I’m a huge fan of Tim Ferriss, having discovered his book about 10x’ing your productivity a few years ago. More recently I discovered his podcast, and thought I’d share some of the things I’ve learned from a few episodes:
- Every time you drink a glass of water the odds are that you will drink at least one molecule of water that pass through the bladder of Oliver Cromwell.
Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “I would never want the simplicity on the nearside of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the far side of complexity.” This is another way of saying that you want informed simplicity, not uninformed simplicity.
Some people say that Bobby Fischer played the longest long con in sports history. Changing his opening moves before Spassky. For 20 years he had the same opening moves, incredibly simple. Two months before his match, or Boris Spassky, studied his games, he switched it up and throw everyone off.
You need to understand the nature of your advantage in life and business — for instance, your advantage may be informational, analytical, behavioral, or some combination. Warren Buffett has an amazing behavioral advantage in investing due to his ability to be unaffected by emotional market swings/changes.
If you learn to want to delight others, then you can play a game that you can’t lose.
- The insidious part of depression, is that it convinces you that you are thinking clearly, and that all other thinking previously was in error. And you hate yourself for being previously diluted.
- Read Hoffman says that if you aren’t embarrassed by the first version of your product, you shipped it too late.
- Nancy Duarte: Many leaders lack empathy, because to be a leader you need to be focused on the future. The primary job of a leader is to transport people into an unknown future. This focus on the future contradicts the need for empathy. Personally, I think that a leaders job is to convince people to do things that are not in their immediate interest. But to do them for a better future.
- When Warren Buffett founded Berkshire Hathaway, he hung framed New York Times headlines on the wall of his office from great economic panics as instructive start
- In motivation, you should look at loss aversion more than expectation of gain. The stick is much better than the carrots. Losing $100 is more motivating than gaining $600, but at that point (6x gains) it starts to shift.
- When in doubt, try to sell to “wants,” not “needs.” More aspirational.
- Derek Sivers thinks that building a business is your opportunity to build a utopia.
- Look into survivorship bias. We only analyze the winners, which leads to things like a projection of shorter sales cycles than are realistic, because it doesn’t take into account those who haven’t closed yet in the early days of the business.
- Marcus Aurelius kept a war journal that was never intended for publication, but became a compilation of stoic philosophy. One note in the morning read, “note that when you wake up today you will have to deal with people who are mean and surly, they are like this because they cannot tell good from evil, none of them can hurt me.”
- One day Thomas Edison arrived to his office to find it engulfed in flames, everything lost, and because the building was supposed to be fireproof, it was not insured more than 1/3 value. He lost a huge amount of money and a priceless amount of work. His response during the fire was that his son should go get his mother and other siblings, because they would never get to see another fire like this. He said he wasn’t unhappy, and he went on to rebuild and do just fine. The point is, you need to love everything, which is linked to the latin quote, “amor fati,” love of fate.
- Rick Ruben, producer of every musical act on earth it seems, says that the things that prevent artists from doing great work are: self-doubt, arrogance, concern with the public, concerned with what others might think, and commercial considerations.
- Rick Ruben says, the best art divides the audience.
- Ferriss likes to read Seneca, and he says that deed should not be out of sync with word. Seneca says that nature commands us to be happy with milk and cloth when we are born. We will do well to remember us, despite the fact that kingdoms are soon too small for our liking.
- Kurt Vonnegut’s had a hidden line: “You are whatever you pretend to be.”
Clausewitz in 1780 said: the best strategy is always to be very strong first in general, then at the decisive point there is no higher and simpler law of strategy than that of keeping one’s forces concentrated. In short, the first principle is: act with the most concentration.”
Shep Gordon was the famous publicist who threw a chicken on stage with Alice Cooper and started the story that Cooper bit its head off.
Gordon’s premise was that he needed to find out the one thing that people cared about for his clients. In the case of Alice Cooper, it was rebellion against parents. That meant he wanted to make parents tell kids never to buy the album. So he cared about the publications that the parents read, and he stopped traffic with pornography in the united kingdom in order to interrupt the parents morning traffic reports and commute. It worked.
- Derek Sivers and Tim Ferriss both read Awaken the Giant by Tony Robbins at age 18 and it changed their lives.
- Sivers says: “The standard pace is for chumps.” He explains that this is because the standard pace is created to conform to the slowest performers.
