High-Level Thoughts

I was disappointed. I love Tim’s work, but this didn’t deliver in the way his past books have. There’s zero thematic organization, so you can’t reference certain topics you want to learn more about except in a few cases. While this has some interesting pieces, I doubt I’ll refer back to it like I have with Workweek, Body, and Chef.

Summary Notes

“Andy Grove had the answer: For every metric, there should be another ‘paired’ metric that addresses adverse consequences of the first metric.”

“Every billionaire suffers from the same problem. Nobody around them ever says, ‘Hey, that stupid idea you just had is really stupid.’”

“How to thrive in an unknowable future? Choose the plan with the most options. The best plan is the one that lets you change your plans.”

“Tony sometimes phrases this as, “The quality of your life is the quality of your questions.” Questions determine your focus. Most people— and I’m certainly guilty of this at times— spend their lives focusing on negativity (e.g., “How could he say that to me?!”) and therefore the wrong priorities.”

“To fix this, he encourages you to “prime” your state first. The biochemistry will help you proactively tell yourself an enabling story. Only then do you think on strategy, as you’ll see the options instead of dead ends.”

“Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious.”— Thomas Edison

“So if you’re planning to do something with your life, if you have a 10-year plan of how to get there, you should ask: Why can’t you do this in 6 months?”

‘How do I become less competitive in order that I can become more successful?’

Theil Questions:

  • The Monopoly Question: Are you starting with a big share of a small market?
  • The Secret Question: Have you identified a unique opportunity that others don’t see?
  • The Distribution Question: Do you have a way to not just create but deliver your product?

Create your own graduate program, how might you use the money you would spend on one to further educate yourself outside of a university?

Affirmations: “All you do is you pick a goal and you write it down 15 times a day in some specific sentence form, like ‘I, Scott Adams, will become an astronaut,’ for example. And you do that every day. Then it will seem as if the universe just starts spitting up opportunities.”

“But if you want something extraordinary, you have two paths: 1) Become the best at one specific thing. 2) Become very good (top 25%) at two or more things.”

“Creativity is an infinite resource. The more you spend, the more you have.”

As I’ve also heard said, “Amateurs built the Ark, professionals built the Titanic.”

““I distinctly remember him saying not to worry about what I was going to do because the job I was going to do hadn’t even been invented yet. . . . The interesting jobs are the ones that you make up.”

“In other words, the minutiae fit around the big things, but the big things don’t fit around the minutiae.”

““Where can you put yourself into an environment that gives maximum exposure to new ideas, problems, and people? Exposure to things that capture your ‘shower time’ [those things you can’t stop thinking about in the shower]?””

“If you find yourself saying, “But I’m making so much money” about a job or project, pay attention. “But I’m making so much money,” or “But I’m making good money” is a warning sign that you’re probably not on the right track or, at least, that you shouldn’t stay there for long.”

“What Blessings in Excess Have Become a Curse? Where Do You Have Too Much of a Good Thing?”

“Answering “What would it look like if I had ___ ?” helps clarify things. Life favors the specific ask and punishes the vague wish.”

“Are You Fooling Yourself with a Plan for Moderation?”

“The second you start doing it for an audience, you’ve lost the long game because creating something that is rewarding and sustainable over the long run requires, most of all, keeping yourself excited about it. . . .”

““Being tougher” was, more than anything, a decision to be tougher. It’s possible to immediately “be tougher,” starting with your next decision. Have trouble saying “no” to dessert? Be tougher. Make that your starting decision. Feeling winded? Take the stairs anyway. Ditto. It doesn’t matter how small or big you start. If you want to be tougher, be tougher.”

““What you just explained is exactly what I was going to suggest. Think about how old you are right now and think about being a 10-year-older version of yourself. Then think, ‘What would I probably tell myself as an older version of myself?’ That is the wisdom that I think you found in that exercise. . . . [If you do this exercise and then start living the answers,] I think you’re going to grow exponentially faster than you would have otherwise.””

“Most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.”

“Comedy is, for the most part, just an obsession with injustice: This isn’t fair. . . . So what pisses you off? Louis C.K. says, ‘If you think about something more than three times a week, you have to write about it.’””

“‘ Honor those who seek the truth, beware of those who’ve found it’ [adapted from Voltaire]. A reminder that the path never ends and that absolutely nobody has this shit figured out.”

“Robustness is when you care more about the few who like your work than the multitude who hates it (artists); fragility is when you care more about the few who hate your work than the multitude who loves it (politicians).”

“Those who are offended easily should be offended more often”— Mae West.

“Desire is a contract you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want.”

If you can’t see yourself working with someone for life, don’t work with them for a day.

17 Questions to Change Your Life

  1. What if I did the opposite for 48 hours
  2. What do I spend a silly amount of money on? Can I scratch my own itch?
  3. What would I do/have/be if I had $10m? What’s my real TMI?
  4. What are the worst things that could happen? Could I get back here?
  5. If I could only work 2 hours per week on my business, what would I do?
  6. What if I let them make decisions up to $100, $500, $1,000?
  7. What’s the least crowded channel?
  8. What if I couldn’t pitch my product directly?
  9. What if I created my own real world MBA?
  10. Do I need to make it back the way I lost it?
  11. What if I could only subtract to solve the problem?
  12. What could I put in place to go off the grid for 4+ weeks?
  13. Am I hunting antelope or field mice?
  14. Could it be that everything is fine and complete as it is?
  15. What would this look like if it were easy?
  16. How can I throw money at the problem? How can I waste money to improve my life?
  17. No hurry, no pause

“If I go about on this endeavor, does it meet the threshold that Shackleton applied? Is this the most audacious endeavor I can possibly conceive of? What would Shackleton do?””

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