“Put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.”
- Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very’; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”
- Mark Twain
Writing isn’t a clean process.
In general, attempting to be creative isn’t a clean process. It’s filthy. I wish I could poo diamonds, but — alas — I am not built for such miracles. Instead, I plod and stumble my way through revisions, hacking at mental cobwebs and killing inner demons. Eventually, enough caffeine and wine permitting, I might look down and see something that doesn’t make me gag.
To give you an idea, below are some hand edits of the Introduction to The 4-Hour Chef, which–much improvement later–hit the NYT and WSJ bestseller lists in November of 2012. As I write this, it’s hovering around #180 on Amazon. Keep in mind that the below is after 5-10 drafts:
Download a full-size PDF of my edits here
Even this simple blog post, as one example, was revised and rewritten 14 times. The iteration pays off — it ended up getting 700+ comments. Conversely, one-take wonders usually get burned at the stake, and rightly so.
“Revising,” “iterating” (in start-up speak), “editing”…no matter what you call it, it’s tweaking something bad or mediocre until it finally works. As Ernest Hemingway said, “The first draft of anything is shit.”
This applies to much more than writing. Ernest would no doubt agree that my first attempt at a blog was shittier than shitty. Here are the “before” pics from 2007. Note that my friend Ramit Sethi and others had equally hideous “rough drafts” of their sites. It’s par for the course… Read More
Jony Ive and his elite design team at Apple are coffee snobs. And rightfully so.
Coffee is the fuel that drives their brainstorming sessions, which are arguably the most important meetings in the design department. These sessions are where Apple has birthed some of the greatest products of all-time: the iMac, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad.
In this guest post by Leander Kahney (author of Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products), you’ll learn the secret coffee ritual performed by Jony Ive’s design team.
Remember: Apple’s standards are notoriously high. As is the case with their products, Apple’s coffee is not for those with meager budgets…or without Monk-ish tendencies.
HOWEVER, for almost every uber-expensive ideal, I’ve indicated the Poor Man’s alternative that I personally use. It’s not hard to cheaply get it about 90% right.
Enjoy the obsessive detail… Read More
The big night has come: the premiere of The Tim Ferriss Experiment!
Starting now (3pm PT, 6pm ET) and ending around 8pm PT/11pm ET on December 1st, I’ll be doing everything possible to get #TFX to trend high on Twitter. If you’re seeing this the day after, it’s still important!
This is a new critical metric that TV show execs are using to determine success or failure. Traditional Nielsen rankings aren’t enough.
Want to see my attempts to deconstruct parkour, professional poker, guns, language learning, and much more? Please help me ensure this first episode does well!
See below for how you can best help…
FIRST, WHAT I’LL BE DOING
- Live Twitter Q&A from 4:30pm PT (7:30pm ET) to at least 6pm PT (9pm ET). Ask me anything, but you must include #TFX.
- Giveaways! I’ll be giving away super cool stuff, including:
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
If you’re up for it (and it’d mean the world to me), here are the things you can do to help. This TV show has been years in the making…
- If you have cable, tune in to “The Tim Ferriss Experiment” on HLN at 5pm PT (8pm ET). If you can’t make it today, please DVR it and watch in the next few days. It counts.
- If you don’t have cable, please watch the show online starting at exactly 5pm PT (8pm ET). YouTube is here, and iTunes is here. I’ll offer play-by-play commentary and live Twitter Q&A on what you’re seeing.
- In any case, please participate in the live Twitter Q&A and giveaways! Use #TFX as much as possible. Original tweets are worth more than retweets of other people.
- Do whatever you can to get people to use #TFX on Twitter between now and midnight! Rally the troops, your friends, your mailing lists, your Facebook friends, your imaginary friends… Offer giveaways of your own using #TFX, reuse your most popular tweets using #TFX, etc.In short, as Gary Oldman in The Professional would say:
IMAGES OF QUOTES & ANIMATED GIFS
Special thanks to Brendan Gahan, who helped organized the below materials.
Sharing any of the below helps ensure I can film more episodes for y’all. Thank you in advance! Much more content coming (about Jony Ive, actually) soon. Here goes…
If you feel so inclined, below are some images with quotes from the show as well as a few fun animated gifs for you to easily share. Please note, if you download the images and upload any of them your Twitter account directly, it will take up a bit more real estate in the newsfeed (and lead to more exposure for the show). Have fun and enjoy.