- Sivers empowered employees by telling them WHY he did things, and his general thought process.
- Sivers suggests that you create some legends around your business: like when Nordstrom tells the legend about a customer who lost a sweater from another merchant in a fire, and they gave him a refund — this is way better than just saying that they have a liberal refund policy.
- Sivers says: if you trust the source, you don’t need the argument.
- Sivers talks about how in Japan the streets don’t have in Japan streets don’t have names. They think of streets as empty unnamed areas, and the blocks are the things with the names. It is an interesting way to think about something very differently than we think about it in the west. That is an example of how the completely opposite way of thinking about something can be equally good.
- Sivers’ advice is: don’t pursue many directions in parallel.
- Peter Thiel says that it is better to focus on a unique challenge or idea than to follow a trend. Failures are also overrated. They are often over determined. Thiel says you often learn nothing from failure.
- Thiel thinks the 10-1 investing model is stupid: 10 failures for every one success, as a big number times a small number is often a small number.
- Peter Thiel says: the fundamental question and philosophy is: what are those things that we believe to be true because of convention, and what are the things that are actually true. He says that this is an important question to look at. He says that there is a fundamental question and society about what is the consensus that drives the belief, versus reality. We don’t want convention to be a shortcut for truth.
- There is a learning technique called mastering the micro to learn the macro. It means learning from the endgame first. Such as in chess, when you remove all about the queen king and one other piece, and a vastly simplify board, to learn advanced techniques in the beginning of your learning process for chess.
- Tim Ferris shares his building blocks for success, for two reasons: first, he says that it is rarely a zero sum game. Someone else does not need to lose for him to succeed. Also, the more details he gives, the more details he receives from others. Also the second reason is that when people play his game, he will be better at it than they will.
- Ferriss says that you should end a task on a positive note in order to always internalize high quality. Hemingway used to stop his writing midway through, instead of waiting until he was finished with a section, in order to know exactly where to start the next day.
- Dan Carlin, the author of hardcore history, routinely has four hour podcasts that people love.
- “Most men would rather die then think. Many do.” Bertrand Russell
- Seth Godin: the number one problem with education is the question, “will this be on the test?” With online education, if there is no test, it is not an education program. Furthermore, you need the incentive of the test, and you also need the social pressure of succeeding and failing.
- Tony Robbins: “Your heart beats hundred thousand times a day and pumps blood into 60,000 miles of vessels,and to and around the world twice.”
- Tony Robbins: Two emotions that mess us up the most are anger and fear. Focus on gratitude to fight this.
- Malcom Gladwell drinks the controversial tea, lapsang tea.
- Malcom Gladwell writes almost exclusively in public places. He says that this is probably from his coming of age in the newsroom.
- Jeff Bezos says we are uncompromising on vision and flexible on details.
- Malcom Gladwell believes in ghosts.
- Seth Godin likes to highlight the story about Stephen kings pencil. A writer said to him, you’re one of the most successful writers of all time you’re the greatest you are my hero I have one question for you: what pencil do you use to write with?
- Are you hunting antelope or field mice? A lion can hunt field mice all day but will starve to death. Ask yourself that every day.
- Scott Adams talks about being a systems thinker vs a project manager. A systems thinker can’t fail, but a project manager fails if the project misses its goals. The system will always be useful.
- Mark Twain: re-evaluate if you ever find yourself on the side of the majority.
- Peter Thiel : why can’t you do your 10-year plan in 6 months?
- Tim Ferris asks: what would a particularly tough problem look like if it were easy?
- Navy seals: slow is smooth, smooth is fast. Like Napoleon’s dress me slowly I’m in a hurry.
- Nancy Duarte says that Hollywood movie scenes always last for no more than three minutes. She also says that a story = protagonist who you like, who goes through hardships, gets through something difficult, and transforms in the process.
- Duarte: if you know how to pilot a sailboat, you sail faster than the wind itself. This is similar to Nancy Duarte on “what is and what could be” story/prezo structure.
Doctor Zimbardo did a study at Stanford where students pretended to be prisoners and held other students captive. They became creatively sadistic. His theory is that situations make people do horrible things. Situational analysis. This might be related to the bystander effect, which is that ppl around the world do not come to the aid of others who need help — made famous in the 1960s by Kitty Genovese in NY.