Saturday, January 5, 2019

Guest Review of Tools Of Titans The Tactics, Routines, And Habits Of Billionaires, Icons, And World-Class Performers by Tim Ferriss

Guest book review of Tools Of Titans:

Tim Ferriss is a professional network hub. He makes networks and uses them to sell things. In his early days, he worked at a startup in Silicon Valley. It was failing. So, he needed a new income, fast. What to do? He made a network.

He created a brain health product to suit his own desire to be smarter. He was its first customer. That made his market research cheap and quick. Next, he sold his new product to his fellow workers. They were just down the hall. So, they were easy to reach on foot. Starting by selling to them first let him keep his transportation costs low.

His fellow workers faced brainy competition, too, just like Ferriss did. So, they made a strong market for any brain product that might give them an edge. Better yet, Silicon Valley was full of companies staffed by brain workers who would pay for an extra edge.

To sum up: Silicon Valley made a dense, cheap-to-reach market for a product that Ferriss wanted for himself. Marketing costs for his brain product would be close to zero to start with. Practically everyone in Silicon Valley wanted to be smarter, quicker and more fit.

Better yet, he used pre-orders from his co-workers to fund development of his new product—Brain Quicken. He said that in two weeks, at a cost of $5,000, he launched a sports nutrition ecommerce store to sell it.

He said that it quickly grew to a $40,000 a month business. The trouble is, he had to work almost night and day, solving brand-new problems that he never imagined before. It was exhausting. The woman he expected to marry left him.

But he solved some hard business problems. It gave him a new product to sell: the story of how to make a good living with less effort than before. He wrote The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. It became a best seller.

It made him well-known. It built a big network of people who would take his calls, answer his emails, have lunch with him, invite him to conferences, and do business deals with him.

He made speeches. He did lunches, He built a blog. He did podcasts. He did interviews. He collected email addresses and business cards. He did live events. He used social media. He wrote articles and books. He worked out at gyms with people like himself. He did demo videos.

It built his networks. It made him well-to-do.

His next big problems to solve were how to be strong and healthy and stay alive a long time, to grow his income, to enjoy himself, and to find out more about how the world works.

So, he networked with bodybuilders, endurance athletes, biochemists, physicians, physical trainers, power lifters, nutritionists, and biologists to build his health and strength. He contacted other people who knew things he wanted to know.

He created a standard set of questions and sent them to well-known people. He approached experts, prize-winners, billionaires, and world-class performers. Some already were friends. Others he found in directories such as search engines or Wikipedia.

He asked for answers to his questions. Not everyone agreed to answer them, but those who did got space in Tools Of Titans, including a thumb-nail bio and contact information for each contributor.

Scott Adams answered Tim Ferriss’ questions. His bio is, “Scott Adams (TW: SCOTTADAMSSAYS, BLOG.DILBERT.COM) is creator of the Dilbert comic strip, which has been published in 19 languages in more than 2,000 newspapers in 57 countries. He is the best-selling author of How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, God’s Debris, and The Dilbert Principle.”

So, Tools of Titans is a node in one of Scott Adams’ many networks. And Scott Adams is a node in one of Tim Ferriss’ many networks

Adams gives three good pieces of business advice: (1) Focus on systems instead of goals. That is, focus on activities that develop processes or connections that you can use in future projects, not just in the current project. (2) Diversification reduces stress. (3) Become very good (top 25%) at two or more things.

What (2) means is be sure to develop alternatives as you go along. Power—the ability to keep other people from causing you stress, plus, the ability to cause other people stress without them being able to retaliate—comes from having alternatives. So, build networks, like Adams or Ferriss do. Networks give alternatives.

Adam’s contribution is in the Wealthy section, one of the three main sections of Tools of Titans. The other two sections are Healthy and Wise.

Here are four contributors to the Healthy section.

Rhonda Patrick, recently published papers about how vitamin D regulates production of serotonin in the brain. She advises taking 160- to 170-degree Fahrenheit sauna sessions, pre- or post-workout, to increase growth hormone levels and build endurance.

