The 20 Types of ‘World Class Performers’ in Tim Ferris’ Tools of Titans

Why this book is enjoyable, in 2 words: Maximum novelty.

Chances are though that you’re not just reading it for the pigeon pellet dopamine hits.

I will assume that most people reading this are highly ambitious. I will assume that if you are reading or considering reading this book, then you have decided not to settle for mediocrity, but you aspire for some form of greatness or achievement or success or whatever shape your ideation takes.

There are two ways to read this book. The first is for the ‘tactics, routines, habits, and icons’ — the sort of tips and tricks that you can emulate and be inspired by, and implement into your own life to increase your own relative pleasure, decrease pains, increase your productivity, and smooth out bits of tension throughout your day with “morning routines”, “evening routines”, “performance enhancement” and whatnot. This is the low level reading of the book.

The high level second way to read the book for the ambitious type, is to not just look at what tips and tricks are being given, but to actually question whether the advice being given out is going to increase your efficiency or effectiveness at getting where it is that you want to go. And you probably don’t know where you want to go. So you are reading the book to be inspired to want to be like what would be considered ‘world class performers’. Meaning you are aimlessly ambitious, but are seeking a specific ambition within these pages.

Timmy F has saved us the trouble of sorting the book into a bunch of macro categories, for ease of use: You’ve got a third of the book split into ‘wealthy’ (meaning people that have achieved financial and time wealth), then theres healthy (mental and physical health), and wise (life advice, basic emotional control and goal setting etc). He also aggregates and macro categorises a list of recommended tv shows/documentaries; top podcast episodes of his; and book recommendations. But besides telling us that wealth health and wisdom are three huge categories of what we consider successful, none of this is of much practical help for the ambitious aside from causing some information paralysis.

So for those who are wondering what to do with your life, and seeking inspiration from ‘world class performers’, for those seeking to live a great life instead of a mediocre life, I have done you the trouble of systemizing microcategories of all the fields and activities that the individuals in this book have achieved success in (as a primary source of income, which im guessing is the main problem-situation to be solved here).


If you want to emulate lifestyles and forms of success over habits and routines of Tims ‘world class performers’, heres a complete list of your options (no order):
1. The film/television industry or filmmaker (as a director, screenwriter, producer, or actor): 19 people listed
2. An athlete of some sort: 8 listed
3. A comedian: 5 listed
4. A science researcher: 9 listed
5. A teacher (sports coach, performance coach, or professor): 6 listed
6. A startup founder/entrepeneur: 35 listed
7. An author/writer/poet: 35 listed
8. A doctor: 5 listed
9. A youtuber: 10 listed
10. Cartoonist: 1 listed
11. Photographer: 1 listed
12. Podcaster, radio host, or lecturer: 11 listed
13. Blogger: 4 listed
14. A musician or music producer: 7 listed
15. Law enforcement, a hacker, or a Military Officer: 5 listed
16. A chef: 4 listed
17. A competition winner or world record holder: 5 listed
18. An investor, or business advisor: 13 listed
19. An inventor: 2 listed
20. Politics, or activism: 5 listed


To further break it down, here is who (and what) fits in each of these microcategories:

1. The film/television industry or filmmaker: Arnold Schwarzenneger (actor); Casey Neistat (writer, director, editor); Morgan Spurlock (writer, director, producer); BJ Novak (actor, writer, director, producer); Sebastian Junger (producer, director); Kevin Costner (producer, director, actor); Bryan Callen (actor); Seth Rogen (actor, writer, producer, director); Evan Goldberg (director, screenwriter, producer); Margaret Cho (actress); Andrew Zimmern (host, director, writer, producer); Rainn Wilson (actor); Whitney Cummings (actor, writer, producer); Edward norton (actor, filmmaker); Jason Silva (host); Jon Favreau (actor, writer, director, producer); Jamie Foxx (actor); Brian Koppelman (writer, director, producer); Robert Rodriguez (director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer, editor);

2. An athlete: Amelia Boone (obstacle racer); Joe de sena (dogsledding, ultramarathon, ironman); Peter Attia (ultra endurance); Laird Hamilton (big wave surfer); Triple H (wrestler); Shaun White (snowboarder, skateboarder); Sam Kass (baseball); Joshua Waitzkin (jiu jitsu);

3. A comedian: Whitney Cummings; Bryan Callen; Margaret Cho; Mike Birbiglia; Jamie Foxx;

4. A science researcher/professor: Rhonda Patrick (biologist); Dominic D’agostino (molecular pharmacology and physiology); Patrick Arnold (organic chemist); James Fadiman (psychedelics); Peter Attia (cancer research); Jane McGonigal (futurist); Adam Gazzaley (neuroscience); Eric Weinstein (math research); Brene Brown (emotions);

5. A teacher: Christopher Sommer (gymastics coach); Charles Poliquin (strength coach); Pavel Tsatsouline (strength coach); Kelly Starrett (mobility/performance coach); Tony Robbins (performance coach); William MacAskill (philosophy professor);

