7 Key Ideas From Tim Ferriss and His Tribe of Mentors
What I Learned From 600+ Pages of Actionable Advice
You may have heard of Tim Ferriss’ most recent best seller: Tribe of Mentors. If you haven’t, it’s a 623 page self-improvement book that interviews top performers in their respective fields. Each ‘Mentor’ provides the reader with short pieces of advice. As a big fan of Tim and the podcast, I decided to check it out. In the end, I was not disappointed.
It’s often tough to break down books with the amount of diverse content that Tribe of Mentors has. My process involved taking note of any passages that resonated with me. Then after completion, I went back through my notes and further explored the most impactful.
Through this process, I’ve compiled the 7 most powerful ideas from Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss. These pearls of wisdom each stem from diverse experiences but apply to almost anything. You’ll find each excerpt or quote below immediately followed by my commentary.
Tim Ferriss on Getting Uncomfortable
“Success can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations we are willing to have, and by the number of uncomfortable actions we are willing to take.” — Tim Ferriss
This excerpt from Tim immediately made me think of a quote that has always struck a cord with me:
“Life begins at the end of one’s comfort zone” — Neale Donald Walsch
What made this particular passage stand out to me was the phrase, “uncomfortable conversation”.
As an introvert, I can say this is one thing that I struggle with daily. Trying new things or taking on challenges present only a fraction of the resistance that I feel having to start an uncomfortable conversation.
But as uncomfortable as it may be, we can’t do everything on our own.
We need to collaborate. We need to reach out to others. We need to have conversations, especially the uncomfortable kind.
Ralph Waldo Emerson on Principles
“As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Adaptability and conceptual intelligence will always trump a method-focused approach in the long term.
This holds true especially in a world where technology progresses at the speed of light. Tools and technologies all eventually come and go but principles move forward with time.
This can be explained well in the context of programming. Take an employee that masters several packages (methods) and compare him with another employee that understands the behind the scenes workings (principles). It’s going to be the latter of which that excels when the company pivots to a new language or tool.
Keep in mind that learning methods is still important for short-term success. However, if we can figure out ways to learn new methods while still driving home important principles, then we’ll all be better off.
Adam Robinson on Trends
“They believe the trend makes no sense. But what makes no sense is their model of the world. That’s what doesn’t make sense. The world always makes sense.” — Adam Robinson
We all see this phenomenon on a day-to-day basis.
Any decisions or predictions we make are founded on some sort of data that we collected. This data is then put through filters in our mind that alter our perception and induce different types of bias.
Just because the data or some heuristic (rule of thumb) is telling us that one thing should occur does not guarantee it by any means.
This is especially applicable in the growing field of machine learning. It’s easy to blame the data or model for lack of performance, but it comes down to the fact that our model of the world is often incorrect.
Embrace the unpredictability and the challenges that arise with it.
Ann Miura-Ko on Future Thinking
“In a world where we emphasize the creation of new products through rapid iteration and experimentation, we often forget to step back and make sure that the future we are racing to is one we want to create.” — Ann Miura-Ko
It seems that we can’t escape the constant buzz regarding innovation and iteration. But it’s more important now than ever to consider the long term effects of what we build.
There is a price to pay for all the rapid growth. This price comes in the form of attention-sucking newsfeeds and biased prediction algorithms.
Will top companies begin to focus more on morale issues and humanitarian thinking and less on daily active users and gross income?
With more powerful technology comes more powerful outcomes, both good and bad.
The answer to the this question will likely determine which road we go down.
Gary Vaynerchuk on Priorities
“Macro patience, micro speed. They should not care about the next eight years, but they should stress the next eight days.” — Gary Vaynerchuk
This is an outstanding way to look at things.
Yes, it’s important for long-term planning but the present should be priority number one at all times.
I set new “long-short term” goals every month and then track them daily. It’s important to realize that the micro makes up the macro.
Be patient and continue to put in mindful, deliberate work and let the macro happen on it’s own.
Tim O’Reilly on Technology
“It isn’t technology that eliminates jobs, it’s the shortsighted business decisions that use technology simply to cut costs and fatten corporate profits. The point of technology isn’t to make money. It’s to solve problems!” — Tim O’Reilly
With all the ethical issues stemming from big tech, this concept needs to be cemented in the minds of the next generation of tech leaders.
Technology doesn’t create these problems, misuse of the technology does. The proper management of new technologies to solve problems and better the world we live in needs attention.
Instead aiming for disruption, aim to create value. If the value leads to a better future then disruption will come in spades.
Darren Aronofsky on Originality
“If you put ten people in a room and they have to choose an ice cream flavor, they’re gonna arrive at vanilla. There is always constant pressure to conform. But originality only happens on the edges of reality.” — Darren Aronofsky
It’s impossible to produce interesting work by constantly playing to the middle of the pack.
To be unique and original, you first have to resist the temptation to conform. This isn’t always easy, especially when trying to push the edge or do something fresh and new.
The edges of reality are scary. But if that’s where originality is, then that’s where I want to be. I’ll see you there.
Call to Action
These short pieces of advice can be extremely helpful if used correctly. That doesn’t mean consuming the information and moving on with your day. I suggest that you to write something down and actively plan out tangible steps for incorporating the concept into your life.
Start small and don’t forget to celebrate the near wins. Good luck.