Dominic D’Agostino is an associate professor in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of Florida Morsani College of Medicine, in north Tampa, Florida. He is a senior research scientist at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition. Plus, he has deadlifted 500 pounds for 10 reps after a 7-day fast. Much of his focus is on developing and testing metabolic therapies to induce nutritional/therapeutic ketosis to get peak performance and resilience in extreme environments.

Dr. Agostino recommends doing a 3-day fast once a month and a 5- to 7-day fast once a quarter. He says fasting should be used in treating cancer because fasting slows, and sometimes stops, rapidly dividing cancer cells.

He says that in an emergency with late-stage glioblastoma, an especially deadly form of brain cancer, he would do five things: (1) Follow a ketogenic diet, which is a high fat, moderate protein, low-carb diet. (2) Fast intermittently, eating one meal a day within a four-four window. (3) Supplement ketones 2 to 4 times a day. (4) Take metformin, starting with a low dose and increasing it until reaching GI distress (diarrhea or reflux), which happens at 1500 to 3000 mg/day for most people. (5) Take DCA (dichloroacetic acid), starting with 10 mg per kilogram of body weight and titrating up, not exceeding 50 mg per kilogram. (Clinical trials of DCA use 20 mg per kilogram.) DCA is said to target the glycolytic pathway in cancer cells. [Note some conflicting information about DCA, e.g. that it is a common drinking-water contaminant, is hepatocarcinogenic in rats and mice, yet is a therapeutic agent used clinically in the management of lactic acidosis.]

Patrick Arnold is an organic chemist renowned for creating performance enhancement supplements.  His work ranges from discovering and introducing new ingredients through developing manufacturing processes. 

For example, he created an alcohol suspension of ursolic acid to dose it by spraying it on the skin. This keeps it from being destroyed by the liver, as it would be if it were swallowed. It also solves the problem that it cannot be injected, because it does not mix with oil. This method of application for ursolic acid is important because ursolic acid has many valuable effects. It increases skeletal muscle mass and brown fat. It decreases fatty liver disease, glucose intolerance and diet-induced obesity. It has anti-anxiety effects, anti-cancer effects, anti-inflammation effects, anti-bacterial effects, a protective role in cardiovascular disease, and much more.

Peter Attia is a surgeon, medical researcher, self-experimenter, and former ultra-endurance athlete. He once swam races as far as 25 miles. He says, “Meditation, intermittent fasting, heavy compound joint and hip-hinge training, intense interval training, body work, supplements, drugs, introspection, sleep hygiene. These are my hacks.”

He follows a ketogenic diet. It may stimulate the least possible amount of insulin. He wants to demonstrate that insulin and the foods that stimulate insulin, not excess calories, are important causes of the most pervasive chronic diseases: obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Suppressing the secretion of insulin, he says, is the key to running your body on your own fat, which leads not only to weight loss, but also to what he calls “chronic health.”

So, he wears a Dexcom G5 continuous glucose monitor to track his glucose level all the time. He aims to keep his average glucose at 84 to 88 mg/dl. He calibrates his Dexcom monitor 2 or 3 times a day with a OneTouch Ultra 2 glucometer (Tools of Titans, page 61).

He recommends these five blood tests: (1) APOE Genotype, which gives a suggestion, but only a suggestion, of the amount of Alzheimer risk once faces. (2) LDL Particle Number via NMR, which counts the number of LDL particles in the bloodstream as part of an effort to assess risk of cardiovascular disease, especially atherosclerosis. (3) Lp(a) (“L-P-little-A”) via NMR, which he thinks is a very important predictor of cardiovascular risk, independent of total LDL particle number. (4) OGTT (Oral Glucose Tolerance Test), which measures insulin and glucose response 60 and 120 minutes after taking a glucose drink. (5) IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor), a strong driver of cancer. (Fasting, calorie restriction, and a ketogenic diet limit IGF-1.)


Allan said...

Does the guest wish to remain anonymous? Is it Tim Ferriss?

CP said...

It was not... why do you ask?

CrocodileChuck said...


No thanks

CP said...

See Mangan's thoughts:

Allan said...

It was not... why do you ask?

Didn't mean to leave a drive-by comment on you. The review came across unusually promotional. After a while the repeated third-person references to Tim Ferriss seemed... conspicuous.

