Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Tim Ferriss

American Author, Entrepreneur, Angel Investor, and Public Speaker

"$1,000,000 in the bank isn't the fantasy. The fantasy is the lifestyle of complete freedom it supposedly allows."

"A goal without real consequences is wishful thinking. Good follow-through doesn't depend on the right intentions. It depends on the right incentives."

"A person?s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have."

"A million dollars in the bank isn't the fantasy. The fantasy is the lifestyle of complete freedom it supposedly allows."

"Age doesn't matter: an open mind does."

"Alternating periods of activity and rest is necessary to survive, let alone thrive. Capacity, interest, and mental endurance all wax and wane. Plan accordingly."

"Answer me this: would you work harder to earn $100 or avoid losing $100? The smiley optimist says the former, but if research from the Center for Experimental Social Science at New York University is any indication, fear of loss is the home-run winner. Experimental groups given $15 and then told the $15 would be rescinded if they lost a subsequent auction routinely overbid the most. Groups offered $15 if they won weren?t nearly as committed."

"Adversity doesn?t build character; it reveals it."

"As I have heard said, a person?s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have. Resolve to do one thing every day that you fear. I got into this habit by attempting to contact celebrities and famous businesspeople for advice."

"All information and interruptions that are irrelevant, unimportant, or unactionable."

"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."

"As you stumble and learn, stumble and learn again, resolve to talk to yourself as if you were your best friend. So no What a #?%$@ idiot! when your BFF smashes an egg on the floor, m'kay? Be cool, like the Fonz."

"At least three time per day at scheduled times, he had to ask himself the following question: Am I being productive or just active? Charney captured the essence of this with less-abstract wording: Am I inventing things to do to avoid the important? He eliminated all of the activities he used as crutches and began to focus on demonstrating results instead of showing dedication. Dedication is often just meaningless work in disguise. Be ruthless and cut the fat."

"As William Gibson, who coined the term cyberspace, has said: The future is already here?it is just unevenly distributed."

"Becoming a member of the new rich is not just about working smarter. It?s about building a system to replace yourself."

"Before spending time on a stress-inducing question or problem, consider this: If you can't define it or act upon it, forget it."

"Being able to quit things that don't work is integral to being a winner."

"Being busy is most often used as a guise for avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable actions. The options are almost limitless for creating ?busyness?: You could call a few hundred unqualified sales leads, reorganize your Outlook contacts, walk across the office to request documents you don?t really need, or fuss with your BlackBerry for a few hours when you should be prioritizing."

"Being called a huckster and a charlatan started several years ago, so that's something I'm accustomed to. In most cases, it doesn't bother me."

"Being busy is a form of laziness - lazy thinking and indiscriminate action."

"Being financially rich and having the ability to live like a millionaire are fundamentally two very different things."

"Believe it or not, it is not only possible to accomplish more by doing less, it is mandatory. Enter the world of elimination."

"Blaming idiots for interruptions is like blaming clowns for scaring children?they can?t help it. It?s their nature. Then again, I had (who am I kidding?and have), on occasion, been known to create interruptions out of thin air. If you?re anything like me, that makes us both occasional idiots. Learn to recognize and fight the interruption impulse. This is infinitely easier when you have a set of rules, responses, and routines to follow."

"Being efficient without regard to effectiveness is the default mode of the universe."

"Being selective?doing less?is the path of the productive. Focus on the important few and ignore the rest."

"Being overwhelmed is often as unproductive as doing nothing, and is far more unpleasant. Being selective ? doing less ? is the path of the productive. Focus on the important few and ignore the rest."

"But you are the average of the five people you associate with most, so do not underestimate the effects of your pessimistic, unambitious, or disorganized friends. If someone isn?t making you stronger, they?re making you weaker."

"Branding is no longer for Fortune 500 companies and Madison Avenue agencies with excessive budgets and inadequate tracking. Personal branding is about managing your name ? even if you don?t own a business ? in a world of misinformation, disinformation, and semi-permanent Google records. Going on a date? Chances are that your ?blind? date has Googled your name. Going to a job interview? Ditto."

"By working only when you are most effective, life is both more productive and more enjoyable. It?s the perfect example of having your cake and eating it, too."

