The most addictive book I have read in years is Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World. Tim Ferriss invited dozens of fascinating people to answer a series of set questions, and the result is a big thick door-stopper full of their responses. Each section is just a few pages, creating a book that can be read in any order, dipped into and out of for any length of time. If you have anywhere from five minutes to five hours, spend it with Tribe of Mentors.
The book begins with Ferriss’s own questions upon turning 40:
Were my goals my own, or simply what I thought I should want?
How much of life had I missed from underplanning or overplanning?
How could I be kinder to myself?
How could I better say no to the noise to better say yes to the adventures I craved?
How could I best reassess my life, my priorities, my view of the world, my place in the world, and my trajectory through the world?
What would this look like if it were easy?
He went on to compose the set list of eleven questions that he would pose to the most awesome people he could find.
There’s almost guaranteed to be a section including someone you admire or find intriguing. Participants run the gamut from famous actors, comedians, writers, and athletes to other interesting people who are not exactly household names. I was excited that the book includes a number of people whose work I’ve reviewed on this blog: Gretchen Rubin! Stephen Pressfield! Mr. Money Mustache! Brene’ Brown! Seriously, everyone is in this book, from David Lynch to Bear Grylls. Tim Ferriss should have a gala and invite all of these people, just to see who is first to jump into the swimming pool wearing a tuxedo.
What I really loved about this book is that the answers are so idiosyncratic. Much of the time, they go against mainstream advice. Part of the time, they’re so unique to the individual that the standard advice seems to come from an entirely different, irrelevant universe.
Competition is the opposite of creativity. The idea that we learn the most from failures is wrong. In creative fields, networking actually hurts you. Don’t find an area of expertise. Ignore the concept of ‘being yourself.’ “When everyone is saying no, you know you’re doing something right.” These concepts, taken out of concept, don’t necessarily make sense and won’t necessarily help guide anyone to better life outcomes. That’s why “quotes” can be something like the opposite of advice. While this is an extremely quotable book, it’s best to read the anecdotes in full.
I loved this book, and I’ll probably go back and re-read sections of it. It’s introduced me to people I wish I had heard of sooner, like obstacle racer Amelia Boone, and reminded me that, hey! Tim Ferriss has a podcast where he conducts this type of interview all the time! I have a copy of Tools of Titans and I’m going after that next.
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.