7 things I learned from “The Tools of Titans”

Over the past two weeks, I started and finished reading the book "The Tools of Titans" (Chinese edition).

I did not read it in detail and skipped something I am not really concerned about. In this article, I'd like to share some of my favorite takeaways from the book, classified by topic.

About Success#


  • He says the key to success is, "Be so good they can't ignore you." - From Marc Andreessen's chapter
  • The word 'successful' or 'success' has been such a dangerous word in my research. My answer is: Be clear that your ladder is leaning against the right building. - From Brené Brown's chapter
  • Losers react, leaders anticipate. - From Tony Bobbins's chapter
  • 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. - From Scott Adams's chapter
  • success is you make your own slot. You have a new slot that didn't exist before. - From Kevin Kelly's chapter

I'm touched by what Scott Adams said about success:

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.

I'm considering making it one of my guiding principle.

There were two ways toward success. If you are so good, people can't ignore you, whether they like you or not; But not everyone can climb to the top of the mountain; there still exists another way: be good as you can at more things.

So, do not limit your abilities. You are more competitive than you think.

About GTD#


  • You don't find time, you mark time. - From Brian Koppelman's chapter
  • Thoreau writes, ‘The really efficient laborer will be found not to crowd his day with work, but will saunter to his task surrounded by a wide halo of ease and leisure. There will be a wide margin for relaxation to his day. He is only earnest to secure the kernels of time, and does not exaggerate the value of the husk.’- From Maria Popova's chapter
  • He then says, ‘Those who work much, do not work hard.’ - From Maria Popova's chapter
  • Being busy is a form of laziness—lazy thinking and indiscriminate action. Being busy is most often used as a guise for avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable actions.
  • The danger of maps, capable assistants, and planning is that you may end up living your life as planned. - From Scott Belsky's chapter

"You should be master of your time", which does not imply that your schedule should be occupied by chores. Think about it before you do it, as I quoted in How to Take Smart Notes

All my work is thinking.

About Goal#


  • My confidence came from my vision...I am a big believer that if you have a very clear vision of where you want to go, then the rest of it is much easier. - From Arnold Schwarzenegger's chapter
  • Don't be a donkey. You can do everything you want to do. You just need foresight and patience. - From Derek Sivers's chapter
  • The more you know you really want, and where you're really going, the more what everybody else is doing starts to diminish. - From Alain de Botton's chapter
  • If the commitment is to a long-term goal and not to a series of smaller intermediate goals, then only one decision needs to be made and adhered to. And make it clear, simple, and straightforward.
  • I have a lot of conversations with people who want to start their own thing, and one of my favorite questions to ask is, 'Is this an itch, or is it burning?' - From Bryan Johnson's chapter

Most successful people know their goals well. They spend 80% of their lives doing activities/tasks in order to achieve their goals. In that way, you'll be able to tell which are important and which are not.

One should have his goal in mind, and keep it clear and simple. I also recommend you to read the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which guides you on how to make your mission.

About Stress/Anxiety#


  • When things are going bad, don't get all bummed out, don't get startled, don't get frustrated. No. Just look at the issue and say: "Good."
  • Life is not waiting for the storm to pass, it's learning how to dance in the rain. - From Bryan Johnson's chapter
  • Just take on the pain, and wear it as a shirt. - From Amanda Palmer's chapter
  • Put "You are a rounding error" as a wall of negative reinforcement. - From Alexia Ohanian's chapter
  • When you complain, nobody wants to help you. - From Tracy Dinunzio's chapter
  • In a lowered emotional state, we only see the problems, not solutions. - From Tony Robbins's chapter
  • Don't be scared. - From Stephen J. Dubner's chapter
  • Don't be afraid to do something you're not qualified to do. - From Dan carlin's chapter
  • I am an old man and I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened. - From Mark Twain
  • I do things, but I stop before anything gets stressful... - From Derek Sivers's chapter

Be positive always and trust yourself. Don't be hesitated to make your hands dirty (that is, do it right away), even if you are still not good enough.

Do it right now!

About Show Oneself#


  • Amplify your strengths rather than fix your weaknesses. - From Chase Jarvis's chapter
  • Get 1,000 true fans. - From Ramit Sethi's chapter
  • In general, I split my content in a very binary fashion: free or ultra-premium. - From Ramit Sethi's chapter

It's also important to show yourself to the public. I noticed that some of the people in the book have worked in sales and were skilled at demonstrating their abilities.

One way to get here may get 1,000 true fans and keep consistent.

About Writing#


  • I think clarity of writing indicates clarity of thinking. - From Matt Mullenweg's chapter
  • Write to get ideas, Not to express them. - From Kevin Kelly's chapter
  • I became a proponent of trying to give things away first. Tell everybody what you're doing...you try to give these ideas away, and people are happy because they love great ideas. - From Kevin Kelly's chapter

As Niklas Luhmann once said:

One cannot think without writing. 1992

I learned a lot from the book How to Take Smart Notes about writing and taking notes. Most of the interviewees are used to writing and sharing, even if they aren't aware of it. Writing is a useful tool for generating ideas, expressing oneself in public, and interacting with people.

Don't hesitate to write.

About Life#


  • Before bed, Peter always reviews his three "wins of the day". - From Peter Diamandis's chapter
  • He committed to one push-up before bed. Yes, just one push-up. - From Matt Mullenweg's chapter
  • The quality of your life is the quality of your questions. - From Tony Robbins's chapter

Also, I discovered that a significant proportion of interviewees mentioned mindfulness. They do mindfulness exercises every day or take time to think/review the day in the morning or evening. I've never heard of mindfulness or had any experience with it. In the future, I'd want to give it a shot.

And these seven takeaways are not even close to what you find in Tim Ferris' book. I strongly advise you to read it.

Further reading that you may be interested in#

Subscribe to the newsletter

Get emails from me about web development, tech, and early access to new articles. I will only send emails when new content is posted. No spam.