Tribe of Mentors – Tim Ferriss

Tribe of Mentors – by Tim Ferriss
Date Read: 12/20/17. Recommendation: 8/10.

Tribe of Mentors is built around a set of 11 questions that Tim set out to answer for himself by asking some of the most brilliant people (100+ in this book). Most of the questions are the same as the rapid-fire questions he uses in his podcast, "what book have you gifted the most?" and "what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?" There are a few nuggets of eye-opening wisdom, but the brevity kept things fairly shallow for me. I prefer Tools of Titans which covers a wider range of ideas in greater depth, and includes more of Tim's own notes and insights. For me, the most valuable part of Tribe of Mentors was its wealth of book recommendations.

See my notes below or Amazon for details and reviews.


My Notes:

What would this look like if it were easy? It's easy to convince yourself that things need to be hard, that if you're not redlining, you're not trying hard enough.

Life punishes the vague wish and rewards the specific ask.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." –Anaïs Nin

The most fulfilled and effective people I know look at their life's journey as perhaps 25 percent finding themselves and 75 percent creating themselves.

"In the world of writing, everyone wants to succeed immediately and without pain or effort." –Steven Pressfield

"Real work and real satisfaction come from the opposite of what the web provides. They come from going deep into something–the book you're writing, the album, the movie–and staying there for a long, long time." –Steven Pressfield

Finnish word, "sisu" – the mental strength to continue to try even after you feel you've reached the limits of your abilities.

"Intelligence is like following a GPS route right into a body of water until you drown. Wisdom looks at the route but, when it takes a turn into the ocean, you drown. Wisdom looks at the route but, when it takes a turn into the ocean, decides not to follow it, then finds a new, better way. Wisdom reigns supreme." –Terry Crews

"If you let yourself off the hook for not doing something for any reason, you won't ever do it." –Debbie Millman

Paraphrasing Debbie Millman's interview with Dani Shapiro: Overly confident people are annoying, arrogant, and compensating for some type of internal psychological deficit. Dani declared that courage was more important than confidence.

Naval Ravikant:
"Suffering is a moment of clarity, when you can no longer deny the truth of a situation and are forced into uncomfortable change."

"The genuine love for reading itself, when cultivated, is a superpower...The means of learning are abundant–it's the desire to learn that's scarce. Cultivate that desire by reading what you want, not what you're 'supposed to.'"

"Memory and identity are burdens from the past that prevent us from living freely in the present."

"Ignore: The news. Complainers, angry people, high-conflict people. Anyone trying to scare you about a danger that isn't clear and present."

"Ignore the unfairness – there is no fair. Play the hand that you're dealt to the best of your ability. People are highly consistent, so you will eventually get what you deserve and so will they."

"By focusing inward on yourself as a writer instead of outward on what you think readers will want to read, you'll end up creating the best most original work, and that one-in-a-thousand person who happens to love it will up finding their way to you." –Tim Urban

"It's not how well you play the game, it's deciding what game you want to play." –Kwame Appiah

"Integrity is the only path where you will never get lost." –Mike Maples Jr.

"The best advice I have seen comes from people who don't try to tell me the answer...instead they give me a new approach to thinking about the question so that I can solve it better on my own." –Mike Maples Jr.

"Too often, aspiring artists put pressure on themselves to make their creative work their only source of income. In my experience, it's a road to misery." –Soman Chainani

"The education system, by and large, gears everyone up to adhere to set industry standards. While this a foolproof way to get a job and live a normal life, very few people can break out of the cycle of the mundane to be adventurous, inventive, selfless. The safety net of regular job is too comfortable." –Richa Chadha

"Grudges are for those who insist that they are owed something; forgiveness, however is for those who are substantial enough to move on." –Criss Jami

"The difference between winning and losing is most often not quitting." -Walt Disney

"My advice is to choose a profession that is really easy for you to do and that also allows you to be creative. If it is easy for you to do and somewhat difficult for your peers to do, you will not have to work too hard to be successful and you will have enough spare time to enjoy life...If, on the other hand, you have to work long hours all the time just to be competitive, you will burn out and not enjoy life." -Lewis Cantley

"If you must play, decide on three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time." –Chinese Proverb

"Creating is a better means of self-expression and possession; it is through creating, not possessing, that life is revealed." -Vida Dutton Scudder

"Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life." -Jerzy Gregorek

"To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of leave the world a bit know even one life has breathed easier because you lived. This is to have succeeded." –Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The struggle ends when the gratitude begins." -Neal Donald Walsch

"Our culture puts such a premium on the notion of originality, but when you really examine just about any 'original' thought or work, you find it's a composite of previous influences. Everything's a remix. Of course, there's such thing as being overly derivative, but I tend to mostly value sincerity over originality. I think I perform better when I focus less on being original and more on being honest." -Joseph Gordon-Levitt

"When something goes badly, I don't automatically assume I did something wrong. Instead I ask myself, 'What policy was I following that produced the bad outcome, and do I still expect that policy to give the best results overall, occasional bad outcomes notwithstanding?'" –Julia Galef

"One distraction I've learned to avoid is consuming media that's just telling me things I already know and agree with (for example, about politics). That stuff can be addictive because it feels so validating–it's like venting with a friend–but you're not learning from it, and over time, I think indulging in that impulse makes you less able to tolerate other perspectives." -Julia Galef

"Do what you love, do it in a way that you love, and pour your heart and soul into every moment of it. Do not be subject to inertia." –Josh Waitzkin

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." -Theodore Roosevelt

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see." -Henry David Thoreau

"Beware the investment activity that produces applause; the great moves are usually greeted by yawns." -Warren Buffett