Since the guest comment had no by-line, and from what I have gathered Ferriss' greatest asset is a knack for self-promotion, I couldn't help but to ask.

CP said...

Ha. I think he's past needing to do something like that.

B said...

Copy successful people, especially for the little things. It saves time. It saves willpower that you might otherwise fritter away, making small decisions. That way, you can do a better job on the big ones.

Scott Adams (pp.261-270) uses a Wacom Cintiq tablet to draw Dilbert, his comic strip. You can choose the same tablet he did a few years ago, and get started drawing right away, or you can spend a few dozen hours choosing a different tablet. You decide.

Ramit Seth (pp.287-291) has a personal finance blog with more than a million readers per month. He uses Infusionsoft, which is complete sales and marketing automation software for small businesses, and Visual Website Optimizer, A/B testing software for marketers.

Seth said, “...I cannot recommend guest posting enough.” Both Ramit Seth and Tim Ferris use guest posting to build networks of fans.

Ferris (p.295) says to get project financing from one’s fans. He says there are about 2,000 different crowdfunding platforms worldwide.

GoFundMe and Kickstarter are two of the most dominant crowdfunding platforms. Ferris (pp.299-302) asked Mike Del Ponte, a founder of Soma, a successful startup that Ferris advises, to tell how Del Ponte used Kickstarter to raise $100K in 10 days.

B said...

Amelia Boone (pp.2-5) recommends (p.3) eating hydrolyzed gelatin and beet root powder for tissue repair.

Rhonda Perciavalle Patrick, PhD (pp.6-8) recommends (page 7) saving tissue from extracted wisdom teeth for stem cell banking for later treatment. She also says hyperthermic conditioning (calculated heat exposure) helps increase growth hormone (GH) and substantially improves endurance.

Dominic D’Agostino (pp.21-34) is associate professor in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine. He has dead-lifted 500 pounds for 10 reps after a 7-day fast.

Ferris uses D-Agostino (page 23) as an authority to advocate using diet to get into ketosis or taking supplemental ketones for (1) fat loss and improved body composition, (2) for potent anti-cancer effects, (3) better use of oxygen, and (4) maintaining or increasing strength. Ferris says (page 25) he tries to do a three-day fast once a month.

D’Agostino’s daily supplements (pages 30-31) are MCT oil, bone broth, idebenone, magnesium, branched-chain amino acids, and some ketones.

D’Agostino recommends (pages 32-33) the following for cancer treatment: a ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting (1 meal a day within a 4-hour window), ketone supplementation 2 to 4 times a day, metformin, and dichloroacetic acid (DCA).

Patrick Arnold (pp. 35-37) is an organic chemist who collaborates with D’Agostino. Ferris (page 37) says both of these men are interested in metformin for life extension. Ferris estimates that a dozen of the people in this book use metformin for life extension.

B said...

Jason Nemer (pp.46-51) is a champion acrobat and yoga expert. Ferris says (p,47) Nemer never stays in one place for more than 3 weeks, and he never goes anywhere without “a ukulele and a donkey’s load of [Duck Shit Oolong Tea].”

Peter Attia, MD (pp.59-71) is a former endurance athlete and is a self-experimenter. He focuses on performance and longevity. Attia wears a Dexcom G5 continuous glucose monitor 24/7 to display his glucose levels on his iPhone. He calibrates the Dexcom two to three times a day with a OneTouch Ultra 2 glucometer.

Attia recommends (pp. 64-65) these blood tests: APOE genotype, LDL particle number via NMR, Lp(a) via NMR, Oral Glucose Tolerance Test, and Insulin Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1).

Attia meditates.

B said...

Charles Poliquin (pp.74-80) helps champion athletes in almost 20 different sports to build muscles.

He recommends gotu kola, an herb, for removing scar tissue or unnecessary connective tissue. He says to use one dropperful of Gaia Herbs Gotu Kola Leaf liquid extract a day, which he says also improves tendon repair and cognitive function.

Polinquin says to check these four biomarkers every 8 weeks: (1) morning (fasting) insulin, (2) morning (fasting) glucose, (3) oral glucose test, and (4) Hemoglobulin A1c (HbA1c).