One of the best ways to learn something fast is to set stakes #TFX (IMAGE )
Innoculate yourself against making mistakes when you’re afraid #TFX (IMAGE 1) (IMAGE 2)
What other impossibles do I have in my life, that I should really question? #TFX (IMAGE 1) (IMAGE 2) (IMAGE 3)
D.I.S.S. Deconstruction, Selection, Sequencing & Stakes #TFX (IMAGE 1)
What’s up now David Lee Roth? #TFX (IMAGE 1)
M.E.D. The Minimum Effective Dose to unlock this song #TFX (IMAGE 1)
Swewart showing me the ‘annoying things guitarists do’ (GIF)
That annoying thing guitarists really do, do #TFX (GIF)
The pressure. The pressure. (GIF)
The 80/20 rule (GIF)
Stewart drumming like he lives in The Matrix #TFX (GIF)
QUOTES TO TWEET
I’ve pulled some of my all time favorite quotes, as well as some memorable lines from the show. You can simply click to tweet.
Some of my all time favorites:
“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” – George Bernard Shaw #TFX (Click To Tweet)
“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”#TFX – Winston Churchill (Click To Tweet)
“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” #TFX – George Bernard Shaw (Click To Tweet)
“Worrying is like praying for what you don’t want.” #TFX via Aileen Norton Swift (Click To Tweet)
“A goal is not always meant to be reached. It often serves simply as something to aim at.” #TFX – Bruce Lee (Click To Tweet)
What other impossibles do I have in my life, that I should really question? #TFX (Click To Tweet)
Memorable lines from the show:
What other impossibles do I have in my life, that I should really question? #TFX (Click To Tweet)
What’s up now David Lee Roth #TFX (Click To Tweet)
I need to figure out the minimum effective dose to learning this song, the smallest piece I can focus on to pull this off #TFX (Click To Tweet)
One of the best ways to learn something fast is to set stakes. #TFX (Click To Tweet)
Innoculate yourself against making mistakes when you’re afraid #TFX (Click To Tweet)
Thank you in advance for your support. It’s what keeps me going.
You asked, and I heard you.
To those outside of the US, and to those of you who don’t own TVs — we’ve done two things:
- All episodes of The Tim Ferriss Experiment will be available on iTunes.
– The first full episode is entirely free and available everywhere online! This includes…
Just for this post, I’ve disabled comments below. Please let me know what you think of Episode One on this page! This has been a labor of love, and I hope you enjoy it.
ALSO: For the TV premiere — 8pm ET (5pm PT) this Sunday on HLN — I will be live tweeting (#TFX) from about 7:30-9pm ET (4:30pm-6pm PT), including Q&A, giveaways, and behind-the-scenes goodies. Please join me!
Much more to come…
The book Vagabonding traveled with me around the globe for 18 months.
This post is a dream come true.
Starting in college, I’ve fantasized about somehow driving fantastic but under-appreciated books into the limelight. I have a soft spot for out-of-print tomes and niche publications.
Flash forward, nearly 15 years later…
After three #1 bestsellers, I’ve finally pulled the trigger. For the last several months, I’ve been quietly buying audiobook and e-book rights to books that have changed my life, and producing audiobooks in professional studios.
This post launches the Tim Ferriss Book Club, and the first book is incredible: Vagabonding.
Why a Book Club?
There are several reasons… Read More
Sometimes, life seems upside-down.
I originally wrote this post months ago, but I’ve been too self-conscious to publish it until now. This quote convinced me to put on my big girl pants:
“The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.”
- Neil Gaiman
University of the Arts Commencement Speech
So, here goes, and I hope it helps at least a few of you.
A few months ago, I had a birthday party.
A dozen friends and I gathered for several days of wonderful sun, beach, and catching up. On the last day, I didn’t get up until 11:30am, knowing full well that the last remaining friends were leaving at 12 noon.
I was afraid of being alone.
Like a child, I hid my head under the covers (literally) and hit snooze until reality couldn’t be postponed any further.
But…why am I telling you this?… Read More
Photo: Stuck in Customs
Preface by Tim
This post is a follow-up to “How to Create a Million-Dollar Business This Weekend (Examples: AppSumo, Mint, Chihuahuas).”
The purpose of this guest post — written by Noah Kagan — is to show you exactly how a postal worker created a $4,000 per month muse. Included are all the tests, e-mail templates, and details you’d need to replicate his success.
Noah was employee #30 at Facebook, #4 at Mint, had previously worked for Intel (where he frequently took naps under his desk), and had turned down a six-figure offer from Yahoo. Since we first met, Noah’s helped create several multi-million dollar businesses, including AppSumo, loved by entrepreneurs everywhere.
For those interested in mentorship, don’t miss the end of this post.
There’s a time-sensitive chance to visit San Francisco for a week… to be mentored in-person by Noah and yours truly. Read More
The following is a guest post by Shane Snow, a frequent contributor to Wired and Fast Company. It includes photographs of some fun bookshelves, including yours truly (Tim Ferriss). CLICK ALL IMAGES TO ENLARGE.
They say a person’s eyes are “the window to the soul.”
I am not very good at pupil-based soul-reading, but I’ve found that I can learn a lot about a person by the books on his or her shelf. When I go to someone’s house or office for the first time, my favorite thing to do is check out the bookshelf.
