Khaled Hosseini wrote The Kite Runner in the early mornings before working as a full-time doctor. Paul Levesque (page 128) often works out at midnight. If it’s truly important, schedule it. As Paul might ask you, “Is that a dream or a goal?” If it isn’t on the calendar, it isn’t real.
“[Every morning,] what I do is based on the Morning Pages by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way. It’s three longhand pages where you just keep the pen moving for three pages, no matter what.
The term “Rodriguez list” has come to mean writing down all of your assets and building a film around the list. It originates from Robert’s approach to making El Mariachi, which he shot as a “test film” for himself. This “What assets might we have?” question is also asked by billionaire Reid Hoffman
“There’s a freedom [in] limitations. It’s almost more freeing to know I’ve got to use only these items: turtle, bar, ranch. You’re almost completely free within that.”
Excuses are a dime a dozen. In the case of entrepreneurship, the “I don’t have” list—I don’t have funding, I don’t have connections, etc.—is a popular write-off for inaction. But lack of resources is often one of the critical ingredients for greatness. Jack Ma, founder of China’s Alibaba Group, is worth an estimated $20 to $30 billion, and he explains the secret of his success this way: “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.”
Sometimes I hear new filmmakers talk down about their film, and ‘Oh, nothing worked and it was a disappointment.’ They don’t realize yet that that’s the job. The job is that nothing is going to work at all. So you go: “How can I turn it into a positive and get something much better than if I had all the time and money in the world?”
Godfather, Apocalypse Now, etc.), and Robert refers later to this quote from Francis: “Failure is not necessarily durable. Remember that the things that they fire you for when you are young are the same things that they give lifetime achievement awards for when you’re old.”
If you have a positive attitude, you can look back. That’s why what Francis [Ford Coppola] is saying is correct. Failure isn’t always durable. You can go back and you can look at it and go, ‘Oh, that wasn’t a failure. That was a key moment of my development that I needed to take, and I can trust my instinct. I really can.’”
do my own posters, too. So you guys can go ahead and try and make one, but we’ll try and make one.’ “The key is to do it early. Do it while you’re still shooting. First impression is everything. I’ll cut a trailer while I’m still shooting and send it to a studio. They’ll try to make their own, over and over, and they can’t get that first thing they saw out of their heads, ‘It’s still not as good as the one we saw.’”
“You get it in your own way—thinking that you needed to know something, a trick or a process, before it would flow. If you got out of the way, it would just flow. What gives you permission to let it flow? Sometimes if you take 4 years of schooling or you study under somebody, then you’ve suddenly given yourself permission to let it flow. . . .
They say knowing’s half the battle. I think the most important is the other part—not knowing what’s going to happen but trusting that it will be there when you put the brush up to the canvas. It’s going to know where to go.” TIM: “So the trust comes first.” ROBERT: “The trust comes first.”
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.”
“The simple willingness to improvise is more vital, in the long run, than research.”
‘Oh, I don’t know if I’m doing it right. These other guys seem to know.’ No, they don’t know. None of them know. That’s the beauty of it. You don’t have to know. You just have to keep moving forward.”
“How you journal things, how you cross reference, how you present things, how you inspire your crew, how you inspire other people around you, how you inspire yourself—it’s all creative. And if you say you’re not creative, look at how much you’re missing out on just because you’ve told yourself that. I think creativity is one of the greatest gifts that we’re born with that some people don’t cultivate, that they don’t realize it could be applied to literally everything in their lives.”
“I went to Frank Miller, and I showed him this test I did for Sin City [based on the graphic novels]. I said, ‘I know what it’s like to create original characters and to not trust Hollywood, but this isn’t Hollywood. This is something totally different. I made this on my own, and I’m going to offer you a deal. How about I write the screenplay, and it will be unremarkable, because I’m going to copy it right out of your books. It’s November. I’ll have the screenplay by December. We’ll go shoot a test in January. I’ll have some actor friends come down. We’ll shoot [the opening scene], I’ll cut it. You’ll be there, you’ll direct with me. I’ll do the effects, I’ll do the score, I’ll do the fake title sequence with all the actors we want to be in it [e.g., Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke]. . . . And if you like what you see, we’ll make a deal for the rights, and then we’ll make the movie. If you don’t like it, you keep it as a short film you can show your friends.’”
