The very first Quantified Self meetup, held at Kevin Kelly’s home. Here, Dr. Seth Roberts is speaking, and I’m seated third from the right. (Photo: Kevin Kelly)
Below are the notes I took at the very first Quantified Self meet-up on 9/10/08.
It was held in the picturesque home of Kevin Kelly, the founding editor of WIRED magazine. Surrounded by books, wood paneling, and white boards, we had one hell of a jam session.
From that small, 28-person gathering, “QS” has since grown into a pop-culture term and international phenomenon, with organizations in more than 20 countries. Forbes has even called 2013 “The Year of the Quantified Self.”
TF: But what about “inspiration”? Does it exist for you?
For me, inspiration is primarily energy. If I feel energy for a paragraph or a description I can almost always get to the essence of it. If I feel dead to myself, I don’t have a chance. I am always looking for energy. Where can I find it? What or who can give it to me? How can I amp up what I have?
A story can help us here. An older friend of mine was once depressed about his advancing years. He lacked zest or motivation for his regular gym workouts. He couldn’t concentrate on his career. One evening this man found himself in an elevator with a woman, a housekeeper who had worked for him in the past. But she was wearing outside clothes, a tight fitting sweater. She was young and beautiful. They talked a little. There was chemistry. She got off the elevator at his floor. They chatted in the hall. She said that she found him attractive. But he could feel this even before she said the words. She embraced him. And that was it. Nothing more happened between them. He was married and not looking for an affair. But he felt a big surge of life. He felt renewed, deeply so. There was a bounce to his step. He returned to the gym feeling ten years younger… There are many ways to experience the girl in the elevator.
If I’m beginning an important new project I try to get away for a few days to feel a different spirit–islands work for me. My mother was a great painter. She spent much of her life on Martha’s Vineyard because the tree line outside her house felt ominous and that spurred her work along with the sound and smell of the ocean.
I look for energy all over the place. Often just riding my bike along the river for three miles from my house to the office heightens my mood. Then I make a cup of green tea and look at my work from the previous evening. I always read back several pages before I try to write anything new. Moving back through interesting material seems to give me momentum to push ahead… Read More
Total read time: 20 minutes
Bolded read time (as a teaser): 4 minutes
I first met Josh Waitzkin at a coffee shop in Manhattan.
About 15 minutes into sipping coffee and getting acquainted, I was thrilled to realize that he dropped f-bombs as much as I did. He was no Rain Man, and I felt silly for half expecting him to be. If you’ve read the bestselling book Searching for Bobby Fischer (or seen the movie), then you know of Josh.
Wandering through Washington Square Park with his mom at age six, he became fascinated with the “blitz chess” that the street hustlers played at warp speed. He watched and absorbed. Then he begged his mom to let him give it a shot. Just once! Soon thereafter, dressed in OshKosh overalls, he was king of the hustlers.
Josh proceeded to dominate the world chess scene and become the only person to win the National Primary, Elementary, Junior High School, Senior High School, U.S. Cadet, and U.S. Junior Closed chess championships before the age of 16. He could easily play “simuls,” in which 20–50 chessboards were set up with opponents in a large banquet hall, requiring him to walk from table to table playing all of the games simultaneously in his head.
He was labeled a “prodigy.”
I disagree with this labeling because Josh has a process for mastery, and he’s applied it to many fields, not just chess. As it turns out, he’s not the only one in his family with this skill. His father, Fred Waitzkin, has processes and tricks he uses for writing both non-fiction (he wrote Searching for Bobby Fischer) and fiction… Read More
Screenshot of my first video “letter” to Quarterly subscribers.
Roughly 2-3 weeks ago, my first Quarterly package shipped out to subscribers, including many of you.
The theme of my Quarterly mailings is obsession–the ideas and objects I just can’t get out of my head. I get obsessed with all kinds of things. Sometimes I’m hooked on a great health product or travel gadget. Other times, I find a new productivity booster or incredible book through my experiments and research.
I never know what I’ll get obsessed with next, and that surprise factor is what makes obsessions great.
Here’s what the first box looked like (click to enlarge)!
