Tim Ferriss

Entrepreneur, Investor, Author, and Podcaster

Tim Ferriss has been listed as one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Business People” and one of Fortune’s “40 under 40.” He is an early-stage technology investor/advisor (Uber, Facebook, Shopify, Duolingo, Alibaba, and 50+ others) and the author of five #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers, including The 4-Hour Workweek and Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers. The Observer and other media have called Tim “the Oprah of audio” due to the influence of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast, which is the first business/interview podcast to exceed 100 million downloads. It has now exceeded 500 million downloads.

Book Recommendations


How to Win Friends and Influence People

by Dale Carnegie

That is an excellent book. I just want to second that recommendation. I read that many, many years ago and I have read it multiple times. It’s an older book, so of course there are aspects of it that have aged, but the principles really stand the test of time. That’s just a fantastic, fantastic book.

Tim Ferriss, source
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Little, Big

by John Crowley

This is, I suppose you could consider it a fantasy novel. It’s a bit difficult in the beginning. I’m going to warn people that you really need to give it at least 30 pages. I tried this book two or three times.

Tim Ferriss, source

Cat's Cradle

by Kurt Vonnegut

Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut is just an incredible book. It’s easy to read. He’s hilarious. That’s an easy fiction book to read.

Tim Ferriss, source


Dune

by Frank Herbert

I think everyone should read Dune by Frank Herbert. It’s just one of the best world-building fiction books of all time and I would say if you want to basically learn, let’s just say, 90 percent of all the lessons of leadership that you would get from reading a hundred of the best business books, nonfiction, on leadership, just read Dune. It’s so good. I love that book.

Tim Ferriss, source

Awareness

by Anthony de Mello

This short book has completely captured me. And just in the last two years, I’ve probably reread it five or six times. And when I feel myself bleeding into overwhelm or feeling scattered, this is one of the first break-glass-in-case-of-emergency steps that I take. I pick it up and I read a few chapters.

I grabbed it with low expectations, devoured it in three days, and I have bought dozens of copies to give to friends. Twenty, thirty, forty, fifty to give out to friends. I have an entire shelf in the guest bedroom in my house that is full of copies of this book for guests to take with them when they leave.

Tim Ferriss, source

Vagabonding

by Rolf Potts

I've given away hundreds if not thousands of copies of Vagabonding. I view it as a must read.

Tim Ferriss, source

The E-Myth Revisited

by Michael E. Gerber

This is a classic. Gerber is a masterful storyteller, and this classic of automation discusses how to use a franchise mindset, not necessarily the business model, but a franchise mindset to create scalable businesses that are based on rules and systems and not outstanding employees.

I’ve certainly felt the pain of making the mistake of trying to focus on hiring Michael Jordans as opposed to having sufficient systems in place, and this can be very, very beneficial, this book, either when you’re first thinking of starting your first business or as another reboot.

Tim Ferriss, source

How to Make Millions with Your Ideas

by Dan S. Kennedy

This book is also dated. Keep in mind these recommendations are originally from 1997, but it still does the job. This is a menu of options for converting ideas into millions of dollars. I read this, first, when I was in high school, and I have read it many times since—let’s call it six-to-twelve. It is like steroids for your entrepreneurial cortex.

Tim Ferriss, source

The Magic of Thinking Big

by David J. Schwartz

The main message is pretty simple: don’t overestimate others and underestimate yourself. I still personally read the first two chapters of this book whenever doubt creeps in. Note that it is a little dated. It is outdated in some respects, in terms of tone, so you just have to accept that as part of the package.

Tim Ferriss, source

"Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!"

by Richard P. Feynman

It is a book written by Richard Feynman, incredible physicist involved with Manhattan Project, but also a polymath and had taught himself how to play the bongos, how to crack safes, how to paint, which he learned doing in strip-clubs. A fascinating, hilarious guy, expert at problem solving, and also a very, very, very famous teacher. He could take complex physics concepts and break them down to the point where all he needed was, say, an apple and a pen, and he could explain something that would normally take years of pre-reqs.

Tim Ferriss, source

Stranger in a Strange Land

by Robert A. Heinlein

And then, also, there’s a book called Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein, which is incredible. And if you’ve ever wondered where the word “grok” – “Oh, I grok that. I don’t grok that.” – where that came from, it’s commonly used in tech circles, came from that book. And it’s about a Martian developing as a human being on Earth. It’s a spectacular, spectacular book.

