Published in 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Tim Ferriss‘ book Tools of Titans offers the tactics, routines, and habits of 100+ billionaires, icons, and world-class performers to help humans better live healthy, wealthy, and wise.
“Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.”
- How successful would you be today if:
- 15 years ago you had started a 50/50 business partnership with Bill Gates?
- Warren Buffet himself gave you stock market advice?
- The Dalai Lama were your personal guide to happiness?
- Arnold Schwarzenegger were your personal trainer?
- You and Mother Teresa ran a charity together?
2. What if you could access and copy all of the advice, tips, and tricks that those before you spent a lifetime learning, while avoiding the pain, suffering, and costs associated with learning those lessons?
“The harder I work, the luckier I get.”
While you may never be lucky enough to have immediate access to the most ambitious, intellectual, and innovative humans on the planet, what if:
- There were people who were ‘lucky’ enough to have access to them,
- Those people were wise enough to distill all of their information into well-organized and thought-provoking books, blogs, documentaries, and podcasts, and
- Those people made their research available to you at a reasonable price?
The utility of studying catalogue books
In his book How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read, Pierre Bayard, a literary professor who frequently finds himself in the uncomfortable position of having to talk about – and give his professional opinion on – books and authors whom he isn’t familiar with, offers 12 techniques to competently asserting your opinion upon books you haven’t read. One strategy of particular relevance to Tools of Titans is by studying catalogue books and systems which amass only the most pertinent of information into a short, concise read, thus making it possible to to have only the most potent of information so readily available. Never before in the history of humanity have we had so much access to such a wealth of information.
If one book by one successful person is lifechanging, imagine how interesting you would be at your next cocktail party, and how much better your critical thinking skills would be if you were to only read catalogue books and blogs?
Claims shouldn’t be taken seriously until they are put into context with all the work as a whole, and “a study says…” should include reputable sourcing and context, or it shouldn’t be mentioned at all.
In his lecture Critical Thinking: Keys To Critical Thinking & Thinking About Dubious Claims, Ray Hymen argues that when you think about any kind of claim, the most important issue to think about is the quality of the information and supporting data behind that claim. Garbage in; garbage in. It doesn’t matter how advanced your critical thinking skills are, if your original information is wrong, any solutions you arrive at will be flawed. Therefore it’s imperative to make sure you’re starting with good data. The problem is that good data is very, very hard to come across.
Why? Recall in Brad Frost’s lecture Death to Bullshit that 90% of everything is crap and Ray Hyman’s lecture How & When to Override The Autonomous Mind that information pollution in the internet age is that, with freedom of speech combined with the ability to instantly publish anything you want immediately and without verification, as information accumulates in any field of study, high-quality information in a particular subject tends to grow in a linear fashion, while the total amount of information on that same particular subject tends to grow as a cube, meaning as more and more information accumulates on that particular subject, it becomes harder and harder to rummage through the useless, fake, polluted information in order to locate the high-quality information because it’s unavoidably mixed in with crap. This will only get worse.