2018 Reading List: Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferris

There is never a point at which I feel that I have learned what I need to know to succeed – either at life or in my career. And so I continue to pick up and read books like Tribe of Mentors, by Tim Ferris, eagerly consuming the nuggets of wisdom from as many writers and successful individuals as I can.

Tribe of Mentors was the perfect book, wrapping up the worldly advice from over 130 people who have done something amazing, learned something amazing, built something amazing, or achieved something amazing.

I wrote down my favorite lines and quotes from the book as I read it, so that I could remember them and go back and ruminate as needed. And I have. As Tim Ferris himself says, some of the advice and quotes are what you need in a particular moment and some of them you might not need until later.

I read this book at a time when I was a new leader of a stressed-out team. We were busy and felt like we were failing. I was stressed but still so optimistic that we had the right people in place. And yet I was still also looking for a new job. Looking for an opportunity that would point me in a direction that felt more true to my soul.

So the quotes that stuck with me from this book came from that place. That place of chaos and change and struggle and optimism and hope.

In this book, some people contradict each other. Some people say to follow your heart and others say to follow the money. Some people tell you to look at the big picture and others want you to only think about the next five minutes. I feel there’s merit in both. I haven’t decided which camp I’m in yet.

Like I said I wrote down all my favorite lines, and since I don’t have a summary for you, I want to share them here. I don’t have the attribution of every quote, but all of them are from this book, and I take credit for nothing. These are the quotes from the greats.