"Changing the world doesn?t require much money. Again, think in terms of empowerment and not charity. How much were Gandhi?s teachers paid? How much did it cost to give Dr. Martin Luther King the books that catalyzed his mind and actions? Just imagine that you and your friends make $40,000 per year. Imagine that you convince just 5 of them to join you in building a children?s school in Nepal dedicated to your parents (or your lifelong friendship). The total cost? 5 people x $3,000 each= $15,000. I know that most people, myself included, will put $3,000 of crap on credit cards in the next few months that could instead create a miracle? a miracle that you can visit. You and your friends could plan the trip of a lifetime in 6-18 months to visit the completed school, teeming with dozens or hundreds of students who greet you with smiles and thank you letters. You?ll know it?s your school because your names will be on the door."

"By using money as the scapegoat and work as our all-consuming routine, we are able to conveniently disallow ourselves to do otherwise: 'John, I'd love to talk about the gaping void I feel in my life, the hopelessness that hits me like a punch in the eye every time I start my computer in the morning, but I have so much work to do! I've got at least three hours of unimportant email to reply to before calling prospects who said 'no' yesterday. Gotta run!"

"Compile your to-do list for tomorrow no later than this evening."

"Creating demand is hard. Filling demand is easier. Don't create a product, then seek someone to sell it to. Find a market - define your customers - then find or develop a product for them."

"Conditions are never perfect. ?Someday? is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. If it?s important to you and you want to do it ?eventually?, just do it and correct course along the way."

"Do not expect work to fill a void that non-work relationships and activities should. Work is not all of life. Your co-workers shouldn?t be your only friends. Schedule life and defend it just as you would an important business meeting. Never tell yourself ?I?ll just get it done this weekend.?"

"Doing less meaningless work, so that you can focus on things of greater personal importance, is NOT laziness. This is hard for most people to accept, because our culture [American] tends to reward personal sacrifice instead of personal productivity."

"Do not underestimate the effects of your pessimistic, unambitious, or disorganized friends. If someone isn?t making you stronger, they?re making you weaker."

"Different is better when it is more effective or more fun."

"Do not e-mail first thing in the morning or last thing at night. The former scrambles your priorities and plans for the day, and the latter just gives you insomnia. E-mail can wait until 10am, after you?ve completed at least one of your critical to-do item."

"Do not carry a cellphone or Crackberry 24/7. Take at least one day off of digital leashes per week. Turn them off or, better still, leave them in the garage or in the car. I do this on at least Saturday, and I recommend you leave the phone at home if you go out for dinner. So what if you return a phone call an hour later or the next morning? As one reader put it to a miffed co-worker who worked 24/7 and expected the same: ?I?m not the president of the US. No one should need me at 8pm at night. OK, you didn?t get a hold of me. But what bad happened?? The answer? Nothing."

"Do not over-communicate with low-profit, high-maintenance customers. There is no sure path to success, but the surest path to failure is trying to please everyone. Do an 80/20 analysis of your customer base in two ways which 20% are producing 80%+ of my profit, and which 20% are consuming 80%+ of my time? Then put the loudest and least productive on autopilot by citing a change in company policies. Send them an e-mail with new rules as bullet points: number of permissible phone calls, e-mail response time, minimum orders, etc. Offer to point them to another provider if they can?t conform to the new policies."

"Doing something unimportant well does not make it important. Requiring a lot of time does not make a task important."

"Don?t confuse the complex with the difficult. Most situations are simple?many are just emotionally difficult to act upon."

"Don?t follow a model that doesn?t work. If the recipe sucks, it doesn?t matter how good a cook you are."

"Don?t save it all for the end. There is every reason not to."

"Don?t suffer fools or you?ll become one."

"Emphasize strengths, don?t fix weaknesses."

"Dreamline Questions: What are you good at? What could you be the best at? What makes you happy? What excites you? What makes you feel accomplished and good about yourself? What are you most proud of having accomplished in your life? Can you repeat this or further develop it? What do you enjoy sharing or experiencing with other people?"

"Effectiveness is doing the things that get you closer to your goals. Efficiency is performing a given task (whether important or not) in the most economical manner possible. Being efficient without regard to effectiveness is the default mode of the universe."

"Dreamlining is so named because it applies timelines to what most would consider dreams."