The descriptions are below… and just wait until you see what’s next!… Read More
In 2012, Merrell themselves noticed that I wore Merrell. DMs were sent, and the seeds of a partnership were born. Today, I’m thrilled to formally announce that I’m collaborating with Merrell in 2013 to get more people outdoors. Of course, they want to move product, but I’m happy to help. Why? Because I already love their stuff, and the new minimal shoes are precisely what I wanted and wrote about in The 4-Hour Body. The soles of the M Connect line are designed by Vibram but less socially awkward than their Gecko-feet variety, which I’d stopped wearing.
I’ll be doing a lot with Merrell using their Twitter and Facebook accounts (keep reading), so you might want to follow them here: Merrell Twitter Merrell Facebook
I’d also like to give away some shoes! Just answer both of these questions in the comments below:
- What does “connection” mean to you?
- What are your favorite bodyweight-only exercises?
The best 10 responses will get 10 pairs (one pair each) of Merrell shoes: 8 domestic US winners and 2 international winners. All answers are due no later than 5pm PST on Tuesday, March 12.
Live Events and Q&A — Saturday and Monday
I will be doing a few live events today, Saturday:
Then, next Monday (March 11), a free 2-hour Q&A on Twitter:
Here’s how it works:
- Go to @merrelloutside and follow them.
- Starting 9pm EST, ask any questions you like in the following format “@tferriss @merrelloutside [Insert question]?” Anything is fair game, and I’ll do my best to answer as many as possible.
Thank you to everyone who helped make this book a reality. It was all worth it.
Thank you to my incredible family.
Thank you to my wonderfully supportive girlfriend.
Thank you to every one of you, my dear readers. You’re the reason I keep writing.
To become a Grand Master of Memory–fewer than 100 in the world can claim that title–you need to satisfy each of the following in competitions approved by the World Memory Sport Council:
• Memorize the order of 10 decks of cards in 60 minutes.
• Memorize 1,000 random digits in 60 minutes.
• Memorize the order of one deck of cards in less than two minutes.
Ed Cooke first hit this trifecta when he was 23. He later came to international attention when he coached journalist Joshua Foer from ground zero to U.S. Memory Champion in one year, a feat chronicled by Foer in the best-seller Moonwalking with Einstein. To win that championship, Foer had to memorize 120 random digits in five minutes, successfully commit to memory the first and last names of 156 strangers within 15 minutes, and (last but not least) memorize a shuffled deck of cards in less than two minutes.
Ed has memorized a shuffled deck of cards in competition in 43 seconds. Of all memory feats, none is a more compressed act of mental athleticism.
I asked him if he’d open the kimono and explain his method, and he very graciously agreed.
It takes around four hours to get comfortable with Ed’s best-of-breed system. With a little practice, you’ll be a third of your way to becoming a Grand Master.
(Im)practically speaking, it’s just freaking amazingly cool. Few people in the world can pull it off, and that’s reason enough to take a weekend or slow evening to try. Instead of watching another bad movie, you can become one of the memory illuminati.
Last but not least, there’s a $10,000 competition at the end if you want to really give this a shot… Read More
Despite the dozens of case studies I’ve put on this blog, and the hundreds elsewhere, one knee-jerk objection always crops up: “That might work for a single 30-something guy, but what about families? I have a mortgage, kids, and…”
His publicly stated goal is to retire as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world and, at a record of 23-2, ESPN currently ranks him as the #3 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. I think he’ll get there.
His intellect–and consistency–is what separates him from the brawlers. He has a scientific approach to winning.
This isn’t limited to training. He considers nutrition a critical part of his fight prep, just as important as being in the cage. In this respect, 2009 marked an inflection point. That year, after successfully defending his Welterweight title in his second fight against BJ Penn, GSP hired Dr. John Berardi of Precision Nutrition to help him gain lean muscle tissue and improve his recovery abilities. Berardi, in charge of the nutrient science, recommended that GSP hire Jennifer Nickel and Rosario “Ross” Gurreri, two chefs in the Montreal area who worked at Cavalli and Bice restaurants, for his meal preparation.
In the next 8 weeks, GSP gained approximately 12 pounds of lean muscle and bulked up to 195 pounds. His upgraded speed and power helped him to dominate every subsequent opponent, posting a 5-0 record since 2009.
This post will walk you through how GSP ate during his 2009 transformation… Read More