Real work and real satisfaction come from going deep into something. The disease of our times is that we live on the surface.
Follow your bliss. Bliss is the highest peak of what brings you joy. What makes you feel most alive. It will take courage and it will suck at times. You have to take risks for it.  – Kyle Maynard
Rated on a 1-10 scale, you can’t choose 7. Decide between a 6 and an 8.
Have the courage to fail on your own terms. Take the shot.
Every great and extraordinary accomplishment in this world was done through courage. The more you run from your fears, the bigger they get but the more you go into them, the more they vanish like a mirage.
Competition is the opposite of creativity. – Kyle Maynard
“Busy is a decision.” The excuse “I am too busy” is not only the most inauthentic, it is also the laziest. We do the things we want to do. Period. If we say we are too busy, it is shorthand for “not important enough.” If we are using busy as an excuse for not doing something, what we are really, really saying is that it’s not a priority. You don’t find the time to do something; you make the time to do things.
Courage is more important than confidence. – Debbie Millman
Happiness is a choice you make and a skill you develop.
Follow your intellectual curiosity.
Self esteem is just the reputation you have with yourself.
The only way to truly learn something is by doing it. – Naval Ravi Kant
Obsess over figuring out the funniest, most exciting, most natural shape of yourself as a writer and start doing that. By focusing inward on yourself as a writer instead of outward on what you think readers will want to read, you’ll end up creating the best and most original work. – Tim Urban
Ask yourself “What would be the worst thing that could happen?” – Graham Duncan
Life will go faster than you know. The right path is to know that life is short, every day is a gift, and you have certain gifts. Happiness is about understanding that the gift of life should be honored every day by offering your gifts to the world.
The best advice I have seen comes from people who don’t try to tell me the answer, instead they give me an approach to thinking about the question so that I can solve it better on my own.
Everyone has their own journey. People who offer great advice understand that their goal is to help someone on their unique journey. – Maike Maples Jr.
What would you do if you weren’t afraid? – Jesse Williams
Don’t wait until you have a job to do the thing you want to be doing. Show that you have initiative. – Veronica Belmont
Take 100% responsibility for your part.
Stop blaming or complaining and achieve a sense of flow
Nothing truly meaningful has ever been created in a short time. Reaching for more is not only an act of ambition, it also comes from passion and love.
Nothing is achieved because of easy choices. – Jerzy Gregorek
“If I accept you as you rare, I make you worse; however, if I treat you as though you are what you are capable of becoming, I help you become that.”
“The struggle ends when gratitude begins”
“No one owes you anything”
If you are struggling to figure out where you are headed in life or what you are passionate about, pay attention to activities; ideas and areas where you love the process, not just the results or outcome. – Amelia Boone
Persistence matters more than talent. – Andrew Ross Sorkin
Life will present you with unexpected opportunities, and you won’t always know in advance which are important moments. Above all, it’s the quality of your relationships that will determine the quality of your life. Invest in your connections, even those that seem inconsequential. – Esther Perel
Three guiding rules of life: 1) Whenever possible, connect with others. 2) With enthusiasm, strive always to create fun and delight for others 3) Lean into each moment and encounter expecting magic and miracles – Adam Robinson
Only the right details matter. Pay close attention to what you’re spending your time on. Time and attention are very different things. They’re your most precious resources moving forward. While people often say there’s not enough time, remember that you’ll always have less attention than time. Full attention is where you do your best work. Protect and preserve it. – Jason Fried
“Burnout is not the price you have to pay for success.” – Arianna Huffington
Macro patience, micro speed. They should not care about the next eight years, but they should stress the next eight days. Don’t waste your days worrying about years. – Gary Vaynerchuk
Civil and decent and kind is the bedrock of success and personal fulfillment. Think small. do something super cool by the end of the day. Excellence is the next five minutes. Forget the long-term. Make the next 5 minutes rock. – Tom Peters
“You are good enough, just as your are. Breathe, and relax into the moment.”
Embrace uncertainty, groundlessness and fear as the place where you’ll really learn and grow. – Leo Babauta
Don’t try to find your passion. Instead, master some skill, interest or knowledge that others find valuable. If you continue to optimize your mastery, you’ll eventually arrive at your passion. – Kevin Kelly
Sometimes you need to allow life to save you from getting what you want. Be very careful with the moral high ground. It helps resolve conflict when you realize that everyone has different moral codes. Create something different. The most that any of us can achieve is to find a way to say something new. – Brandon Stanton
“Make yourself proud”
“You are 99 years old, you are on your deathbed, and you have a chance to come back to right now: What would you do?” – Jerome Jarre
Ask the right questions.
Diving deeper and discovering why someone behaves the way he or she does and what motivates him/her has a lot more meaning. – Fedor Holz
Never compromise your integrity. It’s all you have. Figure out what success means to you. Write down what your successful personal and professional life looks like in 20 years. Then roll the clock back to today. Make sure your choices are in service of those goals.
“Often, when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.” – Fred Rogers
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” – Lao Tzu
It will never get easier than right now to recklessly pursue your passion. Do it.
The smallest investment I’ve ever made was forgoing jobs that paid well for positions that gave me invaluable experiences.
Try as hard as you possibly can to find something you love, because the depressing reality is that most people never find a career they’re truly passionate about. – Tommy Vietor
Be yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask a question. Don’t be afraid to sound stupid. – Larry King
“I wake up each day with the firm conviction that I am nowhere near my full potential. Greatness is a verb”
Much of one’s attitude toward life depends on their level of optimism.
The key to a great life is simply having a bunch of great days. So you can think about it one day at a time. Look at every activity as you go through your day and think, “Is this contributing to getting me a better day-today- and if not, is there anybody in the world who has managed to design this activity out of their lives and still succeed beyond my level?” – Mr. Money Mustache
Don’t pursue your passion in your 20’s if you don’t know what your best skills and opportunities are. It’s much better to pursue learning, personal discipline, growth. And to seek out new connections with people across the planet.
Every day is an opportunity to create a living masterpiece.
“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal.”
Think for yourself. Everyone has a unique picture of how things work and function, and yours is as valuable as anyone’s.
There are no radical creative choices that do not carry with them an inherent risk of equally radical failure. You cannot do anything great without aggressively courting your own limits and the limits of your ideas.
I try to remember that stress can make me stronger – if I believe it can. Don’t spend time chasing a right answer or a right path but instead spend time defining how you are going to approach whatever path you choose. – Laura R. Walker
Life is not designed to hand us success or satisfaction, but rather to present us with challenges that make us grow. Mastery is the mysterious process by which those challenges become progressively easier and more satisfying through practice.
5 Steps to Mastery:
  1. Choose a worthy and meaningful challenge
  2. Seek a teacher to help you establish the right path and priorities
  3. Practice diligently
  4. Love the plateau. All worthwhile progress occurs through brief thrilling leaps forward followed by long stretches during which you feel you’re going nowhere. We are turning new behaviors into habits.
  5. Mastery is a journey, not a destination. True masters never believe they have attained mastery. There is always more to be learned. – Terry Laughlin
Everything is figure-out-able. No matter what challenge or obstacle you face, there is a path ahead. – Marie Forleo
Show up in every moment like you’re meant to be there, because your energy precedes anything you could possibly say.
Great opportunities never have “great opportunity” in the subject line.
Join a team not for what it is but for what you think you can help it become. Be a “founder” in the sense that you’re willing to make something rather than join something.
You must seize opportunities when they present themselves, not when they are convenient or obvious.
Every step in your early career must get you incrementally closer to whatever genuinely interests you. Set yourself up for circumstantial relationships, collaborations, and experiences.
The greatest lessons you learn in the beginning of your career are about people – how to work with people, be managed by people, manage expectations with people, and lead other people. Choose opportunities based on the quality of the people you will get to work with. – Scott Belsky
“No one is qualified to tell you how you experience the world.”
“Do something you’re afraid of every day.”
“Never let a good crisis go to waste. It’s the universe challenging you to learn something new and rise to the next level of your potential.” – Kristen Ulmer
Excellence is the next 5 minutes. Improvement is the next 5 minutes. Happiness is the next 5 minutes. If it seems like the world has ended, perhaps it is just the world forcing you to look through a different, better door. – Tim Ferris

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