6. A startup founder/entrepeneur/business owner: Joe de sena (death race, spartan race); Jason Nemer (Acroyoga); Adam Gazzaley (akili); Marc Andreessen (Netscape, loudcloud); Derek Sivers (cdbaby); Alexis Ohanian (Reddit, Hipmunk); Matt Mullenweg (wordpress, automattic); Casey Neistat (Beme); Morgan Spurlock (clect); Reid Hoffman (linkedin); Peter Thiel (Paypal, Palantir); Seth Godin (yoyodye); James Altucher (reset, stockpickr); Chase Jarvis (creativelive); Alex Bumberg (gimlet media); Ed Catmull (pixar); Tracy Dinunzio (tradesy); Phil Libin (evernote); Chris Young (chefsteps); Daymond John (FUBU); Luis Von Ahn (duolingo); Kevin Rose (digg, reivision3, milk); Scott Belsky (behance); Peter Diamandis (XPRIZE, human longevity inc, planetary resources); Sophia Amoruso (nasty gal); BJ Novak (; Jocko Willink (echelon front); Shay Carl (maker studios); Kevin Kelly (rosetta project, nonprofit — allspeciesfoundation); Jack Dorsey (twitter, square); Ed Cooke (memrise); Naval Ravikant (angellist, vast, epinions); Sam Kass (trove); Edward Norton (crowdrise); Bryan Johnson (OS Fund, Braintree, Kernel);

7. An author/writer/poet: Tim Ferris (nonfic); Jane McGonigal (nonfiction); Derek Sivers (nonfic); Alexis Ohanian (nonfic); Peter thiel (nonfic); Seth Godin (nonfic); James Altucher (nonfic); Scott Adams (nonfic); Ed Catmull (nonfic); Chris Young (nonfic); Daymond John (nonfic); Noah Kagan (SumoMe); Neil Strauss (nonfic); Peter Diamandis (nonfic); Jocko Willink (nonfic); Sebastian Junger (fic); Marc Goodman (nonfic); William MacAskill (nonfic); Kevin Costner (fic); Sam Harris (nonfic); Caroline Paul (nonfic); Kevin Kelly (nonfic); Alain de Botton (nonfic); Cal Fussman (nonfic/fic); Paulo Coelho (fic); Amanda Palmer (nonfic); Margaret Cho (nonfic); Rainn Wilson (nonfic); Tara Brach (nonfic); Richard Betts (nonfic); Malcolm Gladwell (nonfic); Steven Dubner (nonfic); Joshua Waitzkin (nonfic); Brene Brown (nonfic); Sekou Andrews (poet);

8. A doctor: Peter Attia; Justin Mager; Martin Polanco (addiction treatment) & Dan Engle (psychiatry and neurology); BJ Miller (end of life physician);

9. A youtuber: Jane McGonigal (TED); Derek Sivers (TED); Casey Neistat (channel); BJ Miller (TED); Jocko Willink (TED); Shay Carl (channel); Sam Harris (public ‘intellectual’); Alain de Botton (channel); Amanda Palmer (TED); Brene Brown (TED);

10. Cartoonist: Scott Adams (dilbert);

11. Photographer: Chase Jarvis;

12. Podcaster, radio host, or lecturer: Dan Carlin; Alex Blumberg; Tim Ferris; Jocko Willink; Sam Harris; Bryan Callen; Glenn Beck (radio host); Tara Brach; Malcolm Gladwell (revisionist history); Stephen Dubner (freaknomics); Brian Koppelman;

13. A Blogger: Seth Godin; Ramit Sethi (personal finance); Maria Popova (brainpickings); Kevin Kelly (wired);

14. A musician or music producer: Nicholas McCarthy (one handed pianist); Kaskade (leader in progressive house music); Mike Shinoda (linkin park); Justin Boreta (The glitch mob); Rick Rubin (music producer); Margaret Cho (singer songwriter); Jamie Foxx;

15. Law enforcement, a hacker, or a Military Officer: Jocko Willink (special operations); Marc Goodman (law enforcement); Samy Kamkar (hacker); General Stanley (army general), & Chris Fussell (navy seal);

16. A chef: Chris Young; Joshua Skenes (chef-owner); Andrew Zimmern; Sam Kass (private chef);

17. A competition winner or world record holder: Wim Hof (mountain climbing, thermoregulation); Arnold Schwarzengger (competitive bodybuilding); Caroline Paul (early female firefighter); Ed Cooke (memory grandmaster); Joshua Waitzkin (chess);

18. An investor, or business advisor: Adam Gazzaley (science advisor); Chris Sacca (investor); Marc Andreessen (Andreessen Horowitz, venture capital firm); Alexis Ohanian (investor/advisor); Reid Hoffman (investor); Peter Thiel (investor); Phil Libin (investor); Kevin Rose (investor); Scott Belsky (investor, advisor); Eric Weinstein (Thiel Capital); Naval Ravikant (angel investor); Edward Norton (investor); Bryan Johnson (investor);

19. An inventor: Marc Andreessen (Mosaic); Luis Von Ahn (CAPTCHA);

20. Politics, or activism: Arnold Schwarzenneger (governer, climate change and renewable energy policies); Alexis Ohanian (digital rights activism); William MacAskill (effective altruism charity); Sam Kass (childhood obesity policies); Edward Norton (biodiversity, wilderness conservation);

Is this bad?

This is by no means a criticism, just an observation which is hopefully helpful to give perspective to the sampling bias of the book, and interestingly what we as a culture view as successful (or tim ferris at least, and us via proxy of his popularity). I still think its a very enjoyable book worth reading.

Here are my favourite profiles: Dominic D’Agostino; Peter Attia; Chris Sacca; Marc Andreessen; Reid Hoffman; Peter Thiel; Chris Young; Kevin Kelly; Jack Dorsey; and Naval Ravikant.