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Tribe of Mentors is a culmination of the best tips from some of the world’s most influential people. Tim Ferriss explains that 2017 was a traumatic year, with several of his close friends dying. This reminded Tim that time is our scarcest resource. Therefore, he sought to answer some essential life questions by reaching out to some of the world’s most influential people. Tim calls these people mentors, but they are all famous individuals who have fought through hardship. Whether you want to 10x your results, get unstuck, or reinvent yourself, someone else has traveled a similar path and taken notes.

About Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss is an author, investor, TV host, and economic advisor. He has written five books, including his bestselling debut book, The 4-hour Workweek. Since, he has had his own TV series, The Tim Ferriss Experiment, and his own TV show, Fear(less) with Tim Ferriss. In the latter, Tim has interviewed many people, including highly successful CEOs and sportspeople. One of Tim’s most famous guests was LeBron James.

The Structure of Tribe of Mentors

For every guest on his podcast, Tim Ferriss asks three critical questions. The aim of these questions is to draw out the tips, tools, and actions that have changed people’s lives. These questions are:

  1. What’s One of the Best Investments You Have Made?
  2. What New Belief, Habit, or Behavior Has Most Improved Your Life?
  3. What Do You Do When You Are Overwhelmed or Struggling to Focus?

Subsequently, the structure of Tribe of Mentors focuses on the valuable information provided by the most influential individuals Tim Ferriss has interviewed. This summary will focus on a handful of the most famous individuals. The entire book is 624 pages and consists of over 125 chapters. Each of these chapters is named after a famous individual who has been on the Tim Ferriss podcast.

Steven Pressfield

  • Find out whom you really are by getting out there and failing.
  • The internet does not provide you with satisfaction. This is because we crave real work that involves physical touch. For example, try to delve deep into a physical book, album, or movie.

Matt Ridley

  • Those who succeed are not necessarily more intelligent than you. Successful people just know what they want.
  • You will obtain the most happiness from specializing in something. Specialization will provide you with more achievement and allow you to diversify yourself as a consumer.

Tim Urban

Tim has developed two habits. 

  • Firstly, he uses something called the Epitaph Test. When he encounters an opportunity, he asks himself whether he would be content if his epitaph was related to this project.
  • Tim has a similar test for his social life. He calls this the Deathbed Test. This test reminds him that he should be spending quality time with the people he cares about most. Then, he will not regret his decisions when he reaches his deathbed. 

Jesse Williams

Jesse tends to lose focus either due to exhaustion or distraction. He has found two activities that limit both of these nuisances:

  1. Transcendental Meditation – Specifically, Jesse utilizes the teachings of the David Lynch Foundation.
  2. Cold Showers – Jesse describes cold showers as being like a reset button.

Max Levchin

  • Take risks when you are young. Youth is characterized by drive, energy, and a lack of significant responsibility. Therefore, this is a time when you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
  • Do not spread your skillset too thin. There is a general piece of advice that suggests we should strive to make ourselves more rounded. However, if you find you are strong in a particular area, you should commit and double down.

Neil Strauss

  • Neil Strauss describes finding a healthy fitness community in his local Malibu as the behavior that has most improved his life. Neil explains that he previously went to the gym to achieve a certain weight or muscle goal but never stuck to it. Now he has friends alongside him. So, he actually looks forward to this part of his day. Rather than willpower, the secret to growth is a positive community.

Lewis Cantley

  • The most impactful skill you can develop is the ability to communicate efficiently. This includes both written and verbal communication.
  • Lewis describes the best investments as two college courses he was enrolled in: Literature/Composition and Logic.

Amelia Boone

  • Sufficient rest is key to growth. You will only experience gains after periods of rest.
  • Pay attention to activities, ideas, and areas where you love the process. This is where your passions lie, not areas where you only enjoy the outcomes. The results will follow if you love the process.
  • Run towards fear. Amelia admits she had always been risk-averse, but she has learned it is better to embrace the uncomfortable. Uncomfortable scenarios are often where the magic happens.