Here’s what’s on mine:
(click to enlarge any and all photos in this post)
Storytelling is a powerful force, as I’m a fan of reminding people. Stories—fiction and non—make ideas stick; they change minds and shape us in often subconscious ways. I believe the mind of a well-read person is heavily influenced by the books of her past.
A few weeks ago, I decided to conduct a little experiment.
I emailed a few friends and people I admired and asked them if I could see photographs of their bookshelves (or book stacks or Kindle screens). Just about everybody said, “yes.” The experiment soon metastasized, and I started pestering thought leaders in spaces I followed–tech, advertising, philanthropy–to see what books the innovators cared enough about to allot real estate.
Soon, I had more photos than I knew what to do with. Here are some of my favorites:
Hilary Mason, Chief Scientist at bit.ly and one of the smartest women in American tech
Fred Wilson, Partner at Union Square Ventures and the man responsible for investments in Tumblr, Etsy, CodeAcademy, KickStarter, Meetup, Soundcloud, Twitter, Behance, and StackExchange… Read More
After ages of planning, I’m VERY excited to share big news with you all.
Starting this December 1st, I will have my own primetime TV show, airing Sundays at 8pm on HLN, formerly known as CNN Headline News. I’m both host and co-executive producer, and I’m currently filming my ass off. It’s all part of a big Turner Broadcasting initiative called Upwave.
Here are the basics:
Name of show: The Tim Ferriss Experiment (TFX)
The premise: Showing viewers how to become superhuman through better tools and tricks, not better genetics.
Easily thought of as: “Anthony Bourdain meets Jason Bourne” or “Jackass meets A Beautiful Mind”
Production company: Zero Point Zero (ZPZ), the team behind Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and Parts Unknown.
Spirit animal: Ocelot.
In his #1 bestsellers, “The 4-Hour Workweek,” “The 4-Hour Body” and “The 4-Hour Chef,” Tim Ferriss proposes radically counter-intuitive solutions that take readers from zero to hero in minimal time.
Newsweek calls him “the world’s best human guinea pig,” as he tests the extremes for the rest of us. He believes that nearly any skill can be “hacked” and learned in 1/100th the time most people expect… but can he do it in a matter of days?
The Tim Ferriss Experiment (TFX) will push Ferriss to the breaking point as he attempts just that.
In each episode, Tim will find the world’s most unorthodox teachers and – together — demystify some of the world’s coolest and most dangerous skills. Sometimes he’ll succeed, and other times, he’ll fail spectacularly while risking life and limb.
Tim believes that there is the potential for greatness in every “normal” person, and as he overcomes his own fears each week, he’ll help viewers do the same.
[TIM NOTE: Sorry I can't share exact episodes yet, but just imagine Jason Bourne + my biggest fears + my personal bucket list, all wrapped into one. What would *you* like to see me tackle? Please let me know in the comments, as we still have a few open slots!]
How You Can Join Me
Would you like to join me for a week? Here is one opportunity, which expires tonight (Sorry!) at midnight: Swim with Tim. There will be more fun opportunities if you miss this one.
Next: would you like to interview me about TFX for your TV show, magazine, radio program, podcast, blog, e-mail newsletter, or other? It would mean the world to me, and I have plenty of insider stories and takeaways. If interested in discussing options, please fill out this short form here.
More details coming soon!
Thank you all so much for your support. It’s what keeps me going.
The dream is simple: get your product in the hands of celebrities or “influencers,” and they create a ripple effect that skyrockets you to fame and fortune.
What if Kim Kardashian tweets about you?
What if Hugh Jackman wears your custom shirts on the red carpet?
What if a top blogger includes you in a top-10 list?
What if you got a mention on The Office or another primetime show?
Sadly, sampling to “stars” seldom works out.
People who move the needle get a TON of stuff sent to them. The pic below is just part of my mail, and I’m not even a real celeb! Blurb and blog promotion requests received in one day, with the exception of one book:
So…how do YOU break through the noise?
This guest post will teach you. It’s written by Marc Ecko, founder of Marc Ecko Enterprises, a global fashion and lifestyle company. I wanted Marc to write this post because — in my opinion — he’s an expert at selling yourself without selling out. As CNBC put it, “Marc is living proof that you can be a marketing and business whiz and still be a true artist.”
Once a graffiti artist with no connections, Marc left the safety net of pharmacy school to start his own clothing company. Using hustle and creativity, he turned a $5,000 bag of cash into a global corporation worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
He created a lot of this success by repeatedly getting his products to impossible-to-reach icons (e.g. Spike Lee, Chuck D) and planning elaborate PR stunts (e.g. Air Force One graffiti hoax; buying Barry Bonds’ homerun record baseball and letting online votes determine its fate).
This post will explain his 10 rules — the do’s and don’ts — of his unique “swag bomb” approach to getting influencer attention. I agree with all of them.
Enjoy, replicate, and prosper… Read More