Tim Ferriss, source

Zorba the Greek

by Nikos Kazantzakis

I really like to gift people I know, Type A, driven people fiction because I think many of the principles and truths contained in stories are better absorbed through fiction. Zorba the Greek, specifically stands out, which chronicles the adventures of this very brainy, very analytical person, which I see as more myself, who makes all manner of mistakes in life because of that, and then this free-wheeling, crazy person, Zorba the Greek. So, I highly, highly recommend that book.

Tim Ferriss, source

The Graveyard Book

by Neil Gaiman

And so The Graveyard Book, people have asked me, and I’m just going to answer the question here, they’ve asked me should I get because I very specifically recommended the audio book.

I’m sure the text is fantastic, but Neil strikes me – so I will drill into this with you a little bit because you have so much experience. Neil impresses me on many levels. He’s a spectacularly gifted poly math in the writing sphere and has not dabbled, it doesn’t do it justice. He’s not a professional dilettante like I am. He actually does really good work in a lot of areas. But he’s a really compelling narrator as an audio book narrator. He’s spectacularly good. And people have asked me should I get the full ensemble cast, or should I get the Neil Gaiman. I’ve only listened to the Neil Gaiman version of The Graveyard Book.

Tim Ferriss, source

Fooled by Randomness

by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Note: You may expand your answer to include any books that you find particularly interested but haven’t equally gifted, if at all. Given that, I would add The Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness, both by Nassim Taleb.

Tim Ferriss, source


The Baron in the Trees

by Italo Calvino

Then The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino, which is a fantastic short book about a young baron who gets in a huge tiff with his father and goes up in the trees, never to come down again, and has love affairs, battles of various types, wages, political campaigns, all from within the canopies of the trees. It’s a great book. That is another I would mention.

Tim Ferriss, source

Slaine

by Pat Mills, Simon Bisley

I’m going to mispronounce this again, some Irish—it’s not Irish. Celtic folks, people who know to pronounce this name properly give me a lot of shit, but Slaine: The Horned God, which is a graphic novel that I like so much that I had 2,000 copies special printed with a bunch of fun original artwork in the beginning.

Tim Ferriss, source

Letters from a Stoic

by Seneca

Definitely the letters of Seneca, the moral letters to Lucilius. There’s a good Penguin classics translation called Letters From a Stoic.  The audio version that I produced is the Tao of Seneca.  That’s one.

Tim Ferriss, source

Bird by Bird

by Anne Lamott

Bird by Bird is one of my absolute favorite books, and I gift it to everybody, which I should probably also give to startup founders, quite frankly.

Tim Ferriss, source

Bad Science

by Ben Goldacre

So, if you just want to be scientifically literate or better able to separate the signal from the noise with the deluge of information that we are assaulted by every day, I would highly recommend that you check [Bad Science] out.

Tim Ferriss, source

Essentialism

by Greg McKeown

The book Essentialism, I highly recommend it. I don’t say that much about many books. It is a very useful book. I’ve found it personally useful. It’s something I revisit.

Tim Ferriss, source

The Effective Executive

by Peter F. Drucker

Peter Drucker, who is one of my favorite authors, his extremely boringly titled book, The Effective Executive, remains one of my repeat reads.

Tim Ferriss, source

Radical Acceptance

by Tara Brach

[Radical Acceptance] had a huge impact on me, and has had a huge impact on many people. It’s the type of title that’s going to scare off a lot of people, because they think it’s going to be a bunch of woo-woo hand-wavy stuff. There’s a little bit of woo in there, but it is a incredibly good book, Radical Acceptance. If you have any type of emotional patterns or thought patterns that seem to control you, as opposed to the other way around, this is a worthwhile book.

Tim Ferriss, source

How to Change Your Mind

by Michael Pollan

And, in fact, the state achieved through psychedelics and in very experienced meditators … Although I’m convinced that you can achieve this state pretty quickly through meditation, it doesn’t have to take 20 years— Is remarkably similar as best we know — Or there are some similarities, I should say. ... Michael Pollan does a fantastic job of describing this in his book, How To Change Your Mind. Which I recommend to everyone.

Tim Ferriss, source