"Focus on your writing skills. It's the one thing I've found that really helps people stand out. More and more communication is written today. Get great at presenting yourself with words, and words alone, and you'll be far ahead of most." –Jason Fried

"Remember that you'll always have less attention than time. Full attention is where you do your best work, and everyone's going to be looking to rip it from you. Protect and preserve it." -Jason Fried

Scaling: "No, don't scale. Start small, stay small as possible for as long as possible. Grow in control, not out of control." -Jason Fried

Raising capital: "No, bootstrap. As in life, we form business habits early on. If you raise money, you'll get good at spending money. If you bootstrap, you'll be forced to get good at making money." -Jason Fried

"Burnout is not the price you have to pay for success." -Arianna Huffington

"Macro patience, micro speed....Everybody's impatient at a macro, and just so patient at a micro, wasting your days worrying about years. I'm not worried about my years, because I'm squeezing the fuck out of my seconds, let alone my days." -Gary Vaynerchuk

"Courage over comfort." -Brene Brown

"If I had an hour to solve a problem, I'd spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions." -Einstein

"Always take jobs for which you are not qualified; that way you will inevitably learn something." -Esther Dyson

"I started my first business with $200...I learned far more about business from than $200 than from a debt-inducing MBA." -Kevin Kelly

"Be polite, on time, and work really fucking hard until you are talented enough to be blunt, a little late, and take vacations and even polite." -Ashton Kutcher

"When 99 percent of your life is your work, either you are really bad at what you do or you are completely off balance with the rest of your life; neither is something to be proud of." -Jérôme Jarre

"Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise, instead, seek what they sought." -Matsuo Basho

"Have the moral courage to live in the gray, sit with uncertainty but not in a passive way. Live the questions so that, one day, you will live yourself into the answers.." -Jacqueline Novogratz

"Don't worry all that much about your first job. Just start, and let the work teach you. With every step, you will discover more about who you want to be what and what you want to do." -Jacqueline Novogratz

When feeling overwhelmed: "I go for a very long run and remind myself of the beauty of the world, that the sun will rise again tomorrow, that what matters is to be in the arena." -Jacqueline Novogratz

"Don't try to be something you're not. Be confident in the skills you have, as they may be make-or-break for the journey you pursue." -Steve Case

"If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, you must go together." -Steve Case

"No society in human history ever suffered because its people became too reasonable." -Sam Harris

"Those who are determined to be 'offended' will discover a provocation somewhere. We cannot possibly adjust enough to please the fanatics, and it is degrading to make the attempt." -Christopher Hitchens

"The real measure of a good life is 'How happy and satisfied am I with my life right now?'" -Mr. Money Mustache

"You are free for life once you have 25 to 30 times your annual spending locked up and working for you in low-fee index funds or other relatively boring investments. If you save the standard 15 percent of your income, this freedom arrives roughly at age 65. If you can crank that up to 65 percent, you're free just after your 30th birthday, and you often end up a lot happier in the process." -Mr. Money Mustache

"A high savings rate (or 'profit margin on life') is by far the best strategy for a great and creative life, because it's your ticket to freedom. Freedom is the fuel for creativity." -Mr. Money Mustache

"It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things." -Leonardo Da Vinci

"Be in a hurry to learn, not in a hurry to get validation." -Evan Williams

Pursuing your passion: "For many, that is terrible advice. In your 20s, you may or may not really know what your best skills and opportunities are. It's much better to pursue learning, personal discipline, growth." -Chris Anderson

When feeling overwhelmed or unfocused:
"Have I had enough sleep? Have I eaten? Would it be a good idea to go for a short walk?
And once those have been answered, or fixed, if there's an actual situation that's overwhelming:
Is there anything I can do to fix this? Is there anyone who actually has information or advice about this that I can call and talk to?" -Neil Gaiman

"Top down (macro thinking) means I consider the big picture issues before the small when making decisions...For example, I invest in real estate where smart people want to live." -Adam Fisher

"Just learn how to learn. Then you can always figure out the next thing that you will need to know." -Adam Fisher

"Choose opportunities based on the quality of people you will get to work with." -Scott Belsky

"You can do so much in ten minutes' time. Ten minutes, once gone, are gone for good. Divide your life into ten-minute units and sacrifice as few of them as possible in meaningless activity." -Ingvar Kamprad

"Asking myself the question, 'When I'm old, how much would I be willing to pay to travel back in time and relive the moment I'm experiencing right now?' This simple question puts things in perspective and makes you grateful for the experience you're having right now versus being lost in thoughts about the past or future.

Responses to problems: "Most likely, the problem won't be around in a year, but my reputation of how I dealt with it will." -Whitney Cummings

"No one is qualified to tell you how you experience the world." -Vlad Zamfir

"Discipline equals freedom." -Jocko Willink

"Don't aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued...Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it." -Viktor E. Frankl

"The player of the inner game comes to value that art of relaxed concentration above all other skills; he discovers the true basis for self-confidence; and he learns that the secret to winning any game lies in not trying too hard." -W. Timothy Gallwey

Excellence is in the next five minutes, improvement is in the next five minutes, happiness is the next five minutes.

The power broker in your life is the voice that no one ever hears. How well you revisit the tone and content of your private voice is what determines the quality of your life. It is the master storyteller, and the stories we tell ourselves are our reality.

Focus on what's in front of you, design great days to create a great life, and try not to make the same mistake twice.

Feeling as though you are trying too hard indicates that your priorities, technique, focus, or mindfulness is off. Take it as a cue to reset, not to double down.