Ben Stiller

  • Live fully in the moment with people you love and care about. 
  • Relax into where you are now rather than worrying or focusing on the next task.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

  • Jonathan Sacks explains his gravestone would say just three words: Live, Give, Forgive. He believes these are the most important things in life.
  • Your ultimate destination is where you should look whenever you feel overwhelmed. Focusing on your ultimate destination will help you make a distinction between opportunities and temptations.

Annie Duke

  • Surround yourself with people who disagree with you. This means you should stay out of political bubbles and echo chambers as much as possible. 
  • The truth generally lies somewhere in the middle of two extreme opinions. 
  • Poker has taught Annie to disconnect failure from outcomes. Just because she loses doesn’t mean she has failed. Just because she wins doesn’t mean she succeeded. Focus on the long run.

Gary Vaynerchuk

  • Macro patience and micro speed. Everybody’s impatient at the macro level. Hence, they are wasting their days worrying about years. 
  • Gary isn’t worried about his years as he is squeezing every opportunity out of his seconds.
  • The change in habits that have had the biggest impact on Gary’s life is his health regimen. 
  • When Gary feels overwhelmed or unfocused, he pretends his family has died in a horrific accident. This encourages Gary to go to a very dark place where he realizes that the actual difficulties of the present pale in comparison. 

Brené Brown

  • People are uncomfortable spending time and resources figuring out what the problem is. Hence, people tend to jump to fixing problems too fast. 
  • The most important fundamentals of Brown’s life are sleep, diet, exercise, and work ethic. Effective sleep can revolutionize the way you live, love, parent, and lead. 

Ashton Kutcher

  • Be polite, on time, and work really hard until you are talented enough to be blunt, a little late, and take vacations. Even then, be polite. 

Peter Guber

  • Do not let the weight of fear weigh down the joy of curiosity. Peter Guber describes fear as false evidence that appears true.
  • Attitude is the soft stuff, but it is crucial when things get tough.

Tony Hawk

  • Remain steadfast in your values and product direction. This is especially true when you are working with other companies.
  • Keep control of your ideas, no matter how successful you are becoming.

Ed Coan

  • Everything is doable. This attitude will significantly impact your outlook when you start new routines.
  • Procrastination stems from feeling overwhelmed. Therefore, break down the overwhelming task by writing it down on paper in parts. Then, once you have calmed down, look at this paper again. These smaller things won’t seem like a big deal.
  • Take a nap daily. This is a habit that Ed has engaged with daily since he was a kid.

Ray Dalio

  • You need to learn to love looking at what you don’t know, your mistakes, and your weaknesses. Understanding these features will help you make the most of your life. 
  • Ray also recommends you take a pocket notepad wherever you go. This will allow you to jot down good ideas when they come to you. 

Sam Harris

  • Try to talk to as many people as possible. Sam explains his podcast has allowed him to connect with a wide range of fascinating people he would have never met. 
  • Do not worry about what you are going to do with the rest of your life. Find something that is profitable and interesting to you for the next few years and go from there.

Chris Anderson

  • Do not just pursue your passions. You don’t know what your passion is when you are young. Instead, pursue learning, personal discipline, and growth.
  • Seek connections with people across the planet.
  • Following someone else’s dream for a bit, as you will build valuable relationships and knowledge by doing this.

Aisha Tyler

  • I run towards the things that terrify me. This approach has served me well in both my professional and personal life.
  • There is nothing better than a perfectly organized space. Aisha explains that perfectly organized spaces give her an ‘illogical amount of joy.’
  • This idea of joy is associated with her adopting the famous Marie Kondo method. Aisha discards everything that does not spark joy. This also applied to personal obligations.

Drew Houston

  • Try to master the art of making good decisions in any situation. Being able to do this is essential.
  • Try to utilize enneagrams to understand yourself better. There are nine enneagram types, and every person is dominant in one type. Drew explains these enneagrams are extremely useful in identifying what motivates him, his natural strengths, and where his blind spots lie. Subsequently, you can tailor your leadership style to your strengths.
  • You are the average of your five closest friends. Therefore, surround yourself with people that create the best you.
  • When saying ‘no,’ you must learn you don’t owe lengthy explanations. Plus, you do not have to respond to every email or message you receive with an in-depth response. 