Robert’s most-gifted book is Start with Why by Simon Sinek. “I realized better what I was doing when I read that book, and I gave it to people to show them how to clarify what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong.
They’re like, ‘Yes.’ Because it’s all about what they can do and how it’s going to fulfill them.”
It’s really how you look at it, and the way you look at it is so important. If you can have a positive attitude, look at it, and say, “Let me see, what I can learn from this?” . . . Why would you ever get upset about anything?’ And he said, ‘Wow. That makes so much sense.’ You’re upset because something didn’t go according to plan? It might be for a good reason.”
That’s it. When things are going bad, don’t get all bummed out, don’t get startled, don’t get frustrated. No. Just look at the issue and say: “Good.”
I’m not trying to sound like Mr. Smiley Positive Guy. That guy ignores the hard truth. That guy thinks a positive attitude will solve problems. It won’t. But neither will dwelling on the problem. 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.
“You must want to be a butterfly so badly, you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”
My Rapid-Fire Questions
Below are questions I’ve collected or concocted for just this hypothetical situation. Many of them are the “rapid-fire questions”that I ask nearly every guest on The Tim Ferriss Show. A handful are adapted from questions I picked up from guests themselves (such as Peter Thiel, page 232, and Marc Andreessen, page 170).
- When you think of the word “successful,”who’s the first person who comes to mind and why?
- What is something you believe that other people think is insane?
- What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift?
- What is your favorite documentary or movie?
- What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last 6 months?
- What are your morning rituals?
- What do the first 60 minutes of your day look like?
- What obsessions do you explore on the evenings or weekends?
- What topic would you speak about if you were asked to give a TED talk on something outside of your main area of expertise?
- What is the best or most worthwhile investment you’ve made?
- Could be an investment of money, time, energy, or other resource. How did you decide to make the investment?
- Do you have a quote you live your life by or think of often?
- What is the worst advice you see or hear being dispensed in your world?
- If you could have one gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it, what would it say?
- What advice would you give to your 20-, 25-, or 30-year-old self?
- And please place where you were at the time, and what you were doing. How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Or, do you have a favorite failure of yours?
- What is something really weird or unsettling that happens to you on a regular basis?
- What have you changed your mind about in the last few years? Why?
- What do you believe is true, even though you can’t prove it?
- Any ask or request for my audience?
- Last parting words?
What Would You Put on a Billboard?
Adams, Scott: “It would say, ‘Be useful,’ and it would be everywhere.”
Some of the books mentioned in Tools of Titans that I need to read
- I Seem to Be a Verb by Buckminster Fuller
- Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life
- Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination by Neal Gabler
- Seeking Wisdom: From Darwin to Munger, by Peter Bevelin.
- Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert
- Andre’s autobiography, Open
- The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout
- Show Your Work by Austin Kleon
- Iacocca: An Autobiography by Lee Iacocca and William Novak.
- Age of Propaganda by Anthony Pratkanis and Elliot Aronson,
- The Robert Collier Letter Book,
- The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
- Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got
- One Monster After Another by Mercer Mayer
- Think and Grow Rich
- Who Moved My Cheese?
- Blue Ocean Strategy
- Invisible Selling Machine
- The Richest Man in Babylon
- Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World
- The Who book [by Geoff Smart, Randy Street]
- The Gary Halbert Letter
- Ogilvy on Advertising
- Ego Is the Enemy
- The Obstacle Is the Way
- Life Is Elsewhere by Milan Kundera
- Stone Soup
- Daily Rituals
- Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win
- About Face, by Colonel David H. Hackworth
- Blood Meridian [by Cormac McCarthy].
- Gates of Fire, by Steven Pressfield.
- Once an Eagle by Anton Myrer
- Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien.
- The Art of Learning
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe
- West with the Night by Beryl Markham
- The Old Man and the Sea, Leaves of Grass (first edition).
- The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help
- Dropping Ashes on the Buddha. It’s by Zen Master Seung Sahn
- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
- The Emperor of Scent, by Chandler Burr
- Heraclitean Fire by Erwin Chargaff
- The Power of Myth, a video interview of Joseph Campbell by Bill Moyers
- The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
- The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch
- Think Twice by Michael Mauboussin
- The CEO of Automattic on Holding ‘Auditions’ to Build a Strong Team