Book Review- Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers

Lessons learned from Tools of Titans. A Words With Jennifer book review.


Tim Ferriss calls himself a “compulsive note-taker”, having notebook after notebook lining the shelves in his home. His book, Tools of Titans, was to be “the notebook to end all notebooks”. Using podcast transcripts, handwritten notes, text messages, phone calls, and such, he created a playbook of everything he’d learned from the guests he interviewed on The Tim Ferris Show. 

The book is organized into three parts-Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise, loosely based on Benjamin Franklin’s quote, “Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

 During my initial reading of the Healthy section, I was unsure if the book was going to be useful. A lot of the information went over my head because my idea of healthy living is not eating sugar, aiming for 10,000 steps and day, and thinking about yoga and weight-lifting. The Healthy gurus in Tools of Titans talk about things like, hydrolyzed gelatin, ketogenic diets, and checking biomarkers every eight weeks, words and topics way out of my knowledge base. 

Ferris actually encourages you to skip sections that don’t appeal, but to do so with thought. What are you skipping and why? Maybe the topics you are avoiding have “created blind spots, bottlenecks, or unresolved issues.”

In my case, I need to go back to the Healthy section with a willingness to do some research on the things I don’t know. Lord knows, I could use some help in the healthy living arena.

So many dog-eared pages because there was so much good content!

So many dog-eared pages because there was so much good content!

Despite my hesitation, I did pick up a few ideas from the Healthy section & dozens more from the Wealthy and Wise sections. Here are just two of the ideas I took from Tools of Titans.

  1. Chade-Meng Tan gives a 10-second exercise in his public talks. The exercise is to identify two people in the room and think, “I wish for this person to be happy and I wish for that person to be happy.” You can do the same thing at home, thinking of any two people from your life. Or do it out in public, wishing happiness for two random strangers. Try it! Thinking purposefully on someone else’s happiness for just 10 seconds really does something uplifting for your mind and soul. (I’ll give you bonus points if you wish happiness for someone you don’t like.)

  2. Peter Diamandis says, “If I asked you to spend $1 billion improving the world, solving a problem, what would you do?” My immediate thought: I would support writers. As an avid reader, I love writers. Writers have entertained me, offered distraction, taught me things, shown me different worlds, opened up ideas and opportunities. I love, love, love writers. It would be an honor to give back to them as they have given me so much.

I really can’t do justice to the book because it is a robust 670 pages and there is no way to absorb all the information and ideas from just one reading. It’s a book you will refer to again and again and each time you’ll learn something new. Tools of Titans is an essential resource.

Have you read Tools of Titans? What was your favorite takeaway? Let me know in the comments.