Scott Belsky

  • Opportunities and outstanding individuals are rarely obvious. Great opportunities often appear unattractive. Plus, the boldest transformations are generally led by outsiders.
  • Cultivate your luck by being more flexible, humble, and gracious. Life’s greatest opportunities run on their own schedule, not yours.
  • If you feel overwhelmed, remind yourself to just do your job. Rather than rationalizing your way out of doing work, just tell yourself to get on with it. 

Steven Pinker

  • Find a new topic that has a few people you respect behind it. This topic should not be a fad or part of conventional wisdom. If your topic is already common knowledge, it is unlikely you can make a major contribution. Additionally, if you are the only one excited, you may be deluding yourself.
  • Ignore advice to simply follow your intuition or gut without thinking whether the course of action is likely to be fruitful and rewarding.
  • Focus on effectiveness rather than self-actualization. This will allow you to be successful rather than just feeling momentarily good about yourself. 

Whitney Cummings

  • Problems do not last. However, the reputation you gain from how you deal with the problem will be. Therefore, handle problems with grace. This approach has allowed Whitney Cummings to come out the other side in a better position while also saving valuable time and energy.
  • Identify a charitable element you could implement into whatever endeavor you undertake. 
  • Strive to be a hero rather than a specific professional.
  • Instead of networking, focus on getting better. Personal growth will allow the world to naturally present opportunities you deserve.

Rick Rubin

  • Young and driven college students should just ignore the majority of what they learned in school. This will allow you to free yourself and try anything. 
  • Ask questions of people who have displayed wisdom rather than those seeking to teach wisdom.
  • Focus on something you love. Succeed or not, your life will be better for having attempted to pursue something you love. You can’t lose by dedicating yourself to what you love.
  • Work tirelessly and submerge yourself in what you love. It is okay to start pursuing a passion in an unsustainable way. Once you achieve your goals, you can devote your time to figuring out how to sustain it. 

Ben Silbermann

  • Assume that anything worthwhile will take five to ten years. Adopting this expectation means small failures will feel less severe.
  • Absurdism provides a clear philosophy of failure. Either the intention was absurd, the strategy was not reasonable, or it was reasonable but was not executed correctly. If Ben becomes confident that his intention is absurd, then he will give up on a pursuit. If not, then Ben continues trying reasonable strategies.
  • Absurdism is not just a tool for helping people be reasonable. It is also a critique of rationalism. It says that there are contexts where having intentions is absurd. In these contexts, it doesn’t make sense to decide what to do or how to spend your time.

Jim Loehr

  • Jim Loehr describes daily journaling as the habit that has had the biggest impact on his life. He sees it as a remarkable tool for navigating the storms of life. He states that this daily ritual of self-reflection has produced priceless personal insights. Daily writing increases personal awareness.
  • Anything that is quantified and tracked regularly would invariably show improvement. This applies to sleep time, water intake, and nutritional intake.
  • Jim sees stress as a positive concept. He does not strive to protect himself from stress. Jim sees stress reduction as only reducing his capacity to handle stress. Therefore, he encourages stress exposure as a way of stimulating growth.

Jocko Willink

  • If you are a leader, you should never be blaming anybody but yourself. Don’t make excuses for your team’s performance. Taking ownership of problems allows you to solve them.
  • Work harder than everyone else.
  • If you feel overwhelmed, then you need to prioritize and execute. Take a step back from your problems and detach from the mayhem. From this position, you can look at the situation and prioritize actions that will have the most significant impact and execute this action.

Yuval Noah Harari

  • Focus on personal resilience and emotional intelligence.
  • Yuval Noah Harari believes he unconsciously split his life into two parts. The first part of his life focused on learning. The second part of his life has been focused on working. This has been an effective approach for him. In the first part, he developed a stable identity, as well as personal and professional skills. The second part relied on this identity and skills to navigate the world, earn a living, and contribute to society. 
  • Yuval believes that this approach cannot last forever, though. By 2040, this traditional model will become obsolete. The only way humans will succeed in society will be to keep learning throughout their lives and reinvent themselves again and again.
  • Know who you are and what you really want from life. This advice will only become increasingly important as technology continues to replace manual labor. 

Comment below and let others know what you have learned or if you have any other thoughts.

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