HbA1c measures the amount of sugar one has eaten in the past 3 months.

Polinquin says that the amount of magnesium--supplemental magnesium--that you consume is the fastest way to lower HbA1c. He prefers magnesium threonate, to all other forms, because it crosses the blood-brain barrier and affects the brain favorably. It induces GABA, a neurotransmitter that has a relaxing effect. He also uses magnesium glycinate, orotate, glycinate, and glycerophosphate.

I use magnesium threonate, asporotate, and glycinate. But also strongly limit sugar to lower my HbA1c.

Polinquin says every form of magnesium tends to go to a specific tissue. He says magnesium orotate tends to work more in the vascular system.

This pans out. The National Library of Medicine has 53 journal articles that mention magnesium orotate. Most of these 53 articles concern the heart or blood vessels.

The most recent one, [Meta-analysis of clinical trials of cardiovascular effects of magnesium orotate]., concludes, “The use of magnesium orotate is promising not only in treating MVP [mitral valve prolapse] and compensating for hypomagnesemia, but also in preventing and treating cardiac arrhythmias, regulating blood pressure, and improving the function of the autonomic nervous system.”

Poliquin says, “The length of time [a doctor] spends with you on your first visit is probably your best indicator [of their quality].”

This checks out. The best primary care doctor I ever had gave up her lunch hour to spend an hour-and-a-half with me to start doctoring me back to health after I had a heart attack. She had earlier been voted one of the best doctors in our city. She was awesome. Smart. Energetic. Well organized.

Poliquin says that, as a rule, the best way to increase testosterone is to lower cortisol. Testosterone and cortisol both are made from pregnenolone, the mother hormone. So, any pregnenolone used to make cortisol leaves less to make testosterone. Cortisol is a stress hormone. Stress causes cortisol production. So that means reduce stress to raise testosterone.

B said...

Tim Ferris says he uses phosphatidylserine and N-acetylcysteine at bedtime to lower any feelings of being tired and wired by stress. That’s interesting. There is a medical literature about using phosphatidylserine to blunt the effects of stress. For example, "Blunting by chronic phosphatidylserine administration of the stress-induced activation of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis in healthy men."

Ferris (pp.138-142) gives 5 tools he uses to get faster and better sleep.

(1) ChiliPad, a device that circulates temperature-controlled water in a very thin sheet beneath normal bed sheets. It has two zones, so two people who need different temperatures can sleep side by side.

(2) Three soothing things: a honey and apple cider vinegar beverage, or Yogi soothing caramel bedtime tea, or California poppy extract.

(3) Visual overwriting to crowd out thoughts that interfere with sleep. Ferris gives two ways to visually overwrite unwelcome thoughts: playing 10 minutes of Tetris or watching some short and episodic TV, such as, Ferris says, Escape to River Cottage, a TV program featuring host/chef Hugh Fearnley-Whitingstall.

4) Sleep Master sleep mask and Mack’s Pillow soft silicone putty earplugs to shut out sound and light.

(5) Marpac Dohm DS sound conditioner that produces white noise.

It’s probably not a good idea for Ferris to watch Escape to River Cottage, or any other TV, right before bedtime. The TV screen broadcasts blue light that interferes with sleep. More subtly, watching Fearnley-Whittingstall has to be, for Ferris, an engaging, stimulating business activity. As part of his work, Ferris seeks business titans, business models, interesting business case studies.

Fearnley-Whittingstall is a prodigious business case study himself. His many ventures include cookbooks, DVDs about food, a long running television series, cookery courses, entertainment events, restaurants, canteens, delis, and food products such as beer and yogurt. Fearnley-Whittingstall has a brand name, River Cottage, which, like Pepsi-Cola, or General Motors, covers a host of activities.

Ferris would be better off reading a table of random numbers. It would be less exciting.

I don’t use special sleepy-time tools. My bedroom windows have coal-black curtains. The loudest sound in the nighttime, outside my windows, is barred owls. My bed and pillows are perfect. I read and write to calm down. Then, I sleep like a baby. This might work for you, especially if you keep to a regular schedule, don’t take any caffeine after breakfast, and don’t drink anything after dinner. Make a transitional period before bedtime where you free yourself from obligations and excitement.