Tools and Mentors

I blame Kevin Rose.

Back in the early days of podcasts I listened to quite a bit of tech-focused pods because they were on the bleeding edge of this new medium. One of my favorites was Diggnation with Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht. Basically, it was two tech nerds sitting on a couch, drinking beer, and laughing at the internet. It was on one of these episodes that I heard about Tim Ferriss.

Remember when Super Size Me came out? That move about how you could literally die if you ate only McDonalds for a month. Well, Tim does that kind of stuff. He’s a literal human guinea pig for health, productivity, mindfulness, and so much more. Although I doubt he’s taken a fast food death march. Since hearing about him from Kevin Rose I’ve kept up with Tim’s blog, podcast, and books. His first few books, part of a “four-hour” trilogy, were centered on trying to improve the quality of your work life, understanding your health, and learning how to learn. I casually looked through them, but none of them really connected with me.

Until these two came along.

After experimenting on himself to discover new ways to develop muscle or the most efficient way to cook a steak, it seemed like Tim decided to turn the microscope, so to speak, on the most successful people he could find. Tools for Titans is a series of dozens of short interviews with some of the most interesting people in the world. Curious about addiction advice? It’s in there. Looking to streamline your morning routine? That’s in there, too. Wanna get into meditation? This book has you covered. It’s not really a book that you sit down and read front to back. Just have it out and when you have five minutes open it up and learn something new.

The other side of this coin is Tribe of Mentors. Although it’s similar in scope and format, the presentation is different. Here, Tim painstakingly came up with a set of 11 questions to ask a series of people as if they were your mentor. (The chapter on how he devised, edited, and arranged the questions is worth the price of the book alone—especially for interviewers.) My colleague Andy Ellis is a recent convert to these last two Tim books and he has since bought the set for his son as well.

Of course, none of this advice means anything unless you put it into context and action. For me, it’s 30 days. What is it for you?