There are 11 questions that Tim Ferriss poses to some of the best and brightest individuals in the world in his new book, Tribe of Mentors. Since I’m interested in hearing answers to these questions from individuals like myself (those that are not necessarily the best and brightest, but are driven toward achieving an extremely high level of happiness), I thought I would offer my answers to them!
Here are two from his list of 11. I will return to these questions in future posts.
What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?
I haven’t gifted many books so I’ll address the second question.
Deep Work by Cal Newport helped me focus more on the most important work that needs to get done. This book also helped me identify what type of situation is best for me to do deep work in. It helped me carve out the time I needed to study for and pass an actuary exam.
The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt helped calm my aggressive and impatient mind, especially with those who do not see eye to eye with me on subjects like politics and religion. This book dives deep into the morals of individuals and how those are the forces behind many of our fervently held beliefs.
The Art of Learning by Joshua Waitzkin was read this year, and has yet to influence me on the scale that I believe it will. Both this book and Mindset by Carol Dweck have paved a path that I will most likely continue on for the remainder of my life.
The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson and Primal Endurance by the same author along with Brad Kearns were read in 2016 and 2017 respectively. These offer lifestyles that will stick with me to my dying day. There is a wealth of information in these books on dieting and exercising that works.
Finally, I would also recommend reading highly recommended books from individuals on the opposite side of your spectrum. As an example, there are many recommendations to read Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead, both by Ayn Rand. I was reluctant to pick either of these books up, but finally read Atlas Shrugged. While I would never recommend this book to anyone, I do think you should pick up something from the other side of the aisle from time to time.
In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?
This question easily stems from the first. I think there have been two new things that have happened around the same time that have significantly improved my life. They both come shortly after reading The Primal Blueprint in 2016, and then shortly after reading The Righteous Mind in 2017.
The first offered me a diet and lifestyle change that I am extremely happy with. It has been over 2 years that I’ve stuck closely with the diet (with some exceptions, of course – you have to make it your own) and have had great results. The diet/lifestyle is similar to a Paleo or Slow-Carb diet.
I finished the second book during my absence from Facebook. I learned quite a bit from that absence, and talked about it in My Six Month Vacation from Facebook. In a nutshell, I’m a much happier individual when I’m not trying to change people’s opinions in the incorrect way (via Facebook).