Everyone who knows Tim Ferris and is familiar with his eclectic personality will appreciate this book. The Tools of Titans is NOT focused on one topic, rather, it brings together wisdom from many different fields separated into three general bodies of thoughts: HEALTHY, WEALTHY, and WISE.
The book is meant to be used like a guidebook, only using what is applicable to you, where you can guiltlessly skip chapters that aren’t personally relevant.
I have about 70 plus highlights and notes on this book, but here is the wisdom that stuck.
This method for me is effective in keeping my weight under control. I fast for weight maintenance but there are a great number of health benefits fasting brings about, among them are the increased release of growth hormones during the fasted period, insulin intolerance.
For long sustained fasts of three or more days, there are ongoing studies that longer periods of fasting will result in an immune system reset and is also effective for cancer prevention.
Meditation: Just One Breath
I try my best to meditate every day and many times I find myself overthinking my practice – am I doing it right, was I able to do a good job? I have so many expectations that many times I feel disappointed after meditating because I wasn’t able to hit a goal or my mind kept wandering off the whole session. Reminding myself that one self-aware/present breath is all I really need. It takes the pressure out doing well, and it’s easier to be in that zone and keep at it longer.
Meditation: Loving Kindness Meditation
Loving Kindness Meditation is a mood booster. It’s spending no more than a few seconds thinking and wishing someone’s happiness and success. It’s a good feeling to focus on someone else and takes off the weight of my own problems.
Exercise & Fitness: Kettlebells
The section about kettlebells solidified my belief that I could live with the kettlebell being my sole workout regimen. I’m all for simplification and mostly, I’m just really tamad and I don’t want to spend on more equipment nor go to the gym. Cardio, check. Weight lifting, check. Option for flexibility, check. All that for a kettlebell.
WEALTHY & WISE
Keeping The Standard
This section was a big reason why I relinquished my position as the editor of a magazine. It had a culture that failed to keep the standard and my superior and I didn’t meet eye-to-eye. I told her we needed to ask more from our writers, and if they aren’t up to our standards, to look for those who are. I did not feel right to me that my superior allowed sub-par, basta-na-lang work to be accepted and all the burden of fixing and rewriting be assigned to me. Not only was it not fair to me, it also communicated that such actions were to be tolerated. My other employment required and expected that I do my best, and because of this, I felt that the job I was doing is meaningful. The editing job became tiring and unfulfilling when some gave their best, while others did not. The standard was not kept.
The section on grit reminded me that the road towards excellence will never be easy and what sets apart the successful and the mediocre is plowing thru both physical and mental frustrations. It takes time to get strong, it takes time to get good at something. There are no shortcuts, do the work.
How you do anything is how you do everything
I didn’t use to know nor believe in this principle. But I realized this isn’t about being able to do everything excellently because it’s not possible to be good at everything. Rather, “how” you do something is an approach, an attitude, which can be applied to everything. I want to foster attention to detail, responsibility, and ownership to my actions and their results, as well high conscientiousness on many of the things I do on the daily. I am hoping that as I foster these attitudes it will naturally apply to all the other fields in my life and not just the two most important – work and family.
There are still so much more I got from the book. But these are the big six that stuck in my mind. And like one of the lessons in the book said, “The good shit sticks.”
EXCERPTS for The Tools of Titans:
Why Consider Fasting? Dom has discussed the idea of a therapeutic “purge fast” with his colleague Dr. Thomas Seyfried of Boston College. Per Dom: “If you don’t have cancer and you do a therapeutic fast 1 to 3 times per year, you could purge any precancerous cells that may be living in your body.” If you’re over the age of 40, cancer is one of the four types of diseases (see Dr. Peter Attia on page 59) that will kill you with 80% certainty, so this seems like smart insurance. There is also evidence to suggest— skipping the scientific detail— that fasts of 3 days or longer can effectively “reboot” your immune system via stem cell-based regeneration. Dom suggests a 5-day fast 2 to 3 times per year. – Dominic D’Agostino
Meditation: One Breath
Take One Breath a Day. I may be the laziest mindfulness instructor in the world because I tell my students that all they need to commit to is one mindful breath a day. Just one. Breathe in and breathe out mindfully, and your commitment for the day is fulfilled. Everything else is a bonus. There are two reasons why one breath is important. The first is momentum. If you commit to one breath a day, you can easily fulfill this commitment and preserve the momentum of your practice. Later, when you feel ready for more, you can pick it back up easily. You can say you don’t have 10 minutes today to meditate, but you cannot say you have no time for one breath, so making it a daily practice is extremely doable. – Meng Tan
Loving-Kindness. In many of my public talks, I guide a very simple 10-second exercise. I tell the audience members to each identify two human beings in the room and just think, “I wish for this person to be happy, and I wish for that person to be happy.” That is it. I remind them to not do or say anything, just think— this is an entirely thinking exercise. The entire exercise is just 10 seconds’ worth of thinking. Everybody emerges from this exercise smiling, happier than 10 seconds before. This is the joy of loving-kindness. It turns out that being on the giving end of a kind thought is rewarding in and of itself. – Meng Tan
A whole chapter called Three Tips from a Google Pioneer, where Meng Tan takes away the pressure of doing meditation. I love this section.
A whole section on Pavel Tsatsouline, author of Kettlebell: Simple and Sinister, which I have a copy of.
Hold the Standard:
If it’s not ready, we’re not going to send it out, and just hope they don’t notice that it’s not that good. We’ll fix it. We’ll do something else, but don’t try to slip by something that you know is below the standard.’ You only need that lesson once. That wasn’t the standard, and you know what the standard is. Hold the standard. Ask for help. Fix it. Do whatever’s necessary. But don’t cheat.”
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. – Coach Sommer
How you do anything is how you do everything:
TIM: “Oh, I think the little things are the big things. Because they’re a reflection. This may sound clichéd, but how you do anything is how you do everything.
JOSH: “It’s such a beautiful and critical principle, and most people think they can wait around for the big moments to turn it on. But if you don’t cultivate ‘turning it on’ as a way of life in the little moments— and there are hundreds of times more little moments than big— then there’s no chance in the big moments. . . . I believe that when you’re not cultivating quality, you’re essentially cultivating sloppiness.” -a conversation between Tim Ferris and Josh Waitzkin